Wednesday, June 22, 2016

How I Lost 37 Pounds & How I Plan to Continue

I've had this post as a "draft" for weeks now. I didn't know if I wanted to post it, but I am deciding, now, that I do. Here we go.

On June 3, 1013, I began a health journey. Trying on clothes in a JCPenney dressing room, I stopped to look at my body in 
all. 
those.
mirrors. 

I was no longer the skinny twig I was growing up. Bony spots now had a soft cushion of fat. Flat spots were now round. 

Me at 12-13 years old.
March 2013. I was about 197lbs. There is a worse picture of me out there, but this is what I have now.
Summer 2013, 197lbs.
After leaving JCPenney in tears that June day in 2013, I drove home with so many thoughts in my head. I couldn't help but notice my stomach roll hanging over the seat belt. When did this happen??

That night, I went home & went for a walk with Jack. The night after that, I walked again. The night following that night, I walked 5 miles - my legs were chaffed, but I felt so good about myself. The walking continued, & I watched what I ate. Everything I did, I logged into MyFitnessPal. 

Logging my food & exercise was fun & encouraging.

The trail became my second home.

And Jack my new workout buddy. (hello, eye liner.)

He got a more active lifestyle when I did.
Still at 197lbs (taken June 18, 2013)

I began taking pictures of what I ate, occasionally.

I had my fair share of spinach salads during that time.
I made my progress by eating better, logging my calories on MyFitnessPal, & working out. I was pretty strict in the first year or two with my eating. I was able to tell co-workers "No" when they asked if I wanted to grab food at a fast food place. Instead, I was eating spinach salads with tomatoes. 

Was I perfect? Heck no. I still had pizza when James wanted to order one. I still ate candy. I had already gave up soda, so I was not drinking that. I've never been a soda person anyways, so that wasn't hard to do. Occasionally, I'll enjoy a root beer. And by "occasionally," I mean twice a year.
I was making better choices at the store.

Walking became a daily exercise.

Fruit became my new best friend.

Celery, still a work in progress.

Brought these on a road trip to Wisconsin instead of stopping for candy & cakes.

Typical breakfast for me throughout my fat-loss journey.

Another spinach salad with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, & diced ham. I had the occasional McDonalds Smoothie.

Turkey wrap with pickles, dressing, spinach, & tomatoes.

Baked potato with mozzarella cheese & diced ham. We call this "Meal-in-a-Peel" up here in Minnesota!
When the weather got too hot or when the winter months rolled around, I continued my exercising with Wii games like Just Dance. I was so sweaty after each dance session! I still love doing these workouts. 

Taken July 2013

Fruit became a regular item. I loved these whole grain waffles from Aldi.
I had never had oatmeal until this journey. I love it!

If I was to indulge in a burger, I made sure all my sides were healthy.

I can taste this wrap like I had it yesterday. It was not good, ha!

Even when roads I normally walked on were shut down, I still went.

Typical road trip snack.

We walked even as the months got cold.

Cottage cheese with bacon bits & tomato for a snack.

I began experimenting in the kitchen.


Some taco bake.

Temptation lurked everywhere. Work always had treats. I'd allow myself some of these treats in moderation.


By December 2013, I was trying other things like homemade smoothies.

Salads became a regular menu item for me. I had never liked lettuce before this & now, I love it.

Brown Rice with an Aldi frozen item & carrots.




Oranges are the best!

After a walk.

By May 2014, I was feeling so great.
By May 2014, I had lost several pounds, was feeling more energetic, was trying new things, & landed my current job that I love! With a new job, came less photos of food... but I was still avidly logging my food & exercise on MyFitnessPal.

Fall 2014

January 2015
Between June 2013 & my Key West trip, I lost 34lbs. 

Key West, 2015
Key West, 2015

Hiking in Minnesota

The trail was still my favorite place to be.
June 2015

I was feeling great!



July 2015 - Kenny Chesney Concert!


July 2015
August 2015
Incorporating veggies became the norm.
Sept 2015



Cali, Nov 2015
Cali, Nov 2015. I'm on the left. This picture is not my favorite, as I'm standing next to my tiny friend. Work in progress still.
Cali, Nov 2015
Cali, Nov 2015. Work to do.
January 2016 Progress Photo
Jan 2016
Costa Rica, Feb 2016
Now-a-days, I'm still sitting at around that same weight-loss amount. Yes, I am super proud of where I've gotten to. When I think about a 37lb fat-loss, it's pretty astonishing. It took me awhile, but like I said, I wasn't too strict. I went from eating whole pizzas, a half a box of Cheez-itz, & a bowl of cookie dough ice cream in one sitting, to portion control, protein maintenance, baked chicken, veggies & fruit, & little treats. 

Costa Rica 2016, 160lbs
Costa Rica 2016, 160lbs
Costa Rica 2016, 160lbs
Costa Rica 2016, 160lbs
I lost fat, but I was not toned. I still am not toned. I'm soft in the middle & I jiggle a bit, haha. So, I am re-dedicating myself to getting to a healthy body. I want a flat stomach. I want to be able to wear a tight dress & not be ashamed of my hips. I want my double chin to vanish. I want my ring size to go down. I want to fit comfortably in a medium shirt. I want to be proud of my muscles in the mirror. 

I've been trying to re-focus again. I've been off track, but working on getting back on track.
I hope to post some pictures in the future with a more toned tummy & hips, & more muscle in my arms. This is semi-embarrassing to post, but I am determined. 

Using my 30-minute lunch breaks, I walk the entire time & just eat at my desk when I get back. I make sure to get up every 30 minutes or so to stretch or walk to the copier/bathroom/water fountain. Water has been my drink of choice these past few years & continues to be. I love the stuff. My goal is to drink 3 x 17oz. bottles while at work, and another 2 at home. That's 85oz. a day, and the Mayo Clinic recommends 75 (on average) for women, a day. 

Parfaits are a breakfast favorite now.

Menu planning has also helped me greatly. As long as I have a menu at least for the week, I can stick to it pretty well. I make the menu every weekend, & go grocery shopping that same weekend. I wanted to stick to grocery shopping only every other weekend, as the nearest Aldi is 30 minutes out of the way, but weekly shopping helps me spend less, prepare better, & use more. 

My goal is to lose a few more pounds. I'd like to get to 155lbs, but I have more important goals than weight-loss; I want to gain muscle & be proud of my body even more than I am right now. I want to not feel fat when I touch my hips. I want to love my stomach. I want muscular arms. I know I can get there. I've been working at it for how many years now... I just need to push myself a bit more. 

Kayaking, June 2016

This photo makes me cringe. Kayaking, June 2016. See how my stomach rolls up when I sit? So embarrassing, but need to work on it!
But it's more than a physical thing. I want to make better food choices. I want to be HEALTHY. I want to incorporate more fruit, more veggies, more lean meats, protein, & less junk like candy, sugar, breads... I want to be proud of what I ate at the end of the day. So setting little goals seems to help. Yesterday, my goal was to not eat anything outside of my lunch pail while at work. I need to focus on this goal for awhile. 

This Week, June 2016, trying on swim suits at Wal-Mart. Needed to find one in a cinch for a Girls Trip. My problem areas are my hips & thighs.

I need to be more active at home. Yes, I feel like I'm always running around, doing laundry, dishes, cleaning, gardening, errands, etc. but I need to bike more, kayak more, walk more, run more, & strength train more. 

So here's to the rest of 2016. May it bring health, pride, & happiness!

June 2016, 164lbs
    To good health,
Ash 

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