Running as a turtle, but running.

So four weeks ago I started this crazy thing called running.  The first few times were small attempts. It felt good. Every time I went for a run, I did a little bit better than the time before. I found myself a balance and a rythm that works for me. I try to go three times a week. Mostly on Sunday morning, wednesday after school and Friday after school. I feel that the running goes smoother every time, so that encourages me.

A big encouragement on the other side is the fact that friends of me, who have been running for a long time, believe in me and are giving me tips and tricks to improve. Something they all said to me was to get the right gear. So on wednesday afternoon, I decided to pass at the local sport store and treat myself a new pair of running shoes. A treat because I think I deserved one for being a good girl already two weeks and to not quitting yet. And on the other side, I thought maybe new running shoes would give me an extra reason to go running. Those shoes would scream at me from the closet: ‘Let us out! Take us out for a walk, or better, a run!’ And so while I was in the store, I bought myself a new pair of shoes. But I also bought myself a new swimsuit, because I started going to aquagym once a week in our town. And yes, I really did need a new bathing suit, because my bathing suit I have is actually a swim-dress, a swimsuit with a little dress over it, to cover up my curves. Perfect to go for a swim every week, but as I realised during the first session of aquagym, not suitable for aquagym. So new running shoes, new swimsuit,… Oh well, I could just as well buy myself a T-shirt and sweather to run in.

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On Friday I came home after school and the sun was shining, almost like spring was just around the corner. So I took my new outfit and went for a run. And I ran as never before. Even better, I didn’t have a sore knee while running. Something that I did had before. So the new shoes must do the trick. Or maybe it was the new outfit? Or the sun?

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Last weekend, I had some friends over for the day. We all do scrapbooking, and once a month we come together to scrapbook. But scrapbooking involves a lot of sitting, so not easy to get my steps for the day. I was awake really early on Saturday, and everything was ready for my friends to arrive. I had over an hour left before they would arrive, so I took my sneakers and went for a small run. If you would have told me a year ago that I would be running at sunrise, I would have called you crazy.

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A small run because I have already learnt in these few weeks that I have to listen to my body, and especially to my knee. On Wednesday I felt really great and pushed myself realy heard during the run, which felt great at the moment itself, but what paid up afterwards. So I have to take a little step back and do it slowly.

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Of course I served a healthy lunch to my friends. They don’t mind. It has become one of our monthly habits to, to eat a healthy lunch on our crop dates.

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Unfortunatly I have to take a break from running. The flew has taken me down, sof or the moment I hardly do a 1000 steps a day. I hope to be back up my feet by the weekend and hopefully taking back up the running next week, slowly, like a turtle, but even a turtle gets to it’s destination in the end.

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OMG, did I just run?

For two years now, i’m on a diet. I try to watch what I eat and I changed my whole eating routine. I eat a lot healthier and I feel a lot fitter then I did two years ago. I lost a lot of weight already. I had a minor ‘breakdown’ in the beginning of the year, but now I’m back on track. I’m back to the salads at noon, the fruit in the morning and I’m addicted to a special brand of crackers that are sold in a shop locally. Unlucky for me, they are only a temporarly item, so have to get myself a stash for when they’re no longer sold.

Next to being back to the healthy food, I’m picking up another good habbit. I bought myself a fitbit and I must admit, it boosts me to do extra steps each day. I tend to do at least 10000 steps every day. Most of the days, it’s a reachable target. Especially the work days are rather easy to make it to 10000. I park my car a bit further from school, I do extra tours in the class, I take the long walk to another class room,… But on weekend days it’s hard to get those 10000 steps. Especially those Sundays where you have nothing really planned, or when you have plans that involve a lot of sitting and no walking around, like going on restaurant. I started to plan my sundays in a way that I get my steps anyway. My sunday routine involves a visit to the local supermarket, open on sunday, to get my ingredients for my lunch salads on monday. The straight way to the supermarket gets me 2500 steps, so instead of doing that walk, I take a walk throught my hometown and I do all the aisles in the shop, although I don’t need anything in that particulary aisle. That way, I get (depending on which way I take to get back home) easily 5000 steps. When I really take the long way, I get 8000 steps.

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I also took up the swimming again. I try to get myself to the swimming pool twice a week and do 50 lengths each time. So you could say I don’t do that bad with the little excercice. But I felt the need to spice it up a bit. As I already stated, I do feel fitter that I did a while ago, so why not try to excercice a bit more. Off course I want to lose some more weight (because I must admit, losing weight becomes an addiction) but I also want to tighten my body and to tone up my condition.

Last Sunday, we were invited to my mom’s birthday party on restaurant. We were served a delicious meal (and the restaurant owners went the extra mile to make it all without sauces for me), but after the meal I felt bloated, not used  to eat that much anymore. So when we got back home, and I saw the sun was shining, I putted on my sneakers and went for a walk. While I was walking all off the sudden it popped in my head, why should I not try to run a little bit? Could I? So I set myself a little run. Nothing big, my first bit consisted of 100 steps. Well, that wasn’t that bad, was it? So I did another bit, and another bit,… I even did a bit of 400 steps. In total, I ran 1500 steps of my 6000 steps walk. Nothing much, but everyone has to start somewhere.

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Friday night, after school, I felt the need to be outdoors, so I took my sneakers, putted on a old sweatpants (seriously, 15 years old that pants and it fits me better than it ever did!) and I started my tour. And it felt so good to be outside. Even the running felt fine. I did a piece of 1000 steps in one stretch, and several smaller pieces so in total I ran 3200 steps of my walk, more than half of it. Today I went for another walk/run and allthough it didn’t went that good as it did on Friday night, I still felt great that I went for it. So now it’s just about keeping up the frequency of going outside twice or three times a week and to build up the running. My main goal is to be able to do the whole tour in one stretch. I know it will take some time to build it up, and a lot of stubbordness to keep on going and not to give up when it does not work out that well like today, but these last days I was told several times that I have a lot of character to stay strong and to continue my efforts, so maybe, who knows, I will work this out too. Do I run smoothly? Not at all! Do I run fast? Haha! As if! But today I crossed several other people who were out walking or running and I did not feel ashamed. Yes, my head is as red as a tomato, yes, my breathing sounds like a steam engine, but you know what, I’m trying and that’s what’s important after all. I always feel envy when I see women running that are clearly also struggling and I always said, wel, it may not look pretty, but at least they’re doing it. So now I say the same, it does not look pretty at all, but I do it, how unpretty or slow it might be.

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Getting back on track, setting new goals

Some time ago I mentioned I thought I reached my final destination in the weight loss-journey. I stated back then that it was fine by me. But I must admit, I just can’t accept the fact that I’m stuck. And I must admit, I left the final station, but not in the right way. My train reversed.

Enough with the train-talk. I have passed a really bad period. A bad period with way to much food. Holiday season always is a bad period for whoever is on a diet or tries watch what he/she eats. Winter time in general is a hard period. It’s getting cold outside and we all carve for some hot comfort food. The salad you prepare in the morning (full of good intentions) is just not the thing you want on your lunch break. I teach, so at noon I send my pupils into the lunch room and as I go with them, I smell and see the hot food waiting for them, and although I can resist really easy in springtime of summertime, when autumn and especially winter kicks in, my resistance crumbles. So I find myself more often than before eating a bit of hot meal next to my salad.

And to top it off, in comes the holiday season. Luckily, we don’t have to go to tons of parties, but eventhough there are way to many distractions on the track. And well, I must admit, this year I said to myself I could let myself go a little. So I took an appetizer, and a second one, a third,… And I ate cake. And a second slice (a little second one, but still, a second one…).  We had friends over for diner, to celebrate one of our closest friends was back from deployement in Afghanistan. And so the eating went on. And then there was a birthday party in the weekend. So another day of way to much yummy food. And at the end of that fortnight, the scale went way up.

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And no excuses that I was trapped into bad eating, because a lot of people went the extra mile for me, as they know by now that I mostly look out for what I put in my mouth. My mom invited us for a gourmet-evening, and next to the typical meat-dish, she provided a fish-plate for me. My best friend made fresh fruit salad as a dessert, especially for me. My uncle putted on a lot of tasty but bad appetizers, but also putted some raw cauliflower on the table.

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The moment I stepped on the scale and saw that I gained 3 kilos was a real wake up call. I was coming really close to my all time limit that I never want to pass again on the scale, so time to act, once again. A lot of people make new year’s resolutions and only keep to them for a week, or two, or three, if they’re really strongwilled. But just as I did almost two years ago, I tend to make my resolutions for this year and I’m determined to keep to them. So in with a whole new bunch of resolutions and new goals to reach.

I started with a clean slate. Together with my BFF I started the squat-challenge. Third time round, and we’re keeping to it. Already day 22, so the end is near. This week I saw the inside of the swimming pool once again, after a long period of absence. The first lenghts were horrible, but after 10 or so, I started to feel good again. I did 40 lengths in total, not bad as a start. Now trying to keep seeing that inside every week. Two weeks of school break were bad for the daily steps, so we’re trying to keep those up again. 10000 steps a day at least. So far, so good. And finally, the food. Out with the unhealthy but oh so yummy delights, in with the equally yummy veggies and salads. Back to my fruit salad in the morning, the raw carrots for when I crave for something to nibble on. In with the healthy salads. And trying to avoid to take on extras next to those foods. At the end of this first week, I feel good. The first days I felt my body longed for those ‘baddies’ but now my body feels fine. I feel less bloated, I feel more energetic,… I feel fantastic. I lost 1,3 kg, so a nice start I would say.

Oh, I mentioned new goals in the title. Well, of course I have setted some new goals for myself. First of all, to lose the pounds I gained these last weeks. And after that, we just go for the next big number on the track. To lose 45 kilo’s and then up to conquer that 50 kg milemarker.  As always, I’m not really fixing a date for these. But It would be  nice to end this year with that 50kg marker. 9 kilo’s to beat in 52 weeks, a reachable target I would say.

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Final destination?

It’s a well known fact by anyone who tries to lose weight, that you can’t go on forever. At a certain moment you reach a point that you get stuck. Sometimes you get stuck for a little while. As if your body has to adjust to that new level and needs a little break before going on further on the journey. During my weight loss journey, I have had several of those moments. Moments where for some weeks I kept the same weight, although I did not really changed my habits. And then, after a week or two, three, I started losing weight again. As if my weight loss is a train ride, where you have to stop in several stations to wait a little before continuing the journey.

This time it’s different. I feel like I’m stuck at this point. Did I reach my final destination? Is the journey done? For two months now, I keep dancing around a certain weight. I reach my bottom weight, I keep it for a couple of days and after that I gain two-three-four pounds before getting back to the weight.

Of course, I can think of a million reasons for which I get stuck at this point. I can tell myself it’s winter time, it’s getting cold outside and I feel a bigger need of some warm comfort food at noon, instead of only eating my salad. There are the festivities of the end of the year that come with way to many delicious treats that I just don’t want to refuse all. And yes, there were and are some really nice moments with friends on which I eat a little too much and a little too unhealthy. And I must admit, shamefully, that I quit swimming.

So the only one to blame for the long delay is me, myself and I. But you know what, I’ve been on this journey for almost two years now. Since I started on january, 18th, 2017, I lost 95 lbs. Yes, I admit, secretly I hoped to lose 100 lbs before january,18th but I guess it won’t happen. And that’s fine. I know I will reach that point one day, maybe a bit later that I hoped for, and maybe, who knows, I will never reach it, and it doesn’t even bother me whether I reach it or not.

I changed my goals. For two years now, my main goal was to lose weight. Since a couple of weeks, I realise that my main goal isn’t losing weight anymore. My main goal has shifted. Priority now is to stay in this station. Maybe, when spring is arriving, that I will set for a new journey. Maybe I will find the courage once again to be a little stricter on myself, and find the way back to the swimming pool, or even the gym. But for now I’m fine at where I am right now. I feel great, I achieved a big deal and I feel proud of myself. Every now and then I look in the mirror and I’m happy, actually happy with what I see in the mirror. And isn’t that, after all, the whole reason why I did it?

 

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I reached all my goals, now what???

I know you already must be getting sick of me repeating myself, but I will say it one more time. I never putted myself a big goal when I started this whole change. I never had in mind I wanted to lose 10 kilo’s, never ever imagined losing 20. But little by little, I started to reach the little goals I had set for myself. The first goal was to be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Or at least healthier than before. I never thought I would become this healthy :p.  When I started to feel that this actually could be the turning point and that in fact I would be able to reach a certain goal, I putted a first goal for myself. I wanted to lose 10 kilo. And I actually reached that goal. The moment I reached that goal, I felt so good. So I setted myself another goal. Why not reach for 15 kilos? And so it started. Every time I reached a goal I immediately chose a new goal. I had to more goals left on my list. When I started this whole journey, I weighted 138,8 kilos. (Ow, sorry, maybe I should have warned you in advance that you would be shocked, hope you didn’t fell of any chair.) What started as sort of a joke with a friend and collegue, became a real goal. She promised me, the moment I would pass under 100 kilos, she would by me a bottle of champagne. I laughed at her and said that never ever I would reach that goal. But well..

… just before the schoolyear was over, I could send her the first picture. I did it, no more three digits, I passed under 100 kilos. And of course, the bottle of champagne was a really nice extra, but sincerely, the feeling of begin on that scale and to see only two digits, whoa, that was the best I had since I started this.

I had two more targets to reach. The first one was fairly easy once I reached the 100 kilos. If I could get to 98,8 I would have lost 40 kilos. Going from 99,9 to 98,8 that was possible and so I did rather quickly. But then there was the last target. For years now my BMI is over 30, which means obesitas. The further I got on my journey, the more I felt like my final target was to break that BMI and to get under 30. To reach that, I had to lose another 2 kilogram, which wasn’t that easy. As it is summer holiday, I take things sometimes a little less strict and so I stayed on the same weight for quite some time. But with the heath wave also came the fresh salads and fruits, and another lost of weight. So I actually did it. Last week I actually reached a BMI of 29,9. Yes, I do know that it is still way to high, but still…

So, now what? I reached every goal I setted myself. And then the champagne-friend said, well, let’s go for 50 kilos. I still say she’s crazy, but I notice that the idea is getting  stuck in my head. So who knows, maybe,… But the main goal from now on is to stay on track, to keep on living healthy, maybe to try and include a little more sport in my life and to not pass that 100 again. I have set the bar at 99,9. I don’t ever want to see three digits on my scale again. And if I could combine that determination with another weight loss, well, I wouldn’t mind.

There’s no diet on holiday…. or is there?

Long time since I last wrote something on my blog. In the time since the last entry I spent my holidays overseas, in Canada. We Europeans mostly don’t think highly about eating healthy in USA and Canada. We always see really unhealthy eating habits whenever we watch an episode of an American show. So lots of people asked me how I would continue my efforts on holiday. Most of them even said: Well, let’s forget about diet for three weeks and just go ahead. People who say that to me, clearly haven’t understood yet that this is no longer a ‘diet’ but it had become a way of life. So the big question is, how did I do on holiday?

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Oh boy, that picture makes you think the worst, doens’t it? I must admit, I like this typical Canadian dish Poutine a lot. Is it healthy, way no! But that day I walked about 15000 steps in Halifax, so I thought that a portion of poutine couldn’t bother me. It’s a greasy dish and although I liked it a lot, I really had to force myself to eat it. I’m just not used to that greasy food anymore.

So except for the poutine I had a couple of times (3 in total on 3 weeks) I tried my best to maintain my healthy eating. And really, it actually was even easier over there than it is over here. Walking into a Canadian super market, you’re immediatly at the fresh food counter where you can find delicious salads and fruit dishes and not even that expensive.

When we go on holiday, I like to book cottages or motel units where we can cook our proper dish, so I could prepare my own plates as I like them. So piles of fresh fruit for breakfast, veggies for lunch and mostly fish for dinner.

 

But hey, we were on holiday and we did stay a couple of times in a hotel or pension where breakfast was provided, so I did enjoy a full breakfast from time to time. And yes, we went a couple of times to dine out.

Three weeks of being on holiday without any scale, what would the result be? I was doubtfull, as I know I need a daily date with the scale to keep myself on track. So yes, being without scale for so long, really was hard. Well, the scale was happy when I came back, I lost two pounds or so. But I gained something else. I gained a really good feeling. Because we did a lot of hikes when we were in Canada, and opposite to the years before, where my mum and travel compagnon always had to wait up for me because I just couldn’t follow her, this year, it was the other way around. I felt fine and I even proposed a couple of times to do a hike that I would have opposed to the years before. Being able to do a hike, climb up a (small) hill without a stop and not being out of breath once I reached the top… That feeling is so rewarding!

And something I noticed once I got back and my mom started to post pictures of me on facebook… I felt completely fine with the pictures where earlier on, I would be really picky on which picture she could put up. Getting the compliment of one of her friends, telling my mom that she could see on the pictures that I feel so great in my new body and that she loved seeing me in dresses and shorts… That putted it in words exactly how I feel it.

And to finish, a little before and after…

500 days

Today it’s exactly 500 days since I started my new lifestyle. 500 days of healthy eating. 500 days of less sugar, less fat, more fresh fruit, more vegetables. Was I always as strict as I should? No, not at all. There are days I just ‘forget’ about my ‘diet’ and go with the flow. Yesterday we were with friends, who prepared a delicious meal for us and I enjoyed it. And I find it so nice of my friends that they adapted the meal especially for me, Steffi added plenty of vegetables and fruit for me. I always try myself to adapt the food so that I don’t ‘cheat’ to much, but when friends go the extra mile to help me with it, it’s so heartwarming.

 

So 500 days, time to make a balance. What are the results of those 500 days? Of course, the most obvious result is the weight loss. In total I lost 36,5 kg (of 80,5 lbs). I lost 4 sizes in clothing. I went from a 24 tot a 16-18 (depending the store). I feel like I have a whole new body. I have more energy, it’s easier to exercise, I have less physical complaints, my blood pressure is way better that it was,…

But there are not only physical changes. My self esteem is higher than it ever was. I feel more confident and it shows in the way I dress and the way I behave. I no longer want to hide myself when I’m somewhere. I do not longer mind if people take photos of me. And oh well, I must admit, I got a little addicted to taking selfies.

On the left a picture that was taken 2 years ago on holiday, on the right a picture that was taking two weeks ago. I’ve reached the 500 days, but I’m not stopping now. I think I will have to continue the rest of my life, because I never want to get back to the way I was two years ago. And I still have that final lap, that final target to reach.