Thursday, April 30, 2015

Desktop Breakfast

Most weekdays, I end up eating breakfast at my desk at work. I suppose it's not ideal, although in my situation it doesn't get in the way of anything and I feel like I can take more time to enjoy what I am eating, even if I am multi-tasking.

Some days I'll just have a yogurt and/or some fruit, but my favorite and most frequent breakfast is oatmeal. I have finally achieved my personal Holy Grail of desktop oatmeal recently and I just love it, so I thought I'd share it here with you! It really couldn't be easier, and it's made with things I keep in my desk drawers (I bring in the banana from home each day, though).

While at home, I have come to love steel cut oats or rolled oats out of the cardboard tubular box, those don't work as well in the office environment. I came upon this method because I had almost a whole box of store brand instant oatmeal (the kind that comes in single-serve packets) that was languishing in the cupboard, and I thought I would try to use it up at work.

I throw the instant oats in a bowl (I brought in a nice bowl to use at work) and I add a few spoonfuls of Bob's Old Mill Muesli (love!). Then, I slice up a banana into chunks right on top. Next is a tablespoon of peanut butter, and I stick the spoon with the PB in the bowl with everything else.

Then I walk myself over to the water cooler, and I add hot water to the bowl. I was actually measuring it the first few times, and then I lost my half cup measure and just guesstimated after that adding a little water at a time. The spoon is already in there, so after the first spurt of water, stir it up to see what the texture is doing. Add more as needed until you get it looking the way you like – some people like it thick, some like it on the runny side (I guess). I suppose I fall into the "just right" category when it comes to oatmeal. Call me Goldilocks!

Pouring the hot water over the top helps to melt the PB, and it makes the banana soft, too. As you're mixing, everything will become a lovely, tasty mush with a few chunks of banana. The crunchy, nutty elements of the muesli add a nice contrast to the mushiness, and the combination of the banana, PB, and  the raisins in the muesli give you the perfect level of sweetness – absolutely NO extra sugar or other type of sweetener needed here.

And the volume! When you first pour the instant oatmeal in the bowl, it's like... is that all there is? But by the time you're done, you have a hearty bowl of delicious food that will keep you sustained well into the noon hour. I do like to eat more earlier in the day than later, so as you can see, I'm also having some Chobani yogurt as well – blackberry on the bottom is my favorite! Other days I'll have another piece of fruit; lately it's been oranges. And I always, always, always, have several cups of tea, usually some type of green or some Traditional Medicinals Everyday Detox. The latter is perhaps an acquired taste, but I absolutely love it.

The ultimate desktop brekkie!
On weekends, it's a different story. When I have the time I love to make bacon and eggs, and I often do! Two eggs over easy, three slices of bacon, and two slices of (hopefully) whole wheat toast slathered with butter. Oh, and on Wednesdays, it's free bagel day at work, so you know I am taking advantage of that. But honestly? Yesterday I actually missed having my oatmeal. The bagel wasn't that great for some reason, and not nearly as satisfying.

Easy Desktop Oatmeal

1 packet of instant oatmeal
Several spoonfuls of muesli
1 tablespoon of peanut butter
1 banana
hot water

Pour oatmeal in a bowl. Add the muesli. Slice the banana on top of the cereals. Spoon out about a tablespoon of peanut butter, and stick the spoon in the bowl. Pour hot water over everything a little bit at a time, stirring in between. Add enough water that you get the consistency you like, stir a little more so that the peanut butter has melted and there are just a few actual chunks of banana left.


Totals for this bowl, according to MyFitnessPal calculations:
376 calories, 66 g carbs, 12 g fat, 11 g protein, 144 g sodium, 10 g fiber

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

More Plusses

I've been having a good few days. The depressed fog I was in seems to be lifting a bit, and I don't feel quite as stressed out as I was there for a while. This in turn has had a positive effect on how I eat. (Surprise! Not really.)

+ I'm wearing a bra that I buried away probably thinking I'd never be able to wear again, for the first time in I don't know how many years. At least seven, I'd guess.

+ I'm wearing a tank top that was labeled the same size as so many of the others I was wearing, but was way smaller. It's in brand new shape even though I've had it for a couple years – I could never wear it! I tried it on on a whim this morning, and lo! A perfect fit.

+ In yoga news, I realized this morning that I can now do a child's pose without splaying out my knees. The splaying is a common variation and I like how it feels, but the "regular" version is pretty cool, too – the girth of my stomach no longer prevents me from doing it! I like having options! And I like making progress.

Eating has been better – more or less a what you can, when you can effort to make as many better choices as I can. Balancing with my activity level, it's working out. I'm getting there, trying to eat more veggies and fruits and less candy and junk, as ever. Water levels are up, and I generally eat my exercise calories because that shit makes me hungry! I feel good.

One interesting shift in thinking that just happened this past week was the realization that the way I eat affects how my running goes. I mean, this is pretty much a no brainer, but I really noticed the yuck effects of, say, eating a bunch of junk the day before a 3 mile run this past week. (Incidentally, I did well on my Saturday 3 mile group run, but it felt like my body was made of lead the whole time.) That experience really turned the light bulb in my head on and so now I am not only trying to eat more healthfully to lose weight and be, well... more healthy... I am also realizing that I am eating to fuel my workouts and that my diet can make a big difference in my performance. I feel like this will help make my choices easier, i.e. a bowl of ice cream vs. a bowl of strawberries?

Not to say that ice cream no longer has a place in my life. It does, but maybe in a smaller bowl and maybe not every day.

Tonight after work is the last group run of the current No Boundaries session. So sad! But, it also means that I will have the graduation race on Sunday to look forward to, and another NoBo session starting on June 21st. I can't wait! But what will I do between the race and the next session, you wonder?

I picked Jeff Galloway's 10K training plan to follow, or at least the first six weeks of it. That will bring me up to a 5 mile distance (!!!), so building lots more endurance and strength in preparation for my second round of NoBo. Technically, I'd probably be ready for 2.0, but I guess I want to see how much my performance will improve doing the same program over.

So yeah, overall? I'd say things are definitely headed in the right direction. I'm feeling good.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday recap

- It's been a week. It's had its ups and downs. I'm glad it's Friday. I have felt "off" all day and can't wait to just reset into the evening.

- I've had another shitty eating day. Pardon my French. But not really.

-/+ I took a rest day from exercise. Rest was on the schedule anyway, but even so I had planned on maybe a leisure walk or some yoga. But man, I am going to rest. My body is telling me to, especially with a 3 mile run ahead of me in the morning.

-/+ It'll be interesting to meet with the scale tomorrow. I think I am prepared.

+ I'm wearing yet another pair of size 22 dress pants that I haven't been able to wear in over 7 years, and even at that time, I think I wore them once before I could no longer. So really, these are pants that have not been worn meaningfully in over 12 years. And then next time I size out of them will be when they are too big.

+ After my graduation 5K race next Sunday, I decided to follow Jeff Galloway's schedule for 10K training. The first few weeks line right up with my current abilities, and I think it will be a great way for me to build more endurance ahead of the next session of NoBo later in June. I will be doing the beginner program one more time before I head into the 2.0 version, but when I do start 2.0 I know I am going to be so ready for it. Tomorrow is the last Saturday group run with the current program! Wow. And to think just over two months ago running 30 second intervals was challenging.

+ Running does change everything.

+ Three or maybe four friends will be signing up for the next session!

+ I can do this. I can reach my goals. It's all I can do.

Because I have been listening to the Cars a LOT lately,
especially while running. Plus, this artwork is so fantastic. Smokin'!

And just because the Cars were so cool... this video. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What Day Is It?

I keep thinking it's Thursday, but it's Wednesday! Argh.

It's been an OK day. I've been feeling a lot better aches and pain-wise since I started doing yoga again. I'm following along Adriene's 30 Days of Yoga, and since these are a little on the shorter side 15-30 minutes depending, it's much easier to get done. I know that if they were longer sessions it might not be so easy for me to get started, especially early in the morning like I've been doing. They are just right to get my blood flowing and the sweat pouring.

Today was Day 5 for me, and it went well though it did feel challenging at times, as yoga usually is for me. However, the feelings I have after each session are memorable enough that I keep coming back and I keep pushing through the rough patches – just like how I do when I'm running.

I topped that off with the additional hip-friendly yoga poses I mentioned yesterday (man, I love me some Happy Baby! It's certainly not the most dignified pose, but it feels incredible), and then did a round of 7-minute workout. On my lunch break at work, I took a quick just over a mile walk in the park and I'm set for today.

Eating-wise, well, I'm starting to feel like a broken record. My mistake today was that I let myself get too hungry for lunch. I had an errand to run beforehand and then took the walk, so by the time I ate lunch at my desk I was, in the words of Larry David, pretty pretty pretty pretty hungry.

The result was that I found myself at Subway again (!) getting a meatball sub, a small bag of Doritos and three cookies. What is wrong with me? I don't know. I seem to get in these ruts, and this one is a doozy. Blergh. So there is that. And it's Wednesday, which is free bagel day at work, so that is standard for breakfast: an everything bagel and two schmears of cream cheese. I also had fresh raspberries.

By the way, that's it. Subway is off the list for now. No Subway for at least a month. I conquered McDonald's, and now Jared better watch out.

So now I am facing dinner and not really wanting to deal with it. If I lived by myself, I'd probably abstain as I have a tendency to do – I prefer eating more earlier in the day. But, I will likely have a nibble of something so I can sit and eat at the table with my partner, who tends to eat more at dinnertime.


Can I also just talk about an issue that I have not yet outgrown?

I still feel really self-conscious when I eat lunch at my desk. It doesn't matter whether I am eating something "respectable" like a nice salad, or whether I am mowing down on said meatball sub and Doritos and cookies. I admit it, I kind of worry about what my gym-rat, almond and rice cake-eating colleagues think when they see me eat. Like maybe that I am a fat, disgusting pig who is especially gross for eating that kind of food.

Ha! But do you see what I did here? I think it's called projection. Because I am sitting here thinking about what they are eating, and I am sitting there thinking those thoughts about myself. Double projection, even. The reality is that they probably don't pay any attention to how I am stuffing my face, or with what. Still, I worry. I have been a secret eater for many years and while I am mostly better about it these days, I still have a certain level of anxiety eating what and how I want in front of others, no matter who it is. It's especially magnified at work, though. Said co-workers are much younger and have never been anything close to fat in their lives. It's a little nerve-wracking for someone like me who has had such a problem with body image for most of her life. At almost 45 years old, though, it's kind of silly. It feels really silly to write this out at all, but I'm leaving it. I'm putting it out there because I seriously doubt that I am the only who feels this way.

Yeah, it's one of my things. It sucks.

So much work still left to go. Not just pounds-wise.

Monday, April 20, 2015

I Heart Monday

Ha! You are probably barfing at the title of this post, but I really mean it.

I've talked about this before: Monday is the chance to reset, restart, rejuvenate.

I had a rather indulgent weekend and felt ready to get back on track. I did drop another pound on Saturday for a low of 289, which was super cool. From here on out I'm on a Saturday weigh schedule. Once in a while it's hard to kick the desire to weigh every day, but overall it really makes things less stressful and more manageable. It gives me a little bit of wiggle room in how I do things. It feels comfy.

Saturday's group run with my 5K training group went well! I wasn't sure how I'd do since my hips have been bothering me lately and still didn't feel great when I woke up that day, but I got myself geared up and at the store to give it a try. I ended up covering 2.9 miles in just under 47 minutes, not bad! This was all running except for a 3 minute walking warmup and another minute or so at the end after I'd fulfilled the 42 minute requirement for the workout. I tell you what, it was an amazing feeling to accomplish that. I didn't cry this time but the joy I felt was nearly palpable. I am totally ready to run a couple 5K races, that is for sure. From here on out, our group workouts are 3 milers, and homework is 30 minute runs, both of which I know I can do. So great.

One of the NoBo mentors, Liz, ended up running with me most of the time and she had some good advice for me regarding my recent aches and pains – I need more cross training! Specifically, I need to get back into strength training and yoga. Now that I think about it, the hip pain I've been experiencing started probably around the time that I began slacking off in that department. She suggested especially squats and lunges to strengthen my butt, hips, and thighs and some yoga moves like downward dogs that I know have really helped me in the past. So, I'd like to make that my priority this week and I need a plan. Ooh, and then there is this. Some of my favorite poses are listed here!

I was doing those little 7 minute workout app thingies, and that's something I can squeeze in easily. Or I can even just do some sets of squats and lunges.

Squeezing in a little Yoga with Adriene is totally doable, too. (Love her!) 30 minutes a day? Got it.

After the NoBo program is over after the first weekend of May, I want to start going to the gym again a couple times a week for yoga classes and some circuit training. In the meantime, I will fit in the squeezable stuff.

Here's what this week looks like:

Monday (today): rest (a 30-minute run was scheduled, but I really need more recovery. I did do about a mile walk on lunch break.) I might do some yoga tonight. I did about 10 minutes of bedtime yoga.

Tuesday: a.m., yoga / lunch, short walk 1 mile / p.m., group run, 3 miles (I ran 3.2 miles plus more walking for a total of 4 miles!)

Wednesday: cross training is scheduled / a.m.: session of yoga and 7-minute blast / lunch, 1 mile walk

Thursday:  a.m., 30-minute run with a little yoga / lunch, short walk / p.m. yoga My body clearly needed some rest, so that is what I did.

Friday: rest is scheduled / a.m. yoga and 7-minute blast / lunch, short walk My body clearly needed some rest, so that is what I did.

Saturday: a.m., group run, 3 miles

Sunday: rest is scheduled / yoga and 7-minute blast / maybe a leisure walk

So there, I've also got this written down in my date book so there are no excuses why I shouldn't get this done! I want to make my body stronger and able to handle the new demands I've been placing on it.

And then... there is the eating. *sigh*

I wonder if I will always, always struggle with this. It's been hard. I could be eating better and less, but I am still trying to be as mindful as possible and always logging everything. I know what's going on. Today my goal is to stay as much as possible within my calorie allotment, which stands now at around 1550. Generally my feeling is that staying below 2000 is fine, but it will take me longer to get results. The 2000 number comes from playing around with TDEE for a while, which is now 3138. They recommend for weight loss to eat your TDEE minus 15-20%, so that puts me at 2511. Eating that much, though, made me a little nervous and I wasn't sure it was effective. Now I follow MFP's calculations and eat back most of my exercise calories. I know that none of this is ever going to be spot-on, but I must be doing something right to have lost 80+ pounds so far, so...

Anyway. I haven't eating the best, but I'm not falling down some big horrible hole, either. Today I was determined to start off the week on the right foot, so I had some oatmeal for breakfast, I had half an Erbert and Gerbert's sandwich and a cup of tomato soup, and for dinner? Why, I am making this amazing shrimp and grits dish. OMG it is so good. I know, I sound like a 14 year old girl, but OMG is justified here.

Candy-wise, I did well and only had three little mini tootsie roll thingies.

I'm taking it one day at a time. One meal at a time.

Most importantly, I am not kicking myself when I am down. Instead, I am getting right back up. SO MANY TIMES.

You'll never see me laying down on the ground. Unless, that is, I'm rocking a wicked savasana.

(P.S., I love Office Space.)

Friday, April 17, 2015

I Have to Hand It To You

All hands on deck!

On one hand:

I am wearing a pair of pants in public that I haven't been able to wear in over 10 years. They're a size 22 dress pant from Lane Bryant.

I weighed in at 290 this morning! Lowest in a loooong time. Yes, the losses have been slow in 2015 but they are happening, and I am pretty OK with that.

On the other hand:

Eating is out the window today, which is fine but somehow it always bothers me even though I know it's just a one day or a one meal thing. I should really just get over it and enjoy, why not? Jelly beans for breakfast, McDonald's for lunch, my favorite pizza for dinner. Ugh, I know. Silly, like a kid with no supervision.

On still another hand:

Tomorrow will be full of activity, including my 5K training group workout – 40 minutes running straight! PLUS going on a light hike somewhere with my partner afterward. I get to use my new hiking shoes! I also plan to get back to business, eating-wise.

Get the balance right.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Not-So-Deep Thoughts

1. I had more Erbert and Gerbert's after my last post and got a full sandwich. Oh my god, NOT NECESSARY! I always think it is, but it totally isn't. Halfsies for me all the way.

2. I wrote this a couple weeks ago and forgot to share it here. It's my running story, short version.

3. Weird little physical things I'm noticing: My fingers are deflating! My earlobes are no longer pushed out like what happens when your face is fat! Yay!

4. Yesterday at our group workout, I ran continuously for 36 minutes. Holy crap! Yes, tears were shed when I completed that.

5. I'm really enjoying not thinking about the scale every morning – it's totally liberating. And now I have an extra reason to look forward to Fridays Saturdays (I'm going to switch my weigh day to keep me on track as Friday seems to have become a problem day for me. All these mind games!)

6. Signing up for races: Cinco de Mayo 5K in Lockport, NY; Run with the Rapids 5K in Niagara Falls, NY; thinking about this one and especially this 10K (still on the fence, but I love the Oatmeal and would love to go to the New Jersey race!).

Yes, I am thinking about 10Ks already!

7. Excited to get out hiking regularly again – I even splurged and got real hiking shoes, finally. They're Merrells and they're awesome. Waterproof, too!

8. Life is pretty nice.

9. Oh, and this song helped get me through a 7 minute run/30 second walk x 6 session by myself on Monday. "You can't, you won't, and you don't stop!" Nope.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Regular-Sized Sammy

Well, well, well. I am pretty pleased with myself today.

You know how I have that weird Subway thing? Where I get a huge footlong sandwich, chips, cookies... and I eat it all? This bad habit I'd formed made me feel like I wasn't capable of eating a normal-sized sandwich and feeling satisfied. Well, today, I proved myself wrong.

Let me back up a little to this morning. I want to share all the wins I had today.

I got up a little later than I'd hoped but did my 5K training homework, which, mercifully, happened to be a nice, easy workout of 4 minute walk and 2 minute run intervals. After what we've built up to lately, this was practically a cakewalk – in fact, the first run interval I went over by 30 seconds on accident! I ended up with a nice 2.5 mile distance.

Then... then. I went out on my lunch break hoping to get at least a mile, maybe a mile and a half in to supplement the morning outing. Well, I ended up going for two miles and I got myself a nice little lunch to take back to my desk. Again, it's one of those chain sandwich shops, but I really like the tomato basil soup, and the sandwich I got today was really, really good, so I don't care what anyone says: Erbert and Gerbert's.

Don't get me wrong. I love to support local shops and restaurants, but honestly, if a place has nutritional information readily available, that's the place I'm likely to patronize. I don't let this limit me all the time, but for the way things have been going lately, I'm trying really hard to be as honest and correct about my food logging as possible in order to stay on track. So.

Anyway. I ended up getting a half an Apollo sandwich (I added jalapeno peppers!) and a cup of tomato basil soup. This is about a quarter, maybe even a fifth of the amount of food I'd normally eat from Subway. And it was plenty. I had an orange for dessert.

As I write this, I am doing my best to make my way through the day without any candy, just because I want to see if I can do it. (As if there is a doubt – it's not like I am going to keel over if I don't have candy one day out of my life!) I'm playing a game with myself, similar to what I've learned to do while running: make it to the next landmark, i.e. a tree or a lamppost or a driveway. With the candy, it's been make it for the next half hour without any candy. Then I can have some if I still really want it. I've been doing this for the past hour and a half successfully. I'm going for it. I made some tea. Less than two hours to go.

(I had my usual wonderful oatmeal breakfast again – instant oatmeal with a banana, a tbsp of peanut butter, and a couple tbsps of Bob's Red Mill Old Country Style Muesli. It really hits the spot!)

Tonight we've got an old favorite on the menu for dinner: Thai Basil Chicken. It's really easy and really tasty, and pretty good for you. We just boneless skinless breasts and cut them into small pieces rather than use ground, but either way! I'm looking forward to that.

All I know is that it's nice to have a day or two when everything just feels good. If you can just slog through the swamp, you'll come to the clearing eventually.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Post-Easter Blues

Oh, jellybeans. I just can't quit you.

So, I don't celebrate Easter per se. But it's always fun to see the Easter candy go on sale in the stores after it's over.

Isn't it?

*sigh* Maybe not.

Yesterday on the way home, I needed to get a few things for the easy and yummy dinner I was planning to make – I think of it as a Mexican-inspired stir fry. Chicken cut into chunks, pan fried in a little olive oil, then just add a small can of corn, original Rotel tomatoes, and a can of black beans. A dash of cumin is added just before serving. It doesn't sound like much as is, but I tell you what – it was very tasty, and it's the type of thing that can be dressed up a million ways if you wanted to.

But back to the store. All the candy on sale! My favorite, jelly beans! Some chocolate bunnies. Argh. Half price. I got some, thinking that I will just pick at it, here and there.

Of course that is not a good idea for me. There is nothing wrong with having candy from time to time, but I don't need to have it so available, do I? Because when it is, I like to eat it. Sure, I'll log it. I'm very honest in my food log. That's great, but also, so what?

I ended up eating almost half my daily cals in candy today, which means less than zero left for dinner.

My plan is: have a reasonable dinner and gear up for a good day tomorrow.

Note to self: Must stop self-sabotage!

UPDATE! It's now post-dinner and I'm feeling better about things. We opted for Chinese takeout and I ordered a simple dish, a cup of chicken and string beans with no bells and whistles, just about a quarter cup of steamed rice, no eggroll. Fresh pineapple for dessert. Yes, I am over on my calorie intake for the day, but I also feel really proud that I turned the day around so that it wasn't a complete disaster. That counts for something in my book.

Now, onward.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I Am Ready

Yesterday was Monday. While most of us will grumble about a Monday, it is also the day that naturally lends itself to beginnings – starting a new habit, for example.

And with the start of the new week, I'm feeling energized and with a sense of renewal to my commitment to good health and fitness.

As you know if you've been reading along, I've been having a hard time with my eating lately. Exercise has been no problem at all, but the eating has been veering off the course I'd like to stick with – that is, not cutting foods totally out of my diet, but eating MORE clearly healthy foods like veggies, fruits, lean meats, etc. and fewer junky things. Lately, the junk has been winning more often than not.

But I really don't want to go back to my old way of living. I really don't. So I'm not going to.

Monday is a chance to reset and start over. I had a good day eating yesterday. I didn't feel deprived but I made sure that I watched portion sizes and the quality of the food. I plan to echo that today and I'm off to a good start.

Yesterday looked like this:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with a banana and a tablespoon of natural peanut butter

Lunch: Homemade black beans and rice (about a cup of each)

Dinner: Leftover BBQ ribs (4 ribs) and Kraft mac and cheese

Dessert: Macerated strawberries on a biscuit with whipped cream on top

Snacks: Chobani yogurt, an orange, and two mini cookies

Not too shabby. Not perfect, by any means, but within my calorie allotment and not bad on the macros, either.

Today's breakfast is the same. It's one of my favorites.

(a couple hours later)

Since starting to write this, I went and got some lunch. On the bright side, I went on a walk for it, just about a mile and a quarter. On the not-so-bright side, I did my weird Subway indulgence thing. The weird Subway indulgence thing always involves a foot-long roast beef sub with tons of veggies (I get spinach instead of lettuce, though!), a bag of Doritos, and three cookies. Yes, I know. Three cookies.

I was planning to have this for dinner, but I may abstain after such a big lunch.

Why did I eat so much? Well, part of me felt the license to. After all, I did a 2+ mile run/walk this morning, the 1.25 mile walk this afternoon, and this evening I have my 5K training group run, which will be another 3 miles or so of mostly running. With all those extra calories burned, my indulgent lunch fit into the day, but... I still don't feel good about it.

Plain and simple, I don't need to eat that much in any given meal. I just don't. I remember the way I used to eat McDonald's compulsively, and this Subway stuff is starting to feel the same. I should probably just not get it anymore, at least for a while. This is the kind of eating behavior that still lurks beneath my surface and it's something that I really want to get a better handle on. a. Subway is gross, I know. I'm always a little embarrassed that I like it. b. One of the reasons I exercise is so that I can eat more. However, that doesn't mean I can eat, like, everything. (Another reason I exercise is because I actually enjoy it! Truly! This is a thing that happened to me.)


This is not how I planned this post to end up! But it did. I tell you what, I still feel very positive about how things are going this week. I have a plan in place, I'm moving around, I'm trying to keep things in check but I am not beating myself up when I veer off course. Nope! Instead, what makes sense to do?

That's right. Get back on course.

It seems so simple! It really IS that simple. Here I go!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hiking Season!

Hooray! It's hiking season again... almost, anyway.

I took the day off from work yesterday and it was a lovely, temperate day. Later in the afternoon, we ventured out to Buckhorn Island State Park to see if we could get anywhere – unfortunately we couldn't walk far before it got way too mucky and muddy. There was one area where we could walk but not much more than a half mile or so. Still, it was nice to get outside together and breathe in the fresh spring air. I asked my partner to take a photo of me to commemorate the season's first outing.

When I first saw the photo, I immediately thought, "Ugh. I am still so fat." What an unfortunate response, one that certainly does not honor myself or my body. So I looked again, and I kept looking. One thing was, my clothes are getting pretty baggy. Another thing, so what if I am still fat? Of course I am – I still weigh close to 300 pounds, but really, so what? I was happy when that photo was taken and I was out walking and enjoying the onset of spring. What's not to like?

It then also occurred to me that while it is hard for me to see the difference in where I am now from where I started, that I had a photo of myself on our first hike ever from late last August. You can see that post here. Sure enough, I was pretty surprised to see that there is quite a lot of difference. I am actually wearing the same outfit, funny enough. I'm going to be really sad to have to give up those corduroys when the time comes, I tell you what. They are nearly falling off me now as it is.

Anyway, the comparison:

Those pants back in August just started to fit fairly comfortably, but you can see how they strained a bit at my belly. That is not the case anymore! If you look at the length of the pants in both photos, they're really getting droopy these days. I really should just save them for weekends or lounging at home at this point. The jacket fits much better, too!

This is why taking photos of yourself along the way is so important. Especially when you have a lot of weight to lose like I do, it is easy to forget how far you've come because, as I said before, you're still fat even after losing 80 pounds. But this new photo shows me that my progress is pretty awesome and that there is indeed a big difference in how I look and how my clothes fit!

It has been a rough couple weeks, but with the support of friends and family, I am pushing through. Things are going well with my 5K training, even with what felt like a really bad homework session this morning – it should have been fairly easy but ended up feeling like genuine torture. Still, I made it through and plan on taking an easy walk on my lunch break as well to get some extra mileage in – I've been doing this Running for Fun thing and it's really unleashed the competitor in me! For a while that Craig R. guy and I were neck and neck but I have since crushed him, ha ha! (Just kidding, Craig!) No, but seriously, it's just another tool that helps me get and stay more active. I love it. 

On another note, this week I made yet another adjustment to my program. I have been a daily weigher ever since I started back in May. Because I have been getting pretty discouraged lately at my scale readings, I decided to take the jump over to weekly weigh-ins instead. They will be on Fridays, when I normally go to Fleet Feet to check in for the Ton of Fun group. I tell you what, it has taken a big load off my shoulders, much more than I would have expected. I feel even better about my activity efforts and I am just as vigilant about my eating. Somehow I imagined that it would all go out the door if I wasn't monitoring the number on the scale every. Single. Day.

So we'll see how it goes. So far, I think it was a smart decision for me at this point. I need as much positivity in my life as possible.