Thursday, February 27, 2014

Baring arms

So Kara posted a picture of her arms the other day and said that they are her trouble spot. 

My arms (along with my thighs, hips and belly) are my trouble spot as well

Usually when I lose weight, I notice it first in my face and then in my arms. This time around? Not so much

My forearms don't bother me
My upper arms (shoulder to elbow) bother me a lot

This picture is actually flattering cause I'm flexing (I know you can't even tell) 
Theres lots of wiggle and jiggle and hang going on

I've been trying out different arm workouts but haven't found one I just LOVE yet. 

I want some Mama Laughlin arms! 

Anyone have an arm workout that they love and feel like it actually works? I want results! Not overnight, but just eventually

I feel like no matter how heavy I left, how many new exercises I do or how many times I up my reps, my arms are rarely sore the next day

I want that soreness. I wanna feel like I'm doing something!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Curly Girly

The post in which includes 5, 346 selfies. Your welcome. ;)

My hair is really thick and up until a few  years ago would not hold a curl. If I just let my hair air dry, it looks like this: 
Not bad, but not exactly the "sexy, beachy waves" look I wish I could accomplish. It works on days I'm running late. And I have really grown to hate blow drying and straightening my hair because it takes SO long and I end up not liking the way it looks. It just looks blah to me. Heres a picture of it straightened, day 2 (didn't wash it the second day)

If I'm going to wear my hair down I would much prefer to have it curled. I have the curling wand which I love, but sometimes I'm not in the mood for super tight curls and I'm sooo not talented when it comes to using curling irons. I know how to do the basics. Barely. 

This is with my curling wand:

I found a 1 1/2" BedHead curling iron at Marshalls the other day and decided to try it. So naturally, when I put the kids to bed that night, I curled my hair before going to bed. Waste of time much?!

These are terrible quality pictures taken with my cell phone but you get the point ;)
One side natural waves, no brushing, air dried
Other side loose, big curls

Yes? No? Did I even curl it the right direction?

I thought it looked okay, I'll see how it looks once I curl both sides of my head :)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Gluten Free Meatloaf Muffins

I posted a picture of my dinner tonight on Instagram (yep, I'm one of those people) and a few asked me to post the recipe. While it definitely doesn't look very pretty, it's delicious and a healthy makeover for my usual normal meatloaf. My kids were kind of hesitant and immediately noticed the shredded carrots inside. It wasn't the kind of meatloaf that they usually eat and love...they don't love change ;)  They still cleaned their plates and didn't say anything bad about it so I'm calling it a success! 

I'm 2 1/2 weeks into eating gluten free and I'm just now starting to have cravings for things I haven't been able to eat. Like the bag of croutons staring me down, the cookie butter that jumps out at me whenever I open the cabinet and the pizza that I smell each day when I walk into the gym. Who even puts a pizza place next door to the gym? Well played, well played. Anyway, I'm hanging in there and enjoying the benefits of cutting gluten out. I am definitely planning on doing this beyond my 30 day goal. I have a Pinterest board with all my GF recipes for those who want some new ideas! (Find me on Pinterest by name Melissa Stairs, or my username melissakay413)

Enough talking, here's the recipe: 
1 lb ground turkey
1 lb extra lean ground beef
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup shredded carrots
1 small onion, chopped
1/3 cup egg beaters
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp oregano
1/4 cup organic ketchup 
Splash of milk

Mix everything together and form into balls. Press each into a muffin pan (ungreased). I topped mine with a ketchup/white vinegar/brown sugar mixture (maybe 1/2 Tbsp on each) and baked at 450 for 20 min. Set and let firm up for a few minutes before removing from pan. 

Hope you enjoy!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Owl Be Sweatin- review!

I'm not usually a headband kind of girl. I have a TON of thick, long hair and headbands just don't do a great job at containing it all! I saw Kara at Two Ton Teacher mention how much she loved her Owl Be Sweatin headbands and decided I would give them a try! I contacted one of the owners and she generously sent me one to try out and review on the blog! 

I wore my headband for the first time to work last week. I am a big fan of the "haven't washed my hair in 3 days, messy bun look" so it was a nice sparkly addition ;) Kind of dressed up my homeless look. (In all seriousness, the girls I work and Wayman both like my hair in a messy bun the best. I am glad they can appreciate my laziness and not wanting to wash and dry this long, thick hair every single day).

Usually headbands won't stay on, as soon as I move my head back they usually start creeping up and eventually snap off the back of my head. I wore this one from 7 am until at least 9 pm and never had to adjust or re-place it on head. It stayed in place. One great feature of all the Owl Be Sweatin headbands is that they are adjustable. I might have had mine adjusted too tight cause I did have a slight headache by the end of the day. But I have no idea if it was actually from the headband. I loosed it up when I took it off so that the next time I wore it, it wouldn't be as tight. 

I also wore it for my race on Sunday. If theres anything I can't stand while running, its my hair blowing in my face. I have A LOT of hair. I mean a lot. It takes 2, sometimes 3 rubberbands to hold up my messy buns or pony tails. So this headband had a big job :)

This was taken at 3:45 am as I was getting ready to leave for the race!
I wore it a little too far back on my head (I like it very close to my hairline) so I did take it off and re-do it around mile 9. Otherwise, I never felt it move. It didn't itch or tug or slip around. 
I am a new Owl Be Sweatin fan, and I was given this headband for free in exchange for an honest review. I will definitely be ordering more, you should see the selection of super cute patterns! Chevron, polka dots, owls, have to check out their Etsy shop (OwlbeSweatin) to see what I'm talking about and follow them on Instagram (owlbesweatin) too!

The sweet owners have offered my readers 15% off their order, good through March 31. Use the coupon code RUNTHISWEIGH2014 at checkout.  Take advantage and order one (or ten!) of these (already very reasonably priced) headbands and I promise you will love it. I am going to buy a few more (for running and for everyday use). When you order, let me know which one you picked! Or tag me in a pic on Instagram so I can see it! (run_this_weigh)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Gluten Free update

Happy Monday friends! I am thoroughly enjoying my Presidents Day! Hope you're doing the same :) Having two 3 day weekends in a row has really spoiled us.

I'm 9 days into my 30 day goal of cutting out gluten. I haven't felt this good in a really long time. I am not having cravings for bread and sugar and processed junk whatsoever, which I really expected. I didn't eat a ton of that to begin with but I still thought my body would go through withdrawals without it.

We went out for sushi on Valentines Day and while I didn't eat a whole lot (quantity wise), I'm certain that the rolls contained gluten. One of them had imitation crabmeat inside, which is a no-no. And another was topped with tempura shrimp and I'm sure the batter that they fried it in was not GF. I tried my best to order as best I could, but I'm still learning. Ironically, after we ate, a couple sat down next to us and she explained to the sushi chef that she couldn't eat gluten and he made her a few rolls that I will definitely be ordering next time. One of them had salmon (or shrimp), asparagus and cream cheese. It looked really good! Besides that meal, I have been extra, extra careful to read food labels and nutritional info online when it comes to restaurants. We found a restaurant last night, right outside the movie theater that has a gluten free menu (The Broilers) so we will definitely keep that on the list of go-to places. Wayman and I both had the beef shawarma salad and it was amazing. I would definitely order it again.

As for what I eat on a day to day basis (I get asked this A LOT), its really not that difficult, especially when you plan ahead.

My favorite breakfast for the past week has been a slice of Udis GF bread (Trader Joes, Target), 1/4 of an avocado spread on the bread, topped with a fried egg. Its so savory and filling. I won't get tired of that any time soon!

For lunches and dinners, I prep everything ahead of time (on the weekend) so that I have things I can just grab out of the fridge and re-heat or throw in my lunch bag to take to work with me. Last weeks lunch (for the whole week) was beans and ground pork (cooks just like ground beef or ground turkey, but has less fat) with avocado on the side. For this upcoming week, I made a crustless quiche/fritatta packed with veggies. It turned out so good! I didn't use an exact recipe, I just used what I had:

8 eggs, beaten
1 cup fat free milk
1 container fresh mushrooms, sliced and sauteed
1 onion, chopped and sauteed
1 pkg frozen spinach, thawed, drained and moisture squeezed out
1/2 cup diced ham, pre-cooked
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella

Spray a glass pie dish with non-stick spray.
Spread the spinach across bottom of dish.
Arrange mushrooms, onions, ham and feta (or whatever veggies and/or meat you use) on top of that
In a bowl, add the eggs, milk, salt and pepper and parmesan cheese together, mix
Pour into pie dish
Sprinkle the mozzarella on top
Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes, until middle is firm and top is golden brown

Serves 6

Nutritional Info, per serving (when sliced into 6 pieces)
217 calories
12 g fat
9 g carbs
18 g protein

For dinners I keep it pretty simple, a protein and veggies. Often with brown rice or quinoa, but not every night. Burrito bowls are also a favorite (shredded lettuce, meat of your choice, beans, corn, salsa, avocado, topped with a dollop of plain greek yogurt). We do left overs A LOT as well.

This weeks dinner menu looks like this:
Monday- burrito bowls
Tuesday- tilapia, sauteed green beans and brown rice
Wednesday- same thing as Tuesday (kids will eat at church)
Thursday- pork chops, broccoli and brussel sprouts
Friday- same as Thursday.

Its really pretty easy to do, and I'm loving how much better I feel. I haven't had a single headache, I'm more alert and energetic, my digestive system is functioning for a change and my skin is clearer than its been in awhile.

Anyone have a favorite gluten free recipe they would share? Or your go-to GF snacks and meals?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Gluten Free, Days 1-3

Well I've finished 4 out of 30 days of living gluten free and dare I say....its easy? I mean...I expected to have crazy cravings for bread and pasta and sugar and processed junk but its actually the opposite. My appetite has decreased, I'm satisfied with less and I've easily turned down things (In N Out fries, Red Robin cheeseburgers, pancakes, pizza, german chocolate cake, grandmas chocolate chip cookies...need I say more? Temptation City)

If you didn't see my post on Instagram, I decided to cut gluten out of my diet in hopes that it will make me feel better. I struggle with major bloating, fatigue, dizzy spells, crankiness, headaches and constipation and I've finally tied down the culprit- wheat and processed food. Even whole wheat bread or pasta makes me feel like that. I'm lactose intolerant and so I'm used to having tummy troubles, but this is all more. I haven't always had those symptoms but I would say for the past 2 years I have. 

I did a ton of research and am doing this gluten free 30 days to see if I am in fact, gluten intolerant. I'm on day 4 and I'm not exaggerating when I say I feel a world better. I have more energy, I'm sleeping better and I don't have that "blah" feeling after every meal. I am finding its easiest for me if I plan ahead and figure out what I'm going to eat the following day the night before. I enter everything into MyFitnessPal and it makes it effortless. No scrounging for something thats compatible with what I can eat when I'm ravenous. Its been working well for me. 

For my own records, this is what I've eaten the past 4 days:

Saturday (DAY 1)
Breakfast: 2 egg omelette, mushrooms, spinach an shredded cheese with salsa on top
Midmorning snack: Raw almonds and 1 square of dark chocolate (not all chocolate is GF, this is)
Lunch: cucumber sandwiches w/laughing cow and turkey. Also a protein shake with chocolate protein, 1/2 a banana, PB2 and almond milk
For dinner Wayman and I went to Red Robin (kids spent the night with grandparents). I was VERY tempted to order a burger and fries, per usual. Especially cause I had the race the next morning and "carb loading" is just a normal thing to do ;) But I knew how I'd feel after and I am really determined to do this for myself so instead I ordered the Chicken Ensenada. Its 2 chicken breasts with salsa and ranch and a small salad on the side (it comes with tortilla chips but I asked to not have those included). As best as I could tell from the menu, this was GF. If anything there could have been some no-no ingredients in the ranch dressing but otherwise it was good. Not to mention the entire platter is 430 calories and DELICIOUS. I would definitely order it again.
After dinner: frozen yogurt (Pralines and Pecans fro-yo topped with pecans)

Sunday (DAY 2, half marathon)
Breakfast #1- 2 scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon and GF bread (Udis brand) with butter

Breakfast #2 (post race)- scrambled eggs and bacon

Lunch- In N Out burger, protein style and Jamba Juice "light" (did you know they can use greek yogurt now??)..I always crave JJ after races

Dinner: tri tip, rice, asparagus w/ EVOO, salt and pepper and salad with tomatoes, avacado & olives

Monday (DAY 3)

Breakfast: 2 egg omlette with mushrooms, spinach and shredded cheese, GF toast with butter

Snack: Raw cashews

Lunch: Chobani greek yogurt, plantain chips (from Trader Joes- they are HEAVENLY)

Dinner: Quinoa burgers (cooked quinoa mixed with eggs, shredded cheese, cottage cheese, shredded zucchini and carrots, GF flour, a tiny bit of sugar (real), cumin and garlic powder, formed into patties and pan fried in EVOO. Green beans sauteed in EVOO on the side

Tuesday (DAY 4)
Breakfast: 2 egg omelette with mushrooms, spinach and shredded cheese, GF toast with butter
Snack: cashews
Lunch: can of tuna with 1 Tbsp mayo, 1 hardboiled egg, chopped onion and pickles over lettuce. 1/2 cup of cottage cheese.
Snack: Pineapple greek yogurt
Dinner: 2 homemade turkey burger (bunless, no cheese) with sauteed mushrooms and onions on top. Green beans sauteed in EVOO on the side.

I have several GF meal ideas pinned and I can't wait to try them all! And because I know someone will ask me, I eat 1500 calories a day (usually pretty close to exactly that, sometime a little under). I track everything on MyFitnessPal so if you want to see what I eat, you can view my diary as long as you are my friend. My username is runthisweigh, feel free to add me as a friend! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Heavenly Half marathon

Well....I did it!!! Broken foot and all, I crossed that finish line. Let me preface this entire post by saying that this was THE most difficult race (physical AND mental) that I've ever done. And this is a really long post. Sorry in advance! 

My alarm went off at 3:15 and I got up and got showered and dressed for the race (yes, I like to put on a little makeup and "do" my hair before I go out and run 13.1 miles...). Hubby made breakfast (scrambled eggs, canadian bacon and GF toast). We left the house around 4:30 to travel the 1.5 hours to the race. Google maps tricked us and it actually only took 45 minutes to get there. Guess what happens when your sitting in the middle of a pitch black parking lot, up in the mountains, knowing you have to run a really long ways in just a few hours? Yeah....tummy troubles. And no porta potties. My nerves always, always get the best of me. 

Luckily my race partner, Leila, and her husband got there not too long after us so that definitely distracted me. We got on the bus that took us to the starting line at a few minutes before 6:00. The bus took us about 20 minutes up the hill to a middle school where we were going to start. Thank the good Lord above, they had thought and prepared for the chilly weather and had the school gym (and bathrooms!) open for us to wait in. We stayed inside until about 7:15 when they kicked us out and told us it was GO time! 

Leila and myself, at the start line! 
Listening to the national anthem before the gun goes off is always one of my favorite moments of the whole event. This time, they played Leann Rimes' version of the anthem and the group of people next to me were so amazed by "that girls" voice and were looking all around to see who was signing. Ummm yeah...heres your sign. 

How many different colors do you think Melissa needed to wear? Im bright, what can I say? ;)
The start line- love the energy!
I had my phone put away for most of the race, but this is what a lot of the course looked like. Many times, either to the left or the right of this small 2 lane mountain road, was a steep drop off and amazing views of the entire valley. I wish I had taken more pictures of the course. The weather was perfect, sunny and about 55. It wasn't so sunny that it was warm, it was pleasantly cool the entire time. I never got hot or cold while running. Oh, and yes I ran despite my foot. I just couldn't "walk" the entire 13.1 miles. Mentally, I couldn't do it. So...I took it as easy as possible and ran.
I'm not sure if you can tell by the picture above, but the steep downhill was insane. The first two miles were INTENSE- straight uphill it seemed. Not short, steep hills- but long, climbing hills. It seemed like we were running up a wall. It was extremely difficult and Leila and I were both really worried that the entire course would be that way. 

About mile 2.5 or 3 (if I can remember right), the steep incline turned into a crazy fast downward slope. Running downhill seems easy right? Um no. Its NOT. Especially when it very varely "flattens out" for your legs to catch up with was like several long (we're talking several mile long) fast, downward hills. I heard a man telling another runner "With these kinds of downhills, its very important that you keep your feet directly under your body, don't let them get out in front of you". I kept that advice in my head and it actually helped control my speed a bit. Running down a hill is very streneous on your knees and hips. It uses completely different muscles (muscles which apparently have never been used before considering how I feel today).

Along with the downward slope, we also had to deal with an extremely curved/uneven road (I know theres a certain word for this but can't for the life of me Because the course is up in the mountains where there is often snow, the roads are all curved, so no matter what part of the road you run on (left, right, middle) its not the same...basically meaning one foot is always hitting lower ground than the other. Does that make sense? Even running on the shoulder doesn't work because its sloped as well. And there was no shoulder to run on for the majority of the course.

We had a pretty good race up until about mile 8. And then it went downhill from there (literally and figuratively!) Mentally- we could not imagine doing any more than we already had. We were towards the back of the pack and people started creeping up and passing us. We weren't trying to finish in any specific time (besides the 3:30 cut off time!) but it was getting extremely difficult to even put one foot in front of the other. Our hips, knees, quads, feet, ankles, hamstrings, glutes...they were all in an incredible amount of pain. We slowed our pace and started walking a lot more than running. We just wanted to get to that finish line.

At mile 10, I think we both considered calling it quits. Thats how hard it was. I didn't even care about the medal, the jacket or the pride of crossing the finish line. I hurt. I'm not kidding you when I say we looked like drunkards stumbling along the side of the road. If it wasn't for her, I would have given up. We make a great team. Its not often you find someone who runs your exact pace and is at the same fitness level as you. I'm thankful to have her as my race partner. 

Somehow, we pulled it together and finished the last little bit pretty strong. That feeling of running into the small mountain town and seeing the Finish Line (and 95% of the others who had already finished haha!) is something you always remember. We came in strong and ended up finishing only about 15 minutes slower than our normal half marathon time! I expected a lot slower than that so we were both really proud of ourselves. We got our beautiful medals and awesome finishers jackets and hobbled on over to get breakfast.
Wayman did great, he finished in 2:25 and agrees that this was a brutal course. He actually decided after this race, he is never ever doing a half again (and hes actually dead serious). He is happy to tag along as my cheerleader and photographer!
We had breakfast (eggs and bacon for me- passed on the pancakes) and then waited to board the bus back to our cars
I wore my heart rate monitor for the race and while I did chafe where the strap rubbed against me, I didn't notice it all that much. It didn't drive me crazy like I thought it would. And look at that awesome calorie burn! 
Wayman and I were both so stiff and in so much pain that we drove straight home to take a shower and change out of our sweaty clothes. I have never, ever been this sore. 
The jacket is a half-zip pullover and its so nice. Perfect (womens) fit and so comfy. I will definitely get more use out of this than the long sleeve tech tee which I also got. And yes, I wore my new "jewelry" around my neck for the entire day!!!

This race was part of a 3 part series- the next one being in August. Being that I will not have time to train for that after recovering from surgery (not supposed to run for at least 3 months after so I'll only begin to start running again in July) we are NOT doing it. Not to mention we hear the course is one of the most uphill around, and its in MID-AUGUST in CALIFORNIA. Yeah. Not happenin. Its most likely going to be 105 degrees and I am not putting myself through that misery. I'm not that dedicated :)

I think the current plan is to jump slowly back into running once I am fully recovered. I'm talking Couch 2 5k all over again. I will work up to half marathon training again and run the Two Cities Half the first weekend of November. I should have plenty of time to train for it, the weather is always perfect and I've ran the course twice and love it. 

So there ya have it, the longest race report ever! :)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Weigh day & trying something new

Good evening and HAPPY FRIDAY! 

My weekend started off pretty nicely when I stepped away from the scale with a 2 pound loss this week. I was honestly surprised and still don't really feel it (am the only one that literally FEELS lighter after seeing a lower number on the scale? Like I physically feel lighter as I'm walking down the street, even though its only 1 or 2 pounds...haha  I know, I know its all in my head. Thats ok)

I've been feeling bloated and just low on energy and kinda blah all week. A lot has to do with not being able to run. 

So I'm 56 pounds down, which means I have 45 left to go. I am still on track to meet my goal weight by the end of 2014 by losing 1 pound a week. Obviously I'd love to meet my goal quicker but I'm not rushing it and doing anything unhealthy or unrealistic. This is a lifestyle, I'm not doing anything to drop the pounds that I can't stick with for the rest of my life. A lot of times I feel like a failure since its taken me so long to lose weight. I mean we're going on 4 years this summer and I'm just over halfway to my goal.  It will NOT take me another 4 years to reach my goal ;) I try not to compare myself to others but its both encouraging and also irritating when I see people who've been able to drop 100 pounds in a year, doing the same things I'm doing. I know I haven't been 100% committed the entire 4 years, which would explain year long plateaus and a subsequent weight gain. Thats changing. 2014 is MY year :)

I posted this on IG a little while ago and have already received lots of great feed back. 

Its pretty self explanatory, but its another reason I've felt so blah all week. Whenever I eat anything like bread, rice, pasta (even whole wheat) or potatoes or popcorn, I almost always immediately feel bloated, gassy, sleepy and just wanna crawl in bed and sleep it off. Its a terrible feeling. Its like feeling like you do after Thanksgiving dinner. I don't eat huge portions of those things, even one serving makes me feel that way. 

I'm hoping that removing those things from diet will make me feel better. I know the first week or so will be difficult (who cuts carbs the weekend they are running a half marathon? This genius here.) but I am doing this in hopes to feel better. If it does help and I notiee significant changes, then its something I'm willing to change and deal with for the rest of my life. If I don't notice a difference, ya better believe I'm celebrating the end of 30 the days with fettucine alfredo and garlic bread on Day 31! Kidding (kind of). 

Hope everyone has a great weekend! I'll be back on Sunday night (most likely Monday) with a half marathon re-cap!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

And the verdict is...

I had my appointment with the orthopedic surgeon yesterday and we reviewed both my x-ray and MRI results together. He agreed with what my original doctors diagnosis was (sesamoid fracture and edema) and he explained the anatomy of toes and feet and what bones and tendons to what and yeah, it was a lot of information. All very interesting and made perfect sense, but I'm sure y'all don't wanna hear all that ;)

Basically, he gave me a couple options but we both agreed that surgery was the best decision at this point. If I just try and let it heal on its own (by not walking or putting any pressure on my foot- explain how I would do that for 2 months?) it will just be a big waste of time. Both the doctor and the surgeon feel like the break is significant enough that it will NOT ever heal. Luckily, there is an outpatient surgery they can perform where they actually remove the sesamoid bone that is broken (those two smaller white circular bones located underneath my big toe, on the pad of my foot)
The picture below measures the break and makes a little more sense 
That curve on the inside of my foot below my big toe is not supposed to be like that. Some have a naturally protruding bone but when you compare it to my left foot, its significantly different. 
I should be gettting a call from the woman who does the scheduling this week, as soon as they get insurance approval. Because of work, I can't have the surgery until after the 21st. I'm hoping I can get in that following week. Not only do I want the pain gone (its really not fun, it hurts pretty bad and I'm doing my best not to complain 24/7) but I also want to start the recovery process sooner rather than later. I am anxious to get back to running and am scared to death what taking 4 months off is gonna do to my fitness levels. The procedure itself will take about 30-45 minutes and I will be released to go home the same day, it a hard cast. If I remember right, I'll have to wear the hard cast for 2 weeks and then come back in to have it taped/soft cast wrapped and wear a walking boot for an additional 6 weeks. He said if my recovery goes as expected, I should be able to run again in about 3 months post-surgery. So, the beginning of June assuming I have surgery the end of Feb/beginning of March. That seems like an eternity. But I'll live. 

I am going to devote the majority of my time to lifting weights (everything except things like calf raises, planks, etc where I'd have to flex my foot) and cross training by doing HIIT on the elliptical or spin bike. I learned tonight that I don't burn nearly as many calories doing that type of workout (compared to running for the same amount of time) but I've been reminded by a couple people that even though you don't burn as many calories lifting weights, you body will continue to burn calories long afterwards. I know thats true, but I'm a numbers girl (hence my obsession with the scale, average mile times, overall pace, etc). 

Along with revamping my workouts and doing what I can while recovering, I'm going to take this opportunity to really clean up my diet. I feel like I eat pretty good to begin with. But there is definitely room for improvement. I wont be able to spare any calories when I'm not burning as many, so I need to be very cautious and keep track of every bite. I have a bad habit of eating bites of the kids or husbands plate and although I log it on MFP, I could save myself several hundred calories over the course of a week if I'd stop doing that. I havent decided if I'm going to lower my calorie goal (currently set at 1500). I think I will keep it for a couple weeks and see how it goes. Any less and I feel starved some days. I'm going to really focus on eating as clean and whole as possible. Up my lean protein, fruits and veggies intake and cut back on the starches (even brown rice and whole wheat bread leaves me feeling bloated almost instantly) I'm not going "low carb", its just I know starches and wheat bloat me and make me feel yuck, so I need to work on eating less of them. 

I hope everyone is having an awesome week! If you haven't joined my #operation3500 on Instagram you definitely should! Our group of girls are rockin it this week and I love seeing everyones workout pics and progress. 

Tomorrow is Friday, people....and its a 3 day weekend! WooHoo!!!!!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Setting goals within your reach

Can I get an Amen?!

While I'm definitely guilty of striving to be a size 6, I am working on shifting my focus away from scale and numbers and more towards healthy and fit.

I'm currently a size 12 because I "outgrew" all my 10's during "The Great Weight Gain of 2013" (aka I gained back 15 pounds of the 75 I had lost). I started out at a TIGHT size 20 so I'll take a 12 over that anyday. I still have a LONG way to go, so I am not settling for a size 12 ;)

I was blessed with curves. I have never, and will never be, rail thin. And I am 100% OKAY with that. For me, I would rather a Kim Kardashian/Beyonce/Marilyn Monroe figure over a Leann Rimes/Olsen Twin/Sarah Jessica Parker body any day. 

I am not trying to lose weight in order to be "skinny". I want to be healthy and in the best shape possible. I want to try on anything I see in the store and feel comfortable in it. I want to wear a bathing suit without a coverup. I want to wear shorts without them crawling up. I want to wear form fitting T-shirts without a muffin top while sitting. Sure, a thigh gap would be great...but have you seen my thighs?! I have runners legs mixed with chub. Aint no thigh gap happenin there.

I want to keep my curves. I like having a defined waist and hips and not a pancake booty. I want to be firm and toned (ok and maybe a little smaller, lets be honest). I also want to keep pizza, cheeseburgers and banana split dates with my hubby in my life as well. So theres yet another reason I'm not aiming to be a size 0 in this lifetime. I like food, a lot. I am going to enjoy food and enjoy life, while making good choices that help my body instead of harm it. Pizza everyday? Negative! Pizza once in awhile? Well duh. Its all about moderation friends.

Cheryl Burke (Dancing with the Stars pro) has my dream body. And if I work hard enough and stay committed, I think I can get my body to look somewhat similar. We have the same shape. Granted, I've had two kids and lost a bunch of weight so I have stretch  marks and lose skin, but still- we have the same shape and frame.

Instead of working towards an unattainable goal (Ya know, the typical "I want to weigh 120 pounds and wear a size 2" goal everyone blabbers on about)...I'm striving for something within my reach. I know my body and I know what I'm capable of. So I'm keeping this picture and promising you here and now...that sometime this summer, I will post a side by side picture of myself and this picture and hopefully I won't embarrass myself. It wont be perfect, but it will be my best. Hold me to it girls! ;-)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Transformation Tuesday

Looking back at old pictures is always exactly what I need to make me realize how far I've come. I may not be where I want to be, but I'm a heck of a lot closer than I was 3 years ago. 

2009 vs 2013
2010 vs 2013
2010 vs 2013

I don't just see a change physically, although obviously thats what you notice when looking at pictures. I look at those pictures and it takes me back to each "place" in time. I remember where I was, what we were doing, how I felt then....versus how I feel NOW. The new me. I am 100% happier, I have a ton of self confidence, instead of hiding from my reflection- I love what I see in the mirror! My smile is brighter and more genuine and I'm just a new person altogether. I hardly remember the old me, the fat girl. I hated the way I looked and felt, but I was too lazy to do anything about it. I don't think I even realized how far I let myself go. I didn't want to go out in public, heaven forbid dressing up to go somewhere. Now, I hold my head high and feel like I could take on the world. I absolutely love dressing up and shopping for new (smaller!) clothes. Losing weight is not just a physical thing, its so much more emotional and psychological than I ever imagined. I'm still the same person- but a much, much better version! 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Liebster Award

I'm usually not one to enter many contests because yeah, I rarely win. I think the only contest I ever remember winning was in 6th grade for a pumpkin decorating contest. And my mom decorated 100% of said pumpkin.

So imagine my surprise when Kara at Two Ton Teacher nominated me for a blogging award!!! I didn't even have to enter, but still won. Thats my kinda contest ;)

The Liebster Award is an award given to bloggers, by other bloggers who they feel deserve it. Thanks Kara for thinking of me, you made this non-winner feel like a big winner! :-) If you don't already follow Kara, you are missing out. She is a kindergarten teacher on a weight loss journey and she is absolutely hilarious and so down to Earth. Head on over to Two Ton Teacher and check her out!

The rules of the award are:

-The blog must be “small," meaning less than 200 subscribers.
-If you are nominated, you can accept the award via answering questions asked by the nominator, or you can ignore the award, pat yourself on the back and move on.

So, I accept! Here are the answers to the questions Kara gave me: 

If you could give only ONE weight loss tip, what would it be?
Count your calories. I know it seems like a drag but honestly, it works. When you have to log every calorie (food or drink) that goes in your mouth, you start thinking twice about finishing the last few bites on the kids plate, or sampling dinner as you make it or hitting up the sample tables at Costco. Stick to your guidelines. Find a number that works for you and stay honest with yourself (My magic number is 1500 and up to 1800 when I'm training for a longer race and logging a lot of miles). I saw a meme on Pinterest that said something like "Your body keeps an accurate diary of what you eat, whether you do or not". Its so true. Weight loss really does happen in the kitchen. Sure, exercise plays a large role in it, but I've found that clean eating and staying within my calories is what makes me LOSE the weight. It makes the scale go down. Exercise is what changes the way my body looks. It firms and tones and strengthens me. Both are equally important, but if you're looking for someplace to start- its in the kitchen. I use MyFitnessPal on my phone (its free) and I swear by it. Add me if you are on there as well! (runthisweigh)

What is one song that immediately takes you back to a different place in life?
"She's my kind of rain" by Tim McGraw. When my husband and I were dating, we would drive to the beach every year on our anniversary, which also happened to be my birthday. On my 19th birthday, he got me the new Tim McGraw CD and we listened to one particular song the entire drive there. It also happened to be raining the entire time. Later that day, when the rain stopped, we went down on the beach to walk on the sand and thats when he proposed to me! Hearing that song always reminds me of that special day and the irony of the rain! 

If you HAD to choose a different career, what path would you take?
Personal Trainer or Nutritionist. Hands down. And who knows, maybe my career path WILL change and go in that direction one day. I want to help others get healthy and feel good about themselves. I want others to feel the way I do now that I've lost weight. Once I get down to my goal weight/size and I'm in the best shape I can be, I will consider my options and look more into either one of those jobs. 

What are some of your favorite workout songs?
Current favorites on my playlist:
Katy Perry "Roar"
Miley Cyrus "Wrecking Ball"
Olly Murs feat. Flo Rida "Troublemaker"
Flo Rida "Whistle"
Lady Gaga "Applause"
Florida Georgia Line feat. Nelly "Cruise" remix
Katy Perry "Dark Horse"
Gym Class Heroes "The Fighter"
The Script "Hall of Fame"

How did you meet your significant other?
My best friend in high school met him on AIM (AOL instant messanger for you youngins) and I came along with her when they hung out one time. They never really "clicked" so she gave me the 'OK' because she knew I had a little crush on him :) I was 15 years old when we met...15 years later we're still going strong! I have been with him for half my life now. Isn't that crazy? All of my favorite memories, he has been by my side. We have been through many highs and many lows together and I cant imagine anyone else to live life with. He's my best friend and I still get butterflies around him :-)

Thanks for the fun questions Kara! 

Now, I'm choosing to nominate Aimee from The C Family Blog. I met her during the Jillian Michaels challenge on Instagram and just fell in love with her dedication, despite being sick she would still put in 2-a-days! (Follow her on Instagram- thecfamilyblog)

If you choose to accept tis award, here are your rules:

Thank the person who nominated you (me!) and post a link to their (my) blog.
Display the award on your blog!!!
Answer my questions.
Nominate as many blogs as you like.
Create a new list of questions for your nominees to respond to.
List these rules in your post (copy and paste from here).

Here are your questions:
-What's your favorite go-to (healthy!) breakfast, lunch and dinner?
-What are your main fitness or weight loss goals for yourself, and how do you plan to reach them?
-What's your favorite workout?
-If you could chose to live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
-What is your favorite way to spend your free time?

Guest Post

Hi friends!!! Today I have something special for you- my gorgeous friend Kara has prepared a guest post to share her story. I think you will all find her story very motivating and encouraging! Without further adieu...

Happy Monday, everybody! 

You don’t know me, but I’m Kara, a friend of Melissa’s. I have a tiny little blog called Two Ton Teacher. I met Melissa through Instagram, and we’ve discovered that we have a lot in common. We decided to trade guest posts…so here I am!

You probably already guessed by the name of my blog that I’m a teacher. If you didn’t guess that, well…you might want to contact one of YOUR elementary teachers and ask him/her why you weren’t taught how to make inferences. Just kidding! J Anyways, I am a 30-year-old teacher living in the suburbs of Pittsburgh with my husband and our babies: two cats and a little dog that my husband walks on a pink zebra leash but will never admit.

Like Melissa, I am on a weight loss journey. I became a “runner” (I seriously can’t refer to myself as a runner without using quotations) last year after starting from rock bottom. I mean ROCK bottom. I hear people say, “I am a beginner, I haven’t run since high school volleyball practice!” and I’m all, “I’M a beginner, I haven’t run since last week’s episode of The Biggest Loser when I ran into the kitchen for more donuts during a commercial break!”

Let’s start at the beginning though. I wasn’t always fat. I wasn’t always skinny either. As a little girl, I had meat on my bones, but I’d say I was pretty normal sized. I’m not going to lie, I was never too active as a kid. I played outside with the other kids (at my grandma’s, because there weren’t many kids in my own neighborhood), but I didn’t really run around much. I danced when I was little (tap, ballet, and jazz), but I quit at a young age. I’ve always been a quitter, and my parents never really pushed me not to be. I make rash decisions, and if I don’t like something, I’m done. Not something I’m proud of, but it’s the truth.

It must have been the summer after second grade that I started putting on weight. I was still pretty normal sized in second grade, and then I chubbed out in third. I was HEAVY the rest of elementary school. Not just chubby. FAT. I look back at pictures and cringe with embarrassment. I almost died the first time my husband saw a picture of me in my fat stage.

Oddly enough, I was never teased about my weight as a child. You’d think this would give me confidence, but I still knew. I have always been self-conscious about my weight, maybe because my sister is beautiful. I don’t think she weighed more than 100 pounds in high school, and even as an adult approaching 40 with two children, she is a size 4. Next to her, I think I’ll always feel like a whale no matter how much I weigh. But I digress. 

After about fifth grade, I started naturally thinning out a bit. This wasn’t due to anything I was doing. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve been dieting for most of my life. But when I say “dieting,” I mean starting a diet every Monday morning and giving up every Monday afternoon. Diets never lasted more than a day with me.  When I got to middle school and high school, I was back to a pretty normal size, but I didn’t really see it. My friends were all a bit smaller than me, and I think I still saw myself as the fat girl. Maybe I wouldn’t have seen myself as fat at that point if I hadn’t BEEN fat before, if that makes any sense.

Fast forward through college, turning 21, meeting the guy who would become my husband, etc. I still managed to stay a pretty normal size through all that.

I married my husband in October of 2010, and then…whoa. My weight SKYROCKETED. I weighed 155 pounds on my wedding day, and my weight slowly but steadily climbed from there.

In December of 2012, I weighed my heaviest at 186 pounds, and that’s where my weight loss journey begins.

As I said above, I was on a diet most of my life…for a day at a time. It never stuck. And I don’t know what made it stick this time. I can’t pinpoint it. But on January 2, 2013, I began a new journey. I began counting every calorie that went into my mouth, recording it in My Fitness Pal, and exercising. I was too timid to join a gym…I was very honest with myself and knew that I would never go. I began working out in my classroom after my students left almost every day. I did Jillian Michaels videos. Then I went to an indoor track and walked for an hour almost every evening. I just took it one day at a time, and pretty soon the weight began to fall off. After walking for a few months, I incorporated running. The first time I ran, I couldn’t make it more than about 20 seconds. I’m ashamed to tell you that I couldn’t even keep up with the Couch to 5K program, so I had to create my own running program. You can read about that on my blog if you wish.

Day by day, I stuck with my new fitness endeavor. By June 1, the day of my first (and only, so far!) 5K, I had lost almost 40 pounds. I only had about 20 pounds to go…and then summer happened and I got really off track. And then the stress of a new school year hit. And then the holidays hit.
Excuses, excuses, excuses. I have gained about ten pounds back. Here I am today, February of 2014, STILL struggling to get back on track. But you know what? I know I can do it. And you can do it too, if you’re trying to lose weight. I’m not kidding when I say I’m the LAZIEST person I know…I hate physical activity. I’d lounge like a slug reading trashy celebrity gossip magazines all day long if I could. I’d only get up to run (and by run, I  mean drive) to McDonald’s.

I know this is the most overused cliché, but if I can do it, you can do it. Anyone can. You’ve got what it takes…it’s just going to take everything you’ve got.