How my friends helped me lose weight

Hello friends,

Three of my very good friends and I have kept in contact through daily emails for the past 2 years.  I can’t say that I’ve ever stayed in touch with anyone quite as long and with such regularity as these women.

So what unites us (besides friendship)?  A passion to improve our bodies and overall health.  *cue eye roll now*

We’ve supported each other through weekend binges, marathon training, 6 month plateaus, and stomach flus.  Despite the obvious “hang in theres”, we’ve given each other sound advice and reality checks.

Collectively, the four of us have lost 167 pounds!  ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY SEVEN POUNDS!  That is an entire person.  And we’ve managed to keep it off for over a year now.

So what have we done as a team that I couldn’t do on my own?

1) Check-in with a daily menu plan.  If you write what you eat for others to read, you are more likely to eat healthy foods in normal proportions.  I get embarrassed when I have 3 carb-loaded meals per day, which motivates me to add extra veggies and proteins into my diet.  If I ask why my weight isn’t falling off, my friends can point to my diet and make suggestions.

2) Cut out the bullshit.  The previous step of making menu suggestions leads to cutting through the crap.  If I whined about not losing weight fast enough, my friends gave me a reality check, “Mads, you drank 3 beers and then ate an entire pizza, of course you’re not losing weight.”  This step might be the most important.  It’s hard to confront your friends, but truth-telling is the slap in the face that we often need.

3) Set mini-goals with specific dates/pounds to lose/rewards.  When we were all stuck, we set a mini goal of 3 pounds over two weeks with rewards varying from buying a new book to treating ourselves to a bubble bath.  The quick mini goals helped get us out of ruts and built friendly competition.

4) Give reality checks.  Along with eating tips and general weight-loss talk, we also emailed each other inspirational articles.  Having a group of friends who remind you daily that your body is beautiful, no matter how much weight you still want to lose, is a really wonderful thing.  I didn’t start losing any weight until I decided that I deserved it and they helped me see that.

5) Workout together.  Although we mostly live in separate states now, we would frequently meet up for a run or walk (occasionally we met to do awkward Navy workout videos).  I prefer stuffing my face with cheese than running any amount, but my friends made it fun.  Sometimes we do virtual runs with the addition of some friends on twitter #RunningPackInTheSky.

6) Have fun.  I hate eating healthy and exercising (truly, I do), but my friends make it fun for me every single day.  They get me excited to try new foods, and I think about them cheering me on every time I go for a run.  We give each other gold stars and shoulders to cry on when it got hard.  There’s no way I could do it without them.

I could write a million more tidbits I’ve learned on this journey, but I really want to hear from you.

 

What or who inspires you to stay healthy?  Have you recently lost weight?  What works for you?

-Mads

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Guest Post: An Open Letter to Pedestrians

This guest post is brought to you by Kat.  I am in town for her wedding and we have already started the celebration.  In between getting married and Living, she blogs about food, fashion, and fitness.  Enjoy.

I only started running a year and a half ago.  The most expensive piece of workout gear I own are my running shoes, I run with a $10 digital watch from Target.  Judging from those things, I would say I’m probably as low-maintenance as you can get when it comes to running.

But from me to you all, an open letter to pedestrians.

Pedestrian,

I see you there, casually ambling down my sidewalk.  Walking towards me, moving away, it matters not.

I’m a mouth breather.  A Mouth Breather.  Even if my footsteps sounded more like a fairy’s and less like a Clydesdale, you’d still hear me coming up behind you on the sidewalk.  Because if I’m not busy huffing and puffing, I’m probably occupying myself with the odd cough.  Or gas.

All of this adds up to mean that my way of running?  Is not peaceful.  So don’t give me that look of surprise when you finally Face Reality.  You didn’t know I was coming?  LIAR.  I do not sound like the wind in the trees.

Sometimes you sport those gaucho pants that are so circa 2004.  Sometimes you rock a tye-dyed tee from Camp Christmas Tree 1998.  There’s nothing that warms my heart more than when you give me that Michael Scott-esque oops look as you and your three friends aimlessly wander the beaten path.  Sometimes you walk in a line, other times you scatter like leaves in the wind.

It is so thrilling to try and figure out where you will deign to tread next.

I love how when you are walking two or three abreast, rather than arrange yourselves into a single-file fashion, you prefer to martyr yourselves and Walk In The Grass.

Do not make your problems mine.

And I think it is so cool that even though you have absolutely no intention of walking into oncoming traffic, when you and Your Pack monopolize the sidewalk, you try to make me do it.

Pass.
I would sooner run into you head-on.

You should know that your off-leash dog scares the S*** out of me.  It’s probably scaring all of those moms with their would-be bike riding tots too.  So let’s just agree that you stop doing that effective: yesterday.

Sometimes you’re teaching your child how to ride a bike and so you give me the stare of death, because to you my fairly slow pace comes off like a freight train.  If you could see behind my sunglasses, you’d see me giving you the stare of death right back because you refuse to put a helmet on your three year old.

Happy Trails,

Kat

Unemployed people can have goals too!

Hi team!

As you may already know, or have gathered by the title of this post, I am currently unemployed.  I decided I needed to find a job more aligned with my interests and a little closer to home (I was spending 25% of my paycheck on gas).  So I quit.

I start school full-time in September, so I still haven’t decided if there will be an actual job “search” or if I will commit all of my life to school.

In the meantime, I have some things I want to take care of:

1- Spend some time traveling. 

I have a trip to Minnesota planned for a friend’s wedding, but I would really love to go someplace out of the ordinary.  Perhaps a romantic getaway to Hawaii?  Perhaps a trip to Seattle?  I have been using AirfareWatchdog to put the feelers out for cheap tickets.

Any suggestions on vacation spots?

2- Read more.

The Zookeeper’s Wife by D. Ackermann and The Help by Kathryn Stockett are both on my library list.

What’s on your list?

3- As usual, getting skinny is on my list.

But this time, I brought reinforcements!  My fellow blogger friend, Adventures in Womanland, has been getting mucho results from Jillian Michael’s 30 day Shred.  Her before and after pictures inspired me so much, that I actually hopped on Amazon and now I will be shredding by Thursday.

I’m a little scared, but I figure 30 days is not an impossible commitment.  I can do this.

I plan on documenting the journey here, but I can’t promise it will be pretty.

What are you doing for your body?

-Mads

Working out is for chumps

Working out is for chumps, but I’m quickly realizing it’s for skinny chumps.  I would like to be a skinny chump.

Enter: Gym membership.

(side note…gym memberships come super cheap at Costco, but you need to prepay.  I can handle that if I get 150 bucks off.  Win)

I’ve worked out a schedule with Jonathan, so I’m hoping we motivate each other to go.  Being at the gym is no big deal, it’s the getting there that is the hard part.  Doesn’t it feel like there is always something more important to do than the gym?

I try to attend group classes as much as possible to avoid boredom, but that doesn’t always line up with my work schedule.

What do you do to stay amped up about working out?  Any good exercises to bust out of a boring routine?

A trainer once told me that boredom is the number one reason people quit going to the gym.  Boredom is not gonna get to me!

-Mads

I did what now?

I agreed to sign up for a 1/2 marathon with a friend, to take place August 22nd.  That’s 13.1 miles!  How many miles can I run at the moment?  Probably 5 if I kicked my butt into gear.
That needs to change fast because I only have something like 9-10 weeks left!  Arghh!!!

This week’s training schedule:
Monday: Run 36 minutes at 10run-2walk
Tuesday: Run 45 minutes at 3run-2walk
Wednesday: Cross train by biking to work
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 30 minutes straight
Satuday: Go 7 miles…running and walking when I need to
Sunday: Rest

I made this schedule up based on several different training guides.  Thoughts?  I’m open to any and all suggestions.

My diet has 2 different modes:
1) Winter mode–eat all the comfort foods possible to warm your body up
2) Summer mode–drink and be merry at every happy hour and grill-out possible
Those two modes leave me in a poor condition to run.
This week I toss out everything in the fridge that is coming between me and my goal weight.  I’m hoping this helps to make me feel light as air when I run.

I’m working towards giving myself a big GOLD STAR on Sunday if I accomplish these goals.  That gold star will be a glass of chilled wine and my book on a patio in uptown. 

-M

We all run on

Believe it or not, I have still been gettin my run on with Jonathan in town!  However, I have been having a very hard time choosing a training plan.  I have 15-16 weeks, which, according to everyone, is plenty of time.  That still seems like no time at all to me.  So I’m a bit scared without a firm grasp of my running plan.  Ideas? 
I have looked on multiple websites, talked to people in training, and read some books/pamphlets about the situation.  Here’s my understanding…

-before signing up for a ½ marathon, you should be able to run like 3 miles– Check!

-you should do at least 1 long run a week and keep increasing the time there–Check!

-do intervals to increase your endurance and sprints to increase your speed–Check!

The things I can’t understand are the programs that build in a ton of rest days, cross training, and “easy runs”.  That’s 3-4 days a week where I’m not actually running, let alone running long distances.  How much do I actually need to do these other things?

I have been doing mostly interval runs (running 3 or 4 minutes and walking 1 or 2 minutes) with the idea that eventually I will run for more minutes and walk for less or zero minutes.  I have no idea if this is the right approach, but I am going to give it my best shot because I can do 45 minutes of running without feeling like death.  Maybe death is the feeling I need.

I would love input from my readers!  I would also love running buddies throughout the week!

-M