The Slimdown: An Update

Day 1: done. #BiggestBloggingLoser (with black socks for you, @_sbdub_ )

Since I started Weight Watchers and the Biggest Blogging Loser back in June, I have lost fifteen pounds.  My ultimate goal weight, which seemed so far away just three months ago, is well within reach.  I am five pounds above that goal weight, and I'll be honest, it feels pretty darn good.

I try not to get too caught up in the actual number on the scale--although it definitely needed to be smaller than what it was and I am liking where it's headed--or the size in my clothes, which is better too, of course.  Instead, I try to focus on the way my clothes fit and how I am feeling.  I am at the same weight I was when I settled out from having the girls (130 lbs.), about ten pounds less than I weighed when I got pregnant.  But this time, because I have done it through eating right and exercising, and because I'm not two months out from birthing twins, my stomach is much flatter, I am smaller all over, and I just feel a lot (A LOT) happier with the way I look.

My backside is still incredibly flat (a lifelong problem for which there seems to be no exercise or solution), my chest is still quite large (I'm more okay with this one, most of the time), my hips are still narrow, I still have little to no definable waist, and though it is several noticeable inches smaller, I will never bare my stomach to anyone outside my immediate family (thanks for the stretch marks, kids!)...but overall, I am very satisfied these days.  My legs are stronger and more muscular than ever before, I can run a mile without stopping and without feeling like I am going to die, and my pants fit perfectly.  That is, the NEW pants I bought when I couldn't wear the old ones fit perfectly--the old pairs are gone, gone, gone.

I'll have to get a full-body picture soon...this is the best I could do for now!

As most of us have realized over the years, there is no secret formula or quick and easy way to manage our weight.  That holds true here--there is no magic exercise that helped me shed the pounds, and I certainly didn't do it with a super-special smoothie mix.  (Smoothies generally make me want to throw up.  I will never, EVER be able to drink a smoothie or a shake and call it a meal...I'm just not wired that way.)

Before getting serious about my weight back in June, I had already implemented a lot of changes in the way our family eats.  I felt pretty good about most of the things we were eating.  Upon starting Weight Watchers, I realized that the important change for me would be the amount I was eating.  On the Weight Watchers plan, I started paying a lot more attention to the little things that can add up during the day--creamer in my coffee (which counted for at least 1 of my daily points--I became very stingy very quickly and cut out the creamer as a non-necessity.  Who knew I could learn to like black coffee?), afternoon squares of chocolate, cheese added to a salad, the handful of crackers or single cookie I would grab when fixing a snack for the girls, etc.  All those things were negating a lot of the good I was doing with a balanced meal and an evening run.

For most of the summer, I followed Weight Watchers very strictly.  I measured everything to get used to portion sizes, I added up the total points in recipes, and I ate the heck out of all the delicious summer fruits and vegetables (most of which are "free"--zero points).  I also stuck to a legitimate exercise plan for the first time in my life.  I have been pretty consistent for the last several months, on a schedule of running at least 2-3 times a week and doing a mix of different yoga programs at least twice a week.  Seriously, this is the longest I have stuck with planned exercise, EVER.

Once I got the hang of eating less (and not starving, which was somewhat of a surprise to me!), the combination of fewer calories and exercise began to have an effect.  The scale moved, and more importantly, I could feel my body changing.  It was a great feeling, and an inspiring one...the changes just made me want to push harder.

Months later, I'm still here, and still pushing.  I have eased up on a few things--I haven't actually tracked my daily points in a couple of weeks, but I know the value of most foods I eat on a daily basis.  If I go outside the norm, I count again to be sure I'm not getting too far off track.  My portions have changed drastically, and my snacking is under control.  I might have an evening snack, if I really feel like I need it, and popcorn night with my girls is still non-negotiable (though I limit myself to only a small handful of their M&Ms).  We typically eat out at least twice on the weekends, and for at least one of those meals, I pretty much order whatever I want.  And it usually includes ranch dressing, which is still my absolute favorite.  But the other 90% of the time, I'm on track, and that balance has worked well for me.

Above all, I think the best thing Weight Watchers has taught me is to listen to my body.  Adjusting my portion sizes showed me that it takes a lot less to fill me up than I previously thought.  And if I eat the right things for my body, I will stay fuller much longer than I often expect.  I try to recognize when I am full, and I am working on training myself not to eat when I'm not hungry.  Novel concept, I know.  But those snacks and extras that were hindering me before weren't happening because I was hungry; they were just something I did out of habit. 

The challenge now is to stick with these new habits, both the eating habits and the exercise habits.  For me, it's the combination that works best.  I am happier than I was three months ago...not just because I'm down a couple of pants sizes, but because I feel better all around.  I have more confidence and way more energy.  I am super pleased with where I am right now, and my goal is to still be this positive three months, six months, a year from now. 

Mission:  Almost Accomplished.


The State of Affairs: August 2013

It was a struggle to remember much of what happened in August.  I know we were busy at times, but it was a lot of little things--meetings here and there, finishing up grades from my summer class and getting prepared for fall, getting the girls ready to go back to school--the usual everyday life stuff.

Jeremy and I took an overnight trip to Atlanta to celebrate our anniversary.  We went to two Braves games and stayed in a swanky Buckhead hotel.  When we arrived back at our hotel around midnight on Saturday night, there were fire trucks everywhere and all the guests were outside (many in pajamas--ha!).  Apparently, there was some sort of small electrical fire in the lobby, so of course we all had to be out while they cleared the entire 30-ish story building.  The fire alarms went off two or three more times in the night, as they worked on resetting the system.  Obviously, it was not the most restful night ever.  I was just very glad we didn't have the girls with us to deal with during the middle-of-the-night fiascoes.  The hotel more than made up for our troubles by refunding our entire stay, not charging for valet parking, and giving us an outstanding buffet breakfast the next morning (which they normally charge $19/person for).  So really, it turned out to be a very inexpensive trip to ATL, and I will definitely try the swanky hotel again.

The girls headed back to preschool in late August, for their last year there.  (Sniff, sniff.)  They are excited to be the "big kids" at school, and seem to be having a fantastic year so far.

First day of MDO...the last "first day" there!

Books read:  3 (ish)
It was a depressingly slow month, book-wise.  I had to spend a lot of free time grading final assignments and working on my fall courses. I am determined to make up for it in September.

My Life Next Door--Pretty good YA fiction.  The main character's mother is just a plain horrible person, which was almost downplayed a little bit in the book, but this was a great late-summer read.

The Panopticon--Reviewed here.

All Over But the Shoutin'--This is a memoir by Rick Bragg, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist who grew up within an hour or two of where I live.  I have been meaning to read this for years, and finally got to it this summer.  I am so glad I did!  It's an immensely readable memoir, full of stories about Bragg's upbringing in rural Alabama at about the same time my mom was growing up just a few towns over.  Really, really good book!

Coming up in September:  VACATION!!  We are all more than ready for a week away.  Also, football and the return of our favorite tv shows.  September is one of my favorites.

How was your August?