Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sky's the Limit

Ok, here we go again. Today's the last day of the cleanse. I woke up way before the alarm today, which I seem to do most days now. I don't feel like a totally different person, but the cleanse has helped me break my soda addiction, and get up earlier in the mornings.

Today is the day when I'm supposed to start adding veggie protein. I've been adding it since Monday, so that's nothing new, but I'll celebrate by eating a nice bowl of Total and soy milk with my croissants.

In about an hour, I have to leave to get a bike at spinning, so I don't repeat last week's fiasco, where all the bikes are taken and I can't work out. Tomorrow's my weigh-in day, so I need this workout, especially since I haven't run all week.

I start running again tomorrow. Two miles! Wooooooooo. Then on Wednesday, it's three, and Friday, it's four. My calves are currently on fire, thanks to my overzealous Powerflex instructor from yesterday. So today's spinning and tomorrow's running should be interesting.

Yesterday, I got myself a new pair of running shoes, as a gift to myself for finishing the Nike+ walk to run program. Now, as you can see, I'm starting the Nike+ 5K training program - beginner level. At its peak, I have to run 7 miles straight. That doesn't sound like a beginner level to me! But I'll worry about that when I come to it. I never thought I could run 30 minutes, either, and I did that.

I'm not as excited about the cleanse being over tomorrow as I was during liquid week. However, for making it through (sorta!), as I promised myself, tomorrow I get to pig out on whatever I want. Sky's the limit. I'm sort of excited about the girl scout cookies that my coworker has been holding for me, but that's about it. Looking at my list now, nothing is jumping out to me, as it did before, like ooh! gotta have it! Maybe it's because I've been cheating here and there all week. Maybe that's what the cleanse is supposed to do. I think it's probably more of the latter.

Anyway, tomorrow after my weigh-in, I plan to get a donut and some hash browns for breakfast, maybe some spaghetti for lunch, and who knows about dinner? I'll play it by ear. For all I know, I'll be eating tangerines and bananas lol.

Tune in tomorrow to see how much weight I lost in total on the cleanse, and my overall assessment of it. (PS I hopped on and off the scale today, and it was in the neighborhood of 189. Hopefully today's calorie deficit will help tomorrow.)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Twisted Statistics

Right now, I'm eating tomato soup. I'd forgotten exactly how much I hated soup, especially the kind with reduced salt. Yech! The honey wheat English muffin is making it tolerable, but other than that, EWWWWWWWWW!!!! I'm also having some cranberry juice.

Had I finished all of my soup, this breakfast would have been around 800 calories, which is way more than half I'm supposed to eat in one day. However, I'm planning to take in 2400 calories, which is more than double my limit. It may seem strange, since I'm trying to lose weight, but there's a method to my madness.

Yesterday, I swore to stick to 1148 calories, and burn even more than that. *buzzer* That's TOTALLY wrong, unless I plan to eat like a bird every day of my life, and workout for three hours 7 days a week. That's not realistic!

Here's what I think I figured out. I'm soooooo not a medical doctor, so don't take my word as gospel. Let's say a person (me!) has an estimated resting metabolic rate (RMR) of 1548 calories per day (find out yours by clicking here). That means you burn this amount of calories by just being alive. It doesn't factor in how much you burn at the gym. It's a formula based on your height, weight, age, and gender. So, hypothetically, if I were to lay in bed all day watching TV, I could eat approximately 1548 calories and stay around 185 pounds.

On top of that, to my understanding, a person may burn X amount of calories by being moderately active. I may walk around at work, or do laundry, or wash my car. All of those things also burn calories. So that X amount is added to my 1548. For example, if I clean my house for half an hour, I may burn 90 calories (according to #Lose It). So, if today I just clean my house and then go lay down and watch TV, I can eat 1638 calories and stay around 185 pounds.

Now, let's say that on my lazy Saturday, I also want to go for a 30-minute run (Y). If I run at my normal pace, I'll burn 313 calories. So, now after running, cleaning my house, and watching TV for the rest of the day, I can eat 1951 calories, and still stay around 185 pounds.

This seems easy enough, but another factor comes into play: metabolism. Everybody's metabolism is different, which is why RMR is only estimated. It's determined by a number of factors, a big one of which is genetics. Another factor that may or may not be related to genetics is thyroid function. People with hypothyroidism (your thyroid works slowly) may put on weight easily, and find it difficult to lose. The inverse is hyperthyroidism (your thyroid works rapidly), which does the opposite, but can lead to its own health effects. There are several other medical conditions which can have an effect on metabolism.

It's possible to speed up your own metabolism. From what I heard, you can do this in several ways without medication. I've heard doctors say that you can eat several small meals a day. I've also heard it's good to take vitamins, especially B12 and kelp. Again, I'm no medical doctor...I'm just sharing what I've heard.

On the flip side, I'm finding that it's possible to slow down your metabolism. Remember when I got off the liquid part of the diet and I started eating salads? I gained 3 pounds in two days. That's because when I was drinking juice and water, I was nowhere near my 1548 RMR. So my metabolism reset itself. That's a survival mechanism. My RMR was so much lower when I got off the cleanse, that anything I consumed past RMR + X + Y would be viewed by my body as excess calories and could lead to weight gain. It would take time for my RMR to approach 1548 again, and the only way to do that was to EAT!

This is what led to my derailment on Thursday. I didn't factor this stuff in, and I got frustrated that I was gaining weight so quickly. In the back of my mind, I knew very well that I could eat maybe 800 or 900 calories a day and maintain my 185, but, like I said before, WHO WANTS TO EAT LIKE A BIRD FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIFE?

I guess the pigging out helped in a way. I think it was probably a natural reaction, and since I only did it one day, it probably helped me bring up my RMR. If I were to do it every day, I'd be back at 224 before I knew it! Lol. But one day every blue moon won't hurt.

Anyway, let's bring it back to the present. My iPhone app, Lose It, calculates RMR and counts calories for me. It also calculates how many calories I need to net per day to lose however many pounds per week. I have it set to help me lose 2 pounds per week. A pound is 3500 calories, so I have to net 7000 per week less than I would to maintain my weight. That averages out to 1000 calories per day.

I'm trying to get into the psychology of the app, but from what I figured so far, it takes my 1548 RMR and adds the average X calories that most people expend, then subtracts 1000. Which leads it to 1148. So, netting 1148 calories per day should help me lose two pounds per week, if my metabolism is working right.

Yesterday, I planned to only eat 1148 calories, and burn a ridiculous amount, leading me to net a negative amount of calories. *buzzer* That was WRONG. If I did that regularly, my metabolism would reset itself to expect me to net negative calories a day, which is BAD. At that pace, to lose any weight, I'd have to eat less and less, and workout more and more, as my weight decreased. This would be setting myself up to fail because (1) I don't have an infinite amount of time, and (2) eventually the number of calories taken in would hit 0, and of course if you don't eat for a long time, you'll die. This is not a good idea.

So, today I plan to go to Powerflex and two Zumba sessions. This will burn 1164 calories, give or take. When I add this to my calorie allowance, this gives me 2000-something...I'm tired of doing math. It was almost 2400. When I divide that by three meals, then it's 700-something. To make a long story short (too late!), this is why I can enjoy my 800 calorie breakfast without freaking out. Whew! (As you can see, I love analysis...a typical Virgo trait!)

The best thing I'm learning through this journey is everything in moderation...and I don't just mean food! I'm very often an all-or-nothing kind of person. I overdo it in the gym, I overdo it on diets, I overdo it when pigging out, etc. But it pays to keep a cool head and think things through.

AND WE SHOULDN'T BEAT OURSELVES UP WHEN WE MESS UP ONCE IN A WHILE! As I found, pigging out on Thursday may have helped me stabilize my RMR faster...but like I said, it wouldn't have been good, had I done it Friday, too (like I was tempted to lol). I have to remember, if we eat more than our metabolism can handle at any given time, we will gain weight!

Tomorrow, I DO plan to shock my system, as I described yesterday, but only for one day. I will take in exactly 1148, and burn about 800 over my RMR+X, to net about 348, because I'm weighing in the next day. I think if I do this once or so a week, it won't hurt my metabolism much, and it should be an easy recovery. This is all experimental. We'll see if it pays off Monday morning, for my weigh-in.

(PS, I hopped on the scale this morning out of curiosity...I literally hopped on and hopped off lol! I didn't want to know the exact number, but a ballpark figure. I saw it was around 189ish...this is much better than yesterday's 193ish. Lol.)

Disclaimer: Tales of a Big Girl represents my thoughts and opinions, and those of others. I am not a doctor. Please consult a physician before undertaking a diet or exercise routine.

Friday, February 26, 2010


I'm sure you guys all saw me freaking out yesterday because I messed up a little. Messing up a little, turned into messing up BIG-TIME!!! I didn't stick to the cleanse. I was eating pretty much whatever was in my fridge, that I'd been depriving myself of for the past three weeks.

By the time I was supposed to go to the gym, which I would have regularly done, I was so disappointed in myself that I wrote the whole day off and vowed to get back on track in the morning. This was the first time I haven't worked out in 16 days, straight, so this wasn't so bad. But the eating killed me.

I was originally supposed to get on the scale tomorrow, but now I have no doubt that I'm over 190. I stopped counting calories around 2 pm, but at last count, I was 800 above my daily limit. I'm sure by the time I finished, I had eaten around/over 3000 calories for the day. Since I didn't work out, and my body is so weird, I'm sure I probably went from 187.5 to around 191-ish.

I sorta have a phobia of going over 189. Once I lose weight, it kills me when I go up into the next 10. For example, when I got to 199.5, I was crushed the next day when I gained half a pound and I was back to 200. Now that morale is low, if I find out that I'm back into the 190s, I could quit altogether. So, no weighing in tomorrow.

Instead, I need to bust my hump over the next three days to get well under 190. That means instead of eating the calories that I plan to burn, I will eat exactly the limit. For example, Lose It says I can net 1148 calories a day (my body burns 1148 naturally, without exercise). Most other days, I'd factor in my exercise and eat maybe 1500 or so. But for the next three days, I'm sticking to the 1148. I hope that doesn't slow my metabolism even more. There's only one way to find out.

I also plan to burn super-calories today and tomorrow. On the workout agenda today is the Friday school workout club, which should burn about 133. Then it's 2 hours of Zumba at their monthly fundraiser, which should burn 985. So for the day, I'll burn 1118. Subtract that from my 1148, and I should net 30 calories today.

Tomorrow, it will be more of the same. Powerflex should burn 179, and two hours of Zumba should burn 985. These are all conservative estimates by the way. Tomorrow, I should net -16 calories.

Sunday, all I have on the agenda is spinning. That will burn 875 calories, leading me to net 273.

If I estimate I'm around 191 now, I'd take a shot in the dark and say I should be 186-ish by Monday morning. This isn't scientific, just based off personal experience. We'll find out how close I am to being right. Hopefully I'm wrong, and I'll be under 185, so I can take more pictures! Let's find out together lol.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I Think I Can

Just had a much-needed talk with my mom. TOMORROW I'M GETTING BACK ON TRACK. New blog post will be up by 7 am about my plans to finish strong on the cleanse. That includes no Saturday weigh in lol.


No, not 300 pounds, 300 visitors to the website, as of today. Woooooooooo! Thanks guys :-D

Low Point

I'm so bad. I cheated, and not in a small way. Hot pockets, toaster strudel, pudding...this was baaaaad. I just got tired of busting my rear end and not getting results anymore. I sorta wish I never did the liquid only week of the cleanse, or whatever I did wrong to make my metabolism slow down so much. I'm disappointed in myself, and I need to resist the temptation to blow off my workouts for today, because I probably won't recover as quickly from slacking if I get into a pattern.

In terms of my eating, I'm getting right back on the cleanse, at the latest, by tomorrow morning. This should be a speed bump, not a stop sign. I've gotta make it work.

Cheater, Cheater, Tofu Eater!

Today when I got on the scale, it couldn't decide if I was 187.5 or 188. I'm happy that it finally landed on 187.5. While I'm not losing weight as fast as I was before the cleanse, I'm happy that I'm starting to actually lose weight again, instead of gaining it. I'm sure that as the days go by, my metabolism will pick back up. Before I know it, I should be under 185, where I was on Monday.

Day 18 of the cleanse is the one where you're supposed to add potatoes back into the mix. Since I'm a starch-etarian, I figured that I'd be super-excited about it. I was last night, but the truth is, I'm just happy to be able to eat after the hell I put my body through last week. I'm actually kind of mad that the potatoes are taking up so many calories today.

I've stuck to the cleanse for the most part so far, but I haven't been 100% dedicated, especially when food was reintroduced. Like I said before, I added veggie protein into my food six days early. There was probably no practical need to do so. I just hate salads, and convinced myself that I needed the tofu and veggie burgers because I was working out.

Yesterday, I was starving after eating only watermelon and a tangerine for lunch, so I looked on my work's website, and saw that they were having my favorite! Stuffed shells and garlic bread. While I was able to resist the temptation of the cheese-stuffed shells (which I'm not supposed to have at all on the cleanse), I did cheat and have 3 pieces of garlic bread.

I'm not supposed to have bread until tomorrow, but I told myself that if the meat-eaters can eat garlic bread on their cleanse, it wouldn't be too bad if I ate it too. Plus, each piece was only 58 calories, so how bad could it be?

I soon found out there's a reason why I was supposed to wait for the bread. About five seconds after I ate the first piece of bread, I was in pain. But it didn't matter! The bread was so yummy, I ate all three pieces. Muhahaha. I didn't have to run to the bathroom or anything like I did the first day I ate solid food, but the next hour was very uncomfortable.

Today, I'm doing the potato thing, the juice thing, and the apples thing. I'm gonna try and burn off all the starches later with Zumba, and maybe Powerflex if I can find a class that fits in my schedule. Yesterday, I touched my side and I felt oblique muscles for the first time ever. So, I'm encouraged.

Since I now know that I'm slowly starting to lose weight instead of gain it, I can put off my weigh-in until Saturday morning. Hopefully I'll be under 185 so I can take a picture :-D

Weight: 187.5(ish)
Total weight lost: 36.5
To 165: 22.5
To 139: 48.5
Days left on cleanse: 3
Next scheduled weigh-in: Saturday

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Run, Forrest, Run!!!

I gained three pounds in two days, but I'm not surprised and I'm not mad. This was actually pretty inevitable, once I switched back to solid food. It's all scientific, really.

Typically, when our bodies are deprived of calories, they get used to performing at that level. Last week when I was on the liquid phase of the cleanse, I was taking in under 1000 calories a day, and was burning more than that, through exercise and running. So, I was netting probably in the negative, daily. According to Lose It, the app on the iPhone that I use to count calories, based on my weight, I should net about 1100 calories daily. So, my metabolism slowed down.

In addition, this week I'm giving my joints a rest and not running. It's sort of a treat to myself for finishing the Nike+ walk to run program. I think I need the time off because (a) I'm super-busy this week, and (b) the 5K training program is hard! Next week, I'll be running up to 4 miles a day. So, I need to mentally prepare for that.

I should probably sign up to do a race to see how far I've come, but I'm still pretty disenchanted with racing. Last time I ran a race was in October. It was my second 5K. The first one was in August, and I had gotten a sucky time of 53 minutes and some change. I had barely come in before two blue-haired old ladies, who were walking.

Anyway, in the October race, I wanted to beat my time, and not come in last. I knew that I was supposed to just be focusing on getting a better time, but my entire life, I'd been coming in last, and I was always ashamed when I did. I was tired of being ashamed. I was not going to come in last.

When the race started, I tried to maintain my pace, but it was pretty hard with everybody passing me. I wanted to run faster, too, because I hate when people pass me. But when I did, I got tired. Soon I was walking. Slllloooooowwwwwwllllyyyy. Now EVERYBODY was passing me, even the walkers. However, when I looked back around the halfway mark, there was still one person right behind me.

She happened to be this girl in my running club. During our practice runs, the coach had made us partner up, because we were the slowest. The girl was better at running than me, but for some reason, she was walking a lot more than I was. I should have run with her, but my immaturity as a runner kicked in. Nope, can't be last. Gotta stay in front of her.

When I came down the last stretch, I started running at full speed. Since I was waaaay behind most of the crowd, I got so many cheers, and I even had a crowd member start running along side of me in the grass. This embarrassed me to no end.

Once again, I felt like same slow, chubby kid in middle school gym class. I felt like the crowd was cheering out of pity. Looking back, I'm sure that's not the case, but at the time, I wanted them to ignore me like they did to everyone else who didn't come in first.

I crossed the finish line, just under 48 minutes. Another sucky time, but at least it was 5 minutes better than the first one. I was slightly encouraged. And I hadn't come in last!

...That is, until the official times came out. My name was dead last paper, immortalized for the world to see. I was furious, especially since I saw two more women finishing the race after my club partner. It wasn't fair. I had come in fourth-to-last, not dead last! I was so embarrassed. I never ran with the running club again.

Eventually, I figured out that the race had a time limit, and I was the last person to make it before the cut-off. Looking back, my reaction was blown way out of proportion, but I'm actually glad I did quit the running club.

For the most part, the running club served to frustrate me. I wasn't ready. Honestly, I needed to come as far as I have on my own, before I could run with a group. I'm glad I had the experiences with them, to give me something to shoot for. Maybe I'll try it again someday, but definitely not soon.

The individualized Nike+ program has taken me from running one minute at a time to running for 30 minutes at a time. By next Friday, I'll probably double that.

It may be time for me to run a race, but I don't know if I'm mentally ready yet. October was only four months away. Recently, when I went to a local middle school track to run, I got smoked by a power-walking blue-haired lady. She was on point.

The old me would have probably given up. But I swallowed my pride, stuck to my guns, and finished my workout. I think I need to get to the point where I don't even pay attention, and just focus on myself. I'm sure that will come in time.

I'm weighing in again tomorrow. I need to make sure I start losing weight soon. Last thing I wanna do is look down at the scale and be over 190 again. Pictures will come when I'm under 185.

Total weight lost: 36
To 165: 23
To 139: 49
Days left on cleanse: 4
Next scheduled weigh-in: TOMORROW

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Today, I'm exhausted. Maybe it's because I'm so busy. Maybe it's because I went to sleep a little late. It's probably a combination of lots of things. I'm so sleepy though. I even gave myself an extra half hour to sleep today. Oh well. Whatever.

I feel like I went overboard yesterday with the food, but I always give myself one day a week to pig out without counting calories. For breakfast, I had about a half-pack of stir-fry, and a quarter pack of tofu. I finished the stir-fry for snack at work, then for lunch, I went to Subway and got a disgustingly-cold double veggie-patty salad. For dinner, I had another half pack of stir-fry and quarter pack of tofu. It may not sound like a lot, but it feels like a lot. I can feel that I've gained at least a pound.

This morning, I'm finishing up my stir-fry tofu. I'm gonna make myself a couple of salads for lunch and dinner. I'll throw in a crumbled veggie burger patty as toppings for each one (learned that trick from my work twin).

Last night, I went to a pump class at the same place where they have Zumba. Surprisingly, I'm not sore. But that's probably why I'm sleepy. Tonight, I'm going to Zumba with my parents, which will be great to burn off some extra calories before tomorrow's weigh-in. Like I said yesterday, I won't be surprised if I went up a little in numbers, because I just started eating again. But hopefully I'll come down really quickly.

The plan for today is to take in 1129 calories or less, and burn about 500 at Zumba. I may push the weigh-in to Thursday if I feel that I still haven't come down enough, because if I get on that scale and gain five pounds, that will be very discouraging. I'm not gonna jinx myself. Positive thoughts.

Ommmmmmm. Ommmmmmm.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Unexpected Side Effect...

Hmmm. How can I put this delicately?

If I were to do the cleanse over, I'd schedule Day 15 on a weekend. I think I'm on Day 15. Well whatever today is belongs on a weekend.

I've learned that your body is very adaptable. It apparently got used to performing on liquids alone. When I introduced solids again for the first time, I guess it didn't know what do. This is very bad when you have a classroom full of kids.

Enough said.


As soon as I finish typing this sentence, I'm going downstairs and making myself some stir-fry vegetables and tofu.

Ok, I'm back. Question: What does food taste like after a week straight of not eating?

Answer: Deeeeee-lish!

Prior to the cleanse, this would not have been my breakfast of choice. But today, I'd have it no other way. Next time, I'll know to stir-fry the tofu a little more. Other than that, this is the bomb!

I did weigh in this morning. I was a little disappointed to see that I only lost a pound and a half over the entire weekend. To keep it real, I did cheat a little bit yesterday at my parent's house, with some 60-calorie hot chocolate. And I wasn't able to do spinning yesterday morning because all the bikes were taken by the time I was done with my run. But I still was, on average, more than 700 calories under my daily target.

However, I did lose eight pounds last week, tying my previous record. My metabolism may have slowed down towards the end, but it will pick back up this week as I re-approach my calorie limits. I expect to gain a little weight first, but lose it pretty quickly. For that reason, I probably shouldn't get on the scale for a while. I'll play it by ear. It definitely won't be tomorrow morning.

I'm surprisingly done eating now, leaving more than half my plate untouched. Since it is Monday, I'm going to Subway later for a double-veggie patty salad. For dinner, I'll probably eat the rest of the salad, and maybe the rest of the stir-fry.

Even though I'm not counting calories today, I expect to take in around 1000 and burn maybe 1500, through Zumba (1000) and after-work basketball practice (500). The last thing I want to do is shock my body and end up putting on 2 or 3 pounds in one day.

Total weight lost: 39
To 165: 20
To 139: 46
Days left on cleanse: 7
Next scheduled weigh-in: ??? (maybe Wednesday)

Sunday, February 21, 2010


This morning when I woke up, I had a scary, familiar thought. I'm tired. Why not sleep in and skip the workouts?

Although it seems innocent enough, this is very dangerous to my momentum. Whenever I wake up with this in my head, it leads to a vicious cycle.

This is how it usually goes: I wake up, I curse myself out for not sticking to the plan, I tell myself that I'll start over in the morning, I pig out, and the next day, it happens all over again. So I'm sure you can realize how dangerous this would be when I'm on Day 14 of a 21 day cleanse. It would be stupid to mess up now, especially when I can legitimately eat solid food in less than 24 hours.

Today, I will be busier than a chicken with my head cut off. So many things to do...most of them involve exercise. This will be a tough day of working out, but I'm sure I can handle it. I'll quit anytime I'm not feeling up to it. It's my last-chance workout before my weigh-in tomorrow morning.

First on the schedule is running. I'm sort of dreading it, but excited as well. Today's 40 minutes on the treadmill will mark the end of my Nike+ walk-to-run program. This is an example of something I've restarted numerous times; however, this is my first time completing the 12-week program.

It's sort of monumental, because when I began running in July, I couldn't run for even a minute straight. Now, I'm up to 30. It's still not easy for me, but it's an accomplishment.

After this, I'll be taking a week off to let my joints recover. Then, I'm gonna start up the Nike+ 5K training program, beginner level. I should probably sign up to do a race soon, to see what my new 5K time would be. After last race, though, I'm apprehensive. More about that later.


Immediately after I step off the track, it's time to go upstairs for an hour of spinning. This will be a fun experiment. Last week when I did the inverse (spinning first, then running), my legs felt like jello, but I could make it. Let's see what happens today. I'm sure I can make it, since you take it at your own pace.

After spinning, I run some errands (i.e. hairdresser, groceries), for two hours until...


Two, count 'em two hours of a special beginner's class. Yaaaaay!

This will mark the end of my workouts for today. I'm amazed I can do this all after a week on juice and water, but surprisingly, I have just as much energy as when I was eating my junk food.

Tune in tomorrow to see an updated pic, results from my weigh-in, and my plans for solid food. Woooooooo!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cleanse for Meat-Eaters

Disclaimer: Tales of a Big Girl represents my thoughts and opinions, and those of others. I am not a doctor. Please consult a physician before undertaking a diet or exercise routine.

Yesterday, I posted the information about the cleanse that I'm on. There are two options: one for vegetarians and one for meat-eaters. Here's option 2, the one if you eat meat. I think you have to go veg though for the cleanse. I copied it verbatim. Again, my comments are in italics.

"Day 1, 2, & 21:
Scrambled Tofu or Soy Breakfast Links (Yummy!)

Fresh Squeezed Juice or Smoothie
Hash Brown Potatoes or Oatmeal (My faves!)


TVP Salad or Tofu Salad
Garden Salad
Fresh Squeezed Vegetable Juice


BBQ Tofu and Rice or Spaghetti (Sooooo good...)
Steamed Vegetables or Garden Salad
Sweet Potatoes or Garlic Bread (I'm SO jealous!)

Day 3 & 20:

Oatmeal or Fresh Juice
Soy Yogurt
Fresh Squeezed Juice


Vegetable Soup
Garden Salad
Corn Bread (Again, jealous!)

Tofu and Mushroom Gravy
Brown Rice
Steamed Vegetables

Day 4 & 8,19:
Fruit Salad
Fresh Vegetable or Fruit Juice


Vegetable Soup
Garden Salad
Fruit Smoothie


Red Beans and Brown Rice
Garden Salad

Day 5 & 17:

Fruit Smoothie
Melon Salad


Steamed Vegetables
Garden Salad
Herbal Iced Tea


Stir Fried Vegetables & Rice (*mouth waters*)
Garden Salad

Day 6 & 16:
Fruit Smoothie
Fresh Fruits


Steamed Vegetables
Garden Salad
Fruit Smoothie


Steamed Vegetables
Garden Salad
Herbal Iced Tea

Day 7,9, &13-15:(sic)
Melon Salad
Vegetable Juice


Garden Salad
Fresh Fruit
Herbal Ice Tea


Garden Salad
Fruit Salad
Fruit Smoothie

Day 10-12:
Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Fresh squeezed fruit and vegetable juices only."


Next time I cleanse, I'll be doing this one. The one I'm on now is so hard, in terms of willpower. But I'm sure this option is also effective. Gotta run. I'll post tomorrow.


Just got home from working out. I bought my dream jeans, along with another pair of size 14s, to replace the 16s I've had to send to the great big closet in the sky. I have good news, and meh...whatever-news.

The Good News

Like I said before, this is the first time in ten years (and only the second time in life) that I've been able to squeeze myself into a size 14. Most of the time, it has been literally squeezing. In mid-January, I was happy to wear a size 14, but in the back of my mind, I knew I was a 15, who was seriously testing the limits of denim.

Each time I wore my size 14s, I stretched them out a little, to the point where they started to look decent. I was secretly afraid of going back to the store and buying another pair, in fear that my 14s were cut big, and I'd have to go back to buying the next size up. But after yesterday, when I realized that I had definitely out-shrunk my 16s, I felt confident enough to go buy a new pair.

I bought the 14 petites today and they fit like a glove! I don't have to jump up and down to get them on, like I used to. They easily slide on, and slide off, like jeans are supposed to. So, I can confidently say that I am now a size 14.

The "Meh-Whatever" News

While I was out, I also picked up a pair of dream jeans (size 12). I wasn't expecting to be able to wear them, since they are, of course, dream jeans. But I was kind of hoping, since I could squeeze into a 14, 12.5 pounds ago, that I could squeeze into a 12 now.

I got them 3/4 of the way up, but I have thick thighs and hips, so they didn't make it over all of my "lovely lady lumps." And plus, I seem to be losing most of the weight in my face, from what people tell me, so that doesn't help much either. Oh well. I'm sure I'll get them up someday soon.

Another One Bites the Dust

Yesterday night, when I came back home from going out to the city, I glanced at myself in a mirror. I saw a sight that made me happy, but at the same time, made me slightly embarrassed. I was sagging my jeans.

I'd been wearing this same pair of jeans all day. At work, the kids must have thought I'm trying to be like them. I really had no idea until I looked in the mirror that my jeans were practically falling off my derrière.


Those jeans went right in a pile for my Space Bags. Even though I don't particularly want to go out and buy a new pair of jeans, I'm happy that I can kiss those, the former dream jeans, goodbye. Hallelujah.

I still have yet to buy the dream jeans that I said I would. I may just handle that today. Gotta pick up a 12 and a 14 from Burlington. Adding that to the agenda.

True to my word, I haven't gotten on the scale this morning. I'll try to resist the temptation tomorrow as well.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cleanse Information

Disclaimer: Tales of a Big Girl represents my thoughts and opinions, and those of others. I am not a doctor. Please consult a physician before undertaking a diet or exercise routine.

Here's the information about the cleanse I'm following, by request. I got it from my running buddy, who got it from a church. I'm copying it verbatim. My notes are in italics:

"Option 2 (For Vegetarians)

Day 1-2: Eliminate all whole grain breads, starches and beans. Eat raw or steamed vegetables, fruit & brown rice (cook with olive oil & fresh pressed garlic)

Day 3-7: Eliminate all cooked food (vegetables & rice)

Day 8-10: Drink fresh pressed vegetable and fruit juices only.

Day 11: Drink spring water only (you may add 6 lemons to 1 gal. of water). Pray, meditate & relax. Get plenty of rest this day. (This is a monster...DO NOT exercise on this day or YOU WILL make yourself sick.)

Day 12-14: Drink fresh pressed vegetable and fruit juices only - apple & cranberry. (This is where I am right now.)

Day 15-16: Eat raw & steamed vegetables only. Include salads with plenty of green, leafy vegetables. (Can't wait to go to Subway on Monday...mmmm....)

Day 17: Add fresh fruit

Day 18: Add potatoes (I love potatoes!)

Day 19: Add beans and brown rice (cook with olive oil & fresh pressed garlic).

Day 20: Add whole grain breads (whole wheat, oat & buckwheat)

Day 21: Add vegetable protein (tofu and others) (This is the only part that I'm allowing myself to improvise. I need that veggie protein because I'm working out hardcore. So I'm bringing it back on Monday.)

After ending the fast, gradually add back food not eaten during the fast. Eat light meals.

Congratulations, you have cleansed your body and proven your ability to deny your flesh. (Yup, I feel that way now. Mind over matter.) Have confidence in this, and build on it."

There is also a spiritual meditation that goes along with this cleanse, as well as a non-vegetarian option. I'll post on those at a later date. Enjoy!

Fighting Temptation

The theme of today seems to be fighting temptation. Everyone is offering me yummy food. I've had to reject like 5 or 6 offers today. Some people may say that my will is being tested! This is just way too coincidental.

Things were great this morning, when I woke up for the second time. I was so content with my cranberry juice, that I almost forgot how much I miss food. While driving to work, I checked my email (at a red light, people!) and saw that someone was bringing in donuts. But, it got worse...

...when I got to work, I found that there weren't just donuts, there was an entire breakfast, sitting there, for the staff! Surprise! There were pancakes, potatoes, fruits, and juices. Three different people told me to get a plate, get some fruit, get at least some juice, but my response was always, "Sorry. Can't. On a diet." I barely dodged THAT bullet. But, it got worse... I was sitting at my desk, trying to forget about the breakfast that was calling my name in the conference room, my work twin (we have the same birthday) came around to deliver the Girl Scout cookies that I ordered from her daughter in early January, when I didn't even know I was going to do the cleanse. I asked her to hold the cookies for me until March 1, and not to listen to me, no matter how badly I bugged her for them. She agreed. Whew. Dodged THAT bullet. But, it got worse... lunch, as I was drinking my apple juice, I glanced over and saw my work twin eating the MOST DELICIOUS-LOOKING SALAD I'VE EVER SEEN. It even had vegetarian imitation chicken on top. It smelled soooooo good. But thankfully, I was able to enjoy it vicariously, through the smell. Whew. I was able to dodge THAT bullet. But, it got worse...(am I the only one noticing a trend here???)

...while I was teaching my last class of the day, another coworker popped in with some Oreo cookies to share with my class and me. They looked sooooooo delicious! But once again, my response was, "Thanks. Can't though. On a diet." I enviously watched my students chow down on the yummy treats, but I was proud of myself for dodging THAT bullet. But, (all together now) it got worse... now I'm sitting here in my office, typing this blog post. Ten minutes ago, a little girl and her mom knock on my door. I'll give you one guess why they were there. Time's up. It was the little girl's birthday, and they were coming around to give me a cupcake. For the third time today, my response was, "Thanks, but I can't. On a diet." They left a cupcake on my co-worker's desk for her, because she's not in the room. So now, every time I glance over, there's this yummy-looking cupcake staring back at me.

My goodness, I hope it won't get any worse! Never in one day have there been all of these temptations. It is an amazing coincidence.

This has been, by far, the worst day of the cleanse. I originally thought it would have been yesterday, with only the water. But no. After making it through yesterday without cheating, I think I should be rewarded! With solid food! *sigh* But no...I am being rewarded. This weight is dropping off. So I should stop whining and be thankful.

I'll be super-thankful on Monday, when I can have a salad like my work-twin. This is the first time that I've ever been anxious for the weekend to be over.

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When in doubt...

Last night, I didn't sleep very well. As you guys probably know, yesterday was Day 11 of the cleanse, where I had to survive for 24 hours on water alone. Although the directions clearly say "GET PLENTY OF REST," I decided to be hard-headed like I always am, and not pay attention. My justification was that I had gone a day without food before, and I had felt fine the next day. Mind over matter.

So, yesterday was a day like any other. Went to work, ran 2.5 miles on the treadmill on my lunch break, went on a date with a new friend, went to Zumba...yadda yadda yadda. When I went to sleep, I was excited about getting on the scale in the morning, thinking I would see big results.

I remember waking up around 1 a.m., burning up, dizzy, nauseous, and feeling kinda like I was in someone else's body. It was worse than a fever. I felt like my legs were super-heavy. I kept going back and forth in my mind. Should I drink some juice to see if I feel better? Should I wait until morning so I get better results on the scale? Should I get off the cleanse? I even texted my running buddy around 2 am to let her know that I was probably done. Hopefully, I didn't wake her up.

I saw that my new friend had texted me a couple of hours ago, so I responded, and he gave me some great advice. He had also recently lost a lot of weight (87 pounds), so he definitely knew what he was talking about. He told me that what I'm feeling is normal, and to stick to the cleanse. So I decided to try and make myself feel better, go back to sleep, and see how I felt in the morning.

First, I drank some water, which I threw up. Then, I got a little apple juice box, and took some pain medication (I have cramps going on now, too, which complicates things). This worked like a charm. When in doubt, let it out. Sorry, that was kinda gross. But it did make me feel well enough to fall back asleep.

I woke up this morning, feeling awesome. I now have a renewed energy, and am excited that I'm drinking juice. It tastes better than it did before. I'm sure on Monday, the tangerines, bananas, apples, and salads will be the bomb.

Two more pounds down. 186.5.

Total weight lost: 37.5
To 165: 21.5
To 139: 47.5
Days left on cleanse: 9
Next scheduled weigh-in: Monday

Thursday, February 18, 2010


It just dawned on me that some of you may not know how I looked when I began this journey. Here's a picture of me, in August 2009 (seven months ago). That was when I was around 224, almost 40 pounds ago.

I wanted to pixellate my face, the way they do on TV, but I just don't have that kind of technology lol. So I just erased my eyes. Sounds sinister. Muhahaha.

Anyway, that's just to give you an idea of me "BEFORE." I'll take another shot of myself tomorrow. It's not quite "AFTER," because I still have a long way to go. But I'm sure you can see the change. And I wasn't even 100% about it during the entire seven months.

Looking back, I realize that I was afraid to seriously try, because I felt that it would be a slow, painful journey. But now I see that changes are quick, and it's not nearly as painful as I thought it would be.

If I could give any advice to someone who's on this journey with me, it's to stay encouraged and dedicated. You will see changes if you stick to it. Progress may be slow at first, like mine was (it took me NINE MONTHS to lose SIX POUNDS...imagine my frustration), but if you dedicate yourself fully to the process, chances are that it will pay off. (If it doesn't, then you should get yourself checked for hypothyroidism, or other conditions that may make it hard for you to lose.)

Let's keep at it, guys...we can do it!!!

(P.S. Tomorrow, I'll give you guys an update on the weight loss. It is a scheduled weigh-in day, because I'm moving to the next phase of the program. Yay, I get to drink juice again!)


I'm baaaaack! Today is not turning out to be a great day. I have successfully passed the halfway mark in the cleanse, however, after my 2.5 mile run, I'm not feeling very hot. I had to reeeeaaaalllyyy push myself to finish the entire 40 minutes. When I was done, I was about to puke.

Now, I'm still feeling a little jittery. Everytime I stand up, I see black dots. I'm never gonna push myself this hard on zero calories again. I can't wait to eat. This water stuff is for the birds. But I'm gonna make it. As soon as I wake up tomorrow morning, I'm gonna treat myself to a nice big glass of apple juice. Yay. Can't wait. See you guys then.

(P.S. By the way, you can also follow me on Twitter at

Halfway Mark

In a little less than four hours, I will be at the halfway mark of my cleanse. I'm feeling great...a lot better than I thought I would be!

I weighed in today (this was a day that I actually planned to in advance) and I lost two pounds from yesterday! So excited. Now I'm at 188.5, which is a milestone for me because (a) I broke the 190s, and (b) I'm pretty much exactly where I was 10 years ago, when I was at my lowest weight since my pre-teen years.

Today is Day 11, and it's supposed to be the toughest day of the cleanse, because I had to give up juice. All I can do is water until midnight. To me it's not that tough, because I'm seeing some crazy results! Also, from now on it will get easier, because instead of me giving up different foods, I get to slowly bring them back in.

I'm a little nervous about bringing food back in because I don't want my progress to stop. However, I know I have to get this negative thinking out of my mind...I don't want to fall back into old patterns.

23.5 pounds to go to my first goal. Sorry I'm not that chatty today. I'll be back later, or tomorrow, when I think of more to say :-D

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tales of a...Big Girl?

I weighed myself again this morning. Surprisingly, that's where I'm lacking the self-discipline, not the cleanse. 190.5. I expected to lose more, but I have some...uh...women's issues going on, so I'm not that shocked.

Yesterday was my first day back at work since "Snowtorious B.I.G." That was six, count 'em, six extra days that I used to my full advantage, by working out like a maniac. During that week and some change, I dropped about 8 pounds.

I didn't realize that my weight loss would be so obvious. My coworkers are a very sweet and festive bunch, and are quick to congratulate me whenever they see a positive change. I received numerous compliments, and dispensed fitness advice on what had worked/not worked for me.

I'm not saying all of this to brag, but to bring up an interesting sentiment. As I stated in my first post, I just recently got comfortable in my own skin, being a "big girl." Now, I don't know where I stand anymore.

This thought actually first crossed my mind Sunday at spinning class. In the past, the group fitness was no stranger to me. I've done martial arts, dance classes, step classes, yadda yadda yadda. And I've always felt some degree of awkwardness.

It's hard to put it into words, but I've always felt a small sense of curiosity and skepticism directed at me from some instructors and class members, as if they expected me not to be able to keep up. It may have all been in my head. Probably, most of it was. But, I have dealt with prejudice that would understandably make me feel this way.

For example, when I started with the running club last September, I couldn't run the entire mile for the preliminary assessment. A running coach invited himself to run along side of me to "encourage me," the whole time making false assumptions about how I never set foot in a gym, or exercised a day in my life. It obviously pissed me off royally, since I can vividly remember it five months later.

Anyway, this past Sunday, I went to spinning and had my first class with a new instructor. This was the first time I didn't feel as awkward. The spinning lady was just as tough on me as she was on everyone else. When she said, "do (such and such) at your own pace," she wasn't looking right at me, like many other instructors used to.

At the end of class, when I told my fellow class members that I generally run, and am new to cycling, there were none of the stifled expressions of confusion or disbelief that I'm used to seeing. People weren't condescendingly nodding and smiling. They were genuinely interested and asking me questions. I was pleasantly surprised, but a little confused. After my experience at work, it all came together. Maybe, just maybe, people don't see me as a big girl anymore...

When I look at myself in the mirror, I do not see a change. Like I was telling one of my friends yesterday on the phone, "I can reach over and touch my arm or leg, and it feels different." But I seriously don't see any difference. To me, I'm still a big girl.

What's the definition of a "big girl"? I probably shouldn't even care, but when you've been put in a specific category your entire life, it's kind of hard not to.

I've never had this experience in my life. I've never been small, and it's been a decade since I've been anywhere near what (people have been brainwashed to believe) is average. Truth be told, I have been "average" my entire life, but that's for another blog post. It's sad that I'm only realizing that now.

I guess the moral of the story is, as one of my friends told me on Facebook, "Love yourself!" It doesn't matter what size you are. This is especially true for us bigger folks. There's so much negativity directed our way that it's easy to fall into that mentality and start internalizing it.

I feel that I've wasted too many years of my life hating the way I looked because other people brainwashed me to do so. But I'm the same person as I was 33.5 pounds ago, and I'll still be that person at whatever weight I choose to end my journey.

"So take me as I am, or take nothing at all." - Mary J. Blige

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


One second. That's all it would take to break me.
Please excuse my melodrama. I'm kind of trippin' right now. I haven't eaten solid food in about 48 hours, and I'm looking at the long five days ahead of me. I want to quit so badly right now.

One second is all I need. I could even eat some healthy food. I still have carrots and apples, and stuff like that. I just need one bite of...something.

Every time I open my refrigerator to get cranberry or apple juice, or water, I feel like my food is mocking me. Every time I listen to the radio, they're advertising yummy junk food. I want to scream.

But I won't quit. Can't quit. I'd be disappointing many people, most importantly myself. Every time I'm tempted to bite anything, I think of how much I'll beat myself up if I don't finish this cleanse. My mom tells me that I'm my own worst critic. It's true.

I think of every other time I've tried to lose weight. Seriously tried. The second I slipped up, I got frustrated and depressed, and abandoned the whole effort. There is no way I can do that this time, after how far I've come. After all the hard work of losing 30+ pounds, if I were to quit now, it would be a long time before I got the strength to do this again.

So I'll stick to my guns. Damn.

I'm using every trick I have up my sleeve. I think of the people who are cheering me on. Then I think of how close I am. Then I think of how far I've come. Ok. I can do this.

In the meanwhile, every time I get a craving for some food, I take note of it on my Blackberry. These are the places that I will go when I'm done with Hell-Cleanse.

They include:
- My new favorite veg-friendly restaurant (I want some Bruschetta AND coconut tofu bites!)
- The place we used to go after Saturday runs (I want a grilled veggie sandwich!)
- Quiznos (I want a double cheese melt!)
- Cicis (I want all the pizza I can eat!)
- Subway (I want a pizza with some green peppers and tomatoes, AND some cookies!)
- This Italian place near my job (I want some mozzarella sticks!)
- Olive Garden (I want unlimited bread sticks!)
- My favorite restaurant EVER that's like an hour away (I want some veggie General Tso's chicken!)
- Dominos (I want a pasta bowl! AND I want to try their new pizza recipe!)
- This pizza/spaghetti buffet place near my house (I want some pizza AND spaghetti!)
- Dunkin Donuts (I want some croissants! AND a Pepsi! AND some hash browns! Muhahahaha.)

My eyes got really wide, typing that list. As you can see, I have had a lot of cravings.

Ordinarily, I have one day a week that I let myself pig out. So, I plan to go to one place each off-day.

I don't doubt that I'll be hitting up at least two of those places on March 1, when this cleanse is over. As a matter of fact, I plan to head on up to the drive through at Dunkin Donuts at the stroke of midnight on 3/1/10.

If I cheat, I get NADA. So I better be good. My body will thank me.


I was just talking to one of my Twitter friends and it just hit me. I have 26 pounds to go until my first goal of 165, which I could hit in a month and a half. This suddenly became very real to me. This is it! This is the first time that I can actually make it happen. Wow.

My ultimate goal was 139, but I'll have to see when I get down there. I don't want to lose my curves.

Thank you again to everyone for all of the encouragement. I think that was what made the difference.

Surprise Weigh-In

191. Hallelujah.

I wasn't supposed to weigh-in today. As I stated in Introduction, over the years, I've been a little obsessed with the scale. One of my goals for the new year was to break that habit. I've been trying to weigh myself only once or twice a week.

However, after yesterday's disappointment, I needed to rule out the possibilities of (a) my metabolism slowing down, which can happen if you reduce calories too much; or (b) thyroid issues coming back. Honestly, I probably shouldn't have looked at the scale today. If I didn't like what I see, I'm sure I would have given up the cleanse and gone to Dunkin Donuts.

But I'm glad I did. Now, I have a renewed sense of motivation. I hope to break the 190s by Friday.

Special shout out to my new Zumba buddies, Mom and Dad. Can't wait for next time!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dream Jeans

Ugh. I weighed in this morning, and found that I only lost a pound in phase 2 of the cleanse. Honestly, I can probably attribute this to my frequent improvisations.

I did bend the rules pretty frequently. For example, I was supposed to be making my own salads at home with my own (raw) ingredients. However, I was working out pretty hardcore, and getting sick because I was lacking protein. So, I went to Subway to get a veggie patty salad.

This was supposed to be a one-time thing, but that salad kept calling me back. One patty turned into two. Soon, I was eating double veggie patty salads twice a day, with double honey mustard dressing. So, I only have myself to blame.

However, it was a loss, not a gain. And if I look at the big picture, I did lose six pounds in a week. Plus, I'm feeling new muscles popping out every day.

Everybody tells me it's NOT all about the scale. Today, I'm going to buy some Dream Jeans.

Dream Jeans are what I call pants that I buy, which are the next size down. I periodically see how close I am to fitting into them. When they fit, I incorporate them in my wardrobe, until they're too big. Then, I throw them in a Space Bag and put them on the top shelf of my closet. I hope I never have to take anything out of that bag again.

In July, my Dream Jeans were a size 18. In September, they were 16s. By January, they were size 14 jeans. I had only worn a 14 once in my adult life, and that was when I was a camp counselor in college. I was back in a 16 within a month of returning to campus.

I'll never forget the day I fit into the 14s for the second time. That was about a month ago. I was so excited that they even zipped up, that I proudly wore them to work, despite my slight resulting muffin top. Since then, the jeans fit a little better. It may be because I lost more weight. Could be because I stretched them out. It's probably a little of both.

Today, I'm going to Burlington to get my size 12 Dream Jeans. To paraphrase my mom, clothes at a discount store are cut smaller than clothes sold at the more foo-foo bougie places. I'm sure if I went to a higher-end store, I'd already be a 12. Maybe even a 10. I'm gonna keep it real with myself, and buy a pair of $5 clearance jeans. Hopefully I'll be in my size 12 by April.

Below is a picture of me, today at 193 pounds. Tomorrow, tune in to see if I survive Day 1 of Phase 3 of the cleanse. juice.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

By the way...

You can now access this blog from sells domains for a bargain, if anybody needs one!

Last Chance Workout

Ouch. It hurts to walk.

This is probably due to my over-eagerness to sweat off as much as I can before tomorrow's impending weigh-in. I've picked up this trick from my new favorite show, The Biggest Loser. They call these, "Last Chance Workouts." I call them, "Hell on Earth."

This morning, I did one hour of spinning class, then ran two miles. For those of you who may not be familiar with spinning, it's this bicycling workout that lasts an hour, and burns up to 1200 calories an hour. When you're done, your legs feel like jello.

I'll admit, I'm a little obsessive sometimes when it comes to working out. This has been my downfall over the years. I get all gung-ho about the latest fitness trend, furiously engage for a given time period (usually ranging from two weeks to a month), then burn myself out and never set foot in a gym for the next three months. During those three months, I'll overindulge in Wild Cherry Pepsi and mozzarella sticks, until I get sick of gaining weight and move onto the next fitness craze. I've belonged to six different health clubs, numerous martial arts dojos, and Weight Watchers throughout the course of my journey. But this time will be different.

I wouldn't blame anyone for being skeptical...every time I've been serious about losing weight has been "different." Everything runs smoothly until I get into my own head. Oh my God, I can't keep this up for the rest of my life, I always end up thinking. But this time, much like The Little Engine that Could, I think I can.

Now, I've figured out my inner order not to get bored, I need to constantly modify my workout. While the running remains a fixture in my life, I'm progressively adding distance, to keep myself motivated.

While I love Zumba, I am reducing the frequency of my sessions, opting to alternate it with spinning, every other day. Maybe in a few months, I'll try LA Boxing. On my next birthday, I plan to try indoor rock climbing.

I'm always down for something new. But first, I need to get the feeling back in my legs...

(P.S. Happy Valentine's Day. Tomorrow, I hope to post a new pic, as well as weigh-in data.)

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Some people would say that I'm a big girl. It took me a long time to accept it, but I've come to terms with it. I can't go to most of the chic stores at the mall (i.e. 5-7-9, Forever 21, The Limited) and pick up a cute outfit. Why? Because they don't make them in my size. But it's alright. I will soon be able to wear whatever I want.

I've been self-conscious about my weight since the age of three. A six-year-old cousin came to visit one day, and I noticed the size of my thighs in comparison to hers. In my own mind, I was fat. I started taking note of the scale. I vividly remember one hot summer day when I was eight, I rode my bike around the block countless times. After each turn, I'd run inside and jump on the scale to see how much weight I lost.

This behavior continued. When I was 9, I broke the 100 pound mark. That day, I did jumping jacks and ran in place, until the number on the scale went back down to 99.

Throughout my teen and young adult years, I continued to be hypnotized by the scale. I was always chubby, but I didn't become really "big" until I hit puberty in the summer between 8th and 9th grade. At that point, I went from 160 to 190 pounds. The weight gain continued until I hit 220 during my sophomore year of high school. At that point, I became fed up and started to watch what I ate. I graduated, weighing about 193.

In my adult life, I've had my ups and downs. My all-time lowest weight came the year in between freshman and sophomore year of college, when I was working as a camp counselor at a rec center. I kept very active, with our daily camp activities of swimming, ice skating, and the like. I was also using the Slim Fast shakes twice a day. At this point, I was around 187, until I gained the weight all back within a few months. I lost weight when I was sad and didn't eat much. I gained it back when I went back home during the semester breaks. I lost it when I had a fever and couldn't eat. I gained it back when I could.

The cycle continued until I was sick and tired of dieting and working out, and I decided to accept myself as I was...well, at least that's what I thought. The truth was that I had given up.

In January 2009, I was at my all-time high of 224 pounds. There had been an accident at my home two months prior, which, truthfully, interrupted my sleep cycle for months to come. In my hotel room, I would wake up at 4 am, eat, watch television, and go back to sleep. Aggravating the situation were my health issues. None of them were caused by my blood pressure and cholesterol were normal (actually, slightly on the low side...most likely from me having been a vegetarian for 20 years). However, I was always missing work, and in and out of doctor's offices for mysterious thyroid issues, which apparently disappeared on their own.

Several things happened that year and beyond, which would set in motion the course to change my life:

1. In July 2009, my sister-in-law began running. She offered to train me, if I went running with her.

At first, I laughed. While I had always been athletic, playing soccer, softball, and basketball, even recreationally in my early- to mid-20s, I had never been a runner. Every time we ran the mile when I was in school, I'd try to find a way to either be out sick that day, or conveniently forget my gym clothes. I had bad asthma as a kid. When I was a teenager, I hated the shame of always coming in last.

However, I've never been the type to back down from a challenge. So, the second time she mentioned it, I was game. I ran my first 5K in August. Well, actually it was more like walking, with a little bit of running. I finished with a sucky time of 53 minutes.

Meanwhile, I had been mentioning my new hobby on Facebook. An old high school chorus friend took note of my posts, and offered to practice running with me, at a local middle school track. Soon, we were running at least three times a week, which brings me to:

2. The bet.
By my 28th birthday in September 2009, I was at 218 pounds. However, I didn't look it. In the past, whenever I was asked for my weight, I'd lie and shave off about 20 or 30 pounds. People usually believed me, because I was solid. As I said before, I was pretty athletic throughout most of my life. I started lifting weights when I was maybe 4 years old, in the garage, under the supervision of my parents, or my older brother. So this 24+ years of training had built some serious muscle, but in my shame of the number, my weight was a well-kept secret.

Anyway, I was sitting at happy hour, celebrating my birthday of the day before. My running buddy was the first to show up, and we started talking about our fitness goals. It was then that my secret came out.

I told her my weight. It's not like she would scream and run away, but I always thought that people would treat me differently if they knew. Anyway, she offered a bet. Whoever lost the highest percentage of weight (I outweighed her by more than 60 pounds) in 5 weeks would win $100.

Like I said, I don't back down easily from a challenge, so I took her on. I amped up the exercise, and went straight to what had worked so well in the past, Slim Fast twice a day. The first week I lost 8 pounds. I kept running with her and another local friend (who joined us after coming to show support at my first 5K), with my sister-in-law, and with a running club that my sister-in-law got me to sign up for with her.

By the end of the five weeks, we had called off the bet, due to my running buddy's tendonitis and my constant colds and flus (inevitable, due to my profession). We had both lost a lot of weight. I was down to about 204, although she probably would have won, percentage-wise.

After the bet, it was hard for me to lose any more. I figured that I hit a plateau. One flu got me down to 199, but as soon as I could eat/drink again, I went right back up to 207. I'd yo-yo for the next two months between 201 and 207, until:

3. My running buddy introduced me to Zumba.
Like me, you may be wondering, "What the heck is Zumba?" Zumba is a Latin-American form of aerobic dance. It burns up to 1000 calories per hour.

I was never much of a dancer, but I started to improve rapidly, as I fell in love with Zumba. I made friends with a group of my running buddy's pals who also were Zumba addicts. It was like happy hour, but better. We were all working out, and getting healthier, together.

With Zumba, I was able to break the 200s, getting to 196 by the end of my first month, in January 2010. However, I caught yet another bad cold, and wasn't able to exercise for a week.

That Friday, we had an optional fitness assessment at work. I was told that I weighed 204 pounds, and had a body fat percentage of 40.1%. I was disappointed. Granted, the number on the scale wasn't totally accurate, due to my heavy clothing (I pigged out and didn't work out that entire weekend, and found that I weighed 199 that Monday), but this made me super-motivated for:

4. The cleanse
My running buddy sent me information about a cleanse she was going to do from February 8-28. I decided to do it with her, to rid myself of toxins. It consisted of raw foods, and fresh pressed juices. Even though I'm a vegetarian, I have never really been big on fruit and vegetables. I should have called myself a starch-etarian.

After the first two days, I was back to 196. Two days after that, I was at 194. That was yesterday.

So, the story picks up here. I'm a little sore today from spinning class yesterday, but I'm so excited about Powerflex class today. I'm going with my other friend, from elementary school. We also became workout buddies via Facebook, when we found we had the same gym.

Powerflex is awesome. You lift weights for an hour straight. I'm super-excited about it because I'm getting definition that I haven't seen in literally 15 years, since I was hitting the weights hardcore for basketball (prior to the puberty weight gain). I'm most proud of my new shoulder muscles, which are starting to firm up. I may or may not do Zumba today.

I'll try and keep this blog as updated as possible. I've never been very good about keeping a journal, but hopefully this will inform, and maybe inspire, some people out there. Feel free to drop me a comment, but please keep it positive. I look forward to going on this journey on with you!

(P.S. This is a picture of me today at 194. I told you that my weight is deceiving!)