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Archive for the ‘weight loss’ Category

So when you saw the title of this post, did you really think I was going to post my “Before” photos here in all of my XL glory?  Seriously?  HA HA HA HA  No.

But here’s the idea: 

Photo Credit

Now please, before you go reading anything into this cartoon, please know I just snagged it from google images (credit given) because the lady still looked cute, even for a big girl.  Kinda like me.  So I appreciate her struggles, even though she is, well, a cartoon.

The thing is, I DID just take some super-duper-top-secret “BEFORE” photos.  I’m getting ready to start something new this Monday and I’m certain that the last quarter of 2010 is going to yield awesome results for me physically!  The Before Photos will be my evidence of how far I’ve come. 

But I am most certainly NOT going to be sharing those “Before” Pics here unless I’ve got some hottie “After” Pics of myself to post along side them.  This will take time, effort, and cooperation from my metabolism.

If you want to know why most people don’t embark on these weight-loss odysseys that require photographic evidence, I have a theory. 

I do NOT think the problem is not wanting to face one’s blubbery image on the screen.  I do NOT think the problem is embarrassment of the throngs of curiousity-seekers who might ogle at your photo like some sort of freak in a carnival tent. 

No, I’m pretty confident that the Real Issue is that Before Photos are NOT a one-person job.  There is another person clicking away at the camera to capture all that voluptuousness.  In theory, this photographer is an encourager, someone who you trust.  But the Before Photo is where theory meets reality. 

It’s ugly, people.  In so many ways.

I shall illustrate.

My photographic helpers were daughters Ninja (11 year-old tomboy) and Princess (10 year-old girlie girl). 

Princess:  Mom, you don’t look that fat.  You look cute.

Ninja:  You don’t look fat at all Mom.  (pause)  *giggle*

Me:  What?

Ninja:  (collecting herself)  No.  You look great Mom. 

Princess:  It’s just that we’re not used to seeing you with, you know, THAT (points to my XL belly sticking out between the bottom of my bright yellow running bra and the waist of my black compression shorts.)

Me:  Yes, I usually try to be more modest.  It’s not like I’m going to be wearing this get-up out at…

Princess:  (interrupting)  No, really Mom.  It’s not that you look like a hootchie or anything.  It’s just that I had no idea your belly was so…

Ninja:  (cutting her off)  Let’s take the pictures, now.  (clicks away at camera)  Okay, turn to the side now.

Me:  (turning) Like this?

Ninja:  Sure.  Yeah, Yes…Yes…  ACK!  WOW!  Oh Mom, I had no idea. 

(Princess flees from hallway photography studio, possibly in fear, possibly to avoid being caught laughing at mama.)

Me:  Nice.  Did you get the stinking picture?

Ninja:  Yeah, Mom.  Here’s your camera. 

Me:  (looking at the photos)  Ugh.  I have my work cut out for me.  Thanks for your help, girls.

Princess:  (peeking back around the corner)  You really do look cute, Mom.

Ninja:  In a silly kind of way.

Princess:  Yes, “silly.”  That’s it exactly.

Me:  (muttering to myself as I head away from the camera crew, who I imagine is now dissolving into a fit of giggles) I guess the whole experience could have been worse.

Helpful Husband:  (from the next room) What experience?

Exactly.

So this is exactly why most people do NOT put themselves through the ordeal of those Before Photos. 

Marathon training?  No problem. 

Intense cardio?  Awesome.

Strength training from hell?  Bring it. 

They are small potatoes compared to the ordeal of the Before Photos. 

But I figure if you can make it through the Before Photo ordeal, then everything else is downhill from there! 

Check back with me on December 31, and I’ll tell you whether it was worth it!  🙂

 [UPDATE:] 

Helpful Husband has now been exposed to this blog post.  After laughing hysterically–a little too loud and long, I might add–he asks, “When did this happen?  Was it here?  Was I here?  Really?” 

“A couple weeks ago.  Yes.  Yes.  And yes.”  Hard stare at HH.

Long pause while HH ponders whether he would have been in more trouble if he’d been involved during the infamous photo shoot than he is for being so very unaware. 

Again, I say, it could have been worse!

 

 

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Dear Metabolism, 

I miss you.  Really.  I miss you a lot. 

So much so that today I started searching for a photo of you, just to remember you by.  To my joy, here is what I found: 

Great Metabolism

(Photo Credit) 

But upon closer inspection, I realized, this isn’t MY metabolism.  It’s just some dude.  Kind of like those pictures of other people that come in the frames at Target.  

So I kept looking.  Then I saw you: 

My Metabolism

(Photo Credit) 

Very nice, you slacker.  You’re totally off the job!  Seriously–what on earth has happened to you?  Surely you’re not going to try to give me that excuse that I’M to blame for your disrepair, are you?! 

Listen, I know that getting older makes everything a little more rusty, but this is ridiculous.  And what’s with the hiding out at the bottom of that stairwell like some kind of bum?  

Well, you’re right about one thing.  You definitely need help.  And if you want it, you’ve got it.  We’re going to work together to get you back in fine shape. 

But you’re going to have to cooperate with me. 

No more of this deal where I do all the work and you stay asleep or in a daze.  No more hiding out when there’s metabolizing to be done!  

We are getting ready to kick this health thing into higher gear, and I’ve gotta have your cooperation.   Understand? 

You’re getting ready to experience some jolts to your broken-down, sleepy lifestyle, Metabolism. 

I’m getting ready to experience even better health and maybe even the loss of 30, 40 or 50 pounds.  

And those people out there, the ones who are looking in at you through their computer screens, reading this?  Consider them like the wild fans at a hockey game or a wrestling match, cheering on the home team (that would be me) onto total victory.  

In short, YOU belong to ME.  Brace yourself.  And consider yourself warned. 

Oh, and feel better soon.  Looking forward to seeing more of you!  

Your friend, 

Shannon 

 

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I did it.

I signed up for Weight Watchers three days before Thanksgiving.

Which proves that:

EITHER I am completely desperate to not be carrying the equivalent weight of a preschool toddler the 26.2 miles of the marathon I’m running in February

OR I have truly lost it.

I vote for both. 

It’s rally time, friends.  I’m really gonna need your support to unload some of this beloved blubber before I get to the starting line at the 26.2 with Donna Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer. 

And lots of you are actually embarking on fitness adventures of your own!  Chris is on board with me.  My new friend Carla signed up last week.  My pal Jackie is now considering a marathon!  Woo Hoo!  Who else is in?  I know it’s the holidays, but think of it:  what better present could you give yourself for the holidays than a healthier YOU?! 

Thanks for the encouragement, everybody!  The rubber meets the road tomorrow.  I might really be able to do this!  🙂

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Well, one of my friends just lost her 100th pound on her 40th birthday.  (I would post her name here, but I don’t know if she’s willing to be a public figure, so you’ll have to die of curiosity.)  Another friend is in size 9/10 jeans as of this weekend, in spite of her PMS.  (I have absolutely NO qualms posting her vitals here, since she’s crazy bold enough to share them with the world herself!) 

I am SO happy for them.  Not a bit jealous.  Not. One. Little. Bit.  Okay, well maybe a little.  But sheesh, these ladies have quite literally worked their fannies off, so it’s not like I can begrudge them their awesome achievements.

This just ain't right.

Photo Credit

As for me, faithful readers of this blog know just exactly how much weight I’ve (not) lost.  Indeed, LOTS of you have weighed in (No pun intended…I leave the puns to Linda and Charlie, who are really, really good at puns.  My humor usually occurs by accident.) with really great recipes in my recipe contest, designed to give me ideas and inspiration to be able to cook/eat/feed my family in a more healthy manner.   (Do you notice how often I interrupt myself?  Imagine being my husband (known here on this blog as HH).  Constantly being interrupted by my bursts of inspiration.  He’s such a lucky guy.)  Thanks for your entries!  I will be using them!

Anyway, it is not that I haven’t worked hard enough.  As you (may) know, I’m training for a marathon, so I am getting bunches of exercise.  And as you (may) know, distance runners are particularly weight-loss-challenged because of the distinct nutritional requirements of their sport. 

However, it occurs to me that my sport does not require me to have a burger and fries twice in one day.  And it also occurs to me that I now do have LOTS of awesome recipes from my faithful friends who read this blog. 

Further,  it occurs to me that I have this most salient reminder of two friends that have had MEGA success in the fanny-shrinking department, that these women are really normal, nice, friendly gals, who weren’t doing anything faddish or into some wierd trend.  They were just doing the Hard Work of monitoring what they put into their pie-holes.  These women aren’t supermodels, but they’re superheroes–at least in the weight loss department (and my eyes).  Worse yet, they are totally likeable.  I really LIKE them.  You can’t hate someone who you like, so since I like them I am now left with:  No Excuses.

Since I found myself today at the crossroads of No-Excuses and Forever-Fat, and since I found myself at the end of My Own Strength and Will-Power to Do Anything About It (seriously–I’ve made this a pretty public journey–the public nature of any “failure” would have been enough to have caused me to change if I’d been willing/able/ready to do it), I did the only thing that there was left to do.  I prayed.

[Time out now, because this is something I’m actually serious about.  I take myself pretty lightly, but God?  Now, I take Him seriously.  Just because God has a sense of humor doesn’t mean He’s a joke and He is one of the few things you won’t find me kidding about.  Just wanted you to know.]

SO, I prayed that God would just help me care.  Seriously.  I obviously hadn’t cared enough to do something about it.  I’m not trying to be hard on myself and I’m not trying to make light of God Almighty here.  But I knew that He cared about me taking care of myself, and I obviously wasn’t caring enough to make the necessary changes in the Eat Less curriculum of the Eat Less/Move More game plan I’d taken on. 

If God cared and I didn’t, then I had a problem.  So I asked Him for help.  And of course, He gave it to me.   [Aside:  Even if you’re not a Christian, the exercise/weight loss/diet stuff you’re about to read will probably interest you.  It’s worth it to continue reading.  If you are a Christian, please do not believe for a minute that I “heard from God” just because I said so.  Test it.  If you don’t know how, then message me or ask your pastor.   I’ll be happy to share my testing-process with you personally, but that’s way beyond this post.  Listen, the important thing to know is God does care and He does talk to us, but our “feelings” are not the litmus test for the will of God.  Even if you love everything I say, I don’t speak for God.  God is perfectly capable of speaking for Himself.]

SO…very surprisingly, the help that I received was in the form of several distinct and unassociated people who’ve had great success in this weight loss program called Weight Watchers.  Perhaps you’ve heard of it. 

Now, I’ve done WW before and was quite successful with it.  I have clothes that used to fit me in my closet to prove it.  The problem was that I “did” WW before and I’m now really, really looking for a permanent lifestyle change.  One that can accomodate my new lifestyle as Mom-Who-Runs.  One that I can do as a Normal Person (which I desperately would love to be) instead of either a Dieter OR as a Rebelling-From-Being-A-Dieter-And-Doing-Whatever-I-Please-Person. 

My big objection to WW was that I would have to go to those meetings.  Now, when my world operated on a different schedule, the meetings were not a problem.  At this point in my life, though, the meetings are Out Of The Question. And so, WW was out of the question.  Until now. 

I know this is old news to some people, but it’s new to me, and I’m kinda excited to hear it.  Weight Watchers now has an ONLINE program.  Which means no more (stupid) meetings!  No more needing to get a babysitter so I can step on a scale!  No more lecturettes!  

And *ahem* no more excuses.  

Undaunted, I had one last remaining excuse.  This bit of being an endurance athlete.  Seriously, people.  We need CALORIES to run 26.2 miles.  Or 13.1.  Or 10.  Or 6.  Reasonable people understand that there’s no way to safely crash diet and safely train for a marathon.  But THEN, while poking around on the WW site, I discovered something I’d forgotten entirely.  ACTIVITY POINTS.   

Hallelujah, activity points!  I don’t remember the way they are calculated.  (It’s been a long time since I achieved lifetime WW member status.)  But essentially, activity points help to account for the activity you do by giving you more points that you can/must consume for that day.  So there was actually a chance that I might be able to lose weight, train for my marathon, and not starve/injure myself in the process. 

There was a light at the end of the tunnel.  I just needed to reassess my WHY.

My motivation to lose weight is no longer what it used to be.  I’m not even willing to tell you what it used to be.  Seriously, I don’t even know if I can get my brain to go there.  NOW, however, my desire to lose weight has to do with not having to caring this extra 40 (to 45) pounds with me as a passenger on my marathon on February 21st.  My motivation is to lose some of that weight so that it doesn’t have to come along for the ride on my first marathon, or even most of the training for it.  Losing the weight will help me avoid injury, improve my time, and enjoy the experience (not to mention take a cuter picture) during that race.  So THAT’S the motivation.  And I can’t wait until January 31st to start thinking about it.

So here’s my question:  Who among you has tried (or knows someone who’s tried) this Weight Watchers Online thing?  Would you recommend it for someone as random as me?  Would it yield itself to the odd requirements of an adult-onset-endurance-athlete with a sweet-tooth husband and two athletic daughters to feed?  Would I injure myself trying it while training for this marathon?  Would you recommend it?  In essence:  HELP! 

Please, please, please give me your comments about this if you’ve got an opinion.  Even I’m not such a lover-of-contradiction that I’d start WW three days before Thanksgiving, but I’ll be making a decision about What To Do very soon.  It would be great to have input from people who’ve been there.

As it stands now, the extra weight I’d be carrying would be like carrying a preschooler in my arms for the entire 26.2 miles during my race in February.   Um, pass.  Clearly, it’s time for drastic measures. 

Can’t wait to hear your words of wisdom.  I thank you from the bottom of my…well, never mind. 

P.S.  Another benefit:  HH doesn’t know that there is a WW for Men Online available.  I feel a master plan cooking up.  This could be good!

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doghouse

Image Credit

Several days ago Helpful Husband said to me, “Look in the mirror.  Just look.”  Thinking I had food on my face, I looked and saw, well, just me. 

Me:  “What?” 

HH:  “Your face.” 

Me:  “Yes?” 

HH:  “Your face is really getting thinner.  Look how your hair falls around your face.” 

Hmmmm.  I looked more closely.  Saw some chubbiness, covered by some loose skin where chubbier cheeks used to be.  Was HH trying to compliment me?  Give him the benefit of the doubt. 

Me:  (with suspicion)  “Well, I hadn’t noticed.  Um, doesn’t really seem that way to me, but thanks.” 

HH:  (clearly proud of himself)  You’re welcome.

Twenty-four hours later, I was still trying to determine what he’d REALLY meant by that statement.  Then it hit me.

Me:  (sweetly, approaching HH who’d been snoozing in front of the TV)  Honey, remember yesterday when you said my face looked thinner?

HH:  (confused)  Um, yeah.  I guess.

Me:  Well, I was wondering if you said that because you’d looked at the rest of me and were noticing how in spite of all the running I was doing, my behind was really NOT getting thinner.

HH: (clearly alarmed and terrified that he’d been boxed into this position so quickly)  What?!  I never said that!

Me:  Yes, but you only said anything about my face.  Clearly you meant that my butt was still big.

HH:  (awake now,  nearing panic.)  I did NOT say that!  What are you talking about?!

Me:  Don’t you remember complimenting me on my face being thinner?

HH:  No, I was complimenting your hair.

Me:  WHAT?!  Now you’re taking back the compliment you I did give?  Are you saying my face doesn’t look thinner?

HH:  I was talking about your hair!

Me:  So now not only my butt is fat, but my face is fat too?!

HH:  I was talking about your hair!

Me:  You’re even saying my HAIR is fat?!

HH:  I never said any part of you was fat!

Me:  Yes you did, I heard you.

HH:  I cannot believe this!  I bet you don’t remember all the times I’ve complimented you on how great you’re looking over the past few months.  How proud of you I am.  How…

Me:  All I can think about right now is that you’ve just called me fat three different ways.

HH:  I cannot believe this!  This is so unfair! 

Me:  I feel a blog post coming on.

HH:  Oh no.

Me:  I’ll only print the truth.

HH:  I’m planked.

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In case you didn’t catch this last Friday, I am training for a marathon, so once a week I go on a long run.  Each Friday I’ll post my predictions and results here, so you’ll get that feeling of running with me.  

I thought for a moment of posting the results of my weight loss adventure on Fridays as well, assisted by your awesome recipe entries in The Contest, but then another thought occurred to me:  I actually have to COOK those yummy things.  I won’t actually get healthier and lose any weight by just reading the recipes and wishing.  Oops.  Well, that will be an adventure for next week and surely, I’ll post about it. 

But I digress.  Back to Long Run Friday.

shutterstock_190322[1]

Photo Credit

THE PLAN:  9 mile run today.  In my cold-weather trail shoes. Assuming it’s cold enough.  (Have I mentioned I love running in cold weather?) 

PREDICTION:  Awesome, of course.

THE REALITY:  To be determined.  I’ll update you all afterwards, assuming I survive.

[UPDATE]:

I had a great 9.5 mile run cold, but gorgeous-weather today. 

I had a few obstacles, most self-imposed, that caused it to be a little tougher than it needed to be, however.  Like, I ate meat last night and I’d already learned the hard way NEVER to eat meat within 24 hours of a long run.  I’ll save the details of how I came to that knowledge in a different post, but suffice it to say, once I thought through the potential impact that my dinner would have on this morning’s run, I called my mom, whose home is at about the halfway point, and asked her to leave her door open in case I needed to stop and potty at the halfway house.  (I did.)

I ran in trail shoes, because of the cold and because I really wanted to try them.  Note to self:  trail shoes belong on the trail.  Or in the snow.  Or in the rain.  They’re heavier and don’t breathe as easily, so the experience wasn’t quite as awesome as it will be in more extreme conditions.  I’m excited to try them in the snow!

I also tried new water bottles and wore gloves today for the first time.  Definitely too many firsts to even be able to discern what accounted for my slower time.   But really, these were my biggest problems, so I am definitely NOT complaining.

Still, I was pleased with myself for getting out there and doing it.  I ran the full distance and only stopped for a very brief time at the above-mentioned Mom’s halfway house. I even took time to stretch afterward!   The first time I ran the 9-mile distance, my knees rebelled and I had a hard time walking for weeks.  Today, I’ve managed to recover reasonably well without the need for ibuprophin!  We’ll see how things continue as the mileage ticks on.  (I’m sure I’ll yield to the ibuprophin later–I do need to be able to move tomorrow!)

Oh, and I have a BIG announcement to make.  It’s super-big for me.  BUT I’m going to wait and make it later this weekend.  (Do you feel the suspense building?)  Stay tuned!

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As I relayed to you yesterday, I’ve reached the point where I am finally ready to do what’s necessary (within reason) to shed the extra weight I’ve been dragging along with me on all these running adventures.  Yesterday’s post gives you all the background on this epiphany, and you really should read it before you enter this Very Cool Contest.  Here’s the link:  LINK

THE CONTEST

RollingPinRecipeCardHolderMotherhood1[1]

Photo Credit

The aim of this contest is to provide my family and me with a collection of recipes that meet our family’s unique standards for health, taste, ease of preparation, and overall appeal.  Each contestant can submit as many recipes as they wish to share.   (Share early, share often.)  Recipes must meet our family’s bizarre requirements in order to qualify for entry into the drawing.  (For example:  Recipes that evoke my kids’ gag reflex will automatically disqualified.  It is strongly recommended that you review the Requirements section before submitting your entry.)  Recipes should be submitted in the comment section on this blog to be considered.  Each qualifying recipe will be entered into a drawing for The Prize.  Winner will be drawn at random from qualified entries.

(Doesn’t this sound official?  Woo hoo.  Actually, it’s just me, spouting something that sounds really contest-ese.  Anyway…)

TIMEFRAME

Entries will be accepted between the moment you read this and midnight CST on November 26th.  Why so long?  Because I’m thinking that someone may just have some scrumptious, yet healthy, dish that they had not considered as an entry brought by an unsuspecting aunt or grandmother to their Thanksgiving table.  Get that recipe from Grandma and get it to me!  This convenient timeframe gives you the chance to post those recipes as well. 

SPECIAL TIMEFRAME

Because I am quite desperate to start getting and using these yummy-but-healthy recipes NOW, each qualifying entry that is submitted between now and midnight CST on November 8th, will receive TWO chances to win the prize.  (These recipes will be put into the drawing twice.)  Please don’t complain to me about recipe discrimination.  The early recipes get the bonus entry because it’s my contest.  So there.

THE REQUIREMENTS

1.  Entries must be for a lunch or dinner main dish.  Actually, a really awesome side dish or soup would be considered too.  We’re hungry, people.

2.  Recipes must be super-easy to make.  I do mean it when I say SUPER easy.  They must be clear and contain no margin for any kitchen-moron to err.  (My friend Helaine once sent me a recipe that included the instruction to take the wrapper off the cheese and throw the wrapper away.  True story.  I’ve come a bit further since those rookie days, but not by most people’s standards!) 

3.  Recipes must be no-hassle and speedy to prepare/cook.  Alternatively, they may be super-fun to make with youngish children who want to be involved with Everything Mom Is Doing In That Kitchen.  If your recipe could turn me into Culinary-Wonder-Mom with my children, creativity points and kiddie relationship points would outweigh this fast and hassle-free requirement. 

4.  Carbs are important because we are athletes.  Be low-cal without compromising reasonable carbs.  (Plus carbs are yummy.  I’m a serious grouch without them.)

5.  The dish must not be fancy in appearance, ingredients or cooking technique.  If I have to shop someplace special for some wierd spice, I won’t do it, no matter how yummy it is.  We are plain-jane meat and potatoes people here, so getting too creative really doesn’t work for us. 

6.  No mustard, mayo, fish, brussel sprouts, tofu or vinegar.  (I’m sure I’ll add to this Ick-List before the contest is completed.  Sorry this is all I can remember now, but they are actually deal-breakers, guaranteed to tweak the gag-reflex, so I’ve included them here.)  Cheese is okay, BBQ is okay, picante and salsa are okay. 

 7.  Veggies are okay, but it’s best to go kinda easy on them.  Daughter N could eat them all the time, but the rest of us choke them down because we know they’re good for us.  Keep them palatable, because we’re already making a sacrifice by consuming them in the first place.

8.  The dish must be delish to an 8 year-old.  Or at least not start the gagging sounds.  If you don’t think a kid would like it, chances are it wouldn’t fly at our house, even with the grown-ups.

9.  The dish must be economical.  No rare and expensive ingredients.  That’s not in the budget, plus we really wouldn’t appreciate it, most likely. 

10.  Any other Requirements as needed to be added. 

THE PRIZE

You will have your Choice of one of two cool prizes. 

 

dri fit sock

 

Prize Number One is a pair of high quality technical socks–NEW, not from my drawer (Nike Dri Fit or Under Armour or something else equally as awesome). 

mix-n-chop

 

 

Prize Number Two is a (NEW) Pampered Chef Mix-N-Chop (one of the coolest kitchen doodads I’ve ever encountered). 

 

Yes, I know it’s not the lottery, but these are very cool prizes for athletes or culinary geniuses like yourselves.  Everyone could use one of these things.  Even if you think the prize choices are bogus, I sure hope you’ll still send your recipe in anyway.  The winner of the drawing will be announced on Monday, November 30th and you’ll get to pick which prize you want. 

OTHER STUFF

I’m sure I’ve forgotten something.  I’m not a contest-person.  I’m a runner-desperate-to-feed-her-family-in-a-way-that-actually-helps-me-lose-some-weight-person!  So this is where I tell you that if I’ve forgotten anything, I reserve the right to come back and add to the contest information or change the rules as I see fit. 

JUST SO YOU KNOW

My girls are already bouncing around excited about taste testing all your yummy recipes.  Don’t let me down!   Can’t wait to read and try everybody’s yummy favorites! 

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