Category Archives: Weight-loss

The Confidence To Be Curvy {Even If You Want To Lose Weight}

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be healthy — about society’s definition of health, the medical community’s definition, my own personal definition. And then the other day I came across an older post by CeCe on her blog Plus Size Princess. She had to defend her use of the phrase “weight loss” because while she promotes body positivity, she also promotes working out and eating foods that are good for you through her PSPfit program.

I actually felt bad for CeCe because, as someone who also wants to stand up for having a healthy body image, I am working on losing weight and trying to work out regularly and eat healthfully. I don’t understand why we have to choose between one or the other. It’s like you get backlash from people who think the only way to be healthy is to be thin, yet you also get women who are happy being curvier who don’t want you to promote weight loss.

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Here’s the thing: We all just need to learn to be supportive of each individual’s feelings about his or her own body. Period.

If you are heavier and you want to rock your body in whatever fashions you love and you don’t really worry about going to the gym, that is your prerogative!

And, if you’re like me and you want to be comfortable in your own skin at any size, while feeling good about eating healthfully and getting your sweat on, go for it!

I don’t want anyone to ever think that I am not OK with their life choices based on whatever size they currently are, or the size they want to be. And I would hope that others wouldn’t judge me on that either.

I want to lift others up — I want to lift my own self-esteem up — no matter how much I weigh. But, if we’re really being honest here, I will tell you that I’m not truly happy with myself at my current weight. However, while I may feel happy when I lose 20 or 30 pounds, that’s still not technically a weight that most of society would deem a good goal. But my definition of happiness is my own.

The fact is, my health, and anyone’s health, is a personal choice and, I believe, something to be discussed with your own doctor. I do believe that regular movement — whether it’s simply walking or more strenuous workouts (your choice!) — is healthy. And I do believe that certain foods are obviously more nourishing for our bodies and some foods should be eaten only in moderation. But that is my definition of health. And if that definition awards me good sugar levels, cholesterol numbers, blood pressure and the ability to live life to the fullest (which, thankfully, so far it has!), then that, in my book, is success.

As CeCe said in her post: “I finally understand that the most valuable results I can strive for are health related, not scale related.” That is definitely something I am working on, and I hope I can fully feel that way one day, too.

Whether or not I lose the 20-30 pounds that I’d like to lose, and then reevaluate where I want to be, I still want to be happy with my body and the things it affords me to do in the meantime. I still want to love myself and strut confidently in my favorite outfits.

We all deserve to feel that way — and we shouldn’t judge each other based on size or shape or skin color or hairstyle — we should just applaud one another for feeling good and doing good.

So go out there, be who you are, and do it confidently. And to CeCe — keep doing you!

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Working It Out

Had to give y’all a quick update on how my workouts and nutrition have been going lately! In yesterday’s post I expressed wanting to cut down on the “fat talk.” That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to work on my health and fitness. It just means I want those goals to come from a place of love for myself and not from criticism or society’s prescribed notion of how I “should” look. So, here’s an update:

1. Workouts — I’ve been pretty consistent lately, getting in a run/walk or strength-based workout each week, plus a spinning class and a yoga class. While I’ve worked out about four times each week since I got back from my business trip at the end of February, I would like to add one or two workouts a week to that for the rest of March and going forward. Today I am leaving on another work trip until next Monday. I went for a run Monday night, and I am doing a 5k with coworkers on Saturday while in Texas. I hope to fit at least one or two more strength-focused workouts in while I’m away.

2. Nutrition — As usual, this is where I’ve been struggling. I have had moments when I’ve made the right choices, and moments when a cheeseburger or brownie craving has gotten the best of me. I still wholeheartedly believe in the 80/20 rule — eat well 80% of the time and allow yourself indulgences 20% of the time. It’s keeping to those percentages that’s always been tough for me! It’s a daily struggle, but I am working on it. And I’ll keep reminding myself that each time I succeed, I’m doing something good for myself and that in itself is a great reward!

The good news is, I have lost some weight since I first started my Scale Back Alabama journey! A huge thanks goes to my friend Sherri, who joined me for a fun workout this past Saturday. Her encouragement and support, plus putting up with all of my text messages, has been the best part of this endeavor!

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Mid-workout at St. Vincent’s on Saturday!

I’ll let y’all know next month at my final weigh-in, April 12, how I’ve done overall. Wish me luck!

Losing The Ham With Scale Back Alabama

Have you heard of Scale Back Alabama?

2015/01/img_6080.png It’s a statewide effort to address the obesity problem in Alabama by providing incentives to lose weight — healthfully. The program involves finding a partner, weighing in and trying to lose at least 10 pounds in 10 weeks. Then there are different levels of prizes for all participants!

And I’m one of them!

Last week I signed up with my friend Sherri by weighing in at St. Vincent’s hospital downtown. We weighed in at the fitness center there, which is also offering memberships for participants for just $5 per week during the 10-week contest. Sherri signed up right away! Since I’m already a member at Gold’s Gym, I plan to meet her for very reasonably priced classes now and then (and to use the pool!).

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I’m really excited to embark on this challenge with Sherri. She’s a true cheerleader and already her support has lit a fire within me. We’ve talked about our plans for meals and workouts this week, and reminded each other to drink lots of water. I just know having her to help keep me accountable is going to mean a lot. Losing 10 pounds in 10 weeks is totally doable — even if I am going out of town three times (for a total of 16 days) during that time. I will need Sherri’s text messages during those times, for sure!

And while winning one of the cash prizes would be awesome, working on my health with a friend will be worth it no matter what.

So we weigh in again the week of April 6. Check in for progress reports along the way, and wish us luck!

Give Us A Break — We’re Trying!

I get a little angry, nah, enraged, at the lack of sensitivity that some people have for others who struggle with weight-loss and fitness goals. It’s infuriating to me because of one simple thing: You don’t walk in that person’s shoes.

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Whenever I hear someone talk about a heavier person and say, “He just needs to exercise more.” Or, “She just needs to eat less.” I kinda want to punch that person in the face.

Look, everyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past few decades has heard more weight-loss and exercise advice than they can possibly process or put into action. Eat low-fat, no low-cal, no low-carb. Scratch that, eat paleo. Do intervals, do spinning, become a runner, become a yogi, just walk.

Anyone who struggles with their weight and fitness knows what they need to do. They know that if they want to get healthier and watch their cholesterol level, blood pressure, glucose and a host of other factors that contribute to a healthy body that they need to eat a certain way and exercise regularly.

But let me break the news to you: It’s not that easy.

For many of us, myself included, food and even exercise is all rolled up into a huge emotional issue that isn’t always easy to deal with. For one, you may be an emotional eater and when dealing with stress or  sadness or depression, you may turn to food for that immediate gratification and comfort. Or, you may only know one way to celebrate or socialize: go out to eat, drink calorie-laden cocktails, treat yourself to dessert.

These types of behaviors are embedded into our lives from a very, very early age in most cases. Therefore, they are extremely hard behaviors to break. And with parties, dinners out and happy hour as a way of life, society perpetuates these behaviors, too.

Just as someone who has become addicted to nicotine, or alcohol, a person’s relationship with food can be very similar. But someone who is addicted to nicotine or alcohol does not need those substances to live. We do need food, however, so we can’t simply break that relationship. We have to work diligently to build a different type of relationship with food. And for most of us, myself included, it’s a daily challenge. An hour-by-hour assessment of what do I need, versus what do I want.

The point I’m getting at is, the next time you see someone at the gym who looks a little lost, don’t sigh in disgust as he or she tries to figure out how to turn on the treadmill. Offer to help. He or she made a big step in walking in that door — help them feel good about it!

The next time you notice someone has gone to the gym after eating a big Mexican lunch with you that day, don’t think “Oh, she’s trying to work off that bad food.” Give that person a high-five for trying to balance things out. Sure, would it have been better if she had eaten a grilled chicken salad and then worked out? Yes, but she’s trying.

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Look, I’m not saying that it’s enough to just try. I’m not saying that actions shouldn’t match someone’s words.

When it comes to losing weight or seeking to become more fit, it does take commitment and dedication. It takes being able to say no.

But many people you meet have a story that goes a lot deeper than just “eat less, move more.” So give that person a break.

Instead of poking fun behind his back or shaking your head, give them props for trying.

I’m sure you’re not perfect, either.

Kick-off 2015 With Evolutions, Not Resolutions

Last year, my motto was to DO BETTER. This year, I think I can sum it up by saying that I want to DO MORE.

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But, as I look at the long list of things I’d like to accomplish in 2015, I want to take a deep breath, a step back and tackle each goal with a mindset of creating small, daily “evolutions” — not making any resolutions.

I read this idea in an article by Clinton Kelly in Woman’s Day. In the article, he admits to making resolutions in the past, only to feel like a failure when he didn’t reach his goals. Man, do I feel that!

I love this quote from Kelly:

Let’s be realistic. Just because the calendar says 2015 instead of 2014, you can’t go on a diet, train for a marathon, learn French and start a gluten-free cupcake business by February. (If you did even one of those, I’d be impressed.) Cut yourself some slack.

So, using this article as my inspiration, I will focus on the small, daily changes, “evolutions,” that add up, including:

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1. I will continue the monthly #stellarmiles challenges.
Sadly, I didn’t finish this as I wish I would have in December, only walking/running 7 miles out of the 25 I had planned. Oof — that was hard to admit! I could explain that in addition to this, I did do a couple of spinning classes, a couple of yoga classes, and I was sick with a sinus infection for two weeks of the month, but whatev. The point is, since I started the monthly walking/running challenges in July, December was my poorest performance yet. But I kicked off Jan. 1 with a 1-mile walk, and I plan to redeem myself with #25stellarmiles in January. From July through December in 2014, I walked or ran a total of 170 miles — let’s do better than that in 2015!

2. I will set modest weight-loss goals for myself for each month and weigh-in every other Friday.
I have a big event coming up in June — a family get-together in Florida — and I’ll state right now that I’d like to be 20 pounds down by then (251 now, 231 by June 26). That’s 6 months away, so that means I’d need to lose a little over 3 pounds each month to meet that goal. In November when I started losing weight again, I dropped about 5 pounds in a month — so I know this is possible! I need to focus on the real foods I was eating then (fruits, whole grains, lots of lean protein, very little processed foods or sweets — and very little Diet Coke!) and continue my workouts. I will report in every other Friday to give y’all an update!

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3. I will continue to do a mix of yoga, spinning and walking/running and try one new type of workout this year.
Whenever I get too focused on one type of workout — usually running — I tend to get bored. In December, I started going to spinning each Tuesday and yoga each Wednesday, and that’s something I want to continue in 2015. Last year, I also tried a few new workouts, just to spice things up and challenge myself. I definitely want to do that again in 2015 — this time something in the martial arts! Maybe karate, I’m not sure. But it’s something I’ve always wanted to try — so why not?!

4. Work consistently on my blogging and writing goals.
Besides my health and fitness, I have a couple of career-oriented goals outside of my day job that I want to put into action this year. I’m planning to move my blog over to WordPress.org so I can start working more consistently with brands that I love, and I want to look at this blog as a business, while still expressing myself as I always have, and hopefully helping others feel and look their best and lead stellar lives. I plan to make an outline of what I want to accomplish for the blog and work on each one on a monthly basis so I can make consistent progress throughout the year.

I wanted every single item on this display at Saks!

5. Organize my closet — and pursue more fashionable looks!
Just like I became somewhat complacent in my beauty routine by the end of 2014, I was also struggling with my “look.” I don’t have much of a shopping budget right now, but I need to do a better job at working with what I already own and spicing up my wardrobe with a few purchases here and there. I love to write about trends and looks that I love, but actually getting to wear those pieces and doing fun #ootd posts? Definitely something I am working on for 2015!

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6. Becoming even more involved in my city, Birmingham.
I tried to work harder during the last half of 2014 to reach out to new people and cultivate new relationships. Attending events with See Jane Write and fashion outings with Saks, Posh and other avenues. And continuing to volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters — my Little graduates from high school this year, so our visits aren’t as frequent. But I want to continue to be there for her when she needs me — and just for fun! So continuing to reach out to others in my community, and embracing all this growing, lively city has to offer, is a major goal for 2015.

Do you have any advice for me for pursuing these “evolutions” this year? What are some of your goals for 2015?

Top 10 Posts of 2014

Happy New Year, all!

I hope today finds you in good health and looking forward to this next year with a big smile, and only a small hangover!

I spent New Year’s Eve curled up on the couch with my husband and some Chinese food, still fighting this sinus infection that’s been lingering around for a couple of weeks. I’m finally starting to feel better, though! And I had a nice surprise this morning when I stepped on the scale, believe it or not! I’m still holding firm at 251, which of course I want to see go lower, but after the yummy meals and Christmas cookies I consumed last week, no gain is a huge plus to me!

I wanted to share with you the Top 10 posts from my blog this year, according to the number of views, and a few thrown in because they were my personal favorite to write. My next post will be about my goals for 2015, including a review of the last 6 months of #stellarmiles and where I see my exercise routine, weight-loss efforts, blogging career and other goals heading this year.

No. 1: Most read post
Calvin Kelin’s So-Called ‘Plus’ Model

photo via Elle.com via Jag Models

photo via Elle.com via Jag Models

No. 2: My short-lived foray into live-blogging for “Jersey Belle”
“Jersey Belle”: A Review By Another Jersey Girl Who Moved South

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No. 3: In defense of slow runners everywhere!
Slow Runners Are Runners, Too

Two half marathon medals ... so far!

No. 4: One of my favorite things about fall: dressing in layers!
Fall Layering Is Your Friend

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No. 5: Continuing my conquest to not look at food as “good” or “bad” and relieve the guilt of eating a treat now and then!
To Cheat Or To Treat

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No. 6: A fashion goal of mine for 2015: Wear more skirts!
Let’s Talk About Skirts, Baby

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No. 7: When your workout is so tough, you can’t get your clothes off.
I Got Stuck In My Sports Bra

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No. 8: Looking back in fashion and seeing styles come around again.
Fashion Flashback: ’90s Girl Grunge

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No. 9: A review of where my fitness journey has taken me over the past few years.
10 Things You May Not Know About My Fitness Journey {Thus Far}

(left) May 2009; (right) November 2014

(left) May 2009; (right) November 2014

No. 10: And one of my favorite posts of 2014!
Don’t Be Afraid To Be The Fat Girl At The Gym

Thanks to friends like Tanya Sylvan and instructors like Kelly Creel, I can learn to focus on myself for a little bit each week.

2014 Goals: A Look Back

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Last year on this exact date, I wrote a post about my goal for 2014. It was simply to DO BETTER.

What did I mean by that? Well, I wanted to try to focus less on the numbers that plague me: the number on the scale, the number of miles I’ve run, the number on the tag on my pants. Instead I wanted to concentrate on how I feel. On how eating healthfully makes me more energized, and exercising more makes me feel stronger. On how I feel empowered after a good week of focusing on my health and other goals. Feeling accomplished when I’ve written a good article or blog post.

All in all, I can say I definitely achieved that in 2014. When you do look at the numbers, and I always do, no matter how I try to not let them be the end all be all of my health and fitness journey, but the numbers don’t reflect much change from this year. I still weigh roughly the same (251 pounds), I’m still running or walking as fast (or slow! Ha!) as I was at this time last year.

But one thing I know I can be proud of is I did really try to DO BETTER in 2014. I crossed a lot of “to-dos” off my list when it came to this blog and writing; I got married (!) and went on a fabulous honeymoon; and I did a lot exercise-wise that I hadn’t done in a while, such as the six-week weightlifting class I took, trying out Torque at Gold’s Gym, getting back into spinning this month, and starting up the monthly walking/running challenges starting in July.

Of course the one area I still struggled with, and which will probably always be a struggle for me, is my eating habits. I go back and forth too much between being really good, then letting it all go over a weekend or two.

But I am focused on what I want to accomplish in 2015, and how I’m going to make that happen. I’ve learned that setting specific goals is a good thing for me, but also recognizing when I have simply tried harder, or done better, than I did the day before, or week before, that is important, too.

All too often we beat ourselves up if we don’t lose a certain amount of weight by a certain time. Or if we aren’t running a 5k below 30 minutes. Or we’re not posting on our blog every single day.

It’s good to have challenging expectations so we don’t become complacent, but we also have to have compassion for ourselves. We are not perfect, and we’re not meant to be perfect. I follow Way of Gray on Instagram and her post yesterday simply said:

You are only human. Remember that.

 

She followed it up with this in her comments:

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I just love her down-to-Earth approach to getting healthy. She encourages you to work hard (her workouts are killer!) and eat healthfully, but she recognizes the need to let yourself slide sometimes. We’re not always going to be on, but as long as we’re trying, we will get to our goals.

More on my 2015 goals later this week!

How do you feel about your year? Did you accomplish some things you set out to do in 2014?