Moving The Goalpost

Ladies and gentlemen – I just registered for my very first 5k!! Woohoo!! Hooray! Nothing has ever been so exciting! Best! Day! Ever!

Not convinced?

Bear with me. I’m doing my best to convince myself that training to run a 5k is something that I am in any way excited about.

I’m not the girl who loves to run, or the girl who craves competition. Who I am is the girl who needs goals. Badly.

Whenever I had a particularly rough day chasing THE BIG GOAL to lose 100 lbs, I would imagine the Before & After pictures. I could force myself to work out even on the laziest day by imagining a sports-bra-in-front-of-people After Picture.

I’m not gonna lie, putting together Before & After images is great fun.

What’s that? You want to see another one? Well… if you insist:

smiling banda

Yup. That’s fun.

But now I need something new to force a workout on a lazy day. I need a goal with a deadline.

One thing I’ve long known about myself is this: If I don’t have a deadline to meet, I will do precisely nothing.

I respond well to deadlines. Deadlines and goals help me to frame my life.

I spent so long in pursuit of my 100 pound weight loss. Now that that goal has been met I scarcely know what to do with myself.

Enter: 5k. Craziness.

It had to be done. I had to move the goalpost on myself.

While running a 5k may not be as exciting as a Before & After picture, failing to set new goals could mean falling into the ‘diet’ trap. When I’ve yo-yoed in the past, it was because I reached a goal and called it a day.

Unfortunately, when you choose a fit lifestyle, you’re not allowed to call it a day. You have to keep going forever.


If you’re the kind of person who can go to the gym every day without any specific goals in mind, you’ve got your ish together better than I do.

As for me, I need to be consistently mindful of future goals. Up next: Sprint Triathlon? Maybe.

Who knows how far those goalposts can go! I hope to live an Eleanor Roosevelt kind of life.

“ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

Releasing the Supermodel


When you imagine the most perfectly honed version of yourself, does that person look a lot like a supermodel? I, for one, have spent a lifetime with a vision of Supermodel Self living in my head.

I think Supermodel Self is a natural response to cultural conditioning. We spend billions of dollars every year on products promising that there’s a skinny, toned, wrinkle-free, unblemished, gorgeously coiffed You just waiting to be set free. It’s why supermodels exist. They’re there to convince us that if we spend enough money, we can look just like them.

I remember watching a Pussycat Dolls video several years ago and thinking that if only I could lose the weight, I’d be built just like Nicole Scherzinger.

I mean, I’ve got an hourglass frame. What more do you need, right?

The thing is… I lost the weight. I gained the muscle tone. And, as it turns out, I’m your average human woman.

I finally understand – as long as I chase my Supermodel Self, there will always be something to pick on.

When you begin a massive physical transformation of any kind, you don’t really know what Transformed You will look like. Losing 100 lbs felt amazing, but it also revealed that my nose is bigger than I once thought. My face shrank around my nose, but my nose stayed the same. Also, my shoulders look wider when my arms and torso are smaller. Who knew? I had no idea.

Know what else happened when I lost all that weight? My once-proud tatas bailed on me. They are mere shadows of what they once were. It’s very, very sad.

So, what is one to do? Shall I sell a kidney in order to afford a boob job? And a nose job? I mean… the supermodel in my head cannot come to fruition without some serious surgical alteration.

While I’m at it, I should probably schedule some botox. I’m in my 30s now, and the lines on my face are beginning to show.

Do you think I need some hair extensions, too? My hair isn’t so full and shiny since having kids…

See how that cycle of thinking goes? There’s always something to pick on.

So, I have a new goal. I need to give my Supermodel Self her walking papers. She makes me feel bad about Actual Self. She points to my flaws rather than reminding me of my strengths. She thinks I should look like someone my husband and my kids wouldn’t even recognize.

I can’t be happy in my own skin as long as Supermodel Self is in residence in my brain. I need to release her and focus on being happy with what I’m lucky to have.

My boobs don’t stand at attention anymore, but they fed a couple of kids.

My post-pregnancy body may never again rock a bikini, but I can swim laps for an hour because the body wearing the mom-ish one piece is pretty damn strong.

I won’t be getting any surgery or hiring a beauty squad and air brushing team to follow me around. I will never be Supermodel Self. But I’m healthy and I’m strong. The sooner I embrace that, the better off I’ll be.

My ego will thank me.

Happy Exhaustion Considers Running

In high school, my least favorite day of any year was the day my gym class administered the National Fitness Test.

My least favorite part of my least favorite day was Running The Mile.

Every year, I came in dead last (or tied for dead last, if someone else in class was similarly athletically challenged) with a rockin’ time of around 16 minutes.

I never ran.

I never even jogged.

If my gym teacher was extra lucky, I might consider a power walk.

I acted like I was walking because I thought I was too damn cool to play your stupid gym class game. Who’s got my smokes?

Really, it was the most publicly humiliating day of my year.

I knew if I tried, I’d fail. I decided it was better to never try in the first place.

I’ve avoided running ever since.

Until now.

After two rounds of Insanity, I’m looking for new ways to get a good full-body workout.

(I tried P90X and took a pass. More on that another day.)

Luckily, I live close to a park with a mile track.

I used to walk this track with my mom when I first decided to get healthy. I got winded just walking a mile back then.

That was almost a year ago.

Since then, I’ve gained confidence in my own strength. So, I decided to go back and see. Am I capable of running?

Like… at all?

I girded my loins, charged up my iPod, and headed to the park.

When I hit the track, I began to run.

I didn’t so much as slow down for the whole first mile!

Once again, I got to experience my new favorite feeling: Accomplishing something I’ve spent a lifetime thinking I’d never be able to do!

Since then, I’ve gone for a few 4 mile runs.

Well… ‘runs’ may be a little generous.

I run the first mile, jog the second and third, and alternate walking, slow jogging, and cursing for the fourth.

I wouldn’t blame REAL runners if they laugh on the inside when they see me. There’s a good chance that I flail like I’m having a seizure.

But, for me, running is an excellent exercise in getting over silly vanity.

This is what I look like after a run (or any good workout):

Vanity Schmanity

See how my face turns an astonishing shade of fuchsia? See how my face matches my fluorescent pink camera and bra? That’s a lifelong thing. It’s in my genetic code. There’s nothing I can do about it.

My self-consciousness over that rockin’ red face is an excuse I’ve used to avoid working out in public in the past. Luckily, my compulsion to be healthy has finally kicked the ass of such silliness.

While grappling with my painfully negative self-image at 243 lbs, I even felt self-conscious about people seeing me out walking.

I imagined everyone looking at my plus-sized frame and judging me as a slob.

What I only realized after putting in all the hard work is this: The fit runners I thought were judging me? They’re only fit because they’re there doing the hard work.

I always assumed it came naturally to everyone but me. But maybe… just maybe… they’re fighting for their own health as hard as I am.

People lapping me at the track may be thinking the same thing I (now) think when I see a particularly heavy woman at the track:

YOU GO, GIRL!!!!!!!!!! DO IT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is no more difficult stage in the journey towards fitness than the beginning.

If you’re terribly out of shape and at the track, I know I’m witnessing someone deciding to make an awesome change.

You’re just starting out. You’ve decided to do the hard work.

I want to bust out some pompoms and cheer you on!

I want to pull out my before & after pictures and tell you I KNOW you can do it, too.

Of course, I don’t do any of these things. I don’t want to be committed.

But, it’s a good life lesson: The person you assume is judging you just might be silently cheering you on.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find my gym teacher’s email address.

The Metrics of Motivation


Since sharing the story of my hundred pound weight loss, I’ve been inundated with questions about how I did it. Most focus on what I ate and how I worked out. But before diving into the process of it all, I think we have to talk about getting started in the first place.

It’s not about IF you want it. It’s about how badly. It’s about why.

There’s no point in discussing low-cal recipes or running shoes if you’re not in a frame of mind that will allow you to reach your goals.

Losing a lot of weight takes a long time. It means enduring weeks – even months – of not seeing any change, and stubbornly refusing to give up. If your motivation is a high school reunion or a bikini season, you might be doomed to yo-yo or just throw your hands up in defeat.

I wasn’t able to do it when my motivation was to look smokin’ hot on my wedding day.

I couldn’t do it when the way I looked in clothes reduced me to tears in dressing rooms.

I couldn’t do it for vanity. And trust me, I’ve got enough to go around.

It took decades of yo-yo dieting before it clicked: Your motivator needs to be big & strong enough to beat the crap out of your daily, momentary desires.

I wanted to look hot in a bikini. But I didn’t want it more than I wanted to avoid physical exertion on any given day.

I wanted my husband to find me totally irresistible. But I didn’t want it more than I wanted to eat and drink anything that struck my fancy when we went out to dinner together.

My long-term motivators were too weak to overcome my right-this-minute desires for comfort and consumption.

My addiction to the yumminess is powerful, as is my general aversion to working til I sweat. These predispositions are hard to fight. Without powerful motivation to defeat them, it’s easy to rationalize, justify, and excuse unhealthy choices ‘just for today/this week/this holiday season’.

If you want to lose a lot of weight, but are well trained in the art of making excuses for yourself (I hold an advanced degree in this department) Step One is to find a kick-ass form of motivation. You need a motivator with the power to take on addictions and aversions.

Dig deeper than the pretty. Find something visceral, something without an expiration date.

You need something big, because you need to inspire your own full-scale lifestyle change.

Stop thinking about your diet. Start thinking about your top-to-bottom healthier new life.

There’s no way for me to know what will motivate you all the way down to your toes, only you know that. But here are a few things to consider:

Think about the people that you love. How many healthy years do you want to spend with them?

How about your family history? Are you genetically predisposed to Diabetes? Heart disease? Stroke? Wouldn’t it be nice to head that off at the pass while you still can?

Do you have people around you who look up to you? Kids maybe? Think you’d inspire them by modeling an active and healthy lifestyle?

I hate to put it like this, but you should consider scaring yourself a little.

The fear of sacrificing healthy years with my kids on the altar of my laziness lit a fire under me that even my wedding dress couldn’t ignite.

My 100 pound weight loss was driven by survival instinct. Vanity’s got nothin’ on this mama’s compulsion to be around for her kids for as many decades as possible.

When you find motivation that comes from your soul instead of from your vanity, you will be ready to do the hard work.

You’ll stop making excuses.

You’ll succeed.