Jan 152013
 

Did you miss Part One of the FAQ? Check it out here. This will be an ongoing series as I get emails and comments with questions from readers. If I haven’t answered something, just leave a comment below.

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I just found your blog recently. Where should I start reading?

My blog has evolved a lot since it’s inception in 2010. In the beginning I didn’t really have a vision for this website, partly because I didn’t really think anyone would read it! As it grew, my style changed. I got away from the “This is What I Ate” type of posts. I was personally bored writing them, so I assumed readers were bored reading them. I do post recipes here and there. As a result of this evolution, I think a lot of my newer posts are probably better. Here are some suggestions:

My first Blog Post

My Fat History – this is sort of an “About Me” type of page.

How I Lost 110 Pounds – answers the basic questions about how I lost the weight.

Best Of 

Why Wednesday – Why You Should Lose Weight Slowly

Lap Swimming Etiquette

Swimming Tips for Beginners

Polar Heart Rate Monitor Tutorial

Overcoming Exercise Obstacles

My Thoughts on The Four Hour Body Week

My 100 Pound Anniversary

Fitness and Finding Love

Don’t Break the Bank Getting in Shape

I Can Barely Walk, But I Can Definitely Swim

How to Plan Some Awesome Meals

How often do you weigh in on the scale? Do you still record your weight and calories at myfitness pal?

I weigh myself once a month. I’m at the stage right now where I don’t fluctuate in my weight very much beyond a pound of water retention. I use the monthly weigh-in just to check in with myself. Even though I don’t see a change in the scale, I still want to be aware. I went scale-free last summer and it really helped me to not care about that number on the scale as much. It did wonders for my self-esteem!

Yes, I still use MyFitnessPal to record my weight, my food intake and my exercise. I also track on the site Cronometer. It’s a great website to log foods and analyze trends in eating and nutrients. Even though I am in maintenance mode and not trying to lose, I still have to do what worked to lose the weight. I will always count my calories. I may not be restricting in order to lose, but I still have to be accountable to myself.

I may not talk about it much on my blog anymore since I don’t post my weigh-in or post my food as often, but I still do it. It’s a MUST. I have to be accountable if I’m going to keep the weight off long term.

What do you do if you start seeing an upward trend on the scale? ( like a gradual, slow gain).

This doesn’t happen often anymore. Like I said above, I’m maintaining and my weight doesn’t change much. It may fluctuate a few pounds during that time of the month, but I don’t count that. Month in and month out I’ve been the same weight —somewhere in the 144’s (144.4, 144.6, etc).

There was one time after I reached goal weight where I did gain weight. I started taking a medication that unfortunately caused weight gain. Sadly, I didn’t put two and two together until almost a year had passed and I’d gained 15 pounds. As I saw those numbers tick up on the scale, I ignored them. I was running all the time, I was training for Hood to Coast, and I blamed the numbers going up on that. It wasn’t until I realized that the drugs caused weight gain and that gaining 15 pounds even though I was counting my calories AND exercising 5 days a week was NOT NORMAL, that I stopped the medication. I lost weight pretty quickly and it reaffirmed that the medication was packing on the pounds.

Now, medication-free and doing all the “right” things, if I saw a gain I’d pay attention. First, I would measure my body and see if I was gaining muscle. Second, I’d start being more careful with measuring my food and not “eye-balling” it. Lastly, I would pay attention to my sugar intake. Am I drinking more alcohol more frequently?

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Am I digging into the Candy Room at work more often? Am I having too much dessert too often? 

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When you first started swimming how did you get into the swim suit? Were you embarrassed by your thighs or butt?

I knew that swimming was the right exercise for me as a way to lose weight. First, it was something I’d always loved doing as a kid and as a teen so I knew I’d stick with it. Second, swimming was a good activity for an obese person with sore joints.

Getting into that swim suit was the only option. I had to in order to lose the weight. I just knew it was something I had to overcome. No matter how embarrassing or uncomfortable it was, I had to do it. Something that helped was wearing a swim suit that had a skirt attached to it like this one:

The suit I had was nowhere near as cute as that one. But it had a skirt that covered some of my thigh region–the part I was most self-conscious about. That helped. And honestly, once I was in the pool it wasn’t even an issue because no one could see me under water. :)

It looks like you like beer. Isn’t that high in calories?

Why yes it is! Especially if you like the IPAs that I drink almost exclusively. IPAs are often between 180-220 calories a pop. That’s quite a bit. I follow my “90/10 Rule“, which means I eat in a healthy way most of the time, but I splurge and indulge, too. It’s called enjoying everything in moderation! Even beer! If that means I only have 1 beer once in awhile, that’s okay by me. Because I’m not DENYING myself anything. I’m not on a diet. I made a lifestyle change.

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What kind of camera do you have?

I have a Canon Rebel and I LOVE IT! It’s my “precious.”  I love my camera so much. It’s a great camera, takes wonderful pictures–while I am still learning how to use it. I took one camera class but for the most part I’ve been teaching myself with just practice, practice, practice. I use LightRoom to edit my photos.

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How often would you run when you trained for a race? Did you give yourself days off for rest? How many? Did you cross train during that time? I just started running and wondering if I could run more than 3x/week.

Great questions! I was running 3 days a week on average when I was running a lot. In the beginning I had to give myself a few days in between my runs because my thighs would be really sore. But as I conditioned my body and got better at running, I could run two days in a row if I wanted to.

I did a lot of cross-training simply because I’d always done it. I swam two days a week no matter what because swimming was how I lost my weight and I loved doing it. I tried to fit in a yoga class here and there as well. I also spent one day a week doing cardio at the gym (stair-master usually).

If you’re just starting out with running, I really suggest following a plan for beginners. Increasing mileage, speed or frequency too much too soon leads to injury or over-training. While I did not follow a “program,” I have heard really good things about the Couch to 5k Program. It’s worth a try. Good luck!

QUESTION: I love getting reader mail, so ask away if you have any questions!

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Aug 312012
 

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. :)

FAQs

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?

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