Tuesday, April 28, 2015

one year on MyFitnessPal

Today marks one total year using the MyFitnessPal app - logging food and exercise every day.
Or almost every day.
I took a week off from food logging while we vacationed in Colorado and when Jared and I went to Mexico last month. I also took off a handful of other days when it would have been almost impossible to correctly log my food - the 4th of July, a couple of birthday parties, etc. But I still checked in and logged exercise even if I wasn't logging food entries. 

Personally, I love MyFitnessPal (MFP). I tried a few other times in the past to lose weight - usually just working out more often, but I never incorporated actual calorie counting. I think that is why MFP has worked so well for me. Anyone who knows me - or knows Jared or my sisters or my freaking entire family - knows that I love to eat. 
That whole "Don't live to eat, eat to live" thing... 
Uhhh... yeah, not a firm believer in the truth to that yet...

The biggest piece of knowledge I have gained over the past year is portion size. I know it sounds simple, but it was eye-opening. I was consuming double what I thought I was. It took a good two or three weeks of logging and eating normal portions for my stomach to adjust. So basically for a couple weeks I thought I was starving - because I was finally eating a normal amount of food. But after that initial adjustment, it hasn't been that hard.
Do I sometimes eat double portions? 
Hell yes. 
But it's because I am making the choice to, not because I don't know any better and am deluding myself. 

MyFitnessPal is great for the fact that I eat what I want and see how it fits into my day so I can still meet my goals. I never went into this believing I would only eat "clean" foods. I wanted to find a balance so I could be healthier and still enjoy the foods I like. And I have achieved that. If I want pizza I better work out so I can "afford" the calories. It's about balance and learning a way to live after all the pounds are shed.

And speaking of -
so far I have lost 32.5 pounds
The first 30 came off in the first 7 months.
Face-to-Face:  One year difference

Since Christmas time I have had to shift my focus from weight loss to other fitness goals. After a while the scale stops changing as quickly as before, and it became important to find other things to work on. I've switched up my workout routine a few times, and believe me, I am grateful that spring arrived so I could get a break from the workout videos!

The weight loss has been great, but I try to focus on the other things that I've accomplished or am working toward.
Non-scale victories if you will.

* I lost 3 pant sizes
I went from a size 16 (ugh, I hate to even type that out...) to a size 9/10 in jeans. And those 9/10's are even getting a bit loose now. I also now wear medium-sized shirts.

* Smaller ring size. 
I had to resize my wedding ring down 1 1/2 sizes because it was literally sliding off my finger multiple times a day.

* Increased confidence
Let's get real here, I avoided the bathroom mirror frequently. And if I were to catch a glimpse when I was getting in the shower? Terrible. I don't feel that way anymore. I've worked hard. And while I still have more work to do, I am proud of the changes. 

* A better role model
Kids are little sponges. And as much as you can tell them to do something, they seem to learn by example best. Our kids eat more nutritiously because we are eating more nutritiously. They are more active because we're more active. They see mom putting in the effort to take care of her health, and that is a message I think is important to send to our kids.

* Improved health
So other than all the benefits we all already know of, I was surprised by one. I went to the doctor for my recent hand probs and was stunned to learn my pulse (which for my whole adult life has been in the mid-80s) was 58 bpm at two separate appointments. Clearly all this exercise is not only helping my waistline, but also strengthening my heart.

* Better sleep
This one has been a bit less obvious, but before I started working out, I would go to bed exhausted and fall asleep for a half-hour or so and then startle awake. And I couldn't go back to sleep. I don't have that problem anymore. (Now if I can just convince my kids that sleep is something we shouldn't fight...)

* Challenging myself
Lastly, I'm proud that I've stepped out of my comfort zone. Not only in just starting to use MFP or exercising in general, but that I have looked at something, thought it was hard, and decided to try anyway. Whether it was a 50 minute HASfit video that looked difficult or starting running, I've tackled some things that a year ago I wouldn't have dreamed I'd be doing.


I've learned a lot in a year.
I've learned you have to want it badly enough to put in the work. 
If it were easy, everybody would be running marathons and rocking their 6-pack abs around town. It didn't work before because I didn't put in the work. As simple as that.

I've learned that it is about me. 
I'm doing this for me. There are times when other people don't notice changes or encourage and support you like you wish they would, but you're not doing it for them - you're doing it for you. Keep on doing what works for you.

I've learned to be flexible. 
As in all areas of life, rigidity can make things a lot harder. I prefer to work out in the late morning or early afternoon. But that doesn't always jive with a husband that works night shift, so I've had to adapt. I was in the groove doing my cardio-plus-weights videos and then I broke my hand. Had to adapt. Sometimes what was working before stops producing results and you have to shake things up. Being flexible just makes the whole process easier.

I've learned how important goals are. 
At first the goal is usually losing weight, but when that's accomplished - now what? I've set new goals for working out and most recently a goal to run a 5k this spring/summer. That's something I never thought I would do. It really is amazing what you are capable of when you put your mind to it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

sisters' weekend 2015

This past Friday-Saturday-Sunday was spent at the 3rd Annual Ellis Sisters' Weekend
And yes, it's just as glamorous as it sounds.

We met in Omaha this year. 
And this mom was more than ready for the escape.

 We met up for drinks at a wine bar before dinner on Friday night.

Then we ate at Kobe Japanese Steakhouse. And it was delicious. 
As a first-timer, I was slightly picked on.
I wish there was video evidence of all the tossed shrimp pieces I caught in my mouth, but alas, there is not.


Saturday morning we woke bright and early to partake in a 5k walk/run in support of Child Abuse Prevention - a cause that is near and dear to all of our hearts.
We walked most of the race as planned, with a sprint toward the end as it was beginning to rain heavily just as we crossed the finish line. 

The afternoon was spent shopping. 
Side note: H&M is my new fave.


We checked into our downtown hotel later on. 
It wasn't the best. (See also: my shitty TripAdvisor review)

The chlorine and chemical levels in the hot tub should not make you feel like your eyes might be bleeding after 10 minutes.  But hey, I'm no expert.

And now for the yearly photos:







And this last one is so ridiculous, clearly only the sister wearing a shirt of a cat in glasses could have requested it.

Also, it sucks being the one holding out the camera - No, I actually don't prefer that extra chin and non-existent neck thankyouverymuch - and I vote Justy does it next year.

Although I think this one might be my favorite of the weekend.
Love the unbridled annoyance, Beaner.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Solko family randoms

Nothing new and noteworthy has taken place around here recently. We're just hanging out, hoping that these beautiful 70ยบ temps stick around.

Here's a quick snapshot of our last week.

Yes, Batman sucks his thumb and uses his pliers instead of a cape in a pinch.

Giddy up.
Hello Kitty and cowgirl boots are clearly a "do."
Right, Glamour magazine?


This little honey has been all about playing mom to Bun-Bun. 
Overheard last week, my personal favorite:
"Ugh, this kid is driving me crazy!"


Jared's dad and step-mom were in town for a one-day visit this past weekend.
Tiny picnic table? Check.
Shades. Check.
Cheetos. Check.
There you have it, folks - the recipe for toddler happiness.


In other random news, I'm still training for that 5k. In fact it's going well enough that I'm hoping to actually run my first ever race next month sometime. I completed the 20 minute run yesterday and it was not nearly as painful as I feared. I get a pretty awesome feeling of achievement upon finishing each time, so it feels worth it. 

Also...my cast should be coming off today. Hooray! It's not that I'm all that excited to get off the sidelines and back on dish duty, but this thing is kind of a drag. Mainly I need it off so I can enjoy myself thoroughly at the 3rd annual Sisters' Weekend. And it's this weekend - eeeek!

We are spending the weekend in Omaha this time - doing a 5k walk/run Saturday morning and spending a night in a downtown hotel. I'm excited to get away for a day or two and spend time with some of my best friends. 
See ya soon, sisters!

Sisters' Weekend: 2014
Sisters' Weekend: 2013

Thursday, April 9, 2015

new focus and goals

This week marked one year of exercising. And not just here and there exercising - consistently exercising 5 days a week. I added in MyFitnessPal at the end of the month, so my 365 day streak on that site is quickly approaching. Annnnnd I'm a nerd, so I'm excited about that. 

I thought today I would take a quick look back at how far I've come - not something I usually do visually. It's one thing to weigh yourself and know those numbers, it's a whole other ball game to see a picture side-by-side.

The "before" photo is from November 2013. Not the start of my journey (I feel corny even saying the word "journey" but I can't think of a better replacement) but basically the same as my start weight last April. The "after" is a photo I snapped in Mexico a couple of weeks ago. And in case you're wondering about the round circle on my stomach - it's the site for my insulin pump. #diabetesprobs

Recently (and for the past couple of months) the scale hasn't budged much. I've noticed my jeans and some shirts are a little looser, so I'm not complaining too loudly. I would like to ideally lose another 8 pounds to reach my goal of a healthy BMI, but it isn't the end of the world if it doesn't happen. I've gotten less rigid in my definition of success. Success isn't just a number on a scale, it's how good you feel. And it's taken a long, lonnnng while to realize it, but I feel good where I am at right now.

Since coming back from vacation, I broke my hand. As expected, it's made things challenging. As many of you know I love my HASfit videos and was nearly finished with the 90 Day Warrior Program. I had 7 days left, but right now I can't complete the last week since I can't lift any weight. It sucks to come 12 weeks into something and get stopped on the homestretch.

But honestly... I was getting a little stir-crazy anyway. These Iowa winters leave everybody trapped indoors and I am pretty sick of exercise videos. With the weather getting nicer, I've been reevaluating what I want to do and achieve. A big thanks to my deadbeat hand for expediting that process!

I decided to finally use the Couch-to-5k (C25k) app on my phone. And I downloaded a running app to track my route and pace. Right now I am still in the phases of interval running, so the following route is actually 19 minutes of running (approx 10:30min/mile pace) and 18 minutes of walking. 

I don't know how accurate it all is, but it's nice to have another tool in the tool belt for evaluating progress. Plus having no access to a treadmill, I had zero idea what pace I was running at, which is a helpful piece of info when logging exercise in MFP. My route looks a little crazy because I am still figuring it all out. Plus I backtracked a wee bit when I realized I forgot to pee before leaving the house and had to duck into the public library quickly. I ended my workout doing some extra running around our block. 

I don't know how the rest of this 5k training is going to go. I hadn't really ever thought of running one before; this is just a new way to challenge myself. I've never been much of a runner (unless running sprints in high school track counts - Spoiler Alert: it really doesn't). Right now I am fine with the intervals. It's the 20 minutes straight next week that scares me. But I will cross that bridge when I get to it. Just like I have everything else.

For any runners out there, I appreciate any and all tips you can offer.
Over the last week I have come to appreciate the necessity of stretching. Yikes!


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Day

Look at me - getting a post out on the same day it happened! Write it down, people!
Truth be told I have nothing else to do while Jared dozes away on the couch before work, but I'm still giving myself the credit since I am currently chicken-pecking out these words.

I digress.

Easter.

family photo

 so random, but I love it

most pictures looked a little something like this

Weiss family great-grandkids posing with their found loot


And on a non-Easter side note, today marks 10 years together for Jared and me. 

A whole freaking decade. 
That's crazy, right? 
But then again, as I have been reminded of plenty this weekend, I am old.
(Try telling high school kids that only a few people had cell phones when you were their age and that texting wasn't even a thing until college. I swear they look at you like you're a martian.)
2005 doesn't seem all that long ago.
But then again, I'm getting up there in years...   ;)

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

'round these parts


Dying Easter eggs is a yearly tradition, one I think Jared might actually enjoy more than the kids. He is forever trying all different color combinations, which usually results in at least one hideous brown egg - but not this year! Progress.

And in News That Should Surprise No One, Avery was in it for the food.
The easy access just proved to be too much of a temptation.

I've been in kids'-crap downsizing mode lately. 
I'm not sure what caused the change, but I realized holding on to all this baby stuff, clothes especially, is ridiculous. Holding onto itty-bitty onesies is not going to prevent our kids from growing up at lightning speed.
So I spent hours one afternoon sorting through stuffed tote after stuffed tote, saving my favorites from each child's tiny wardrobe. There are so many memories tied to some of the outfits, and I will admit I shed some tears. 
My babies aren't really babies anymore.

In the end Jared dropped three garbage bags full of clothes off at a local consignment shop and we sold the crib to my cousin. The breast pump that served me faithfully through three children sold quickly on Ebay. And with all the stuff leaving our storage areas, I feel a little more at peace with saying goodbye to the baby stages and welcoming all the new stages to come.



Last week I embarrassingly landed wrong while doing a burpee- an exercise move created by Satan himself. And in true nurse form, I toughed it out for a week before admitting defeat and getting an x-ray. 

The verdict: a broken hand.

I'm currently in a half-cast/half-splint for the next two weeks. And I'm saying hourly prayers that my kids are kind to me and slow to realize just how much at a disadvantage I am. 

Just typing this pathetically short blog post has taken a ridiculous amount of time. And one-handed dishes is the most laughable task ever.

Heal quickly, hand!