Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Holidays???

I just got home after being out of town for the holidays. I had a great Christmas, but I definitely did not follow any sort of food plan. I tried not to overeat, but didn't always have the best food items to choose from and sometimes definitely chose to eat a snack even when I wasn't hungry. I'm definitely ready to get back on track tomorrow with my healthy eating and exercising. Hopefully I didn't do too much damage...

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and I look forward to catching up on everyone's blogs and getting back to my normal routine. Although, I still have the entire week off of work. Woo hoo!! I plan to use that time wisely to get some stuff done around the house and focus on exercising and preparing healthy meals. Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Update

I wanted to post an update before I head out of town for the holidays. My weight came in at 199.2, so I'm under the dreaded 200 mark, which is great. My body fat percentage is 38.5%.

As for my measurements here goes nothin':

Neck: 14.0 (no change)
Bicep: 12.75 (-0.25)
Forearm: 9.75 (no change)
Chest: 44.5 (-1.5)
Waist: 39.0 (-1.0)
Hips: 46.0 (-1.0)
Thigh: 24.5 (no change)
Calf: 15.0 (-0.25)
Total: 205.5 (-4.0)

I didn't expect huge changes, but an inch and a half in the bust and an inch in the waist and an inch in the hips...not too shabby! I'm definitely not surprised to see that my calf measurement has gone down. I've seen a lot of definition there from all of the cycling. I can't wait to get started on Jillian's Shred and see where that takes me.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

TMI Tuesday

TMI Thursday

I'm going to do my first take of TMI Thursday and since I will be out of town Thursday I decided to go ahead and make it a TMI Tuesday. So I have a little story to tell you. Last Friday Steve and I met up with some people from his school for dinner. We went out for Korean food. Let me tell you, we love Korean food...well truth be told we just love food. We are foodies to the core.

Anyway, for those of you who've never had Korean food let me explain the experience to you. We sat at a table with a barbecue in the middle so we could cook our food right there at the table. So, basically they bring you a big plate of marinated meat and you cook it and eat it right off the grill. Yum! Then you have rice and lettuce which you can use to make little lettuce tacos and a bunch of little Korean side dishes. The most commonly known dish is Kimchee which is basically a spicy cabbage. Mostly it's a lot of spicy and pickled vegetables, so the side dishes are pretty healthy (although, I'm sure they pack quite a bit of sodium). There's this pickled cucumber, which I guess should taste like pickles, but they're different. And there's also this seaweed dish that I really like.

Anyway, the point is there are a bunch of these little veggie side dishes, a big plate of seasoned beef and white rice. Now, I've been tracking calories and not eating as much as I used to for a while now, but at dinner I just went with it and decided to enjoy myself. We're all done eating and the bills come and we've given them our cards and I start getting some small stomach pains. Now, I'm lactose intolerant and two of the main symptoms are stomach cramps and diarrhea. So I've had my fair share of stomach pains in my life and have learned how to tolerate it. However, I had no cheese or milk or anything of the sort with this meal, so I knew it wasn't lactose related but nevertheless the stomach cramps are starting.

We're done paying, so we all bundle up to leave and I'm relieved cause we can just get on the road and I'll be home before I know it. Steve unlocks my door and then starts to walk over to the driver's seat and everyone starts talking by our car. So I just stand by my door and try to engage in the conversation, but inside I'm thinking "Hurry it up already!". Finally, everyone leaves and Steve gets in the car. I immediately inform him that my stomach hurts and we need to get home asap. The only problem is we're on the complete opposite side of town and have a bit of a drive ahead of us to get home.

We get on the freeway and Steve's trying to drive as fast as he can and I keep telling him to slow down a little for fear he might get a ticket and then I'll be stuck waiting through that. He's says he's just trying to get me home and I know and I appreciate it. My god at this point I feel like I'm going to die. I swear to god, the pain I felt had to be akin to contractions. I unbutton my pants hoping that will help lessen some of the pin. Steve starts telling me to take deep breaths and is coaching me as if I were in fact going into labor, instead of the truth of the matter, that I just need a toilet and fast!

I'm starting to feel nauseous and we're still not home. I see out of the corner of my eye that Steve keeps looking me, so I yell at him "Stop looking at me!". And he says "Sorry I just want to make sure you're ok." I say I'm fine, just stop looking at me and focus on driving. Every time I get a bad pain I'm grabbing onto the "Oh Shit" bar. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's the handle over the door that you grab onto and say "Oh Shit" when someone slams on the breaks or takes a turn too fast. Anyway, I'm grabbing onto the bar, closing my eyes and just willing this wave of pain to pass.

If it didn't hurt so damn bad I swear I'd find it hilarious, but oh my god I felt like I was going to split in two. We're getting close and the pain is as bad as ever. I tell Steve I don't have my keys, so as soon as he pulls into the garage he needs to hand over the keys so I can let myself in. I swear to god, it was like a relay race. He pulls in, immediately hands me the keys, I'm holding up my pants (since I had unzipped them), I race to the door, unlock it, run in, see the puppies think for a split second that I need to let them out since they've been in the house for a while and need to go outside, but I can't wait any longer, I rush to the bathroom and the rest, as they say, is history.

So there you go. There's my TMI moment I hope you enjoyed it and yeah, this isn't the first time this has happened. Steve has had to rush to get me home on a number of occasions...you'd think I'd learn. He must really love me if he's willing to help me through moments like this.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Shopping Galore

This weekend was all about shopping galore. We had a whopping 2 gifts left to buy and the rest was just gifts we were getting for ourselves. And I got a few new handy dandy tools of the trade. I got a new scale that lists weight, body fat percentage, body water percentage, muscle mass percentage and bone mass percentage. I've wanted a scale that gives body fat percentage so that's just one more thing I can track and watch go down.

Also, I got a new food scale. I had a food scale before, but it was just a cheapo scale with a little needle that would show you how many ounces, grams, etc. were in the food you were weighing. What I wanted was a scale where you can put a plate on it and zero it out and then add the food and that's what I got. It's neat because you put the plate on and then turn it on and that automatically zeroes it out and starts weighing whatever you add to the plate. Then say you want to add a second item to the plate that you want to weigh. You turn off the scale, turn it back on and now it zeroes out the plate plus the food that's on it and you can start adding the new food item and get a separate weight for that. Let me just say, I really dig it.

I also got Jillian's 30 Day Shred at Walmart for like 9 bucks. Not too shabby. I haven't started yet, but plan to in January. My question, though, for anyone who's done this is did you do some sort of cardio in addition to the 20 minute video? It just doesn't seem like enough all by itself. I mean I know it's hard and I know I'll be sore as hell and all that jazz, but I still need some extra cardio to burn all of this fat off, don't I?

We also mailed out all of our gifts to the people we aren't going to see over the holidays (goodbye $50 on shipping). So all I have left to do is wrap the couple of presents for the people we will see and that'll be that.

Now, about that newfangled scale I told you about. I weighed myself Sunday morning and I wanted to give you my stats for my first day with the new scale. I weighed myself on the old scale and there was only half a pound difference, so it's not too big of a deal (plus my old scale rounds to the nearest half a pound so it may even be less). Here are the deets from Sunday, not an official weigh in, but just wanted to get starting body fat percentage figures right away.

Weight: 198.4 lbs
Body Fat: 37.8%
Body Water: 45.7% (Weighed first thing in the morning, so this may be a little lower than normal)
Muscle Mass: 32.4%
Bone Mass: 2.7%

So, there are the first round of results from my handy dandy new scale.

Also, I wanted to give you an update on my cycling. Yes I'm still sticking to that 300 mile goal, believe it or not. Thus far I have cycled, drum roll please, 226.05 miles! Only 73.95 miles to go. Not too bad. I'm not going to hit the 300 miles before Christmas, but I'll be close. I'll have no problem getting it done before the end of the year, though, like I planned. In total this month I have burned 10,573 calories from cycling alone and have spent 15.74 hours cycling. That's a little over 5 hours a week. I'm very proud of that. My food choices may not have always been perfect and I may be having too much sodium in my diet, but at least in this one area, I'm doing everything right. The rest will come as time goes on and I progress, but for now I'm very happy with what I've accomplished. It's not always just about the pounds on the scale going down, but it's also about teaching yourself new habits and day to day learning to make better choices and that's something that I'm definitely doing and I'm proud of myself for that.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Minor Setback

Hey everyone. So I did weigh in this morning and I came in at 201. Not what I was hoping for, but I was expecting it so it wasn't a complete shock or anything. I might have come in at 200 or just under, but I chose to go out to eat last night at the Olive Garden. Now, going out I had the best of intentions. We had to do some Christmas shopping and I figured we'd end up getting dinner. I didn't know where or I would have done a little research looking up nutrition information. When we decided on Olive Garden I remembered they had a little icon on their menus showing you which items were healthier so I figured I would use those to guide me. When we got there I found out the little icon just indicated low in fat, so I still had no idea how many calories were in anything.

I was sitting there agonizing over what to choose and the waitress comes over and offers me a free sample of wine. I tell her no thank you and she says are you sure, it's free...I feel like she won't leave me alone unless I sample the wine, so I say sure I'll sample it. Then after sampling I say what the heck and order a glass. I think this was the turning point of me not making good choices for the rest of my meal. She leaves me with my wine and Steve and I decide we won't get an appetizer (we normally do...everywhere we go, bad habit) since the meals come with salad.

I'm sitting there still unsure of what to get and then I glance at the specials sleeve that they give you with all of the perfect pictures of the amazing looking specials...then the waitress comes back. I completely give in and order the Stuffed Chicken Marsala. It's chicken stuffed with cheese served with mashed potatoes with everything covered in a creamy marsala sauce. I seriously couldn't have made much of a worse decision.

Then they serve our huge salad bowl. I go ahead and fill up my bowl and start eating my salad. I'm telling myself to eat slowly and enjoy it instead of what I usually do which is basically wolf it down. I'm getting down to the bottom of my bowl and the waitress asks if we would like another bowl of salad. Right away Steve says yes and I'm cringing internally. But I'm thinking, it's ok, if he wants more salad that's fine, but I don't need any more. She starts to come over with the new bowl and he quickly wants to dish out the last of the salad in the old bowl...into my bowl. Now I know he was just trying to be considerate he thinks he's being nice serving me salad and I do appreciate it, but the last thing I needed was more salad with the full calorie dressing (and cheese, yes he opted for the cheese to be shredded on top of the salad). I ate some of the salad he gave me and then moved my bowl away from me so as not to eat anymore.

Then our food comes. Luckily my meal wasn't drenched in sauce quite as badly as I thought it would be, but I still knew it was high in calories. But I decided I already ordered it so I might as well enjoy it. I had had 1 breadstick and there was one left in the basket, so I split it in half and gave the other half to Steve. Then the waitress comes back "Would you like more breadsticks?" she says. I already know what his answer is going to be "Yes please". This time though I had decided no more breadsticks. She puts down the basket and he goes "Oh good, there are only two, one for you and one for me". I quickly inform that no I don't want any more breadsticks.

Now I'm trying to enjoy my meal, but frankly I just can't. I knew I had to weigh in today, I knew I could have made a better choice and I felt guilty. I did my best to enjoy it as much as I could but I was definitely disappointed in myself.

So today I looked up the calorie information for my meal and my main dish was 800 calories! I knew it would be a lot, so I wasn't altogether surprised, but man is that a lot. Here's the kicker, though, two of those "healthy" choices on their menu that I was considering were 840 and 760 calories. So even had I chosen one of those options I wouldn't have been any better off. Some of the items on their menu are even as much as 1400 calories! They have lower calorie options, but those two weren't one of them. Then add in the one and a half servings of salad (525 calories), one and a half breadsticks (225 calories) and glass of wine (150 calories) and that brings my meal to a total of 1700 calories. More than I've eaten in an entire day this whole week.

Now luckily I'd had a fairly low calorie day up until that point, so my total calories for yesterday came in at 2,318. So at the end of the day I came in with just a 260 calorie surplus. That's definitely not the end of the world, so I'm going to try and walk away with this being a lesson for me to learn. At least I now know how many calories are in a lot of their dinner items and I can order at least a little more wisely should we go there again. What I'm taking away from this is that I should do a little research on some of the restaurants near our house. That way if we decide on an impromptu meal another time I'll be able to make an informed decision.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Where I'm At

I have worked out for the past 4 days in a row doing 20 miles on my bike and I definitely think it's starting to tire me out. I did get a good night's sleep last night, but I still feel like I could sleep for a week. Knowing how hard I'm working I want to see these big changes when I look at myself in the mirror, but I realize it's only been 2 1/2 weeks, so any major changes are a bit unrealistic. I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing and I know that in my heart of hearts, but it definitely isn't always easy. My weight has gone down since yesterday, but it's still over what I weighed at my last weigh in, so I anticipate being right around my last weigh in. I might be a little over or a little under, but I'll be within a pound of that 200 lbs.

I'm so grateful that when I'm feeling even just mildly discouraged I can read all of the blogs I'm following and see what everyone else is doing and it helps me to get my head to where it needs to be. I see others struggling or making great progress and it helps me to just keep going and learning throughout this process.

Over the past 3 days (Monday - Wednesday) I have eaten an average of 1,481 calories and burned an average of 2,934 calories. That's a daily deficit of an average of 1,453. Over the past 3 days my total deficit is 4,360. Tracking this helps me see that I'm doing the right things. I understand numbers, numbers don't lie, so tracking it this way works with the left brain fact based side of me that shows me proof that I'm doing what I need to be doing. I just need to stick with it and the number on the scale will go down.

I've also been keeping an eye on my nutrition levels. Am I getting enough Vitamin A, Calcium, Iron, etc. And the plain truth is I absolutely am not. So I went out and got some multivitamins last night and I'm going to take them every day. I've never been good at sticking to taking vitamins, but seeing in black in white that I've only gotten 10% of the daily recommended Vitamin D is a clear reminder that hey I really do need to take my vitamin.

I need to start thinking about what my exercise routine will be like come January. To reach the 300 mile goal I basically have had to have cycling be my only form of exercise. I wanted this, because I knew getting on my stationary bike every day was something I could do. I purposely set myself a goal that would have me cycling as my only form of exercise to begin with. I felt like it was best to start off with an exercise where I really didn't have to think. I just get on the bike day after day and don't have to worry about anything else. Plus, I could watch TV doing it, so I could feel like I wasn't completely changing my normal routine.

But after this month is over I know I need to incorporate other types of exercising and strength training into my routine. I have P90X videos, which I had started previously and stopped. They're good videos, they make me sweat for sure, I'm capable of doing most everything (with a few exceptions). I think at some point I'll try Jillian's 30 day shred. I don't have the shred, so I'd have to buy it. I wonder which I should do first? I don't know. I've got a few weeks to figure it out, but at least I'm thinking about it now, planning for a change.

Tomorrow is weigh in day. See you then!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wow, What a Day!

The past few days have been hectic work-wise and they don't look like they'll be easing up any time between now and Christmas, then thank god I've got a week and a half off. I am going to take full advantage of that time off to exercise and rest since a week of it will just be me at home I won't actually be out of town for the better part of it. Anyway, I just wanted to give a quick update on my progress.

I am officially over the hump for my 300 mile goal. I did another 20 miles last night putting me at a total of 165.8 miles cycled which means I've got 134.2 miles left to go. Go me!! Then on top of that I kicked ass last night. I've been tracking how many miles per hour I've been cycling and my average was 13.5 which is an ok pace, but I know I'm capable of more. So last night I set out to blow that pace out of the water and I managed to keep a 16 mph pace for 20.32 miles. Not too shabby!

I've also been doing really well at tracking my food and over the past two days I've managed to consume 2,900 fewer calories than I've burned through exercise and just normal day to day stuff. Now, you'd think that'd mean my weight has dropped a bit since last weigh in, but as of this morning that is not the case. I'm not a neurotic person who freaks out if they see their weight fluctuate, so I tend to weigh myself every day or every other day just to kind of keep tabs on where I'm at and for the past two days I've gone up.

Now I realize it could just be due to all of the exercise and my muscles breaking down and retaining water and yada yada, so I'm not freaking out by any means. I just really hope I see a loss come Friday and not a gain. I've just got to continue to count my calories and get the exercise in and I know the number will go down. If not this Friday, then the next or the next. I'm not getting discouraged, because I know I'm doing what I need to do. I do know that my sodium levels have been way higher than they should be, so that's definitely something I'm going to try and tweak over the next few days so that may help things along.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Questionnaire

Today has been such a crazy day and I still have more craziness left, so instead of getting to deep into it I'm just going to do this questionnaire and I'll post a more normal blog tomorrow.

1. What was the highlight of your week?
Dinner with Steve on Friday night (hey that was within the past week, it's only Tuesday afterall).

2. When is the next time you will kiss someone?
Tonight when Steve gets home. Unless you count the kitties and puppies, in which case it'd be more like in the next 5 minutes. I love my pets. :-)

3. Are you good looking?
I like to think so. My step-mom's sister, whom I don't see frequently even though we now live in the same state, once said I was breathtaking. Talk about a compliment. When my step-mom told me what she had said I was flabbergasted. Talk about a boost! Now this was when I probably weighed 170 lbs, so I need to lose a bit to get back to that "breathtaking" level, but by god I'm going to. There was also one time where this woman stopped me at TJ Maxx or somewhere because she had to tell me how beautiful she thought I was and thought it was great that I was a healthy weight instead of trying to be too skinny like most girls. I appreciated the compliment, but at the same time being reminded that I was heavier than a lot of other girls, especially when it's already an issue for me, does take a little bit away from the compliment, but I made myself appreciate it, since it's not often that someone feels like they need to stop you in a store to tell you you're beautiful.

4. Last movie you watched?
Christmas in Handcuffs. God that's awful to admit. It's not even a good movie, but sometimes I just can't drag myself away from those awful lifetime movies.

5. Who were you with?
Me, myself and I. :-)

6. When was the last time you had your heart broken?
Believe it or not I'd have to say never. Sure I've had feelings for people that didn't feel the same, but we never had a relationship so it doesn't really count. Until my current boyfriend I had very very short relationships (if you can even call them that), so while at the time I may have thought I was heartbroken, now experiencing what love is really like I'd have to say I never truly had my heart broken.

7. Are you happy right now?
Yeah, I'm pretty happier. I'll be happier when Steve finishes his exam tomorrow and when I have a week and a half off of work over Christmas/New Years. :-)

8. What did you say last?
You can do it, I love you. To Steve about studying for his last final.

9. Describe your eyes?
Hazel, i.e. green and brown.

10. What do you dislike currently?
I guess my current weight is a given, so I'd have to say the fact that I haven't made any real friends yet since moving to Indianapolis. And the one person I was starting to become friends with got pregnant (after going through fertilization treatments and them not working and all of a sudden kaboom!) and since she's high risk she can't really get together with me until her second trimester. Boo!

11. What are you listening to?
Absolutely nothing, although now that you mention it maybe I'll put on some music.

12. If you could have one thing right now what would it be?
Honestly and truly, good health for me and my boyfriend. It's something we both struggle with and I think us both being healthy is the greatest gift we could both hope for....and maybe a few million dollars wouldn't hurt.

13. What is your favorite scent?
I have to agree with Mrs. Fatass and say clean. With 5 cats and two dogs a clean house is a nice, and sometimes rare thing. After the house has been cleaned and the litter boxes too, it's just nice to be in our house. And then the puppies go outside and track in dirt and get hair all over the couches and now things smell like wet dog instead of clean. Lol, but that's my life.

14. Who makes you happiest?
I'd have to say Steve, and my puppies. I'm working on myself and doing what I can to make myself happy and slowly but surely that's coming along, but for now it helps to get a boost from others.

15. What were you doing at midnight last night?
Sleeping.

16. Do you have any expensive jewelry?
Yes.

17. What type of boy or girl do you usually fall for?
Funny, first and foremost, but I would usually end up with the tall, dark, bad boy, hence my string of short relationships. I always had a thing for guys with glasses and smart guys, so my boyfriend definitely fits the bill.

18. Do you have any hidden talents?
Hmmm, I can play the piano and I sing pretty well. Steve always says I should try out for American Idol, but singing in front of a crowd by myself just doesn't work. I get stage fright and can't control my voice and sound awful. But put me with at least one other person and I can hold my own. I do miss singing. Oh yeah, and dancing. I took dance from the time I was five and even taught for a couple years. Tap dancing was probably my favorite. I miss dancing. I'm thinking about trying out a Zumba class to see if that will get me my dancing fix. It's one of my plans come January.

19. Dream Job?
Author. I'd love to write for a living. I just feel like the lifestyle and author would have would suit me well. Being able to set your own hours and work when it suits you instead of the other way around, would be great. I feel like if I put my mind to it I could write a funny book that people could relate to. Hence the start of the blog. I'm hoping that by doing this I'll get my creative juices flowing and get that final push I need to start writing a book.

20. Are you an only child or do you have siblings?
I have 3 brothers. One older, two younger, all very handsome.

21. Would you consider yourself to be spoiled?
No, I've never really been spoiled. I've worked from the time I was 15 and had to pay my own way since then. Have my parents helped me out a few times, sure, but for the most part it was a short lived thing and I am more than capable of standing on my own two feet and providing for myself.

22. What was the first thing you thought when you woke up?
Ugh, can't the dogs sleep one more hour!

23. Do you drink?
Not often, but when I do watch out. It seems like whenever I get together with friends from home (WI), I just let loose in a way that never happens in my normal everyday life.

24. Do you want to be famous one day?
No, that's not really something that's important to me. Now would I like to be a somewhat "famous" author, sure, but they don't get recognized quite like other celebrities.

25. Ever been out of the country?
If you can call Tijuana and Canada out of the country. That's about the extent of it. I've gone farther south in Mexico than Tijuana, but not much. I really need to travel more. In due time.

26. Where were you born?
Rhinelander, WI

27. Who are you thinking about right now?
Steve. I'm just praying that he's able to focus well today and study and get a decent grade on his last final.

28. When was the last time you laughed REALLY hard?
Friday night with Steve. We just have a good time when we're free of worries and can just enjoy each other's company.

29. Are your toes always painted?
Absolutely. It just looks weird to me when they aren't. They are dark red right now.

30. Do you like rollercoasters?
Ummmm, one rollercoaster as in singular, yes, but more than one unfortunately I just can't stomach...literally. I used to be able to ride on them all day when I was younger, but alas, that is no longer the case.

31. What's the craziest thing you ever did with your cell phone?
Nothing with cell phone, well actually....ummmm....I'm going to keep that to myself.

32. Do you wish you could move?
Not at all. If you would have asked me that a year ago when I lived in San Diego I would have said absolutely. But now that we have moved into a beautiful house in Indianapolis, I am exactly where I want to be.

33. Have you ever wanted someone you couldn't have?
Absolutely. In college I was great at making guy friends. I really only ever had one or two close girl friends and the rest of our friends were guys. Unfortunately both of my friends were gorgeous and have never had any weight problems. One was tall, fit, blond with a nice booty and the other was shorter, thin, blond with big boobs. And then there was me, in the middle height-wise, brunette and a little chubby, although I did have the boobs too. Let's just say I was the one the guys came to when they had a crush on one of the other girls. Not a situation you wanted to be in. I had major feelings for two of my close guy friends, put myself out there and got shot down. Not fun, not fun at all.

34. If you could be anywhere right now where would it be?
Downstairs chilling with my puppies, instead of upstairs at my computer working.

35. Are you happy with your life?
As a whole, yes, but there are definitely aspects where I could be feeling more fulfilled and I'm working on it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

What a weekend!

Friday Night Dinner

This weekend was both good and bad. It started out with a dinner out with Steve Friday night, which was great. I didn't need the extra calories you inevitable consume, but I definitely needed the quality time with Steve. Let me tell you, grad school is no easy feat. He's constantly studying and doing research, which I totally understand, but at the same time I miss him because I don't get to spend as much time with him. Yeah we sleep in the same bed every night, but more often than not lately he gets home after I'm already asleep. It's just not the same as being able to have dinner together and hang out and then go to bed. But, his not being here is for the greater good. When he finishes grad school he will leave with a PhD, which will open up so many more doors for him and make him so happy. I'm very proud of what he's doing, but I definitely miss spending time with him. It definitely makes me appreciate the time we do spend together since it's not as frequent and it makes me realize how much I really do love him.

Duke's Puppy Graduation

Ok, enough of the mushy stuff. Saturday was spent taking one of the puppies (Duke) to his graduation from his puppy training class. He passed with flying colors! If I do say so myself, he was the star of the class. Some of the other puppies/owners had issues with some of the things that Duke could do without thinking twice. I guess that's the Australian Shepherd in him. Don't get me wrong, he and Dot still both need a lot of work as far as jumping and getting into things they shouldn't be getting into and whatnot, but overall I think they're on the right path.

Christmas Presents

After training I did some Christmas shopping. I don't think any of my or Steve's parents or grandparents look at this blog, so I'll tell you what I'm doing. Everyone always complains that they don't have pictures of us. So, I'm putting together a little photo album with a bunch of pics dating all of the way back to July of 2006 when we had been together just 10 months. I also included pics of our house and our pets, since a lot of our family is out of state and aren't able to see the house yet. I'm also including a picture frame so they can frame their favorite photo. I think they're really going to enjoy the gift. It's going to mean a lot more than any other material item I could give. That way our family in CA can look at the photos when they're missing us. :-) Wow, today is a mushy blog. Here are a few old pics:

July 2006


December 2006

December 2006 with my brother and his wife (then girlfriend)
March 2007
August 2007

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Then on Sunday I went out and got our Christmas tree and set it all up. I was very proud of my tree. Then what happens this morning...why the puppies knock it over of course...twice. I was so frustrated, because it was the first thing I had to deal with. I had to pick up the tree and then clean up all of the broken ornaments and pine needles everywhere. I'm hoping that knocking it over twice scared them enough that we won't have a repeat offense. We shall see.

Weekend Eatings

My food this weekend wasn't great. I seem to have more issues with food on weekends as far as making not so good choices and not tracking calories. I was feeling a bit guilty about this, but then I read some other blogs this morning and realized I wasn't the only one with this problem so I'm not beating myself up about it as much as I was. It's just something I need to work on. I was more cognizant of my eating choices, which is a huge step in the right direction. I do think I need to have a few healthier fast food eating choices written down in my purse, so in case I am in a rush and need something quick or I'm out and about and just need something to eat I can make a more informed decision.

Exercise

I did exercise last night, so that was good. I did my 20 miles on the bike, so I'm up to 125.4 miles overall. I'm almost half way to my goal, so that's awesome. I've really got be consistent about cycling 20 miles every day if I want to meet my goal before Christmas. I'm leaving on the 23rd to head up to WI and won't be back until the 27th. I will still have 4 days after that if I don't hit 300 miles before Christmas, but I'm really going to try to do it before. We shall see.

Anyway, back to the daily grind. I'm counting calories and getting in my cycling, so hopefully I'll have a good weigh in this coming Friday. Until tomorrow. :-)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Weigh In Day

This is my first official weigh in day, after the starting weight of course, and I weighed 200.0 lbs! That means I've lost 6 lbs already! Who'd a thunk it, diet and exercise actually do work. Now my next major milestone will be losing 4 more pounds to get me out of the obese category and into the overweight category. That word, obese, just sounds so awful. As it should, I guess. We shouldn't delight at the word that was chosen to indicate that you're so overweight your health is at risk. That being said I can't wait to no longer be considered obese.

I cycled last night as I said I would. This post pushed me to do it and get through it and be proud of myself and the fact that I had a body that was capable of biking those 20 miles a day. I've cycled 105.4 miles thus far, only 194.6 miles to go to reach my goal of 300 by the end of the month (hopefully sooner with the holidays and all). Here's a pic of me on my bike last night:



After cycling I had a great low calorie dinner. It was 350 calories total and it tasted good and was plenty of food and I even had room for some frozen yogurt afterward putting me at a total of 1,455 calories for the day. I've always had trouble cooking fish. It always tastes too fishy for me and I can never seem to make myself eat more than a few bites. At restaurants, though, I always love fish and think it tastes great, it's just cooking it myself that I seem to have issues. Anyway, so I found these frozen pre-seasoned fish fillets that are only 80-100 calories a piece and I actually liked it. So that's definitely going to be a new staple in this house to get me to eat more fish. Here's a picture of my half eaten dinner from last night:


I also wanted to show you the HUGE box of oranges I got yesterday, plus the few oranges I had gotten when I went to the grocery store. I swear I'm not a lush, the wine in the background is from a get together we had on Thanksgiving where everyone seemed to bring a bottle of wine and no one seemed to drink much, lol. Although I'm not complaining about having it on hand.


Last, but certainly not least, here are a couple better close up pics of the puppies from my camera. My camera on my phone just didn't do them justice.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Afternoon Thoughts

Ok, this will be my last post today I swear. Honestly, I wish I could just blog for a living. Writing about what you're thinking about/feeling throughout the day is way more interesting than working. Anyway, I just wanted to quickly share my yummy afternoon snack. I had some Nutella on a 100 calorie English Muffin and it was way yummy. It was 300 calories, so it was a bit high for an afternoon snack but anyone who's got a sweet tooth like me would agree that it's way worth it.


Then I also thought I'd give you guys a quick glimpse into my life with my pets. I've got two 5 month old Australian Shepherd mix puppies and 5, yes you got that right, 5 cats. The gray and white dog is Dot our little girl and she is insanely rambunctious, but definitely a mama's girl. If you look at the top of her head you can see her little dot, which is where we got her name from. The brown dog is Duke and he's our more shy laid back dog. When he and Dot play he can give her a run for her money, but he is definitely the calmer of the two. The first pic was taken some time last week, before it snowed, and that's Toby the newest addition to our family. He's just like a dog, he likes to go outside and play and he loves to get his belly rubbed. Anyway, I just thought you'd enjoy a few pics. Until tomorrow...

Lunch and Other Things

I decided to try out this new frozen meal for lunch today and it was really good, so I thought I'd share it. It was in the book Eat This Not That as one of the healthy choices. Steve and I absolutely love Indian food my favorite meal being Chicken Tikka Masala. Anyone who knows Indian food knows that dish contains loads of cream and while very yummy it's not too friendly for the waistline. Now this meal is a little pricey at $4.99 per entree, but if it'll keep me from spending at least 50% more than that and going to a buffet and over indulging, then it's $4.99 well spent. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised that it had a bit of a kick to it. I thought for sure a mass produced Tikka Masala would have been bland and lacking in sauce, but it wasn't at all. In fact, there was more than enough sauce to mix in the rice. Anyway, here it is in all its' glory.And here's what it looked like after being cooked along with the orange I ate with it. About that orange, I am a sucker whenever neighbor kids come around selling stuff for school. So about 3 weeks ago this girl from my neighborhood rang the doorbell asking if I wanted to buy fruit. My first thought was isn't November a little late to be selling fruit? But I figured what the heck and bought a small box of oranges. Small is very misleading cause this box has at least 30 oranges, but they are very juicy so I'm not complaining.

Oh yeah, the best part about the Chicken Tikka Masala is this bad boy is only 260 calories, 6g fat, 2g saturated. Not too shabby. My total calories for the day thus far is a whopping 625. Plenty of room to have an after noon snack if I need it and a nice dinner.

As for the "Other Things" there are a few fitness related items that I'd love to buy if I had the extra cash. The first would probably be a bodybugg. I am very much the couch potato and my job is very sedentary. I spend all day sitting in front of a computer. However, I have puppies so I am constantly running up and down the stairs to put them outside to go to the bathroom or play or whatever. I'm just curious to see how many calories I truly burn in a day and a device like this really is the only way to get an accurate picture.

I'd also really like a Nintendo Wii with Wii Fit. It just looks like there'd be a lot of fun things to do with that thing. Plus, my boyfriend, Steve, likes video games, so with this we might be able to find something fun that we'd both like to do.

Last, but certainly not least, I'd love to get a treadmill. I have a stationary bike and that's great, but it'd be nice to be able to mix things up a bit and still be able to work out at home. Plus, I've always been really good at pushing myself when running on the treadmill.

All of these things would put me out $1,000 so if anyone's got a grand sitting around that they aren't using, please send it my way. :-)

Yesterday Was Rough!!

Yesterday was hard for me, I'm not gonna lie. I don't know what my deal was. I was so tired all day long and at the end of the day just felt like I was coming down with something. I had every intention of doing my 20 miles, but at the same time if I was getting sick I didn't want to make it worse by ignoring what my body was telling me. So, I skipped my workout and instead went to bed early. I went to bed at 9pm, which for me is insanely early. I'm usually lucky to be in bed before 11pm. Anyway, I went to bed super early and now today I feel completely normal. So I think I really did just need a good nights sleep to recharge. However, I also had more calories than I was supposed to yesterday. I was supposed to just have half of the ribeye steak I cooked, but instead I ate the whole dang thing. Oh well, it's one day, today will be better.

I'm already off to a good start. I had cinnamon roll oatmeal, a banana and a cup of coffee for about 300 calories. I'm going to make sure I keep my daily calories on the lower end of what I need each day (like maybe 1400 or so) so that I can make up a bit for my bad food day yesterday. And I'll definitely be doing my 20 miles again.

Also, tomorrow is weigh in day! I'm excited to see where I'm at, so I can officially start seeing the pounds go down. It'll be nice once I'm a few weeks in and I can have a few weigh ins under my belt to look to for encouragement.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wow Am I Tired

Boy was it hard waking up this morning. I did the 20 miles again last night, so that's good, but I am definitely wiped. And of course everything seems to be making it worse. One of the cats was literally sitting on me meowing trying to get me up, which, let me tell you, is really annoying. And then I get my butt up, throw on some clothes and go get the puppies to let them out and of course they're jumping all over me as much as we try to teach them not to. I finally get the puppies outside and I walk over to get them food and water and what do I see in the sink...the brita water filter that I started filling up last night and forgot to put back in the fridge. Then I walk over farther in the kitchen and I notice a cup on the floor. All of a sudden I realize, my foot's wet. One of the cats had knocked over Steve's water glass that was on the kitchen counter to be washed. I pick up the cup, start wiping up the spill with a paper towel using my foot because I'm tired and wet and don't feel like bending over to wipe it up. Then I let the puppies back inside and take off my pants cause they're wet and go throw them in the dryer to dry. So I'm walking around pantless and of course the puppies are still trying to jump on me and of course, without pants, this is not so fun so I'm trying to be nice and get them to stop jumping and reach down and pet them so they'll stop jumping all over my bare legs. Then I go upstairs and remember the cleaning lady is coming today...a day earlier than usual, so now I've got to straighten up the house before she gets here but at least I have until noon. Wow it has been quite a day already and I'm not even awake yet. Lol.

On another note I did really well with the cycling last night. It was a little later than I'm used to because I absolutely had to go to the grocery store. I brought Eat This Not That with me and tried to make good choices on all of the processed foods I was buying, paying very close attention to calories, fat, sodium, etc. and buying things from the book when I could. Looking at the labels and looking stuff up in the book meant it definitely took a bit longer than usual. By the time I got home it was 8pm and I still hadn't had dinner and was starving. Steve and I are a pretty good team when it comes to putting away the groceries. I take everything out of the bags and put it in piles: freezer, fridge or pantry. Then he starts with the freezer stuff packing it all in, then fridge stuff and finally pantry. We can power through and put everything away pretty quickly. Then we both ate a quick dinner and it was already 8:45 or so. So I went upstairs, dressed for cycling, came back down, started the Biggest Loser finale (thank you DVR) and rested for a few minutes so I could digest. Then at 9pm the cycling began.

Since I was watching the biggest loser finale time just seemed to fly by, which is definitely a good thing when you're exercising. I would get wrapped up in the show and then a commercial break come and I'd check my pace and saw that I was maintaining a pretty consistent pace even with getting involved in the show. Let me tell you, I get so emotional watching this show. Really, I get emotional with anything where another person is hurting or proud or whatever the case may be. I tend to feel what other people are feeling so next thing I know a few tears are falling at various points of the show, but I still maintained my pace and got my 20 miles in. It feels good to know that even though it's not easy I'm sticking with it and continuing to cycle every day.

Also, my calorie goal yesterday was 1500 or 1600 calories and I came in at the end of the day with 1,440 calories. Not too shabby.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Eat This Not That

I totally forgot to mention this in my post. I had heard about the book Eat This Not That some time ago and judged the book by it's cover and thought it was just a bunch of crap and would be a waste of money. I kept hearing about it in fitness magazines and whatnot and would think that maybe someday I'd check it out. Well the Saturday after Thanksgiving I was at a book store and they had a special where you buy one book and get the second half off. Well, I already had the one book and was looking for my half off book. I saw the book, but immediately decided against it. Looked around considered a few other books and finally I said what the hell and went back and picked up Eat This Not That.

Let me tell you, this book is a lot better that I gave it credit for. First of all it starts out by explaining what different terms mean on package labels. For example, the difference between "whole grain" and "multi grain". Both sound healthy, right? Well check this out. "Whole grain" means the entire kernel of wheat, corn, whatever has been used to make the bread or whatever product you're looking at, which is good because when those items are refined they're stripped of a large number of their nutrients so by the grains being kept "whole" you're getting much all of the nutrients available in that grain. However, "multi grain" just means that more than one type of grain was used. As long as there's more than one type of grain they can be refined and stripped of all of their nutritional value. Talk about giving me some good information.

Then there are the pages and pages with pictures of Eat This Not That examples. Let's stick with the bread example. So there's two full pages with different loafs of bread and they have pictures and nutritional info for each loaf of bread which makes it easy to compare. One side is all of the Eat This or the healthier choices and the other side is the Not That or the less healthy choices. Let me give you a specific example. Two slices of Martin's 100% Whole Grain Potato Bread has 140 calories, 2g fat (0g saturated) and 8g of fiber. However, two slices of Arnold Whole Grains Health Nut has 240 calories, 4g fat (0g saturated) and 4g of fiber. So just by choosing a different brand of bread you save yourself 100 calories, 2g of fat and get an extra 4g of fiber.

This book includes all types of things such as oatmeal, rice, cereal, frozen meals, juices, etc. But even better, it's realistic and it includes ice cream, breakfast sandwiches, breakfast pastries, pizzas, chips, etc. It doesn't exclude these items because you shouldn't eat them, rather it includes them to give you your best option while noting that these items should only be enjoyed in moderation. Let's take ice cream. You can have 1/2 a cup of Edy's Slow Churned Rocky Road for 120 calories, 4g fat (2g saturated) and 12g sugars. Or you can have 1/2 a cup of Haagen Dazs Chocolate Peanut Butter for 360 calories, 24g fat (11g saturated) and 24g sugars. Picking the Edy's saves you 240 calories, 20g fat (9g saturated) and 12g sugars. That's huge! You get the same amount of ice cream for far fewer calories, fat and sugar.

Overall the main thing I love about this book is it's not saying you need to severely cut the amount of food you eat. It's showing you that by choosing this brand over that one you can eat the same amount of food and save yourself hundreds of calories. I haven't used this book yet, but I intend to take it with me on my next trip to the grocery store so I can pick out the healthier choices for the foods that I'd be eating anyway.

Kicking Some Cycling Ass!!

Last night I decided I was going to cycle 20 miles. To make up for my few miles missed last week I had calculated that I needed to do at least 18 miles a day this week, my boyfriend Steve said why not make it 20 miles you can do 20 miles. The most I have ever cycled is 25 miles (on a road bike, not stationary) and while it was tough I knew I could do 20 miles. Well let me tell you, it was definitely a challenge. The first 10 miles were not too bad, the next 5 things were starting to get rough, the last 5 I really had to push through. It definitely was not easy, but I made myself finish those 20 miles and I'm so glad I did. It felt really good to know I had completed this goal I had set for myself.

Then this morning I log onto FitDay. I plug in that I had done 20.06 miles in 1 hour and 24 minutes and it said I burned 1,003 calories! That's just insane! I knew cycling burned a lot of calories, but 1,003 calories in just 1 hour and 24 minutes. That's definitely a motivator to continue on with the 20 miles. So far I'm not feeling too sore or anything, but by the end of the week I'm sure I will be feeling it. I'm hoping eventually to get myself to a point where I can do the 20 miles in an hour or if that ends up just being too crazy of a pace I'll just start increasing the intensity levels on the bike.

I made a good choice for breakfast this morning and opted for Raisin, Date, Walnut Oatmeal for just 140 calories. I wish I had some bananas or something but unfortunately my house is void of pretty much any kind of fruit or vegetable at the moment. I need to get my behind to the store soon if I plan to try to keep my calories under a certain level each day. About that, how many calories do you think I should eat in a day? When I started weight watchers I think I may have been around 1500 or 1600 calories, not 100% sure since I was counting points not calories and don't remember how many points I started out at even, but I think that's about right. So I think that's what I'll set as my goal, a max of 1600 calories with maybe one day a week where I can go over.

I weighed in this morning, since I hadn't weighed myself for about two weeks and it said 202! I'm not going to count that as my official weight, I'll officially weigh in on Friday and every Friday thereafter, but just to know it said that this morning is promising. It may be a fluke fluctuation thing, so we'll see what happens come Friday.

I also did my measurements this morning. Here they are in all their glory:
Neck - 14.0
Bicep - 13.0
Forearm - 9.75
Chest - 46.0
Waist - 40.0
Hips - 47.0
Thigh - 24.5
Calf - 15.25
Total - 209.50
I included a total so I could track the total inches lost over time. The main areas I want to see go down are the Chest and the Hips measurements. Hips is a little misleading since that's where the bulk of my belly is at, so while I don't have very big hips I do have a belly and that's what I'm really hoping to see go down. As for the Chest, my current bra size is 38DD! For the most part I don't mind my large chest, but doing certain things it makes my back sore easily. Running for me is just a joke. I need a majorly secure sports bra or they are just flying everywhere. Then there's clothes. Anything with buttons or low v neck, just forget about it. I tend to stick to t-shirts and tank tops since they can stretch and cover these puppies without looking trashy, but I still see guys ogling. I look forward to them getting at least a little bit smaller. A full C would be ideal, but we shall see what is in the cards for me.

Oh and here's one other little tidbit of information. My best friend is getting married June 12th, 2010. I'm one of three maids of honor, well technically the other two are matrons of honor. It sounds crazy, but it's her best friend from high school, her best friend from college (me) and her co-worker that she's really close with. Oh and did I mention my best friend is like a size 4 or 6 with boobs almost as big as mine, yeah I know, I'd hate her too if she weren't my best friend, lol. Anyway, I ordered a bridesmaid dress smaller than I am now, so I'd have something to push me, but also so I didn't have that horrible tailoring issue I had with my brother's wedding. The dress I ordered is a size 16, which in the normal world is what I wear currently, but in the bridesmaid dress world I would be a size 20 and they tell us even in the bridesmaid dress world these particular dresses run small. So, at least a month or two before the wedding my chest needs to be down to 43 inches (-3 inches), my waist to 36 inches (-4 inches) and my hips down to 47 inches (no change there). But I'd prefer to be a size smaller than on the measurement chart just in case the dresses really do run that much smaller which would be 40 inches in the chest (-6 inches), 32 inches in the waist (-8 inches) and 43.5 inches in the hips (-3.5 inches). I know I can do this I just have to be diligent and stick with this and set mini goals for myself.

My first mini goal will be get under 200 lbs by the end of the year. If that 202 from today was accurate, then I should be able to blow that out of the water, but I wanted to set an attainable goal so I don't set myself up for disappointment.

Monday, December 7, 2009

My Challenge

I need to get serious about getting healthy. I feel like if I make this my priority then some of the other things that I'm lacking will start to fall into place. I'm not ready to commit to a gym membership yet, so for now I've set a goal for myself. I want to bike 300 miles on my stationary bike between now and the end of the year. I started this a week ago and so far I've managed to cycle 45 miles. That's a bit less than my goal was for the first week, so I'm going to have to kick it up a notch if I plan to meet my goal. I haven't made any real plans for my food. That's always the hard part for me. I don't want to do weight watchers again, because counting points was just too much of a pain. I know I could and should count calories, but I'm struggling with the motivation to get my poor food habits under control.

I like warm breakfasts. While on weight watchers I ate oatmeal pretty much every day. It was easy then, because I was going into the office so I'd grab a packet of oatmeal and a banana on my way out the door and since that was an easy thing to grab going out the door and by the time I got to work then that was what I had, so that was what I ate. Now that I work from home I always have choices both good and bad. Knowing I have pop tarts or breakfast sandwiches means it's harder to choose that oatmeal that I know I should eat. So, I'm hoping there are those of you out there that can help me make the right decisions. Give me ideas on warm breakfasts or any other lunch, dinner or snack suggestions that you may have. Tell me what you'd normally eat in a day and maybe that can help me set up a food plan for myself and get me on the right track food-wise. I'm looking forward to hearing any suggestions any of you may have.

This is me...

Let's see, where do I begin. I'm a 27 year old woman. For all intensive purposes I have a great life. I have a job that pays well, a beautiful home, a boyfriend that I love dearly and pets that I adore. I'm just not feeling fulfilled. I'm overweight and have been struggling with it for years now. I like my job, but don't love it as much as I could. We recently moved to a new state so my boyfriend could pursue getting his PhD and while I love living in this area I'm a bit lonely and haven't really made any friends yet.

Wow, this sounds like a pity party. I didn't always feel this way and I wasn't always like this. Growing up my mom said I was always the happiest child. She told me recently that since I was such a good kid she was always waiting for me to hit that stage and give her a hard time, but it never happened. When I was 9 years old my mom had my youngest brother whom I adore. My mom also had a daycare and every day after school I'd look forward to coming home and seeing my brother and helping out my mom with her daycare. I was painfully shy at school, but I always looked forward to spending time with the kids. I was also involved in dance from the time I was 5. Once high school rolled around I had been with the same dance teacher for years, so she hired me to start teaching the classes and I would drive to her main base to join some of the other more advanced dancers who also taught classes in other towns. While teaching dance isn't something I'd ever consider as a career (those parents could be brutal), it was a healthy thing that taught me a lot about responsibility. Also, in high school, for our physical education course we had a choice of classes to take and I chose weight training. I was one of maybe three girls in the class and I loved weight training. I got to a point where I could bench press my weight. The weight training in combination with the dancing meant I was in phenomenal shape.

The awful thing, though, is that I thought I was fat. I look back at pictures of myself and it's hard to understand why I thought that. My parents are divorced and have been for years, but they both struggle with their weight. I grew up living with my mom and I think seeing her struggle with her weight demons rubbed off on me giving me an unhealthy view of my body. I also grew up with really bad eating habits and have always been a couch potato, but my young age and exercise habits caused that to never be an issue.

When college rolled around boy did things change. My poor eating habits and couch potato mentality didn't change, but my exercise habits did. I signed up for a dance class, but that was only one 50 minute class twice a week. I also got into the habit of drinking excessively whenever I went out to try and offset my shyness. And then there were the late night pizzas to soak up all that alcohol I was drinking. My sophomore year of college I finally started coming out of my shell and the shyness was fading. I made some really close friends and was having a great time, but I continued with the drinking and late night eating. I was definitely a yo yo dieter and would go from exercising a ton to not at all, but I never really got my eating under control.

When I graduated college I moved from Wisconsin to San Diego. My dad lived in San Diego, but I didn't move out there to live with him, I rented a house with some roommates whom I had never met before. I had some money saved, but not much. I happened to move in with a very social guy who seemed to know everyone that lived in the city of San Diego. It was good, because it helped me meet people, but bad because the parties and bad eating continued. Only now I lived in the house where all of the parties were thrown. I had more trouble finding a job than I anticipated, which meant more time to party but quickly dwindling funds to pay for my rent and other expenses.

I ended up having to live with my dad. It was the first time I had lived with him since I was 3 and he and my mom divorced. It was a huge hit to my pride to have to live with him since I'd always been trying to make him proud from afar and having to move in with him made me feel like a failure, but I knew I had to do it. My step-mom and I had always struggled a bit with our relationship. She was a petite blond with her hair in the perfect place and came from a background with money, where I was a chubby brunette still trying to figure out my place in the world, struggling with my weight issues and I had grown up with my mom where we didn't have a lot of money and I had to work for any luxuries I wanted from the time I was 15.

We just didn't see eye to eye, so living together was tough. She was a neat freak and always wanted everything in its place and I've always been a bit messy. While I lived with them I strived to keep my room neat as a pin to keep our relationship as smooth as possible, but I just never felt at home there. So, to get away I retreated to the gym. I had found a job that included a paid gym membership, so I went to the gym every day after work. I didn't like spending much time in my step-mom's kitchen, so I'd cook frozen meals so I could get in and out as quickly as possible. While it's not healthy to always be eating these frozen meals, it made it easy to track calories. I don't know what my starting weight was, but I got my weight down to 160 lbs. I was feeling great. I moved out of their house after 6 or so months. A few months after being on my own I met my boyfriend. I instantly felt at ease with him and had this feeling that he could be "the one". We spent a lot of time going out to eat and watching movies, but I stayed under 170 lbs for the first year or so. He always commented that he loved being with me because I was always happy. He had a previous long term relationship and he said his ex always seemed to be in a bad mood. He said it was refreshing to be with someone who was always cheerful. I ended up moving in with a co-worker for a short period of time and then realized I needed a place of my own.

I ended up finding a cute little one bedroom cottage to rent. My boyfriend was living with a friend about 2 miles away, so that was very convenient. We started spending nearly all of our time together. While we didn't live together we might as well have. We were very cozy in my house watching movies and going out to dinners and both just started packing on the pounds. Then within a year he moved in and it got even worse. We got 2 cats and absolutely loved our little cottage. So much so that we were perfectly content hanging at home with the cats. We were best friends and loved each other's company so there was no longer this need to go out since we had everything we needed right there.

Over time the weight just kept creeping up. Right around our two year anniversary my older brother got engaged. I was so excited for him, but definitely not feeling my best. I knew there'd be pictures at his wedding that would be around for the rest of my life and I wanted to be able to enjoy looking at myself in these pictures. About 5 months before his wedding I decided I was ready to lose weight. It was April 2008 and I weighed 204 lbs. I started doing weight watchers to keep track of my food and was working out at the gym and taking long walks and bike rides with my boyfriend whenever I could. By August I was down to 176 lbs. I was feeling great and was on a great path when I went back to Wisconsin for my sister-in-law's bridal shower and bachelorette party. We were also getting our first dress fitting for our bridesmaid dresses. The dress was huge on me and had to be majorly altered and I was elated at all of the work I had done. I was so proud of myself and so happy to be on the path I was on. Then the seamstress told me that I wasn't allowed to lose any more weight between then and the wedding that was a month away. It was as if someone had slapped me. I felt my joy completely rush out of me and was near to tears. I was doing so well and now was basically told to stop. I didn't know how to just maintain my weight. I went back to San Diego and probably put on 5 lbs or so in the month I was home. The wedding came and I had a great time, the dress fit and everything was wonderful, but I had lost momentum.

For the next year I really didn't exercise much at all. My boyfriend was studying and taking the GRE and applying to colleges all over the country to try and get into their PhD program. The stress of this accompanied with the stress of preparing to move to another state meant the weight just crept back on. We've since moved, bought a house and settled in and now I'm back even higher than where I started at about 206 lbs.

I just don't feel like that happy person everyone knew me to be. I'm depressed and when I look at pictures I don't even feel like I look like myself anymore. I know I need to change, but I'm really struggling. My boyfriend is deep into his PhD program and is often studying and not getting home until late at night. I'm lonely because I don't really know anyone here. Another hurdle is that we're trying to pay off some debt so I don't have a bunch of money to get out and do some things where I could meet people. I could probably afford a gym membership, but I haven't decided if I want to add another monthly bill into our budget when we have so much debt hanging over our shoulders. However, I feel that joining a gym would give me a much needed chance to meet people. I kept my job that I had in San Diego, but am working from home full time so I don't even have that as an outlet to socialize.

Luckily I have my pets. We have the two cats we started with and while in San Diego ended up getting two more. My boyfriend loves animals as much as, if not more than, I do which is great. After moving to Indianapolis we ended up adopting two Australian shepherd mix puppies. We got them when they were just 6 weeks old. It was a lot of work potty training them and take them to their countless vet appointments, but they gave me the affection and attention I needed to help deal with not having made any friends yet and they got me out of the house. They are now 5 months old and don't need me watching over them every second of every day like I felt like they did when they were younger. I have started a friendship with one of the nurses at the vet's office but it's in the beginning stages, so we'll see how this new relationship blossoms.

So this is where I'm at now. I'm 206 lbs and my goal weight is 145 lbs. I'm hoping by posting what I'm going through here I can get encouragement and suggestions from others to help me get to where I want to be, so I can be the happier healthier me that I know is in there somewhere.