Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving didn't kill me: A post from the gym

I was a little worried about Thanksgiving. All that delicious food taunting me all weekend certainly held the potential to completely derail me and all the progress I've made, and I wasn't taking the threat lightly. I am not willing to let food overpower me any longer.

You should have seen my turkey plate: I was pretty proud of my self control. I didn't leave anything out (besides the green beans, which you couldn't pay me to eat), but took small servings of everything. So small were the servings that I could see plate in between each item. I actually didn't think it would be enough food, but my stomach is considerably smaller than it used to be, and I have to get used to eating a lot less. I keep taking too much food these days because I can't eat as much as I used to! I don't finish the excess either, which is hard for me. But on Thursday, the small amount of food I took was the perfect amount! The rest of the weekend wasn't bad foodwise... I didn't eat as much salad as I would have liked, and I ate more bread than I usually do, but I kept the servings small and included exercise in each day.

Most importantly, a weekend away from my usual routine didn't ruin my mindset. In the past, I have been on track for a time until something throws me off and gets me back into the comfort of the old lifestyle... You know, the lifestyle that makes me miserable. But this time was different. I came home today with a need to go to the gym. I could feel the call of the elliptical echoing in my very soul. And my desire to eat healthfully is off the charts!

It was great seeing friends in Tucson this weekend and being encouraged by the comments on my progress! Next time I visit, there will be even less of me!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Did I really look like that?

I hate seeing pictures of myself looking like a post-gum Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but since that is exactly what I looked like for many years, there are a lot of pictures depicting that fact. It honestly makes me cringe, and I'm so embarrassed to have let myself get so far out of control.

Once, in that time of ultimate fatness, I ran into a guy that I had grown up with, but whom I had not seen in many years. It was obvious that he didn't recognize me, and I was too embarrassed to say, "Hey, remember me? Katie Noah. We grew up together." I didn't want him to know I had gotten that fat. It was better that he didn't realize that I was his childhood friend. I was so embarrassed.

I wish I knew when I was younger what I know now. I would have kept playing soccer, and I would have refrained from eating enough food to satisfy a small village on a daily basis. But I can't change the past, so I'll go ahead and let my experiences and struggles be motivation for both myself and others. Believe me, if I can do it, anyone can! I have been getting some really spectacular emails from friends who are inspired to get healthy and lose weight or start exercising because I have been willing to share what I'm going through. I LOVE hearing those stories and knowing that the hardest struggle of my life isn't turning out to be entirely negative. I would almost go so far as to say that I'm glad I went through what I did so that I can help others. But I don't know if I can be thankful for such folly. I am, however, thankful for the things God can turn that folly into.

Because I am being completely honest here, I am going to post pictures from the fattest points of my life, so people can see just how far I've come. It's incredibly embarrassing, and what I really want to do is burn all those pictures, but I think it's important to, a)remember how horrible I felt so that I never let myself get that way again, and b)show what can be done with hard work.

This was me in eighth grade. Normal, right? I thought I was fat.

I was twenty-one here. Always uncomfortable, I hid beneath pillows.

I don't even think it looks like me.

Sooo uncomfortable for sibling pictures.

This was in 2006, at the height of a stressful time.

SO gross at my sister's wedding in 2007. Right after this I started losing weight.

I know I just posted this picture in my blog about collar bones last week, but it's the most recent one where you can see how much weight I've lost.

I wore this dress to my Junior and Senior proms and my goal is to fit nicely into it again. I will achieve that goal!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

I never thought I'd say this: but I love the gym!!

A miracle has occurred: I have actually been enjoying the gym and looking forward to going! I've been using the elliptical machine for the last several days in a row, and I really love it. The first time I tried the elliptical, several years ago, I was sore for a solid week, so I thought that would also be the case this time around. I was wrong, though, proving that I am in better shape now than I was back then. That is an obvious fact, but I never get tired of realizing it. Sometimes I'm just going about my daily activities, and something will be physically easier to do, or I won't be as smooshed when trying to fit into a space that was previously tight, and I will be excited once again at the reminder that this problem that has been such a huge issue for so much of my life is decreasing. Maybe soon it will be gone altogether!

A surprise about the elliptical is how sore my chest muscles are! I know my arms participate while I'm on this machine, but it doesn't seem like holding the handle bars as they swing forward and back would do anything productive. My aching upper body muscles would have me believe otherwise, however. And hey, I'm not gonna complain that I'm working out more of my body without even realizing it. It's not painful while I'm doing it, just after. What's weird, though, is that my thighs aren't sore after, but during the workout they burn with the fire of a thousand suns. Not really. I just wanted to be dramatic there. They do burn, but it's more like a small campfire, or even a trash can fire, if you like a little danger. Which I don't.

Something that helps distract from the fire in my muscles is that I've been using my workout times as an opportunity to pray. It's amazing what prayer can do to take my focus off of my body: while praying, I honestly don't feel the pain. The sweat dripping into my eyes is a different story, but given a choice between sweat and torture, I'd take sweat any day! I go through prayer requests like a champion prayer warrior, so if you've got any, shoot 'em my way and I'll be happy to add you to the list.

Tonight I took some goofy pictures of myself in a state of blood, sweat and tears. Wait, no. Only sweat. And also, a "before the sweat" shot. The contrast is sort of funny. I like how different I can look at different times throughout a day. It's like I'm a whole other person! Word! Anyway, here they are:

Before the sweat.

It's blurry, but it's an action shot, so it works.

I have an amazing gift for making faces. I get it from my mother. She rules.

Can you see my sweat? That's attractive.

How do I have friends?? Honestly.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Welcome back, collar bones!

Something fantastic about losing weight is getting body parts back that I had forgotten about. I remember the day my waist came back. I had truly taken on the shape of the earth with a head, legs, and arms for several years, and then one day there was a little indent around my equator. It wasn't much of an indent, but it was there, and I was ecstatic!

The other day I was checking out my waist in the bathroom mirror when I noticed something else new about myself. Collar bones!!! I wasn't even sucking in! They were just hanging out on my neck/shoulder area! How fantastic is that??


I'm gonna enjoy these beautiful clavicles as they embark on their journey of becoming more defined, and help them along with all this hard work I'm undertaking. The more little rewards I get, the easier it becomes. And I am three pounds down toward my next goal. Thirty-seven to go!

I wonder what other pleasant surprises await me!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I've never been a runner, but that's about to change.

I used to be in shape. Like, really great soccer-playing shape. Not like "round", which is my current shape. But even during my soccer-playing years, I was never much of a runner. Short distances? Sure. I was pretty speedy. But I've never enjoyed running any type of distance, and have only ever tried it a few times, mostly with my friend Joy, who unfortunately lives on the other side of the country. So you know what's weird? Over the years, I've had periods where I've had these crazy urges to go running in the middle of the night. Never during normal people hours, but at 3am. I realize I may be a little bit crazy. I AM incredibly nocturnal, but still. I never followed these urges, because 3am isn't exactly the safest time to go running by myself, and the desire never comes in the prime hours of daylight. So I have maintained my status as a non-runner.

However, these days, with my current level of motivation, I've been feeling the need to join the ranks of those crazy people who put foot to pavement in rapid succession. Coincidentally (eh... I don't actually believe in coincidence... we'll call it a God thing), the day after I was telling my cousin Gillian about my desire to run, I was at lunch with a couple friends and the exercise topic came up, and one of them told me that I should start running with him. I agreed to the challenge, and he gave me two months to prepare. I posted a status about that fact on facebook, and a friend told me about a schedule that she followed to get her running. It's called "Couch to 5K", and it starts you out slowly and builds up your running time by alternating walking and running, and increasing the running duration each week. It slowly gets your body used to running, so that you don't die a horrible death while pursuing health. I may have added the part about dying the horrible death.

I decided to follow the schedule last week, and while I have been going to the gym and walking, I have been putting off the running part... until this morning. It was time. How will I be ready to run in two months if I'm not doing anything for running readiness? So I asked my running friend to check up on me, for the necessary accountability, and this morning at 10 I graced the neighborhood with much panting and many cries of pain. Okay, not really. It was actually not that bad! The first sixty seconds of running was even easy, and I could have run for longer! The schedule did warn against that though, demanding that I stick to the schedule, which I was glad to do. So I did sixty seconds of running, ninety seconds of walking, and so on, for twenty minutes, with a five minute warm up and cool down. By the end, I had gotten a great cardio workout, I was proud that I had gotten through my first official time of running preparation, and I met a nice down-the-street neighbor named Tiger, who has lived on the same street as my aunt and uncle since they moved in. He offered me a water bottle, which I politely refused, though I was grateful for the offer. Maybe saying hi to Tiger will be part of my new running routine! Unless it's raining... then I'll be saying hi to the employees at 24-Hour Fitness.

On another note, I'm slightly worried about the upcoming Holidays. You know: that wonderful time of year spent with family and friends and way too much food. But I have some great accountability in place, and I am praying for the self-control I need.