50 Pounds Gone!

I can hardly believe that I am even writing this post. 

Honestly, I think I’m in shock! Just a bit. I mean, haven’t we all fantasized about what this moment would feel like? I’ve spent countless hours browsing the internet for inspiring before/after pictures and I always thought to myself that I simply couldn’t wait to be able to do something like that!

And now here I am.


BAM!

A little history on the pictures, if you like. When I first started running, I could’t run a full mile without stopping. More like 1/8th of a mile. My town of Poulsbo, WA has a great community event every year called Viking Fest, and there is a road race with 1 and 5 mile options. In 2012 I decided to go ahead and sign up for my very first ever race and do the 1 mile distance. In the picture on the right, I am about 223 pounds (down from 245). Since then, I’ve ran in multiple other races, including 2 half marathons (13.1 miles). So one year later, I was very excited to register for the Viking Fest Road Race once again, this time for the 5 miler. It was like a celebration of sorts for me, being able to look back at how far I’ve come and looking ahead to the future. This last Saturday I ran the race, finishing it in about 54 minutes. My goal was under 55, so I am very happy! I snapped the picture on the left after the race, at 194.5 pounds. A whole 50 pounds lighter than when I started this journey!

When I see this picture, it makes me feel so incredibly proud of myself. I’m simply in awe of the changes I see! It’s like I’m looking at someone else’s progress pictures, trying to imagine what it would be like to have achieved that. And then I shake my head to clear the thought, because it’s actually ME! Even though I KNOW I’ve been losing weight, and I fit in smaller clothes, and my measurements have gone down, seeing it like this brings it home in a way that is just indescribable.

WOW.

So now I look ahead to the next 50 pounds. How will my pic from next year’s Viking Fest compare? All I can say is that I. CAN’T. WAIT.

Zumba Basic 1 Training

Bam! I DID it! I took a big giant leap off the ledge and went WAAAAAAAY outside of my comfort zone. This last Sunday while everyone was watching the Super Bowl, I earned my Zumba Fitness Instructor’s License. That’s right. I can now count myself among a group of folks that I would probably have not even looked in the eye a year ago for fear that they would be able to sense the McDonald’s Value Meal #1 I had just inhaled a moment ago. I figured they could sense the guilt!

My day was a fun-filled one, and prior to attending, I spent time combing the interwebz for blog posts that could help me understand what to expect. It was very helpful for me! So here is my experience with the training, for what it’s worth. Maybe it will help shed some light on the day for someone else in the future that is thinking of becoming an instructor.

I registered for the class 3 weeks ago, and I got in at the lowest price – $225  As the date gets closer, the price goes up. And yes, they almost always sell out. My class was packed to the brim and there was no way to accommodate those that called and tried to find a last minute space.  So it’s a good idea to register early!

My class was in Auburn, WA which is about an hour and a half from where I live. I’ve lived in the area and knew where I was going, so no biggie. The night before, I packed my bag. I had read and heard so many conflicting stories about how the day would go. Everything from how it was super easy to how it was just horrible and difficult. Yikes! Which was I in for? When trying to plan what to pack to eat, I figured I’d better be prepared just in case. If it was going to be intense, then I knew I would need fuel. (I could tell the story about trying to do a Zumba class while being on a juice fast, but you might think less of me after that. ;-) Zumba requires a LOT of energy and I didn’t want to run out and be miserable.


I settled on a salad left over from the day before, half a turkey sandwich, greek yogurt, a banana, two protein bars, and a bottle with some chocolate protein powder in it just in case. I think it ended up being just the right amount for the day, if you include eating after the class is over. ( I swear I didn’t hit the McDonald’s drive through for a cheeseburger on my home. I would NEVER do such a thing! Well…almost never…)

I don’t think I slept more than 20 minutes the night before. I was so excited and nervous. My alarm was set for 5:00 am, but I got up and turned it off at 4:58. I was just lying there watching it tick away. I ended up getting to the Tahoma Athletic Club about 30 minutes before check-in started, but better than being late. I gave them my name, and they gave me my training materials.

 

I spent the next hour milling around, slowly breaking the ice with some wonderful ladies around me. At first I felt like everyone knew each other or already had friends there, and I was a bit intimidated. But that was the OLD me and I had to tell her to STFU. These women were all passionate about the same thing as me, so how could we not get along? I took that first step and opened my mouth, and am thankful for the friends I made because of it.

All of our training materials got left outside in the hallway. The first hour once the training kicks off is a masterclass (fancy way of saying an hour of Zumba) with our instructor – the one and only Madalene Aponte. I wasn’t sure how long we would be dancing for, and had heard rumors of it being about 3 hours. Thankfully, it was just the one. We had a great time! In a room that is supposed to fit 28 people, we had at least 50. It was so packed I couldn’t fully extend my arms. But the energy was high and the vibe in the room was so much fun! 20 minutes into the class I glanced at the clock. 50 minutes had gone by! Before I knew it, that hour was done, and in it’s wake was a group of sweaty smiling people. I found the masterclass to be moderate in intensity, with me feeling like I was about a 6-7 on the perceived exertion chart. I am usually a 7-8 when working with some of the instructors at my YMCA, so it wasn’t bad at all. What a relief! Of course, this is totally objective – if you are used to a lower intensity class, then the masterclass might be challenging. And it will certainly be hard if you’ve never done an hour of Zumba Fitness before! I was so worried that I was going to be the large girl passed out on the floor. Glad I dodged that bullet!

 

 

After that, we had a quick break to change our clothes and then we settled into about 2.5 hours of a Power Point presentation mixed up with a bit of dancing here and there. I learned so much! I could go on and on about it, but I think what sticks with me most is the connection that I know have to the music. I love Zumba Fitness, but I have never been a big fan of Latin music. I am the one that lives for the 30% “other” songs. But as I began to understand where the music comes from and the connection that the people in those areas have to those rhythms, I started to “get” it. What a surprise! Now I’m thinking I might have to plan a vacation to a Latin America country so I can sample the culture in person!

We talked about the process of creating choreography for a song, and this was the best part of the day right here. We broke into four groups and each group got a piece of the song “Fuego” by the Cumbia Kings. My group got the chorus. (Hurray!) Then we created choreography as a group for our section. When it was done, it felt like a giant dance battle as each group would pop up from the floor to dance to their parts of the song while the other groups clapped and hooted for them. I wish I could package that energy and take it with me everywhere I went!


After that, we broke for lunch. I spent it mostly on my own. A little quiet time is always good for ya! And of course I shopped a little. Thankfully, I’m still a little too big for the official Zumba shirts. I can get them on, but they aren’t the most flattering. However, I did score a pair of Zumba leggings that I’m absolutely in love with and are a perfect fit. Now I’m going to have to order the other colors!

When lunch was over, we started going through the steps and variations for the four basic rhythms: Merengue, Salsa, Cumbia, and Reggaeton. Here I was able to go even deeper into the origins and meanings behind these steps. For example, Cumbia (one of my favorite rhythms because of it’s sexy darker flavor) moves mostly one foot at a time. A foot is usually frozen in place or “dragged”. This is because it has it’s origins in slavery and the dancers had a foot chained.  And yet they still danced! It was very rewarding for me to be able to connect with the music in this way.

After a little more presentation style book work, we danced to a song from each rhythm and then we were done! It was time to get our certificates, take pictures and exchange info with our new friends.

 

It truly was a wonderful experience – not even close to being as hard as I had feared it  might be. And it was so rewarding and affirming for me to realize that even though I was one of the biggest girls there, I was by no means one of the slowest or least capable. In fact, I can shake it with the skinny girls any day! And dare them to keep up with me…  ;-)

Love you all for your support! It means the world to me!!

 

Featured Loser – Maggie

I am so so excited to bring you all this wonderfully inspiring story of a girl that I consider a friend and a personal inspiration to me! She truly embodies all that Pretty Little Loser stands for, and I consider it an honor to be able to share her story with you. So much of what she writes is similar to my story, and I particularly love that she says that she loves the person she is today, and she wishes she could go back and love the person she used to be too. And isn’t that the struggle for so many of us? Learning to love our bodies where they are today? I know that you’ll feel so encouraged when you read this. When you’re done, be sure to pop over to her brand new blog, Texts From My Sister and follow her on Instagram (@maggiebtrfly) and Twitter (@maggiebtrfly) . She’s a girl you all want in your wheelhouse!

 I love weight loss success stories. I get so much inspiration from reading about other women’s journeys to health and happiness, so sitting down to write this is surreal. I have not “arrived” but I’d love to share about the journey so far. I am a 34 year old SAHM, married to an amazing military man. We have 3 kids- a handsome athletic 10-year-old son (mine), a spirited rock star 10-year-old daughter (his) and a 17mo steamroller baby boy (ours). I am truly blessed and so grateful to my family for their support and love.

 

I have always had a poor self-image, and I’ve always thought I was fat. I would beat myself up for being fat constantly, and the sad thing is that I was not fat. I look at pictures from those times and wonder what on earth I was thinking, spending so much energy hating myself and the way I looked.

 

I have always weighed more than the other girls. When I was in middle school and high school I wore the same size as most of my friends but I weighed 20 pounds heavier on the scale and had a thick figure which gave me the belief that I was fat- when in actuality I was probably the ideal weight for my frame.

 

Crash dieting became a thing of my late teens and early 20s, only made worse by my career choice to join the military. The weight standard was not written for my thick frame- so every weigh in was preceded by crash dieting and exercising. In between weigh ins I was eating and drinking without abandon, with little to no exercise. So while I was not obese at this time, I was nowhere near healthy.

 

I’m a pregnancy weight gainer. I have been pregnant twice for a total of around 180 lbs gained between the two. I tell myself in the beginning I am going to eat healthy and stay active and initially I’m good. And then the morning sickness hits. And the only thing that helped the nausea was carbs and more carbs. The paralyzing (and unfounded) fear that exercise would hurt my baby made working out easy to drop. And before I knew it, I had blown the suggested healthy weight gain numbers out of the water.

 

After my first pregnancy over 10 years ago, I had lots of pressure to get the 75 pounds off that I gained. I was well over military standards and had to put on the uniform 6 weeks after my oldest was born. I bought a new uniform 10 sizes bigger than my pre-pregnancy uniform. I tried tons of diets that were very restrictive and exercised a lot. Eventually I was back to an acceptable weight, but had developed eating disorder like behavior in the process, and was unhealthy mentally- due to my all or nothing lifestyle.

 

Fast forward to my second pregnancy and there’s a similar pattern- I was much healthier mentally and physically, but the eating was out of control. I craved French fries, ice cream and cupcakes daily. And I entertained these cravings. My husband was so super supportive (and loves to bake) and in an effort to keep his pregnant wife happy, he made batch after batch of gourmet style cupcakes. By the time I was halfway through my pregnancy I had already passed the 200lb mark so I started facing away from the scale because each pound gained brought more and more shame and guilt. I don’t have any idea what my final pregnancy weight was but it was at least 100lb more than when I had gotten pregnant.

 

I didn’t weigh myself until January 1, 2012. I weighed in at 226 and took a before picture. I was going to turn over a new leaf and get healthy in 2012. I started walking everyday on mu lunch break (I worked at the time) and I also did Zumba on my Playstation 3 in the morning when I was able to wake up in time. I started with meal replacement shakes for the first 3 months- 2 smoothies a day with a healthy dinner. This worked well, but left me hungry and angry, or HANGRY. I felt deprived and resented the weight I had gained. While I did not have postpartum depression this time around, I was horribly hard on myself and didn’t find enjoyment in anything but food because of my size, but when I ate the things that made me happy I felt guilty afterwards. I was feeling good about the amount of activity I was getting but the weight had stopped coming off. I really needed to look at my relationship with food. I used Myfitnesspal (@maggiebtrfly) regularly and I always went over my calorie goal.

 

In January 2012 my dad was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. I became obsessed with figuring out how to cure him and make it so my family wouldn’t have to deal with cancer again. I watched the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead followed by Forks Over Knives. These affected me deeply and I wanted to make a change, I just didn’t know how. The feeling of doing the opposite of what I know is right, but feeling like the right thing is impossible, is a very tough place- and I was there for months. I watched other documentaries and read books about healthy changes, and my resolve to change was stronger, but so was that feeling of powerlessness. I re-watched the Forks Over Knives documentary and read Engine 2 diet and something stuck. I made a plan to start the Engine 2 diet 28 day challenge- to eat a plant based, whole foods diet for 28 days. I was scared and didn’t think I could cut out all animal products, no milk, cheese, meat of any kind- and what about my beloved cupcakes?!?

 

I started Engine 2 diet on September 11, 2012 and haven’t looked back. My first shopping trip was a nightmare. I think I may have even cried at the grocery store due to being overwhelmed. But I made a commitment and I stuck with it. I learned to cook and eat foods I had never even tried. And I loved the way I felt. I also loved the way the pounds were melting off.

 

I also re-committed to an active lifestyle. I began the couch to 5k (c25K) running program with an app on my iphone. I found an awesome free running group called Moms Run This Town right as I was finishing C25K and I got hooked. I casually posted a link on my sister’s Facebook page saying we should run the Princess Half Marathon in Feb 2013, and she surprised me by saying yes! We have been training together long distance and are on track to run a very good race. I couldn’t do it without her. And I love my BRFs (best running friends) here in our MRTT group. I feel like I could run any distance with those amazing women by my side. I live to best myself- I’m not competing with anyone but the girl I was yesterday.

 

 

There are of course challenges to my healthy lifestyle. If there are baked goods, candy, an open bag of chocolate chips, anything dessert like- I go overboard. I eat them until they are gone (as long as they are vegan). I am addicted to sugar. So I wait to bake until I know there will be a full house, or I send the extras to work with my husband. I try and keep even my baked goods healthy-ish, so the damage a binge would do is minimized. I’ve found a vegan baker I use for special occasions but that has to stay a rare treat. It can be difficult eating plant based in general- unless I am prepared. I eat 99% of my meals at home. This takes meal planning and shopping for 1-2 weeks at a time. We get take out a couple of times a month, and I have found vegan options at the places we go. If we do eat out, I call ahead to make sure there are vegan options or that they can make substitutions. It works!

 

I also have to note that I don’t drink alcohol so I don’t have to worry about the calories of cocktails and beer. This is a choice I have to make, because I am that girl when I drink. If you aren’t that girl, then you know her, and it’s not pretty. So it’s best if I stay away from the drink, one day at a time.

 

My whole entire relationship with food has changed. This is not a diet. This is who I am now. I no longer count calories. I eat as much of plant-based whole foods as I want. I use very little oil in my cooking and I limit sweets to once or twice a week. I run 3-5 times a week, and cross train 1-3 times a week. I love my body today. I love how strong I feel. I love seeing the pounds continue to come off. My only regret about the journey is that I didn’t love myself in the beginning. I wish I could have loved the before Maggie as much as the after Maggie- I love her now, I just didn’t know how to at the time. This is a journey of weight loss and getting healthy, but also of self-discovery. I know that I am not alone, and that there is a power greater than me working in my life.

 

 

 

 

Blog: Texts from my sister (textsfrommysister.wordpress.com) – very new but my sister and I plan on covering our running, food, and everything family.

 Instagram: @maggiebtrfly (beware, I love to take pics of my delicious food and my gorgeous babies. A LOT!)

twitter: @maggiebtrfly

 

 

 

My Zumba Obsession

Hello Losers! How is 2013 treating you all so far? We’re only half way through January, and it’s already been crazy around here! I could go on all about how LiveFit is going (awesome) and the YMCA weight loss challenge (also awesome), but really, it all pales in comparison to the awesomeness that is Zumba.


Just about everyone has at least heard of Zumba, and many of you have taken a class. Some of you have even been bitten by the Zumba bug like me. I’m not even sure how it happened! In less than 1 year, I’ve gone from overweight couch potato to slightly less overweight soon-to-be licensed Zumba instructor. I will be taking Zumba Basic on February 3 – less than 2 weeks from now! I’m more excited than I even know how to express, but I wanted to take a moment and share my thoughts.

As a member of the Y, I knew that there were lots of Zumba classes offered. I would walk past one of the bigger classes being taught in the gym and I would hear the beat pulsing through the speakers and feel a hard tug of desire to go and join in all the rump shaking action. It looked like fun to me! I was no dancer, but I didn’t care. There were folks of all shapes, sizes, and abilities in there.

I took my first class about 6 months ago. I was so nervous, because I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to cope with the cardio and I’d feel like a quitter for keeling over. I didn’t really know what to expect as far as how demanding the class would be. I mean, the few times I ever went out to a club somewhere, I would be a sweaty mess after a song and in need of a chair! But I sucked it up and was swept away by the first song and the immense amount of enthusiasm present in all the other people there.

That first class wasn’t easy. I didn’t know the steps, and I hadn’t yet learned what the hand signals might mean. Everyone seemed to know when to shout and which key phrases to repeat. No matter though, because it was FUN. A giant ball of exhausting, challenging, sweaty, all-out FUN. I was watching the clock 10 minutes into it, wondering when it would be over (Hey – it was fun, but it was still kicking my ass), only to wish it would start again once it finally ended. And then to have the gal next to me tell me that you can burn almost 1000 calories an hour doing this? I thought, “No way. I’m gonna have to verify that little fact when I get home.”

And yes, it did indeed check out. At my weight and intensity level, I was burning about 800-900 calories per hour. Hot damn!

I enjoyed those first few classes. I didn’t go every week – I hadn’t been “bitten” yet. The class I was taking was great – I liked the instructor and all. It was a half gym class that was packed. But it wasn’t moving me yet. Time went by and a friend of mine decided to try Zumba with me. Our schedules worked out that we ended up in the full gym class – the one that always made me yearn to be a part of it as I happened by. I had gotten better at understanding the visual ques by now, and I was able to follow along better to the new routines. And…I don’t know…something just switched on. Like there had been this tinder box inside that was all dry and crackling, just waiting for the spark to come along and ignite it. And I had absolutely no clue it was there!

I started coming to class regularly after that. As I got better and better, I moved myself forward more so that I would feel more accountable to maintain a high level of intensity throughout. I ended up in front where I could really study the instructors and their movements. I even claimed a spot. Anyone that takes any kind of group fitness class on a regular basis knows what I’m talking about. THE SPOT. The one with your name on it. It becomes yours. You own it. No one had better ever stand in your spot.

I got to talking with regulars. I realized the instructor I admired was actually the face behind the emails I had been writing back and forth with about the running club the YMCA was having me lead. I got to know people. And that is a powerful motivator! I started to feel like I belonged. It was heady mixture and before I knew it, that spark had fanned into a raging bonfire that felt like it was going to consume me if I didn’t do something about. All I wanted to do was dance all the time! When a song would come on the radio, I would find myself analyzing it for it’s potential as a Zumba song. I would dance in the shower, in the living room, while doing the dishes. It was overflowing and spilling out of me everywhere I went!

Deciding to become an instructor was inevitable, really. The only thing that was holding me back was my weight. Who ever heard of a 210 pound Zumba instructor? Oh, but the Y isn’t like that! If you’ve got the enthusiasm and the skill, then it doesn’t matter what size you are. And that is one of the reasons why I am so passionate about the Y. Come one, come all. I could show others that size doesn’t have to stop you in your tracks. I was willing to embrace my inner dancing fiend while realizing that I still needed to lose another 75 or so pounds. And that’s what I try to instill in all of the visitors to Pretty Little Loser. You can be overweight, but you don’t have to wait until you are fit to be beautiful or capable. Yes, you acknowledge that there is work to be done, but love yourself in the journey!

Zumba is all of this to me. It takes something inside of me and expresses it. And I LOVE it!

So if you get tired of me blah blah blahing about Zumba this, or Zumba that – I’d tell you I’m sorry. But I wouldn’t really mean it. ;-)

Day 1 of LiveFit!

A week or so ago, I decided to check out Bodybuilding.com. I probably don’t need another weight loss social site, but I couldn’t resist all the amazing (and free) exercise programs and nutrition plans and (totally free) customized logs and community boards. (Did I mention that it’s free?) After playing around for a bit, I decided to try out a 12 week plan geared toward making some serious transformations to my entire body. Up until now, I’ve mostly been focusing on weight loss with an emphasis on a low calorie diet and lots of cardio sessions. It’s been working…but I don’t know that it’s the BEST route to go. I don’t know about you all, but I don’t want to be fat a single second longer than I have to be. =)

The plan I picked is a popular one called LiveFit by fitness guru Jamie Eason.  It is broken into 3 phases and focuses on building lean muscle mass while losing fat and getting those lines that we all dream of having. I’m just crazy excited about it!

Today was Day 1 – Chest and Triceps. On paper, it looked challenging, but doable. But I was seriously not prepared for how weak my upper body really is! These moves are targeted and not easy! (But did I expect results from something easy?) It was the 6 sets of pushups that got me…but I made it through. And there’s nowhere but up from here! Tomorrow I’m going to take some new pictures – the brutal ones that show the stuff a good camera angle and posture can kinda sorta hide. ;-) Depending on how they turn out, I may or may not share them here. I’m all for transparency, but I do have some pride!

Tomorrow is back and biceps. Wish me luck!

2013 Fitness Goals

Call them goals. Call them resolutions. I, for one, happen to like the word “resolutions”. This is because “resolute” really describes how I’m taking this year by the horns and riding it all the way to smokin’ hot-ville! But hey, whatever you want to call them, I actually made some this year.

In the past, I’ve made mental notes like, “This is the year I’m going to finally lose weight” blah blah blah. But 2012 brought the first true changes I’ve ever made to my health, and so I decided to actually commit to writing some down this year. And voila! I am here to share my fitness oriented goals/resolutions with all my fellow Losers! They say that sharing with others helps to hold our feet to the fire and keep us accountable, and I’m definitely liking that. I know that you will all cheer me on and help me to follow through and reach my Loser-ific potential!

So, without further ado, I give you…

 

My 2013 Fitness Goals!!

 

1. Lose a minimum of 50 pounds

2. Follow my Bodybuilding.com plan, working toward not just weight loss, but muscle gain and definition.

3. Become a licensed Zumba instructor

4. Run 1000 miles and become a member of the MRTT 1000 Mile Club

5. Continue building Pretty Little Loser

 

And there you have it! 5 resolutions that I’m ready to rock this year. How about you? What are YOU determined to do for your health in 2013? I want to hear about it!

 

The Year of the Loser!

They say the path to hell is paved with good intentions. Well, certainly the path to Fatland is, because I am the QUEEN of good intentions! I practically graded and paved my own super highway all the way to the land of McDonalds and Christmas Cookies. It hasn’t been pretty, let me tell you.

And the hardest thing to come to terms with is the feeling that I let everyone down that was counting on me to help them stay motivated over the holidays. But I know that I have the most bad-ass group of Losers out there and that you all totally understand this struggle and how hard we all sometimes fail despite our best efforts.

*sigh*

So I’m trying to simply forgive myself and move on. It’s the New Year yo!!!!!!! It’s that time when we all magically feel compelled to really attack our fitness goals, and I am by no means immune to the feeling of excitement that comes with that ball dropping at midnight.  Of course, it’s easy to say type as I sit here gorged on homemade pizza and more beers that I really care to count. I even felt the desire to actually make resolutions this year. And I can’t recall having ever done that before! And you know what I realized as I carefully wrote out my list and realized that there were a lot of really amazing health/fitness related goals on it? Far beyond the typical “lose weight” that I would have written in the past?

I might have failed at a ton of things – but 2012 was nothing short of miraculous. For the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE I have lost weight. About 35 pounds actually! I am constantly aware of health and fitness. I exercise on a fairly regular basis. I’ve become Zumba obsessed. I lead two local running clubs, and today I was asked by our local run shop whether I would be interested in leading the group runs from the store. I started running. RUNNING!!! I have HATED running with the passion of a thousand burning suns for as long as my memory can reflect on. I mean…come on now. Did I lose as much weight as I could have since April? NO. Did I finish the Holiday Challenge the way that I had intended to? NO. Did I fall off the wagon, like – a thousand times? YES.

But in the end, in reflection, 2012 can be remembered by me as the year when things finally changed. Something inside me was ignited and sometimes it’s a roaring fire and sometimes it’s a smoldering ember, but it’s always there now. I wont quit. I CAN’T quit!

2013, we OWN you! It’s OUR time! The year of the Loser!

Once Through the Lips Challenge

Well look at us! We made it through our first challenge!!!!!

*ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR ALL*

I’m itching to give away some prizes, so here’s what we’ll do…Comment below and tell us all how October was for you and I’ll randomly select a few winners from the lot! Did you succumb to the lure of Kit Kats and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? Or maybe that was just me? *guilty face* Did you totally rock the arm challenge and have brag worthy photos to share? Did you do before and after measurements? What trials did you run into? Was it harder/easier than you thought? I admit that October did not go the way that I had planned in my head, and I am hoping to share that with you all. But I’ll do that in another post because we’re gonna talk about the Once Through the Lips Challenge!

This next phase lasts the entire month of November, and it’s aaalllllll about the butt, hips, and thighs.  So get out those measuring tapes and write down your starting numbers! Here I’m including a few links to some good workouts and ideas I found to get us all started.  For those that are not looking to lose weight, but to just tone up these areas, you can probably really focus on these muscle groups and see some amazing results. But if you are like me and are carrying around a little (lot) extra somethin’-somethin’, then keep in mind that you need to burn extra calories to lose weight as well as doing the toning exercises. Alas, you can’t actually target one area and see results if you aren’t doing anything to lose the weight. And while we’re at it, share with us what kinds of cardio activities you plan on doing this month! How much, how often? What are your favorite ways to sweat?

 

And above all, don’t get discouraged!
I read a statement on Livestrong that made sense to me – if you are an apple shape (like me) then the weight will come off quickly from the hips and thighs, but slowly from the middle. If you are a pear, then it’s the total opposite. It can be hard to slim the hip/thigh area, but you see faster results in your midsection. I don’t know about you all, but I find this to be totally true!

As an extra fun incentive, I was thinking about making up a “photo a day” challenge to help us all stay in touch. (This is perfect for all you Instagramers out there!) But you could also share your pics with the Pretty Little Loser Facebook page as well. I know I know, I’d be missing the first couple days of the month, but at least I’m trying here people!

And of course, I’ll be drawing more prizes, and hopefully adding in the recipe/workout sections for us. And featuring another inspiring Loser! (Did you all read Kandi’s Story here?)

Ok, it’s late and my brain is dying. Is this what it feels like as you get older? Goodness… Here are the workouts I promised! And don’t forget to comment and hopefully win one of our amazing prizes!!

RESISTANCE BAND EXERCISES FOR HIPS AND THIGHS

THE ULTIMATE HIP, BUM, THIGH WORKOUT (video – and might I add that I totally snickered at the end of the video? Watch it – you’ll know why!)

And of course, when all else fails…

Come on now, who’s gonna rock November with me? I fear no pumpkin pie! I laugh in the face of 2nd and 3rd helpings of mashed potatoes! I thumb my nose at caramel salted mochas!!

BRING. IT. ON!!

Pile On the Miles 2012

Looking for another way to stay motivated during our Holiday Fitness Challenge? Think about signing up for Pile On The Miles 2012! It’s free and you can win prizes, and all you have to do is commit to run or walk more than you usually do during the month of November. Check it out!

Featured Loser – Kandi

Every so often, I plan on featuring someone on Pretty Little Loser that is truly an inspiring individual. Someone that we can all relate to and connect with. And when I started thinking about who would be the perfect first “Loser” to share with you all, Kandi sprang to mind right away. Her story is one that speaks closely to my heart, being that we both have come from similar places. And when I read about the journey she’s been on, I am completely encouraged that the same success can be mine! I hope that you feel the same way! And be sure to check out Kandi’s blog Enough of the Fluff and “Like” her page on Facebook!

 

 

Today, I am many things….Wife. Mommy to two beautiful little girls. Grad student. Strong. Determined. Confident. Half marathoner. Healthy.

These are all things that describe me, but two years ago this was not the case. Let’s rewind…Two years ago, my list would have included wife and mommy…but none of those other things. At 5’5″, I weighed 227 lbs and wore a size 22. I was tired, uncomfortable and had no confidence. Being unhealthy was nothing new to me – I grew up overweight. I never joined any organized sports and I hated gym class due to my low confidence and embarrassment. I even skipped out on gym so much in 8th grade that I flunked and actually had to take it over again the next year. Talk about my worst nightmare! But being active, in front of people, felt like a sick form of torture.

In January 2011, I decided enough was enough, and I began my final journey to lose the weight, get healthy, and find myself. By cutting out most of the junk and adding in exercise, I have been able to lose 85 lbs. It wasn’t easy. There were times when I was getting up at 3:30 am to work out, because I was working 70 hour weeks and that was the only chance I had between working and my family. (This is a prime example of “Where there’s will, there’s a way”). There have also been bumps in the road, like getting stuck for months on end, gaining 10 lbs and having to re-lose it…but I’ve been able to get through it and have continued success.

Although my journey is nearing the end, as I have under 10 lbs left to lose, I know that in a way, my journey is just beginning. I have changed my life, but those old habits die hard and I am positive that they are still lurking, waiting for the perfect opportunity to work their way back into my routine. Being mindful of those old tendencies (and addictions – yes addictions, to food) is going to be a life long battle. But it will be worth it!

I have changed in so many ways, thanks to getting healthy. These are all things that would never have been possible before, or I just didn’t have the confidence. Some would have seemed downright ridiculous to me. I am in grad school. I am a runner and I LOVE it! I can run 5k in 27 minutes and I am training for my third half marathon. I am set on doing a full marathon someday, once my kids are a little older and I’m out of grad school and have more time to devote to training. I am a leader for my local chapter of Moms RUN This town (and was a leader in my previous location before we recently moved, bringing membership from 2 to 75 in a matter of a few months). I took the lead for a virtual 5k to benefit my local zoo after a flood damaged it and killed several animals. I’m actually comfortable meeting new people or having my picture taken. No more hiding in photos of my kids opening presents at Christmas! I can play actively with my kids, without getting out of breath in 5 seconds!!!! AND I know I am being a good role model for them! Oh, and shopping is FUN for the first time ever! I am wearing a size 8…6 on good days in certain brands

And best of all – I feel normal. I don’t feel icky, tired, uncomfortable, embarrassed…I feel normal. For the first time in my life! And it’s amazing! People say this all the time, but really and truly – if i can do it, anyone can. Even my own parents, who are very proud of me of course, have said they still can’t believe that I run half marathons. I’m sure if you were to track down someone I knew in high school who hasn’t heard about me since, and told them about me now…they would literally not believe you. They would think perhaps you have the wrong person. They might even have a good laugh. I wouldn’t blame them!

But I did it. I’ve lost 85 lbs, I’m healthy and active, and I am excited to see what the rest of life brings!

 

Thank you so much for sharing this with us Kandi! You’re an inspiration and we’re very blessed to have you as a guest here on Pretty Little Loser! I can’t wait to see the amazing things that the future holds for you!