So last night I had a fabulous time. I got home from work around 9 and my friend Evan met me at this new park up the street from my apartment that has a track and four different workout machines. plus it's solar powered so there are lights at night. I did the stepper for 15minutes for a warm up and then I jogged around the track twice. i did the arm machine, 2 reps of 15. jogged two laps. 2 reps of 15 situps on the situp bench. two more laps and then some of my favorite moves from zumba(hey it was like 10pm, no one was watching me lol)
However yesterday I was not a model eater. My eating isnt exactly healthy on work days. I almost never cheat and eat crap at work but I deff am not getting all the nutrients, or even calories, recommended. I made these delicious egg"muffins"(will post in recipes today) the other day so i had those for breakfast yesterday. for lunch i brought a can of tuna and Earth Balance "mayo". Its vegan and 100x better for u than real mayo. We LOVE subway at my job so as usual we got subway for lunch. I got a spinach salad and put my own tuna on it. ask for some sweet onion sauce on the side to use as dressing and youve died and gone to salad heaven.
When I got home from work I grabbed a hardboiled egg out of the fridge and headed to the park. When I got home at 1030pm I ruled it too late to eat a real meal and opted to wait for breakfast. Now I didnt track it on sparkpeople yet so I dont know the exact calories but I'd estimate I had between 300-400 calories yesterday. No doctor in their right mind will recommend this. Not eating slows down your metabolism and weight loss. If your body thinks youre not going to feed it, when you do eat it stores fat so it has reserves for later. so here you are, trying to LOSE fat, and youre telling your body to please save it for later. Dumb. But sometimes I am busy as hell and this is what I eat. Although it's not the healthiest day or a menu I am proud of, it beats the hell out of my normal busy day eating habits (dont eat all day, till about 8 or 9pm, and then eat 2000 calories in one sitting).
To keep myself from slipping into old habits on work days I always plan ahead. I only work at the salon thurs-sat. naturally those are my busiest days and present the biggest risk. so every wednesday you will find me in the kitchen like i'm paula dean. I prepare 6 meals, 2 meals for the next 3 days. this week I made some baked veggie "wontons"(will post recipe), enough to eat for two meals. I made the egg "muffins", enough for 3 meals. I made two cans of tuna(in water of course) with Earth Balance mayo and red onion. I also hardboiled some eggs. Although too much yolk is no good I swear by hardboiled eggs. when i need to grab something to eat fast or in the car its perfect. I used to do the granola bar thing but I realized my quick on the go food was full of sugar and although I still eat them from time to time, its not my first choice. If I am eating a hardboiled egg a a meal I eat the yolk. however if its just to hold me over between meals or something I'll usually eat two, just the whites, no yolk. my advice is to peel them under cold water while theyre still hot. the shell will come off easily. if your fighting with a shell while running out the door in the morning your simple, fast, breakfast just got real complicated.
This year i've discovered how much i LOVE mustard. My accountability buddy, Nikki(more about that later) had suggested salt free pretzels and mustard as a snack to help cure my craving for chips and crunch. THANK YOU NIKKI! i have been missing out! mustard is so good, dont have to worry about calories, carbs or sugar. it does however have sodium, so if youre eating it try to pair it with foods that are not salty. Back to my eggs, i love egg salad made with mustard instead of mayo.
By the way, if you dont know, contrary to popular belief I am not a vegetarian. I was, I was even vegan for the majority of 2009. But today I am a pescetarian. This means I don't eat "meat" but I eat fish. One of my best friends hates vegetarians who eat fish. That's the worst vegetarian ever- she says. That's why I want to make sure its clear I am not veg. I dont need any vegan or vegetarians tearing me apart when I post a recipe with fish in it. I decided to work fish into my diet when I decided to drastically reduce my carb intake. Being a vegetarian I ate a ton of vegetables and then I'd have pasta or bread with it to fill me up (im sorry, but i cannot eat a plate of vegetables only and be satisfied). That was 40-60 carbs at LEAST with every single meal. So when I realized eating all that sugar is no way to lose weight I decided to work fish back in. This way I could lower my sugar and carb consumption but i could not be hungry anymore. It also made dining out with friends easier. For a long time I didnt eat at restraunts because the veg options were shit. mozzarella sticks, fries, crap. But if you eat fish there is a healthy fish served with vegetables on almost every menu I know of. Now I don't have to feel like my social life's been messed with because I can go out to eat with friends. How to eat out and lose weight is a whole nother post though :-P
OK so let's talk accountability. If you arent holding yourself accountable for your actions you might as well quit your diet now. you did what you did, and in order to be a stronger and better person you need to admit and correct it! Although I want to offer my experience to the world and inspire people who think they cant do it, keeping this blog helps hold me accountable. if I slip up you better believe I'll be posting about it., If i tell the world about it I dont have to sit home feeling all types of guilty and like a failure. One of the great features of sparkpeople.com is the message boards. I'm not that into forums but I scrolled through them a few times and came across one titled " Find an Accountability Buddy". I made a post describing myself, my goals, and looking for someone who could relate. I got messages from a few people, but one person I clicked with immediatly. and although I never intended to ditch the other people interested (i though shit, I can have more than one, more support the better!) I didn't need the other people. Nikki was exactly what I was looking for. She'd been on her own journey for a while struggling to get below 200lbs. She started off smaller than me, and used to be skinny, so our "back stories" are different but we had so much in common as far as food addiction and life. Through text message me and this girl 1500 miles away pushed eachother to do it. I would text nikki if I wanted to order a pizza and shed talk me out of it. But even when I texted her too late (i'd already fucked up) she always gave encouraging advice on how to get back on track. She'd text me if she had drank her allotted calories away and I'd try to be there for her as well- you don't drown from falling in water, you drown by staying there! We admitted things to each other I don't think we'd ever said to other people and it was so LIBERATING. i am not proud of my food addiction, but telling someone all my deepest, darkest, shameful habits and experiences, and finding out she did the same thing made me feel like a regular person again. Society has a way of telling fat people they're second class citizens, Nikki has a way of making you feel normal. Just so you know, Nikki and I are still in contact. Not as frequently as in the beginning but I know as long as she's around I dont have to keep any secrets and I'll be owning up to my screw ups. FYI- just because no one knows you screwed up doesn't mean it didnt happen! I read a great quote once: "What you eat in private you wear in public." Amen to that sister.
An update on Nikki, she is currently BELOW 200lbs! I'm planning to do WarriorDash (a military style obstacle course/race) in Orlando with my aunt in Orlando this winter. I have a dream of someday going up to New York, metting Nikki, and doing the Dash up there, together. I feel like she's part of my team and I hope to someday actually meet her.
I suggest if youre trying to make a lifestyle change, whether it be lose weight, quit drinking, etc, find someone to do it with. you dont NEED a buddy, but it will be much easier if you have one. Life isnt meant to be lived alone!
Now in my first post I barely touched on exercise, but I dont want to give anyone the impression weightloss happens at this rate with just a diet change. It doesnt, but it was midnight and I wanted to go to bed so I cut that post short(it is what it is!). I am not a fan of the gym- so a gym membership was not the first thing I ran out and got. at first I would just youtube videos. I used to kickbox back in the day so I'd do cardio kickboxing videos. Then I got netflix and found all the zumba and yoga videos on there. Jackpot! I'd do atleast 30 minutes everyday. In the beginning I couldnt even get through 30 mins of cardio without stopping! Eventually on netflix I came across the Biggest Loser. I always knew a bunch of people who watched it but I never did. I have a problem with how they potray fat people on tv. all they do is eat and cry about how they cant do anything in life because theyre fat. No, you can't do anything because youre lazy and insecure. Period. 7 months ago I was almost 300lbs, but I was successfully running my own business in miami, my hair styles had been nationally published in several magazines, and I'd even been flown to Vegas to style for one of my favorite models for a pinup convention. Being fat didn't fuck with my success and I'm so sick of hearing that. Now that my career is headed in the direction of being shown on tv I deff think that having lost weight helps. Plain and simple they dont like fat girls on tv as much as they like hotties. Although I did get to be on national television celebrity styling at 240lbs, I do think I have a much better chance being on tv more often if I am closer to society's definition of beauty.
Sorry, got side tracked.
Ok, so I watched an episode of biggest loser, and although there were some cry baby "poor me" types, I actually really liked it. I started watching the biggest loser while I worked out. Theres like 12 seasons so I had plenty of episodes to catch up on. I would watch these 400 pounders climb that jacobs ladder, sweating their ass off, begging to stop and Bob would be right in their face telling them NOT TO STOP! and then Jillian came around and she'd say "If youre not puking or dying KEEP GOING! your mind will quit long before your body needs to". Then Dolvett came into the picture, and hearing him scream 'LAST CHANCE!' is drilled into my brain. How can you watch this person change their LIFE and not get off the couch? I started jogging in place without ever stopping for 15 minutes intervals. then I would do 1 minute intervals bent over- with my hands on the arm of my couch and id push with all my weight and run. The other end of the couch is against the wall so it's great resistance. I would set a timer for a minute (try it- its hard to do for 60 seconds solid) and push my arms as hard as I could and run as fast as I could move my legs and when I wanted to quit i'd tell myself " fuck you! wait for the timer bitch! you are not quitting!" and when that timer dinged i'd wipe the sweat off my forehead feeling like I just conquered the world. DONT QUIT. quitting = failing. Do you want to fail? you CAN do it, and when you do you will feel like a million bucks. I also got some resistance bands and a workout ball and did those workouts while I watched. I'd save the hard cardio of my workout for their last chance workouts. and sometimes I didnt even look at the tv. My muscles were burning, i wanted to quit, so i'd close my eyes and just listen to Dolvett scream "LAST CHANCE!!" and everytime it would remind me this is my last chance, it may not be for a weigh in on national television, but this is my chance and I need to take it. If I want to live a healthy and long adult life, this is my last chance to take care of business.
Soon my workouts graduated to insanity. My friend Allen was doing it and hes a big boy. I thought Insanity was for skinny people looking to get ripped and never in a million years thought I'd be able to do it. But if Allen can do it, maybe I can too. So I downloaded it and the ass beatings began. Insanity can be described in one word, INSANE. I did the program as suggested for 6 weeks, not the full 8. I began having a lot of knee pain from all the jumping and was wearing two different supports. I didnt want to hurt myself to the point i couldnt exercise at all so I decided to take it easy with insanity. Now I still do it atleast 1 or 2x a week because the burn is insane, but I can't risk hurting myself. My knee was hurting even when I wasn't exercising so I knew I needed to take it easy. Insanity was not really designed for 300 pounders... theres no way a fitness professional would think all that weight smashing down on your joints with every jump was a good idea. Some day, when I'm a little lighter, Ill complete 8 weeks of it. Not because the results are insane, but because I want to start what I finished.
I walk my dog a lot, and as I started getting into shape I started to get the desire to jog. But I didn't. I didn't want anyone driving by yelling or MOOing at me. This as happened to me a handful of times, just walking along the sidewalk when someone yells out their window "FATASS!!" or literally moo's at you like a cow. I figured if people wanted to make fun of me for walking, I would get double to attention if I was trying to jog. And then on top of that I knew I couldn't jog far and I didn't want people to see me jog to the end of the parking lot to have to walk once I reach the end because I'm already breathing so heavy. So, I was telling my shrink this and he said to me "So, youre not going to do something you want because of what someone else thinks? Am I talking to the right Ashley?" that was my AHA moment as far as exercise goes. I am not exercising outside of my living room because a few random assholes want to give me a hard time about it. Fuck them! That night I went for my first jog.
I started at night, I was ready to jog in public, but I wasnt ready to do it in rush hour. The first day I made it to the end of my parking lot and about two parking lots over. Couldn't breath, cramp in my side, had to walk. I walked the rest of the block and started again. This time I was going to jog to the street light. And thats what I did, I'd go everynight and pick a landmark that I would jog to. Eventually I decided to try not to stop until I got to the end of the block, and I did it! Now I can jog around my whole block without stopping. According to sparkpeople's "map your route" feature my block is .75miles. So I'm not running maratons or anything but I can almost make it a mile without having to walk. I am 210lbs and 6 mons ago I couldn't make it out of the parking lot. I never thought I'd enjoy running or jogging, but I love it. It is the easiest to track your progress. If I jog 10 feet further today than I did yesterday I feel like I've climbed mount everest!
Eventually I decided I needed something to work for. If I was training for something it'd be easier to stay on track. So I signed up for a 5k. The homeless shelter I cut hair at was having a "Race Against Hunger" and I figured this was a great cause. Someone who's a food addict and over indulges in food should give back to people who don't even have enough food to keep them full. I was really excited. I went to bed nice and early the night before, but it was like the night before christmas and I couldn't sleep for crap.
Next morning my alarm goes off and my excitement had worn off. I was exhausted. I'm not gonna go, I thought. "I'm going to be the slowest one, I'm going to finish last and that will be so embarrassing." As I'm putting my clothes on I'm still trying to think of an excuse not to go. "I'm so tireddddddd". and then it hit me! I was allowing fear to control me. All the time on biggest loser they tell the contestants " youre scared! youre giving into fear! stop being afraid!" and i'd always think "what the hell are they talking about, who's afraid to lose weight?" I heard a little Jillian in my head telling me I was giving into my fear. So I put my shoes on and took my ass to the beach to do a 5k on the broadwalk. I obv couldn't jog the whole thing, but I jogged as much as I could. Then I'd stop and walk, and it wasn't embarrassing... the runners were way ahead and all the people around me were in the same boat- trying to run as much as we could but stopping to walk every now and then. I am proud to say I finished, in 45 minutes, and I was NOT last. I may not have ran a marathon or anything but I finished and it was one of the proudest moments of my life.
Crossing the finish line at my first 5k back in April
Even though I'm not at my goal yet I feel like before and afters are important to help you remember how far you've come. I look at my before pictures almost every single day when I'm feeling like there are no results! Here are some pics of me before(2011) and after(june/july2012).
and some motivation...
I have to say I totally regret not making this blog sooner. I've thought so many things and felt so many ways, most of which you can probably relate to, and it would've been fabulous to have had this journey documented from the beginning, but 7 months in will just have to do.
I know exactly where to start. More than half of the people who talk to me about my weight loss ask the same thing: "What made you want to lose weight?", "What made you say 'enough is enough'", or my personal fav: "what made you decide you didn't want to be fat anymore?". Obviously there are a million reasons I needed to lose weight. I was less than 20lbs away from 300lbs... at the rate I'd been steadily gaining I was going to make it there within the next few years. I started to feel uncomfortable in all my clothes. Moving to southern Florida didn't help, but I wanted to wear pants less and less, skirts more and more. Pants (unless they're sweatpants) were SO uncomfortable and hot. I may have been fat, but I was not a hot mess. Sweatpants every day is not an option, so skirts it was. Ladies, imagine my life. I had to shave like every frieken day :-P However, no doctor had ever told me I had a weight related health issue and since I have always been confident in my appearance, losing it really wasn't on my agenda. I thought I'd be fat forever, and I embraced it.
But what was the AHA! moment? I wish I could say it was not that dramatic and there isn't one, but there is. I had just got home from spending Christmas in Tampa with my family and I was grocery shopping. In the parking lot a recruiter from the blood bank approached me and asked me if I had 30 minutes and would like to save 3 lives. Being a model member of society and all *cough*, I donate blood every few months anyway, he was with the blood bank I donate too as well, so I said "SURE, why not?!" Little did I know this was literally the first moment of the rest of my life.
Same process every time you donate. Fill out the form, answer the questionnaire. Answer some questions the nurse lady asks, sign on the dotted line. Finger prick, blood pressure check. Then she said it, "you're blood pressure's a little high", and continued pricking and draining me. I'd never had high blood pressure. I almost took pride in the fact that I was fat but still "healthy", and now this woman was telling me I had fucking eaten myself sick. Disgusting.
When I got home I googled my blood pressure results, 80/120, and found I had just slipped into the "pre-hypertension" category. That means your blood pressure is higher than recommended, but not high enough you need to be on any medication or anything yet. But it didn't matter. I was 23! I should not be worrying about if my blood pressure is rising, but I was, and I had done it to myself.
The next day I cleaned out my fridge, cut up my pizza and cookie coupons, and started the rest of my life. I was visiting my psychiatrist (you will hear me refer to him as my shrink from time to time. I am not ashamed to admit I see a psychiatrist, I think the world would be a better place if we all had a non-biased, educated, listener in our lives.) and decided to mention my weight loss plan. I admitted to him that I felt like an addict sometimes, telling myself I was not going to eat something and literally waking up at 3am and eating it. I would get so fixated on a craving that I couldn't stop thinking about it until I ate it. Unfortunately my cravings were not for celery and tofu. This is clearly not my shrink's specialty but he offered me this: Anything you do that makes you feel ashamed is messing with your self esteem. Shame is an emotion that needs to be recognized and corrected before it causes additional issues. He suggested I look into a support group, like Over Eaters Anonymous (yes, it exists). I was not too excited about that. Admitting some of the habits I was most ashamed of, face to face, to strangers, was not appealing, but I still went home and hopped on google.
There actually IS a chapter of OEA right in the city I live in. But I never got the balls to go to it. Instead I stumbled across sparkpeople.com and decided to make a profile. It's a fabulous website, similar to myfitpal.com and others. I put in my weight, what I wanted to weigh, and by when (it will not allow u to lose more than 2lbs a week so you set realistic goals) and then it tells you how many calories to eat and burn each day. You have the option of them designing a menu for you, but I need more freedom than that. This was January 2, 2012. I said I wanted to lose 85lbs(to take me to "wonderland" aka 199lbs) and the soonest it would allow me to choose was the middle of August. "Yea fucking right!" I thought, how the hell am I going to lose 85lbs in less than a year?! Here we are, half way through July, and I've lost 75lbs. I have 1 month to lose 10lbs and I will hit my goal. Sitting here writing this I cannot even believe it. It is attainable, I can do it, it is RIGHT there! However my final goals have changed. Although there will be a celebration when I get under 200 I now plan to get between 185-195. It'd actually be awesome to take it to 184 and lose a solid 100lbs.
I followed SparkPeople's direction. I not only tracked my calories, fat, fiber, carbs, and protein but I also put in effort to buy clean foods. I am not rich so do not let the world tell you it's "too expensive to eat healthy". I spend less than $200 a month on food, and I make at least 12 meals from scratch every week, plus I have snacks. When I was eating Domino's and Taco Bell every day I probably spent a minimum of $100 a week on food. Expensive habit. Now I try not to eat preservatives if I can help it. If a food has ingredients I cannot pronounce I try not to buy it. Think about it, if you can't even say it should you be putting it in your body?! I try to buy as few pre-made things as possible so I can control exactly how much of everything goes in it. Besides, if I buy a pizza, I get fat. If I MAKE a pizza, I get skinny, easy decision. Now as motivating as this all may be, don't be fooled into thinking I haven't slipped up. I am human, of course I have. Sometimes when I haven't had a single "cheat" item in two weeks I feel like I just HAVE TO have something bad. Like I am not living life for real if I deprive myself of all the delicious things in it. And honestly, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Regular people eat shit once in a while. I want to make a lifestyle change I can stick with. I can't never eat grease again. Thinking that will make me quit a diet altogether. But knowing I can eat "bad" food every now and then makes it a lot easier to eat "good" food today. I've mastered only eating bad food occasionally, now I am working on self control once the flood gates open. It's not like I am having a slice of pizza, I am eating A PIZZA. And because I am always watching my budget when I see that I can get a large pizza and cinnastix for $16 or I can get a small pizza for $10, I can't help but get the more for less deal. But the problem is within 24hours I've eaten ALL the food, normally alone. I've been trying to teach myself to buy food for what it is, not the price. So even if the small pizza is not a deal at all, in reality I know it's smarter to only buy the small, so I only eat a small, because if I get a large, I'm eating it. Or I should say I would've eaten it. I've been pretty good controlling my "bad" food portions on "cheat" days. My advice for people who feel like you MUST have a cheat day: weigh yourself that morning before you eat, after you pee. Then eat yourself into a coma. The next morning weigh yourself again. Now think about how long it took you to lose what you just managed to gain in 24hrs. Remember this next time you want to cheat all day. I am done with cheat days. I still have them technically, but it doesn't mean I can eat all kinds of shit all damn day. It means I can have one high calorie meal or desert. So if I go out to eat and order pasta with cheese sauce and bread, I am eating a salad for dinner. I heard a quote recently that put this into perspective for me:
"saying 'ive already ruined my good eating for today, ill just eat like crap' is like saying 'i dropped my phone on the floor, so i'm just gonna smash it till it breaks'."
I'll end with that tonight! Thank you for supporting my journey! I don't imagine most of my posts will be this long again, but who knows, sometimes I just love to write and I have so much to talk about!
Looking forward to it,