Category Archives: weight loss

Amazing August

I think my Report Card for July Goals is a big fat Zero.

July Goals:

1. Heal! Be 100%.

2. Make Sun Tea.

3. Train for Hood to Coast.

4. Have a picnic.

5. Try Trail running for the first time.

I suppose I’ve technically been training for Hood to Coast with every single workout I do (even workouts that don’t involve running)….but for the most part, I accomplished nothing in July. My July Goals SHOULD have been:

1. Heal.

2. Survive House Guest-Palooza.

3. Finish installing the kitchen floor.

4. Train for Hood To Coast.

If those had been my goals, I think I’d be in better shape right now. So in light of that, I’m going to be very easy with my goals for August:

August Goals


2. Survive Hood to Coast.

3. ENJOY Hood to Coast.

4. Recover from Hood to Coast.

Noticing a theme here? 😉

QUESTION: What are you goals for August?

Pregnancy and Weight

Photo by Mercy McNab

Photo by Mercy McNab


Age: 39

Pre-pregnancy weight: 157 lbs

Height: 5’2

Size: 12

1. When is your due date?

The doctor said August 20th and my midwife used a calendar of my actual cycles and came up with August 29th.

2. Before you got pregnant, were you worried about the weight gain involved with being pregnant?

I started out overweight.  I wanted to lose 15 pounds before I got pregnant but it happened much quicker than we had planned. I was very worried about the weight gain. My sister had put on a lot of weight during her pregnancy and had a hard time losing it after. She also had gestational diabetes so I worried about that too. But once I got pregnant my concerns were more on the health of the baby.

3. How much weight did you gain during your pregnancy?

So far I have gained about 25 pounds. The last three pounds I gained recently. I actually have been worried about not gaining enough weight. The first trimester I did not want to eat. I didn’t have morning sickness; I just couldn’t stand the idea of food, especially vegetables. I worried my baby wasn’t getting enough nutrition, but the doctor told me it was normal during the first trimester to have strange eating habits.

4. Did you have any secondary issues arise because of the weight gain?

I had health issues before getting pregnant which include arthritis and IBS. Doctors warned me that pregnancy would aggravate these issues, but I had no problems with either the first two trimesters.  Now my knees are really hurting me. I cannot kneel or bend down too much. It is painful to take stairs. I am having digestion issues because the baby is bigger and my stomach is being pushed up so high.  I also hit the borderline of gestational diabetes. I didn’t have it but I was close so I changed my diet. Now I try to avoid sugar and when I eat carbs I make sure I eat protein with them. I’m back in the safe zone now; I don’t have diabetes.

Aside from health issues I am uncomfortable with the extra weight. I can’t cross my legs, I get easily short of breath, and my feet are very swollen. I went up a whole shoe size, from a 7 ½ to an 8 ½.

5. Are you worried about losing the weight after the baby is born?

I am actually not too worried about losing the weight after birth. The pregnancy has forced some good eating habits on me. I gave up caffeine from the start of my pregnancy and that has actually made me more energetic and focused. Watching my sugar intake has helped me see how much sugar is in everything. Since I have cut back on sugar my moods have been more stabilized and I feel calmer. I plan to breastfeed and I hear that will help my metabolism and help burn off the extra weight. If I keep eating the way I do now I think I’ll probably end up better off than I was before pregnancy.

6. What kind of physical activity did you do during your pregnancy? Was it difficult?

I am embarrassed to say I did very little physical activity other than working (I am a kindergarten teacher). I joined a gym before I got pregnant and after I found out I was pregnant I had big plans to work out through out my pregnancy, but, I had no idea of the energy a growing baby would take. I was exhausted all of the time. I think if I had a habit before pregnancy it would have been fine.

A few weeks ago my husband and I joined a community swimming pool and I started swimming. I plan to have natural childbirth and I heard that you should work out in some way not so much to control weight but to have endurance. I wish I had started swimming sooner. It feels really great, especially on my joints.  I tried long walks earlier but the pressure my baby had on my bladder made it hard to go far without having to use a bathroom. Swimming is the ideal form of exercise for me. We try to go three days a week.

7. What were the most surprising changes your body went through?

I am from a family of seven, all girls and one boy, I’m the youngest. I’m the last to have a child so I knew very well my body would physically change. I think the most surprising changes my body went through were internal. I imagined when I got pregnant I would eat everything in sight and my change of appetite was surprising. I also expected to have problems with my IBS and arthritis, and not only did pregnancy not complicate these issues but I actually lived the first two trimesters as though they never existed. I have a skin condition on my face and my dermatologist warned me I’d get brown spots on my face known as “pregnancy mask” but I didn’t. I think pregnancy has made me a healthier person.  I am shocked because like I said I couldn’t eat as well as I had planned, got little exercise, and started off with health issues.

8. What does your husband think about your body changes?

My husband is beyond wonderful when it comes to the changes in my body. I think it is just natural for a woman to feel less attractive when she has an extra 25 pounds on her and her body is being reshaped.

First of all, my husband loves curves on a woman and is always telling me how great I look. That is so wonderful to hear. I’ll be blunt, my breasts are changing shape and just looking very different to me, but my husband has this great attitude that my breasts are for the baby now and are being shaped for what they are naturally intended to do.  He has helped me find a different view of my body. Up to this point I related to my body physically as a sexual part of me. Now I see it as functional-almost as an object detached from whom I am inside. It is a bit freeing. I am about to turn 40 in a few weeks and I think this helps, accepting my body is just going to change no matter what. My husband is more accepting of it than me.

I went most of my pregnancy without stretch marks but recently they appeared and I was sad about it. My husband said “They will be there to remind you of this time when you carried the baby.” As I approach my last weeks of pregnancy I am beginning to feel a sense of loss, of not having the baby in me after all of this time. I love feeling the baby move and kick. It truly is a magical feeling for me, and seeing the stretch marks as a souvenir of this time puts a positive spin on things.

9. Any advice for women expecting, or wanting to become pregnant?

My advice to women who are expecting is, your body is going to change. Embrace it. I met a woman who told me she hit 300 pounds in her pregnancy and a friend talked her into having a photo shoot dressed as a belly dancer. She thought this was crazy but did it anyway and she loved it. Get a henna design put on your belly, wear clothes that show off your new breasts and belly, pose for a life drawing, or hire a professional photographer. Take pictures of your belly, your swollen feet and double chin, they are all part of having a baby.  Celebrate these changes.

To people around a pregnant woman, please be positive about our physical looks. We know we are “getting so big”. Tell us how great we look, that we glow, look happy, focus on the baby and not the extra weight.


Thank you Rae for answering these questions so honestly! I think a lot of my readers can relate to this. Many gained weight with pregnancy and are trying to lose it, and I’m sure there are others like me who want to have kids someday and worry about the body changes.

QUESTION: Moms out there, do you have advice for new moms about losing weight?

Marina Walk and Contemplation

Today is my rest day–and well deserved one at that. I did an intense 6.5 mile hill run last Friday, an intense stair-master/weight workout Saturday, Swim on Sunday AND Monday. Plus all the walking I do. So today I decided to take it easy.

I walked part of the Waterfront (where I run at lunch) but instead of crossing the Hawthorne Bridge (pictured above) I kept walking on the Westside of the river. I’d forgotten that the Marina had a walkway that kept going passed the bridge!

There were a bunch of nice restaurants on the Marina that I honestly hadn’t known about, or had forgotten about. I will definitely be going back for dinner there sometime.

It was a brisk walk. I could see the Sellwood Bridge in the distance and at first I thought I could maybe make it to the bridge and then back. However, the path stopped short at a beach. 😦

I had been plotting a new running route that took me over the Sellwood Bridge and through Sellwood, back towards downtown on the OMSI side. Plans thwarted. Oh well! Maybe when they someday finish the Marina path I can try that.


While I was walking, I tried to think about all the things that I am thankful for with my weight loss. Sometimes it’s hard to remember how far I’ve come and get too wrapped up in those “last few pounds.” So I reminded myself of all the things I hated and then listed all the things I LOVE about my new body.

Things I Hated When I Was Fat

  • Underwear: No, thongs and bikinis did not look good on me at 250 pounds. Nothing like Granny Panties!
  • Pantyhose: Nothing like buying a a humongous size of pantyhose and STILL feeling like a sausage. 😦 And calling it a “Queen” size doesn’t make it any more flattering.
  • Chairs at School: I remember one of my “I am DONE being fat” moments happened in college. One of my classes actually had those chairs that are connected to the desk. And it was tiny. And there was no way I could fit in that chair. But I also didn’t want to draw attention to the fact that I didn’t fit so I squeezed into the desk. And could barely breathe.
  • Going to concerts and movies: Having to see “the look” of strangers who are annoyed about the fat girl getting up to use the bathroom and attempting to squeeze by them to get to the isle.
  • Going to the beach: Seeing cute girls in bikinis and I’m wearing shorts and big t-shirt. Seeing the attention the girls in the thongs get, and feeling like seaweed that just washed ashore.
  • Doctor’s Offices: Being weighed in public and having the nurse make a face when seeing the number. Or having the doctor nag yet again that you need to lose weight, or that your blood pressure is too high.
  • Big Thighs: Yes, it’s called chafing. The act of thighs rubbing together when walking. Evident by the worn-out holes on the inner thigh of pants. Which, by the way, are impossible to patch.
  • Stretch Marks: Despite what infomercials say, NOTHING really gets rid of stretch marks. Even if you lose all the weight. I once had a boyfriend say it looked like Freddy Kreuger clawed my stomach. Thanks. Guess what? He wasn’t a boyfriend much longer.
  • Victoria’s Secret: Getting dirty looks from the size double zero girls that work there. And of course, having to buy the “lingerie dresses” because the REALLY sexy stuff didn’t really fit.
  • Riding the Bus: Never being offered a seat by anyone on the bus. Just because I was fat. Then seeing a guy give up his seat a few minutes later to a petite little blond in heels.
  • The “Muffin Top” Look.
  • Eating Out: Walking into a restaurant and wondering if I could fit in a booth or should I request a table (which also happens to be in the middle of the restaurant of course).
  • “When Are You Due?”: Being mistaken for being pregnant. When you’re not. In fact, you’re not even dating someone. “But thanks for asking.”
  • Crossing My Legs: The first time I was able to cross my legs when sitting in my chair was a SHOCKER! I hadn’t been expecting it, and boy was it awesome. 🙂


  • Being able to cross my legs when sitting in a chair.
  • Finally fitting into that size “Small”.
  • Not yoyo-ing sizes.
  • Being able to swim a mile and a half without stopping to rest (or breathe).
  • Being able to bike 55 miles in Reach the Beach.
  • Doing active things for fun–like hiking, biking and running.
  • Running an 8k without walking or stopping.
  • Inspiring others to lose weight.
  • Shopping in Victoria’s Secret–without the dirty looks, and being able to buy exactly what I want instead of what “fits.”
  • Being known in my office building as “The Runner” (even by people I don’t even know). This one is my favorite. 🙂
  • Actually being able to complain that clothes in the store aren’t “small enough” so I had to go to the Junior sizes.
  • Wearing a sexy dress in public and being CHECKED OUT! 😀

QUESTION: What do you love about your body?

Rewarding Yourself

One of my “secrets” to weight loss is a system of REWARDS.

As a way to keep myself motivated, I bought a packet of the little star stickers. I had a traditional calender that hung on the wall of my apartment. Every time I worked out, I put a little star sticker on that date.

It may seem really simple and silly, but it was a great motivator! At first I only saw one or two stars on my calender each week. Then it was three stars a week. Eventually it was 5 or 6 stars each week. It was really cool to SEE my efforts.

When I moved in with Michael last year, I got rid of the stickers and calender system. Now I use my Google Calender to record my workouts. While I don’t necessarily need to keep recording them now that I’ve lost the weight, I still do it because it makes me feel good.

In terms of types of rewards, it’s really whatever interests you. It could be small rewards like “a new pair of headphones for working out” after losing 10 pounds. Or bigger rewards for bigger losses. Whatever motivates you to keep trying!

Ways to Reward Your Weight Loss

1. Spa Day/Massages

A day of pampering is one of my favorite rewards. Nothing feels better than a massage or foot rub after working your body really hard at the gym! While massages and spa days can be expensive, there are ways to save money. Ask friends for referrals. Sometimes they may have a friend that does massage and is trying to start up their own business. Another trick is to find spas or chiropractic offices that offer cheaper introductory rates!

2. Travel/Vacation

Planning a vacation to celebrate your new body is a good motivator! Unless it will stress you out having a specific date in mind, try booking the trip ahead. Having a tangible goal with a SPECIFIC date REALLY helped me a lot. For example, I’m strongly considering signing up for the Las Vegas Half Marathon. If I decide to do it, I’m going to look at it as my reward for completing Hood to Coast (and for losing a few more pounds).

3. New clothes

A new wardrobe at a smaller size is often the biggest reward for losing weight! Buy something nice at Victoria’s Secret or go shopping in a section you could never fit in before.

4. Workout Machine

Have you been eyeing an elliptical machine for your home gym or something else? Splurge and reward your success with more success.

5. Girl’s Night Out

Invite your best friends out to help you celebrate. When I reached my goal of losing 100 pounds, Michael took me out to dinner at his favorite restaurant in Portland–Apizza Scholls. It had been 2 years since I ate pizza and we ordered a fantastic pizza and a bottle of wine that night. It was a fantastic way to celebrate reaching my goal!

6. Kitchen Gadget

Maybe you’ve always wanted a Kitchenaid Mixer, or a bread-maker…whatever the item is you’ve been putting off buying, splurge.

7. Mani/Pedi

Sometimes while losing weight, it’s easy to get discouraged and feel down about your body; especially if the progress has been slow. For me, getting a pedicure always relaxed me and made me feel pretty.

8. Enter a Competition

Another big motivator for weight loss is training for a goal like a triathlon or 5k Run. Start small if you’re new to working out; don’t expect to be able to run a marathon right away.

With the exception of the pizza dinner when reaching 100 pounds lost, I didn’t usually reward myself with food. I felt like that was a slippery-slope that I didn’t want to mess with.

QUESTION: Do you reward yourself for reaching weight loss goals?

Is Walking a Workout?

There is nothing wrong with walking!

It’s okay to have small goals and work up to bigger goals. For people who are overweight or just beginning a weight-loss program, walking is an excellent choice. It’s low impact and with extra pounds adding strain to joints, walking is better than starting a running routine.

1. Walking is an easy workout to fit into the day. Walking during your breaks or lunch hour at work can be an easy thing to add to your daily routine.

2. Skip the elevators and walk the stairs. Stairs are a quick way to get your blood pumping.

3. Walk up and down hills to vary your workout and to also build your fitness level.

4. Try Nordic Walking. Nordic Walking is just walking with poles. It started as an off-season activity for skiers who wanted to build up their fitness. Nordic Walking works your upper body while just regular walking works the lower body only.

I walk on my Rest Days because I feel like I want to keep moving. I’ve noticed lately that my walking speed has increased a great deal. I’m just short of a jog at this point. I also walk almost every morning (time permitting) about two miles to my office.

I enjoy walking. It give me time to think and process things, compose blog posts, fantasize about tropical vacations…

You may have no intention of ever becoming a runner, but perhaps a steady routine of walking will change your mind.

  • Jogging works different muscles than walking, even at the same speeds.
  • Jogging gives a heavy body a reason to start becoming lean.
  • Jogging makes you more efficient at walking.
  • Jogging will contribute to bone density.

QUESTION: Do you consider walking a workout, or is it too “slow” to be a “real” workout?

Food Addiction

Skinnie Emmie wrote a great post the other day on Binge Eating. The post stayed with me and I started thinking about it because I could really relate. I was a binge eater back in the day. I could easily eat half a carton of ice cream in one sitting.

For me, my food addictions were from boredom and depression. I was bored, depressed about being fat, lazy and as a result would just eat. And eat. And eat some more. You don’t get to 250 without making lazy choices, that’s for sure.

Food Addiction is a sensitive topic. Honestly, I’m not sure if I believe in food addiction. There are people that claim food can be just as addicting as drugs. I believe that SUGAR can be addicting. I’ve gone through the effects of sugar withdrawal too many times to count! And nothing compares to the feeling of a sugar craving you can’t control.

I remember “back in the day” I would buy candy bars (my favorite were 5th Avenue Bars or Butterfingers) at the grocery store and stock up on them in my house. Honestly, they were probably the King Size bars, too (That’s 320 calories + the milk I was drinking with it!). I got into the habit of eating one every day and then when I’d run out, I’d get panicked. I didn’t have my daily candy bar! Did I just say oh well? Nope, I went to the store and got more! I got into the HABIT of eating the candy bars every day and felt WEIRD when I didn’t!

Are you a food addict? (taken from Food Addicts Website)
To answer this question, ask yourself the following questions and answer them as honestly as you can.

1 Have you ever wanted to stop eating and found you just couldn’t?
2 Do you think about food or your weight constantly?
3 Do you find yourself attempting one diet or food plan after another, with no lasting success?
4 Do you binge and then “get rid of the binge” through vomiting, exercise, laxatives, or other forms of purging?
5 Do you eat differently in private than you do in front of other people?
6 Has a doctor or family member ever approached you with concern about your eating habits or weight?
7 Do you eat large quantities of food at one time (binge)?
8 Is your weight problem due to your “nibbling” all day long?
9 Do you eat to escape from your feelings?
10 Do you eat when you’re not hungry?
11 Have you ever discarded food, only to retrieve and eat it later?
12 Do you eat in secret?
13 Do you fast or severely restrict your food intake?
14 Have you ever stolen other people’s food?
15 Have you ever hidden food to make sure you have “enough?”
16 Do you feel driven to exercise excessively to control your weight?
17 Do you obsessively calculate the calories you’ve burned against the calories you’ve eaten?
18 Do you frequently feel guilty or ashamed about what you’ve eaten?
19 Are you waiting for your life to begin “when you lose the weight?”
20 Do you feel hopeless about your relationship with food?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you may be a food addict. You are not alone. FA offers hope through a real solution to food addiction.”


I had a heated discussion with a friend of mine who said she’s been on Weight Watcher since she was 13. She firmly believes in Food Addiction and was shocked that I don’t. I told her I was on the fence about it, not that I didn’t believe in it. She was surprised and said that I can’t be 250 pounds without being addicted to food.

Food Addiction is not like being addicted to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes. You HAVE to eat to survive and you can’t avoid your “drug” because you would die.

What I believe is that we want to make excuses for why we haven’t made the positive changes in our life. I say “we” because I’ve been there and I made all the excuses too! It’s so much easier to say “I don’t have time to work out” than to actually figure out how to make time.

“I can’t lose weight no matter what I do.”

“I work out but don’t see a change.”

“I’ll always be fat.”

I said all those things and more. And guess what? I wasn’t losing weight because I didn’t change my eating habits. I wasn’t losing weight because I was half-assing a workout and wasn’t consistent with going. And finally, I will not be fat forever. I made the changes to prove that statement wrong!

The reason I’m on the fence about Food Addiction is because if it were an addiction, that would mean I clearly CURED myself of my addiction, right? I was able to lose the weight and keep it off (for the most part) so how is it an addiction?

QUESTION: What are your thoughts on Food addiction? Have you experienced it? Do you think it’s curable?

Chaos and Disorder

You will not gain back everything you lost by taking an extra day off.

This is something I have to remind myself once in awhile. As you may remember, we are remodeling our kitchen and are in the process of laying tile.

It’s a really long, involved process which takes time–and we have a huge space too. This week we have been measuring tile to prep them for cutting this weekend. Because of the aggressive plan for this weekend, Michael asked me to take Friday off from swimming.

It’s a small sacrifice and in the grand scheme of things it makes no difference. I tell myself today “Would I rather have the kitchen done, or go swimming?” Of course I’d rather have the kitchen done! But when it comes to sacrificing my workouts, I tend to be a little irrational at times.

For example, I had surgery a few years ago to remove a non-cancerous lump from my breast. The doctor said I had to take a week off from swimming while I healed. I totally lost it at the idea of taking a week off! Of course it was needed, but I stubbornly tried to do other activities that weren’t swimming just to get my workout in. Why? Because my fear has always been that if I skip workouts I will start getting lazy about them which in turn will cause me to gain all my weight back. I know it makes no sense.

Before I hurt myself running last month, I wouldn’t have minded too much because I would have just added an extra run to the week and called it good. Now, however, I am trying to take it easy with the running for fear of re-injuring myself.

Michael was very sweet and as a compromise he said he’d walk with me for an hour every night–even if it was 10pm–to make up for the missing workout. He’s such a sweetie and today I feel silly for being upset about a WORKOUT.

QUESTION: Do you get upset when your workouts are thwarted?

Since the kitchen was in complete disarray, I went to Subway to pick up dinner. I got a foot-long Spicy Italian (my favorite) and some Sun-chips.

We split the sandwich for dinner.

I could make better choices at Subway but what I got was about 520 calories and that’s alright for dinner.

I’m excited for this weekend. I feel positive that we can finish all the tile and finally have a nice kitchen! And I’m looking forward to having less stress and chaos. The kitties are starting to show signs of stress too. We’ve had to move their litter box and food many, many times in the last few weeks. They look at me with a “What is going on, Mom?” kind of look!

Poor kitties!

QUESTION: Do you like Subway? What do you usually get?

Beat Summer Weight Gain

Summer is actually the perfect time of year to LOSE weight. Especially for me–the heat really does a number on my appetite. Sure it’s fun to splurge. But if you are trying to stay healthy, or trying to lose weight, you have to be smarter than your cravings!

1. Stick to a schedule. Schedule your workouts like you would schedule fun stuff. I always plan some kind of workout even on vacation. For example, on our anniversary trip we brought our bikes and hiking boots and used them!

2. Make goals. Set small goals for yourself so you can track the progress. I goal I usually make for summer time is to just not GAIN. 🙂

3. Beat the heat. Sure it’s hot and comfortable and not fun to workout in 100 degree weather…be creative. Go swimming, bowling (thank you AC!), try the REI rockclimbing wall which is inside.

4. Control what you eat. At BBQ’s and picnics: Always start with the salad and wait to get seconds. Eat a lot of fruit. If it’s a potluck, bring something healthy that YOU can enjoy too!

5. Don’t drink your calories. That includes the lovely Starbucks iced coffees! Order something lighter than the 300+ calorie iced mocha. Check out my previous post on Alcohol.

Top 5 best drinks:
1. Rum and Diet Coke (1 oz. rum) – 65 calories
Use diet sodas as mixers, such as gin and diet tonic, diet 7Up and Seagrams 7, diet ginger ale and Jack Daniels, and so on.
2. Vodka and Soda (1 oz. vodka) – 65 calories
3. White Wine Spritzer (4 oz. white wine topped with club soda) – 80 calories

6. Drink water! Not only do we need to be drinking more water, it also fills up your stomach and curbs hunger. (I need to be doing this more.)

QUESTION: What are your tips for beating summer weight gain?

Healthy Snacking

What do you snack on? I’m a snacker during the week only. I rarely snack on the weekends because I’m usually too busy doing stuff to get hungry!

I used to bring snacks like this:

Lots of processed food!!

It was never filling and I didn’t really feel that great eating them. When I started running, my diet changed drastically. I quickly learned what food to eat as FUEL for my body. Instead of wasteful filler food like those snacks, I switched to fruit and veggies.

So instead of the food with bar-codes, I eat these things for snacks:

Medium sized apple: 80 calories.

String Cheese: 80 calories

Cup of Rainier Cherries: 90 calories

Serving of Cottage Cheese: 90 calories

Baby carrots: less than 50 calories

Cup of cauliflower: less than 50 calories

QUESTION: What are your snacking habits? How can they be improved?

Last night was another Twitter #fitblog Chat. I participated in the first part of the chat and then got distracted with dinner.

Here are a few of my thoughts about the questions last night:

Q1 Follow Up 1: how did the dietary/fitness change effect you in ways you weren’t expecting?

For me, the biggest surprise/change in losing weight was that I became an athlete. I NEVER would have imagined I’d be so athletic and so into fitness. I’ve come  a long way from being a lazy, 250 pound person that ate poorly and hated my body. Another surprise was that I became a RUNNER. Who would have thought that?!?!

Q1 Follow Up 2: what tips do you have now that you wish you could have given yourself when you first decided to make the change?

The biggest suggestion I have for people first starting out is to sign up for one or two sessions with a personal trainer to get a GOOD routine down and be trained on how to lift weights and use the machines properly. Injuries can be avoided! Another suggestion would be to get fitted for good running shoes BEFORE you start running! I waited way too long to do that. And finally:


I will leave you all with another 100 calorie treat that I enjoyed this morning:

ICED COFFEE…..perfect for 90 degree weather! I added my own sweetener to save calories:

QUESTION: Did you participate in last night’s #fitblog chat? What were your thoughts?

2 Pounds of Sugar?

Anyone else a Top Chef fan? I love the show. I’m not a reality show fan in any way but this show is the exception. I’ve been watching it for two seasons and am watching the current season now.

A few weeks ago there was a challenge to prepare a healthy lunch for grade school kids in the DC area. The contestant that went home was Jacqueline Lombard. She made a dessert — a banana pudding — that was a total and utter failure.

Jacqueline was eliminated because her banana pudding contained a whopping 2 pounds of sugar! It wasn’t nutritious in any way, and was not well executed (too starchy and too sweet). I’m glad she went home and when they were hyping the elimination round, I was yelling at the TV that if she wasn’t sent home, the show was rigged. TWO POUNDS OF SUGAR?! Oh my god! That’s incomprehensible to me. No adult should have two pounds of sugar in any thing they consume, let alone a kid!

Did anyone else watch the show? What did you think?

A new study out claims that Oregon is ranked 39th in obesity for the USA.  The 2010 report states that 1 in 4 Oregonians is obese. However, the good news seems to be that Oregon is setting a standard for having nutritional breakfasts, lunches and snacks in our schools. For being 39th in obesity rating, we somehow have a lower rate of childhood obesity.

I recently discovered that some Oregon schools have a Farm-to-School program. 32% of the schools are getting their produce from local farms. That’s a win-win situation in my book! Not only do the kids benefit from healthy food, but the locally owned farms are still in business too.

I don’t have kids. Someday I hope to and I hope I can pass on a passion for healthy eating and exercise. Growing up in my house, the theme was RESTRICTION. My parents were into the low-fat/no sugar/no flavor kind of diet. It was horrible. And as a result I rebelled and ate junk food whenever I could…at friend’s houses, at school, sneaking candy into my room to eat secretly. Restricting treats lead to my obsession with sweets and overeating.

Who has kids? What are the challenges you have for getting your kids to eat healthy food?

Clearly, restricting food is not the healthy way to go about things. And what about kids that are super picky about their foods? Is it too challenging to fight with them daily to eat their healthy foods? Do you give in and let them eat what they want to avoid that fight?

Check out this article about a local school that’s making a difference!

QUESTION: Do you know where your state ranks in the obesity statistics? Is your community doing anything to make a difference?

Hating Your Body

Do you ever hate your body?

When I was 250 I went through weird stages where I’d love my body and flaunt it, then I’d go through stages where I hated my body. The stomach rolls. The thighs rubbing. The big arms. The double chin.

I lost weight because I became stuck in that “I hate my body” phase and realized there was a different way of living out there. I lost weight because my body HURT all the time.

Well last week I was hating my body again. I was so damn MAD at my body. Thoughts like “I didn’t lose 110 pounds to still hurt!” My injury deflated me. I felt betrayed, I felt broken. I felt really pissed off at my body like it was the ENEMY.

Many times in my weight loss journey I looked at my “fat” as the demon I was trying exorcise. I wanted to get rid of that and never see it again.

Last week was the first time since I was “fat” that I felt like my body was the Enemy. I kept thinking, “How could I lose so much weight and be soooo healthy and still get injured?” And I thought, “How can so many other people run and not get injured?”

I did everything right. I didn’t increase my speed or distance too fast. I gradually increased my speed over MONTHS of training. Yes I added stairs to my routine recently, but I had been doing that damn stair-master all winter long. Doesn’t that count for something? Sheesh!

I still can’t answer any of these questions. My hope is that I am healing and healed soon. I don’t want to injure myself further. But I also don’t want to be sidelined for the entire summer season. I have Hood to Coast in 2 months and I want to be 100% for that!

I woke up this morning wondering if I would be in pain from yesterday’s run. I wasn’t! There were no twinges, no aches, no strains. I felt okay but I wanted to take it easy anyhow.

Today is my Rest Day and I’m taking it easy.  I want to be able to heal. So far today I’ve been pretty upbeat and happy. Not being in pain changes your outlook drastically and I am crossing my fingers that the healing has begun!

July Weigh-In

This month’s weigh in isn’t very exciting. I haven’t lost much of anything…maybe about half a pound. I was disappointed when I got on the scale and saw no change. 😦

No change could be from a lot of things…getting into an exercise rut, being injured and taking it easy, over-indulging at events and vacations, and…..

…..drinking more alcohol (why is it that summertime = alcohol?).

I measured and saw a change, however. I lost about 1/2 an inch around everywhere except my waist where I lost a whole inch! Sweet! I’ll take it. My hope is that I heal quickly and can get back to training. Maybe next month I will see a change!

QUESTION: How do you change your thinking when it goes to the negative side?

Do You Have a Pancake Butt?

Why yes, yes I do. I have a pancake butt. What is a pancake butt?

The Urban Dictionary defines it as “when one’s butt has absolutely no shape to it at all. Looking very flat, like a pancake.”

Michael has lovingly said several times recently that my butt is shrinking. Very sweet of him. Then I noticed the last time I went jean shopping that my butt, while small, is not well defined.

My body changed in a lot of different ways as I lost weight. Every week it was a new discovery. Besides my clothes not fitting any more, I suddenly could see ribs, I could see a COLLARBONE! Holy cow! Where did that come from? And my thighs stopped rubbing together.

These changes also meant that I lost weight in places I wasn’t expecting to as well. I lost too many bra sizes to even count (actually I can count–42FF to 34DD) and also my butt shrank!

I read an article recently that said that there are a few reasons for having “pancake butt.” 1) There’s not enough fat accumulation in your butt or 2) Your butt muscles don’t engage so they don’t build up.

Now, how do we fix this problem? Try these tips:

1) Butt Lifts

2) Squats

3) Sprints— great for runners! I’ve recently incorporated sprint intervals into my routine.

4) Side Lunges

Supposedly biking can also improve definition. I’ve recently tried doing sprints and interval training with my running. I do the stair-master at the gym, and I also started doing the Leg Press machines at the gym. Here’s to hoping for some definition!

QUESTION: Do you have any other tips to add?

Nachos For Dinner

Michael went to Costco yesterday and arrived with this Evil Temptress:

I’m going to try and resist this treat as long as I can. He also got another one of my favorites: black olives! I don’t know why but I could eat them like candy. 😉

For dinner we made nachos. I chopped black olives, onion and jalapenos to go on top of the nachos.

When I got home I was starving and he proposed the idea of nachos. I didn’t think that would be filling enough, so I suggested shrimp too. Michael took care of the shrimp.

Turns out, the nachos WERE filling enough and we didn’t need the shrimp. Oh well. Hopefully the leftover cold shrimp will taste okay on top of a salad or something.

I topped my nachos with light sour cream. It was very tasty! We don’t have nachos very often but boy are they good.


A tip for cooking with shrimp: put the tails or discarded shrimp in a zip-lock bag before throwing in the garbage. You will save yourself some smelly messes!

Shrimp Tails

I was very full from dinner. Almost too full but it was still good.


Yesterday’s topic on Vanity Sizing was pretty popular and it seemed universal that people were annoyed with non-standard sizing.

Angela over at This Awesome Life said: “I also noticed when I was trying on some track pants that I took the 3x size pants thinking, no way I’d fit in 2x, only to find that even the 2xs are now a little baggy. I wish I had bought a couple 1xs, they were on clearance for $5!” That brings up a great topic that I’ve discussed before.

Losing weight can be a costly endeavor when it comes to clothes shopping. Just like Angela said, too many times to count I bought clothes I never had a chance to wear because I’d lost too much weight to fit into them. I highly suggest buying smaller sizes and “losing weight into them”. I started buying clothes that were snug because I knew in a few weeks they would fit. It’s a good tip.

QUESTION: What do you put on your nachos?

Hello New Readers!

I’ve been seeing a lot of new people visiting my blog lately and I wanted to say “hello” and give new readers a short recap of what’s been going on and who I am.

First, the basics. I’m Lisa, 30 years old. I live in Portland, Oregon with my boyfriend Michael and my two kitties (Maya and Fat Kitty–not his real name, of course).

April 2009

I grew up in Seattle and when I was 19 I moved to Portland, Oregon. I’ve been here ever since.

Seattle, stock photo

Oregon is a pretty good place to live if you enjoy the outdoors. We are an hours drive from the desert, the mountains, farmlands, wine country, and 2 hours from the Oregon Coast. There are always fun outdoorsy things like hiking, biking, camping, etc.

Portland, stock photo

I also have a younger brother, Andrew. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and their cat. One of the motivating factors for my weight loss was the fact that I was going to be in my brother’s wedding. I did not want to be 250 pounds in those wedding pictures! I lost 50 pounds before his wedding.

My Fat History Page has more history on my weight gain and How I Lost 100 Pounds details how I lost the weight.

My weight loss journey took me just under two years. I lost 110 pounds and was 143 pounds at my lowest. Then I started taking Celexa. In the 10 months I took it, I managed to gain about 15 pounds! I decided in January of this year to stop taking the drugs and since February, I’ve lost almost 9 of those 15 pounds.

On May 15th, Michael and I participated in the Reach the Beach bike ride for the American Lung Association. We’d raised money for the charity and had been training for months. Many weekends were spent biking all day long–30, 40, and finally 50 miles. Michael rode 80 miles in Reach the Beach and I rode 55. Check out the recaps for the full story. It was quite the exciting adventure and I’d do again in a heartbeat!

I’ve previously mentioned that I am now training for Hood to Coast. I am really excited and nervous about the endeavor. It takes place at the end of August. Basically, each team has 12 members on it and we rent 2 vans and the vans leap-frog each other during the course. The first runner in the first van will run their FIRST leg of the course–between 4 and 8 miles, then they get back in the van and the next person (I think in Van #2) takes over and does their first leg and so on. By the end of the 200 miles, I will have run 3 separate legs of the course for about a total of 15-18 miles.

*Not My Pic

My team captain, Leslie, is a very experienced runner and she’s done Hood to Coast for 8 years. I’m confident in her abilities to lead the team. She’s given me pointers and tried to tell me what to expect. But still, I really have no idea what to expect. I know that my first leg is somewhere in Portland. My second leg will be in the middle of the night — in the middle of NOWHERE–and my last leg will be towards the end of the course. The course goes from Mt. Hood to Seaside (200 miles).

Most of my summer will be training for Hood to Coast. After that, I hope to participate in another bike ride–possibly a Century.

Another goal I have been toying with is the Las Vegas Half Marathon in December. I haven’t fully decided yet if I’m going to do it. I want to. But I’m also apprehensive about whether or not I can actually run 13 miles at once! I decided that I’d make the decision after Hood to Coast.

So that’s the recap of what’s been going on lately. Thanks for reading!

Vanity Sizing

“Size Zero is the new Size 6!”

Have you ever heard of something called “Vanity Sizing”?

Times Online has a good article about Vanity sizing here. Basically, manufacturers mislabel their clothes to make us shoppers think we can fit into a size we really AREN’T. “Vanity sizing” [is] defined as “a ploy in which stores flatter women by making clothes bigger so they think they are buying a smaller size.”

There is no way I can walk into any store and just pick up “my size” and walk out. I have to try on everything. Recently, I had to buy a new pair of jeans. I went to Kohl’s and grabbed a bunch of different brands off their clearance rack and tried them on. With many of the brands–including the Kohl’s brand–I was a size 4! Size 4! I was surprised. Then I tried on a pair of Levi’s jeans. In those I was a size 6 and it was a tad snug. How does that happen?

There is no consistency between stores. I remember when I was overweight and I’d shop for clothes I kept thinking “This XXL is really small!” At Target it was an XL, at Wa-lmart a similar short was a L. Now if I go to a Wal-mart and pick up a Small or Extra Small I’m swimming in it. So what size am I? I have no idea.

We shouldn’t care about the number, or be influenced by the number. Instead, we should care if they fit right. But we are obsessed as a culture with the numbers. The number on the scale, the size on the tag, it’s what we focus on. A tip my aunt gave me once: cut out all the tags after you buy them.

So does vanity sizing work? Do you find that you shop at the stores where you’re a size 8 as opposed to the store where you’re a size 10? Is your self-esteem attached to the number on the tag? And even though the Size 6 Levi’s fit the same as the Kohl’s Size 4, why didn’t I buy the Levi’s? I admit, I bought the Kohl’s ’cause it was a size 4. I am guilty of buying into vanity sizing.

Especially when it comes to SPANDEX. Can we all let out a collective groan please? Spandex bike shorts are an evil necessity. I want the support. I want the extra padding for my butt. But dammit why are they in European sizes? For months I refused to buy a Large in bike shorts. Michael nagged me and told me I’d be more comfortable and not to pay attention to the size because it’s “Italian Sizing” blah blah blah. In my mind I kept thinking, “I did NOT lose 100 pounds to wear a LARGE in anything!” I just couldn’t do it.

I now have that pair of Sugoi bike shorts that was sent to me. They are a large and YES they are more comfortable and bit more flattering than my mediums. I admit it.

QUESTION: So how do you shop? Do you buy the size or the fit?