How do you eat an elephant?

This weekend I participated in the Chartiers-Houston Relay for Life. The 24-hour event was incredibly moving, memorable and truly an experience I will never forget. But that’s not the reason I’m writing this post.

At Relay this weekend, I met a member of my husband’s extended family – a cousin who has run marathons; Iron Mans and insert every other kind of crazy fitness activity imaginable. I was very excited to meet him when he drove down from Rochester, NY after his black belt test just to walk all night for our Relay Team – yes that was the only reason.

Naturally, as a new lover of running and walking, I simply had to meet him. I wanted to pick his brain about what I could do better. We have conversed several times on Facebook over the past week or so about different things. I told him about my journey and he gave me some very (strange) great advice.

“How do you eat an elephant? One bit at a time! How do you run a marathon? One step at a time.”

This really hit home for me this weekend. I’ve been thinking a lot about how far I’ve come with losing weight. While I’ve hit a plateau – mostly due to an incredibly insane home life at the moment –  but I’ve never gave up on my journey. I’m still taking it one day at a time.

There are no secrets to weight loss or running marathons – it’s simply one step at a time. Take one step today that will change the rest of your journey – be it quitting smoking, giving up soda for water, taking the dog for a three block walk with the dog – just take one step to change your life and you won’t regret it.

This weekend, I watched people take thousands of steps in their journey. People logged their “feet” for every seven laps (one mile) during the 24 hour event. I heard people revel in their 16 miles, 20 miles, 30 miles and more. Necklaces with small feet were everywhere around Allison Park Elementary School with smiles on their face.

These people weren’t marathon runners? Some walked with canes and crutches – but they still walked. It’s not about how fast you finished your laps or how much weight you’ve lost – every journey starts with a single step and you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.  

How do you eat an elephant?

This weekend I participated in the Chartiers-Houston Relay for Life. The 24-hour event was incredibly moving, memorable and truly an experience I will never forget. But that’s not the reason I’m writing this post.

At Relay this weekend, I met a member of my husband’s extended family – a cousin who has run marathons; Iron Mans and insert every other kind of crazy fitness activity imaginable. I was very excited to meet him when he drove down from Rochester, NY after his black belt test just to walk all night for our Relay Team – yes that was the only reason.

Naturally, as a new lover of running and walking, I simply had to meet him. I wanted to pick his brain about what I could do better. We have conversed several times on Facebook over the past week or so about different things. I told him about my journey and he gave me some very (strange) great advice.

“How do you eat an elephant? One bit at a time! How do you run a marathon? One step at a time.”

This really hit home for me this weekend. I’ve been thinking a lot about how far I’ve come with losing weight. While I’ve hit a plateau – mostly due to an incredibly insane home life at the moment –  but I’ve never gave up on my journey. I’m still taking it one day at a time.

There are no secrets to weight loss or running marathons – it’s simply one step at a time. Take one step today that will change the rest of your journey – be it quitting smoking, giving up soda for water, taking the dog for a three block walk with the dog – just take one step to change your life and you won’t regret it.

This weekend, I watched people take thousands of steps in their journey. People logged their “feet” for every seven laps (one mile) during the 24 hour event. I heard people revel in their 16 miles, 20 miles, 30 miles and more. Necklaces with small feet were everywhere around Allison Park Elementary School with smiles on their face.

These people weren’t marathon runners? Some walked with canes and crutches – but they still walked. It’s not about how fast you finished your laps or how much weight you’ve lost – every journey starts with a single step and you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.  

Goals Update

Yesterday I was interviewed by a journalist who asked me about my goals. It got me thinking that I haven’t looked at my goals since I wrote them way back in 2012 so I dug out the post. You can read it here. Sorry… it was back when the blog was really notes on Facebook!

So when I first ready through the post, I actually laughed a lot. It was posted on September 2, 2012 and what a difference 9 months will make. Wow!

The post was really about me trying to think of short and long term goals for myself. I remember how hard it was back then (it wouldn’t be now). Back then I focused only on the weight loss (scale) and now I wish I focused on the non-scale victories too!

I wanted to lose 2 pounds a week for 8-10 a month. Looking back, that was an ok number and (for the most part) I was somewhere in that nature most of the time. I’m creeping up on the 70 mark so I’m doing pretty good – but I now know the scale does not define my success.

I set milestone goals for myself

  • 25 pounds – spa treatment
  • 50 pounds mini shopping spree
  • 75 pounds – enter a race
  • 100 pounds – trip to the beach with a new bathing suit!
  • Goal Weight – Disney Marathon

Now, if you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know why I’m laughing at myself! I didn’t want to wait for the milestone goals, I just did it anyways.

At 25 pounds, I skipped the spa and hired a trainer (money well spent). At 50 pounds, I didn’t have a shopping spree because I needed them every few months because I was dropping sizes like mad (seven sizes to date). I was still 300 pounds in October when I entered my race so screw waiting for 75!

Now … 100 pounds. I’m still hopeful I might get to the beach this summer but our house hunt may change that plan. We simply may not have the funds / vacation time to pull it off. I’m ok with that though because it doesn’t mean I don’t deserve something – like say a new swimsuit which I’m totally getting this year! For the first time in my life I’m very excited to go swimsuit shopping and have been looking around at the styles to see what I like!

Now the biggie! Goal weight. I don’t think I want to wait for this one either. My hope is that next year (probably around this time), I’ll be packing up my kid and husband and trekking to Disney to run a marathon. I don’t care how much I weigh, I’m going to do it anyways! Let’s just hope I can afford it – that’s the only thing that will stop me!

So back in my blog post I wrote that my game plan was to go to the gym before work (that didn’t happen – work schedule conflict). I originally planned to walk at lunch with coworkers (That didn’t happen either). I simply had too much work to do and opted to plow through a quick lunch and go to the gym after work. That part I’m pretty good with (most of the time). I’d say given my current plate of things I’ve really mastered making working out part of my life.

So as I sit and reflect on the me 9 months ago, I’m reminded of just how far I came. What a difference almost a year can make in a person and in a family. I’m so happy the journalist asked me about my goals. I might not have dug them out to continue being inspired by my own self. Who knew I was inspiring!

The Biggest Winner Day 19: Oh so many stairs

I can’t believe it’s been 19 days since I started training with the Biggest Winner program. It truly feels like we’ve just began and it’s almost over. I really am sad about it, but I’m really happy that I put in the work to write about my experiences every day. I hope I haven’t bored you to death.

Before I go into all the fun from today, I’d like to start with my small joy in the morning. Last Friday, I weighed in at 264. I’ve been stuck on this number for quite a while now and it’s really annoying. I know I’ve lost inches and that’s great but DAMN IT I want to see a 25 number on there.

Today I weighed in at 262. Two more pounds gone (yay) and 3 more to go. I’m hoping to lose that 3 before Saturday. It just might be able to do it. I’m keeping low on the carbs and putting in some extra time at the gym. Fingers crossed I see a 25 number for my finale. I will literally be jumping with joy!

So back to the focus of this post – what happened today.

I started on my favorite elliptical while waiting until 7am. I got a nice rhythm and burn going as a warm up and I was pretty happy with it. I logged just under 20 minutes before Jackson pulled us to start working out.

We started on the stairs today. Oh the stairs. Divided in two groups, we each took a flight of stairs and round and round we went. Timing at approximately 30 second intervals (ish), we ran and walked the stairs. This went on for (I think) around 10 minutes.

Next we headed over to the gym where Jackson planned a circuit. There were three stations (two groups again) and we repeated exercises for various timed intervals.

Round 1
Squat medicine ball toss-up a wall
– Jump rope
– Bicep curls with TRX

We stayed at our station for 3 reps – 50 seconds, 40 seconds and 30 seconds with 10 second rests. Round 2 was the same with different exercises.

Round 2
Running touches at three points in the gym.
– Burpees with the half ball thingy (I really need to learn the name of it)
– Push ups and roll outs with the TRX

Commence dripping sweat. I’m fairly certain I left a puddle somewhere in the gym!

But wait…. there’s more!

Next we headed out to the machines in the gym. In pairs, two were on the bike with the fan (he called it something but I don’t know what), two were on the recumbent bike and two were on the nu step. For approximately 5 minutes we did 30 second sprints with 15 second recovery. Then switched and repeated until we went through all three machines.

We stretched and called it a day. What a day it was.

I’m heading back tonight to take Zumba and Kickboxing. I haven’t done a double class in a while and certainly not after I already had well over an hour of cardio / strength this morning. Here’s praying I actually SURVIVE the double class!

90 minute challenge

Yesterday Jackson challenged us to do 90 minutes of cardio today on our off day from the training program. Now some2967_521985621177322_1319337831_n of you probably are thinking – that’s nothing! Your right … unless you’re still over 250 pounds, having your ass kicked 4 days a week and pretty much feel like jello 24/7. But I’m doing it anyways!

Some of you may have seen my post last night as I pondered how to do 90 minutes of cardio. I’m a big fan of variety so I figured I’d switch machines every 15 – 20 minutes.

When I got to the gym, I planned to start with my least favorite piece of equipment – the treadmill (you were waiting to see the spin bike weren’t you?). From there it was all PROGRESS!

Here’s how my morning went –

  • 20 Minutes on the treadmill walking at 3.5 – 5.0 with varying inclines.
  • 10 minutes on the arc trainer with varying incline and resistance.
  • 25 minutes on the bike (NOT AN EVIL SPIN BIKE) with random hills at level 4 keeping RPMs above 100 as much as possible.
  • 25 minutes on the elliptical on variety (various inclines / resistance)

Per that data … I would have 80 minutes of activity. However, my Body Media Band says a little differently. One of the reasons I love my band is that I can truly see what I’m doing. For example, here’s what data I collected after my workout.

Workout Burn
1,104 Calories Burned just during the workout.

Burn for the day so far
2,009

Remaining Burn to Target
759 (I’ll have that before the end of the day at work).

Steps During Workout
8,051

Total Step Count for the day so far
 10,762 (Oh I’m so crushing my personal best of 14,000 today!) – Over 2,762 from my target SO FAR! 

Workout Activity Levels
60 minutes moderate activity
30 minutes of vigorous activity
*it counts the time between machines. My 80 minutes above only counts what I did on the machines. 

Total Activity for the Day so far 
1 hour and 17 minutes of moderate activity (47 minutes over target)
30 minutes of vigorous activity (15 minutes over target) 

So if you read that… you know I kicked ass today! I’m really proud of myself. I was soaked in sweat by the end of the workout and very proud of my accomplishments. It’s a good day and I’m very happy with myself.

The Biggest Winner Day 12: Out of my comfort zone

Well, today I took Jackson’s advice and went out of my comfort zone … .and I mean WAAAAAAY out. Yesterday Jackson warned us that from here on out he was basically going to kill us! It’s a LOT of cardio from here and boy is it rough.

Today, started upstairs… I knew what that meant and that meant the track! Oh boy.

I have a love-hate relationship with the track honestly. I don’t mind walking it. I’ve grown to tolerate the laps with kettle bells Jackson is so fond of but I’m not a fan of running. I think that’s my comfort zone. My knee gives me an excuse NOT to run. I’ve used it too much.

I can run. I’ve done it before but I think I’m afraid I’ll hurt myself again and then I’m back to square one. Today I was determined that it wasn’t going to be like that for me. I was going to run. … or at least try to some of the time.

Now, I’m not making excuses because trust me, I still get knee pain and I’m probably doing things I shouldn’t (lunges, squats, etc). Those exercises all aggravate my knee but I keep trying anyways. I just modify and don’t go so low. It’s hard but I adjust and I try. I know I need to do it. I’ve made sure I stretch before and after every workout session. Sometimes even in the middle.

Anyways, so today we started with laps on the track with kettle bells. One lap carrying weights (mine was 15 pounds on each side) and then one lap jogging / fast walking. This was timed. I pushed myself hard. I tried jogging a little then fast walking and switching between the two. I did really well. This was working for me.

Next we did a circuit. There were three stations and three times around.

Weighted Ropes – First was Jacks. Then it was waves, and then it was fast waves.

Kettle Bell – First it was scissor legs, then around the waist moves and finally dead lifts.

Steps – First it was jump up and down, next was a hop across and then finally fast feet.

In between each round of circuits, we did a couple of laps on the track. Two times around 1/2 walking fast and the last half sprinting. Guess what … I actually SPRINTED! I did so good and I think I even surprised Jackson!

So we repeated this three times around to do all the exercises before taking a good long stretch and calling it a week.

I worked my ASS off today. I’m so proud of myself. SO UNBELIEVABLY PROUD of myself! Today I pushed myself way out of my comfort zone. Far beyond even what I thought I could. It’s a new day and a new me.

WEIGHT BE GONE!

The Biggest Winner Day 8: Fun Fridays

Today was probably my favorite day of training with “The Biggest Winner” program (so far) because it was actually a lot of FUN!

We started off on the treadmill again for a brisk warm up. It lasted about 15 minutes at a comfortable walking pace of 3.0 – 3.5 while we increased the incline with each minute to 15. It doesn’t sound like much but when you hit 10, 11, 12 and up – it really starts to hurt and you feel like you’re going to go tumbling off the treadmill.

After our “warm up,” we headed up stairs to the track and mezzanine for a fun little circuit. Now, as many of you know – I just love the “anger management” style exercises so when I saw boxing gloves I really got excited!

Today’s circuit consisted of partners in three locations… with a fun little twist!

Station 1 – hand weights. We did 25 upper cuts, 10 jacks and 25 jabs and repeated until time was up.

Station 2 – Bicycle kicks and twists – 25 of each repeating until time was up.

Station 3 – One person was doing jabs with Jackson while the other did a lap on the track. There was a punching bag halfway around where we had to stop and do 30 punches before coming back.

And then the fun little twist… the “timing” of this exercise was based on the two people boxing. When one returned the other ran. When both returned time was up … so who knows how long we were doing these but boy did it make you encourage the runner!

We did this circuit twice, which took about a half hour and a puddle of sweat from everyone. I actually really enjoyed this. I loved the boxing – I hope we do that more often. However, one of the things that astonished me today was doing the bicycle kicks and twists.

Normally, I can barely do 2 of the kicks before my legs hate me. Today I was blowing through at least 15-20 before having to pause. I also was popping right up for the twists – something that surprised even me and Jackson. He kept praising me for going from one to the other without stopping.

Six months ago I could barely do a sit up and now I’m popping up and down between these two exercises. I’m so proud of myself today. I also ran the whole lap both times on the track – again an accomplishment in itself. It’s little wins like this that make me so incredibly happy to be going through this process.

So after the circuit, we headed down to the gym for what Jackson said would be …. “a little fun.” He was actually right! We had a lot of fun in the last 20 minutes of our session. First we started with a little basketball competition where we paired off trying to out shoot our partner. Shawn won against me because I suck at Basketball but I had a lot of fun trying!

Next the real fun came where in the last 12-15 minutes we played a little 3 on 3. Jackson paired myself, Tianda and John against Shawn, Debbie and Steve. What a trip! We were having a blast chasing each other across the court. I suck at basketball so I tried to just get the ball and give it to my teammates who were much better at shooting than I was.

We were out of breath… beating each other up (friendly) over the ball and really having a great time. I loved every minute of it and my calorie burn was awesome today so I know I had a great workout!

Now that I’m losing the weight, I’m really excited to possibly try sports again. I believe in the past the gym has offered volleyball leagues / games at some point. I hope that comes back soon because I’d love to try. That was one of my favorite sports next to Softball. I’d say I’ll find a pick up softball league but I don’t think my schedule has that kind of time committment, especially if my daughter plays this year.

I’m really looking forward to practicing softball with Bella this summer. I think she’s going to love it. She likes watching her Aunt Sunni play, and Matthew and I both played ball in high school. She must have it in her blood!

Well, our instructions were cardio on the weekend and back on Monday morning. I haven’t figured out when or what I’ll do this weekend for cardio. Since it’ll be frigid cold there’s no going outside so maybe a swim in the pool during Family Time on Saturday or just some quality time on the machines at the gym. Either way, I’ll be burning because Monday is another weight in and I’ve promised myself that I will not gain weight!