Changing My Mindset

mindset

I’ve had something of a mind shift lately. I’ve been so focused on what I have achieved, losing weight and getting fit. I’m always going to be proud of what I’ve achieved and I will willingly share my story with anyone I think I can help.

But I’ve had a realization of sorts. I’m no longer the former fat man turned slim. I’ve spent so long with that label in my head. This is my new reality. I’m going to make damn sure I’m never going to gain weight again. We moved to a new town several months ago. The people in this town don’t know I used to be heavy. They just know me as they see me now. Unless I choose to tell them my story. They just see me as someone who is not overweight. So that’s who I’m going to see myself as from now on. I’m always going to be proud of the way I’ve turned my health around but from this moment going forward I’m just going to enjoy who I am now. After all, I’ve worked hard for this. I have literally worked my ass off!

I don’t know if this makes sense. It’s hard to put into words but this is how I’m feeling now.

I Am Proud Of Me!

20170414_175546

This is a big moment for me.  This is how proud I am of myself.  Yesterday, I bought a new bathing suit. I haven’t bought one in about 10 years and the last time I wore one was about 5 years ago.  I would never like showing a photo of myself in one.  Of course, it would be a one piece with the ‘skirt like’ bottom.

Yesterday, I bought a two piece. Ok, it isn’t a bikini and it has the ‘skirt like’ bottom.  But, today, I am baring my soul because I took a photo, (actually to show my mom on Sunday), and compared it to the old me.  I know I still have more to lose, but I am proud of myself that I did lose 75 lbs and went down 5 pant sizes.  I am proud of me.

With Inspiration And Determination You Can Get Results

15940461_10154478448933853_3879399576321855286_nHello everyone!  As you can see, this is a blog from me, Christine, Dave’s wife.  I know you have been reading about Dave’s journey into his health, fitness and taking up running.  I promise, he will be getting back to writing.

It’s been about a year since I wrote about my  journey.  I have struggled with my weight since my teenage years.  I have tried everything.  Some worked but as soon as you stop having a focus, guess what, the weight slowly starts creeping up again.  Sure, people always saw me as ‘the life of the party’ as I was always an extrovert.  But, deep down inside I knew what I really looked like.  I mean, I would hate to look at myself in the mirror.  I would wear baggy clothes.  Heck, when you are a size 26-28, I think all clothes are made baggy.

My inspiration, always first to God, is my wonderful loving husband, Dave.  You know his story.  He took up running, watched what he ate and was able to lose a lot of weight, get fit and be off his diabetes medication!

I saw how focus and determined he was.  And he kept sticking to it.  I first joined My Fitness Pal in June 2015 and started logging everything I ate and drank and the exercise I did.  Hey, walking counts!  I realized, it is about portion control.  You can eat almost what you like, as long as you don’t go over the calories they say you should have daily.  (You would think that because I have been a vegetarian for 25 years that I would weigh 100 lbs!  No, that isn’t the case!)  Then, in mid July 2015, we joined Planet Fitness.  Guess what?  I fell ‘in love’ with the weight strengthening machines.  At that Planet Fitness, I worked out on 16 machines.  We joined a new PF where we moved to and I do 18 machines.  I started with being able to do 20-25 lbs on the machines and now, I average 150 lbs!!  I also have a love/hate relationship with the darn Elliptical machine.

I do try to walk whenever I can.  In the winter, when it is too cold to go out, you will find me jogging in place watching a TV show or dancing around.  I hope no one is watching me through the windows!

It has been a struggle during the last 1 1/2 years.  Sure, frustration kicks in when you are staying at the same weight, or you might fluctuate between 2-3 lbs like a yo-yo.  Then, Dave took my photo last week, (the one on the right), and I actually really liked how I looked!  I realized the frustrations are all well worth it!

Sometimes, I still look at myself in the mirror and I guess I might see a glimpse of who I was.  I remind myself, that the only thing that changed is me on the outside.  I am still the nice and extroverted person on the inside.

The photo on the left is from Oct 2005.  The one on the right was from last week.  That’s 75 lbs lost, numerous inches, and a total of 5 -6 pant sizes down!!  And I lost 60 lbs and 4 pant sizes just in the last 1 1/2 years.  It took a lot of determination, sweat, patience and my husband Dave, who was my inspiration!

It doesn’t matter how old you are to finally do something and stick to it!  (Can you believe I just turned 49!  I feel like I am 29 years old.)  I am still on my journey.  I want to inspire others, especially women who struggle with their weight.  Lets do this and get healthy!

Latest Updates On Our Health Journey

latest comparison

Chris Comparison.jpg

I’ve just realized I haven’t blogged in quite a while.  Sorry about that!  So here’s my latest update on our health journey.

We went away on a sort of working vacation in May.  Although we managed to eat within calories most of the time, we were eating out every day.  We were also too busy to get in any real exercise until the last day or two.  After we came back I guess I slacked off on my running a little bit.  My weight crept back up around 5 lbs and I noticed my pants were starting to feel a little snug.  Having gone from size 40 to size 32 I am in no mood to undo all the hard work I’ve put in!

So we made a recommitment to get back to the grindstone.   I tightened up on my calories and got back to running.  Our local parks department is hosting a weekly 2 mile fun run.  I’ve been on three of them and each time I have been faster.  Last night the temperature at the start was 85 degrees.  Luckily the run happens at 8pm so the sun is close to the horizon.  At least I don’t have to deal with the full heat of the sun during my run.  This was still my hottest run ever and somehow it was also my fastest ever 2 mile run.  I came in at 17 minutes and 1.9 seconds.  My legs were like rubber as I crossed the finish line!  Last summer I did all my running on the treadmill.  I will still do a lot of my running on the treadmill but I am committed to doing as many of these fun runs as I can no matter how hot it gets.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

Even on the treadmill I am pushing my fitness.  I now run 3 miles on the hill function.  Which involves a lot of hills!

The net result of this is not only did I lose those extra 5 lbs but I am now .2 lbs away from my goal weight of 155!  Now I have to decide if I want to maintain at a range of 150-155lbs or 155-160lbs.  I’m not sure about that just yet.  I love that losing weight through calorie counting has allowed me complete control over my weight.  If I start to gain weight I know exactly what I need to do to get rid of those unwanted extra pounds.  I don’t need to panic or freak out and go back to my old ways.  I am committed to this for the rest of my life.  And my sugar levels are still great.  This morning my fasting sugar was 77.  I’m hopeful I can stay off medication for the rest of my life.

And Chris is doing great, too.  She is a BEAST at the gym!  She loves lifting weights and I am seeing a real change in the way she looks.  I’m proud of her for sticking with this.  She has struggled with her weight for most of her life and knowing I have inspired her to do this makes me feel proud of myself too.  I haven’t been an inspiration to many people in my life.  I love that we are in this together.  We hold each other accountable.  She doesn’t let me off with anything and I keep her going too.  Our relationship is stronger than ever.  We are both in this for life.  And I will post more often to share our journey.

Seeing Is Believing!

latest comparison

So I just turned 48 a few days ago.  On the 21st to be exact.  The photo on the right was taken that day.  I can’t stop looking at it.  Not because I’m vain or anything.  But because that one photograph sums up everything I have achieved in the past year.  The photo on the left was taken in 2009 when I was at my heaviest.  Just after I had been diagnosed a diabetic.  Looking back at my life then it seems it was almost inevitable that I would become diabetic.  Poor diet.  Lack of exercise.  Serious weight gain.  Becoming diabetic was a serious wake up call.  It took me a while to hear that call.  It was only when the doctor wanted to put me on a second medication that is linked with causing liver problems that I finally woke up and realized I had to do something about it.

So I took up running.  And watched my diet.  I have lost 35 lbs in the past year.  Sometimes when I look in the mirror I can’t see the weight loss.  I know I’ve lost weight.  I know my stomach  is a lot smaller, (I think I just have loose skin issues now which is really annoying because every other part of me is slim.)  But the brain seems to take a while to catch up with the eyes.  Judging from posts I’ve seen on the MyFitnessPal forums this seems to be a common phenomenon.  But in the photo on the right I can SEE how much my face has changed.  For me it sums up everything I’ve achieved in the past 12 months.   It’s a face I haven’t seen in over 20 years.  You see, I wasn’t always overweight.  In fact, all my life up to my mid 20’s I’d actually been pretty skinny.  I guess I slowed down, but didn’t change my eating habits to match.  So the weight gained.  Slowly at first.  But in the past ten years I had a dramatic weight gain.

But now I see my old face looking back at me.  A little older, perhaps.  A few wrinkles starting to show.  A few crows feet around the eyes.  But it’s ME.  The real me.  Not the bloated puffy face I’ve had to look at for a while.  It’s like looking at an old friend.  And I like what I see.  I like how I feel.  I’m so much more confident now when out in public.  This healthy lifestyle is amazing.  I just wish I’d started twenty years ago when the weight started creeping on.  I can’t change the past.  But I can make sure the old me stays the new me for the rest of my life.

Keeping Your Resolve

Zig Ziglar

Yes, I know I already posted a blog today but sometimes a topic for a blog comes to you and you just have to get it out there.  So I was thinking, it’s the season of the Resolutioners.  Those people who pack a gym for anything from 2 weeks to 2 months, determined to get healthy.  Then they quickly drop away.  But why do people find it so hard to stick to something that they know will do them good?

The first thing is you just can’t put a date on something like this.  If you decide, probably some time in December, that on January 1st you’re going to lose weight, quit smoking, work out, get a new job, whatever your resolution is, when that date rolls around you’re going to feel obligated to do it.  Because you said you would.  So this new thing comes from a sense of “I have to do it because I said I would.  It doesn’t really come from a sense of I want to do it, even though you probably DID want to do it when you made the resolution.  Basically it quickly becomes a chore.  Something you HAVE to do.  And nobody enjoys doing chores?

Am I right?

My becoming a runner didn’t come from a new years resolution.  I didn’t even plan to become a runner.  It just happened.  The running evolved slowly.   I used to walk laps around a small park just five minutes from home.  Then I began to run the last lap.  Then the last two laps.  Before long I was running more than walking.  By the time I called myself a runner I already had the habit of running.  Now I can just lace up my shoes and go out the door without really thinking about it.  I found I actually like running so keeping it going hasn’t been a chore.

If you’re going to wait for motivation to strike before getting out there and exercising, you’re not going to exercise very often.  Motivation is what gets you started.  But it’s fleeting and unreliable.

HABIT is what keeps you going.  When I started exercising last March it came from necessity.  Being diabetic and having the doctor wanting to put you on a second drug – one that’s strongly linked with causing liver problems – is a great motivator!  I went out to my local park every day, whatever the weather.  No excuses.

Timing is everything!  You can start every January 1st and give up by February or March 1st.  Until one year it clicks.  That one year your desire for change becomes stronger than your force of habit that keeps you doing what you always did.  When that spark happens you become unstoppable.  The doctor wanting to put me on a medication that could cause other serious health issues was a powerful enough spark to get me out of my comfort zone and make me change my habits drastically.  If that hadn’t happened I wonder if I would have lost that weight and started running.

If you’re the type who makes resolutions every year but can’t seem to keep them, you need to change your inner dialog.  Stop telling yourself I HAVE to do this.  Start saying I WANT to do this.  I WILL do this.  When you feel you WANT to do something you will find it much easier to keep it going.  Let’s face it we’ll always prioritize what we want to do over what we have to do.  It’s just human nature.

And look for the little victories.  When you’re trying to lose weight it’s easy to become obsessed with the scale.  If that scale doesn’t budge or, the horror, the scale starts to go up, it’s all too easy to just say “I can’t do this” and quit.  But the scale doesn’t tell the whole story.  People often go through a slight weight gain when they first start exercising.  But it usually comes off pretty quick.  It can be from water weight.  Pay less attention to what the scale tells you and more attention to how your clothes are fitting, or how you look in the mirror.  Clothes start to become loose, you can drop sizes pretty quick.  Your collar bone starts to poke through.  And your hip bones.  Nothing motivates more effectively than seeing success.  I was lucky.  Once I started running the pounds just seemed to fall away.  I went from size 38 jeans to size 32 in about 8 months.  If I didn’t have the success I had, then I can’t say for certain I would have stayed the course.  I became a runner for specific reasons.  To lose weight.  To get fit.  To get off diabetes medication.  The last one I achieved in just two months.  The rest fell into place.  Now I’m a runner for life because I SAW the results and I KNOW what running has done for me.

What running is continuing to do for me.

Whatever your resolution is try to pick something you can enjoy.       Not everyone will enjoy running.  Maybe you like to walk, run, dance, play football, play basketball.  Basically, just move.  Any movement beats sitting on the couch.   Maybe this year you will find your spark.  When that happens you will be unstoppable!

New Year, New Goals!

So 2015 has passed and is one for the record books.  It was a mixed year with a lot of stress and I had to go through eye surgery to remove cataracts twice.  But from a health point of view, other than the eye surgery, it has been a very good year.  We’ve both lost weight and we’ve both gotten much more active.  Now it’s time to ramp it up.

In order to make sure I don’t lose my focus I have set myself a goal of running 700 miles this year.  As someone on Twitter pointed out, it’s the equivalent of me running to Pittsburgh and back!  It’s a daunting number but my runs are starting to get longer now so I know it’s doable.  I’ve already run twice this year.  I ran 6 miles on January 1st, to start the year off right.  And then on the 3rd I ran 8 miles.  So I only have 686 miles to go.

Christine loves working out at the gym.  When she first started going she could only lift 20 lbs.  Now on some of the machines she can lift 90 or even 100 lbs!  I’m going to have to work to keep up with her!  While I also use the weight machines, I spend more time doing cardio, especially the Dreadmill.  For some reason I have a block with that.  I ran 4 miles on it last week and that took everything I had.  I can run further outside than I can on the treadmill.  Maybe it has something to do with boredom.  I need to buy something so I can listen to music while on the treadmill.

We both want to wish our followers a Happy New Year and we look forward to sharing our health journeys over the coming year.  Do you have goals set for the year ahead?  We’d love to hear them!

Happy New Year!

running shoes.jpg

I would like to wish all my followers a happy new year.  Thank you for reading and I’m looking forward to sharing my running adventures in 2016.

It’s funny how this blog has evolved from being a business related blog to something that is basically a journal of health and wellness.  I couldn’t be happier that this has happened.

As we prepare to bid adieu to 2015 I can’t help feeling a little sad.  This year has been good to us, and to me personally.  It has been a while since I could say that.  We’ve had a few rough years previously.  But I’ve gone from being on the verge of taking two drugs for my type two diabetes to taking no drugs at all.  My sugar is under control.  Only this morning my fasting sugar was 76.  I owe it mainly to two things.  MyFitnessPal and running.

Running especially has transformed me.  I’ve lost over 30 lbs.  I’m much fitter and happier with the way I look and feel.  When I first started out in March I couldn’t even run a quarter of a mile.  But a few days ago I ran my first 8 mile run.  I still can’t believe I actually ran 8 miles.  It shows my fitness is coming up.

For Christmas I finally got a proper pair of running shoes.   I went with ASICS because I’ve read a lot about them on Twitter and in Runners World magazine and they seem very popular.  I had my first run in them tonight.  A 4 mile run on the treadmill.  They certainly felt much more comfortable than the cheap pair of sneakers I’ve been running in up to now.  I will give my new running shoes their inaugural outdoor run tomorrow.  I have to run 5 miles to reach a new milestone (pun fully intended.)  This will be the first time I hit 50 miles in a single month.  That 8 mile run certainly helped.

It’s also a nice feeling to know I’ve inspired my wife, Christine, on her own journey to health.  She has lost 22 lbs since July and gone down 3 pant sizes.  She is also a demon at the gym.  She’s stronger than she used to be and loves to lift weights.  She’s giving me a run for my money!  Her blood pressure numbers are coming down.  When you have someone who’s on the same journey it makes a huge difference.  We encourage each other.  We push each other when one of us doesn’t feel in the mood to exercise.

So it’s goodbye to 2015 and hello 2016.  I have so many running goals to hit next year.  To keep increasing my distances.  To finally run my first official race.  Maybe to answer the question that keeps lurking at the back of my mind:  Can I really run a marathon?  I have my Twitter followers to thank for that.  I’m following so many people who have run marathons and the way they talk about it makes me want to do it!  It probably won’t happen next year.  Maybe 2017.  Who knows?

Whatever I decide I will be sharing on this blog.  So, again, thank you for following my journey and I look forward to sharing more.

See you all next year!

Dave

MY Health Journey – One Year And Counting

It’s hard to believe that it was a year ago this month I received the final kick up the butt I needed to make healthy changes to my life.  Last December my A1C was 7.2 and the doctor wanted to put me on a second medication to control my diabetes.  As I had already been on Metformin since August 2008, I did not want to take more drugs.  Especially when research showed that drug was strongly linked with causing liver damage.  That was when I knew I had to change my habits.

Fast forward to March 2015 when the weather finally thawed after the frigid winter from hell.  I started walking every day, then began incorporating running into my new regime.  The running built slowly, but now it’s an integral part of my weekly routine.  I try to run at least 3 times a week.  Last month my A1C was 5.5 and I’ve been off Metformin since April.  I still test my fasting sugar almost every day and it’s averaging in the 70’s and 80’s.

My cataract surgery has slowed up my fitness routine as I’m not allowed to lift anything over 20 lbs for two weeks after surgery.  Next Wednesday will be the two week point after my second surgery so I’m planning to go to the gym and begin to lift weights again.  I can’t wait!  (Play on words fully intended!)

It’s always the way.  When you know you can’t do something you want to do it more!  I hadn’t realized how much I’ve come to enjoy lifting weights, but I really miss it.  It makes me push the cardio more.

I lost another pound today.  I’m now 30 lbs lighter than I was when I started this journey in March.  I just want to lose another 5 lbs and really firm up what’s left.  My fitness lifestyle is so ingrained into who I am now that I really miss it when I can’t do any one part of it.  I just wish I’d started this 20 years ago when I started to gain weight.  I can’t change the past.  All I can change is what I do today.  And how I affect tomorrow.  Fitness and health are part of what defines me today.  I know I will never go back to who I was.

An Update

I haven’t blogged for a while.  I’m sorry about that.  I really need to do better.  I have some cool updates to share.

I still run.  I can run four miles now.  I run in a local park.  The scenery is nice and someone was kind enough to mark out the mileage so I can tell exactly how far I’m running.  The other day the temperature was in the low 60’s with a clear blue sky.  I took advantage.  I can’t believe I was able to run outside in shorts and a t shirt in late November and I didn’t even feel the slightest bit cold.  During the second half of my run I happened to glance down.  The sun was behind me casting a shadow ahead of me.  For a moment I wondered who the shadow belonged to as it was so skinny!  Then it dawned on me.  It was my shadow!  This was a great affirmation of how far I’ve come and how much weight I’ve lost.  When you look in the mirror and you’re looking at yourself it can be hard at times to see just how much progress you’ve made.   I swear there are times I look in the mirror and my stomach looks almost the same as it used to look when I was much heavier.  Then there are times I look and I can really see how much I’ve lost. I still have a bit of a belly.  It’s the one thing that’s holding me back.

Why is it the stomach is the first to grow and the last to go?

Weight loss is a funny thing.  It’s a psychological challenge as well as physical.  But seeing my skinny shadow really brought home how well I’m doing.  My legs looked so thin and my sides are so much narrower.  That was a nice moment.

I’ve already blogged about how in December my A1C was 7.2 and then in June it was down to 5.8, the top end of the normal range.  Well last month it was down to 5.5 so I’m well inside normal now.  I’ve now lost 27 lbs since I started in March.  The weight is coming off slower now.  I’m sitting here typing this in size 32 jeans and they fit perfectly.  Just a few weeks ago they were too tight to wear. In March I was in size 40.  That’s quite a drop.  I want to lose another five to ten pounds, while firming my body up.  We both go to a gym and I run outside 3 to 4 times a week.  The challenge is going to be keeping my running going through the winter.

This is my life now.  I really wish I’d started this twenty  years ago when I started to gain weight.  But I can’t change the past.  All I can do is make the necessary changes to ensure my future is as fit and healthy as possible.

Challenge accepted!