Thursday, April 21, 2011

I'm realizing how sappy my last post was, but I feel it's important to share my wake-up call.  I want to make sure I emphasize that I didn't lose weight for someone else.  I wanted to lose weight because I was holding myself back from experiencing all of the things I wanted to do in college.

Moving on ...

School is so close to being done I can taste it!  I cannot wait to be able to come home from work and get back into a routine of going to the gym and making dinner.  Tomorrow I'll be at work from 6:30 am - 12:00 pm, then the fun begins!  I plan to come home and go to the gym and run for a half hour, then come home and do Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred.  Let me tell you, she means business!  I have done The Shred in the past, but I've never done more than 7 days consecutively.  This time I will be doing the full Shred I will do all 30 days and be able to say that I've done it!  I'm really hoping the results will be noticeable.  I plan to run at least 5 days a week.

I think I have things coming together and a clearer focus of what I want to do.  After Easter I plan to visit the grocery store more regularly to plan healthier meals.  I've gotten in a bad habit of going every other Sunday and buying way too much!  My intentions are to cook for the week, but as soon as Monday comes, school gives me a reality check and the food goes untouched.  I didn't realize how this affects my boyfriend but the other night he admitted that when he opens the fridge there's just too much to choose from that he gets frustrated when he can't find what he's looking for.  I agree.  I pack the fridge so full that I forget what's lurking behind the milk.

With Easter on Sunday, I know that there will be temptations.  I want to be able to enjoy the holiday with my family and not feel disappointed with myself if I eat a piece of candy or two. 

Goals for Week 1, April 25 - May 1:
  • Stick to the 30 Day Shred
  • Run at least 5 times this week, aim for 1/2 hour each time
  • Pack lunch meals for the week

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I feel like my wellness goal of stress-reduction will be taking a back seat to a more personal wellness goal of weight loss.

I talked with another co-worker today who plans to participate in the challenge.  In talking to him, he shared the same sentiments that everyone will be doing a "weight loss" goal.  I almost agree and that is partly why I decided to do an umbrella goal of stress relief where exercise and balanced meals would help me achieve a less stressed lifestyle.  I know I feel stress when my body isn't getting the healthy attention it deserves.  But who am I kidding?  My real wellness goal is something one might find completely ridiculous.  SO, I guess it's time to tell the truth and stop sugarcoating what my actual wellness goal is ...

TO WEAR A BIKINI!  There, I said it!  The last time I wore a two piece that bared my midriff was probably 16 years ago!  So let me introduce to you the real me.

How I packed on the pounds:

Throughout my entire elementary/middle school years, I was the token "tall girl".  You know, the only girl who stood in the back row of the class picture with all of the boys.  No one ever got to see the outfits I picked out for class picture day!  The funny part about being the "tall one" is you are pegged as the "big girl".  I never thought of myself as fat, just taller than the other girls. 

I was active in softball growing up, ate regular healthy sit-down meals at the dinner table with my family, enjoyed playing outdoors on my grandparent's farm, rode bikes with the neighborhood kids, and never had a broken bone or cavity!  I was as straight-laced as they came, only visiting the principal's office to receive an award or call the bus numbers for pick-up.

My family never really ate meals out (with the exception of the McDonald's Beanie Baby Happy Meal craze, remember that?) and soda was practically a bad word in our house.  Side-note: I SWEAR, my parents are GREAT :)

Anyway, have you ever heard the theory that there are 10 moments from your life that have shaped you and will stay with you for life?  I can't remember where I heard this from but I can remember one moment in life that I think about still to this day.

I was in 4th grade waiting in line to go somewhere - where, I can't remember and it's not important.  I was standing in line with my best friend.  In line with us was the class crush.  At 9 years old, he was everything you thought you were supposed to be attracted to.  He was tall, athletic, the typical "class clown", and well-known in our grade.  I never really spoke to him but the only thing I ever remember him saying to me was, "Fatty, fatty 2x4, can't get through the classroom door".  A real romantic.

It's funny the things you remember.  For some reason that memory always sticks with me.  Maybe it was his harsh words or the realization that I was fat.  From that point on I became more conscious about my weight.

Enter the middle school years and awkward Jillian.  I wore stretch pants, a bad haircut, huge glasses, and braces.  I can remember summers during middle school where my sister and I would veg out all day watching soap operas, consuming any kind of pre-packaged goodies within arm's reach, and not playing outside as much as we used to.  At the end of the day we would fill up a gallon jug of water and try to consume the whole thing before my Dad arrived to pick us up.  After all, consuming water was the key to weight loss ...

Next were the high school years.  I ditch the braces, traded my glasses for contact, and became involved in field hockey and softball.  I remember starting high school at 5'6", 135 lbs.  For my senior year sports physical, I remember being confused when the doctor said I weighed 175 lbs.  I never thought I weighed that much, at least I didn't think I looked like 175 lbs.  The South Beach diet was really popular during my senior year.  My Mom and I tried the diet out.  I was successful for the 3 weeks we did it.  The diet was a struggle - no carbs or fruits.  To this day I feel sick when someone asks if I want to eat a pistachio, the only thing I remember eating.

When college started, my only form of exercise was walking to class.  Thankfully UMD's campus was huge and a 10 minute walk to class meant nothing.  I gained my "Freshman 15" and then some.  I never went to the gym despite the amazing facility that was available and included in our tuition fees. For the first three years I never went to the gym because I was embarrassed.  Sorority girls, in their skimpy work-out clothes, would come to work-off the salad they had for lunch.  Meanwhile I had just helped myself to a hot ham and cheese sandwich on a croissant.  I've often wondered how my college years would have been had I thought about what I was doing to my body. 

You didn't have to be in a sorority to drink.  So on top of the unhealthy eating habits and no exercise, I was consuming unnecessary calories.  Not only from the alcohol, but from the late night binging that came along with it.  Online take-out ordering made it possible to get pizza, fries, wings, etc. within 15 minutes.

I don't think I ever stepped on a scale in college, at least not until my junior year.  I lived in an apartment with my sister and her two friends.  At the end of my junior year we had a "good-bye" dinner for one of my roommates who graduated and was moving back to New Jersey.  I look back on this photo and cringe.  Here I stand weighing in at about 204 with a friend from college:

 Our shirts are to read, "I HEART CAROL"

It's scary to reveal that number.  It's scarier to know I let myself get to that point.  I look at the photo and think my face looks like it was stung by bees.

My wake-up call:

I hung out with my sister and her college friends during my junior year, their senior year.  Among her friends was a guy that I fell completely head-over-heels for.  If he ever reads this, his ego will just inflate even more!  But in one word, he was just cool.  His demeanor was different.  Nothing really bothered him, he did what he wanted.  He was attractive, self-confident, witty, athletic, and accepting of me.  I knew we'd be forever friends when I first walked into his apartment and heard him blaring Jack's Mannequin from his computer ... I loved them!  It was my first sign.  Outside of bonding over music, it still baffles me how we became friends.  He was barely an inch taller than me and I probably had a good 45 lbs on him.  Our friendship developed while we played card games on the mall at UMD.  For the first time I felt comfortable around a guy and didn't feel like I had to be someone else.  Cliche, right? 

One of our many games of War
 I knew at my size he would never be romantically interested in me.  Doesn't every guy want to be able to wrap his arms around his girlfriend?  I look back at pictures of the two of us together and just laugh.  I look like a giant compared to him!

I remember one time telling him I had plans to go to the gym.  Riiiiiiiiiiiight.  He replied, "If you wait until I finish class, I'll go with you."  Great.  Now I had to go.  At the gym he ran and biked in intervals.  I stayed on the elliptical praying he would finish soon - the longest 60 minutes of my life.

When he graduated and left college, I cried.  He had become my go-to friend, not to mention, the gigantic crush I had on him.  As we hugged good-bye, he gave me a playful kick and told me he wasn't going to hug me because he knew he'd see me again.

That summer I started to care about my appearance and decided it was time to do something about it.  I began to run outside around my parent's neighborhood.  On days it was hotter than 90 degrees, I still ran.  Slowly I noticed a change.

During my senior year of college, I continued going to the gym and paying attention to what I ate.  It helped to have my best friend from high school live with me.  She had recently dropped 40 lbs and I was proud and happy for her, mixed with a little jealousy.  Throughout the year I regularly weighed myself.  At times I would be stuck on a number for what felt like a month.

204 ... 198 ... 192 ... 191 ... 188 ... 182 ... 178

Like he promised, my crush and I still hung out on the weekends.  We talked regularly through AIM and email.  When I graduated, he was there to help me celebrate.  I couldn't take being "just friends" any longer. 

We've been dating for almost three years now and he is still my best friend.  My weight has settled around 165 lbs., about 10 lbs. less that what he weighs.  Sometimes it really bothers me, other times I don't even think about it. 

Taken at a friend's wedding in August 2010, 3 weeks before we completed the Virginia Beach Rock 'n Roll 1/2 Marathon

I want to continue on my weight loss journey.  I want to get to the point where weight isn't an obsession.  I want to put on clothes and not think, "you look fat!"  I want to stop having a negative body image.

Every New Year's Eve I make the same resolution:  Make healthier decisions and lose weight.
Every January, I buy a new bathing suit and give myself 6 months to get in it.
Every August, I tell myself "there's always next summer".

... and so goes the cycle. 

I recently put all of the bathing suits I have "collected" in my Goodwill pile.  I've already bought my goal suit for the year - ironic that it arrived on April 15th???

Like my Mom said, "WOW! St. Thomas?!?!? If that isn't a big carrot being dangled in front of you!"  I agree.

I want that carrot!  I want even more to stick to something and tell myself I can.  I want to get rid of the negative feelings about my appearance.  So here we go!  I've found that of all the weight loss programs, Weight Watchers is the most reasonable.  I can eat what I want and exercise to earn back points so I can eat more! 

I'm not going to quit this time!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My Goal

So I said on Friday I would post Saturday about the pros and cons of each of my chosen potential goals for wellness.  I didn't blog yesterday because my day was stretched way too thin!  I am currently enrolled at Montgomery Community College's American Sign Language program.  For two of my classes I needed to attend Deaf events and then could count those hours towards my practicum.  The workshops were great!  The part about being away from my apartment from 8:00 am - 9:30 pm, not so much!  Not to mention the weather was less than fantastic.

I've decided that my goal will be about managing stress.  This is a perfect umbrella goal to all of the other goals I would like to accomplish.  For example when I exercise and eat right, I have clearer mind and I get the perks of losing weight.  My work/school/family/social life is so busy it can be stressful at times, that if I take a moment to step back and take time for myself, I feel less cluttered in my mind.  Lastly, my boyfriend will be leaving at the end of May for a 3-month work rotation to Seattle.  Even though I will miss him a ton, his absence will allow me to get back in contact with friends that I haven't seen since we moved to Rockville.  He's been my best friend for last 3+ years, so much so that my free time I want to spend with him.  Sometimes I feel I have been a bad friend when I don't make enough time to visit with all of my friends that came before him.

So do you see what I mean?  If I work on managing the stress in my life by eating right, exercising, finding "me" time, and making time to reconnect with friends, I feel I will achieve personal wellness.  I'm excited to see where I will go in the next 3 months.

Which reminds me, I promised a friend I would look into finding a field hockey rec league.  I should really get on that and think I will look into it today!

Off to think about how to execute my goal!

Gym trip this morning:  Ran 35 minutes, average 5.2 mph, 410 calories, distance 3.07 miles

Friday, April 15, 2011

Day One

I can't even begin to count the times I have opened this blog and began to type something then clicked on the red 'X' in the upper right hand corner.  I start writing with the intent to share what's been going on in my life but then never feel like anyone would be interested in reading what I had to say.  Then there's the self-conscious side that thinks, "Well what if someone decides to read and follow my ramblings ... would they be scared away by my style of writing? Would they point out all of the grammatical/spelling mistakes?"  Even now I am thinking about deleting that last sentence - but it will stay, like the rest of this post will.  See, I have new motivation for blogging, fun motivation.  So once we get past this boring introductory post, the fun will start!

Last year I had a blog on a different server that helped me track my journey as I trained to complete my first half marathon.  Note how I use the word "first" because I do hope that one day I will complete another.  This blog will chronicle the next three months as I try to win what is hands-down the best prize my HR department has ever given out!  Let me start off by saying that I have worked at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) for the last three years.  Our HR department and Wellness team have invested a lot of their time setting up programs centered on health and wellness.  ASHA is committed to the health and wellness of the staff and it shows in the assortment of programs offered not only inside of the association, but resources made available to us within the community.

This time the challenge is to establish a wellness goal.  Now you might only be thinking weight loss, but that's not the case.  The goal can be related to any type of wellness:  spiritual, mental, physical, etc.  Among those categories are subtopics like:  biking to work, relieving stress, family, and even intimacy - one that got a few chuckles from my co-workers.  Wellness can really be anything that you want it to be.  The contest runs from April 15th - July 15th.  The prize on the line?  A 6 day, 7 night trip to St. Thomas!  HOLY COW!!  Now I'm not a big traveler, but what I wouldn't do to get to go there!

So here's my pledge to determine what wellness means to me.  All intention forms are due by the end of the month.  I hope to turn mine in on Monday, April 18th.  At the end of the contest you are to submit some type of documentary about your journey in any form of media.  I love being creative!  The ideas of how to present my story, whatever it may be, have swirled in my head ever since I read about the contest!  Anyone who enters must be prepared to share their story with others.  There will be an external panel of judges making the decision on who wins.  I'm assuming the winner will probably have to share their story with the entire National Office.  The true test, beyond achieving some kind of wellness, will be making myself vulnerable.  Every aspect of your journey good or bad, will need to be shared with your co-workers.   

Ideas for my goal?  I'm kinda thinking about a couple things and could quite possibly choose all four!  My ideas are:

  • Weight loss goal
  • Managing the stress in my life - work, school, tutoring, family
  • Serving my community
  • Maintaining a sense of "self" while in a committed relationship
 I like where all of the ideas can go and will probably post as some point this weekend my pro/con list for each - I don't think there are any cons to any of those ideas, just have to figure out which goal can help me expand and get the most out of the experience.  While I would love to win, I would love to know I achieved something even if I'm not deemed the winner.

So off I go to shower after getting back from the gym.  Today is the kick-off day, so if I choose a weight loss focused goal, I don't want to know I missed out on any time!

My workout:  Ran 35 minutes, pace 5.1 mph, 3.0 miles (I up the mph for the last couple of minutes to reach even miles!), 403 calories burned (I don't think the calorie counters mean anything, oh well!)

Hopefully you'll stick along with me as I find my own personal wellness :)

 And because I read this on a blog this morning and it made me smile, I leave you with a reminder:  make every moment count.