Repost: FAQ – Part One

Reposted for new readers: I love getting mail from readers! I get a lot of emails with the same questions and realized I never wrote a FAQ post addressing a lot of them! So here goes. 🙂


How tall are you and how much do you weigh now?

I’m 5’5 and I currently weigh 144 pounds. My goal weight was 150, so it makes me pretty happy that I was able to lose a little bit more and maintain it. I like having that “buffer” between my goal weight and what I weigh now.

How much did you weigh at your heaviest?

At my heaviest I was about 255 pounds. I started tracking my weight loss progress a month after I started swimming, so 250 was my first recorded weight.

Do you still run?

Not really. The IT Band injury I had in 2010 was a big setback. I eventually got back to running after months of rehab. I was consistently running about 5 miles at a time with no injury until November of 2011. My knee started to bother me again and I quit running. I want to get back to it. I’ve been slowly running 1 mile at a time when my knee feels up to it. I don’t know that I will ever really get back to running like I did before the injury.

What is your favorite fitness activity?

Probably swimming because it was my first love and it was the activity that helped me lose 100 pounds. When I was obese, I did not start doing any other fitness activities until I’d lost about 40 pounds. Then I added the elliptical and eventually started running.

How many calories do you eat a day now?

It varies. My base is 1,600 calories. If I exercise, I eat more calories. For example, on heavy fitness days when I burn 700 calories, I will eat between 2,000-2,100 calories. I’m not trying to lose weight right now, just maintain, and don’t restrict my calories on days my body needs the fuel. On rest days, I try to eat between 1,600-1,800 calories.

How did you start to lose weight? And where do I start?

I knew it was time to make a change. I started by swimming. I swam a few times a week for whatever I could handle. It wasn’t much and I had to rest a lot in between laps. Eventually I built up my stamina. I swam for about a month before I started counting my calories. Doing those two things separately helped me a lot. I didn’t get overwhelmed with trying to tackle both. Eventually my new lifestyle was fairly easy to maintain. Counting my calories will always be part of my life.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, start by reading this series I wrote:

Week OneWeek One Check In

Week Two , Week Two Check In

Week Three

Week Four

Week Five

My suggestion is to use a system that works for you to record your calories or Weight Watchers points. There are websites, phone apps, or write it down by hand. Check out this guest post: The Battle of The Calorie Counters.

What was your favorite race?

This is a hard one. I liked a lot of races I did and they each had unique challenges. While Hood to Coast was a challenge (Why I Wouldn’t Do Hood To Coast Again), I don’t regret doing it and it was such an amazing event that I am glad I can say “I ran Hood to Coast.”

But honestly, I’d have to say that the Portland Century was probably my favorite race to-date. First, I trained better for it. I was more prepared and I recovered quickly, without any injury (bonus!). Second, the weather was absolutely perfect–sunny and warm and just a really fantastic summer day. Lastly, it was an event I did with Michael and that made me happy. I love that we can do activities like that as a couple and cross the finish line together! It just makes it all more special. 🙂

Any advice for choosing my first race?

My advice is to start small. Don’t expect to run a marathon your first try. I did a 5k for my first race and built up to it. Consider the time of year and the potential nasty weather when choosing a race. And have fun!

Have you ever gained any weight back after losing it?

I have struggled. After losing 110 pounds and keeping it off for almost a year, I started taking a medication in conjunction with also running a lot (i.e. also eating a lot more). I didn’t realize that the medication I was taking was causing the weight to creep up on the scale. I gained about 15 pounds and realized what was going on. I stopped taking the medication and the weight came off.

I want to buy a bike. How do I get the right one?

I have the perfect posts for you. Read these:

How to Buy a Bike – Part 1

How to Buy a Road Bike – Part 2

Bike Buying Mistakes

I want to start commuting to work on my bike. Any tips?

I have lots of tips! My suggestion is to practice the route you are going to take on the weekend and time yourself so you aren’t late for work. And check out this post: Tips For Commuting By Bike.

You eat a lot of meats. How come?

I was actually a vegetarian for over a decade. I was unhealthy and when I started running I found that I was craving meat. I tried to trick my body with the faux meats but it didn’t get rid of the craving. I am a full-fledged meat eater now and I feel a million times better. Our meals rotate. We eat a lot of fish (salmon, shrimp, scallops) alternating it with things like chicken, ground turkey, pork chops and on occasion steak.

How long have you been with your boyfriend? Do you ever struggle with staying healthy together?

Michael and I will be celebrating our 4 year anniversary this June. We were friends for about 5 months before we started dating. It’s hard to believe it’s already been 4 years! Michael is a wonderful addition to my life and I am so happy that we are together. He challenges me, he supports me, we have fun together and it’s just nice to come home to a smiling face that makes me happy.

We’ve lived together almost 3 years. Moving in together posed some challenges for me. I realized pretty quickly that my eating habits would change because I was living with someone else who also had a say in the food we bought. There was a transition time and we eventually worked things out. Compromising helps. If he wants pizza, we get the deLite thin crust (lower calorie) pizza. He’s more open to eating veggies. 🙂 We work together to enjoy our dinners together, eat healthy and have fun too!

This concludes the first FAQ post. Keep the questions coming! Especially from the new readers. 🙂

QUESTION: Do you have a burning question you need answered?

Repost: Why You Don’t Quit for the Holidays

(reposted for new readers) 

Why You Don’t Quit for the Holidays

On Monday I posted some tips for not overeating during Thanksgiving. The good news is that Thanksgiving and Christmas are JUST ONE DAY. That means if you do overeat a little, it’s not the end of the world. It’s one slip up, that can be reversed if dealt with immediately.

How is that possible, you wonder?

Basically with continuing your exercise.

I think the biggest struggle a lot of people have with the holidays is the fact that they Fall Off the Wagon. I’ve done this too. I stop counting calories, I eat things I normally don’t eat, I skip workouts because of parties, out of town guests, traveling, etc.

The trick is to KEEP AT IT. Don’t fall off that wagon because it’s so hard to get back on it.

  • Buffets
  • Office parties
  • Dinner parties
  • Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner
  • Family parties
  • Cookie parties
  • Christmas cookies, foodie gifts, holiday baking….

The temptations are everywhere!

Try and fit in some exercise like your normal routine dictates. If your normal routine is to run twice a week at lunchtime, do it. If your normal routine is to go to the gym after work, do it.

The holidays can be stressful. Not enough time and being pulled in a million directions but we must take care of ourselves. I know for me, if I don’t get my exercise I will become stressed and irritable. I won’t have that outlet for my stress which normally cures my irritably…so without that I will eat  for comfort, drink more, eat things I wouldn’t normally want.

I’ve already planned my workout routines for the coming holiday season. I found out my gym will be opened restricted hours on Thanksgiving so I fully plan on going in early Thanksgiving morning to get in what I can.

The gym is not open on Christmas day but if the weather holds up, I hope I can squeeze in a run sometime.

If not, I will hop on the bike trainer in the living room and pedal away while I watch A Christmas Story.

My hope is that the gym will be emptier and emptier as the holidays progress. 😉 More room for me!

Seriously….don’t be one of Those People that only exercises in January and February because of New Year’s Resolutions! Let’s start a tradition of Staying Sane During the Season and exercising!!

Who’s in?

QUESTION: Is exercise the first thing that goes away during the holidays? How is this year going to be different for you?