27 January 2016

Weigh In Wednesday: Week Twenty Three

Starting weight: 259.8
Last Week: 262.4
This week: 261.2
Weight lost this week: -1.2
Total weight lost: +1.4

Obviously I was feeling a little....feisty after last week's weigh in. But it's so hard to process a gain when you did the work and followed the plan and exercised. You'd think after so many years of this I'd be used to gains like this but sometimes it still catches up with me.

I tried the new Weight Watchers plan, you guys. I really tried and while I lost weight this week, my frustrations with the overall system outweigh the number on the scale. To the point that I actually cancelled my subscription (and when they asked why, I had no problem telling them the reason).

I like the plan in theory. I think Weight Watchers is on the right track with regards to changing our perspectives on our food choices but I don't like how it works in actual practice. It left me feeling aggravated and discouraged which is not a recipe for success. I make good choices 80% of the time but somehow that other 20% seemed to take up far more points than seemed reasonable for a balanced lifestyle.

So, I cancelled and will be using MyFitnessPal for the foreseeable future. This isn't new: I've always been using MFP off and on for years, even when also doing Weight Watchers. I like having a general idea of my calorie intake. But somehow, now that 20% feels like 20% and my eating habits allow for more flexibility. Interestingly (but not surprisingly), since cutting way back on sugar and artificial sweeteners, my own sweet tooth has retreated and I don't feel the need to splurge on dessert as much.

This is my kitchen cabinet. I have an old, old Before photo along with my current weight and short term goal weight. I'm thinking in five pound segments now. Once I get to 260, I'll look ahead to 255. Then 250, etc., etc. I have extra note cards for when

I saw this in the home of a friend a few weeks ago and was really struck by the visual. She didn't have the photo, I added that, but just having those numbers in place in my kitchen, the one room where all of my food choices are made, is a constant reminder.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

25 January 2016

slow cooking up a storm

Several years ago, I asked for a slow cooker for Christmas. In fact, if memory serves, it was the only thing I asked for that particular Christmas.

At the time, though, I was working a job with hours that didn't make the slow cooker the most useful. That is, I would leave the apartment between 8 and 8:30 am and not get home until after 9 pm. I'd eat both lunch and dinner at work. So when I did use the slow cooker it was really only on Sunday nights when I'd basically make lunch or dinner for the week.

With my new job, however, now I have a schedule perfect for the slow cooker and LET ME TELL YOU there is nothing more amazing than walking in the door after a long day at work and have dinner cooked and ready to eat and still have enough for left over lunches.

My two current favorites are Iowa Girl Eats Crock Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup and Budget Bytes Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili. Seriously, these are both so good that I've made and eaten them multiple weeks in a row. They are also the Keep It Simple Stupid kind of slow cooker recipes. I hate the kind that involve a ton of prep work beforehand, so any KISS slow cooker recipes are going to be my fave. For both of these, the only prep is chopping up some veggies. Then you just dump everything in and then turn that sucker on. Both use chicken that just gets shredded at the very end.

So. Simple.

Over the weekend I also decided to try "baking" potatoes in the slow cooker. Turns out, way easier than any other method I've tried.

I went with sweet potatoes, which I topped with some lean ground turkey taco meat, an avocado, and some Greek yogurt. Holy mother of goddess it was so delish.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

20 January 2016

Weigh In Wednesday: Week Twenty Two

Starting weight: 259.8
Last Week: 260.8
This week: 262.4
Weight lost this week: +1.6
Total weight lost: +2.6

Sissy let me have her Hulu log in information so I've been catching up on past seasons of Sister Wives that I haven't seen (#sorrynotsorry) and in one of the seasons, Janelle's trainer makes her take a sledgehammer to the scale, saying she focuses far too much on the number and not enough on her overall progress.

That sums exactly how I felt on Monday.

And that's pretty much all I have to say about that.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

13 January 2016

Weigh In Wednesday: Week Twenty One

Starting weight: 259.8
Last Week: 260.2
This week: 260.8
Weight lost this week: +0.6
Total weight lost: +1

This week was the first week I really tried to go full in, and only in, on the intuitive eating challenge from the Rodale U course I'm taking.

It's a lot harder than it sounds. 

I mean, obviously it is. If intuitive eating was something I could easily do I wouldn't be in the position I am in now. There was some eating out and I like to think I did fairly well: after going to the movies Saturday night, BC and I went out to a local fancy burger place and I managed to not eat the bun. Turns out, I didn't miss it! 

So, taking that into account, I'm okay with only gaining half a pound after a week of not tracking and trusting my body to tell me what it wants. 

But I also decided that I should really give the new Weight Watchers plan a fair shot, especially now that the stress of the holiday season is over. So that's what I'm doing this week. I'm actually following the Smart Points, Beyond the Scale plan. It is equally a lot harder than I thought it would be, but I'm able to use some of the information from the books I've been reading to be smarter about my decisions.

One big change is I've cut out diet soda again.

I did this years ago and did really well, but then it started to slip back into my diet. First at special occasions but after awhile it was a frequent feature at meals. But I quit cold turkey last week along with ditching the artificial sweetener in my coffee which, let me tell ya, is way more dramatic than cutting out diet soda.

I still use creamer and it's the regular stuff but I'm honestly way less scared of real sugar than I am fake sugar. Like everything else, it's all about level of consumption and the one thing that I do like about the new Weight Watchers plan is that it really makes you think about sugar intake. 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

08 January 2016

I'm Back, Baby!

I've mentioned before that I am running the 5K/10K Challenge Series as part of the Cleveland Marathon in May but what I haven't mentioned is that I have been asked back to be an Ambassador!

I had so much fun last year and met some amazing other runners. These are the folks who I ran the Akron Marathon Relay with and I am so excited to get to run and train with them again, plus our two new Ambassadors as well!

I'm also incredibly grateful that the Cleveland Marathon is happy to have this here turtle representing them, I think it speaks volumes about the organization as a whole that they want to have runners of different abilities as Ambassadors.

When they first asked us back I debated which distance I wanted to run. Initially I wanted to go with the half marathon again, but my instinct told me to go for the 5K/10K Challenge. I'm really glad I trusted my gut because spring is gonna busybusybusy. I'll be moving in a couple months plus, of course, there's the book and, well, I can't imagine I'd do well if I attempted to fit half-marathon training into all of that, too!

Because of that I won't be officially in training for awhile, but I'm working on maintaining my base and current fitness level so I'll still be writing and running and all that jazz.

Want to run with me? Go check out fellow Ambassador Jessica's blog for a chance to win a free race entry! We'll all be giving them away over the next couple months so be sure to follow all of us.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

06 January 2016

Weigh In Wednesday: Week Twenty

Starting weight: 259.8
Last Week: 263.6
This week: 260.2
Weight lost this week: -3.4
Total weight lost: +0.4

Well now that was certainly unexpected, especially considering last week was still part of the "holiday season." This meant that everyone brought in all of their leftover cookies and candies and cakes from Christmas in and I, admittedly, did not do so well in the not eating them department. Plus, of course, there was New Years Eve which involved eating out that night and New Years Day brunch and champagne at midnight....

Suffice it to say, even if I was expecting a loss it was not a loss that big!

One thing that may have helped is that I braved the cold and went out for a run on the 1st and 2nd of January.

They were both only a mile but considering I hadn't been out for a run since The Christmas Story 10K, I was just happy to be out there. 

My next scheduled race is St. Malachi in early March, which is also when I'll start training for the 5K/10K Challenge of the Cleveland Marathon. But I don't want to lose my base between now and then, so I'm going to keep running as much as I can over the next two months to at least try and maintain my current level. It may mean sucking it up and jumping on the dreadmill but you gotta do what you gotta do!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

04 January 2016

First Monday of 2016!

Hello and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a nice weekend, ringing in 2016. My NYE was low key but fun: some of BC's college friends were in town, we went out for tacos, then just went back to his house and hung out together. I actually managed to stay up past midnight which, believe me, is quite an accomplishment.

So! It's a brand new year. We have a fresh set of 365 -- well, 366 this year -- days to set our goals and intentions. For me, this is the year I commit to creating a lifelong healthy relationship with food. I like to think I'm ahead of the curve a bit since I started a little early by reading books and I also signed up for the Rodale U course 21 Day Challenge to Take Control of Your Eating and so far it's been very beneficial. It's nothing, like, super mind-blowing information wise but it's all about mindful eating. Each day there is a mantra to guide us, a small journaling exercise, a daily lesson, and a healthy snack.

I've tried doing the mindful eating thing on my own and never manage to follow through. I think having a daily thing like this over an extended period of time will help me be more successful. Part of building a habit is repetition, right?

Over the weekend I made one of the recipes from my new Meals on the Run cookbook, the chipotle-orange chicken thighs and ZOMG. So yummy. I paired it was a wild rice medley and some Brussels sprouts.

Like, how good does that look, amirite? The cookbook has some fantastic recipes in it and I can't decide which one I want to try next!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

01 January 2016

2015 Race Recap

Back in January, this slow runner made the commitment to run one race per month for all of 2015 and I am proud to say I followed through on that plan!

January: Commitment Day 5K
This is the race that started it all and we actually were encouraged to write our 2015 commitment directly on our bibs, which was kind of cool. I finished the race in 49:40 which was an average pace of 15:59

February: SnoBall 5K
Given the weather on race day, the SnoBall 5K certainly lived up to its name and I did more walking than I planned just because it was near impossible to navigate the snow. But, the nice thing was they had a pancake breakfast after while they passed out awards and didn't start until everyone was finished. As a slow runner I usually miss all the good stuff like that, so it was appreciated. Final time was 51:15 which was an average pace of 16:29.

March: St. Malachi 5 Mile 
This was my third time running St. Malachi and I'm already registered for the 2016 race, too! I was coming off a cold so breathing was a bit tricky, which slowed me down. For 2015, I ran it in 1:24:43 which comes out to 16:57 per mile.

April: Hermes 10 Mile 
I'm already planning an entire chapter around this race in my memoir because it really highlighted some of the struggles that come with being a slower runner. The photo above is from that race and I'm considering submitting it to my editor for the cover (assuming I can find the high res original Papa G took). After ten miles, my final time was 2:41:19 which was a 16:07 average.

May: Cleveland Half-Marathon
I'm a 3x half-marathoner! I had really hoped to PR on this race and at the 10K mark was right on pace but then got to those final 4 miles of the course which I think is everyone's least favorite part and after being out on a hot, hot day it totally slowed me down. In the end I finished at 3:46:31 which came out to a 17:17 average pace.

June: Nature's Bin 5K
This race was my fastest time all year: finished in 46:37 which was a 15:02 average! I also ran this with my boyfriend BC which was a fun experience for both of us.

July: Shawshank Hustle
Yay! This was not only a race built around one of my favorite movies but it was also my dad's very first race! We finished in 1:22:45 which came out to a 17:59 average pace. It was a super popular race and the beginning was very congested so we had to walk for most of the first 1/2 mile or so.

August: Rock City 5K
Living in Cleveland means I always get to run in and around some pretty cool locations and this one was for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Bonus, my friend Jessica was running it, too! My final times was 49:04 which is an 15:48 average.

September: Akron Marathon Relay
If I had to pick one race to crown my 2015 favorite, it would be this one. Not only did I get to run with some of my fellow Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors as part of a relay team, some other ambassadors ran other races that day so it was like a family reunion, and the event was so incredibly well-organized I can't even. I'm seriously considering signing up for the Akron Half next fall, I loved the entire weekend so much. For my leg of the relay, I finished in 57:35 which comes out to an average of 16:00 minute miles.

October: Great Beer Chase 5K
BEER. This race was hosted by Great Lakes Brewing Company which is just right up the street from me and I can easily pop into the grocery store and buy it whenever I want, something I totally take for granted. It was fun because they had runners designated as some of their beers, like a guy in a suit and tie for Eliot Ness or a full on costumed Commodore Perry, and they were out running with us. Our finishers "medal" was a GLBC bottle opener which I proudly have hanging with all my other more traditional metals. Final time was 47:30 for a  15:19 average.

November: Turkey Trot
This 5 mile race honestly kind of made me a little angry because of the way Hermes handled it, which is unfortunate because they usually do a really awesome job at races. We started late and then they were packing everything up before the back of the was anywhere near finished. Final time was 1:25:58 for an average of 17:12 minutes.

December: Christmas Story 10K
What a great way to end my commitment of running one race per month! Not only was this my second movie themed race of the year, but it was a great run with a great crowd. Final time on my 10K was 1:37:58 for a 15:48 average.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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