Life After Major Weight Loss

MeI can relate to this blog post by Josh of Slim Palate.

I lost over 100 pounds but always felt like I needed to lose more. I cut carbs out and would stress over everything I ate, feeling guilty when I had carbs or like a failure if I indulged. I didn’t see what others saw when I looked in the mirror.

I worked out two to three times a day. Getting up at 3 AM for a run and lifting before work and then lifting again after work. Often going for a second run in the evening. I was logging 6 to 10 miles a day running plus hundreds of pounds lifted in weights each day. Everyday. I pushed my body to the limit and I still wasn’t happy with myself. I felt like I needed to do more.

Photo: Henry House Photography
Photo: Henry House Photography

Gradually I came to accept the achievements I had made. I began to enjoy my food and not feeling guilty for eating carbs, because I NEEDED them. We all do. I stopped working out 7 days a week and only going to the gym once a day. Granted injuring my PCL last year, hello overdoing it, pushed me to rest more than I would have otherwise, but I did start taking rest days.

Yes. I gained weight. But not the fat I carried around before. I gained muscle. I started to appreciate my body for the journey it’s been through and how strong I was becoming. I’m in a much healthier place now than I was before. I still struggle at times when I see a photo I don’t like or clothes don’t fit a certain way. But I’m nicer to myself.

I focus on whole nutritious foods, including carbs. Balancing work and workouts. Building a strong base and foundation of strength. Rest and activity. Stress relief through favorite activities such as reading, taking an epsom salt bath, going for a walk, meditation, and laughter. I no longer focus on food or let it rule my life.

We expect life after weight loss to be magical and that if we just get to a certain point… but it’s not like that. There is a lot more to life, health, and our bodies than numbers on a scale.

Beautycounter. You deserve better beauty.
Beautycounter. You deserve better beauty.

Balance and Rhythm

San Juan Islands Trees
Relaxation here I come! Trees in the San Juan Islands.

Balance and rhythm is not something that comes easily to me. I struggle with maintaining a balance between work and school, personal and professional pursuits, working out and rest days, family time and me time. It doesn’t help that I push myself to always do my best, even at the expense of my sanity. I’ve always been a perfectionist and my own worst critic. I can be very hard on myself when I do not give everything 100%. Having as full of a plate as I do means at some point something has to give and I need stress relief.

It’s become more apparent that my balance and rhythm is out of whack. I chipped a tooth and cracked another because my nightly teeth grinding habit since I was a little girl has migrated to the day time. I was asked what that weird noise was recently and I realized it was me grinding my teeth. In the middle of the day, without realizing I was doing it. The classes I’m taking for my degree are more mentally challenging than any classes I’ve ever taken before, and writing technical papers in the third person is not something I excel at apparently.

So I gave in here and there. I let a little more dust and cat hair settle around the house. I’m changing to posting here every other week until I finish my degree (for more regular posts and updates you can always follow me on Instagram at Nourishtofuel). I got my cracked tooth fixed and I’m getting Invisalign to correct and prevent further teeth grinding mishaps. I’m making rest days as important as lifting days. I’m letting everything I have to do for school go while I’m at work, because there is nothing I can do about it then. And most importantly I’m focusing on my family when we have time together.

Having a super long 23 day vacation from work starting this Friday helps too! Especially since part of the time I will be home with my girls while they are on winter break and part of the time I will be in the San Juan Islands with my husband.

The lesson to be learned here is we don’t always have everything worked out and flowing the way we think we do or the way we want it to. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure or not doing your best. Sometimes life and stress catches up with us in sneaky ways, such as grinding your teeth unknowingly during the day. The important thing is to recognize this. Step back and evaluate what can be changed, what can be let go, and move on from there.

Monthly Inspiration:

Recently HumanX Gear posted my story in the first of a blog series about eXtraordinary people. I was approached in September with a request to tell my story in more detail about transformation, what CrossFit means to me, what it’s done for me, and more tidbits after I had entered a contest to win tickets to the 2014 CrossFit games by stating briefly what CrossFit has done for me. I did not win tickets to the games, but I did get the opportunity to share my story with a wider audience. For that I’m thankful, and I hope my transformation can help to inspire others.

The second story in the series was just released and it’s pretty amazing.

Weight Loss Series: Part One, Why?

For the Weight Loss Series: Introduction, click here.

WhyBefore you start on a weight loss journey, or any journey, you need to know why. Why are you doing this? What is your motivation? What do you want to accomplish? Why do you want to accomplish this?

The responses don’t have to be deep and philosophical. They can be simple, one word, one sentence, one paragraph, responses. But they need to be established before you set off on your journey. You’re going to need them to help you get to where you want to go. We’ll talk about goals in the next part of the weight loss series, for now we are just focusing on the whys.

At this point you may be wondering “Why do I need to know why?” Or “Why do I need to think about this?” You already know you want to lose weight otherwise you wouldn’t be here reading this. You need to know why you want this other than “I just want to lose weight darn-it” because it’s going to be hard. You are going to have moments when you question why you are doing this or you lose your motivation. There is no magic program or special pill to get you to where you want to go overnight. It’s going to take time, there will be setbacks, roadblocks, life stressors, and more that you will have to adapt to as you work towards your goal. When you hit those moments you need to know why you are doing this, so you can remind yourself why you are working so hard to change your life.

photo credit: threefatcats via photopin cc
photo credit: threefatcats via photopin cc

It is okay if the whys change as you progress on your journey. For me it started out as a little bit of vanity, I wanted to look better, but it also went back to how I felt. I wasn’t full of energy, I was sick a lot, I was diabetic and had other health issues, and I couldn’t give my children an example of how to live a healthy long life if I wasn’t doing that myself. I wanted to be around for them fully, for a long time. I wanted to be able to run and laugh with them or go swimming with them. I just wanted to be there. When I would get frustrated at a weight loss plateau or when I was tired and just wanted to sit on the couch with a box of Cheez-Its and watch crap TV, I would go back to why was I doing this in the first place. It would re-energize me and enable me to get through those moments or give me back my inspiration to keep going.

If I only knew that I wanted to lose the weight, but not why I wanted to do it for myself, then it would have been easier to give up. Because it is a lot easier to just sit on the couch and binge watch a whole series of this TV show or that TV show eating all the things, than it is to get off the couch and cook whole unprocessed foods. My quality of life improved greatly when I stopped buying those foods, started cooking for myself and my family, and started going outside or to the gym instead of being a couch potato.

Start right now by making yourself a mental, written, or typed list of the reasons why you want to change your life. Other than losing weight as the answer, think about the following questions in a larger sense as you answer them openly and honestly. Why do you want to lose weight? What is your motivation for yourself in doing this? What do you want to accomplish or do? Why do you want to accomplish this?

Only you can do this for yourself. You have to be ready to accept the challenges that come across your path. Because life will happen, and that is okay. When you are prepared for those moments they will pass much easier so you can get back on track and in control. Step one is knowing why you are doing this in the first place.

Weight Loss Series: Introduction

They tried to get me to hate food.

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Before I took matters into my own hands to lose weight, each visit to the medically managed weight loss clinic was incredibly depressing. They tried to get me to hate food through humiliation, severely limiting calories, and behavior modification. While I understand the result the clinic was aiming for, the methods could have been a little better.

Every visit started with a scale to measured body fat percentage and weight followed by the tape measure. Neck, arms, waist, and thighs were all measured and printed on a piece of paper with your past measurements for comparison. Then you were lead into an exam room to sit and wait for the doctor holding an over-sized model of 5 pounds of fat. Yes, you read correctly, a model of fat. The fat model is over a foot long, several inches high, and is a huge exaggeration of adipose tissue. It was a fat shaming time out. “Here sit here with this giant fat glob of fat and think about what you’ve eatAdventure Timeen. “

I guess the point was to make you feel good about losing weight and disgusted by the fat as the measurements on your print out went down. I didn’t cooperate very well. I refused to sit there and hold the sticky fake fat glob. Guess it worked at least on the disgust angle. I’d rather be happy with my lumps than forced to sit in fat shaming time out.

I ultimately succeeded at weight loss without surgery or medically managed weight loss, but at what expense? Trying to get me to hate food resulted in being more obsessed with food than ever before. I never had a bad outlook on food. I knew what I should be eating and that I should be exercising, but food from a box or a drive thru was much easier than shopping, chopping, preparing, and cooking for myself. Or so I thought, until I changed the way I ate, started eating again, and cooking and planning meals for myself and family.

I understand when someone is overweight they may need a wake up call to have lasting changes that lead to weight loss. Mine was not being able to fit in the cape my hairdresser put on me. It was humiliating. I didn’t need to be put in fat time out with a glob of fake fat. What anyone who is committed to making any change really needs is a moment followed by commitment to change. After your moment, determining what your goal is will help direct you towards the steps to get started on the path to reaching that goal.

In an upcoming series of posts, I will be outlining steps you can start right away to reach a weight loss goal, of any kind. If it’s a small goal of losing 5 to 20 pounds or a bigger goal of losing 100 pounds, you can do it. My before weight loss photos above (which are scary for me to actually put out there on the internet to live on virtually forever), versus my more current ones are proof it can be done. I won’t advise you to sit in the corner with a model of fat to think about what you’ve done. I’ll congratulate you and motivate you to do it the right way, with real food and movement.

Nourish to Fuel Update August 2014

Image courtesy of Renjith Krishnan/
Image courtesy of Renjith Krishnan/

In one week and one day I will have graduated with the degree that is step one in furthering goals I set out for myself at 16. I’m pretty excited to have reached this point. It has not been easy. I wanted to quit many times when I felt it was just too much. Thanks to the support from my husband, my Mom, and my girls telling me to just get my homework finished already, I kept at it. Now, once I get past finals week, I’ll have a little more than two months off before I set off on step two with the next degree.

While at times it feels I may forever be a student, the most important thing I’ve learned is to take everything one step at a time, one task at a time, one day at a time, keep going, and you will see progress. This has been applicable to everything in my life. From school, to work, to weight loss, to lifting heavy things and putting them back down. It’s the strategy I keep going back to the most. Also, don’t quit or stop because of one set back. There are many times I could have quit. It would have been easier to walk away, but I didn’t.

So what will I be doing during my break from school? Working, oly lifting, CrossFit, getting the girls ready for back-to-school, and working on some exciting updates for Nourish to Fuel. I asked you, the readers, on Nourish to Fuel’s Facebook page and my personal Facebook page, what you wanted to see here on the blog. As a result I have some great posts and website updates upcoming, that will give you the information you’ve asked for. I’ll also be learning and playing with a fancy new camera, my soon to arrive first DSLR, to improve the images on the website. I took photography classes back in the day (the 90’s) as a teen with my awesome 35mm Pentax. But have to re-learn how to use more than a point and shoot camera.

Thank you all for your early support and encouragement of the site and the work I’m sharing. It is greatly appreciated. Stay tuned for more amazing content as the website and Nourish to Fuel community grows.

Upcoming to Nourish to Fuel, because you asked for it:

  • More recipes!
  • Including more ways to cook vegetables, and some spicy veggie dishes.
  • Work and to-go lunch ideas
  • Which foods to eat for optimal nutrient density, instead of taking supplements
  • Natural Health and Beauty Tips
  • Morning stretches to get you moving
  • Beginning weight training
  • Beginner weight loss strategies
  • How to keep the weight off
  • Guest Posts