Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011 - Hello 2012!

I can't believe how quickly 2011 flew by! As I get ready to ring in the New Year with my family, I'm looking back at all of the memories I made this year. I started off 2011 by joining Weight Watchers on 1/10/11, and kicked off my Couch to 5K training on 1/14/11. Honestly, I had no idea where those both would lead me. I really wanted to stick with both things, but my similar past pursuits had never turned out very well for me. I'd start out strong, but it never lasted more than a couple of months.

My family, friends and Weight Watchers group and leader made all the difference this year for me. I could turn to pretty much anyone for phenomenal support - both when things weren't going well, and when I had something to celebrate. I saw the weight come off, my energy level increase, and my outlook on everything improved. I finally WANTED to be around people again! I loved all of the new people I met through running. It's amazing how our paths keep crossing, even outside of running.

A year ago I never would have willingly woken up early on a Saturday morning to a) run with friends and b) make it to a Weight Watchers meeting. Heck - I planned both things AROUND each other! I'd find myself saying "Hey, I'd love to run with you, but can we meet earlier so I can make it to my meeting?".

This year I raced in a 1 miler on Memorial Day, 8 5Ks, a 4 miler on Thanksgiving Day, the Shamrock Shuffle 8K, and the Sycamore Pumpkin Run 10K in October. I loved getting together on Monday nights with the Walk2Run program through Dick Pond STC, and sharing running with my boys while they took part in the Fox Valley Marathon Kids Marathon. I am so proud of what they accomplished!

Now, with 2012 coming up, I'm working on setting goals for myself for this new year. I reached my weight loss goal in mid-October, and became a Lifetime Weight Watchers member on 11/26/11. I still plan on being a part of my Saturday morning group. This year I also plan to complete a Half Marathon, a 20 miler with Fox Valley Marathon, and the Chicago Marathon. Part of me is completely freaking out about all of that, but I know I'll have amazing people helping me through all of it!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hit my Lifetime Goal today!

Wow....where to begin?!?!?! I am so, so happy that I was able to keep my weight under my goal and earned my Lifetime status with Weight Watchers today. I never imagined that I had it in me to stick with this, and I'm proud of myself for not giving up.

January 10, 2011 is the date when I decided to take that big step towards changing my life - that was the first Weight Watchers meeting I attended. It took a lot for me to make that decision, and while I wish I had joined a long time ago I have to believe there was a reason for starting when I did. If I had started earlier I might not have had the best leader imaginable. Laura really knows how so many of us think and feel when battling our weight. She's there to praise us, and to pick us up when we stumble. When I had to switch meeting days so I could join the Dick Pond Walk2Run group, the first thing I did was see which meetings Laura led so I could go to one of those. I am so thankful for everything she's done to help me.

And I can't forget to thank all of my friends and family that have put up with me this past year :). I know this has kind of consumed me, but never once has anyone told me to get over it already. I promise that I'll settle down....eventually!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

So much to be thankful for

It's hard to believe we're already at Thanksgiving! 2011 has flown by, and it's amazing how much has changed this year.

I'm thankful for so many things....
  • A good job that I enjoy
  • A warm home for my family
  • Never having to worry about where the next meal will come from
  • Living in a wonderful community
  • Having a healthy, happy family
  • My wonderful friends and family members who keep me sane
I'm also so thankful for the changes I've made in my life, and the support I've received from everyone around me. This time last year, I was 187 lbs. I hardly ever exercised, and there is no way on God's green earth that you would catch me running. But as I volunteered at the Fox and the Turkey 4 miler in Batavia last year, I had a moment where I realized I had to do something about my lifestyle. I saw people of all shapes, sizes and ages, and I thought to myself "if they can do it, then I have no excuse". It did take me another month or so before I actually became serious about it.

A year ago, I don't even know if I could have run 4 blocks. Today I ran (and finished!) 4 miles, and feel incredible! What a way to start out this day! I got to run with a great friend, and I saw so many others on the course and afterwards. My brother also ran it, and did a fabulous job. He's so much faster than me, so we don't run together. But I love knowing that he's there, and then I have someone else to cheer me on at the finish.

So to everyone who reads this - thank you for all of your support, and continuing to cheer me on. You have no idea how much it means to me.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Joy of Shopping

Shopping...oh, how I've missed you! I've ALWAYS loved to shop, but I noticed the larger I got the less I enjoyed it. I would see some of the cutest clothes in stores, but when I tried them on it was never a pretty picture. Especially when the whole tunic/empire waist/clingy fabric trend started!

Today my mom and I ventured out to the outlet mall in our area. I really needed some new dress pants for work, and maybe a new sweater or shirt. I'm pretty sure everyone in my office is tired of seeing the same 3 outfits on me at this point. So we headed to the Ann Taylor Outlet. I found a cute pair of pants in an 8 Petite, and a sweater in a small. I instantly fell in love with both - because I ended up having to go down a size in both!!! I was just so happy to even be in the single digits again, so this was a major bonus. I, of course, wanted to buy all the colors they had available for both :).

The one downside - having to get new clothes is going to really cut into my budget!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Reaching goal - a sweet place to be!

Last Saturday I headed into my Weight Watchers for my usual morning meeting. I was sitting at 136.6, which was 1.6 lbs away from my goal. Considering how the last few weeks had been tiny losses, tiny gains, and back again I really wasn't expecting much. I was just hoping to keep the trend of losing (even just a little something) going. I stepped on the scale, and hoped for the best. Imagine my shock when she told me I was down 3.6 lbs! That was so much better than I had hoped for!!!!

It felt wonderful to get the "Goal" star to add to my key chain. I love my group on Saturday mornings, and my leader Laura is incredible. I never imagined how walking into that first meeting was going to change my life so much, in so many ways.

It's not just the weight I've lost - it's the confidence I've gained, the energy that has come back, and the amazing people I've gotten to know along the way. Some were already in my life before this, but thanks to new interests for me I feel like a whole new world has opened up to me.

Thank you to all of those that read this, for all your words of support coming from many different places. I know I'm the only one who could have made the decision to start this journey, but there is no way I would have been able to do it without all those around me.

The journey doesn't stop's only just beginning....

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I've said I don't think I would ever run a marathon...

But that comment is now going out the window.

I was lucky enough to have the chance to see part of the Chicago Marathon, and served as a volunteer for Team Ronald McDonald House Charities. I could tell every runner that came down our red carpet was completely and utterly exhausted, but every single one of them had a huge smile on their faces. To accomplish a feat like a marathon has to be such an amazing experience. And to be able to raise thousands of dollars for a charity at the same time makes it even sweeter.

So this time next year, I will hopefully be blogging about finishing my first Marathon. I know it will be worth the incredibly sore muscles that will come along with the package.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Joy of Losing the Baby Weight

So many women know that struggle of taking off those pesky pounds that crept on over the nine-plus months of pregnancy. I've heard the saying "nine months to put it on, nine months to take it off". In my case, I must not have heard it correctly years ago since it morphed into "nine months to put it on, nine YEARS to take it off". I really need to learn to listen better!

That being said, I can finally say that, after nine looooooooong years, I am finally at a lower weight than I was when I became pregnant with Nathan. It felt incredible to go shopping this past weekend and have to keep going down in sizes - not the other way around. Unfortunately for my husband, I'm back to my love affair with shopping. Now if only I can wear regular boots this year...instead of the "extended" calf which is really just another way to say "whoa, your legs are huge!".

On a completely unrelated note (or maybe not unrelated, since it does have to do with running which is part of my weight loss...) - I was so, so excited that I was able to see all the amazing runners/walkers/joggers this past Sunday at the Fox Valley Marathon. It was incredible to see the strength in all of them to keep on moving when you know something was probably pushing at them to stop. Next year I WILL be with them, instead of just being a spectator. Never thought a year ago that I would ever say that....oh, how much my life has changed!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Joy of Running

This week marked the 10th session of the Walk2Run group, and it was our final meeting. I've progressed from running for two minutes at a time to running 30 minutes, and then some. I can actually carry on a conversation, which is great since I've made some great friends through this group. Kristin and Jen kept me going, and I enjoyed seeing them each week. I'm actually kind of sad it's over!

Tonight was our "graduation" 5K - Run for the Athletes, in Aurora at the beautiful Blackberry Farm. A little bit more humid than I like, but it was a lot of fun. I finished in under 40 minutes...not breaking any land-speed records, but as long as I finish I'm good to go.

I went ahead and signed up for the next session of Walk2Run. I'd love to be able to increase my endurance, and kick up the pace a bit. Plus I'll be training for a 10K in Sycamore at the end of October, so this will keep me moving. After that it'll be the Hot Chocolate 5K....hey, who doesn't want to run for chocolate?!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I am Penguin...see me run!

I was reflecting on some of the factors that have gotten me as far as I've come with my running. One of those factors would be joining the Dick Pond Walk2Run group. The camaraderie of being with other people that are going through the same thing makes it so much easier to pour into my spandex and lace up the running shoes. And hey, the technical shirt I'll get after attending for seven times doesn't hurt!

Another thing that has kept me going was learning more about John "The Penguin" Bingham and reading his book Running for Mortals. Most of the running books out there are for "true" runners, and focus more in getting their 7 minute mile down to 6 minutes. When your best mile time to date is 12:59, then yeah, those books aren't for you. John's book was so realistic, and said many of the things that I was thinking. I'm glad I have it on my Kindle, so I can keep referring back to it.

One last factor would be the support of my friends and family. They've listened to me drone on (and on, and on...) about Weight Watchers, and my new found love of running. They've supported me when I've struggled, and cheered me on at the races I've done. There is nothing better to get you running for that finish line than seeing your supporters cheering you on!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I am a runner

I've loosely been calling myself a runner for the last 6 months. I never felt like I actually was a runner, though. In a 30 minute "run", I would probably only jog half that time. So really, I probably shouldn't have called myself a "runner". That changed last week.

The turning point was my week 5 session of the Walk2Run program through Dick Pond. Last Monday, we were scheduled to run 8 minutes, walk 2 minutes, and repeat that three times. Once we finished, I felt great...better than I have ever felt after any sort of work out. I was actually looking forward to doing my homework runs!

I got on the treadmill last Thursday, and found my stride pretty quickly. 8 minutes came...and I felt good, so I kept on going. 9......10.....11.....and on until I had actually run 20 minutes straight. I have never been able to run for that long without a walking break. I did take a quick 2 minute break after that, then finished out the 30 minute run.

This past Monday, our group met for week 6. This time is was run 9 minutes, walk 2 minutes (repeated twice), then an 8 minute run to finish it out. It was hot....and humid. But again, I felt great once we finished. Same thing happened tonight when I ran, only this time I opted for the treadmill. I look forward to my runs, and love meeting up with other runners. It's a pretty great community, and I'm looking forward to be part of it for a long time.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

One step closer

As of today, I weigh less than I have weighed in over 8 years! I finally am under 150 lbs, and it feels wonderful. I am still technically "overweight", but I'm getting so much closer to my goal weight of 135 lbs. I'd love to be at my goal weight by the end of September, but I know I'll have to work that much harder to get these last 15 lbs off. I hope that as long as I keep up my commitment of 30 minutes of exercise every day, it won't be quite as tough.

I will be doing a 5K in three weeks, then another one the week after that. I want to do at least one race a month, and I do have one I'm looking at for October. It's a 10K! Then in November I will do the Hot Chocolate 5K in Chicago...any race with chocolate sounds good to me :).

Saturday, July 2, 2011's been awhile

I have not been good about updating this blog. I figure this isn't a huge draw, and I don't think anyone but me is reading this. And that's okay. Because today I realized that I need to do this for me. If I end up inspiring someone, great! If not, then I know I have some spot where I can keep the thoughts jumbling my mind.

Right now my weight loss is going much better than I thought I would ever do. As of this morning, I'm down a total of 34.2 amount I never thought I'd be able to hit. I have never, ever lost that much - even after the births of all three of the boys. I didn't even gain that much when I was pregnant with them, so this is new territory for me. It does feel great to lose this much, but I know I still have a long way to go.

My running, however, is another story. I was doing so well with my Couch 2 5K, but when I hit Week 6, I just threw in the towel. Well, that's not entirely true. However, I didn't keep up my running like I should have done. And that is when my weight loss pretty much stalled.

Luckily Dick Pond Running here in St. Charles has a wonderful Walk2Run program! It meets on Monday nights, and l decided it was worth switching my Weight Watchers meetings to Saturday mornings so I could attend. Like Weight Watchers, I needed a running program that would keep me accountable. So I signed up to attend, and now I am so glad I did! I love the group running aspect...especially when I find people that are going at my pace.

I've found out about a term for slow runners coined by John Bingham - we are penguins. That sums me up nicely. I waddle along at my pace that isn't going to shatter any records (unless there is one for the slowest mile!), but it's a much faster pace than sitting on the couch.

Through finding out about John Bingham, I was also led to one of his books - Running for Mortals: A Commonsense Plan for Changing Your Life With Running. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is thinking about starting up a running plan. One of his quotes from the book really spoke to me: "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."

This sums up everything that I'm doing with my life now. I think I had been too scared in the past of failing to ever start any sort of weight loss or exercise plan. Now that I'm in the thick of this, I will see everything through and give it my best. Because at the end of the day, that's all any of us can do.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Losing my motivation

This week, I started out with high hopes. Last Saturday I ran a 5K, finished in 39:59, which was much, much faster than I normally run. Then on Monday I hit my 25 lbs lost mark at my Weight Watchers meeting. I was so happy to finally pass that hurdle! Other than after having my boys, I've never been able to lose 25 lbs.

Now that I've hit that mark, I'm making my next weight loss goal to reach 150 lbs. That means there are 9 lbs I need to shed, and I want to do that by June 11, 2011 - my sister-in-law's wedding day. I have to get my bridesmaid dress altered soon, so I can't lose too much more before the wedding, but I figure 5-10 lbs won't make that big of a difference.

This week, though, I just have no urge to exercise, and my food choices have not been good ones. Matthew had surgery on Thursday, and I've been exhausted since that happened. I hope this will pass soon, because I don't want to fall back into my old ways.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A HUGE accomplishment for me!

On Saturday I completed my first race ever - I ran in the Shamrock Shuffle 8K down in Chicago. It was such an incredible day! I was pretty nervous before the race started, but as soon as I crossed the official start line I had chills. It was such an amazing atmosphere...everyone there for the same thing. My goal was to cross the finish line in no more than 1 hr 15 min, and I finished at 1 hr 10 min!

Once I was close to the finish line, I spotted my family there - my parents, Chad and the boys were there to cheer my brother and me on. Keith had finished quite awhile before I did since he started in an earlier corral. Seeing them there spurred me on, and I ran out the finish. Crossing the finish line was an emotional event for me. I've been working hard at improving my running along with becoming healthier and losing weight, and finishing this race really showed me how the hard work is paying off. In the past I would have chickened out and not entered. That's the old me. And this is also encouraging healthy changes for the boys. Now Matt wants to run, so we went out and ran 1 1/3 miles this afternoon. I love seeing how it's passing down.

I'm already looking forward to running two 5Ks next month, along with a mile race with the whole family. And to top this all off, I lost another 3.6 lbs, so now I'm down 23.2 lbs total since Jan. 10th. Love it!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's been awhile....

I just realized I haven't updated here in a couple of weeks. I was in quite a funk for awhile there...I was getting tired of tracking, tired of having to think about every.single.thing that I ate, tired of going to the gym. Last week I realized I need to keep doing this. While I haven't gained any weight since starting WW, I had stayed even two weeks ago and then just lost 0.2 lbs last week.

I REALLY wanted to hit my 10% weight loss before we go out of town this weekend. So last week I was more vigilant about tracking, and added more dairy into my diet. Unfortunately I only made it to the gym once. Luckily I lost 3 lbs, so I received my key chain at the meeting last night =). So far I've lost a total of 19.2 lbs since starting January 10, 2011. I really think I'll hit the 150 lb mark by Pam's wedding in June...that's what I'm shooting for! And today at work I had my first "have you lost weight?" comment from a co-worker that I see occasionally!! That was a great feeling, and looking at my key chain every time I go anywhere is a great reminder of all I've done in the last 10 weeks.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Not doing good

I've totally lost my motivation. I'm still tracking all the food I eat, but I feel like I'm cheating the system. I know I'm not making smart choices, and yet I keep doing it. I really need to hit the store and stock up on healthy choices, but I've put it off and put it off. Now I'm starting to pay for it. I didn't lose anything at all this past week. Honestly, I'm just happy I didn't gain based on how poor I feel I'm doing.

I've been dealing with a cold for the last week and a half, and as a result I haven't hit the treadmill in at least that amount of time. Work is stressful and the weather has been just blech, and it's weighing on everything.

Enough with the excuses...tomorrow I WILL hit the gym and the grocery store!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Long week

Last week was a tough one, from Tuesday on. A co worker's daughter was killed in a car accident Monday night, which we found out about on Tuesday. It was a sad, sad week, ending with the service on Friday night. It's getting very stressful with the project I'm working on, too, so I was just glad to make it through the week.

I went into the Weight Watchers meeting Monday night expecting a gain, since working out and running just wasn't happening like it should. Luckily I was down 1.6 lbs, so now I've lost 15.8 lbs. What's really rewarding is that I'm under 170 lbs for the first time in I'd guess at least 3 years. My clothes are starting to become annoyingly loose, but I'm still not quite small enough that Id' feel comfortable going down a size. Plus, I really don't want to buy clothes until I feel like I've "earned" it. I do have a few things I bought last week a couple sizes down, so hopefully I'll be in them soon.

Monday, February 21, 2011

So close I can taste it!

That might not be the best metaphor considering that I'm talking about weight loss! But now that I'm just 3 lbs away from where I was when I had Nathan, and only 4.2 lbs away from my 10% goal, this is getting "real" for me. I've never lost this sort of weight in just 7 weeks, so it's HUGE for me. It's been a long time since I've even stuck with a healthy lifestyle change for more than a few weeks. Normally I would get discouraged after a couple of weeks and throw in the towel. Or I would get bored with eating the same things, and feeling like I was completely depriving myself of everything I love to eat.

Now I've learned (with the help of Weight Watchers) that I CAN eat the things I love - as long as I eat it in moderation and plans lots of other healthy meals that I enjoy eating. The crazy thing is that now I don't really want the things I thought I had to have, like Big Macs and tons of candy. The fun size Hershey's is just the right taste for me, and doesn't wreck my weight loss.

To treat myself, I ordered some new clothes tonight. I got most things in a smaller size, so I'll have something to wear as the pounds keep falling away. I'm looking forward to that!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

It's getting easier

The running, that is. I remember thinking how I didn't know if I could make it running 1 1/2 5 minutes is becoming easier. Now the next time I run and I have to do 8 minute stints, I might be singing a different tune! I still enjoy going to run, though, so this is HUGE for me. Normally about 2 weeks into a new weight loss routine I get bored and then I stop doing everything. The fact that I've been essentially doing this since right after New Year's astounds me. And being successful with it is just icing on the cake.

Okay, maybe not the best metaphor for someone losing weight!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hitting a wall

I'm getting to a bad point, where the whole Weight Watchers thing has lost some of the "excitement" I originally felt. I'm still losing weight (down 0.8 lbs...11 lbs total), but I think it's the monotony of having to constantly track every.little.thing that goes in my mouth. I KNOW it's working and I KNOW I have to keep doing it...but it's wearing on me. I can't go back to eating anything and everything, because I hated the way I felt back then (I say that like it was soooo long's only been 5, and I don't ever want to feel that way again. I LIKE being able to fit into smaller jeans and not wonder when I'd have to start shopping in the plus-sizes.

So I'll just keep plugging away. I bought a cookbook at the meeting tonight that's all 5 ingredient recipes. Maybe choosing some of those to mix things up a bit will help. And hopefully soon I'll be able to get a couple more "smaller me" outfits :D.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Big Milestone....

Last night was my Weight Watchers meeting....week 4. I was hoping I'd have at least 0.2 lbs gone to hit my first goal of losing 5% of my weight. I did one better - 1.4 lbs gone, for a total of 10.2 lbs lost since I started WW!! I was thrilled with the results, especially since it came a day after a Super Bowl party. My next goal is to lose a total of 18.4 lbs, so I have another 8.2 lbs to go.

These goals are perfect for me. In the past I would say I need to lose 50 lbs. Since that obviously wouldn't happen in the first couple of weeks I'd get frustrated and give up. But by breaking it down into smaller, achievable goals I know I can reach them.

Oh, and right now I'm wearing a brand-new pair of size 12 jeans....haven't seen that number in over 2+ years!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Feeling inferior

I'm kind of freaking out right now...yesterday I signed up for the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K in Chicago on April 10, 2011. What the hell was I thinking???? I'm nowhere near ready for that, and I'm so scared I won't be ready for it by then. I'm trying to calm myself by noting that I have over 10 weeks before the race, so there is still time for me to get running more. I know I can walk part of it, but I want to run most of it. Plus I have to finish in 1 hr 15 minutes. Right now I'm about a 17 minute mile, when I walk and jog it. I've got to improve my time.

My mom and I went to a local runner's store today since I've been having a lot of arch pain when I run/walk. Wow, did I feel out of place! It's like a whole different culture, and I'm on the outside looking in. They had things in there for runners that I never would have even thought of, and stuff for things I don't want to think about (hello chafing!). I hope some day I can go in there and feel like one of them. I did find out they have a Walk2Run program that will start up in April, right before the 8K. I think I'll look into joining that. It'll be nice to meet people on the same journey. And, on the upside, I got a great pair of running shoes (thanks Mom!). I tried them out tonight, and my feet feel a lot better. Plus, I felt like I could run longer. They'll get broken in tomorrow when I start Week 4, Day 1.

Oh, and on a happy note - I can wear a pair of size 12 jeans now =D!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Happy Moment

This morning I was looking through my closet, trying to find dress pants that would be warm enough for the subzero temps outside this morning. I noticed a pair of black velvet pants that I haven't been able to wear in over two years. They're a 14P, from Ann Taylor Loft (or I guess it's just Loft I really didn't think it I'd have any chance of fitting into them, but thought I'd give it a shot.

They fit!!!!! And they're even a little baggy on me!!!! It was a nice way to start out a day that was so cold and snow-filled. I'm hoping that by spring, none of the things that fit me last year will fit me this year =D!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Where to begin....

I've never started a blog before, never thought I had a reason to start one. But on New Year's Day 2011, I decided that I was going to do whatever I had to do to become healthy again. And having a place to write about it - vent when things are tough, celebrate when great things happen - is something I feel is going to help me stay on this path.

Up until I had my first son, over 12 years ago, I never had to worry about my weight. I could eat anything and everything (and I did), and not gain an ounce. I looked great....I felt great. Then motherhood hit.

I did okay with losing the weight after I had my oldest, Thomas. Luckily most of the weight came right off. Then, three years later, I had Matthew. Okay, this time it was a bit tougher to lose the weight, especially since I had started out the pregnancy at a higher weight. But eventually I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and while it was a bit higher than I would have liked, I was happy with how I looked. Then Nathan came along two years later....

I swear, that child took every bit of my metabolism and hangs on to it to this day. I initially lost the pregnancy weight, but the pounds kept creeping back, adding a few more each month. My clothes were getting tighter, and I was feeling the effects of the extra weight. I was tired, crabby and had no energy.

Sure, I had a few times where I'd kick my butt into gear for a month or so, eating better and walking when I had the chance. But the pounds just stuck with me, and I gave it up at least a dozen times. I just got to the point where I accepted that I was fat, and that was that.

This time, I'm done with quitting. I am NOT going to sit by while the pounds suck the life out of me. I used to be so outgoing, but the way I look and feel has held me back. I don't want to be like that, and it stops now.

So, on January 10, 2011, I signed up for Weight Watchers. I have some great friends online (Jenn, Ashley, just to name a couple) who raved about the program. I knew I needed something to hold me accountable, so I bit the bullet and signed up. Going into that first meeting was difficult for me...I felt like I was waving a big banner that said "Hey, look at me - I'm huge!!!". But it's been great for me. Knowing that I'll be weighed in once a week has actually been a boost, and the meetings are full of wonderful ideas. Since I joined 3 1/2 weeks ago, I have lost 8.8 pounds. This is a milestone for me - I've never lost that kind of weight in less than a month, ever.

On the heels of this, I also decided to start a Couch to 5K program. Some of the women I know around here are great runners, and while I don't know if I'll ever be in those ranks, I want that feeling of accomplishment from finishing a race. I got the app for my iPhone, and it's shaping me into the runner I never was. Even in my skinny days, I never enjoyed running. Now I look forward to the segments of running in the program. This weekend I'll be signing up for the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K. And I WILL finish it! I might be last, but I'll cross that finish line with my head held high.