Week 47: Live it up.

I’ve been MIA. I’m sure you’re wondering what’s up.

Well…

I have been busy the last several weeks doing lots of fun things: older sister’s bachelorette party, going to the city with friends, shopping, and being reunited with a bunch of sorority sisters. I also re-injured my ankle slightly. (Wah.) Then went on a mini vacation. Now I’m less injured. And as always, it seems, I’m swamped with work.

Don’t fret, though: I got my workouts in through it all.

I’m happy to notice that no matter how hectic my life becomes, no matter where I am, no matter how darn tired I am, I still managed to get my workouts in. Why? Because, at the end of a run, or biking session, or even an easy elliptical stint, I feel re-energized, happy and like I am actually doing something with my life.

I used to come home from work and flop onto the couch, pick up the remote, and lose myself in silly, pointless, mind-numbing TV shows all night. Then I’d wonder why I couldn’t fall asleep at 10, 11, 12 at night. Duh. It was because I had been laying around ALL night, boring my body to death.

Sound familiar to you?

Now, even on my “rest” days when I don’t have to work out, I still find myself coming home and thinking, What can I do instead of being a TV-zombie-couch-blob?

Sometimes this means I clean, run the errands I’ve been putting off, make a big complicated dinner, or go shopping. Other days, I might watch a good movie and then crack open a good book, or meet some friends out for dinner and catch up.

I feel like I have really taken control of my life. Every day I feel proud and happy of what I’ve done, and I can’t wait for what I might do the next day. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of coming home and shutting down, but life should not be like that. Life is meant to be lived. And I’m happy that I’m really starting to live mine to the fullest.

Tell me: What do you do (or not do) to feel like you’re really LIVING?

Fat Stats:
Starting weight: 166 pounds
Last week: 149 pounds
This week: 147.5 pounds (almost there!)
Goal weight: 145 pounds

Make the most of your day!
Amanda
@jockey_amanda

Week 41: Halfway to the Half

A half-marathon is something that I first dreamed of running over six years ago.

The dream began as I finished up my senior year of high school. I was on the cross-country and track teams, and as the year neared its end, I realized that running had become an important part of my life. It kept me grounded, it kept me healthy, it energized me, and it was my escape when I needed a break from life. I realized that when I graduated, I would be without a team, without weekend races, and without a scheduled practice every day. How could I continue running, and keep it a consistent part of my life?

I decided since my 5K races were over, I would move on to another race. Ambitiously, I thought the next step would be a half-marathon…naturally.

Well, going from a 3.1 mile race to a 13.1 mile race is no small leap. I got up to a 10 mile run that summer, but I did not yet know how to train properly, fuel correctly, or motivate myself every day. I can remember that run like yesterday: the heat as it rolled off the pavement; the chatter that my friend kept up constantly; the wish that I just had a cool, tall glass of water. I got so dehydrated that I ended up having to ask a grandmother who was gardening in her front yard for water. If you know me, you know this goes against all the paranoid daydreams and thoughts that usually race through my mind; but it was that or keel over on that black, endless road. That was the longest run I have ever done, and the last. I still remember how simply hard it was. I lost hope that I could even go further. I didn’t run the half-marathon that year…or any year since.

But this year, not only will I run another 10 mile run, but I will also finally reach that goal of running a half-marathon.

(Sometimes I wonder where my sanity went. I think it sweated out all my pores along that fateful first 10 mile run.)

Ohh, I'm halfway there... This past weekend, I did my “long run” of the week of 6.5 miles. It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure. There is still snow all over, cold wind, and people still aren’t too worried about keeping their dogs tied up (eek). But, despite having an icy running trail, I DID IT. I ran the 6.5 miles I was scheduled to run. And, although it was hard, it felt good.

The best part of the run? I’d be lying if I didn’t say the end. But really, what I mean by that is, the exciting part of the run was finishing it and realizing that it was the longest distance that I have run in over half a year. It also happened to be exactly half the distance of a half-marathon.

I am halfway to the half, and I couldn’t be more excited. It was perfect timing to actually sign up for the half-marathon, so I did it. I committed. And this is the year that I will finally run it.

But first up: My long run this week is 7.5 miles. Wish me luck!

Have you ever had a goal that you put off or thought you couldn’t reach? Did you end up fulfilling it? How did you get there?

I’d love to hear your success—how motivating!

Fat Stats:
Starting weight: 166 pounds
Last week: 148 pounds
This week: 148 pounds
Goal weight: 145 pounds

Chin up,
Amanda
@jockey_amanda

Week 36: Top 11 lessons of 2011. (So far.)

Alternate post title: “The run that almost wasn’t—that was—that probably shouldn’t have been—but I’m glad was.”

Does that make any sense? No? Well, that’s why I made it the alternate title.

The run I’m talking about that “almost wasn’t,” is the run I went on yesterday afternoon. While I ran, a lot of random thoughts went through my head (like usual) and turned into the premise for this post: Over these first two weeks of 2011, I have had a few lessons in weight loss and working out. This week, I want to impart a few tidbits of wisdom, in the hopes that you won’t have to learn these lessons the hard way, like I may have.

#1. s-NO-w problem. A little snow never hurt anyone. Watch your step, or get special spikes for your shoes for better traction, and you’ll be fine taking your workout outside. But, BE careful! During my run yesterday, it started to snow, so the sidewalks became slick. I ended up falling flat on my butt. I didn’t get hurt—but I will most definitely be more careful from now on. (And that is one reason my run probably “should not have been.”)

#2. Wear enough gear for the outdoors. Like I just said: It’s snowing, it’s cold, but you can still walk or run outside. Just make sure you wear the right gear, even if that means doubling up everything you put on. Running tights, sweatpants, a long-sleeved shirt, t-shirt, running jacket, ear warmers, a hat, and mittens have been my running attire during my last several runs. (I like to think that the extra five pounds of clothes I’m wearing means that I’m burning more calories.)

#3. But don’t wear the wrong gear. Yesterday, I tried wearing a scarf so my face wouldn’t be so cold during my run. All I could find was my scratchy wool scarf. Wrong choice. During the entire run all I could smell was a flock of dirty sheep.

#4. Laugh at the insanity of it all. During a snowstorm the other night, I was running on the back roads near my apartment so I could avoid traffic. I did not, however, avoid the incredulous gazes of everyone who was out shoveling their driveways or sidewalks. I just smiled and waved and continued on my way.

#5. When you’re the least motivated, be prepared to have your best workout. I had NO energy or ambition to run last night. I finally decided to suck it up and get outside. I ended up feeling great when I got going and ran 4.5 miles. So, next time you’re unmotivated, just get moving—you’ll surprise yourself.

#6. Slow & steady wins the weight loss race. I may have only lost half a pound this week, but, I have also not deprived myself of a crazy chocolatey brownie on Sunday, tacos, a nice dinner out with a friend, and a couple birthday drinks this week. By not depriving myself, but still eating smart 90% of the time, I have been able to continue my slow, steady weight loss—and will continue to keep it off.

#7. Eat a workout for lunch. Have you ever had things pop up that make it impossible to do your normal fitness routine after work? Tonight, for instance, I’m heading into the city with my roommate to celebrate our birthday. In order to fit in today’s workout, I came into work extra-early and then took a long lunch so I could run & shower, and then still leave work at my normal time. Squeezing in the workout during lunch allowed me to get in my scheduled run without ruining my plans for later.

#8. Love your sleep. Okay, it’s not hard to love sleep—but most of you probably don’t get enough. I used to stay up late at night and suffer when getting up early in the morning. Now that I work out every day, I make myself go to bed early. (There is no drawback—I just watch less bad reality television.) Being more active means your body needs more sleep, or else you’ll become run down or injured. Embrace your longer sleeping hours & know they’re giving your body time to recover.

#9. Make sure you check your serving sizes. Keeping track of calories and nutrients is important when you’re trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight and diet. I tried some new frozen ravioli last week, and I was stoked that they were so low in calories for so much food, especially pasta… It wasn’t ‘til after I ate them that I realized I had actually eaten two servings instead of one. Watch those labels!

#10. Keep an eye on your goals. I have a calendar where I chart the workouts that I want to do every week for my training, and then I write under those workouts what I actually did. As the calendar fills up, it keeps me motivated to complete my next day’s workout. It also motivates me to see how far I’ve come over the last weeks or months.

#11. Never give up! Cliché, but true. I already told you how I fell on my butt yesterday during my run. There was definitely a car in the driveway next to where I fell, with people inside. They probably thought I was (1) crazy for running in the snow, (2) laughed when I fell down, and (3) thought I was even crazier when I got up, brushed the snow off my butt, and took off running again. But, I’m proud that I just got up and kept going, instead of turning around and walking back home (which I thought about doing for a split second). Whether you fall down literally, or let your diet fall into an unhealthy state, you always have the choice to get back up again.

What have you learned so far in 2011?

Fat Stats:
Starting weight: 166 pounds
Last week: 147 pounds
This week: 146.5 pounds (Only 1.5 pounds away – WOW!)
Goal weight: 145 pounds

Happy birthday to me! :)
Amanda
@jockey_amanda

Week 34: I resolve not to make resolutions this year.

The New Year is rapidly approaching, and I just can’t believe 2011 is about to swoop in.

The last few weeks seemed to fly right by. With Christmas shopping, holiday work, trips into the city, and flying back & forth to my little ol’ hometown, the holidays passed in a flurry of snow, jingling money, twinkling multi-colored lights, loads of cookies & good food, fond memories with family and many laughs.

How did I fare with all that eating, drinking and being merry? Well, it’s a Christmas miracle! While I enjoyed my mom’s delicious home cooking, a sampling of cookies and chocolates over the last few weeks, and many glasses of my dad’s homemade wine, this year I didn’t overindulge 100% of the time like I would have in the past. I tasted a little bit of this and that so I never felt deprived; the biggest change for me this holiday season was that I realized simply eating one cookie is just as satisfying as eating a whole dozen. Plus, my stomach won’t growl at me in disdain after just one.

So, not only did I manage not to gain any weight over the holidays, but I’m even down one pound from where I was a few weeks ago!

But now that the holidays are over, everyone beholds the New Year as the time to kick-start their resolutions to get fit, lose weight, stop smoking, or whatever else it is that they may want to do. In the past, I have been one of these people who vow to be healthy and work out every day starting January 1st. This year, though, I am not making any New Years resolutions.

Why? Because I can make a resolution to be healthy ANY time…not just starting at 12:01 AM on January 1st. In fact, I already made the decision to make good health a serious part of my life when I wrote my “Week 1” blog post several months ago.

If your goal is something that you really want to achieve, get serious about it. You are serious? Great, then start now. Why do you need to wait an extra 24 hours to start making good changes to your life? It’s your life—stop putting it off ‘til later. You only have one, and it’s happening right now.

Instead of making resolutions, I’m looking forward and planning all the fun, healthy things that I want to do in 2011. Yesterday, I mapped out a 6-month training calendar so that I can be ready to run my booty off at the Wisconsin Half-Marathon in May, and also the MC200 200-mile relay once again in June. (Not to mention this training will get me lookin’ good for my sister’s wedding in April!)

So this year, don’t make resolutions or tell yourself, “Oh, I’ll start tomorrow.” Start today. Right now. Give yourself achievable and realistic goals, and make them FUN. Work on your goals with friends who have similar goals. And, don’t put a start and end date on them. After all, once 2012 is here, won’t you still want to be healthy & happy?

Tell me: Do you make New Year resolutions? If so, what are they…and will you start them now?

Fat Stats:
Starting weight: 166 pounds
Last week: 149.5 pounds
This week: 148.5 pounds
Goal weight: 145 pounds

Happy New Year!
Amanda
@jockey_amanda

Week 28: Answer: What is, diet?

First of all, I just want to thank you all for your comments last week! I’m so glad you all enjoyed reading my post about my grandpa… I have to admit, I had some teary eyes while writing it, so I put a little extra heart into it for you all.

What I have not put my heart into, however, is my diet these last few weeks.
Scratch that. I may not have been strict on my diet like I would have been in the past. But, I have been realistic.

Let me say up front that I hate the word “diet.” It has so many negative connotations to it. To many people, the word is blasphemy—especially when you love to cook and eat like I do! I think I first uttered the phrase “I’m on a diet” when I was just 13 years old. Sad, but true. (What is our society coming to? That’s a whole different post in itself, though.) Ever since then, which was about ten years ago, I have been on countless “diets.” And, my weight has been up and down.

Thankfully, I am not as concerned with my weight now as I was ten, or even five, years ago. What can you expect? At those ages, you are going through middle school, high school, and starting out at a new college. But, after a year at college, I learned that there were bigger things to worry about than how flat my stomach was. This, I think, was a good learning curve to go ‘round, despite the late nights of beer and pizza that I, like many other college students, munched through. While I may have gained some weight during college, I have many fun memories of great times with friends that I wouldn’t give up, even if doing so would magically melt ten pounds off my thighs. (Tempting…but…nope.)

Now, it may sound ridiculous saying that I don’t care as much now about my weight and diet as I did back then, seeing as I write about my weight and exercising and diet every week. But, the difference now is that the word “diet” means something entirely new to me. Before, the word diet had many negative synonyms: deprivation, bingeing, hunger, salad, a depressing lack of chocolate, cardboard-like foods with little real nutrition. But now, I see that a “diet” is something that we are ALL on. It is simply the food that we take in every day, good and bad. You can have a healthy diet; you can also have an unhealthy diet. Heck, your dog is on a diet. It eats, right?

I have slowly made a change in the way I see food and my diet. I no longer deprive myself. If I want a cheeseburger, a monster cookie (which I admit I devoured today), or a couple glasses of wine on Friday night, then I’m going to have it and not feel guilty about it. I will have these things in moderation. The problem I used to have was that I thought that I had to be “on a diet” to eat healthily, and that diet meant absolutely no splurging on burgers and cookies and wine. I would restrict myself for a few weeks, lose several pounds, and then return to my old ways of eating junk 24/7 and not listening to what my body really wanted to eat. Now, I see that my everyday diet should consist of mostly healthy foods because they will help fuel my body and mind and creativity. But that chocolate still has a small place in there too, and that is just fine.

I first started this journey to get down to a healthy and realistic weight of 145 pounds; I still want to reach that goal. However, I now realize that the digital, blocky grey numbers that pop up after I stand on the scale for a few moments are just numbers. Getting down to 145 pounds represents a goal to me, a goal to be happy with myself and to be healthy again.

I may not have reached the 145 pound [non]tipping point yet, but, I have already reached the goal of becoming happy with myself and being healthier than I have been in a long while.

What does the word “diet” mean to you? What about your weight? Are they just words and numbers, or do they mean something bigger to you—good or bad?

Fat Stats:
Starting weight: 166 pounds
Last week: 150 pounds
This week: 149.5 pounds
Goal weight: 145 pounds

Live, laugh, eat, drink & be healthy!
Amanda
@jockey_amanda

P.S. I would also like to minorly announce that this past weekend, I managed to shimmy into my skinny, skinny jeans. They were a little snug, but who cares. Woo-flippin-hoo!

Week 10: If the jeans fit…Wear them!

This morning, as I was browsing through my closet figuring out what to wear, I glanced up at the shelf that held my jeans in a nice, neat pile. All of my normal jeans that I usually wear were dirty—ugh. Only three pairs remained: my skinny jeans, which have not fit in a long time (not sure if they ever DID fit when I bought them), an old pair of tattered and holey jeans that aren’t quite work-appropriate, and one more pair…a soft, comfy pair that I use to wear all the time.

“All the time” meaning last summer, that is. I have not worn these jeans in SO long, because around Halloween last year they started to feel a little snug. So, they got shoved to the bottom of the jean stack and have not seen the light of day since…

Until TODAY! Yes, that’s right. As I pulled the jeans off the shelf and unfolded them, I was afraid to try them on: what if they still didn’t fit, even after all of this hard work? But I pulled one leg up, then the other, hopped up and down once or twice (we women all know that move), and voila! The jeans FIT! I could barely believe it. I knew I had been working hard, eating healthier and trimming down, but for some reason in my mind I was afraid that it just hadn’t been enough.

But it was enough, and now I am sitting here in my office chair with my trusty old jeans on (and they aren’t even too tight sitting down, woohoo), sharing the moment with you, feeling silly for not trying these suckers on sooner. I’m sure they’re glad to be back out in the world.

With this triumph, I realize I have less than 10 pounds to go to reach my goal weight, and only 2 more weeks of the Jockey® Weight Loss Challenge. I finally lost a little more weight again this past week, so I am even more motivated to keep pushing those pounds off, even if I don’t do it by the time the Challenge is officially “over.” Because let’s be real—even when the corporate Challenge is over, the challenge of everyday life will still be here to try to derail me.

P.S. I face the trials of vacation again this weekend—let’s hope that after a weekend with family, lots of dad’s homemade vino, wedding cake and my mom’s delicious cooking, that these jeans still fit on Monday. :)

Fat Stats:
Starting weight: 166 pounds
Last week: 154.5 pounds
This week: 153 pounds
Goal weight: 145 pounds

Cheers!
Amanda
@jockey_amanda