Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What flipped the switch

For those of us who need to lose weight, or even those who don't have a lot to lose & just want to look/feel better, there is always that one moment that propels us to get on the healthy wagon. It could be a photo, an article of clothing you can no longer fit into, or even an activity you are now struggling to do. Honestly, it could be a number of things. All that matters is you're getting healthy, and you're most definitely not alone on the journey.

I've always been the fat kid/girl. The way I dealt with being made fun of, was to make fun of myself first. I still find myself making jokes at my own expense, just ask my friends. Though, I don't see it as a bad thing. It's honestly more of a way to show that I have a sense of humor about my situation. Also, once I crack a joke, it makes it less appealing for someone else to do the same. While I was growing up, I used to play sports with the guys. I loved doing that, and honestly wish I would have just sucked it up and committed myself to getting healthy by playing sports back then. There are a number of reasons why that didn't happen, that maybe I can get into in another blog post.

Back then basketball was the love of my life. Around 5th or 6th grade I learned to play and realized I was quite good. Through Junior High and High School I played basketball in my free time with the neighborhood boys, at youth group, and at open gym through my church. Even for being large, I was good. When I would play, people actually wanted me on their team. I would take a basketball class in gym class every semester, which lead to my gym teachers always telling me I need to join the basketball team. I considered it for awhile, and in my sophomore year I was ready to try out for the team. Sad to say, once one of the things we had to pass was running the mile, I knew I was a goner. I was already quite large and running a mile in an acceptable time frame was just not something I could do. So, I didn't end up going for the try out. I honestly kick myself every day for that. Maybe I wouldn't have done all that great, but that could have also been the start to me getting healthy. Also, with my skills it was very possible I would have made the team.. which makes me think about what could have been. It's not a nice thought, and that is always a failure in the back of my mind.

I guess what I am trying to say is, I had a couple of things flip the switch in my head telling me I need to get healthy. The main one happened in 2009. In November of 2009 there was a birthday dinner and night out for my best friend Michelle. A group of us met up downtown Chicago at the Grand Luxe for dinner, and then we hit a couple bars for drinks afterwards. I had a great time, and our friends took a lot of pictures. The moment came when I saw those pictures on FaceBook. I was shocked and honestly, ended up untagging myself in most of them. I mean, I knew I was big (of course!), but I looked TERRIBLE. I hated those pictures, and after seeing them, I had a little but of a mini breakdown. I just, didn't take very well to the photos. After that, I started to make more of a conscious effort to eat better. It did take awhile for me to get into the swing of things, and I did fall off the wagon several times, but this time it finally stuck for me and I'm SO happy about that.

Those right there are two of the photos from that night. I was the heaviest I had EVER been at this point. Maybe someday I'll share the actual number with you all. I hate even looking at those photos and sharing them here, but I know eventually I'll be able to look back at them as a stepping stone. They will be a reminder of where I've come from & just how far I've come. The plus is, even after falling off the wagon quite a few times, I've lost a total of 47 lbs since this photo. So, I've already made progress, and I am proud of myself for that.

I guess the reason I posted this blog is because I know there are a lot of you out there who have already had the "oh my gosh, I need to get healthy" moment, and there are others that are just having that moment now. Or maybe you are at the healthiest point in your life, but know someone who may be going through this. Either way, I wanted to show that anyone taking that step toward being healthy is not alone. It is possible to get healthy. It is possible to lose the weight. Even if you have a lot of weight to lose like me, IT IS POSSIBLE. You just have to really want it. You have to be dedicated to getting healthy. And, there are so many options out there to get healthy.

What options did I choose for myself? I chose to do it all natural. I'm eating better & cleaner, tracking my calories, and working on moving more. Don't get me wrong, I had thought about weight loss surgery, but the idea of surgery scares me. I know I know, people go through surgeries all the time, but I'm a wuss. But, it was a thought. The reason I decided to forego the surgery was the fact that, by the grace of God I'm not a diabetic, and I don't have any health issues that would require me to go the surgery route. If I did, and dropping the weight was something I needed to do more quickly, it is definitely something I would do. I know a few people who have had weight loss surgery and are having success with it. They love the decision they made, and are feeling great! Any way you break it down, no matter what the method, getting healthy and losing weight is hard work. It takes a lot of strength, drive, and determination. We also need to remember that we didn't get like this overnight, so it's not going to come off overnight either. It takes time, and in the grand scheme of things, all the time and hard work is SO worth it.

And honestly, I want to thank all of you who read this for your continued support of my journey. Knowing I have you all in my corner makes this journey a little bit easier. And if you're also on a journey of your own, I hope my blog helps you on yours. We're in this together! So thank you for reading. I think my next entry will be my goals post, so stay tuned!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Payday & ready to grocery shop

It's Thursday! Thankfully today is my Friday, and I have the whole weekend off. I'm SUPER excited about that! I hope your Thursday has been fantastic! 

So today was payday, which means grocery shopping this weekend. I've made my grocery list and have a recipe in mind I would like to try. I've been finding some great recipes at the following websites: 

I found a recipe I want to try out this next week. It looks so yummy, and while it takes some prep (minor), most of the work is done in a crock pot. Here is the link to the recipe. 

There are some discrepancies in the recipe from the title etc. For instance, the recipe is for stuffed pork chops with bacon, apples, and walnuts, but the actual recipe calls for pecans. So nothing major. I will, however, be making this with walnuts. I am also thinking about substituting cinnamon for the Spanish paprika. I'll let you all know how it comes out and I'll be sure to take some photos. I also read in the comments that, in the crockpot, it has only been taking most people 8 hours to cook. So I'll verify that as well. :) 

I need to start writing down some of "recipes" of the stuff I make. The thing is, I'm kind of a "throw it in the pan" kinda gal, so sometimes what I make is just a hodgepodge of what I have available, haha. I do measure though, I guess I'm just afraid most of you will think it's odd. Haha! But honestly, it makes for some YUMMY food most of the time. But, since some of you were interested in what I've been eating, I'll make a point to write what I'm adding down and take some photos. :) 

Also, if any of you have some great recipes you would like to share, please feel free to leave them in the comments here, or you can post them on my FaceBook Page here: https://www.FaceBook.com/MyJourneyBeyondtheFat :)  Also, please don't forget to like my page, if you haven't already. It's a great way for us to connect! 

Another thing, I am in need of a food scale (I wan't to be as precise as possible), and I would also like to get a food processor. I'm working on a budget, so if any of you have some leads for me on where I can get these items more affordable, I would GREATLY appreciate it. :) Have I mentioned how much I love you guys? 

So what will YOU be doing this weekend to be successful? What are YOUR plans?!  :) 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Paleo/Primal Eating

So a friend of mine asked me what my thoughts on the Paleo "diet" are, and if I would blog about it. So here are my thoughts.

Since deciding to get healthy, I have been making a conscious effort to read more about food & nutrition. While I still have A TON to learn, I am picking up more things here and there. My journey to get healthy has evolved quite a bit over the last two years. Two years ago, my main goal was to log my food and make healthier choices. At that time, healthier choices were adding more salads into the mix, doing more of my own cooking, mixing in some veggies, and essentially eating food that I considered "healthier." There was a time where I wasn't eating breakfast, so when I began to log my food/calories, I was eating Nutrigrain bars. I was also eating a lot of oatmeal, and not the best kind either. I was buying the packaged oatmeal with the variety of flavors. You know, the oatmeal FULL of sugar. Yeah, that's the one. At the time, what I was eating was healthier than my previous diet full of fast food. But while I was eating "healthier" than I had been before, I was still eating things that were really not the best option for me.

As things progressed, I wanted to cut out more of the processed food I was eating, and opt for healthier foods. Around that time my friend Katie and her husband Fonz had joined Crossfit and they were beginning to eat Paleo. Intrigued, I had Katie explain it to me, which lead me to read about it online. I toyed with the idea for awhile before I took the plunge and decided to try it out.

Would I consider myself Paleo?? No, I wouldn't. I'm not quite on that level yet, and I'm not 100% sure that is the right path for me. If anything, I would consider myself more Primal, and somewhat loose at that, though I'm working on it. There is a difference, and I will explain and provide some links as well. Please note, I could be wrong in my explanations here, this is just what I've picked up via internet research. But I consider myself more Primal as I have yet to cut out dairy and grains completely yet. I still have milk from time to time, I love cheese, and I do find myself eating some grains upon occasion.

The thing is, both Paleo & Primal are very similar. What they both have in common, the need to eat REAL food. Both diets cut out processed foods & sugars, and aim for diets with animal protein/fats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Basically if a caveman could have eaten it, it's fair game. There is more to Paleo & Primal, so I've put some links below for your reading pleasure.



Now to answer your questions as to why I chose to go the more Paleo/Primal route. To me it really just is a no-brainer. Often times before I opted to eat more Paleo/Primal, I would find myself hungry with very little left for my daily calories. As I started to eat more protein, and fill my side dishes with veggies, I was full longer and had less cravings. And honestly, I felt good. When I made the switch toward the Paleo/Primal direction, I was a little hesitant at first, but after about a month or so of it I felt a change. I felt better, which is not surprising since I was eating REAL and better food than I was before.

Another reason why I chose Paleo/Primal... I've seen it work. As I stated above, my friend Katie & her husband Fonz have been doing the Paleo thing as well as Crossfit, and I've seen the success they have had with it. Katie has been working on getting back into the swing of Crossfit & eating a stricter Paleo diet, and has toned up and lost some weight. Fonz on the other hand went into Crossfit & Paleo full force and lost quite a bit of weight. We're talking over a hundred pounds in a ten month time period. So I've seen that, when you really put in the work, you can be successful. So seeing the differences in my friends, and having their support, I decided to go the Paleo/Primal route. And hopefully soon I'll be incorporating a very modified version of Crossfit. But that is a post for another time.

If anyone would like a more in depth blog post about this, I can definitely work on that. As I said, I'm still learning and will share any new information I come across if you want to read it. :)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Happy Sunday!

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

Sundays for me are usually pretty busy. Sunday is the beginning of my work week, weigh in day, and also my food prep day. On Sundays I work 3pm-midnight and when I get off I usually go home, catch up on The Walking Dead, and make my food for the week. Tonight will be no different. :)

Last night I had the chance to spend a lovely evening out with some awesome ladies for my friend Katie's birthday. We had a dinner at Zaza Trattoria in St. Charles, which is Italian food. Now, for some of you who don't know, I have a love/hate relationship with pasta. Earlier in the week I checked out their menu so I could plan ahead for the evening. I DID order a pasta dish, and I DID have a couple drinks last night, but I also planned ahead. I knew what I was getting into, and made sure I had the calories to allow myself to have a good time. It's honestly so awesome to see the changes in myself already. If you would have talked to me two years ago, planning ahead was something I didn't do. I would have eaten/drank whatever I wanted without planning ahead, just with the thought of "this is a special occasion." I was the queen of excuses. A bad day for me now is NOWHERE close to a bad day for me two years ago. It's honestly amazing. Also, it helped that we did some walking last night as we did a bar crawl after dinner. It was a lot of fun.

With all of that said, I weighed in today and was down 4.6 lbs for this last week. I'm super happy & proud of my progress! Honestly, the bulk of my success comes from keeping track of my calories, & planning ahead/food prep. There have been times where I didn't log my food, or where I didn't get to prep for the week, and I was not nearly as successful as I could have/should have been. Planning is KEY to any success. Even if you're not Martha Stewart in the kitchen, a little planning goes a long way. For me, I eat a lot of chicken. I know a lot of people who really can't stand chicken, but I am NOT one of those people. I like to sautee it up with some veggies, bake it, there is SO much you can do with it. My newest thing when I bake chicken is to bake it in a foil pouch with some extra virgin olive oil, and I'll throw in a couple tablespoons of pico de gallo or fresh salsa. It comes out nice & moist, with a nice kick to it.

So, for those of you struggling with trying to lose the weight, here is my challenge to you. Log your food. Seriously. Keep a food journal and log your calories. I log my food on MyFitnessPal.com and I use their iPhone app when I'm not at the computer. Be honest with your food logs and give it a month. If you're honest in your logs, and make the effort to eat better, you WILL see a difference. Yeah, logging can be a pain in the butt sometimes, but it is SO worth it!

If you do decide to join MyFitnessPal, feel free to add me on there. I'm KittyCat613! Let's keep each other accountable!

So what are your plans for this week to be successful? The start of a new week means a fresh start! Give this week your best!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New stuff!

Just a quick blog, although I'll likely end up blogging more later, to say that I added some new tabs here on the blog. You can see the new tabs above. I added an "About" section, as well as a link to my Beyond the Fat Facebook Page and Twitter. I also have a link section so you can take a look at some of my favorite links, and other inspirational sites. So check it out and I will talk to you all later! :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Things to remember

I was recently tagged in a FaceBook status by one of my great friends, and inspirations, Jenni Whipple! I wanted to share this here because this status just put me back into the groove of things. I had been feeling down, feeling like there were so many people that wanted to see me fail, that I was just out of sorts. I wanted to share the status with you.. so here is it. 

"When you find yourself in the middle of that battle between those who want you to fail, those who doubt you or what your dreams mean to you, don't you DARE give into them! Don't you dare! You revisit why you WILL achieve your goals! You look at yourself in the mirror and you look at yourself straight in the eyes..even as hard as that may be, you do it! You do it, and you tell yourself WHY you WILL make those dreams come true. Why you will NOT allow THEM, THEM, THEM, to determine your future or who you are making yourself into! Oh no you will not! You have that control! If you slipped, you made a mistake, you pick yourself back up and dust yourself off, and start going in the right direction again. You are only a failure when you quit and give up, but, even after a "give up" you can pick up where you left off and get at it again. Push those nay sayers out of your life and surround yourself with believers. March with those who hold their heads high..that is who you belong with."

If that doesn't get you motivated to dust yourself off and keep going, I don't know what will. Yes, this journey for me is an uphill battle. Although lately it feels like it's an uphill battle, in the snow, with no shoes on. Haha. There are going to be days where I feel like the world is against me, but I'm not doing this for anyone else but ME. At the end of the day, it is ME who makes the decision whether I win or lose, not anyone else. Yes, having people around you who aren't exactly the most supportive does suck, but that is why you need to hold tightly to those who DO support you and build you up. It is essential for anyone's success to surround yourself with positive, like minded people. So, that is what I have been doing and am currently working on. 

It is also important to know that you will always have "haters." Yes, there will be those people in your life who diminish what you're doing or what you have already accomplished. They take pride in making you feel like your accomplishments are invalid. But when you look at the bigger picture, why would anyone want to make you feel bad about something unless it is a valid & great accomplishment? The fact is, there are people who just love to hate anything good in your life. Basically, as long as you have "haters," it's safe to say you're doing something right. LOL. You also have to be careful for sabotagers  These are people who eagerly stake a claim as a "supporting roll" in your journey, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty of things, they will always be the first to drag you down.

Who you surround yourself with is SO much more important than people will ever understand. Therefore, always be sure you surround yourself with positive, loving people. It also doesn't hurt to interact with those who have been down the path you're currently on. There is nothing more motivating than seeing someone who was in your shoes at one point, but who succeeded in their journey. Success stories are an AMAZING form of motivation, and the internet is full of them! :) 

With that, thanks for reading! 


Sorry it's been awhile since my last update. I won't say that I fell off the wagon, but I was slacking a bit. So I'll update you on my present situation.

So the inserts for my Reeboks were a bust. They honestly made my feet hurt even more. I have a very high instep so, when I put them in my shoes, it just made it hard to fit my feet in them. I put them in my shoes before I went to the mall and, on the way there, my feet ached so bad that I ended up taking them out of my shoes before going into the mall.

The thicker socks helped a bit, but I was still left with some blisters on my feet. So my next plan of action, when I have the money to sink into a new pair of kicks, is to go and actually get my feet sized, and get a new pair of shoes. Right now, this option is not feasible for me because I really don't have the cash right now for it. Buying food to eat healthy is far more important at the moment.. so we'll see. I'm hoping to be able to do this soon though, as I haven't been walking in a couple weeks.

As stated before, I had been slacking a bit. I was eating okay, but I was having a bit of a hard time. I'm a stress/emotional eater, and the last two weeks haven't exactly been all that great in my book. Some personal drama caused me to stress a bit, which lead to maybe not the best choices on my plate. I did have a little bit of a gain before I took 2 weeks off from the scale. I am happy to say though, that I am back on track. I weighed in yesterday and, since my last weigh in 2 weeks ago, I'm down 7.4 lbs. So, I am happy with those results.

As far as everything else, I do plan to begin walking again. It may not be in the best shoes for awhile, but I need to get my movement back in. I will also be starting up Crossfit sometime this week, or next week. I'm excited and very nervous. I, of course, will be logging my journey here and I have also created a FaceBook page for my journey. I will post the link to that here once it's up and running in the next couple weeks. I'll be posting progress photos there to show how I'm doing, but those likely won't come until after Crossfit has stuck and I have some progress to show. So maybe around the 6 week mark. :) Either way, I'm excited.

Other than that, life is life. I hope all of you are doing well. Thanks for reading!