A weight and food update

Last Friday, I celebrated (in my brain, not in external life) officially losing 10 pounds since I set out to shed my excess travel weight on March 1!

I started at 145.6 pounds looking like this, which was certainly not terrible by any means — but I was self-conscious and couldn’t fit into some of my favorite clothes.

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And then on Friday, at 135.6 pounds, I put on my pre-travel jeans that I used to not be able to pull up past my thighs, and realized that they don’t just fit anymore, but I have a little extra breathing room, too.

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Not to mention that I can (and did!) wear them with a white t-shirt and not worry about sucking in my gut because, well, there is no gut anymore. Casual Friday, bitches.

You might think that training for a marathon was a big part of this weight loss, but I can honestly tell you that every single ounce I lost was due to the food I ate.

I’ve been running consistently for months and months, and tracking 98% of my food since March 1, plus weighing myself nearly every day. What determines whether the scale is up or down has nothing to do with how many calories I burned the day before and 100% to do with what I ate!

I consider myself an 80/20 Paleo-style eater. I say “Paleo-style” because I’m not super-obsessed with every little detail of what is Paleo and what isn’t, but follow more general guidelines of eating mostly fresh vegetables, meat/fish, nuts/seeds, and fruit, and avoiding grains, dairy, and processed foods.

The 80% happens more consistently during the week, with a few treats here and there, and most of the 20% definitely happens on weekends and special occasions. I enjoy the 20%, but I also know exactly how it makes me feel to eat dairy (mucus-y) and grains (bloated) and sugary treats (jittery) and then am excited to get back to veggies, protein, and healthy fats. It’s a good balance.

Here’s how I held on to those extra travel pounds for so long:

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We have two kitchens at work, and they’re both bursting with candy, chips, soda, cheese, etc. — everything that’s delicious and not that great for you.

From October through February, I never brought food from home and just ate whatever was served at lunch and what I could find in the kitchens. It wasn’t enough to GAIN weight, but it was enough to hang on to my extra, unwanted pounds.

Here’s how I lost them and now keep them off:

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I bring a small, reusable Lululemon bag full of food to work EVERY DAY (emphasized because consistency is crucial). Yesterday, I brought cherries, apple, cashews and dried apricots, mixed lettuce, bell pepper, cucumber, banana, grapefruit, baby carrots, tomato soup (in a bag, looks weird), and chicken sausage.

I didn’t eat the apple, carrots, banana, or soup, but I’ll probably eat those today. The point is that I had plenty of snack options on hand so I could grab something healthy and not get a handful of frosted animal crackers instead.

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I make a huge salad for lunch EVERY DAY (tossed in olive oil that I keep at work) and eat it along with some protein I’ve also brought from home, like a chicken sausage, meatballs, leftover fish, chicken, whatever. Sometimes I’ll go through the lunch line to grab protein if it’s not breaded/cheese-encrusted, but often I’ll just ignore the catered lunch and make my own. It’s just easier to stick with what I’ve brought.

My co-workers say I’m “so disciplined,” but I’m really just a creature of habit. I literally make the same breakfast every morning, pack pretty much the same foods while I’m making breakfast, eat pretty much the same lunch every afternoon, and snack on similar things throughout the workday. I’m sort of weird in that I don’t get tired of eating the same things during the week.

On the weekends, I eat more of a variety, and I eat whatever I want when out at a restaurant, when it’s a special occasion, or when I’m a guest in someone’s home. Sometimes I genuinely do want a salad. Sometimes I want a burger with the bun, fries, and a milkshake. Sometimes I want triple-cheese mac ‘n cheese. I feel no guilt when I dip into the 20% and no fear of backsliding into consistently bad eating habits because I eat very well 80% of the time and truly enjoy it.

There are countless different ways to eat, and we’ll all never agree on one “best” way. I just happen to have had success with Paleo-style eating and calorie tracking (I still use My Fitness Pal 98% of the time) because these methods have helped me focus on eating real, nutritious food and understanding what portion sizes actually are (smaller than we all want them to be!).

I bust out measuring spoons and use a food scale nearly every day — not to be obsessive or to restrict my intake (I usually eat just under to well over 2,000 calories a day, depending on my exercise), but to make sure I’m eating the correct serving sizes (very important with nuts and nut butter!) or at least know how many servings I’m eating if I want to eat more than one. 🙂

As I always say, none of this is new or ground-breaking information. I’m just sharing what has worked and continues to work for me.

You simply can’t out-exercise a bad diet, unfortunately, so if you’re not seeing results from whatever you’re doing — CHANGE YOUR EATING! Choose vegetables, protein (whether it’s meat or vegetarian forms of protein), and healthy fats over weight-loss shakes, low-fat yogurt, and those stupid 100-calorie packs of cookies that never satiated anyone’s appetite in the history of ever. Seriously, the thought of those things makes me stabby.

It’s hard to get started, but once you do and get into a groove with new habits, it’s SO much easier to stay there! The impact it will have on your health, your energy levels, your happiness, and yes, your appearance, is insane. It’s worth it.

Start with the will to change, and then take action. No excuses.

The final countdown

The marathon draws near!!!

I did my last “long” run on Saturday morning — just an eight-miler. I planned to try to run at 8:58-9:00ish pace to emulate the pace I want to hold next weekend, but then… as always… I didn’t.

I really did try to slow down, but kept hitting around 8:30 miles anyway. I guess 8:30 is the new 9:00? Don’t worry, I really will slow down for the marathon and not go out too fast!

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This run ended at about 10:45 a.m., and it was sunny and HOT. I felt completely sapped of energy. I’ll be finishing the marathon at about 11:00 a.m. or a little later, so I have my fingers crossed for some cloud cover. Pleasepleaseplease!

After running, I headed to my hometown to get some good family time in. I spent the day and night at my momma’s house, then spent all of Sunday with my daddio for Father’s Day.

We hit up church, had brunch with my brother, and even had Father’s Day dinner with Aaron’s dad, stepmom, and family — without Aaron! That’s when you know you’re really part of the family. 🙂

I had the biggest, yummiest salad for brunch.

Seafood Cobb with baby shrimp, scallops, salmon, and all the usual Cobb toppings (minus the cheese and dressing). So. Good.

Aaron and I are usually so busy on weekends that I don’t get to spend a ton of quality time with my family, so it was great to be able to catch up with both my mom and dad — and, of course, celebrate my dad’s overall amazingness! — this weekend. I love you both!!!

Tonight, I literally ran an errand to Road Runner Sports. I had three miles to run and RRS is 1.5 miles away, so it was a no-brainer to kill two birds with one run!

I bought a box of chocolate Clif Shots — I was down to three, aka NOT enough for the marathon! — and Body Glide, since I’ve suffered minor sports bra / armpit / inner thigh chafing on some of my long, sweaty runs. I plan to smother myself in sunscreen and BG on Saturday!

All I have left are two easy two-mile runs — one on Wednesday and one on Thursday. Gahhhhhhh!

I’m not as nervous for this marathon as I was for my first, so I’ll take that as a good sign. I think my training was pretty great, but there are always doubts that creep in during the final week.

I just have to trust that I’ve done enough, and get ready to have some fun on Saturday!

Boooooooooooooo.

Bad news. This guy won the contest.

I think his video was the next-best after Aaron’s, so at least it didn’t go to someone who had a weird video (there were a few of those). Congrats to him.

Anyway. Thanks for all of your support throughout the contest! The result is disappointing, but that’s life.

Back to my regularly scheduled run-blogging and such.

EDITED TO ADD: I just got off the phone with the Specialized social media guy (because why stop the crazy when I’m already on a roll today?) and he told me Aaron lost by ONE VOTE when about 450 Specialized employees voted on who should win out of the final four videos! So at least many, many people voted for him! Does that make it better or worse? I guess it makes me feel… better? OK, moving on with my life now…

Stalker status

I swear I kept myself busy this weekend with running and family time and Father’s Day dad time.

But this morning, I went full-on stalker and CALLED the headquarters of Specialized Bicycles to speak to the social media guy and ask when he was going to announce the contest winner.

He said it will be announced TODAY.

Me: “Great, because I’ve been refreshing your Facebook page like I’m your crazy ex-girlfriend and I can’t live like this much longer!”

Him: *nervous laughter*

Bringing the cray. 

Keep your eye out for the announcement here. I’m trying to limit myself to one refresh per hour, five minutes after the hour.

I’m sweating so badly right now.

4:40 PM

No contest announcement yet.

I’m going NUTS over here.

Seriously, this is the weirdest, least-promoted, most-ignored contest I’ve ever seen from a company.

You’d think any company running a contest with a huge, awesome prize like this would be promoting the crap out of it all over Twitter and Facebook, building up hype in the days prior to the announcement of the winner (which is supposed to be today!), and generally getting their marketing $$$ worth for the significant cost of the prize.

But what do I know?

I. AM. DYING.

Training catch-up!

I’ve been a lazy blogger this week. Why?

One word: HOMELAND.

Aaron and I ripped through the first season of it before he left for Scotland, and now I’m anticipating withdrawals until he gets back and we can start on season two. I’ll be OK. I’ll distract myself with this marathon thing I have coming up.

My runs haven’t been super exciting this week. At this point, I just have to not get injured or sick and I’ll be able to go the distance. I’m popping vitamins and Emergen-C like crazy and trying not to jinx anything.

MONDAY: Four miles. It felt so nice to run just four miles!

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WEDNESDAY: Three miles. This just felt weird. It wasn’t that long ago that my Wednesday-night run was eight miles.

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THURSDAY (aka tonight): My last hill workout of marathon training. Hallelujah!

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I did 10 hill repeats with a little half-mile running break after the first five.

By the way, I’ve gotten scary-good with predicting how long each run will take me. Prior to this run, I added 37 minutes of running to my My Fitness Pal diary. The run took me 37:01.

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Looking back on my training plan, it looks like I did nine hill workouts over my 17 weeks of training. Not bad! Will it be enough to get me through Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle? Ummmm, it’ll have to be.

I’m excited to ditch hill repeats in favor of speedwork for Chicago Marathon training since Chicago is as flat as they come. Suck it, hills!!!

In my intense study of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon course, I realized that I will be running through tunnels like four times and completely losing satellites for my Garmin. That happened to me when I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half a few years ago, and it made me kind of panicky.

To avoid that feeling this year, I’ve ordered my first PaceTat!

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This temporary tattoo will go on the inside of my arm to help me stay on track for my desired finish time, even when my Garmin gets out of whack from the tunnels.

And yes, I ordered the 3:55 tat. DREAM BIG.

That’s all I’ve got for you for now. The winner of the Tour de France video contest is supposed to be announced FRIDAY, which is TOMORROW, so expect either a post of utter joy or heartbreak when the news hits. I’ll try to make it really dramatic either way. GET EXCITED.

Chelanigans

The GOOD news is that Aaron is not hurt.

The BAD news is that he had to drop out of the Echo Valley mountain bike race in Chelan for the second year in a row.

He lost a contact lens again, about ¾ of the way through the 30-mile race. It was such a fast course that he couldn’t continue riding blindly without a serious risk of crashing and hurting himself. And he was on track to win the whole thing!

Poor Aaron was terribly frustrated and disappointed. Every single other race this year, he has done incredibly well and earned a spot on the podium. The only reason he didn’t this time was due to a rogue contact lens. (And yes, I am kicking myself for not having extra contacts on hand for him, or making sure he had extras in his jersey, since it might have made all the difference.)

But this week, he leaves for a mountain bike tour of Scotland (check out his Instagram to follow along!), so the important thing is that he’s in one piece and can enjoy his trip — unlike last summer, when he had to cancel his Iceland trip due to his busted shoulder.

And next year, he’ll definitely be back to finally finish Echo Valley. Third time’s the charm!

Aside from the bummer outcome of the race, we had a sunny, fun weekend in Chelan. Aaron’s mom and I had a great time spectating the race.

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And after she headed back to Seattle, Aaron and I enjoyed our resort’s pool and the beautiful views from the shores of Lake Chelan.

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Sadly, it was time to head back home all too soon!

THIS WEEK is exciting for many reasons:

  • It’s the second-to-last week of Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon training, as well as the first week of Chicago Marathon training. Yeah, they overlap. That’s fun.
  • Aaron leaves for Scotland (fun for him, sad for me because I’ll miss him!).
  • We’ll find out on FRIDAY who won that Specialized video contest to go to the Tour de France!

I’m most excited for Friday. What if Aaron wins??? That’d certainly make up for a bummer race, huh?

Last long run DONE!

Gotta make this quick! Currently shoving bacon into my mouth before I have to shower, pack, and get on the road.

Last night I ran four miles on the faster side:

And this morning I did my 12-mile long run — the last double-digit run I’ll do before the marathon!

It’s so fun to run while everyone else is commuting to work on a Friday. Sorry to anyone who’s at work right now and currently cursing me. 🙂

We’re heading three-ish hours away to Chelan today, since Aaron has a mountain bike race there tomorrow. It’s the same race that ended, uhhh, not well last year:

DNF, fractured clavicle, and clavicle separation. He got a sweet moon gown, though.

Keep your fingers crossed for no injuries and a spot on the podium this year!!!

Happy holiday!

National Running Day looks like peaceful green trails.

It looks like my favorite hill times 12.

It looks like sweat-soaked clothes and quads carved by 16 weeks of marathon training.

Happy National Running Day!

I’m so glad I was able to celebrate this year with a five-mile run. Last year, I bemoaned the holiday because I was still recovering from a badly sprained ankle and couldn’t even walk unassisted, let alone run.

Snooping through my blog archives from last June, I found my very first post-injury “run” on June 26. My walk/run splits looked like this:

Two whole miles. That shit was hard.

I’d nearly forgotten about slogging through those walk/run intervals, but I vividly remember how thrilled I was to be able to run again. I also remember the sense of accomplishment I felt when I was finally able to run a mile straight through — it took me until August!

My progress was slow, but I was determined. I got out there. I wanted it.

Even when it was hard, I found joy in the challenge.

Maybe that’s why I love running so much.

It has taught me how to be tough, how to embrace discomfort, and how to push myself farther than I think I can go.

It has made me appreciate my body for its strength, endurance, and resilience.

It has helped me connect with countless people in person and online who share the same crazy love.

And it has encouraged me to always expect more from myself, to set higher goals, and to believe I can achieve them.

Thanks, running. I owe you one.