Firstly, my small changes added up to big ones. I cut out pop (soda, Coke, whatever you call it wherever you are) completely cold turkey on January 1st. I went from a 32 oz fountain Pepsi for my lunch every day to water and tea. I was always a tea drinker but I also saturate the stuff with Sweet-n-Low which I try to avoid. I have drank more water in this year than I have previously in my lifetime, and that includes pool water and bathtub nonsense as a kid. Just a few days left of this year and I will have been pop-free for 365 full days and that's pretty awesome. Sure, there are days I could KILL for a fountain Diet Coke from McDonalds (you all know they taste better there and I'm not really sure why, but I digress), but I don't. Baby step number 1 - accomplished.
Baby step 2 was tracking my food on MyFitnessPal throughout the year. I had an almost 300 day streak going before the cruise and one day with my crazy back and forth, day and night shifts I happened to miss logging in at some point for that day and I threw my whole streak off! I was angry about that one but I also knew I'd be on a cruise ship at the end of that month and I wouldn't have phone access and the streak would have ended anyway. But really, tracking food and knowing exactly what you're putting in your mouth is another huge part of the battle. I've heard so many times "you can't outwork a bad diet" and it's so true. I try to remind myself of that when there are temptations around and *most* of the time it works. I've also become a big fan of "everything in moderation"… and that includes moderation. I was so strict on my diet, eating, counting calories and comparing my fats/carbs/protein ratios that at one point it was a little over the top. I think I've found a healthy balance and am aware of what is good for me to eat, what certainly is not, and what I can have in moderation and still keep myself on track. I've let loose a bit with my diet over the last few weeks with the holidays. I'm human, I'm ever evolving and learning about myself and my body. I can fix what I've done and I'm certainly a far cry from what I was at this time last year.
Christmas 2012 vs Christmas 2013
This year also included me being tired of being tired all the time. I was incredibly unhealthy with a BMI (body mass index) of 42 and I am now at 32.8. I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without trying to hide how winded I was and just accepted I was going to be a big girl all my life. I was giving up without even trying.
When I decided I was going to run a marathon I thought I could do it just because I figured if I had walked a half marathon with not much training that I could finish a marathon with *some* training. While a marathon is quite literally two half marathons, it's so much more. The first half and the second half are two completely different beasts, I don't care if it's your first or tenth I'm sure you'd agree with me. That second half took everything I had inside of me to not quit going and it was after 30 weeks of following my training plan and being 55 pounds lighter than I had started. Not only have I gotten physically stronger this year, but mentally as well. You can't finish a marathon just using your legs, I'll tell you that. I don't know that I can accurately describe it unless you've done it, but it's way more than your legs being able to keep you moving and upright for 26.2 miles.
I began a new career as an ICU nurse this year on my way to going to Nurse Anesthesia school. After being a surgical nurse in the OR for the first two years of my career I knew I wanted to go back to school but didn't know for what. I thought initially about a Family Nurse Practitioner program and applied to a few but didn't get in. Yes, the girl who was always on the honor roll and finished in the top 10% of her high school and college class got rejected from grad school. Three of them to be exact. It was a punch in the gut by reality but I soon realized it was because it wasn't what I was supposed to be doing. I found myself being more and more interested in what the anesthetists were doing and thinking how much I wanted to do critical care when I got out of school but at the time I couldn't get in anywhere. I took a chance and applied for my current job in the cardiac intensive care unit at one of the country's best children's hospitals and was quickly rejected due to my lack of experience anywhere outside of the OR. A short time later I was contacted by a nurse recruiter about the same position and I gladly accepted an interview. I knew it was the perfect opportunity and I would have some amazing experiences (heart transplants, ECMO, lines and drips!) and I could learn so much! It also is a path to going to anesthesia school so I took the opportunity and ran with it. Fortunately I kept my other position in the OR and I work as often as I want to and help them out and help out my wedding fund in the mean time.
Speaking of wedding fund… the ENGAGEMENT! Oh yes, the epic events of September 27th I won't ever forget. It was legitimately the best day of my life - I had a massage, slept in, Starbucks, went out to lunch before and obviously not knowing what was coming. My love got down on his knee with the most perfect ring and asked me to marry him. I still remember everything about that day and I hope I'll never forget. Wedding planning has been exciting and I can't wait to see our vision come to life! I'm thinking of 12/13/14 and putting on my dress and imagining how I'll look. How I'm so glad I've spent this year changing and that I'm determined to be in the best shape of my life for our day. Don't worry, you all will be along for the ride :)
I know I talk about how much your support has meant to me over this year but I do mean it. I don't just update to update and I don't post pictures on Instagram or the Facebook page just to show off. I do it to keep myself accountable and I love hearing from you all that I've inspired YOU! I was the girl browsing the pages, wondering where to start and how I was going to go from couch potato to marathoner but I did it. I think that's the most important part is having the big goals but breaking it down into smaller ones. The big picture can be scary and overwhelming. The baby steps, the small goals, the day by day and meal by meal are things you can control in the moment. You can make choices that will affect you in that moment but will also have profound meaning to the bigger picture. It all adds up. One step at a time, one meal at a time, one workout at a time. So thank you, thank you, thank you for all that you do, every encouragement and every follow, like, and comment do mean a lot to me and motivates me to keep going as well. If I can do it, anyone can. Even you. Believe!
I listed goals in my "The Beginning of the End" very first post last December and they were:
"My official 2013 goals:
1. Finish the marathon. Also, finish a half marathon at the appropriate point in my training schedule (if there is one within good distance from here and it falls in the schedule. I don't want to try to do one of those again if I'm only built up to 5-6 miles and hurt myself or feel overwhelmed and want to quit).
2. Run/jog a 5K start to finish. No walking.
3. Lose at least 50 pounds for the year. Total goal for weight loss is 90 pounds (153).
4. Track my food.
5. Quit sneak eating.
6. Quit drinking pop.
7. Learn new, healthy recipes that even Kyle will enjoy. He's one of the pickiest eaters I know!
8. Take the time to cook. Reduce the amount of times we eat out substantially.
9. Finish the whole 90 days of P90X. Last time I did it I only got about 6 weeks in and I ended up brushing it off with a schedule/job change. It was doing wonders and I could see results and that didn't even keep me going.
10. Keep only supportive people around me."
How did I do? Check off numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8(ish), and 10. Pretty good! I will still occasionally sneak eat. I try to remember to put my purse in my trunk so I don't stop and pick something up on the way home and try to steer clear of the LaRosa's pizza in the cafeteria at work but I'm not always successful. I've decreased my "sneak eating" by about 95% so I will call that a win I guess. So we'll go with an 8/10 for goals. I started doing meal prepping in July when I started working with my trainer, Sara, and that does wonders for accountability as well. We still eat out a fair amount but I make better choices when we do a majority of the time. I didn't finish P90X because I got too bored, same with Insanity. I just couldn't get into it. I did do exceptionally well keeping only supportive people around and I acquired a whole lot more via Instagram and my Facebook page that I'm so lucky to have! I've made some of my closest friends through Instagram and the support I get from that outlet alone is more than I could have ever hoped for. Don't knock it til you try it! Putting yourself out in front of the world isn't easy but it is certainly motivating.
Now onto the next year which I anticipate to be even bigger and better than 2013. I don't know how but I just have a feeling going into the next year strong will bring me closer to my goals and 2014 will fly by just like 2013 did.
Goals for 2014:
1. Lose another 30-40 pounds and get to goal weight. (161-151)
2. Finish my second marathon May 4th, the Cincinnati Flying Pig - any time will be better than the first, I'm sure. PR! Training starts next week!
3. Sub 30 minute 5K.
4. Finish my first sprint triathlon. Shooting for June 28th in the town where I live (Mason Sprint Triathlon)
5. Get Zumba certified to be an instructor!
6. Be in the best shape of my life for my wedding. Knock everyone's socks off in my dress :)
7. Get applications in for CRNA school by fall due dates to University of Cincinnati, Texas Wesleyan and potentially Otterbein.
8. Read at least 5 books for the year. Not a lot for you big readers but I'm also banking overtime this whole year to pay for this blessed event so down time is precious!
9. Pay it forward throughout the year in small ways as often as possible.
10. Keep going, never look back, keep inspiring others.
What goals do you have for the year? 2014 is right around the corner and I'm planning on making it mine! Here's to a healthy-happy-injury free-PR setting-best foot forward New Year!