28 July 2014

Schwinner! (aka, I'm now Schwinn Certified)

One of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year was to research becoming a group fitness instructor. That I started doing about a month ago and yesterday I made it a reality.

The certification class was held at my regular spin studio Harness Cycle and lasted eight hours, starting at noon. Our instructor was Robert Sherman and he was super friendly and personable, full of really great energy. There were about 15 of us in the class and a couple I knew from spin class although we'd never really talked to each other before so this was a nice opportunity to get to know them on a more familiar level.

Most of the time was spent in classroom instruction, with Robert going over bike setup, the indoor cycling coach's pyramid, music mapping, building class profile, etc. The instruction was broken up with Robert leading a class for all of us. It was an intense day full of lots and lots of information but I'm SO glad I took the leap and got certified.

And to think, I got on my first spinning bike just over a year ago when my fake sister (one of my real sister's best friends) got me to go to a class at my dad's gym the morning of Sissy's wedding. Growing up I had a love hate relationship with bikes, so without Nicole I would never in a million years have gone to a spin class on my own.

Before the start of class, Harness Cycle's owner Anne came in to talk to all of us and mentioned they are looking for new instructors. I'd love to jump on that bandwagon right now but there is half-marathon training and over the weekend I got confirmation of really big personal project, so it will probably have to wait until the winter.

But just being able to say I'm now a certified instructor is amazing and a testament to how far I've come. I don't think I ever would have had the self-confidence to even think about taking this route. Before, so much of it was about my weight and being skinny. Now my focus is on being healthy and fit and I love knowing I now have another option for inspiring other people.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

25 July 2014

the wolf who wins is the wolf you feed

This was not at all the post I had planned for this morning, but I've been reading the recently released third book in Deborah Harkness' All Souls Trilogy and one particular paragraph really struck me.

And when I say the paragraph "struck me," what I mean is I immediately stopped reading so I could write this post. So you just know that whatever it was, it's gotta be good.

Of course, I know plenty of people who read this blog who also are fans of the trilogy and I'm sure there are even more of you out there I don't know are fans, so without spoiling anything I'm just going to share the paragraph without any context related to the book:

"According to my grandmother's people, two wolves live inside every creature: one evil and the other good. They spend all their time trying to destroy each other...Nana Bets said the wolf who wins is the wolf you feed. The evil wolf feeds on anger, guilt, sorrow, lies, and regret. The good wolf needs a diet of love and honesty, spiced up with big spoonfuls of compassion and faith. So if you want the good wolf to win, you're going to have to starve the other one."

This so eloquently and succinctly sums up body image and healthy living and weight loss, like, I can't even.

We each have two wolves in us: the good wolf and the evil wolf and these two wolves are constantly doing battle with each other and whichever wolf we acknowledge or pay attention to is the wolf who succeeds.

Think of it in terms of body image: you're having a bad body image day (or, hell, a bad body image life) and you're feeling down on yourself so y'know, you start talking smack. All about your fat thighs and muffin top and how nobody will ever love you and whatever. By doing that you're feeding the evil wolf and the more you feed that evil wolf, the bigger and fatter and more powerful he's going to become.

So, the next time that happens, try and feed the good wolf instead. The other day, Organically Mo had a great post where she mentioned every day she stands in front of the mirror and thinks something positive about herself. It doesn't have to be related to her physical appearance, but it does have to be affirming.

That is Mo feeding her good wolf.

I started feeding my good wolf at FitBloggin when I decided to accept and love my body right now and it has completely changed my attitude towards myself and my lifestyle.

This is not going to be an overnight thing. Instead, it's kinda like owning a pet, right? You can't just stop feeding your pet and expect everything to be okay. Feeding your Good Wolf is a continuous process that has to happen on a daily basis. But the more you feed that wolf, the bigger, and fatter, and more powerful that wolf will become.

So the next time your Evil Wolf starts howling at the moon and whatnot, just tell that wolf to STFU because you have work to do

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

23 July 2014

maintenance mode, this time with doctor approval

This past Friday I went to my annual women's exam (OH YAY). My Nurse Practitioner (whom I adored) left for another facility soon after my appointment last year so this was my first time meeting my new doctor. Obviously one of the first things she mentioned was my weight, seeing as how I'd gained about 30-40 lbs in the past year.

Normally I take issues with doctors nagging patients about the number on the scale but in this particular instance I can understand her questions. She asked if there was something that caused it and I mentioned that both personal and professional stresses hit at the same time and while I had figured out the physical part of weight loss, I hadn't figured out the mental part so I was completely unable to cope with the stress. She nodded in understanding and asked how I lost the weight initially and I said Weight Watchers

So, this is where things get interesting since her follow-up question was related to what I'm doing to relose the weight. It's interesting because, well, as you guys know, my focus right now is maintaining this, albeit higher, weight. Which is what I told her. I said I've spent the past year and a half yo-yo dieting (which is exactly what it was, it just took me this long to put that label on it and when I did it was quite the light bulb moment, let me tell you) and that now I really want to stay where I am for right now and decide down the road. When asked how I'm doing with the mental/emotional stuff, I was able to sincerely say I'm in a much better place now.

This, then, naturally progressed to asking about what I do for exercise. After I said that I run, go to spinning classes, and practice yoga, she smiled and said "Okay, I'll stop harassing you."

She meant it as a joke and I think it was also a self-aware type thing of recognizing the concept of nagging patients about their weight, especially since we also talked about the fact that my tests are all good. But I appreciated that once I had been given the opportunity to explain why I was choosing the maintenance route and showed that I am active she let it go.

The next day was rainy and grey, so I headed to the mall to do some window shopping and give my FitBit a workout by walking around. I also stopped at Half-Priced Books and picked up this book on a whim.

I'm still reading through it and it has some flaws, but it's really challenging me to look at my body outside of just pounds and the BMI chart. It sort of bills itself as a diet book but it's not really, which is why I like it. The basic concept is that the health and nutritional needs of woman are different but most science and research has been focused on men and, as such, most dietary plans have been built on that whereas we woman need a different structure.

She talks about losing weight but I think the main message is about finding a healthy weight and while she mentions the BMI chart, she also talks about things like hip to waist ratio (mine puts me right in the middle of the moderate health risk, which is better than the high health risk) and body fat percentage (I measured myself, like, half a dozen times because this number still surprises me as it has me in the "acceptable" or "average" range -- which is great, obviously, but unexpected. I may see about going back to my doc and seeing if she has calipers she could use).

Much of what I'm reading in the book reminds of the "accept the body that is a result of my lifestyle" concept, which is why I think I'm finding something beneficial in it.

I also picked up two cookbooks:

You know me, I'm all about a healthy balance and I figured these show that in action. The Hungry Girl book is huge -- I don't even know where to start.

Of course, the addition of these two books to my cookbook collection meant I needed to switch the bookcase they sat on as I had officially run out of room on the other one. This is their new home and there is still plenty of room to grow.

Over the weekend, I asked BC if he'd ever like to come over and let me cook dinner for him. He said yes (what man wouldn't) and I have no doubt I'll be able to find something in one of these books to make!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

PS Funny story about Weight Watchers: a couple weeks ago I met the parents of one of my friends and I immediately recognized his mom although I could not for the life of me figure out where from. Ran into them again over the weekend and a few hours later it hit me: She was the leader of the Weight Watchers meetings I briefly attended back in the fall. I texted him to confirm and he said "I hope she was a good leader!" I said she was and that I even mentioned on my blog how much I liked her. SMALL WORLD.

21 July 2014

RnR CLE training has begun!

It's that time again! Starting this morning I am officially once again in training mode, this time for the Cleveland Rock 'n' Roll Half.

Last October, this was my very first half-marathon and I'm excited to get a second finisher's medal from this particular race, especially since the 2013 race was the inaugural event. I am once again using the same Hal Higdon training plan I used in the spring for the Cleveland Half Marathon and one of my favorite things about it is the fact that it's pretty flexible, which means I can adapt it to best fit my schedule. Like cross training with spinning on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Monday is "strength and stretch" day and this morning I was up bright and early to attend an Open Flow class at a studio just up the street from me. While training for the Cleveland Half, I only practiced yoga a couple of times so I'm actually really grateful that Alicia asked me to be an Official Blogger for Yoga Rocks the Park Cleveland because it's gotten me back into a neglected practice and the Open Flow class -- which I first attend last week as a sort of test run -- challenges my body in a really good way.

Congrats Austin and Reche, who won the two Quest Nutrition variety packs!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

18 July 2014

the one that is all authentically emmie's fault

One of my absolute favorite bloggers is Authentically Emmie. Like her moniker suggests, she's real and authentic and a bad ass plus size fashion blogger with a fabulous sense of style. So the other week, when she wrote a post highlighting some of her favorite Kiyonna pieces that were on sale, I decided to check the website out. Just to see.

This is sort of like that time I went to the humane society "just to look" at the cats and came home with Chloe.

In other words, you should already know how this story is going to end.

So, I purchased the Caleigh Convertible piece in navy and teal. When I realized the other day that this teal top with the big ol' flower thing that I've had for years almost exactly matches the teal in the skirt, I was ridiculously happy.

The mirror at work has seen many an Outfit Of The Day pictures

Adorbs, right? Originally marked at $68, I got it for $30. Now, I realize that sounds like a lot of money for a skirt but I forgot to mention the best part...

It converts to a dress.

I seriously need to buy a tripod. LOL

Threw on a wide black belt and blazer, switched the sandals I had been wearing for a pair of black wedges and boom. Perfect two-in-one Day to Night piece.

Ugh. Fine. I suppose I can forgive Emmie after all.

You still have time to enter my giveaway to win one of two Quest Nutrition variety packs!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

16 July 2014

Giveaway with Quest Nutrition

I love bringing you dear fabulous readers giveaways and this one I'm super excited for and I hope you will be, too. Not only is it coming from one of our awesome FitBloggin sponsors but it also is open worldwide and not one but two of you are going to win!

Who is your favorite blogger now?

(I kid.)

A couple days after getting back into Cleveland, I reached out to a few of the sponsors I met down in Savannah. One of these was Quest Nutrition who makes really awesome nutrition and protein bars. I was already familiar with Quest as they are the one nutrition bar I've tried before that actually, y'know, tastes good and was delighted when Clark, the guy I met at FitBloggin, offered to send me some samples.

He totally hooked a girl up, amirite?

I find Quest bars to be really filling (all that protein, yo) so I normally only eat half a bar a time, usually before my early morning workout and then I'll eat a full breakfast when I get back. I start training for my third half-marathon next week (eek!) and this box of bars will be perfect for when I have to get my butt out of bed at 5:30 to get a run in before work.

The thing I love about Quest is that they offer so many awesome flavors. It's near impossible to choose a favorite which is why I love that I got a variety pack. And luckily you don't have to choose a flavor either, because Clark over at Quest is giving away a 16 variety pack which features all the Quest flavors to two of you fabulous readers.

(Seriously. Who is your favorite blogger now?)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open until 11:59 PM EST on Sunday July 20th. Winners will have 48 hours to claim their prize. 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

14 July 2014

yoga rocks the park cleveland with scott supler

Saturday morning was another fabulous day for Yoga Rocks the Park Cleveland, nice and bright and sunny and, at least when the class started, cool with a lovely breeze. I had to miss the last event because of FitBloggin so I was super excited to get my mat back out to Tremont's Lincoln Park for this session, led by Scott Supler from Cleveland Yoga. As an Official Blogger for Yoga Rocks the Park Cleveland I get to attend these classes for free and getting to say "I'm on the list" never gets old.

Scott led us through a great practice, taking the motto of KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid for his class on Saturday. The first half hour of class he took us through Sun Salutations A and B but he really sloooooooooooowed them down which added a completely different element to these poses I know so well. He also had some fantastic music choices, including one song that sounded like a remixed Fleetwood Mac. Which I didn't know was a thing. But apparently it is.

When I first got there I was in the tree shade but as the sun rose I got full on sunshine and by the end was sweating and not just from the practice. I also had failed to think ahead and put on sunscreen but I'm still pretty pasty white so maybe this added a bit of color!

My friend Alicia from Poise in Parma took the spot next to me and after attending not one but two YRP classes led by her it was so much to actually practice next to her. After, I also got to meet Rachel from It's a Hero.

Alicia, me, and Rachel. Photo from Alicia

Yay spontaneous blogger meet-ups!

We are about halfway through this year's season of Yoga Rocks the Park but there is still plenty of time to attend one of the upcoming sessions.

If you do and happen to see me, please come and say hi!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

11 July 2014

scaling the scale

Check out this post to get a better view of the painting behind me

Ohhhhh, the scale.



Um. I mean, other times the number doesn't really work in your favor.

I always liked to think I had a pretty decent relationship with the scale. Especially lately. Okay, so maybe I was weighing myself once a day, and very rarely twice, but it's not like I let it affect my mood or anything. That is, even if the number was up a bit I didn't get upset or go into a restrictive mode or exercise more to compensate.

But then, see, I read this post by my friend Terri on the Eat To Love site, and I felt like I had the wind knocked out of me.

That burning desire she talked about? That's me every morning.

So I decided to experiment and put the scale away for a week. That's it. One little ol' week. Seven days. Puhlease. I can totes do that and did, in fact, at the beginning of my journey. Back when I first started on Weight Watchers way back when I only ever weighed myself on my weekly weigh-in day so, duh, I so totally got this.

I lasted five days.

And, lemme tell ya, the relief I felt at stepping on and seeing the number... I imagine it's not unlike the feeling a smoker has after a failed attempt at quitting, when they take that first puff after so many missed cigarettes.

Funny thing is, I didn't even really care what the number was. I just wanted needed to weigh myself.

Most people weigh in frequently as a means of checking to see if they are still "on track" but so many things can cause the scale to fluctuate. The scale can be a good tool, but it shouldn't be your only means of measuring success. Which I've said many, many times here on the blog but somehow I had inadvertently allowed it creep back in as my only guiding force. The really scary part is I didn't even realize it had happened.

Part of this whole accepting my body thing means learning to trust myself. Specifically trusting my food choices. Interestingly, over the past week and a half I have noticed that intuitive eating has started to happen more and more often. That voice we all have that tells us when we are full and should stop eating has gained a lotta volume as of late.

But only as long as I don't actually listen for it. As long as I just eat intuitively without giving it thought I'm fine. But the second I become aware of it, I start to make some, eh, not as good choices. It's so bizarre and there is clearly something going on there that I need to get to the root of eventually. My point, however, is that I can be trusted. I just need to learn how to actually trust myself. Which, it turns out, is a helluva lot harder than I realized.

The scale and I have a long sordid history. I don't know if I could ever fully give it up -- the idea of doing that terrifies the ever loving shit out of me, not gonna lie. But, again, the fact that I become paralyzed with fear at the idea of never knowing what I weigh ever again is proof that I've gotten myself into an unhealthy cycle with the scale that I need to slowly work on breaking.

It's gonna be a long and winding road, kids.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

09 July 2014

avocado blueberry muffins from California Avocados

One of the many many awesome sponsors we had at FitBloggin 14 was California Avocados. As someone who lurves avocados I was, naturally, super excited about this and was very appreciative of the fancy schmancy avocado cutter that was included in everyone's swag bag.

Follow me on Instagram!

One of the sessions I had to, unfortunately, miss was about using avocados as a fat replacer but luckily most of the sessions were liveblogged by someone who was attending so I was able to attend virtually after returning home.

Honestly, it had never occurred to me to use avocados in such a way, especially in baking, but one morning California Avocados had samples of Avocado Blueberry Muffins that completely changed my opinion on that. So over the weekend when I was looking over the recipe and realized I had all of the ingredients hanging out in my fridge and cabinet, I decided to do some spontaneous baking.

No, really. You should totally follow me on Instagram. 

These Avocado Blueberry muffins are super easy to make (although my streusel topping is a hot mess but WHATEVER) and try not to let the batter's verde color throw you off, I promise you can't taste the avocado and you'll feel good knowing you're using a good fat in this super tasty breakfast option.

Fine. If you aren't following me by now it's your own fault.

The recipe is available on the California Avocado website (and they aren't compensating me for this post, this was totally on me wanting to make them!), and be sure to check out the other recipes they have.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

07 July 2014

racing bucket list

One of the sponsors for FitBloggin 2014 was runDisney which was amazing because they are awesome because, um, hi. It's runDisney. They actually hosted our conference lunch on Saturday and included some nice swag bags and some people even won free entries to their Wine & Dine Half which is seriously bad ass. I've wanted to run a Disney race for awhile now but that got me thinking about the other races I would love to run someday so it seems like a good time for a Racing Bucket List.

You will notice I have no full marathons on this list. That's because, as of right now, I have no desire to run a full. Really. I'm good at 13.1 miles. I mean, hello, I got a half-marathon tattoo sooooo yeah. Training for a half is hard enough as it is. Training for a full would probably be close to a full-time job. Plus, I'm slow and I have absolutely zero motivation to be out there for the 7 or 8 hours it would take me to complete 26.2 miles. Could I? Sure, probably. Do I want to to? Oh hell no.

So, with that being said, onto the list!

Tower of Terror 10 Miler
Night Race + Twilight Zone Tower of Terror + Disney Villains along the course?


No. Seriously. Honestly, the fact that it's a night race and involves my absolute favorite Disney ride ever (which, admittedly, I mostly love because of the hotel set) is almost secondary. They had me at Disney Villains, which should be no surprise to anyone who really knows me. The Disney races are huge when it comes to dressing up and this would be the perfect opportunity to put together a wicked Ursula  costume.

Kentucky Half Classic
I'm a Northeast Ohio native and currently live in Cleveland, so when people hear I'm a librarian they often assume I went to nearby Kent State for my MLIS but I actually went to the University of Kentucky down in Lexington although I spent about nine months living in Louisville first. I absolutely adored living in Lexington and it's really the only place I would ever consider leaving Cleveland for because it's just so pretty down there, so it makes sense that the Run the Bluegrass bills itself as America's Prettiest Half Marathon.

At the time I was living down there I wasn't a runner so the half-marathon wasn't anywhere on my radar but I stumbled across it the other day, conveniently on the day that was the last day for people to apply to be 2015 Race Ambassadors. Even if I don't get chosen (because of course I applied) I would still love to get back down there to run this race (and maybe even get to hang out with Authentically Emmie!).

So the Kentucky Half Classic is where you Run the Bluegrass and also do the Louisville MiniMarathon (aka half). They are a few weeks apart and along with finisher's medals you get bonus bling.

Chicago Half Marathon
The other day my friend Tricia and I were texting and she mentioned one day wanting to run the Chicago Half and I told her if she ran it than I would run it with her. (So there you go, Tricia! Now it's out there and we are totally going to do it.)

Hot Chocolate Race
Cause who doesn't want to run something called America's Sweetest Race? I mean, really. At 9.3 miles, the 15K is super reasonable and they get super sweet fleece jackets. The race is held all over the United States and there is one down in Columbus, Ohio!

Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis 
It took me a awhile to see the appeal of themed races that call for dressing up and all of that but this is Christmas themed race and the Cleveland one is organized by my fabulous friend Alicia from Poise in Parma and one of these years I will brave running in December out at Legacy Village while also raising money for a great charity.

Multiple Rock 'n' Roll Halfs
My first half was the inaugural RnRCLE back in October, but see, RnR has races all over the world and not only do they have multiple locations but they offer these bonus Heavy Medal, uh, medals for those who run more than one RnR race in a calender year. So, I don't know, maybe return to Savannah? Or Washington D.C.? The Las Vegas is right around my birthday so that would be a rather stellar way to celebrate, amirite?

Nike Women's Half 
Tiffany jewelry for all the finishers. Need I say anymore.

What races are one your bucket list?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

04 July 2014

Checking In On My 14 Goals for 2014

Eeek! It's July 4th. I seriously have NO idea where June went but we are now halfway through 2014 and it seems like a good time to see how I'm doing with the 14 Goals I set at the beginning of the year.

1) Travel More DONE! 
Houston in April followed by Savannah last weekend is far more traveling than I've done in awhile. One of the main deterrents to traveling is moola but a few months ago I signed up for a credit card that gives me air miles and have already racked up a bunch so hopefully I'll be able to use them in the near future.

2) Find Job Satisfaction
Still working on this one and still not entirely sure what it means. Luckily the job I do have has gotten a bit less stressful. Well, actually, I don't think the job stresses have changed, I think my reaction to them has changed which might be more important.

3) Find Scale Satisfaction
This relates a little bit to what I was talking about on Wednesday with accepting the body that is a result of my lifestyle, but I'm still trying to process all of it so this is sort of half-done.

4) Research Becoming a Fitness Instructor DONE!
Not only did I do the research, but I'm registered to become a certified spin instructor at the end of this month. I'm super excited, especially after finding out my friend Brittany also registered!

5) Entertain More
Ooops. I forgot this was even on the list so suffice it to say there haven't been any parties at my apartment recently. Usually I have a 4th of July party since the desk of my building is a good spot for viewing Cleveland fireworks but with being out of town last weekend I just didn't have time to plan.

6) Volunteer DONE!
Since January I've been volunteering at the library at the Western Reserve Historical Society and absolutely love it.

7) Be More Open To Dating DONE!
This is an interesting one because this single gal was all gung ho about dating and even started a single gal blog but before I knew it, I found myself dating BC and it's going quite swimmingly, I am very happy to say. (Actually, one of the comments on the Reader Survey I had open last week was how they wanted me to write more about how the weight loss has affected my personal life which I have always been meaning to do so that post will be coming eventually!)

8) Attend FitBloggin 14 DONE!
Woot! As you all saw my post from Monday, I not only attended FitBloggin' 14 but had an awesome time and am already looking ahead (aka saving money) to attend Fitbloggin 2015 in Denver! (Again, those air miles means the plane ticket is taken care of!)

9) Beat my 2013 RnRCLE Half Marathon Time.
Obviously this didn't happen at the Cleveland Half-Marathon but I start training for 2014 RnRCLE in a couple weeks so there is still time to make that happen.

10) Read 50 Books (and keep track of them)
Okay, so I am definitely not going to hit 50 books this year as it's halfway through the year and I'm only at, like, 13. But, in my defense, I read big books so I think next year I might start keeping track of pages instead.

11) Track My Mileage
Yeahhhh so that didn't happen like I wanted it to. I can obviously track miles I've raced, but just running, nope. 

12) Break Out of My Bar Comfort Zone
This one I think we've (meaning my friends and I) have gotten better about, that is going to places other than the usual spot. But I don't want to fall into a trap of getting comfortable at the new places so this is kind of a "half done" as well. Next year it might be better to pick specific places I want to go but haven't gone to before. 

13) Write Every Single Day
When I originally set this goal I meant it more in terms of writing fiction or poetry or what have you. That hasn't happened as much as I would have liked but with this blog and other things I have written close to every single day (I don't post every single day, but posts tend to be written in advance and tweaked every day until posting), but I have to keep the momentum up so we'll see where I am in December. 

14) Say A Hearty Yes To My Adventure
I would like to hope this one is never fully completed and I continue to chase after that yes and that adventure every single day.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

02 July 2014

accepting the body that is the result of my lifestyle

One of the sessions I attended while at FitBloggin was led by my friend Kelly from CurvyFitGirl. Let me start by saying that every introvert needs a friend like Kelly at a conference: she spent the whole weekend asking people "Do you know my friend Jill?" which sounds like it would be an introvert's hell but I honestly appreciated it because it's not something I would have ever done on my own and had she not done that I probably wouldn't have met Sarah or Robby and the world would be a sad, sad place indeed.

Kelly's session was about Life After Goal and I told her later that attending that session was worth the conference ticket alone and I still stand by that because I got so much out of it. Kelly, Sarah, and our fearless FitBloggin leader Roni have all lost a significant amount of weight and maintained that weight loss (for Sarah and Roni it's been about a decade each), which is just so impressive to me, and all three were a big part in leading our small group discussion.

It was during the session that Roni said something that really struck a chord with me, enough that I am still thinking about it, which was how important it is to accept the body that is a result of your lifestyle.

Many of you know my weight loss story, and I sum it up on my About Page (with pictures!), but the quick and dirty version is that I started at 311 pounds, got down to my goal weight of 175, and then, well, life happened. As much as I thought I had it all figured out, I hadn't really solved the mental part of weight loss so when personal and professional stresses all seemed to hit at the same time and old demons came to call, I started to put the weight back on and am now about 60 pounds heavier, maintaining at around 235 for the past few months.

I haven't talked about weight loss on the blog in awhile because, well, first it was out of embarrassment that I had 1) gained it back and 2) haven't been losing it, but more recently it's because the weight loss and my weight hasn't really been a priority. All the other things in my life have taken precedence, like the fact that I finished my second half marathon and will soon become a certified spinning instructor. Right now, those things are far more important than the number on the scale and when I look at pictures of myself compared to when I weighed this weight two years ago I can tell my body looks different because of those activities. I'm currently wearing a pair of size 14 pants that I bought back in November that probably shouldn't fit but they do because of that change in my body shape thanks to muscles gained and inches lost.

Yup. I weigh almost ten pounds more in the picture on the right but just look at the difference in my waist and abs.

Now, when I said my weight hasn't been a priority it's not like I'm going out and eating all the things. Notice I said I've been maintaining this higher weight. Which is where things interesting, because while I know how to get back down to 175 and I know I can get back down to 175, the real question is do I really want to?

We become so consumed with the number on the scale and when you've seen that much smaller number it's hard to let it go. Especially when you blog about it and put yourself out there to readers. Then there is the whole being an inspiration and hearing compliments from people regarding your weight loss, but as Roni, Sarah, and Kelly all pointed out, nobody really compliments you on maintaining that weight loss and, let's face it, maintaining weight is far more difficult than losing.

It took a long, long time for me to finally forgive myself for gaining the weight back and to stop justifying this higher weight to other people. To stop apologizing and to allow myself to just be. Because that mental part has clicked, finally, in a way it never did when I was smaller.

But still that number hangs over me and so in the past year or so I've tried to lose weight and get back down to something smaller, for no other reason than thinking that I should, but that fucks with my head in a bad, bad way.

It's like part of my brain is rebelling because it knows I'm in a good place right now but the other part of my brain continues to think I need to lose weight so these two parts of the brain are constantly fighting and it shows up on the scale. It has caused me to spend part of the past year being a yo-yo dieter, which is actually worse than just maintaining this higher weight for the past few months. So maybe I need to start listening to that first part of the brain and realize it's trying to help by self-correcting behavior it knows is not good for me in the long run.

Part of my reason for going back to eating meat was because I trusted myself enough to not fall back on those old bad eating habits and several weeks in I continue to feel confident that I won't feel the pull to go through the drive through five times a week. There were plenty of opportunities over the weekend where I was put in a position where a choice had to be made and I'm proud of the fact that I continued to make good choices, despite the temptations in front of me and, more than that, I made those good choices without really thinking about it. Which is always so interesting to me: when I don't really think about it I tend to do a lot better than when I actively try, if that makes any sense. Like, intuitive eating comes naturally to me when I don't think "Okay. Now I'm going to eat intuitively" and actually, y'know, just eat intuitively.

It takes so much mental energy to lose weight and do I really want to do all of that again or would I rather use that head space for other things, like the running and the spinning and being happy and enjoying all that life has to offer. Which brings me back to Roni's quote at the beginning.

Okay, so maybe my current lifestyle choices keeps me at this higher weight. If the mind body thing is figured out and I can continue to stay at this weight, despite being 60 lbs heavier than I once was, just take one more look at that comparison photo again and tell me if that is that really such a terrible thing?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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