Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Skinnier by the Inch, Not the Pound

Where to start?  Too much time has passed since I last posted on my blog.  I wanted to start writing each night but every single time my mind was way too tired to actually process any words.  Well it is better late than never so here is a quick rundown of what has happened the last couple of weeks...
Week five actually went a lot smoother than I had anticipated.  The last run of the week I was supposed to run two miles or 20 mins.  (You can choose to run distance or time and I decided to run distance that day)  I ran the two miles in 23 minutes exactly.  That averaged 11.5 minute miles!  GO ME! 
Having not been able to go anywhere to just relax and enjoy myself I was finally able to get away and relax on a mini vacation.  I packed my bags and was headed off to relax…not worrying about the huge maternity bathing suit I packed.  Once I got ready to put on the maternity bathing suit I realized that I must be losing weight because the bathing suit was having a hard time staying up.  I really didn’t mind though because no one was around to see me look silly wearing what appeared to be a colorful camping tent.  The next day I woke up to a brand new bathing suit that my mother went out and purchased for me.  Actually she bought two but who’s counting?!   I really hadn’t thought about wearing a ‘real’ bathing suit because I didn’t think my body was at a point to be out in a nice swimsuit.  Once I put the new suits on I realized how good I was actually looking these days.  I hadn’t and haven’t been giving myself enough credit.  Sometimes I have it in my head that I should look a certain way and I forget that I am actually doing really well considering only four months ago I had a baby.  I even sent my husband (who is deployed currently) a picture of me posing in my new swim suit!  He might have fallen off his chair receiving that photo because I have been flat out refusing to send him pictures of me.  While on vacation I went running to maintain all that I have been working towards.  I pushed myself and did another two miles and it felt great knowing that I could actually do this.  (I went a little off the program but that’s okay.)
Today I ran 2.5 miles in 28:45 minutes (again 11.5 minute miles) and felt great doing it.  My father (a marathon runner) ran with me again for motivation.  You wouldn’t believe how motivating it is to have someone help push you along.  He seems to be able to tell when I am winded or needing a little extra motivation because all of a sudden he starts telling me I can do it and to keep pushing myself.  If you are running and having a hard time with the longer distances try finding a partner to run with who will help push you.  For me, my dad is an invaluable part of my success with this program.  THANK YOU DAD! 
I know I have told you guys that I haven’t lost any weight (I need to weigh in for this week but I haven’t stopped by my parents house to use their scale....I don’t own one) BUT I have lost inches.  Last week while on vacation I decided I was tired of having droopy butt and hated my pants falling down so I went shopping for a new pair of jeans.  I wanted to get the same brand and style I had last time because I loved the way they fit my body.  Today I was looking for the older bigger pair so I could donate them and realized that they were bigger than I had originally remembered.  As soon as I saw the tag I realized I had dropped THREE pant sizes!  It was so nice to see that I have been reaping the advantages of exercising.  I may not be losing weight but I am definitely losing inches!   
Once again, I just want to say how incredibly happy I am with this program.  It has truly changed my life.
By the way, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t include the picture of myself that I sent to my husband.  I said I would disclose everything…so here I am in a bathing suit!  OH LORD!!! 

Friday, December 3, 2010


I have just completed week four and cannot wait to start week five.  The beginning of week four was really challenging for me.  During the first two runs of this week I was seriously questioning my resolve.  I was seriously thinking that I wouldn’t be able to run more than five minutes at a time.  Those five minutes were killing me but I found that it was more mental than anything.  Once I pushed those thoughts out of my head and stopped thinking about how long the run was I actually found a nice stride and ran the best I had all week.  The only thing keeping me going was the knowledge that this program does work and my body CAN be pushed.  Because of bad weather I had to run two consecutive days but that didn’t seem to affect my running in the least.  Today I was quite shocked at how well I actually did.  Especially at the end of the run.  During the last half of the run my IPod died so I had to use a watch.  Personally I thought I would hate using a watch but I found I ran well without the IPod.  The last five minutes I increased my speed overall and even sprinted the last thirty seconds.  Feeling good I decided to run to the finish line which turned out to be an extra minute.  Week five doesn’t look so daunting after completing tonight’s run.  
This week has actually been quite difficult as my body seems to be affected by the running.  My milk supply has taken a dramatic hit and now I am struggling to be able to feed my baby.  I had been weighing myself weekly and not seeing much of a weight difference so I hadn’t thought that my body was using more calories than what I had been putting into it.  Turns out that I had not been bringing in enough calories to sustain breast feeding JW.  I have started writing down all of my meals just so I can make sure I am getting enough nutrients to continue breast feeding.  As I have said before, losing weight is not my focus.  Which is evident when I came home last night and ate two cups of Greek yogurt which had 250 calories each.  Would I like to be able to eat less and lose weight faster?  Heck yes!  However, it is my responsibility to feed JW the best way I know how.  If that means eating more calories and not losing weight as fast then so be it because at the end of the day the weight will come off.  It just might be later rather than sooner!    
Today is my husband’s birthday.  I am so bummed out that he isn’t home to celebrate with us as a family.  He is the most wonderful and honorable man I know.  God blessed me so much the day He put Josh back into my life.  When I say 'back' I am referring to the fact that Josh was actually my seventh grade boyfriend.  It wasn’t until thirteen years later that we would find each other and fall back in love.  Thankfully I was receptive to loving someone just as much as they loved me.  It took me many years to finally get to a place where I could receive love with open arms.  Josh was just the right person who knew exactly what I needed and how to love me (Which is not an easy task).  If you have a special person in your life please make sure to hug and tell them how much you love them a little extra today.  OH how much I wish I could have a hug right now.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Confessions from a size 4

The following post was written by a friend of mine, Danielle Burlison.  What she writes of and ‘confesses’ resonated with me as I also have discovered there is more to life than fitting into a pair of skinny jeans.   

Working in a gym at fifteen years old has its pros and cons. It's a critical age when you are just starting to really identify yourself, your flaws, and BOYS; all of which tend to shape your idea of who you are. I was exposed to many different things in those years: extreme diets, extreme workouts, magic "pills" to make you lose weight, energy drinks, etc. I think the biggest impression left on me was this: "You must be a skinny, toned size 4 to be pretty, accepted, important and loved."  That one false belief began to shape my life, and as of last night, I realized, STILL shapes my life. It's bondage for me. You see, I've finally realized (I can hear some friends saying, "FINALLY" as they read this) that I cannot be FREE as a size 4!  My body is not naturally built that way.  Sure, I can take some pills for four months. I can monitor every calorie, carb, and fat gram that goes into my body (which I actually have done every year for about six months since I was 16).  I can bring my own plate of food to every "get-together" I go to, for fear of eating an extra gram of fat.  I can control every bite that goes into my mouth.  I can work out twice a day, six days a week, forsaking my times with God and my family.  The result to all of that would be an awesome and toned size 2 to 4 body. But at what cost?!  I would then be in bondage to my own body.  I have essentially made my body my god.  I have bowed down and worshipped it. You can call it nutrition but it's really an obsession.  Now don't get me wrong, eating healthy, drinking water, and remaining conscious about what foods you are eating IS practicing good nutrition and is very respectable.  But I'm talking about being in bondage to it. There's a difference and you know if you are crossing or have crossed that line.  It's time we stop labeling our addictions and bondages and just call them what they are!  God compares our body to a temple.  He tells us that our bodies are the temple for His holy spirit.  So, of course, he wants that body to be healthy. However, going back to the Old Testament, people in those days were always getting into trouble with two specific things they did in the temple: neglect and obsession.  Isn't it interesting how we tend to do the same two extremes with our bodies (temples)? So what's the balance? RESPECT.  In the same way I don't have freedom at a size four, I also don't have freedom (this is strictly for ME, everyone's comfort zone is different) at a size 10.  My body makeup has me at a natural size 6/8.  Neglecting your body, eating foods you know are unhealthy all day, never working out; these things are just as bad as going overboard and monitoring every bite, calorie, etc.  Deeply absorbing a biblical perspective of our physical bodies would free us from the horrific stress our culture has placed on us.  Biblically speaking, physical fitness is probably more about freedom than size.  "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."  Galatians 5:1.  God ultimately wants FREEDOM from obsession for us!  This goal can be reached through moderation and learning to do what we need to do, and GET ON WITH LIVING!  Yes, exercise is GOOD and healthy, and God wants that for our bodies.  What he doesn't want is the BONDAGE that can easily go into it.  Does it seem impossible to be free from this?  In our culture of perfect, model-like bodies, is there any way to break out of this pattern?  Radical restoration comes, but only after radical repentance, not play-like kind.  It's for FREEDOM Christ set us free.  If this is you, let GO of this bondage.  Be free to be healthy, exercise regularly, and monitor the "bad for you" food.  But don't make your body your God.  Do what you need to do to be healthy, and then get on with living!   :)

Spirtual Running

The coolest thing is happening.  People all around me are putting on their running shoes and hitting the pavement!  I find that running has given me much more than just a chance to partake in a healthy activity.  Running has given me confidence.  As much as it is a very physical sport it is even more of a mental challenge.  Sometimes, everything about me both physically and mentally is telling me to stop.  Only my willpower is telling me to keep going.  Only when you push through all of the self-doubt will your confidence break through.  I won’t say that I don’t worry each week as the running distance increases, but I now have the confidence in myself to know I will finish.  I am proud of myself and of my body.  It is amazing what my body is accomplishing after such a long period of being sedentary. 
Some of you might be wondering about my weight since I have started this program.  I have not lost any weight since losing 5 pounds after the initial week.  I am still hovering at the 176 mark.  As I said in the beginning, my goal is not to lose weight.  My goal is still simply to run a 5K.  But, by being more physically active, losing weight will be a benefit.  I have gained so many benefits from running that merely losing weight could never offer me.  Weight loss is an outward change but running has been a spiritual change for me.  It has touched me deeper than I can describe.  I feel more centered and more in tune with my spiritual side.  During my run I pray and I think about the things that I am most thankful for.  It is a time of being one with God with no interruptions.  You could call it my individual worship service. 

Today, as you are celebrating Thanksgiving with your family, please take a moment to remember the men and women who are serving our country honorably and will not be at home with family and friends.  Our family will be missing our soldier, my husband…Josh.  God bless you all!       

Monday, November 22, 2010

Week 3 Day 1...DONE!

Week three day one is a thing of the past!  Yesterday I went running and my younger brother joined me.  It was really nice having him there encouraging me while we ran.  It makes a difference having someone run with you.  I had anticipated having more difficulty running this week’s intervals but found it rather easy to fall into a nice stride.       
I seriously love this program! 


Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Today I completed week two, day two, and I killed it!  Only one more run to complete this week and I move on to week three!  My knees were hurting once again but that was to be expected because I went against the program and ran back-to-back.  As a beginner you should be running every other day so that your body has time to heal.  But, because Monday’s weather prevented me from going outside, I attempted to get back on schedule by running on two consecutive days.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t all that bad and I felt good during and after the run.  If you were to see me at the park you would laugh because after every interval I put my hands up in the air and shout with excitement!  During my last intervals I am beaming with pride while I run.  I have a huge goofy smile on my face.  People are probably wondering why I look so happy.  I can’t help it…I just feel so darn proud of myself! 

Several of my friends have decided to start running.  They have all signed up for the 5K that I am running for my graduation of the Couch to 5K program.  I am super excited to be able to share that experience with them.  They are an awesome group of ladies we all share a common bond...the U.S. ARMY.  Each of us has a spouse serving in the ARMY and several of them are currently deployed which can make life terribly difficult to cope with.  But we have each other and for that I am forever grateful.        

If you have even thought about trying to start running, please try doing the Couch to 5K program.  It really is a great program designed for the ultimate couch potato! 

Here are four veterans (one of them being my father) who recently completed the Soldier Marathon held at Fort Benning Ga, 13 November 2010.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

'Me' Time

For the last couple of days I have doubted myself and my ability to really see this goal through to completion.  A lot of personal challenges were presenting themselves and my knees were killing me.  I couldn’t walk without the pain being excruciating.  I am really trying to not come across as a wimp but the pain was horrible.  Monday was going to be the first day of week two but the weather was not ideal for running with a 14 week old child.  I did however try to run on my parents’ home treadmill.  For some reason I felt very unsteady on that blasted thing.  Simply the act of walking on it was enough to make me lose my balance.  Maybe I am beginning to show my age but I would like to think I am not that old.  So today was the 'new first day' of week two and I was impressed with myself.  As I was running I kept thinking of how great I was doing for a) pushing through the pain and b) running.  After the run was over my dad helped me calculate how far I ran and it was approximately 1.1 miles.  This week’s runs will consist of 90 seconds running and two minutes at a brisk walking for recovery.  Instead of fearing that I wouldn’t be able to continue I started to really believe in myself that I could accomplish this goal.    
Over the weekend I was wondering why I like running so much.  Then it hit me.  The only time I get to have to myself is while I am running.  During the run I can fully concentrate on me, my breathing and how I am going to finish.  I don’t have to think about family, bills, or any other pressing issues in my life.  In those moments I don’t have to be anything to anyone…I can just be.  Currently in my life I don’t have my spouse because our country needs him more.  Needless to say my time is being fully wrapped up in our son’s life.  I don’t mind this one bit because I rather enjoy being a stay at home mommy.  But living day to day without having my husband’s assistance does present some challenges.  There are days when I would love to have Josh walk in and hold the baby so I could go cook a nice dinner or just entertain the baby so I could simply enjoy a quiet bath.  These are things that are impossible because JW demands so much affection and attention.  However, when I run I get back some of my autonomy.  

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Malevolent Mind

Week ONE is complete and I am excited to start week two.  There will be longer running intervals and less walking, which sounds awful but the pain in my legs actually sets in during the walking portion.  It seems that my leg muscles start to spasm when I stop to do the brisk walk.  After the run is complete I feel like my legs are going to give out on me completely and I will collapse.  The pain in my knees feels like nothing I have ever experienced before.  I read an article that said unless you really suspect something major is going on then you should just push through the pain and that is what I have been doing.  It is very frustrating to be in pain only during the part of the exercise that is designed to let you recover. 
The other day someone asked me how running now is different than running in the military.  When you are in basic training you are afraid not to run because you don’t want to get yelled at or fail your test and get recycled (sent back to an earlier portion of training for a 're-do').  After basic training your physical fitness test determines your career.  You can be put out of the military for not meeting standards if you can’t pass your test.  In a way I think there is more of a psychological aspect to it than what I am doing now.  Also, they didn’t ‘teach’ us how to run.  They simply told us to run.  And run we did.  With this program (Couch to 5K) you are training yourself and body to ‘learn’ to run.  Currently I feel the program is going at a good pace for any beginner who wants to run. 
I am still having some bad body image days even though I am running and exercising faithfully.  I loathe those days because they are so emotionally draining.  My focus will get stuck on how I look and not on how I am living a healthy life.  I will keep going over in my mind how I shouldn’t have eaten this or that, maybe I should have worked out a little longer or am I ever going to be pretty again.  Those are all futile thoughts which have no constructive value to them but they can be so hard to get rid of.  One would think if you are taking control of your health these feelings would virtually disappear.  BUT THEY HAVEN’T!  One day I would love to be able to say that I am completely free of negative thoughts about myself.  Don’t get me wrong I am very comfortable in my own body but some days it feels like I can’t control my mind and those thoughts creep in to crush my spirit.  All I can do is keep reminding myself that my self-worth is not wrapped up in my physical appearance or by the amount of sit ups I perform.  Rather, my self-worth comes from being a wife to an outstanding man, a mother to a child I believe gave me a renewed lease on life, and loving Christ with all of my heart.    
On a brighter note…the light of my life!