Health Isn’t an Option, It’s a Requirement

“If only x,y,z would happen, then all of this would be different.”

I cannot even count that amount of times I have said that.

In June/July, I discussed here and here how much my life had changed with a new career, the struggle of the scale, how I no longer was putting myself as a priority. A few weeks later, nothing much has changed. The scale continues the 1-3 pound dance up and down, my workouts are few and far between, feel most days defeated by it all. I do not feel like me anymore. All I want is a routine, a balance of life, work, and fitness. I feel like I am grasping at straws trying to create one.

My frustration really starts with my career. I was in a dead-end job for quite sometime, years, and felt there was no way out. Resume after resume sent, rejection after rejection received. If only my job would change I wouldn’t be depressed anymore and I could lose weight. That was my constant narrative, until New Year’s Eve. When I rejoined Weight Watchers on New Year’s Eve, I felt I had no control over my career but at least I could have control over me. Needless to say, we all know what has happened since. I lost the weight, felt fabulous, finally things were clicking. Then I got the call. I got a YES to a new job and it was a job I wanted. It all felt surreal but I wasn’t prepared for the change to come…The change this job would bring to my routine.

If only I could workout in the morning again, I would lose weight again. If I wasn’t so tired, I would be more diligent about tracking, lose weight again. That is my current narrative and needs to STOP. I lost weight, almost every single week, from January-June, without a new job. This new routine of mine, which doesn’t allow time for morning workouts, is my reality. I have to stop fighting it and work with it. It boils down to discipline. It means going to bed earlier so I do have energy to open my phone and track my food. It means evening workouts. I have to workout, reducing my chronic illness symptoms depends on a consistent routine. My health isn’t an option, it is a requirement.

I know I can do it. I believe in myself.

 

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Chocolate Chia Seed Banana Bread

Bananas and chocolate are a gold medal winning combo. Am I right? Of course I am. Truth to be told, sometimes I am really bad about eating bananas. When life gives you too many ripe bananas, you make bread out of them.

My goal with this recipe was to add no additional sugar. Only rely on the sugar in the bananas and in the Kodiak Cakes Dark Chocolate Power Cakes Mix to sweeten it up. One taste tester said it was not sweet enough #sadface. I and another tester thought the bread was perfectly sweet #happyface. It is all personal preference.

Recipe inspired by The Huffington Post.

Chocolate Chia Seed Banana Bread

Servings: 10

Weight Watchers’ SmartPoints: 4 SP per slice

Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of Kodiak Cakes Dark Chocolate Power Cakes Mix
  • 2 tablespoons of Chia Seeds, plus a pinch more to sprinkle on top.
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Combine dry ingredients: Power Cakes mix, chia seeds (2 tablespoons), baking soda/powder, salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients: Bananas, egg, melted butter. I used a hand mixer to obtain a smooth consistency.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients.
  5. Use non-stick spray to coat a 10″ by 5″ baking dish.
  6. Pour combined batter into baking dish. Sprinkle additional chia seeds on top.
  7. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Use a cake tester or toothpick to check if done. Add on additional bake time if needed.
  8. Allow bread to cool before removing from baking dish.
  9. Devour! Try not to eat it all in one day.

 

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Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Kodiak Cakes. I wish I was though. Their mixes are AHmazing. 

Wait Till Tomorrow

Every time I said “I am going to start tomorrow” I was missing the opportunities of today. That an additional 12-24 hours to think about my health, not take actual actions, would make a difference. You don’t get ready for weight loss/healthy living, this isn’t test prep, you just start.

My #transformationTuesday pictures as of late feature then pictures of myself at race events. At 50 LBS heavier than I am now. I remember the struggle of each race, the extra weight holding me down. I was NOT ready for many 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, and the one full marathon I completed. Yet, I still toed many starting lines. Prove to myself that I was not going allow the wait till tomorrow attitude, to stop myself today.


When we waste our time looking for the easy button to press, we lose. That time can be spent performing the actions necessary for success. Anyone who struggles with their weight like I do understands. I have spent the majority of my life fat. The last time my weight was in a normal weight range for my height, Pokemon was played with cards.

It is so easy to put off something today with the promise of doing it tomorrow. Tomorrow, Monday, the 1st of the month isn’t magical. Reminding myself of this has been very difficult lately. I keep waiting till tomorrow, and it comes, and my habits are the same. I am too busy thinking about that magical tomorrow. Then, I weigh in, the scale continues the 1-3 pound dance up and down. Tomorrow really isn’t that great when nothing ends up getting done. I have come so far in my journey and am proud of my progress. I am learning to not just lose weight but more importantly, to maintain it the loss. But I want more, I am capable of more, and I refuse to settle.

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A Glass of Life, Shaken and Stirred

Life has an interesting way of surprising you when you least expect it. The daily grind can become so ingrained within us that it takes something major to really shake us up. Over the last six weeks I have been treated to a smorgasbord of emotion. I started a new job, in a new city, after close to eight years at the same job. To further elaborate, I transitioned from a job in the suburbs of Virginia to a job in Washington D.C.; perfect timing with our transit system in chaos. My daily grind is truly shaken and stirred.

I am still standing though, even with all the emotional breakdowns along the way. My committment and consistency to food tracking and workouts has faltered but I have maintained my weight.  Somehow. I feel out of sync with this major component of my life. This has lead to anxiety and guilt but I know my mind is right and getting back into the groove is not rocket science. The boyfriend asked if I wanted to go to a winery this weekend. My response? I prefer to workout instead, workouts over wine.

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To be honest, liquids of the alcoholic variety have taken priority over workouts too often these last six weeks anyways.

However, while getting back into the groove is as simple as tracking my breakfast or lacing up my sneakers, the logistics have me in a tailspin. Certain luxuries, like being close to home to shower after a morning workout or telework to have my refrigerator at my disposal, is not possible anymore. I cannot allow this to overwhelm me as this is the reality for many people. I accepted this career, without hesitation, now I have to make my new daily grind work. The more I let it defeat me the more it won’t happen. Consistency is the key to all of this and I am ready to find my new normal.

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Third Time’s a Charm – Finding My Zen

One year ago I heard about this cool new spin studio only minutes from my house; Zengo Cycle. A party on a bike. This ain’t your average gym spin class. Wait, the first class is free? Sign me up.

Up until this point I had limited experience with boutique fitness studios. They intimidated the hell out of me. I was your classic gym goer and bike trail/sidewalk warrior. But remember, the first class is free and I already owned clip in bike shoes. I had to go at least once. With my bike reservation complete, picking a spot where I would be alone, I went. Here were my top ten thoughts from my first class.

  • This studio is trendy. Just look at those lockers.
  • Wait, how do I use these lockers? Help.
  • I feel like I am walking into a cave, it is so dark and mysterious.
  • Oh no, why did I chose a bike where everyone is facing me?
  • This is why no one is booked on the side-facing bikes.
  • Ooh class is starting. So excited.
  • Wait, not excited, this music is crazy loud.
  • I am uncoordinated. What is happening? A press? Pulse? This shouldn’t be so hard.
  • It kinda is like a party in here, but I feel like the awkward kid in the corner with no friends.
  • It is over. Thank goodness. My ears are still ringing from the music.

I walked out with a great calorie burn but also felt slightly defeated. Yes, my Instagram caption was slightly sugarcoated.  I waited until September 2015 to attend my next class. The truth is, my second class made me feel more defeated than my first. After that second class I told my boyfriend I would never go back again.

And I didn’t until January 2016. Third time’s a charm right? I remember that 6 a.m. class vividly. In my head I was battling my expectations while trying to set a good intention for my ride. Way too deep thinking for 6 a.m. in the morning. Something happened though. Be it the lack of coffee or new found confidence, I was enjoying the class. My presses and pulses may not have been on point but I was smiling.  

Zengo Cycle is now the highlight of my workout week. I attend one, sometimes two classes a week. I celebrated my birthday there. My refrigerator at home has a Zengo Cycle magnet on it, a magnet I received after purchasing a Zengo Cycle shirt.

Be it a spin class or anything else in life, sometimes things don’t click the first time around. We live in an era where people are quick to pass judgement. Patience in the process is annoying. The effort to give something another go sounds like too much effort. Many don’t want to spend the time to see if the unknown will work, especially if it didn’t the first time. Remember my reluctance to rejoin Weight Watchers? I believe this is fifth or sixth time rejoining, the deck of negative expectations truly stacked against me.  The difference now is my attitude. How did I find my zen at Zengo Cycle? The difference is in me using ear buds.
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Scared to be a ‘Loser’

You may have seen the article After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight trending recently on Facebook. It caught my attention and while I am not nor ever will be a ‘Loser” contestant the article in it’s entirety really hit home with me.

Holy 🐮 One thousand followers!! Hi everyone 👋🏼 I just wanted to introduce myself. I’m Kathy and I’ve been working at this #weightlossjourney thing aka life for the past 13 years. That’s right, 1️⃣3️⃣ years! I have seen my weight go up ⬆️ and down ⬇️ but I never given up hope 🙏🏼 It wasn’t until 12/13/15 that I decided to rejoin @weightwatchers for the 100th time and give it another try. I wasn’t sure what would happen 🤔 Could I keep myself #accountable and truly practice what I preach 🙌🏼 Well kids, ⬇️4️⃣7️⃣ LBS later, and I am a pretty happy panda 🐼 (-20 LBS were before rejoining 👌🏼). I still have a ways to go on this journey and I am so happy to share it with all of you!! 💕

A photo posted by Kathy (@thepandapost) on

13 years. Why did I lose and regain? Why did the weight loss never stick before? I am doomed to regain ever now with all the knowledge I have? Am I just fighting an uphill battle? My eating habits as an obese child versus an obese adult are drastically different, but my weight is much harder to maintain now. Age, genetics, metabolism, the weight loss and regain all play a role in it. It is frustrating and downright annoying. The article just reinforces it all, the battle actually is tough and it isn’t just all in my head.

But, hold the phone. How come some people can maintain their weight loss?

Since I didn’t panel/survey weight loss maintainers I am going to take a guess; consistency. The food scales stay on the counter, the food tracker is their most used app, and banana takes priority over the biscuit. I told myself I never stopped these things after I reached goal the first time. That is roughly 50% true. I never did go back to my adolescent teenager eating habits. I continued with fitness. I was mindful of all food choices. Unfortunately, a daily guesstimate isn’t enough for me to keep the weight off. It never will be.

Weight goals be what they may but I have lost half of the amount of weight I want to lose. That is overwhelming. I have wondered what would happen if I just stayed this current weight? Would I be satisfied? Am I just settling because of this fear? These limiting beliefs are unproductive, seriously they are.  Beliefs equal actions, I have said it time and time again. Over the past two weeks I have been eating a little more here and there, maybe an extra glass of wine too. The inner fat kid is hard to shake, I was truly comfort food eating. It lead to a -0.4 LB loss last week and a +0.6 LB gain this week. I am in no rush to lose weight but I know a hiccup in progress when it happens.

I refuse to let the fear of being a ‘loser’ dictate my actions. Stay consistent, stay the course.

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Success Beyond the Suit

The phrase “dress for the job you want.” Typically this means looking like a professional. In my mind this translated to wearing a suit. Success in a suit. Everyone in my life showed me this. I remember as a child watching my Dad with his cool work badge and nice clothes. I remember proudly showing him my badge over breakfast one morning when I begun my internship. I was finding success even as a young college student. I was so proud of myself.

As the years trickled on however, I found myself feeling less successful. In 2015 any confidence I had completely plummeted. Out of school, unable to advance my career, spinning tires week after week. My entire life success was in a suit and I wasn’t living it. I felt worthless. I valued myself less. I spent hours after work mindlessly watching television. Behind the blog, Instagram pictures and Facebook post was a girl who had no energy for life. I would cry over my career. I would say aloud “work is everything.” Little did I realize I was being so narrow-minded, it was just how I was raised.

2016 begun with a renewed purpose, me. I won’t rehash all my posts that discuss this, majority of my readers have seen the progression. Blocking out the negativity, or at a minimum caring about it less, I found the light in my life that I was missing. Then it hit me. My success is not in a suit, it is in a sports bra and leggings. This is not a sideline passion, this is what I want for my career.

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So here I am. I have no idea what I am doing. I have blogged since 2010, active on social media for a handful of those years. I have sense of what I do want and maybe even a better sense of what I do not want. Even though my vision is vague it is still exciting. For so long I have been chasing dead-end career goals. The hardest part is letting those goals go. Stop working to make others proud and make myself proud. Let go of the expectations of others. My Dad wanted nothing more than me to become like him professionally. I envied what he accomplished but also was heart-broken about his health. I swore up and down when he passed away I would always put health first, not career. I guess in my case, health will become my career, so it is okay for it to come first.

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#BecauseICan

“I am totally not cut out for this. What if I make a fool of myself? Look at everyone else, so much stronger. I could have just signed up for barre and been comfortable. Does my leggings make my butt look good? Class is starting, can I run out now?”

My thoughts before every new studio I attend on ClassPass.

2015 was a rough year for me. Rough would be an understatement. Nevertheless, I started 2016 with the determination to make 2016 my year. I wanted it all! The weight loss, the muscles, the attitude of success. But to reach the weight loss and the muscles, my attitude had to come first.

“Our own belief system can be our best or worst enemy. It can inspire us or completely derail us. Inaccurate/negative thoughts can lead to unproductive patterns that can get us to a point we completely believe them for face value. They indeed become our truth and changing them feels near impossible. The reason I either gain or lose weight is linked to how I think about myself/situation around me. My actions are the consequence of those thoughts. How I let my belief system influence me today will 100% dictate success or struggle.” – I Believe I Can from my February 2 blog post.

On January 4 I signed up for Washington, DC ClassPass (CP). If you’re unfamiliar with CP, it is a monthly subscription service that gives you access to boutique fitness studios in your area. As I call it, my buffet of fitness. Each day hundreds of classes are at your fingertips to try. Through the app or website you sign up for a class and go, with the ability to reserve four classes at a time. Signing up, I knew I would be pushed outside of my comfort zone. I couldn’t just take classes from my favorite studios over and over again. To get the full experience, I would have to try new ones.

Every time I tap “reserve now” in the CP app I am reaffirming my belief in myself. Even if I grapevine right when everyone goes left or fall on my face in a downward dog, I am going to try. The same applies to my weight loss. My progress this year isn’t by accident. I am not magically losing weight almost every week. I believe in myself. Because I know I can do this, no matter how challenging it sometimes feels. Making the most of my day even when my lunch had enough calories to be an entire day’s worth of food. It also doesn’t hurt that CP probably has something to do with this progress as well. Hi muscles, glad we could finally meet.

My confidence in myself is stronger than ever. Even when I doubt if I have it all together, like a jumbo margarita and fajitas followed by a nap, feeling like a sloth doubt, I carry on. The next meal is tracked, the next CP studio is scheduled, and I own my journey because I can. 
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Color Coated Confidence

I have always enjoyed shopping at Target because the store always introduces me to stuff I didn’t know I needed. Saturday morning was no exception.

I had time to waste which means going to Target should have been the last place I went to. Nevertheless, I wandered in right when the doors opened at 8am, eager to try on workout clothes because I could.

My fitting room at Target is always one color, purple. Be is size XL or XXL from the women’s or junior’s department, it is a shade of purple. I always fell into that size category so it is what I am used to seeing. Purple color coated hangers. I truly always hated them, the colors make it so obvious what size you’re carrying in your hand. I would hold my hand in a way so that others could not see what I had. Hand placement game was on point.

Saturday morning however, I was feeling bold. No one was in the store so if I had to swap sizes, no witnesses. I grabbed all size L, blue color coated hangers. With much trepidation I tried on the first shirt. Oh my, it fits and looks good. A wave of relief rushed over me; I wasn’t being overly optimistic. The second shirt, too big. The shorts, they fit but I will never wear these. Fitting room and success are two words that typically never go together for me.

I returned to the racks to swap my too big size L shirt for a size M, green hanger. Now I was completely thrown off. The sizes in my hand looked so bizarre. 
When the size M shirt fit, an internal happy dance happened. Remember, it was only 8:30am by now, too early for actual dancing. 

And just like that Target got me to purchase two shirts that I really did need. A girl can never have enough workout clothes anyways.

I am a few days away from my birthday and am cautiously optimistic I am going to hit one of the two weight goals I set. The goals actually fall 1.1 pounds apart, seeing 40 lbs lost, 201 or 199.9 pounds. It’s been awhile since I have admitted my weight to y’all so in case you’re wondering my last weigh in I was at 203. 

Author’s note: Soon after this post went to publish, I discovered I hit 40lbs lost in mid-March, a few weeks before my birthday. In a nutshell, I discovered I used to weigh more than I thought 🙁 

I cringe at number goals, even more so cause I don’t want to upset myself on my birthday over my relationship to gravity. Maybe this blog post is a pep talk, a reminder of the confidence I found with color coated clothes hangers over the weekend. To reinforce that yesterday in yoga I held a plank a lot longer than I expected. That I am wearing tank tops more and caring about if my arms are good enough less. A realization that even after waffle-battered-Oreos I don’t throw in the towel but simply carry on. Everyday is an opportunity for awesome.
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Commitment Issues

I still find this fortune cookie obnoxious 5 years later… 

Rude.

Following information updated on 4/15/16 to reflect new dates & numbers. Basically I found another website with MORE information, that I actually weighed more than intinally believed. 

Speaking of going back in time, yesterday I decided to dive into my weight loss past. It brought be back to January 1, 2014. I then realized I had enough data between multiple health websites to track my weight to present day, or in my case, when I rejoinded Weight Watchers on 12/31/15. The results spoke for themselves.

From 1/1/14 to 12/31/15 I lost lost 20.4 pounds. On some weeks it was 25 or 26 pounds lost but ultimately it was 20.4 pounds. My weigh ins legit look like mountains, up down week after week, no consistency with minimal progress.

I clearly had commitment issues with weight loss. 

From 12/31/15 to 3/22/16 I have lost 20.4 pounds. Exact same amount of weight loss, 3 months versus 2 years. 


I now have a better understanding behind those inspirational Pinterest quotes…

There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going…Consistency is the key to progress…If you give a mouse a cookie, but you won’t, because that cookie is yours.

Jokes aside, that lack of progress in 2014 all the way through 2015, to my overwhelming progress in 2016 is a testament between giving a shit and not. To not waiting for the next day, next week, next full moon to pick myself up after a tumble. On mornings where brunch is a feast for champions, you bet your booty my lunch and dinner were scaled back a lot. On days I missed a workout, I pushed a little harder the next day.

So many times I have cried that I want something to work when that something was me. It’s me. It’s you. You can’t wish your way into a new body like you can’t wish your way into a new job. I feel silly, of course I always knew this. What I wasn’t grasping was the effort required to reach my goals. This ain’t easy honey. Maybe I became too set in my ways and wanted comfortable.

I am approaching numbers on the scale I haven’t seen since I met my boyfriend in 2008. But that’s just extra, with the right angle and lighting, I have some definition on my abs. Mind blown, but I’m keeping my shirt on for now.

Yes this blog post was braggy but when you don’t run anymore, don’t have fitness events to train for, suddenly your new medal becomes you. My focus is all on me, not some half marathon medal. I can’t help but feel excited, anxious, nervous, optimistic all in nice little package with a bow.
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