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Anniversary News

21 Oct

londonHello, all you skinny people. We’ve made it to year two (ermeygerd!). Dunno how it happened, but you all stuck with me, and I am ever grateful for it.

For the past two years, I have gone through literal ups and downs in trying to stay current on this site without brow-beating my readers. I want you all to grow and thrive. I want you all to explore the different aspects of yourself that challenge you and make you better. Your health is so important, and I hope that through this blog I’ve helped you see this.

All of this is to say…there’s news. I was recently offered a position in my company that would require me to move to London. So, I’m moving to London. I’m beyond thrilled, excited, nervous, anxious, stressed and everything else that goes into a big move like this. I’ve been waiting to tell you all for months about this, but only recently have details been hammered out.

What does this mean for I’m Skinny, Now What?

Well, I’m sure you’ve noticed I haven’t been posting as often as I had been. That’s more laziness on my part than anything. I still fully believe in the message of this site that the work doesn’t end when you’ve reached your goal weight. There are tons of stories to tell. But I had a lot on my plate and something had to give. So, for the near future, posts will continue to be infrequent as I gear up for this move in the coming weeks. But that doesn’t mean this is the end.

I’ve never lived abroad. I only have two stamps in my passport. This is the beginning of a whole new adventure. Prepare for I’m Skinny, Now What?–London Edition. How will I cope with the food that everyone warns me about? What will my new schedule to do my exercise routine? What new workout routines can I get myself involved in across the Atlantic?

There’s so much to explore in the coming months and I can’t wait to tell you more about them.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for sticking with me for the past couple of years. We’ve still got a ways to go, but we can do it.

And if any of you have any tips on how to stay fit in London (or any tips about London), please let me know.

Just Have Fun With It

10 Sep

have_funI’m an editor at a newspaper. When I began my career at a small publication outside Atlanta, I had one of the perkiest bosses known to man. This was strange for two reasons: 1) I don’t really like perky people and 2) perky people aren’t usually found in newsrooms. We’re a grumpy, cynical bunch.

Whenever I’d come across a story that just didn’t make sense or a headline that was giving me trouble, she’d say, “Just have fun with it.” At first, this annoyed the hell out of me. I’m in my early 20s working late hours at a cruddy newspaper writing headlines for sometimes shoddy work, and she wants me to have fun with it. The hell?!

One day, I decided to let go of my grumpy, cynical armor and “just have fun with it.” I started writing better headlines. I started making sense of non-sensical copy. I even started to warm up to her. She’s really a nice person, and we’re Facebook friends to this day.

I took that mantra of “just have fun with it” with me when I began my weight-loss journey. In the beginning, it was absurdly difficult. I’m the woman who had at least three tubs of ice cream in the freezer at all times, complete with fudge sauce just in case. I kept boxes of brownie and cake mix in the cabinets because you never know when you need to bake a cake. I would come home after my late shifts and wind down like most people: fix a plate, watch some television, cuddle with my dog and go to sleep, only to start the cycle all over again.

Taking an active role in my health not only shook up my routine, it wasn’t a lot of fun. Burgers are more fun than kale. Television marathons are more fun than actual marathons. But the “fun” things weren’t doing me any good. I had to find the fun in order to continue on my weight-loss journey and achieve my goals.

My first step was playlists. Nothing keeps the body moving like a good playlist. Everyone has their preference. Mine goes somewhere between Beyonce and trap music. Either way, I need a good beat from a familiar song to keep me moving. And if I’m humming along to some Mike Will Made It beat, then I won’t be so focused on the sweat dripping in my eyes.

The next thing I did was make sure to try new things. It’s so easy to fall into a rut (see above with the burgers and TV). The gym, while beneficial, can seem like a scene from “Office Space,” with the fluorescent lights, horrible music and monotone instructors. I try to keep my gym visits to once or twice a week. In between, I’m running, at spin class (much different from being on the machines in the gym), swimming, yoga, etc. I avoid doing the same workout two days in a row so I don’t become too used to a routine and to shock my body with another workout.

Another way to keep the fun quotient high is to have a buddy. I have my workout nanny. You could have a friend who looks up to your good works. Or a relative who, well meaningingly, makes snide comments about your appearance and you want to shut them up. Or you and your significant other share a passion for CrossFit. Whatever it is, it’s best to have someone in your corner. There’s a reason there are people on the sidelines at races cheering people on. Because when you’re on a never-ending hill, it’s nice to look up and see someone telling you to keep going.

There’s fun to be had on this journey, especially when you reach your goal. Take it serious enough to understand how your body reacts to different workouts and diets, but not so seriously that you can’t find the joy in it. Just have fun with it.

No Excuses

28 Jan

I’m a strong believer in the “no excuses” philosophy. I always say that if there is something that’s important to you, you’ll find a way to get it.

A couple of women have come under fire for preaching “no excuses.” They’ve been labeled fat shamers because they’ve made no excuses for taking active roles in their health.

I understand both sides because I’ve been there. I’ve been daunted at the thought of all the work I have to do. I’ve looked at how much weight I need to lose, what clothes I want to fit in, where I want my cholesterol and blood pressure to be and made exhausted  at the sheer thought of what was before me. It took me almost two years from the time I decided to start taking better care of myself to actually setting a plan in motion.

Once I was far along in a healthy-lifestyle routine, I realized that I’d really had no excuses. Everything that was keeping me from achieving my goals was in my head. If I really wanted to start working out, then I needed to start walking. If I really wanted to start eating healthier, then I had to stop making brownie sundaes.

No excuses as a philosophy is meant as a reminder that no one can stop you from achieving your goals. No one was forcing me to remain sedentary. No one forced fattening foods down my throat. Despite being overweight, I was in good health. My doctor saw no reason I shouldn’t get involved in a strenuous workout plan. I’d never had any injuries, and my ticker was ticking just fine. The only thing keeping me from moving was me.

Everyone could make excuses, too many people think it’s easier not to try than to risk failure. It’s not the case. I don’t want to make other women feel bad about themselves, I want them to look at me and think, if she can do it so can I. Because you can!—Abby Pell

We all make excuses for why we choose not to do what’s best for us. I know for a fact that life would be much simpler with a bag of Goldfish crackers and a glass of Simply Raspberry lemonade. But that’s only for the moment. In the long run, I’m going to want to still be active. So, for me, there’s no excuse not to start today.

It is in your best interest to take an active role in your health. No one knows your body like you do. And no one will be able to see what your body is capable of doing better than you. There are no excuses for not trying to do your best.

How do you feel about the term “no excuses?” Do you think it’s meant to uplift or put down?

The Long Game

5 Jan
photo credit: Bringsverd via photopin cc

It’s a long road to maintain the weight-loss lifestyle
photo credit: Bringsverd via photopin cc

I got my first grown-up job almost nine months after I graduated college. When I was hired, I was told there would be a six-month waiting period before I was eligible for health benefits and 401(k) enrollment. Health benefits I was familiar with. A 401(k) was a foreign concept. Like any young person confused about the world, I called my father. Daddy explained that I needed a 401(k) to help me save for retirement so that, in his words, I “wouldn’t have to work well into old age.”

At 23, old age was far, far away and having the company deduct even more money from my already meager check seemed like a rip off. But after a few more conversations, he convinced me that it was better for the long run. Over 10 years later, I’m still amassing a nice little nest egg for myself.

Your weight-loss journey is a lot like putting money away in savings or a 401(k). You hit little milestones along the way—10 pounds here, a new dress size there, a great photo every once in a while—but those can be minor victories in the long run. The weight-loss journey isn’t just about vanity, it’s about health. In the long run, you want to pocket away lessons that will ensure you’ve done everything possible to live a long, healthy life.

It’s easy to look at that new bikini as the goal, but what about fitting into that two-piece in another 15 years? Your waist is smaller now, but how is your cholesterol and blood pressure? You’re the envy of all your old friends, but how was your last physical?

I started my weight-loss journey with the short-term goal of losing at least 20 pounds. Then I got on a roll and continued losing until I’d dropped 60. Maintaining the loss was the hard part, but it also taught me valuable lessons about maintaining a healthier lifestyle, especially diet-wise.

While New York is famous for its abundance of restaurants, I know in the long run that my home-cooked meals will serve me best. Re-learning how to cook for myself, using fresher ingredients and less processed food, has helped grow my appreciation for different types of food. I wasn’t making curry before I started this journey. Now it’s one of my go-to recipes. I know that sauteed fish can be just as good if not better than it’s deep-fried. And 30 or 40 years from now, I’ll still have that lesson under my belt.

There’s a saying: It’s about the journey, not the destination. That’ is what your weight-loss journey is—a long-game plan. You’ll reach your destination, but the journey is what teaches you the most about yourself.

Lil Something Extra

15 Dec

I never expected to like this stuff. Surprise!

Surprises are the spice of life. They’re what keep us looking forward to the next day. You expect to get to work and go through your routine. But isn’t it nice when someone surprises your group with cupcakes? You get to the store with list in hand. It’s an added bonus when you find out your eight-pack of toilet paper is buy one, get one free.

The same can be said for your weight-loss journey. You set a goal and a plan of action to accomplish it. But you’ll surprise yourself along the way with what you enjoy about the process or the changes to your body that you weren’t expecting.

Talk to any trainer and they’ll tell you the same story: A new client comes in and is asked what their goals are. Usually it’s to lose a couple pounds or to “boost their energy level.” A client who has never had a strict workout regimen rarely admits to wanting a six pack and quads of steel. A good trainer will stifle their laughter because they’ve heard it all before. As professionals, they know that in order to boost their client’s energy and help them lose weight, they’re going to build muscle—the cost benefit the client wasn’t expecting.

For me, it was my love of running. I began my weight-loss journey in much the same way. I had no idea how to shape my body, but I knew I wanted to lose weight. I started by walking, doing about three miles in an hour. Then my pace picked up, but I wanted to fill the hour. So I began running to fill out the time. In the beginning I hated running. I was an asthmatic as a child and it brought back memories of constricted airways. But I learned how to pace my breathing, how to slow down when things got to hard, but still how to keep challenging myself.

Now, running is my main form of exercise. It was, and still is, a surprise to me how much I love it. In the beginning running wasn’t even on the radar. Now I’m scoping out half-marathon opportunities.

I started out just wanting to fit into my clothes, pride keeping me from wanting to go up another dress size. Now my 10s are loose, my 12s are falling off of me and my 14s are hopefully on the body of someone who needs those clothes more than I do.

It wasn’t just the exercise that surprised me. I’m a decent cook, but pastries are my specialty. Anyone who’s seen “Top Chef” knows that pastry chefs tend not to do well when it comes to meals. But a few good cookbooks and some tweaks to family favorites have me itching to get into the kitchen.

Even the foods I don’t prepare myself are a shock. Once upon a time, you couldn’t pay me to eat Greek yogurt. And the non-fat variety? Psssh! Now I can’t get enough of that creamy goodness. Add in some granola and honey, and you’ve got a happy camper.

It’s the things that will surprise you about yourself that push you to see what else you can do. If you like running, experiment with different versions of it. You could run a hiking trail or try sprints. If you’ve just discovered kale, try kale chips or even a warm kale salad.

Use your journey to get to your destination, but also to learn even more about yourself.

What surprised you most about your weight-loss journey?