30 January 2013

a case of the mondays

The last few days have been....interesting. There have been some changes going on in my world as of late, both online and off, and my word of the year is definitely being tested. Monday, especially, was a day that required a lot of deep breathing and patience. It's one of those situations where the things you want to happen quickly don't and the things you aren't yet prepared for hit you over the head with how quickly the arrive.


Luckily the online changes are fun and exciting: there is a blog redesign in the works and I'm so looking forward to everything coming together. Helps to balance out the other things just a bit.

In the past, this is an instance where my anxiety and stress levels were so high I traditionally would have turned to food to calm myself. Instead, I've turned to fitness as a means of exerting some of the nervous energy.

(Okay. Not entirely true. My coworker brought in this to.die.for German chocolate cake yesterday. Have you ever been in a circumstance where you lose all appetite from stress? Like that time I starved myself for three days after a breakup? Right, this was that sort of situation, only work related, and upon receiving good news I felt such a wave of relief that as soon as I saw that cake I just kinda dived right in head first and had a small piece. But I'd gone for a run that morning (see: exerting nervous energy) and tracked everything and skipped the roll I brought to go with my soup for dinner so it was all good.)

Monday morning I also hopped on the scale to see I'd gone up half a pound, and while I know in the grand scheme of things it's not that big of a deal, I went up 0.8 last week and I can't really account for either gain, however small. I can handle one random week and know they happen from time to time, but I'm not okay with it happening two weeks in a row. Thanks to my Polar FT4 I have a better idea of how many calories I'm putting out and I've always been a religious tracker. Of course, I'm getting closer to goal which means it's  going to get harder to shed weight, plus I recently added kettlebells to my routine and I know that when I really started running a year ago I gained weight then, too. Regardless, I can certainly tell clothes are fitting slightly better, even if the number on the scale isn't supporting that.

I'm also in 10K training mode so I'm working out more often than I have in a long time and as food is fuel, this could just be something as simple as needing to eat more.

Huh. Maybe that German chocolate cake will end up being a blessing is disguise.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

28 January 2013

if the shoe fits

Recently I've noticed that the outsides of my pinkie toes have developed calluses. More than just an annoyance, they are sometimes painful, especially after a workout that involved my beloved Scott shoes. Often it was so bad that I couldn't wear certain pairs of dress shoes to work after a run because of the pain. It took me an admittedly long time to make the connection between the pain and my running shoes and it really only occurred to me once I realized the size was all wrong.

I purchased my Scotts back in April and was measured at a size 9 1/2. Since then my feet have shrunk considerably. I don't mean where my shoes are a teeny bit loose but I can still make them work. I'm talking two sizes, down to a 7 or 7/12 depending on the shoe. Wearing them I couldn't feel the size difference but apparently my feet could, as my poor lil pinkie toes were being rubbed raw, literally, with every run.

Size aside, I was due for new ones anyway. Running shoes are a bit like tires in that they wear down and need replacing. (I believe the rule is every 300-400 miles depending on factors, like if you run on a treadmill versus road, etc.) A week or so ago, a certain fella who shall henceforth be referred to as Bruce Wayne told me that a nearby New Balance store was going out of business and having a ginormous sale. So on Thursday, thanks to a half day at work, I headed to the mall to see what they had.

Of course I had to put my #sweatpink laces on

Being that the sale had been going on for awhile, stock was limited but I knew what I was looking for. Specifically flat soles, like my Scott shoes. At New Balance that would be their Minimus line and luckily they still had some available for purchase, including the insanely bright neon pink pair I purchased. I tried a couple of pairs on, but the Ionix had just what I was looking for, including the flat bottoms but with stability at the heel. It was a bit of an impulse buy because I didn't set out that day to buy shoes, but with the going out of business sale I got an insanely sweet deal, too.

Friday morning was a training run for my upcoming 10K and I was super excited to try out my new shoes. As soon as the run was over I knew I had made the right decision in purchasing them. It's my very first pair of NB's and I am definitely in lurve.  I'm sad to see my Scott shoes go, but I like knowing there are now at least two companies and specific pairs out there that fit my running needs.

Do you have a favorite brand of running shoes? 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

25 January 2013

how to become a morning exerciser

When it comes to exercise, you are usually either a morning person or an evening person. Me, I'm a morning person. There have been times when I've worked out in the afternoon or after work when necessary, but generally speaking I much prefer to get my fitness on in the am hours. That way it's done and out of the way and I don't have to worry about it or have it hanging over my head.

It's like this: if I burn some calories when I first wake up, then I can feel fully justified in spending a good two hours on the couch watching a movie or binging on the latest television show I've discovered with my Amazon Prime membership (hellooooooo American Horror Story). If I don't workout, then I'll spend that time on the couch saying how I should be working out instead, thereby distracting me from the awesome fabulousness of Jessica Lange as Sister Jude or the fact that Frances Conroy's Angel of Death would make a bad ass Halloween costume (yes, it's January but I love All Hallows Eve so much I think this far ahead).


Do the Math
To get the most out of your am workout, you're going to need to be well-rested. Without a good night's sleep you will have an even more difficult time waking up early, plus once you start working out you'll be sluggish and tired and probably not pushing yourself as much as you need to. Perhaps even to the point where the entire workout is counterproductive. This means that you may need to embrace your inner old man or old woman and go to sleep at an absurdly early time.

Best way to do this is work backwards: For starters, figure out what time you'll need to wake up to give yourself enough time to get ready and get in a decent workout while also taking into account possible travel time. (Give yourself time to actually wake up, too. Even though my alarm goes off at 6:30, I still probably spend another 5-7 minutes in bed before I get up and at 'em.) Then figure out what time you'll need to go to sleep to get in a good seven to eight hours. From there start small: if you're used to going to bed after midnight, you aren't going to suddenly transition to a 10:30 pm curfew. Each night try going to bed fifteen minutes earlier than the night before until you find the right bedtime that leaves you feeling well rested enough in the morning to get your fitness on.

Be Realistic
I paid off my car loan last week and the first thing I thought was "Oh! I can afford a gym membership now! How great would it be if I started going before work a couple times a week?" 

Allow me a moment to once again laugh hysterically at the absurdity of that thought process. Please. Look, I know people who love going to the gym before work. Friends who get up at, like, dawn or something ridiculous. Me? Oh, hell no. I don't always like waking up at 6:30 to do a workout in my apartment, let alone wake up at something like 5am to drive to the gym, workout, shower and change there, then figure out breakfast before driving to work. Yeah, right. So, instead, I bought the kettlebell set and use that in my living room.

Just because something sounds good in theory doesn't mean it will work in practice. If that's you, then invest in some DVDs, smartphone apps, or equipment that allow you to workout from the comfort of your home.

Be Prepared
Before I go to bed I make sure all of my equipment is ready and waiting. This includes clothes, SPIBelt, headphones, Polar HRM, towel, and I have a full water bottle in the fridge. Do whatever it takes to minimize  the amount of time between waking up and working out. (Confession: some nights I'll even sleep in my workout clothes. Makes the whole thing just a smidge easier since it's one less thing I have to think about in my pre-coffee haze.)

Put It In Writing
One of the best things about following a training plan is the fact that there is a clear schedule to follow. I know what days are running days and what days are cross training days and having the schedule printed out and hanging on my fridge makes it so much easier to follow because there's no guesswork involved. (Plus, who doesn't love getting to cross out a completed task?) When I go to bed each night, I already know what I'll be doing the next morning. I find this helps keep me on task, as I am far more likely to follow through on the morning workout if I already know what is expected. Best thing I can tell you is to sit down on Saturday or Sunday, look at your upcoming work and event schedule and write a workout plan for the week.  Just saying "I'm going to work out on Tuesday" isn't enough, so be specific about what activity you'll do and for how long.

Have A Plan B
Shit happens. You tell yourself you'll go outside for a run in the morning and then you wake up to thunder and lightning. Maybe your walking partner got sick or they are doing repairs at your gym. Try and have an arsenal of alternative options in case something happens (this is when those workout DVDs and home equipment comes in handy!)

Reward Yourself
A skinny vanilla latte from Starbucks is one of my favorite indulgences, and while I only have them, like, once or twice a month, I make sure it's only on a day I've worked out. At 120 calories for a grande, the calories aren't really that much of an issue, but if I were to have one all the time they kind of lose their value. This way, knowing I'll get one if I workout is a nice to treat to keep me motivated those mornings when I really want to stay in my nice warm bed.

Bigger rewards can work just as well, too: Promise yourself you'll get a manicure if you stick to your workout plan for an entire month. Find something that will inspire you to get up and workout, but be careful with food rewards: don't sweat your heart out and then turn around and eat something that is just going to undo all of your hard work.

Pump Up the Volume
I love my running playlist. Love it. Want to marry it. It might have some odd choices (most recent addition is Adele's Skyfall), but I've spent hours cultivating a mix of songs that not only gets me moving but keeps me moving. Figure out what songs motivate and inspire you to want to burn calories and put them together into a playlist you'll listen to while working out. Go through every once in awhile and change songs out, too: maybe that song you loved a month ago suddenly has lost its power, so replace it with something else.

Are you a morning or an evening exerciser? Any other morning exercisers have tips for someone wanting to make the switch?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

23 January 2013

two years down. a lifetime left to go.

Last week I shared with you the email that Sissy wrote that proved to be the catalyst to start me on this ol' weight loss journey of mine. Still, it took me a week to bite the bullet, so to speak, and make the decision to do something about the state I had gotten myself into. So it was that on January 24, 2011 I signed up for Weight Watchers Online with a starting weight of 311 pounds.

This means, ladies & gents, that tomorrow is my two year healthy living anniversary.


To be honest, I don't know if I ever thought I would actually get here.

At the onset, this was just about losing weight, which I've done in spades: Down 130 pounds, my XXL t-shirts have been replaced with Mediums. My size 28 pants exchanged for 12s and 14s. And I'm not even done yet. At the onset, this was just about losing weight because I couldn't see anything beyond that. Of course had I been asked, I can't imagine I ever believed I would reach a point where I had lost so much weight I was no longer considered obese. All the previous times I had attempted any sort of  weight loss program, I hit a wall after six months. So to be here two years later, still going strong & with the momentum to finish, is nothing short of mind blowing.

Along the way, though, I've discovered so many other things about myself. I've also done things I never could have possibly dreamed of, let alone anticipated. A few weeks ago I celebrated my one year yogaversary. I ran five 5Ks last year, my first 10K is in exactly one month, and I'm registered for an October half-marathon. Over the weekend I was able to buy bras at Target. I realize that this might not seem like a big deal, but bras for the very well-endowed are fucking expensive and can usually only be found at department stores or specialty stores, like Lane Bryant. So to be able to walk into Target and walk out with four bras for roughly the same cost as what I used to spend on one is amazing. And might even make up for my shrinking boobs.

But beyond that, I am happy and healthy. Like, really happy, not the pretend fake-it-til-ya-make it happy I was quite adept at maintaining for, oh, two decades. I know who I am now and, most importantly, I like who I am.

And let's not forget how much my relationship with food has changed for the better.

This truly has been a journey of self-discovery but it's hasn't always been easy. There was a point near the beginning where I almost quit and gave up. About two or three months in I had gained back nearly all that I had lost up to the point and was back to weighing over 300 pounds. It was one of those critical moments where you have to make a choice. I could have called it a wash and been done with it or I could look in the mirror and refuse to settle and get the fuck after it.

If you are very, very lucky, you, too, have people in your life who love you so much that they make it their mission to push and encourage you to make different choices and change your life. But the fact of the matter is, when it comes down to it, the destination, determination and deliberation has to come from inside. All the love and support in the world isn't going to be enough if you don't love and support yourself.

I hear the word "inspiration" quite often. From friends and coworkers, telling me that I am their inspiration. I am their hero (one coworker actually calls me her "Shero"). I love it, really. I love knowing that what I'm doing -- what I've done -- has so much more meaning and purpose that goes far beyond the actual daily work and dedication I put in. It's why I write this blog and why I want to tell my story, to show that it can be done. But while I may joke that like Batgirl I moonlight as a librarian, the truth is that nobody is going to swoop in and save you.

In the end, you have to be your own hero.

Back in the middle of that critical moment, I knew that quitting would have been the lazy way, but it would have been far more easier than embarking on this journey. And, to be honest, looking back I probably underestimated how difficult the past 24 months were going to be. But I had had enough. It was time to commit and there was no fucking way I was going to let myself stay above 300 pounds. So I looked in the mirror and refused to settle and I went. the. fuck. after. it.

Just call me Tenacious J.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

21 January 2013

10K Training Is A Go-Go

When I first signed up for February's Rodeo Run, I think I took for granted the theory that if I can run a 5K, I can easily run a 10K. That theory is both stupid and dangerous, as it could easily lead me to injuring myself. And that would be a very.bad.thing.

So, just as I did with Couch-to-5K as a means of getting myself up to running 3.1 miles, I'm using a training program to get myself up to running 6.2. After looking around the ol' interwebs, I settled on the 6 Week Beginner Schedule put forth by the Boston Athletic Association, and not only printed out the schedule but put it in my blog planner. Figured I can trust the people behind the Boston Marathon.

Like my blog planner? Completely DIY, created in MS Word, printed at home
and then I paid the good folks at Staples $4 to spiral bind it for me! Each month
has a second page for post ideas, To Do list, email correspondence, etc.

There are three reasons I liked this schedule above the others I looked at:  A) Mondays are rest or cross training days. I don't know about you, but I don't do well waking up earlier than necessary on a Monday so having the option to not have to do that or just cross train in the comfort of my apartment is perfect. Only Monday that required a run is, conveniently, today which is a holiday. II) Saturdays are cross training days, which is good since that's when I have yoga and I don't want to have to shift a program's days unless I absolutely have to. 3) While I will have to do some running before work, the time frames they've laid out are very doable with my schedule.

Like most beginner training schedules, this is designed with the final goal of merely completing the race, not necessarily with a specific finish time. The program is conditioning you and your body to running for a certain length of time, building up your endurance. If I can finish in under an hour and a half, I'll be very happy.


For cross training I've started using kettlebells and I am in love. I don't do lifting or strength training, I'm a cardio gal. But I also know that adding weights to my routine can only be beneficial and I've heard lots of positive things about kettlebells so I decided to give them a go-go and I am so glad I did. Because they are working out muscles my body isn't used to utilizing, each session leaves me sore. But it's that good kind of sore, y'know? The kind that makes you go back for more.

Plus, Sissy's wedding is at the end of June and I'm going to be wearing a sleeveless dress. Five months of twice weekly kettlebells and I may have me some buffed out arms to show off.

Have you used any sort of training program for running?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

18 January 2013

Review: Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor Watch

Thanks to Mae at Reduced Fat Girl and her contest, I am now the very happy owner of a Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor and one workout in I knew I was gonna love this baby.


The FT4 HRM is comprised of two parts: the training computer and the heart rate sensor. The sensor is essentially a little black box that gets attached to a black strap with electrodes that is worn around your chest. Believe me, it sounds much scarier and techie than it actually is. I was a bit nervous about that part when I first saw it, but it's so easy to use. All you have to do is moisten the electrodes, strap it just below your chest, clip the sensor in with the Polar logo right side up and voila! It's comfortable, doesn't get in the way of my sports bra, and I honestly forget I'm wearing it.


When you're done working out, just unclip the sensor and rinse the strap off. It's machine washable and Polar advises washing it every five workouts.

Next we have the training computer, which is the pretty pink and purple watch. Out of the box, the computer has you input all sorts of fun information like gender, height, weight, etc, using the buttons on the side to increase or decrease numbers and move between screens. As you can see, most of the buttons do double duty depending on what you are trying to do or information you want to access.


Once all of that necessary information is set and you have the sensor and strap on, you're all ready to start working out! By hitting the "Train" button on the side, you'll see that the watch is analyzing your current heart rate. With that in place, hit the button again and it will start recording your workout.

While working out, the watch transmits various information, such as current heart rate, calories burned, how long you've been working out and if your heart rate is in the suggested zone. You can use the buttons on the side of the watch to flip through the screens. I appreciate that for Calories Burned & Current Heart Rate the numbers are large sized so I don't have to squint to read them.

Remembering what each button represents took some practice only because when I'm in my building's mini gym or on the treadmill, I can't exactly look it up in the instruction booklet. But the more I use the Polar FT4 HRM, the easier it becomes to know which buttons I need to push.

If you need to stop, push the Back button and it will Pause the computer. Push it again to completely stop transmitting information. Once your workout is finished and you stopped the recording, a screen will pop up with your total time and calories burned, like the picture up above.

Ooops. Apparently put wrong year. Good thing it's easy to go back into
settings and change the information!

Each workout is saved in your Training Files (accessed using the Data button) so you can go back and look at previous workout logs. There is even a handy dandy graph that compares and shows how many calories you've burned over the course of several days.

Now that I'm training for a 10K and will start training for my half-marathon in July, accurate calorie control becomes essential. The 834 calories burned up above was from a morning of treadmill and elliptical, with 600 calories burned on the treadmill alone (I ran for an hour, people. An hour). Thing is, I can't run as fast on the treadmill as I can outside and apps can't recognize effort when the information is being manually entered from a machine workout. So when I input the information into, say, Runkeeper, all they see is that a 180 lb 5'5" woman ran 3.2 miles in 56 minutes and according to their algorithm that translates to 300 calories, half what my HRM gave me. (I haven't yet had an opportunity to run outside with the HRM: Runkeeper gives you a calorie count if you use the GPS so it will be interesting to see how those numbers compare when I get a chance.)

On the flip side, MyFitnessPal overestimates calories burned in yoga. Which makes sense: yoga isn't about exercise but meditation, so the heart rate is kept low, even in a physical style like Ashtanga. (Of course, wear it in something like Bikram and it might be different.)

I'm going to go ahead and say it: If I could marry my Polar FT4 HRM, I would. That's how much I love it. Not only is it easy to use, it's an excellent motivational tool. While working out, I'll keep an eye on my current heart rate and if it's on the low end of the zone I'll step it up a notch. It also works to actually get me to get out of bed and workout as I want to see how many calories I can burn with various activities (over 200 with kettlebells? Seriously?).

Someone asked me if it's something that can be worn all day to get a long term calorie reading and while I suppose you could, that's not really its purpose. For that, I'd say something like FitBit is more what you're looking for. But If you're in the market for a heart rate monitor and don't want anything super fancy (because Polar USA has many, many products with a range of tools and uses) or if you just want a clearer idea of how many calories you're burning through fitness, I highly recommend the Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor Watch.

Anyone else use a Heart Rate Monitor for working out? What's your favorite part about having one? Disclaimer: I was not compensated in anyway for this review nor did Polar ask me to write one. I just love this lil device so much. All opinions are my own. 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

16 January 2013

What I Love Wednesday: Sissy

I've said before that one of the catalysts for this ol' weight loss journey of mine was an email my little sister sent to me on January 16, 2011. The contents of the email were things that had been discussed before (many many many times), though I usually got incredibly angry and defensive whenever they were brought up. This, time, however, something clicked. Maybe it was just finally acknowledging how bad things really were and being terrified and needing someone to push me enough to get the momentum to start.

Me & Sissy, June 2012

While I've kept the email all this time, I never go back and read it: it's still painful and difficult to look back and think about where I was back then. As the big sister, it was my job to inspire, encourage, motivate, and set the example for my little sister and I failed to do that for most of our lives. I not only let her down, I let myself down, too. But, after spending all this time talking about it, I decided to dig it up and post it here, exactly two years after I first received it.

Hi Jill, 

First I want to preface this by saying that mom, dad and I love you more than you could ever know. You are wonderful and we are very thankful for you! However I am sure you have guessed that is not the sole purpose of this email. Sister, I am not going to sugar coat anything - I am very concerned with your increased weight. I know, I know…nothing you haven’t heard before but I couldn’t go much longer without saying something to you. Your weight continues to scare me. A lot. I don’t want to pretend like I know what your struggle is like but it scares me to think that my big sister could be heading down a road of some very big health problems in the near future. We give dad crap all the time about his family history of heart disease and diabetes – Jill; we are a part of that same family. We aren’t excluded. We have to take care of ourselves too.

Sis, you could be taking steps as we speak to improve your health that I just don’t know about and that would be awesome to hear. And trust me, all 4 of us have a lot of weight to lose – and I think we can only be successful at that if we support each other. However I can’t will or beg you to get healthier. That has to be on you.

You may think sending an email is me being passive aggressive – but I know you hate talking about this stuff and tend to shut us out whenever the conversation comes up. I figured an email would allow you to read it in the privacy of your own home and react however you need to react (you can cry, scream, voodoo doll me, cuss me out…whatever you want without having to actually talk to me). You may not believe me, but I am not doing this to be confrontational…I hope you see this email as an act of love. You are my big sister…I look up to you, want what is best for you and want you to be around for a very long time.

Mom, dad and I want you to be healthy – and happy. Let us know what we can do to help.

Love you, 
[Sissy]

I would like to think and believe that even without this email I still would have gotten the courage and determination to start on this journey, but the fact is I don't know. I can't say for sure where I would be today without my little sister's courage to make me confront my scary and desperate situation.

Over Christmas she surprised me yet again, this time with a pair of Stella & Dot earrings she purchased through our mutual friend and Stella & Dot Independent Stylist Julie (who also blogs over at Wearing Mascara).


Yes, those are snake earrings. An odd choice at first glance, but like a snake I'm shedding my skin! Believe me, the Slytherin in me approves.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

14 January 2013

the weight of words

For as long as I can remember, I have always been obese. Not just heavy or fat or curvy or voluptuous. Obese. It is a grotesque word that conjures grotesque images: I can recall back at my old job telling a co-worker I was obese and he didn't believe me, mostly because I didn't fit his preconceived notion of what an obese person looked liked. Which is part of the problem: when people use those words, they aren't using them from a scientific point of view, but a physical one. When they call a person "obese" or "fat," what they really mean is "lazy" or "gluttonous" or "ugly" or "gross" or "disgusting" or "sick" or...The problem with this, of course, aside from being incredibly narrow minded, is that you can't look at a person and know their story based simply on what they look like. Nor can you make an accurate assessment of their health based on a label. All of my 5Ks were completed when I was obese. Kinda puts things in perspective, huh?

Obese is the official medical terminology to describe my weight status according to the BMI Chart. And while the actual true effectiveness of a person's BMI as an indicator of health is debatable, it is what is being utilized by the health and medical field for now, so it stays. When Weight Watchers gives you your ideal weight range, that's where they are pulling that information. For me, it's about 120 - 150 pounds (different places change the low range, but 150 is the accepted healthy high weight for me).

For as long as I can remember, I have always been obese.

Until today.


As of today, not only have I lost a total of 132.4 pounds, but my BMI -- which started at 51.7 -- is now at 29.7. That moves me out of the obese category and into the overweight. And I did it without a magical pill or a crazy crash diet or a reality TV show. It can be done, dear readers. It takes destination, determination, deliberation. It takes time and patience and fucking hard work, but it can be done.

I developed early enough to require a real bra as a sixth grader. My size 18 prom dress had to be ordered from a catalog because department stores didn't carry that many plus size options back in 2000. I spent a decade wearing my age, so that by the time I was 29 years old I was wearing a size 28.

For as long as I can remember, I have always been overweight. But for the first time in my entire life, I'm fucking thrilled to be called overweight and will happily wear the label with pride.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

11 January 2013

is your fitness glass half full or half empty?

There is a scene in the Kevin Smith movie Dogma where a character likens faith to a glass of water, saying that when you are a child, you have a small glass and it doesn't take that much water (ie: faith) to fill it up. As we grow up, however, the glass gets bigger and the same amount of faith we had as children isn't enough anymore.

Fitness and diet work the same way.

When you weigh more and/or are just starting out and come from a fairly sedentary lifestyle, it doesn't take much to burn calories or earn Weight Watchers Activity Points. Because any kind of activity or exercise is so new to your body, or because you have a bigger body to move, you just naturally exert more energy without necessarily having to do a lot of work.

Our bodies really are like machines and as we lose weight and adapt to a certain level of fitness, they become much more efficient at doing the same job. This means that to get the same results as before you have to work even harder, which can be frustrating at times when you realize that 45 minute run you just completed only earned you 9 APs whereas a few months ago it was 12.

Fact is, the same amount of effort (ie: water) isn't going to fill the glass as it once did, so to earn those 12 APs or burn those 400 calories, you're going to have to put in more work and time and energy than was once required.


(Speaking of water, you guys drink it, right? Like, a lot of it. Because, you know, a lot of the times when we think we're hungry, it's really just thirst. So make sure you stay hydrated.)

This is why as you continue to lose weight, it gets that much harder to keep losing weight. See, there's this thing called your Basal Metabolic Rate, which is the number of calories your body would  burn even if you stayed in bed all day. Heavier people have a naturally higher calorie output. They also require a higher calorie input to function. Food is fuel, so just like a bigger car needs more gasoline to make it run, so does a bigger person. Plus, as you continue to exercise and workout you should be building muscle mass, which is going to have affect on your weight as well. (That's why you shouldn't use The Number on the scale as your only measure of progress.)

Ultimately, a larger person also has a slightly larger buffer zone: Let's say they were eating 3500 calories a day and they reduce it by 1000-1500, so they are now eating 2000-2500 a day. With that big of a gap, they have the flexibility to maybe "forget" to track that second or third cookie after dinner, yet in the grand scheme of things those 200 calories are negligible and chances are they'll still see results. For the rest of us, as we lose weight and our BMR decreases and body starts to become more efficient, proper calorie control and food and exercise accountability becomes even more important. We don't have the option of a 1000 calorie deficit,  our margin of error has decreased and those extra 200 calories I don't track can close the gap very quickly. Daily food and fitness tracking can be tedious enough as it is, but now I have to be even more on top of it if I want to see progress. That's the main reason I am getting a Polar Heart Rate Monitor thanks to my third place win in the Reduced Fat Girl Giveaway:  I want to be as precise as possible with the calories I take in and put out.

Quick and dirty version: The smaller you are, the less calories you are naturally burning through your BMR, which means you need to work out that much harder to make them up. The longer you've been on your journey, the more time your body has had to adapt to burning calories and they now burn them far more efficiently, which means you need to work out that much harder to make them up. The smaller you are, the less calories your body needs to function, which means you don't have the luxury or flexibility in getting lazy with tracking because you have a much narrower margin of calorie deficit to work with.

Those pesky "last ten pounds" you always hear about? This is when they make their grand entrance.

Is it a little annoying that after putting in all of this hard work over the past two years I have to now put in even more work just to get the same results which means I have to put even more work on top of that to see better results? Eh, maybe. Will it be worth it? Abso-fucking-lutely.

It is what it is. Plain and simple. It Is. What. It Is. When I talked about the mental game and destination, determination, deliberation and accepting that I have to make these choices for the rest of my life, this is what I'm talking about. Annoying, maybe. But what's the alternative?

Nobody said this was going to be easy. In fact, I've always known that it was, if anything, going to get more difficult as time went on. And maybe that's why I don't get frustrated by this reality, because I've seen it coming. Not only saw it coming, I accepted it before I started. Maintenance is probably going to be even more difficult, but I'm prepared for that, too.

It's going to take time. And effort. And with more time it's going to take more effort. Suddenly your standard half hour on the elliptical just isn't going to cut it anymore. But y'know what? Nobody is going to hand us our goal weight on a silver platter. Nobody owes us that lost pound week after week or the PR at our next race. We have to earn them and the only way to do that is by putting in the extra work required.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

09 January 2013

What I Love Wednesday: Craigslist

A tremendous THANK YOU to everyone who voted for me in the Reduced Fat Girl Giveaway! I was in third place with almost 8500 votes which is so much more than I could have even hoped for. I'm still going to be able to get my Polar Heart Rate Monitor, too, so yay! You guys have no idea how much your love and support means to this little blogger, so thanks for reading and voting and all of your kind comments about my journey.

Anyone else a Craigslist addict? I love perusing the furniture section, just to see what is out there. I'm usually looking for organization pieces for specific rooms: like, I'm in desperate need for a new entertainment center/DVD storage and my kitchen could use some extra space.

Recently, it also dawned on me that I could search for certain brands. Which is how I stumbled upon a listing for an IKEA bookshelf.

Instagram: Jill_Grun

The listing was for $25, I offered $20 and the seller accepted. He lived just a neighborhood over, so on Saturday afternoon after yoga and some shopping at Crate & Barrel (thank you, Sissy, for the gift card!) I went and picked it up.

This is not my first Craigslist purchase. I also own a purple corduroy chair I bought when I was living in Kentucky and while my mother hates is not fond of it, I swear to goddess my cats Chloe and Linus would mutiny if I got rid of it. So it stays for now.

At first I put most of my bakeware on the shelf (including a new mixing bowl set purchased with that Crate & Barrel gift card), but ultimately decided my cookbooks and Fiestaware made more sense. Of course, as I typed this it dawned on me that I can search Craigslist for Fiestaware, too (and, in fact, found a vase in the same bright red color as the loaf pan. Hmmmm....).

It's amazing how something as simple as a new piece of furniture can give a room just the oomph it needed. I feel like I have a grown-up kitchen now!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

07 January 2013

i am body beautiful

The one thing they don't warn you about before you set off on a journey to lose over 100 pounds is how much your body will change.

Obviously you get smaller. Thinner. In my case, curvier. Or, well, real curves come out of hiding. Bones pop out of hiding, too. With yoga I've become more flexible and I move faster. Not just with running, but walking. Movement of any kind. No longer carrying an extra 130 pounds (as of this morning), my body is naturally lighter and more buoyant. Swift and quick. Instead of taking me twenty minutes to walk the mile to yoga class, I can get there in just over ten. 

But those aren't the changes I'm talking about. 

I'm talking about thick pockets hanging from my under arms. I'm talking about a pooch over my abdomen and stomach that I utilize shape wear to smooth out. Back fat a few inches below my bra line that causes shirts to pucker. 

Loose skin. Excess fat. This is the side of substantial weight loss that nobody talks about. The side that may or may not require plastic surgery to get rid of. The side that still makes you questions your self-esteem 120+ pounds later: on Saturday I went to a hot yoga class a friend was co-teaching as part of her Yoga Teacher Training. The studio had a wall of mirrors and instead of focusing entirely on my practice, I confess I spent a whole lot of time focusing on the loose flesh under my arms and the way my belly was hanging out over the top of my yoga pants.


It's frustrating to be at this point in my journey and still not be happy when I look in the mirror. Especially considering what leaves me unhappy isn't the excess weight, but what's left after that weight is gone. As in, I'm complaining about the results of my hard work and the past two years. It's ridiculous. I'm trying to do more lifting as a means of hopefully toning some of it up, but at this point it might be too late in the game to have any real benefit. (Of course, even if it doesn't help it certainly can't hurt.)

This is the last stretch. The final haul. With every passing week I get closer and closer to goal and I have to stay on my toes because it's going to only get more difficult from here on out. Luckily I have an amazing support system that give me love and encouragement every single day. Now, though, is when I have to dig down deep and turn that love and encouragement on myself. And that means I need to stop seeing the loose skin and fleshy parts of my new body as flaws and, instead, see them as the badges of honor, hard work, determination, and dedication that they are.

Today is the last day to vote in the Reduced Fat Girl Giveaway! Voting ends at 11:59 PST/2:59 EST and it's a free-for-all, meaning you can vote as often as you like. So take advantage of that refresh button! I plan on buying a Polar Heart Rate Monitor if I win, so all of your help and support in voting is greatly appreciated.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

04 January 2013

rock the vote

As many of you know, this past summer I decided to enter the 2012 Weight Watchers Celebrate Success contest. The entire process included filling out a lengthy questionnaire, sending Before & After photos, writing an essay, and sending in copies of my weight tracker.

Obviously I did not win.


Neither did some of my competition, including the always fabulous Mae over at Reduced Fat Girl. But Mae did get a success story photo shoot with Weight Watchers and she was one of the first prize award winners! The prize came in the form of a $100 American Express card and because Mae is so fabulous, she's actually giving it away. In fact, she's running a little contest of her own, not unlike the Celebrate Success one, where we had to write an essay and submit before and after photos.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because this lovely red headed maiden is one of the finalists!

Image from ReducedFatGirl.com

That's right ladies & gents, with your help and support I can win myself a $100. And with that $100 I plan on buying myself a Polar USA Heart Rate Monitor. This is the final leg of my journey and keeping myself on task with fitness and accurately knowing how many calories I burn is crucial from here on out. Not just for weight loss but maintenance as well. If anything, maintaining goal weight will have it's own challenges and obstacles and I want to have the tools to succeed.

So! Here's where you come in: Voting in the Reduced Fat Giveaway is open until Monday, January 7th at 11:59 PM PST. There is no limit on how often you can vote. You don't have to sign up for anything, all you have to do is click a button. I had a coworker tell me she voted for me, like, 250 times in a row. Work that lil index finger on your mouse and get a crackin'. Also, read the other stories because the women are equally fabulous and deserving of your votes and support as well. Get the word out, too, by either sharing this post or the actual voting page, too. It would be much appreciated by all of us finalists!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

02 January 2013

my word of the year {2013}

I have many a virtue (including, it seems, modesty), but patience? Patience is so not one of them. I can get very impatient and often at an alarming rate. It seems like I am always waiting: waiting for a particular day or hour. A phone call or email. Waiting for the weekend. For an upcoming event or trip. Waiting waiting waiting. All this waiting -- and focusing on the fact that I am indeed waiting -- can make a gal, well, kinda anxious.


But more than that, impatience forces my attention and focus to the future. To whatever it is that I'm waiting for and everything that comes after that. In doing this, I become disconnected and distracted from the present. And the present, this exact moment in time, is all any of us have. Instead of wandering a garden and stopping and smelling the roses, mentally I'm like fifteen blocks ahead out on the busy main street where I have a dreaded dentist appointment.

Or, y'know, something like that.

By always looking ahead and worrying about the life that hasn't happened yet, I miss out on the life happening right now. Moments and opportunities slip through my grasp without my even realizing it until it's too late to get them back. Impatience can lead to anxiety which can lead to worrying which can lead to me re-imagine an entire situation and distort reality. Enough that I can make it way worse in my head than it really is and if I just showed a wee bit of patience I would see that everything is perfectly alright.

Which is why I've chosen patience as my word of the year. I need to learn how to breathe deep and embrace and appreciate the present and not worry so much about the future. I need to reboot my brain to enjoy the reality that is the Here and the Now and not focus so much on the Maybe and Possibly. There are so many exciting things happening this year -- Sissy's wedding, a family trip to London, my half-marathon -- and those are just the things that are planned. Who knows what other things may happen along the way.

But instead of sitting around waiting waiting waiting, I have to sloooooow down and ride them out. Let things progress and happen as they do, instead of trying to force them to happen sooner with my impatience.

In other words, 2013 is the year I learn to just chill the fuck out.

What is your word of the year for 2013? Also, congrats to Courtney M, winner of the Happy Herbivore Abroad Giveaway! Courtney, you should have an email from me with details about claiming your prize :) 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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