Run to Win: 100 lbs in 118 days

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

From Start to Finish Line - 0 Days Left

This morning I had the wonderful opportunity to share with my HomeMakers group, that I am a part of at my church here in Minnesota, about the journey I have been on these past several months.  Tonight, I wanted to share these words with you as it summarizes the past 118 days perfectly.  I appreciate all of you so very much for following me through all of the ups and downs this summer.  This is not the end for me.  I will continue my road to better health and continue to blog on my progress.  All together, I would like to lose 180 pounds.  Currently, I do no know if that will take me a year or five years.  Yet whatever it takes, I will not stop until I have made it.

HomeMakers Testimony 9/13/11

In October of last year, I decided after four children and over 100 pounds of weight gain since I married my husband in 1999, that I wanted to become a contestant on the Biggest Loser television show.  After all, how else would a girl like me lose all the weight I had gained without the aid of a show like that?

Despite my embarrassment, that I had allowed myself to become so very heavy, I asked several of my friends to pray and believe with me for the opportunity.  On my 12th anniversary in March, instead of spending the majority of my day with my husband, I was at the Mall of America standing in the largest Q line anyone has ever seen for the Biggest Loser casting call.  I borrowed my friend, Emily’s, video recorder in order to make what I thought was the perfect audition video, even taking the time to walk around department stores to point out to producers that the models shown were not really plus size models at all and other phenomenon’s in poor taste such as placing the string bikini section adjacent to the Women’s clothing area in the store.

My plan was to announce on the very last day of HomeMakers in the spring that indeed I had been chosen.  Balloons would fall, everyone would cheer and Living Word would finally receive some good press.  I would stand before you today, the winner of the Biggest Loser season, and use part of my $250,000 grand prize to have somewhat of an "Oprahesque moment" here at HomeMakers and provide manicures and pedicures for everyone.  However, the Biggest Loser never called and for a couple of weeks in the Spring I was emotionally defeated thinking I would never achieve weight loss and be unhealthy forever.

In the midst of my self pity one night, I asked my husband if he thought I could lose weight just like the people on the Biggest Loser show.  Without hesitating, he said, “Of course I do”.  And from there a new vision for health began to blossom.

I decided to take on a weight loss challenge this summer.  Besides diet and exercise, I would also write a blog in order to keep myself accountable.  I called my blog – “Run to Win: 100 pounds in 118 days”.  Run to win based on 1 Corinthians 9:24 that says, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may win.”  100 pounds because, if some of the whiners chosen for the Biggest Loser could do it, surely I could too.  118 days because that is when HomeMakers would kick off again in the fall.  And even though we did not have additional money to add to our current budget, I believed that God would provide a way to do it.

I decided my kick off day would be May 17, the day that Dustin Maher came and taught us his Mama Tone class.  As he shared that day, he asked us to envision ourselves 10 years from now if we made no changes to our life today.  For me, that would mean weighing an additional 80 pounds and therefore, solidified my decision to adopt a healthy lifestyle even more.  At the end of the class, he blessed me with a DVD set that contained 24 workouts.  God was already providing.

As friends began to read my blog and hear that I was using Dustin’s videos along with other workout videos I had borrowed from the library, two friends, Monica and Julie purchased the Biggest Loser and Jillian Michaels videos for me to use.  My parents blessed me with CrossFit and Kickboxing classes at a gym in Maple Grove.  And to help enhance my challenge, Julie also offered to bless me with a 5K at the end of the summer along with participating with me to cheer me on.

When Julie asked me, I wanted to say yes as I had thought about participating in 5K races before.  However, even when I was a much smaller size, I would occasionally have problems with my knees and shins while exercising which made me afraid to try.  Yet as I thought about it more and more, the Lord brought Joyce Meyer's words to mind, “Do it afraid”.  I told Julie yes and stayed committed to my diet and exercising no less than 5 days a week over the next couple of months.

Finally, the day of our 5K arrived.  This past Sunday, September 11.  Despite my training, I was still apprehensive.  Yet I knew this was something I needed to achieve.  In my CrossFit classes, they teach that at the beginning of each workout you should start with your goal in mind.  My goal for the 5K was only to finish.

As the horn blew and we began our run, which was more like an aggressive walk for Julie, it turned out that running was much harder than I imagined.  And even though it was only two laps around Lake Como in St. Paul, by the time I was 1/5 of the way through the first lap, I started to wonder what on earth I was even doing there.  This was torture.  Instead of Julie paying an entry fee, the organizers of the race should be paying us to participate!  I am not going to lie to you.  I thought about quitting.  However, with each exercise video or workout class I have set out to do from day one of my journey, I had never quit.  I decided that this would be no different.

One by one, they passed:  A man with a baby in a stroller, a family with a six year old little girl, woman who weren’t even running, just walking.   However, Julie kept encouraging me, from stories of Dory in Finding Nemo singing “Keep Swimming” to words about being an active participant instead of just sitting on the sidelines.  When the leaders of the 5K passed me before I even finished the first lap, she assured me that was OK and they always pass her too.  And toward the end of the race when I was so very tired and began to feel like I was circling a lake more the size of Lake Minnetonka, she kept cheering me on and said, “Why don’t we just power walk for a while”.  As I gasped for air, I informed her that in my world I was already power walking.  Finally, at 58 minutes and 20 seconds, I crossed the finish line.

Julie and I hugged and cried as we were both so very happy of what I had accomplished.   Something I never believed I would be able to do just three months ago.  Then Julie looked back at the finish line and exclaimed, “Karen!  You weren’t last!”  I turned around just in time to see three other ladies crossing the finish line.  Not only did I finish in under an hour.  I didn’t finish last!

If you knew me last year, you know as I stand before you today on my 118th day of my challenge that I did not lose 100 pounds.  When I weighed this morning, my total weight loss had only come to only 22 pounds.  However, in the past three months more than anything I have learned that my total weigh lost is only secondary.  What is more important is all that I have gained: energy, strength, a desire to eat healthy, perseverance to keep moving forward and the ability to know longer feel ashamed of the person I am.  Today is not the end of my journey, only the end of the first chapter of many to come on the road to become healthy.  Pastor Mac is right when he says, “If you don’t quit, you win!”

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Things I have learned - 6 days left

Well folks, I have anticipated it, talked about it, counted the days down to it, and have finally arrived at the last week of my "Run to Win" challenge.  Tonight, with six days remaining, I thought I would take the opportunity to look back and name the top six things I have learned over the past 112 days of my journey.  While they are not profound, they are note worthy of a change in coarse that will not end in the next week, but last for a lifetime.

  1. Through "Ponytail Girl", I learned that first impressions are not always completely accurate.  In fact, in this case, mine was completely wrong.  On the first day we met, her intention was not to ridicule me for running slowly, but to cheer me on to the finish line.  However, since my thought pattern was as such to think that most people were out to tell me how awful I was for letting myself go for so long, I was blinded to see the place she was coming from.
  2. With each passing week that I weighed, I learned the amount of pounds gone were only secondary to the amount of physical strength I had gained and how much better I felt overall.  As I mentioned before, even though the scale still reflects the weight of a big girl, I know I have unleashed the skinny girl within.
  3. If someone would have asked me before I started working out in May if I was a happy person, my answer would have been "yes".  Yet now, I realize that was only a small amount of how much better my emotional well being could be.  Elle Woods was right when she said, "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy."
  4. I have overcome my fear of trying new things.  As Joyce Meyer put it, I have learned to "do it afraid".  There are still many things, when it comes to CrossFit and many other areas of life, that I am still unable to accomplish.  However, instead of worrying about what others will think, I try it anyway.  Many times I have even surprised myself with all I can do.
  5. I knew when I started my new way of life to get healthy that it would bring value to my family's well being.  What I didn't know is how much working on my health has been important to my children.  They are excited for me when I lose weight.  They can tell I look different.  They understand that this is an important thing their mommy is doing.  Since I have made myself a priority, they can see the great change it has brought to our family.
  6. Three months ago when I set my goal to lose 100 pounds in 118 days, I knew that it would be hard, but I knew I could do it.  As it has turned out, I will end up only achieving about 1/3 of my goal.  So without a doubt, the biggest and hardest lesson on my journey has been that it is OK that I won't make my goal.  I have learned that not achieving 100 pounds lost at this time is not a failure, but with persistence I will always win.  I am not disappointed, but rather content with all that I have accomplished so far.

Philippians 4:11 (New American Standard) - 

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

WOD (Workout of the Day)
Seven Rounds for Time

  • 3 shoulder press - 25 pound dumb bells
  • 6 pistols
  • 9 sit-ups with 10 lb plate

Friday, September 2, 2011

Gain vs. Loss - 10 days left

After reading yesterday's post, one of my friend's shared with me something that a friend had communicated to him a few days ago.  He said, "The main idea is health 'gain', not weight 'loss'.  So in other words, think on what you are gaining and not what you are losing!".  And since it is always wise to follow good advice, I did.

  • A better attitude about most everything and much happier overall, no matter my circumstances
  • Slim to none occurrences of shortness of breath, unless, of course I am at CrossFit.
  • Energy.  I am no longer drained physically all the time.
  • Enjoy spending time with my children more because I am able to interact with them better
  • Sleep so much better at night and rarely need a nap
  • Smaller clothes and can now fit my feet into normal width tennis shoes and lace them up
  • Improved routine and the ability to complete more task throughout my day
  • No pain when I walk up and down the stairs
  • Can now wear the seat belt on the airplane without the seat belt extender
  • Can fit one of my pretty rings on my finger that I was no longer able to wear three months ago - still need to lose about 30 more pounds to be able to wear my wedding band
  • No more heart palpitations
  • When I go to church, I don't have to worry about finding a seat that is big enough.  (Our seats at church are similar to movie theater seats and vary in width, or at least they seem to vary in width.)
  • The gap between my body and the steering wheel has increased to three inches.
  • I am still a bed hog and tend to sleep toward the middle of the bed, but my husband now has more room to relax. 
  • When I go shopping and have to carry my one year old because she is screaming at the top of her lungs, like today, my back no longer hurts.
  • No longer crave unhealthy snack foods.  Before it was almost unbearable as though I had to have it.
  • Even though I am still a big girl, I know longer FEEL like a big girl!!!

And after reflecting on all of these great things that I have gained over the last three months, I can now see that it is so much more than that tiny, little number on the scale I hope to see change each week.  My life has changed.  I am no longer the same person I was just 90 days ago.  I have gained so much more than I have lost!
Proverbs 3:13-14 (Amplified) - Happy (blessed, fortunate, enviable) is the man who finds skillful and godly Wisdom, and the man who gets understanding [drawing it forth from God's Word and life's experiences], For the gaining of it is better than the gaining of silver, and the profit of it better than fine gold.

WOD (Workout of the Day)

  • Rest

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sometimes You're the Bug - 11 days left

Over that past few months I have been blogging about my weight loss, there have been several times that I have wanted to come and post one sentence or less to my blog for the evening and be done.  This would be one of those evenings.  In fact, this would probably be the best time to do it.  Yet if I did that, my honesty code would be thrown out the window and I would not be following my own rules that set before me when I started.

Have you ever heard the song by Mary Chapin Carpenter called The Bug?  The lyrics in the song say, "Sometimes you're the windshield, Sometimes you're the bug".  Well today folks, I was most definitely the bug.

After weighing yesterday and seeing a 21 pound weight loss on the scale, I decided to get back on the scale late this afternoon just to see that glorious number again.  Today instead of dragging the scale out from under the bathroom counter with my foot, I decided to pick it up to move it to the middle of the floor.  As I did, a small one inch, hot pink crayon rolled out from underneath the scale.  And that is when I knew that my huge weight loss results yesterday were due to a crayon opposed to the hard work and effort I had put in over the last week.

I stood on the scale anyway, hoping with all that was in me to be wrong.  Unfortunately, I was not.  My number was very close to what it was last week when I had weighed.  I always weigh in the morning each week, so I am not quite sure how off it was, but it certainly was not anywhere close to a 21 pound loss.

I believe I had about six different emotions hit me all at once.  However, the final emotion that lingered was embarrassment.  I had more views to my blog yesterday than I have had in a very long time, along with many, many comments to facebook.  So now, I had shared great news with a lot of people about something very personal to me that never really happened.  Turned out the it really was the "Movie Kinda Weight Loss" because it was all false.  Well almost completely false.  My smaller sized jeans really were too big as I stated yesterday, so at least that cannot be taken away.

I considered not sharing this at all and just trying to mask my huge mistake over.  Yet that would not be real, that would not be honest, and I felt like if I lied about this and anyone ever found out, the rest of my blog would seem like a lie as well.  I would also have a huge dilemma to explain next week when I had gained so much weight back.

So there you have it.  The truth of what really happened on Karen's weigh day.  One day I am sure that I will look back at this day and laugh.  However, today it is not so funny.
John 8:32 (New American Standard) - and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

WOD (Workout of the Day)
21 reps, 15 reps, 9 reps

  • Thrusters with 45 lb bar
  • Pull ups