One Year.

20140224-110238.jpgI never thought I would post this. It’s been a year since I began my weight-loss/fitness journey.

I am not much of a selfie poster; definitely not much of a personal photo poster. Every time I looked at the photo from last year and compared it to a progress shot, I thought hell no, I will never share this with anyone beyond my boyfriend and perhaps my mother. I hated, well… I hate looking at it. But then I thought, why not? You may not be comfortable with how you looked a year ago but that’s just it… it was a year ago. It isn’t today. You’re better today. Why not allow yourself to be proud of how far you have come rather than hide it?

I did something about it, that’s what matters.

Today I am far more comfortable and confident in my own skin, I am healthy, I am fit, I am 40lbs lighter and I feel that I earned the right to post a damn selfie.

This is a year’s worth of hard work. This is a year’s worth of not only undergoing a total body transformation but a lifestyle transformation as well. I committed myself to a regular workout routine (that I once considered an obligation and now I consider a want and a need), and I have also changed my eating habits drastically.

It’s true, what they say, about eventually not craving the crap once you stop eating it. People tell me to splurge, let loose a little and go ahead and “let yourself” eat some cookies – everyone else is.  But that’s the thing… it’s not a matter of not allowing myself anymore. I just don’t want it. I don’t crave it. I don’t need it.  I prefer a yummy smoothie over a plate of bacon for breakfast; I prefer a nice salad topped with all of my favorite vegetables, egg, chicken, you name it… over a burger and french fries; I prefer to snack on blueberries, cherry tomatoes, and hummus and carrots instead of a bag of chips.

Now, I don’t deprive myself of a “treat” that doesn’t fall within my regular diet if I do occasionally  want something like that; I know I am allowed to and I don’t cheat myself. I just no longer have the regular taste for it and that’s just fine.

Additionally, I exercise regularly. The gym has become my home away from home. When I’m away on a break day or something, I miss it. People look at it as obsessive, but I don’t. I wake up in the morning and yearn for the exhausted feeling of accomplishment that I get at the end of a great workout; I crave the endorphin high I feel from a run, especially ones that are faster and further than those previously; I stretch and get excited when my muscles are so sore that I struggle walking to the bathroom or removing my clothes for the shower because I know that the soreness is a sign of a killer workout.

I also look forward to signs of progress. To me, there are few feelings better than noticing your progress – no matter how small. The little changes in your body that sometimes even happen in just days, that the average person wouldn’t notice (if they do, they’re looking too closely), but you do. It’s the best. I get excited when it’s time to try a new workout routine, and it’s thrilling to me when I give a new meal plan or exercise a shot and can notice the changes that occur with it.

Learning my body has been interesting, difficult and exciting all the same.

So yes, I will flaunt that selfie and I won’t feel an ounce of shame about it!

Patience is a Virtue

20131118-192848.jpgLast time I posted a physical progress photo was back in July so I figured it was time to make another comparison, both for personal and blogging reasons.

Top photo, April;   Middle, July;   Bottom: Yesterday, November

Patience and hard work really does pay off! Between July and November I have experienced quite the roller coaster. I have made steady progress with my weight loss and toning, I have had hiccups where I have gained a few pounds or “lost” my motivation for a bit, I have had injuries, I have hopped back into my flow, and I have lost it again.

However, I have found that when you “lose it,” you don’t fully lose it. Muscle memory is a wonderful thing so long as you don’t fall off track for too long, and patience can prove that even if you aren’t seeing immediate results, your body is making subtle changes that will eventually add up and both shock and satisfy you.

Between July and November, there were MANY times that I didn’t think that my body was changing enough, or at all. But, despite my periodic shortfalls, it clearly was!

Patience, iago, PATIENCE! (high five if you catch the reference)

The best yet!

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Take a look at those bad boys! Talk about GUNS!

I am seeing the best progress I ever have in my arms, and I couldn’t be more psyched to finally see some toning! Seeing the product of months of hard work feels really great!

Picture 1 – April 6th

Picture 2 – April 25th

Picture 3 – May 18th

Picture 4 – Yesterday, July 18th

Now I just need to master my other problem areas and I will be ready to go on vacation and run through the sandy beaches of Mexico like I am on Baywatch. It’s happening, I’m determined.

A Great Confidence Booster

During weight-loss, it’s great to see the numbers drop on the scale and everything, but there is just something awesome about pictures. Pictures speak a thousand words and in my case, they have been a confidence booster.

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The top two shots in this picture are the same ones that I posted when I was two months into my training and the bottom one is the most recent.

Picture 1 – April 6th

Picture 2 – April 25th

Picture 3 – May 18th

What I love about seeing “before and after” shots is that even when I am at a bit of a stand-still on the scale, I can still see that my hard work is showing. For example, I may have only lost a couple of pounds between two photos, but the definition is there and that makes me happy to see.

Maybe one day I will get the confidence to post my full body shot comparisons! Until then… I give you my arms, ladies and gentlemen.

YOU CHOOSE

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I have not skipped a single workout since I made the change. That is 5 days of exercise every week for the past (almost) 11 weeks!

I will admit that there were a small handful of days where I didn’t feel like going to the gym. But once I got there I was happy I didn’t skip. Overall, to my surprise, making the commitment to fitness has not been all that hard. I daydream about it. I wake up and immediately look forward to my fix of endorphins after work. I feel like crap when it’s a “break” day. The days that I have to work late and make up for it on another day are miserable, but I always arrange my schedule so that I am still getting my 5-days in.

Today I almost had to not go to the gym. My (not-so) little brothers are going to the prom tonight (eeeek!), and I was worried that if I went to the gym I wouldn’t make it home in time to see them off! They couldn’t care less, but I’m the big sis! I have to take photos and embarrass them a little, obviously!

SO, a quick gym trip it shall be, but at least it’s something! If I skipped today I wouldn’t be able to say that I have completed 11 weeks of my 5-day gym streak. A little is better than nothing! I would rather feel sore tomorrow, than sorry. You’ve just got to make the time for it!

Two Months in & Sore as Hell

As of yesterday, I am 2 months in to my new routine (9 weeks as of this weekend)! My weigh-in this morning shows that I have lost 13.3lbs! Woohoo!

I am definitely seeing some progress here and there. I have lost a decent amount of weight in my chest, my arms are less flabby and my pants are starting to feel loose. The other day I wore a pair of pants to work that used to be tight, and I spent half my time hiking them up!

Below is a side-by-side (or in this case bottom-to-top) comparison of my arm. The top picture was from April 5th and the bottom picture is from just a couple of days ago. I see slight differences but can’t tell if it’s good progress or bad! To me it sort of seems like there is less muscle, but it could just be that it is just less fat surrounding the muscle.

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Thursday’s workout was deliciously difficult. I am definitely feeling it today and my butt and thighs are STILL unhappy with me from Tuesday’s ass-whoopin’. Love it.

Here is my workout from last night:

Warm-up: Elliptical for 5.5 minutes; 4 Sets/12 modified push-ups (2 regular, 2 diamond); Stretch

– Free-weight Chest Press: 12 Reps/5 Sets; Two 15lb dumbbells**

– Close-Grip Chest Press: 12 Reps/5 Sets; Two 15lb dumbbells**

– Lateral Raise + Front + Press Combo: 10 Reps/5 Sets; Two 5lb dumbbells

Weighted Glute Bridge: 15 Reps/5 Sets; 20lb bar

– Incline Dumbbell Curls: 10 Reps/5 Sets; Two 15lb dumbbells

– Bicep Cable Curls: 12 Reps/5 Sets; 20lbs on both cables

Cool-down – Treadmill – Run, 10 minutes

** I alternated between Chest Press and Close-Grip Chest Press and counted that as one set. Apparently this is called Super Setting. (Learning new things every day!)

Like I said in my last post, I signed up for my first 5k race which is taking place in late July! So, of course I had to switch things up and hit the treadmill last night. I normally end my workouts on the bike — occasionally on the elliptical. I was happy to find that I was comfortable running for the duration of my cool-down, and had I had the time, could probably have gone longer. I think that now that I have something to look forward to… I will need to try and mix in a run a few times a week.

Hooray for progress!