Getting started is the hardest part

It’s been a full week since I’ve been writing. Tomorrow marks my first official weigh in being “back on the wagon.” I’d like to think it’s understandable that I’m nervous. What to expect, because I know that getting started is the hardest part of any challenge!

I’m certainly not expecting some incredibly decrease in weight. I know my body, and I know how it works. It usually takes a few weeks for me to actually see some weight loss. And even when I finally do see the numbers go down, they’re HUGE ridiculous numbers. Like 5 pounds in a week.

I’ve been doing this stop again/start again thing for quite some time, and I already know that those big number drops are more than likely nothing more than water weight. I had actually considered not weighing in for the first few weeks, just because I know this.

I don’t want to get all excited for some significant loss of however many pounds. I’m looking to lose fat, not just numbers. But, of course, I’m going to. I already know I’m going to hop on that scale and see how I’m doing. Curiosity? Sure.

But, considering being sick, I’ve been trying to bust by butt. I’ve been drinking more water, attempting to exercise as much as I can handle, and I’ve been logging my calorie intake as well.

So I’m optimisitic that this is a good start. Jumping in with both feet is the way to go.

But wow, I’ve went so long with not caring what I’m eating, that watching what I’m eating is almost as hard as attempting to be active. Eating whatever I want, whenever I want, is a really hard habit to break. Even harder than not biting my nails! I want to go back to when I stopped and demand I keep going.

Hindsight is 20/20. Right?

But at least this time I’ll remember what it felt like to lose a considerable amount of weight. I suppose it’ll be like a reminder that I did it once, and I can do it again. Plus, when I get back to those numbers it’ll be motivation not to stop. I know how it feels to gain back a good portion of what I worked so hard to lose, and I don’t ever want to be in this position again.

I can fully understand why so many people gain back the weight they’ve lost! Sure, a good 40 pounds of that was while I was pregnant. Insatiable cravings for anything covered in BBQ sauce and caramel corn will do a small part of that. The larger part was when my “only in moderation” switch was set firmly in the “off” position. That part was all me. Can’t blame pregnancy for that little tidbit.

Stupid little switch.

I always used to talk about “this is a lifestyle change” which is it. I still agree 100% with that statement. But when I was writing that I had thought I’d gotten to that point where my lifestyle changes were something I was going to be able to continue for the rest of my life.

When I “stopped” the first time around, I can easily attribute it to boredom. I got bored making the same things over and over again. I got bored working out the same way. I got too complacent.

Yeah, I don’t do well with change. But I also don’t do too well with complacency. I’m a complicated person (read: My life makes absolutely no sense). And combating that, is something I’ve got to figure out.

I don’t want to lose weight just to look back and get all angry at myself because “I lost 100 pounds and then screwed up.” I’ve only gained back 40, I couldn’t imagine gaining back 100 pounds that I worked my tailfeathers off for.

So, I need to be determined. And resiliant. And constantly thinking of new ways to stay interested in being healthy. And not just throwing my hands up in the air when things get too boring.

Variety is the spice of life. Right?

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Bad Blogger! Bad! Part 2

So, yesterday I left you at a cliff hanger. Am I really narcissitic enough to think that you out there are clinging on my every word, waiting desperately for another post from your favorite blogger like it’s crack (or swiss cake rolls, in my experience)? Anyone? Anyone?

Beuller?

Beuller?

No? Ok, maybe that’s just me.

Ahem, anyways. I said yesterday that something amazing, scary, life changing, (yada yada yada) happened. And I wasn’t being super overly dramatic, at least not this time. If you haven’t already guessed… here you go.

One month smiles

See that cute face right there?

We had a baby! Cue the fan fare!

Her name is Jordin, and she’s a firecracker! Her big brother loves her to the moon and back. And we’re super lucky. Super, super, lucky.

Whew.

So, now things are getting back on track, we’re feeling less stressed on the day to day. What isn’t getting back on track is my weight. Ohhhh, the weight.

I am a stress eater who was pregnant. So can you guess what happened? Yeah, I gained a crapton of weight.

Seriously.

Crapton.

Definition: Craptop. (crap-ton) Noun: Equal to four shitloads

When we found out I was pregnant I weighed 198. Considering I last left you at 194, gaining only 4 pounds in 6 months through all the stress we were under was remarkable for me.

What wasn’t remarkable how much I gained and how quickly. By the time I had Jordin I was 248. Yeah, I gained 50 pounds exactly. Before anyone starts screaming about how much a pregnant woman should gain…I know. My doctors advised me on it. And yes, I was 15 pounds over what a average weight pregnant lady should gain, let alone someone who is already overweight, But I got big!

Last day pregnant

See? And from the front, I looked even bigger. Yay!

But don’t be too alarmed, I’ve lost a little bit (with a catch). It hasn’t been my priority, but I did.

So for my new, official (practically starting over) weigh in.

In true Plumpville tradition…

Last Weigh-In (April 2014): 194.3
This Weigh-In: 232.3
Total gained: 38 lbs

And… quadruple ouch.

Now, going into the OR at 248 and now, nearly three months later sitting at 16 pounds lighter would be an awesome claim. But, alas, I’m not even going to pretend that I’ve lost 16 pounds. I’ve definitely lost something but let’s not get too excited.

Figure at least 8 of those pounds were all baby, and at LEAST 5 of that was all the stuff that comes along with giving birth, I won’t give details…all you moms and dads out there who know what exactly is entailed will know. Those of you who don’t, throw up a quick Google search, ask your parents, or think back to middle school health class.

So that really only leaves about 5 pounds. 3 pounds lost in 2 months. Can’t complain!

Wait.

Yes, I can.

Now lets consider retaining water, and boobs the size of Texas.

Yeah. So of all the fat I’ve lost (because let’s face it, the goal here is to lose fat… not non-fat weight)… nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero.

There is a reason why doctors advise only gaining a certain amount of weight… those are all health reasons. Safety for yourself and the baby being numbers one and two (not necessarily in that order).

For me, I’m glad I had a perfectly healthy, beautiful baby girl… but I realize now vanity is defintiely one of those.

I gained WEIGHT not baby and belly. My lovehandles expanded to respemble something akin to floating noodles, and my old favorite pair of pink skinny jeans barely button (and the seams…those poor, poor seams).

Let’t not even get started on my knees, back, and ankles. Quintuple ouch. Although that ouch is actual physical pain. Yeah. Not fun.

So here I am. Back, back, back on the wagon. I was cleared for exercise six weeks after my c-section, then some minor complications with BC (I’ll get on that at a later time) made the thoughts of situps or anything that would remotely force me to stretch and flex my lower stomach basically nauseating.

But I’m feeling better, physically ready and mentally sooooo ready. Whereas a few weeks ago, I wasn’t. Especially not physically.

So, this time around, I’m starting heavier than I was the first time I started this blog. I’m only 34 pounds down from my heaviest weight, and 50 pounds up from my lightest.

I’ve got a long way to go, and in the last couple days I’ve realized how difficult this is going to be again. But I’m determined.

So here goes nothing.

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Back on track.

Perspective. Deeeep Perspective.

I’ve been thinking a lot of how I “used” to be. I am saying “used” very loosely. That part of Nicole is still in there…I doubt she’ll ever completely go away… but I’ve been thinking quite a bit of the 264lbs Nicole. The things I used to do…especially with my relationship to food.

I’ve done that hiding in the bathroom…stressing out while scarfing down leftover Taco Bell so that no one would see or know what I was doing. Or eating mounds of food and using the excuse of “I haven’t eaten anything today, I’m starving.” Or those times where I would seriously contemplate which junk food is cheapest so I can get more of it. Little Debbie/Hostess snacks were great for that. Five bucks would give me over 2500 calories worth of Swiss Cake Rolls.

It was something that I didn’t even really think about. Embarrassing really. I still have moments, where I just want to throw my hands up and say screw it. Who really cares if I get fat again? Does it really matter? It’s so hard, maybe I should give up.

They’re almost poisoned thoughts. They are those thoughts that make the urge to sit there and eat a pan of brownies to myself. Or make me want to hit up Wendy’s and get the Double Baconator…fries…shake…and while I’m at it might as well grab a Chicken Sandwhich too.

It takes a lot to get out of that funk…there are some days I don’t even know where I get the “strength” not to do something like that…and honestly, some days I fail.

And really, it’s the days I fail that show me how far I have gotten. Yeah, I still get the self loathing that I did before. But instead of the “You’re fat and disgusting” kind of self loathing, it’s the “why would you have done that, you’ve done so good and look what you’ve done.”

My self loathing is more positive…if that makes any shred of sense. Instead of bashing on my body self esteem issues…I bash on how I strayed away from progress. It’s a nice change. It’s like constructive criticism from myself.

Not only that, but days that I fail puts the past into perspective. When I’m sitting there and I eat myself to overly stuffed, you know that “Ugh, if I take one more bite I’m going to puke” overly stuffed. It’s heartbreaking, I don’t like feeling like that. Where I know that I have eaten too much, and I can feel it. It’s not a good feeling.

It is one of those bittersweet moments. I hate the fact that I have eaten so much, it doesn’t feel good physically or emotionally. But it does make me feel good in comparison to four years ago when I would have to eat twice as much food to get to that point.

Don’t get me wrong, I can still put away some food. Definitely. I’m not trying to claim that my stomach has magically shrunk or anything. I don’t even know if that is physically possible. But I can now tell myself to stop. Four years ago, I couldn’t. Perhaps “wouldn’t” is more appropriate.

I hate talking about it. I would much rather just pretend that it never happened. The thought of how I was four years ago seriously makes me want to hide. I am, shall I say, ashamed of where I was.

Sitting down to eat and plowing through seconds, thirds, and fourths of food… still being hungry but pretending I’m not. Then just getting up in the middle of the night when everyone is asleep hoping there were leftovers in the fridge that I could gulp down. Or perhaps, more embarrassing moments of hiding food in my purse, or hoping no one can somehow look at my stomach and see exactly the amount of food I shoved down my throat. Or using “I’m on my period” as an excuse to eat my weight in chocolate and cake.

I know I’ve learned. Very seldom do I actually want seconds. I don’t remember the last time I had “thirds.” I don’t remember the last time I used the “I haven’t eaten anything all day” excuse. I can tell myself when I have eaten enough, and I it’s pretty rare that I get to that “I’m going to puke” moment. Yeah, it still happens…but not that often. And that is a good feeling. Food hasn’t seen the inside of purse in YEARS. Which is amazing.

I’m doing better. It’s always a good thing to reflect on where you were at one point before continuing on. It’s a nice motivator. When I’m sitting there in front of 2,000 calories of food…palms itching to dive in… and that thought passes “No, you haven’t lost 80 pounds to eat like this.” It actually feels good to be able to get up and throw it away. Yeah, waste of food…definitely. But I would rather waste food in the garbage than waste food down my throat. Or after I’ve already eaten enough and I’m standing over the stove picking at the leftovers (before Josh has a chance to throw it away) it’s a strange (but great) feeling to be able to tell myself “You’ve eaten enough, you’re full and content…no need to keep going.

Is it a lack of modesty to be proud of myself? Honestly, don’t answer that because I don’t really care. I want to be proud of myself. I want to be able to look back and tell myself that I have done awesome and things are changing. I love being able to sit there and look at my plate and be proud of what I am eating…rather than wanting to hide away to eat. I’m getting there…and sure, sometimes I definitely lag behind, but I’m improving. I’m not a super woman, I don’t have superhuman self control. I’m just me. Silly little Nicole, who still fights with junk food, still wants to sit down for Thanksgiving dinner and not consider what I am eating. I still stand in front of the fridge at 3:00am when I get up to use the bathroom…9/10 I close the fridge empty handed (and empty stomach for that matter.)

Perhaps the point is that I’m still “Nicole.” I still have hard times, I still have those moments of weakness…but I’ve come to realize that I haven’t referred to myself as “Fat, disgusting Nicole” in a long-long-long time. And it feels incredible.

News!!! (Weigh-in day)

Today was a busy day!!!! I had my doctor’s appointment, all’s well. So far, of course. I just have to return to get my TB test results, and yes…there was a needle involved. The drug test was just the cup one, it was kind of cool to watch them actually do the test. But I passed that one (dur), passed my physical (yay), and then it was time for the TB test. They ended up taking a syringe with a itty bitty needle and injecting the skin in my arm with a little bit. There was actually a little bubble under my skin…ew.

Yeah… I cried. Like a little girl. The lady who did it was incredibly nice about it, she actually let me hold her hand. Haha. Yeah, I’m a baby about needles.

Then Brittany (my little sis) went and took her drivers test… she is now a licensed driver!!!!! Yay! Congrats to her!!!!

It was a pretty good day!!!! Also, I got weighed at the doctor’s office…. take a while guess….

186.6

YAY!!!!! That is what the scale at the doctor’s office read…my scale reads 187.2. So my scale is about .6 pounds off, since their is perfectly calibrated, and my scale cost me about 12.00. Haha.

In fact, I’m only .2 pounds away from where I left off, when I deserted my site. Ha.

I’m a happy camper. I did find a web site that tells me how to calibrate my scale. I’m going to do that tonight, should be interesting…it’s one of those digital scales…lucky me.

But I’m happy. Actually…very happy. It’s been a really really good day (aside from the needle 🙁 ).

On other news, I have been going a tad crazy with the arts and crafts. I’ve been making necklaces like nobody’s business. I’m planning on selling them on an Etsy shop, whooo hooo. I’m not that big on wearing necklaces…so I made all these and decided “Hey, I’m never gonna wear them…might as well sell them. I highly doubt that I’m going to make a huge profit from them… but who cares? I’ll end up putting whatever money I make back, that way I can save up to go to Fitbloggin this year… I can’t go this time around…poop.

Though, yesterday I mentioned a colorful and sweat inducing thing I want to do…

The Color Run!!!!!

I had never heard about it until I saw it posted on a fellow weight loss blogger’s page. It looked like so much fun… so I looked it up.

It’s seems pretty much awesome! You basically wear as much white as possible to this race and throughout the race everyone gets doused in colored cornstarch at pre-determined places at the race. Off the top of my head I believe it’s at the beginning of the race and each km afterwards. And each racer is given a pouch of color.

It sounds like so much fun!!!!! Not only that, but it’s a non-timed race. Which I love the idea of a no pressure race. It’s one of the reason’s why I opted out of the Cherry Festival race. Definitely no pressure. I love that!

The one that is coming up is the day of my birthday! It’ll be a pretty awesome “Happy Birthday Nicole” kind of thing! It’s in Cincinnati…only about an 8 hour drive from me.

It’s something that I really really really want to do…so we’ll see. I’m not making any promises, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to make it.

So yes…that’s my day/news in a nutshell. I know I’ve been seriously lacking in the picture department of things, and I promise I’ll get back on track with that.

Anyone out there planning on going to that particular Color 5k???

Motivation People – Gretchen Powell

I know that today is my weigh-in day, but I had something better that I wanted to share. I’ve been super excited about this post, in fact I’ve been so excited that it borders on insane. Cut me some slack, may I present to you…

Motivational people part TWO!

This one I kind of fell into purely on accident. A little over a month after the birth of my website I stumbled across this super amazing blogger. Here’s how it started. Allow me a moment of a convo post.

Me: Hey, what’s that movie where that geeky dad makes his kids tiny?
Josh: What?
Me: You know, that movie with the science geek dad and he, like, shrinks his kids.
Josh: Honey, I shrunk the kids.
Me: No it isn’t.
Josh: Yes it is.

So, of course, I had to google it. And because of one little typo, I got a tad sidetracked… And enter Gretchen!

She is the proud owner of Honey, I shrunk the Gretchen, which was funny to me since I had just made the leap into website stardom (if you consider 25 views a month stardom). I’m not going to recap every post that she has ever done (posting nearly every day for the last two years…that would take a while.) I just wanted to share some of the reasons why I find her so motivational.

She is totally an inspiration (check out her comments if you want proof) and for good reason.

Back in August 2010 she weighed 246 pounds. She took that leap on to the weight loss track and took off. She originally started her blog to keep herself accountable, which has obviously worked since she has lost close to 60 pounds!

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She isn’t one of those people who have spent a fortune on weight loss programs. No Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, or Nutrisystem for this girl. Nothing but eating better, exercising, and a good mindset, which as you all know…I honestly believe this is the way to go.

Her blog (obviously) details her weight loss but there is a nice mix of her personal life in it. She writes about anything from her two adorable pups – Harry and Daxter- or being a Harry Potter Fanatic (be still my beating heart!), or even the more personal posts that take some guts to publish. She puts herself out there.

Which is one of the reasons why she is so motivational to me.

She is relatable. I don’t know how many times I have read a post of hers that sparks that “I know how you feel” part of my brain. I think that is what gives her a leg up against other bloggers. It’s great to read about someone’s accomplishments or setbacks and use what they are writing to better your own weight loss strategy. And she does exactly that. For example, she had written a post talking about the kinds of effects of eating poorly has on her, personally. And after reading that post it opened up a slew of things in my mind. Could eating poorly be causing my own sleep or skin issues? It was a good realization that eating well is about more than just losing weight.

A good majority of her posts are like that. You read it and it instantly sparks something in your mind. A good quality for a blog to have, in my opinion.

Aside from her recipes (um yeah, kale chips! Mango guacamole!), exciting aspects of her life (not too long ago…news that she is going to be a speaker at the Healthy Living Summit!!!!)…I actually really look forward to her posts on staying active.

As much as she talks about hating exercise, she’s pretty darned good at staying active and reaching the goals I don’t have the guts to grasp! She has been in several races (5ks, a Navy Five Miler, and a 15K) and not too long ago she participated in the Reach the Beach relay, where she and a group of other bloggers collectively ran 200 miles. Let’s all have a “wha???” moment.

Now, I’m a self-proclaimed exercise hater. It’s nice to read about someone who hates exercise as much as I do, and still gets out there and do it. She just recently did a post on what kind of exercising that she does, and to say the least it made me get a little “ok, Nicole…gotta step it up. This is possible.”

Gretchen’s writing style makes it so that anyone who visits her blog can find something that will get through to them, which many blogs are lacking. No matter if you are looking to eat healthier, exercise more, gawk at super cute puppies, or get some ideas for your upcoming Harry Potter party (guilty!), there is something for you!

So, I contacted Gretchen with a couple of “interview” questions to share with you all.

Let the Q&A commence

What is your number one food weakness?
Anything made from potatoes. French fries, chips, mashed, baked, roasted… I LOVE that sneaky little carb. And of course, inherently potatoes aren’t bad for you, but I find it extremely difficult to limit my portioning when it comes to eating them. I definitely have to watch myself.

Who is your weight loss blogger inspiration?
I’ve had the fortune to meet quite a few weight loss bloggers through my own blog, and find so many of them inspiring, it’s hard to choose just one! I would say that if I had to pick just one for today, it would be Beth from bethsjourney.com. She’s lost almost 90 lbs since beginning her own journey and has completed multiple half-marathons. She’s figuring out how to maintain now, and still struggles with a lot of the same things that I do when it comes to food. I’m always most inspired by weight loss bloggers who keep it real, and show you that losing weight isn’t easy, because it isn’t!

What have you taken from writing your blog? Keeping yourself accountable, inspiring people?
I started this blog purely for the sake of keeping myself accountable. Where in the past, I kept all my dieting attempts to myself (and those were all a bust, of course) I figured I should take the opposite approach this time and tell EVERYONE, including the interwebs! It’s worked, and it’s what keeps me going even when I think that I want to quit. My progress may have slowed down significantly, but it says a lot that I’m still in this fight at all.

You’ve done quite a few races, what’s the best advice you can give someone to do a race?
Racing for me has always been a fun way to challenge myself and ensure that I’m staying physically active. I’ve gotten better about exercising just for the sake of exercising now, with a regular gym routine, but for a long time if I wasn’t training for a race, I wasn’t doing anything. I hate running, but I love racing! So my advice is to just go for it. Start with a 5K, and see how you like it. I couldn’t even run a single mile for most of my adult life, and finishing that first 3.1 race is still one of my most proud moments.

What are your go-to exercises?
I’ve recently gotten into strength training at the gym, and my favorite go-tos are the leg press machine and doing various arm, back, and shoulder moves with the free weights. I’m still a weakling, but even just toting around those 10- and 15-lb weights makes me feel strong!

What has helped you lose weight the most? Exercise? Eating better? Thinking differently?
Hands down, the most important thing in terms of my weight loss has been changing my eating habits. I always say that weight loss is like, 90% what you eat. Obviously, exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle in general, and it’s how we look toned and whatnot, but when it comes down to the sheer act of losing pounds, it’s about what you’re putting in your mouth. I struggled a lot with food issues, overeating, binge eating, and the like before I embarked on this journey. Cutting through all of that, fueling my body properly, remembering how delicious it is to eat REAL food, that’s what it’s come down to for me.

You chose 165lbs as your goal weight, now that you are only about 20 pounds away has that number changed at all?
Back when I was 60 pounds heavier, 165 pounds seemed like an impossible goal. I mean, that’s a lot of weight to lose in total. I thought that it would seem easier to achieve the closer I got to it, and that was true to a point, but honestly now that it’s in reach it seems like it’s further and further away all time. There is definitely a reason why they say that the last 10, 15, or 20 pounds is the hardest to lose. I honestly think that at this point it’s more about how I feel in my body, and how I look, rather than about a specific weight. If I only make it down to 172 but feel slammin’ hot, I think I’d be okay with that. If I make it to 165 and still feel like I could be healthier, well, then I’d have to reevaluate things too. It’s all up in the air at this point.

How is 246 pound Gretchen different from the Gretchen today?
I think a better question might be to ask how ISN’T she different, haha. I’ve changed in so many ways, I can barely keep track. My relationships with food, my body, my friends, my family… all of that has changed (for the better, of course!) since embarking on this journey. I’m more open to taking risks, making changes, getting out there, and living my life.

Do people treat you differently with your current weight loss?
For the people who’ve known me all along, I’d say no. Of course my friends and acquaintances are very complimentary and flattering when they comment on my weight loss, but it’s not like they’re treating me like a different person altogether or anything. When it comes to how I interact with strangers though, I don’t know. Maybe it’s different. It might just have been my own low self-confidence from back when I was obese, but I always felt like there was someone who was judging me, gawking at me, pitying me. Nowadays, I definitely don’t feel that way!

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If you allow me a moment of mushy-ness. Gretchen is one of those people who has helped me see that I can overcome any obstacle that is thrown at me. That losing weight is, of course, a battle…but it’s possible to do. As long as I have half the drive that she has, I know I’ll be ok. She’s showed a great level of perseverance. No matter what set backs she has she doesn’t give up, you know, that “keep on keeping on” attitude. When she accomplishes something she lets us know that it’s perfectly ok to be proud of yourself! I’ve learned so much from her, and never having met her…I’d say that’s a pretty big deal. If you give her blog a shot, I’m sure that you will feel the same way.

I really recommend you go and visit her blog if you haven’t already. She’s incredibly nice, again just check out her comments for proof. I’m willing to bet you will learn something that you don’t already know. She is honest with her readers. Sometimes blunt, often serious, frequently funny, her blog is definitely a must read. Go check it out now…in case you missed it, she’s over at honeyishrunkthegretchen.com!!!

I wanted to throw a super huge thank you to Gretchen for allowing me to do this post on her. I’ll admit it took me a while to get the guts to actually ask her if I can do this, and I hope I didn’t disappoint!!!

All pictures are property of Gretchen (dur). I have permission to use them, so don’t call me a thief! Well, except for her header, so I suppose you can call me a thief for that one.:)