myreturntohealth

A journey to rejuvenation after years of partying, weight gain, and body abuse

Week 1 – Success!

So, I promised myself I’d blog every Sunday, but I was so excited so I had to post this earlier:

I lost 2 pounds this week! I now weigh 151.

How did this happen? Well, I assume that this weight loss can be attributed my body’s slow return to normalcy after the holidays. However, this week I have been consciously engaging in key weight loss strategies that I think are exceptionally effective.

1. Meal Planning – I usually plan my meals, but that kind of went to the wayside for the last month or so. I literally plan out everything we will eat all week and go to the grocery prepared to buy only those things. Good for the waistline and for the budget.

2. Cooking at home – As an effort to save money and get skinny, we have been cooking at home for a while, but just returned to it again. It gets a little old cooking every night after work, but I love that I know exactly what’s in my food. Plus, I often find cooking quite relaxing after a long day of sitting in office. I intentionally cook extra so we have lunch for the next day. This is what we ate this week:

Monday – Pan chicken marinated in a lemon garlic sauce with white rice and broccoli

Tuesday – Black bean soup, homemade, with salad

Wednesday – Panera – Broccoli cheddar and half a turkey sandwich

Thursday – Pan cooked tilapia with lemon and olive oil, oven roasted red skin potatoes in olive oil and broccoli

Friday – Sinful dinner out

Tonight – Mushroom ravioli with salad in marinara

3. Counting my calories – I keep a spreadsheet of everything I eat, and plan it out in advance. I aim to eat around 1200 calories a day. I need about 1750 to maintain my current weight. I actually do not feel hungry at all as long as I am eating healthy.

4. Starting each day with fresh vitamin filled juice

5. Working out every day after work – I used to come home every day and basically watch tv  or read blogs until my husband came home. Now that we have an elliptical,  I essentially watch the same shows, but I just work out through them. I worked out every day, including today, except Wednesday and Friday. I track my progress on my calorie counting spreadsheet.

So, I know no one really reads this, but at least I’ll be able to look back in excitement in a few weeks 🙂 Until next Sunday….

Birthday! New year, new me.

It’s my birthday! Today I embark on 26th year. I know it will be a great one, but probably not as monumental as my 25th.

My 25th year in recap:

  • January – Had the best birthday party ever, rented a party bus with 30 something people, hosted a chili cook off at my house
  • February – Went on a free trip to Paris
  • March – Spent St. Patrick’s Day with good friends in Chicago enjoying the unseasonably warm weather, fundraised money for students to go to Costa Rica
  • April – uneventful
  • May – Closed out the school year, inducted as TFA alumni, had a wonderful wedding shower and bachelorette party with family from around the country
  • June – Took kids to Costa Rica for ten days, got married a week later
  • July – Honeymoon to California Coast, miraculously started an enjoyable job to pay the bills while looking for new career opportunity, received a visit from good friends full of float trips and fun
  • August – Weddings and music festivals
  • September – Got my current job that I love and will be a career
  • October – Visit from great teacher friends, started new job, had a week off in between that was filled with an amazing float trip through Ozarks in the fall, and a wedding with good friends in Indiana
  • November – Enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family in Florida
  • December – Holiday parties, a wonderful friend filled week and a half off for Christmas

My 26th year will be on of health and education. As you know, I have been sick the past few days, but today I feel great! After a weekend of celebration with friends and family, I am ready to get back on track. In fact, this is how I started my day:

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With a tall glass of delicious fresh squeezed juice. I absolutely love juicing. You can throw almost anything together in your juicer and it will taste good as long as you follow one simple rule: always pair bitter, green vegetables like kale and spinach with sweet fruits like apples. It is so refreshing and I swear it is good for sore throats. This juice is a hodge podge of things from my fridge, including: spinach leaves, a whole cucumber, parsley, a whole apple, lemon, 2 full carrots, and 1 celery stalk.

I have planned my meals for the week, have my new elliptical all set up, and am ready for weight loss in my 26th year. Did I mention every day this weekend I weighed 153 pounds? That’s a loss of 1.5 to 2 pounds from January 1st. Go me!

It’s only the beginning: Week 1 Update

2013 has gotten off to a rough start. As expected, I started 2013 tired, a little hungover, and a bit angry. My house had been destroyed by our New Year’s party and I had family in town. So, I spent the first day of the year eating poorly, sleep deprived, disorganized, and feeling a lack of time and freshness. My advice to anyone truly committing to starting a year of right is to do the obvious and have a tamer New Year’s Eve.

There have been several other hindrances to my healthy goals. Starting New Years day, my husband became sick. I had to take care of him and pretty much take over all household responsibilities while going back to work. I shortly became sick myself. Sickness and tiredness and lack of food planning means unhealthy choices and no exercise. I ate meat – chicken – twice this week because I was craving it and feeling lazy and unmotivated. I also drank regular soda at least twice as well. On top of this, our treadmill did not show up yet. Maybe next week. 

I did do some good this week though. The first two days, I ate very healthy. I have not smoked or drank alcohol in 2013. I only went out to lunch once and got a nice salad. I also started juicing using the Mean Green juice recipe from Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. I was really impressed with how delicious it is. Each time I juice, I notice a dramatic improvement in my throat pain (I have some kind of cold). I plan to drink fresh juice for breakfast every day this week.

As you might imagine, I did not lose any weight next week. My sickness will continue to be a challenge. Also, next weekend is my 26th birthday. I am hoping I still keep my health goals in mind as I celebrate.

Looking Forward

2013 is my year of repair: I seek to lose weight, learn about and obtain a livable healthy lifestyle for the first time, and above all – look smokin’ hot.

Here’s where I am as of today:

  • Weight: 154.5
  • Height: 5’6
  • BMI: 24.9 (right at the upper limit of “normal” weight)
  • Pant Size: 10
  • Dress: 2-6 (as you can probably tell, I carry most weight on my lower half)

How is this year different than any other year?

Like most people, I start every year off with a weight loss resolution. By February, I have failed. Even preparing for my own wedding couldn’t convince me to get on track. On my wedding day, I was the fattest I had ever been. Here is why I think 2013 will be different.

  1. Stress Levels: For the past few years, I have been living an extremely high stress, work hard/play hard lifestyle. I was teaching in a failing inner-city high school through a demanding program called Teach For America, and attending graduate school full-time, while planning a wedding, as well as planning an international trip for my students. Given the condition of my school – lack of leadership, violence, sexual harassment, lack of materials including textbooks and paper, and much more – I was severely stressed and anxious ALL the time. I spent my Sundays in fits of anxiety and felt like I was drowning. I have no idea how I stuck it through, while managing multiple obligations beyond the normal (extended) school day. I was stressed, unhappy, and starved for free time and joy. As a result, my eating choices were poor and I rarely exercised. Additionally, free time I did have was spent bitching with fellow teachers over high calorie/ high fat happy hours, going out to fattening meals, and otherwise rewarding myself with terrible food choices and lots of alcohol and cigarettes. Not at all surprising that this could cause weight gain. Since I have been out of the program and now work in a calm, competent work environment, at a job I really like, I have begun to feel happiness and again. I think this puts me in a prime position to take on my health.
  2. Education: My transition over the past six months from an extremely stressed lifestyle has been a healing process in itself. In feeling sensations of happiness again, I have been able to explore my interests, hobbies and other passions. I immediately reignited my passion for learning about nutrition, health, and animal ethics. In August of 2012, a series of events (which I hope to later share with you), began my transition to a plant based lifestyle and obsession with learning about the healing power of good nutrition. Unlike other years, I feel like I have been gradually making sustainable changes for a while and am equipped with the knowledge and tools I need to really know about food and what I am eating. In 2013, I feel prepared to take it a step further and commit to healthy living in all areas of my life.
  3. Support: I am 25 years old, soon to be 26 in two weeks. I am young – my friends party hard. This has always been my downfall. Despite eating healthy most of the time, I pretty much treat my body like a gutter on nights when we party. In fact, the entire season has been one huge festival of body abuse.  Even when I want to be healthy, it’s hard when you are with people that are not embracing the same lifestyle. This time, I am not alone. This time around my friends and I are in this together. They are not all embracing health in the same way as me, but most are quitting smoking and seeking to lose weight. Their support is essential, as I am quite susceptible to peer pressure. Above all else, my husband’s constant support through this process is most important. Along with me, he has embraced health, nutrition, and a plant based diet over the last few months. He is completely on-board with a health overhaul, and desires to get in shape and get healthy with me. We are all in this together.

My big goals:

Teach For America was a stressful program, but one of the most valuable skills I took away from this experience was an understanding of the extreme importance of setting measurable, clear goals, breaking them down into clear objectives, and tracking progress faithfully along the way. My health makeover will naturally follow the Teach For America models for measuring success.

My Vision: I aim to embrace a healthy lifestyle for a lifetime, maintain happiness with my body and my choices, and love everything I am unashamedly.

My Goals:

  1. Lose 30 pounds (weigh 125) by December of 2013.
  2. Wear a size 6 pant
  3. Wear a bikini in July and not be ashamed.
  4. Never smoke cigarettes again.
  5. Reduce alcohol consumption to no more than 15 low calorie/low carb beverages in a month.
  6. Be able to run a mile in less than 10 minutes.
  7. Do 20 consecutive push ups.
  8. Wear shorts in July and be cool with my legs.

The How

  • 180 minutes of light cardio every week (either outside or on my brand new elliptical)
  • 2 30 – 45 minute strength training sessions
  • Drinking at least two glasses of fresh juice every day made from a juicer
  • Participating in a juice/vegan “reboot” (jointhereboot.com)
  • Eating a plant based diet with 51% whole foods, with very limited refined carbs, sugar, dairy, and fish/free range organic poultry products.

After one final New Year’s Eve of total body abuse, my healing starts tomorrow. Happy New Year!