Weight loss, healthy eating, 1/2 marathons & a recipe

Ever since I got pregnant with my first child, I have struggled with my weight.  For 6 years, I have bounced back and forth between being overweight and being a healthy weight.  

In February of last year, I hit my all-time peak weight.  I saw a picture of myself holding my newborn niece and realized that I looked more than just a little overweight.  I realized that months of stress-eating (I had post-partum anxiety disorder that set in when my youngest baby was about 6 months old -  thank the Lord, it is now gone!), had caught up to me and that I could not afford to gain more weight.  

In addition to simply being overweight and not liking the way I looked, I realized that I was putting my long-term health at risk.  On a practical level, I had trouble getting in the floor with the kids and getting back up.  Kneeling on the ground made my legs fall asleep.  My weight gain impacted both my physical health and my day-to-day interactions with my family.  It was really quite appalling.

So, I jump-started my weight loss with a week of following the GM Detox Diet.  Google it.  You will likely find a few variations of the plan, but in short, it is a week of eating almost exclusively fruits and veggies, with carefully chosen, specific meats thrown in at specific points during the 7 day period.  It is a good way to pull yourself out of the habit of eating processed foods.

I shed several pounds that week.  I believe the one thing I did not omit was coffee and creamer.  But, for everything else, its only a week - I can do without diet soda, juice, milk, tea, etc. for a week.

I followed weight watchers loosely and continued losing weight.  

Then, the big dare happened.  

A very good friend who knew I was trying to lose weight dared me to start running.  

What?!  Me?  Run?  You're crazy.

Just a 5k.  She pointed to the list of races on her fridge.  Pick a 5k.  You can do it.

I'm not so sure about this.

Do it.

March 24, 2012 I started running.  

The first few weeks, I couldn't even run down my block.  But,  I ran in intervals.  I ran through weeks of serious knee pain (why I had always sworn I couldn't run if I tried) and spent a lot of time stretching and icing after.  I joined a running group on Facebook - the people there helped me trouble shoot through my knee pain, and I got through.  I can't remember the last time my knees bothered me.

Late June, 2012 - just after a training run.  I was still
early in my running training and weight loss process.

My "goal race" was a 5k in August.  Once I'd gotten through the knee pain, I discovered there was a fun-looking race on July 4.  It was a 4 miler.  My sister and I signed up for it, along with several of our friends.

Just after my first completed race!  Me, my sister, Cristen (who dared me
to get out there in the first place!) Erica, and Lauren.

Well, that 4 miler wasn't awful.  It was challenging, but not overly so. I began to peruse the local race lists and found that there was a 10k (6.2M) in mid-August.  I talked my sister into running it with me (she made me promise I would never try to talk her into anything longer than 10k ever again!).  Lauren joined us for the race.

Lauren, me, Sarah post our 1st 10k - this was both the 2nd race each of us 
had done and our 2nd race completed together.

Summer running proved to be a challenge.  Heat/humidity made it hard for me to breathe, so I fell into a comfortable run-walk pattern.  To this day, I actually prefer to complete my runs and races that way.  I still get a superb workout, but I feel like rather than worrying about the time clock and running as fast as I can, I'd rather push myself some, but not so hard that I don't enjoy the route, the journey from start line to finish line.

Hot and sweaty finish line - Patrick and Erin ran with me across the line.  :)

I'm not exactly sure how on earth this transpired, but somehow I wound up deciding I would complete the annual 1/2 marathon hosted by my home city.  


That was quite the undertaking.  I have a friend who is pregnant who had hoped to complete a different 1/2 marathon in Nov, but defaulted because she got pregnant.  So, we decided that we would complete this 1/2 marathon together using a combination of running strategically, power walking and walking.  Trish was great.  We spent so many hours together laughing, encouraging one another, walking or running in silence.  The fellowship while we trained was a huge blessing.  This also provided a way for her to stay healthy during early-mid pregnancy and a way for me to continue in my weight loss goals.  I've never felt healthier than season of 1/2 marathon training and am so thankful for a consistent, loyal training partner.  

During that training season, I challenged my body in ways I've never done before.  I don't care how fast or slow you complete it, a 10 mile training run is a 10 mile training run and that is nothing to scoff at.  I learned that weight loss cannot be measured solely with a scale if you are staying active and continuing to push your body like I was.  My weight loss had to be measured more by my shrinking clothing sizes rather than in pounds.

I had to change the way I ate.  I became sensitive to caffeine and carbs for the first time ever, during the last 6 weeks of training - the most intense weeks of the plan.  I would get jittery and sometimes my blood sugar would crash.  My level of physical activity was so high I continued eating healthy but didn't really have any restrictions - I stopped focusing on eating low-fat items, began eating a higher volume of healthy fat.  I continued watching my portion sizes.  I got smaller.

We successfully completed the 1/2 marathon exactly 33 weeks after my first ever training run.  I never saw that one coming, but I am so thankful we did it.  If you had told me a year ago that I would complete a 1/2 marathon before the year was up, I would have laughed.  

Trish and me about 15 feet from the finish line.

Now that we're through the holidays, it is time to keep healthy living going.  I'm in pre-training mode as I gear up for my 2nd 1/2 marathon which will take place in late-April.  This particular race is harder - by a lot - than the one in November.  In fact, the marathon associated with it is marketed as "America's toughest road marathon"... Oi... 

There are two things I'm thankful for as I gear up for this race:

1: I have found another running partner!  She doesn't live locally, so we won't be able to train together much, but we plan to stick together from start line to finish line, our only goal  : to finish.  So blessed!

2: As I said, this race is much harder than my 1st 1/2.  This means I have to train more, train harder, as I gear up for it.  This is a very good thing.  It will keep the weight coming off and will give me more overall energy.

Yesterday (after my spinner workout), I took some "midway" progress photos.  I look forward to having "after" photos sometime late-spring/early-summer!

Never felt healthier!

This is definitely incentive to keep running and to add in 2 spinner workouts weekly.

I saw this recipe on a friend's Facebook last week and decided to give it a go.  I figured it looked good, and had a lot of the things I need to both eat healthy and eat smart as I continue training.  

Protein: check  Carbs: check  Healthy Fat: check  Veggies: check  
Filling: check  Flavor: check

Definitely try this!  Sooo good!

1 can chick peas (rinsed and drained)
1 10oz container grape tomatoes (halved)
1 small white onion (finely chopped)
2 avacados (diced)
minced garlic, to taste (I used a heaping tablespoon pre-minced)
fine ground sea salt, to taste
lime juice, to taste (I used approx 1/4C)


Julia Kendrick said...

You are AWESOME! The End! <3

LouAnne said...

I am actually moved to tears over this post! I mean, really inspired over here! Thank you for putting it out there for those of us just starting the journey. :0)

Rebekah said...

Thank you, ladies! :)

Amanda said...

You look great, and your reports and pictures are nothing short of inspiring! I started eating very consciously at the beginning of 2012 and exercised somewhat regularly and was pleased with the results. Sadly my life got crazy busy towards the end of the year and I have let things go. BUT, I'm back at it, and there is a 5K tempting me... You are inspiration, especially with the knee thing b/c that IS my excuse for walking and not running...but sometimes last year, I just HAD to run and I did...and my knee complained. I may be contacting you for more info about what you found helpful to ease the knee pain or push through it. Did you use any sort of couch to 5K plan or just work up to running on your own?

Jennifer said...

This is so inspiring to read. Thanks for sharing. Before I got pregnant, I was getting into running and then got plantar fasciitis (yuck yuck yuck). For now, I'm just doing some pregnancy workout videos, but I hope I can get back into running and lose all of my pregnancy weight (once and for all) after the baby comes! I want to try that recipe too!!!
Jenn Campbell

Gretchen said...

HI! I guess I find you everywhere! Great blog, very inspirational! You look awesome! Keep up the good work!! and are you loving Goodreads???

Rebekah said...

Amanda and Jennifer - Thanks!!! I really appreciate the encouragement. Believe it or not, I.STILL.NEED.IT! :) So, thanks loads!

Gretchen - Haven't figured out goodreads yet... been trying to homemake, parent, blog, and run all day! ;) I'll give it a good look tomorrow! :)

Rebekah said...

Oh, and Amanda - DO THE 5K!!! You won't regret it!!!

BaiMeiLin said...

Very inspiring story, Rebekah. Your openness and honesty is refreshing and motivating. Keep up the good work! You're doing great!