Getting a little more JOLLY, a little more GREEN, and a little less GIANT.

27 March 2013

It's Vlog Vednesday, but...

It's Vlog Vednesday, but I was pretty busy with a million little things, so there's no vlog today. My apologies.

It's a "rest" day, at least a rest day for my legs, which I somehow still managed to use a lot today thanks to my To Do list.

I know it's important that I rest. Monday, I ran 5 miles on the treadmill. Tuesday, I ran 8 miles. And I didn't finish until 11 pm. Told you I was busy. I was worried I would be up all night from the adrenaline of the run, but nope. I slept like a log. Whew.

Tomorrow I plan to get 17 miles in. That will be my longest run to date. Woo.

There's no vlog today, but I did want to share this little gem of a Youtube video. My kids and I love this one. It makes us laugh every single time we watch it. And I laugh partly because I'm really hoping only 50% of it is true as I will be in his place in only 7 and a half weeks. (Eek!)

"Don't pants your poop! Don't pants your poop!"

23 March 2013

Kale Chips, Competitions, and Cancellations

Weeellll...thanks to "lake effect" weather and six inches of brand new snow, the half marathon was cancelled. Rats! Part of me was relieved to not have to trudge through half a foot of snow and part of me was actually disappointed not to test myself through half a foot of snow. After training through the winter, it's not like running in the snow is such a bizarre concept.

And part of me was really, really, REALLY not looking forward to 16 miles on a treadmill, but I hopped on it before I had too much time to think about it. Four episodes of "Lost", three hours, and sixteen miles later I was done. Whew! Not totally unpleasant, but I sure hope Spring will start sticking around so my longer runs can be done outside on a more consistent basis. To look on the bright side, it was the longest run I've ever done on a treadmill. I think up to today, my longest was eight miles. personal record!

In a week, on April 1st, I will be hosting a weight loss competition. This is the same weight loss competition I did back in the fall of last year that helped me to kick a plateau I had been hanging on to for months and months. The competitive edge helped me to build a little self-control and to realize that sugar consumption is no good for sustainable weight loss. One thing, among many, that I love about this particular weight loss competition is that it is about more than just dropping pounds. It teaches and builds healthy habits that can be used far longer than any silly little competition. It's all about living a healthy, balanced life.

This weight loss competition that I'm hosting will be eight weeks long, with two winners at the end that will split the pot equally. One winner for highest weight loss percentage and one winner for most points earned. Buy-in is $25. You earn points for doing daily tasks and weekly bonus challenges. All of it will be kept track of on charts that I will share online. In fact, it's all done online, so you don't have to be physically present to participate. Oh! And no pictures and no sharing of weight. Only one person will know your weight and that will either be me or my friend Megan who hosted this competition the first time I did it.

And did I mention the first time I did it...I won over $300 for having the highest weight loss percentage? Weight loss competitions work! If you want to find out for yourself, comment below or message me and I'll be happy to answer any questions you have or include you in this competition.

Finally, I wanted to share a quick and easy recipe. I was looking for ways to pack in all the healthy vegetables I could the few days leading up to the half marathon. You know...the cancelled half marathon. Sigh.  Plus I had the nervous munchies with the anxiety and anticipation of a race. Instead of scarfing down a bag of potato chips, I made kale chips. Kale is really, really good for you and this is only one of the many ways you can incorporate it into your daily diet.

Kale Chips

One bunch of kale
olive oil
sea salt (or whatever kind of salt you have)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse and pat or shake dry the kale. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Toss in a bowl with a little bit of olive oil and a very little bit of salt. (Trust me on adding minimal salt. The first time I did it I added too much and was gagging on the chips. The second time, I was pretty careful about adding just a bit and still found them to be a bit too salty. A little bit goes a long way.) Spread the kale out evenly on a cookie sheet and bake for about 12 minutes or until crispy. Kale will "crispify" as it cools too. Enjoy!

This is a much healthier option than potato chips or pretzels and a yummy way to sneak in even more veggies in your day. My kids polished a pan full of these off as they waited for dinner to finish cooking. Kid tested. Mother approved!

22 March 2013

Gas Powered Marthoner

In a few minutes I'll be heading to bed. Gotta get some beauty sleep before I run a half marathon plus three miles tomorrow morning. But first I thought I would share what I'm eating the night before a long run.

I've really been trying to eat cleaner this week since I discovered on Tuesday that I would be participating in a race this Saturday. Emphasis on "trying". I'm not perfect in what I eat, but I've done a little better in squeezing in more veggies and healthier carbs.

While I'm not "carb-loading" tonight in the sense that most people think of, I am eating a delicious, healthy soup full of protein and carbs. Satisfying and filling and certain to power me through 16 miles. Even if it ends up being gas power from all these beans. ;)

My little helper for the evening...Elle

Chicken Taco Soup (adapted from a friend's vegetarian taco soup)

Olive oil
1 or 2 cans chopped green chilies
1 medium onion, chopped
3 TBSPs homemade GF taco seasoning (or 1 pkg taco seasoning)
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Great Northern white beans, drained and rinsed
2 (14 ounce) cans of peeled, cut tomatoes (or 1 qt canned stewed tomatoes)
1 can yellow hominy (or corn)
1 can white hominy (or corn)
1 pound chicken, shredded (My canned chicken breast works perfectly for this!)
2 TBSP salsa (optional)
2 to 3 cups of water
1 to 2 tsps chicken bouillon, to taste
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, sauté onion and chilies in oil for about 3 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips, grated cheddar cheese, and sour cream.

A few notes...This can very easily be a vegetarian meal; just leave out the chicken and bouillon!

If you are using chicken, a rotisserie chicken, such as the ones they sell at Costco, works very well for this recipe. Or you can just prepare some chicken breasts and shred them.

The beans are flexible, in that, you could put in whatever beans you have on hand. Black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, etc.

This recipe was my first encounter with hominy. If you've never had it, you've got to give it a try! Hominy is a form of corn, but it's just not the same. It has a fantastic, almost chewy texture which I love. It can be found near the canned beans in your grocery store or in the ethnic food aisle.

I love this recipe because it is a "dump it all in and simmer for a bit" kind of recipe. It's gluten- and dairy-free too. And I'm a sucker for a good hearty soup too, especially on a snowy day such as this one.

Yep. Snow. In March. The day before a half marathon race. I keep getting antsy about it, but then I remember...Oh yeah. I've been training all winter. This ain't nothing. Wish me luck!

20 March 2013

Vlog Vednesday #2: My Ghetto Treadmill

It's a rainy Wednesday over here. Perfect chance to vlog about my ghetto treadmill and my redneck ways. Behold how I harness the power of duct tape! And forget my stupid ear buds. Too much power for one Jolly Green Giant.

19 March 2013

I Can Be Spontaneous

It's very easy to fall into a routine. Actually, I purposefully put myself and my family into a routine.

Wake up at 7 am. Off to school by 8 am. Housework and workout. Lunch and naps. Homework at 4 pm. Bedtime at 7:30 pm. Bath nights on Wednesdays and Saturday. Wash the bathrooms on Wednesdays. Do the laundry on Tuesdays and Fridays. Chocolate chip pancakes on Saturday mornings. Church on Sunday. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Rinse and repeat again.

It can be my saving grace. But sometimes it can be just plain boring. Lately, I've been feeling the "boring" part of it wearing on my sanity. And then something happened today...

A fellow running friend asked if anyone was interested in buying one of her friend's bib for a half marathon on Saturday.

At first I ignored it.

Me? Run a half marathon on a whim? Pfft. training mileage is high enough. I could technically do it.

But I need to run 16 miles on Saturday, not 13.1.

But I could just run 3 extra miles before. Or after.

Nah. I don't want to spend the money. Besides I have plans for later in the day.

But it's only $25. And your plans don't start until the afternoon.

But I haven't been training for this race. It wasn't really in my plans.

But isn't that the best part?! It's something new and different and out of the ordinary.


Maybe I could.

Yes. I WILL!

It's just what I needed to shake things up. Goodbye routine. Hello spontaneity!

I can't think too much about it or else the anxiety begins to set in. It's kind of like signing up for the ACTs four days before when you've already been studying for the SATs for several months. You've done the work for something else and because of it, you'll be prepared. But's kind of...scary.

Scary in a good way. Scary and spontaneous and fun!

I can't help but pause a moment in my anxiety and excitement and just be grateful and rather amazed that I CAN do this. It suddenly hit me that I am at a point in my life and well-being that I can just up and run a half-marathon with four days notice!


I'm feeling very alive today.

18 March 2013

So...You Want to Lose Some Weight

Well, I keep waiting for this perfect moment when I'm going to have some time to sit down and write a very clever, well-laid out blog post about all the ins and outs of how to lose weight.

After a week of trying to do just that, I'm calling it.

It ain't gonna happen!

I need to follow that K.I.S.S. mantra: Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Me Stupid. Not you Stupid! You're not stupid. You just want some advice on how to get a little healthier and happier. And there is nothing stupid about that. In fact, it's very smart. So let me see what I can do to help you on your way.

The secrets to weight loss are not secret at all. They are exactly the things we hear about all the time. Eat less, exercise more. We know how to lose weight. Eat less, exercise more. It's just the doing part that is so darn hard to do. I can give you the "DO" part of weight loss, but what it really boils down to is that you are willing to DO it. That you DO it every day. And you keep DOing and figuring out different ways to DO it until you achieve what you want most in life: to be healthy and happy.

So...Here is what I did every day to lose 100 pounds:

1. Drink lots of water. At least 64 ounces. No pop.

2. Exercise at least 45 minutes. Mostly aerobic, with some strength training.

3. Eat lots of vegetables. And fruits. As fresh and unprocessed as possible.

4. Eat more lean protein. Chicken, fish, shrimp, beans, peanut butter, yogurt, etc.

5. Eat less carbs. Not low carb or carb free. Just less "simple" carbs, such as WHITE bread, bagels, pasta, chips, crackers, etc.

6. Track calories and stay under calorie allotment.

7. Have ONE treat once a week.

That's about it. I'm not saying I did perfectly every day or that I even do now after doing this for almost two years. But I am most successful at losing and keeping weight off when I am actively and consistently doing these seven things.

I'm not popping pills or doing juice fasts or going organic or doing crazy exercise regimens. I never even joined a gym. I did this stuff in the comfort of my home, with four little children, and lost 100 pounds.

It's basic. It's simple. It works. Are you ready to see if it works for you?

P.S. This is the foundation. I plan to write more in the future about other topics, such as motivation, healthy food choices, kinds of exercises, etc. This is just a good place to start.

16 March 2013

Enjoying the Journey: Part 1

Preface: These are my expanded notes from a weight loss presentation I was asked to give at a women's meeting for my church (LDS) on Thursday, May 14, 2013.

We have been asked to share our journeys today. My journey is pretty typical. I was born and raised in Southeast Idaho, the oldest of five children. I grew up in the church. I graduated from high school, went to college, met my returned missionary husband in an Institute ward, got married, and started having babies. And here I am today.
But what makes my journey untypical is my weight. I have been pretty chubby most of my life. And I’ve also suffered from chronicdepression for most of my life. These two things definitely played off each other and created a vicious cycle that did a number on my self confidence.

A couple of times in my life I kicked the cycle and managed to lose weight in very healthy ways. Once when I was 17 and again when I was in my early twenties, right before I met my husband. Each time that happened, I would declare, “This is IT! I am NEVER going to let myself get fat again”. But eventually I would.
After we were married I began to gain weight rapidly. I can’t even blame  pregnancy and babies because I was gaining it even before I got pregnant. But then I did get pregnant. And then I was busy trying to figure out how to take care of a baby. And then I got pregnant again and taking care of two little ones that were only 18 months apart. Before I knew it I had gained almost 100 pounds from my wedding day weight.

It was humiliating. I felt so ugly and worthless. I hated going home to Southeast Idaho for visits because I would bump into people I knew from high school or church.  I didn’t even enjoy being with my family. All of my younger siblings are thin, as are their spouses, and I was so much bigger than all of them. I was just sure they thought I was ugly and stupid and embarrassing.
I didn’t like leaving my house. I had no confidence around people. I felt anxiety at meeting new people or meeting up with old friends. I often made excuses and skipped out on events. And then I would sit at home and devour a bag of chocolate candy. Because somehow that made me feel better.
And I lived my life like this for the next eight-ish years. I would always try to lose weight. Every New Years. Every birthday. Every Monday. I had my lists of goals and big plans. Maybe I’d lose a little, but something would happen to derail my efforts and I would fall right off the wagon and gain it all back, plus some.
My husband was gaining weight right along with me, but he didn’t seem to care. We enjoyed eating together, especially late at night after the kids were in bed. He seemed to still love me. Eventually I just resigned myself to being fat. Oh well. It’s too hard. I’ll just be fat. And I even worked to love myself just the way I am. Fat and all. I had friends that were overweight and I loved them. I didn't care that they were fat. But I couldn't seem to extend the same courtesy to myself. I never could learn to accept and love myself, rolls and all. Deep down, I loathed myself. I was disgusting and out of control and repulsive and not worthy of anyone’s love or attention. At least that’s how I perceived myself and projected that other people felt about me.
Because of all this, I was not truly enjoying my journey. I was only enduring.
In the Spring of 2011, a perfect storm happened.
We had just had our fourth baby and were thinking we were done having babies. Now, gone was the excuse “Well, I can’t lose weight now. What’s the point? I’m just going to get pregnant and fat again in a little bit.” Stupid reasoning, I know.

Shortly after, in April 2011, my little brother flew into the SLC airport returning from his two-year mission. I remember being in the airport feeling emotional from the pure joy of seeing my brother again but also emotional with embarrassment of how I would look to him after two years and at my heaviest weight.
Afterwards, I tried to convince myself that I was just being dramatic and it was all in my head. And then I saw the pictures someone had taken at the airport. Not only was it bad, it was way worse than I had even thought. And you can even see in the pictures how I missed out on the joy of the moment. In many of the pictures I’m hanging back while my family rushes in to hug him. I even have a pained look on my face in several of the pictures.

As if this wasn’t enough I got some bad health news. To make a long story short, a couple of doctors discovered I had a "fatty liver". That was the actual name of it. Well, that’s just awesome. Not only is my body fat, but so is my liver. It was humiliating. My weight was not only affecting the outside of me, but also the inside. I remember sitting in my car after the doctor's appointment and just bawling with shame. With frustration that I couldn’t get my life in control. With hopelessness that it was never going to change.
And then I drove home, stopping at a gas station to buy a couple of candy bars to scarf down before I got home. Because that made everything better.

With all of these things happening around the same time, I decided to take yet another stab at weight loss. Only this time I was going to go big and make myself accountable to someone. That someone was the whole world.
On May 9, 2011, I started a blog. I already had a family blog but this was going to be completely devoted to weight loss and health and fitness. I called it "The Jolly Green Giant", a name I had earned in my youth, and I tried to put a positive spin on it with adding the subtitle of "Getting a little more jolly, a little more green, and a little less giant". I made a list of goals and posted them in the side bar with the intention of crossing them off as I accomplished them. They started off very simply. Workout one day. Workout three days in a row. Lose 10 pounds. 20 pounds. 30 pounds. All the way up to 100 pounds. Fit in my wedding dress. Run a marathon.

And then I did something really crazy. I shared THE number with the world. 281.5 pounds. Almost 300 pounds! That’s as much as people on The Biggest Loser weigh, at the beginning of the season! A show I would watch, while eating pizza, and think, "I’m never going to get THAT big."
I started posting on the blog at least once a week with my weigh-in numbers and updates on my exercise and healthy eating progress. It was humiliating. It was terrifying. And it was exactly what I needed. Knowing that people could see my failure, I decided I COULD NOT FAIL. My blog was a place I could vent and whine. I could talk through my chocolate cravings instead of giving in. It kept my fingers and mind busy so I wasn’t running to the fridge. It kept me company when my husband was out of town. And then there were encouraging comments made by people I knew and people I didn’t. That was very motivating.

In only two weeks, even with some food mess-ups I lost over ten pounds and even started finding that exercise felt good instead of just something to be endured. Little by little, the weight started coming off. Some weeks I lost 7 pounds. Others I lost 0 pounds or even gained a pound. But each week I gained new confidence, self control, self awareness, new knowledge about health and fitness.
It wasn't all roses and rainbows. I failed SO MANY TIMES. I would have a bad day and run to the loving embrace of my refrigerator doors. The next day I would confess to the blog and try to move on.

As time went on I changed and adapted my goals. I started exercising longer and doing different workouts.
One month in to my weight loss process, on June 9th, I was walking with my four children, two in strollers and two on bikes. We were just going to walk around the block a couple of times and call it good. My oldest fell behind and started whining because he has to be the leader. I wanted to teach him a lesson so I started jogging to stay ahead of him. We were going downhill so that helped. But even when it leveled out I kept jogging. I chanted out loud to myself, “Just to end of the block. Just to end.” And  I made it! At that very moment I changed our plans. We went left to the school instead of to the right. The kids played on playground while I “wogged” little laps around them. Wog. Walk. Wog. Walk. I was so proud of myself afterwards! That was the day I discovered running and a seed of love for running was planted.  It was a victorious day and I am so glad that I have that day recorded on my blog.

I started running more and longer distances. I began celebrating holidays with miles ran versus food eaten. A month after my first "wog", our wedding anniversary was celebrated with one mile ran without stopping instead of a box of Mrs. Sees chocolates. Running became about more than just weight loss. It was my time to be alone, to work through thoughts and feelings. It became very therapeutic and I found myself working through feelings I had been struggling with for years. One day I was running by a rose bush and the smell of it triggered a memory I had of my parents. During that run I realized I was holding on to a lot of resentment for my parents, worked through it, and felt the power and release of forgiveness. I have that day recorded as well.
I had the best running cheerleaders in my neighborhood. Every time I ran by the Tolmans, Nate would ask me “How many miles today, Evelyn?" and offer me a glass of water. The Ferrin girls would give me power fists in the air as they drove by. Michelle would express amazement at how many laps I did around the block. 

Since that first long “wog” to the end of the block, I have ran a 10k, a half marathon, and now I’m training for my first full marathon. That’s 26.2 miles of pure running! It blows my mind to think how far I’ve come from that day in June 2011.
Since May of 2011, I have lost 100 pounds. I brought 4 twenty-five pound bags of flour to show you what 100 pounds looks like. But I have gained so much more. I am so much more confident in myself. I like meeting new people and old friends. I’m not so obsessed with how "gross" I look that I am able to focus on others. I am so much happier! I'm a better mom. I have more energy to play with my children and I'm not always angry and short-tempered. I have learned that I can do hard things in all areas of my life. Because of the lessons I’ve learned in weight loss and fitness, I have this new found ability to tackle other hard things. This year we are working on becoming debt-free and that probably wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t gone through my weight loss journey.

Because of my weight loss journey, my entire journey has changed. My family’s journey has changed. Hopefully my children won’t have to deal with some of the heartaches I struggled with because they will be learning young how to be healthy, physically and mentally.

My journey is hardly over. I still have weight to lose and lessons to learn. I still struggle with looking at myself in the mirror and being repulsed with what I see. Now days, it's more about loose skin and lumps rather than chub and rolls. I had actually been asking myself what I needed to do about my journey when I was asked to speak at this meeting.
To be continued...

15 March 2013

Speaking Up about Weight Loss little "speech" was last night.

It went...well. I think?

Afterwards I felt pretty drained emotionally and physically. It's been a long week at our house and I can't remember the last time I slept more than an hour at one time. But it wasn't just the lack of sleep. It was the fact that I shared my story...OUT LOUD.

And--duh!--I've been doing that for almost two years here on this blog, but this time I said it out loud. To a group of people. People with ears and eyes and body language that "speaks" back. Women I spend time with weekly, if not more often.

I'm feeling very raw about it. Very vulnerable. And really, I know how ridiculous this sounds after I've been so open about my weight loss journey and depression and other things here on the blog. But I still can't decide if it was a good thing.

I was nervous through the entire thing. My mouth was really dry and I could. not. stop. shaking. I was emotional. (No surprise there.) I could see some women growing emotional as I spoke. But I think it was the women who just watched me with no expression in their eyes that scared me the most. I could not "read" what they were thinking.

I can't help wondering how I came across to this audience. Did I sound ridiculous? Did I sound whiny? Was my message hopeful and inspiring? Was it too much about me? Did I dwell too much on the past and not enough on the future? Do they all think I'm crazy and broken now? Did I sound immature or judgmental or "holier than thou"?

I hope I can look people in the eye on Sunday at church.

I only had so much time to speak and I even went over the time allotment (oops!). It was a lot of message to squeeze into one little chunk of time. I tried to be honest and to convey that message of "if I can do it, ANYONE can" without going so far as to say that. I hoped to express how I've changed the course of my life journey and how I'm enjoying it now instead of enduring it.

A few women came up to me afterwards. These were ones who I had seen wiping away tears as I spoke. They expressed how my journey had been/was their journey. One woman, who I hardly know, simply hugged me and cried. I found out she had been called "Jolly Green Giant" as well. I had hoped to talk to her more, but my opportunity was lost with the chaos of the evening.

I wish I could just let the chips fall and be settled about it. What's done is done. I can't change it now. My hope is that maybe at least one person was affected last night and if that happened then it was completely worth it.

Also...I think I better stick with writing. At least I can get through that without doing the ugly cry. Or at least without people seeing me doing the ugly cry.

P.S. Go HERE to read Part 1 of my presentation.

14 March 2013

I Did It My Weigh!

About a month ago I was asked to speak at a women's meeting for our church on how I've enjoyed my journey as a wife and mother with an emphasis on going through the healthy life change I have been through over the last couple of years. Talk about being flattered and terrified all at once.

That meeting is tonight and I have just printed off my notes that will help me to somehow relate in ten minutes an almost 32 year long experience to a room full of women. I have had an entire month to ponder on what I would say tonight. It's been a reflective struggle. I couldn't even relate in ten minutes what thoughts I have had over the last month alone, much less the two years of my weight loss journey, much less the 30 years prior.

I was tempted to just pass out a piece of paper with the link to this blog, but I decided to give it a first rate try. And I'm glad I did. This month of pondering has helped me to realize just how far I really have come. Sometimes, it's easy for me to belittle my journey.

"It's just 100 pounds and besides I've gained a bit of it back."
"It's just a marathon. Lots of people run marathons."
"It's just happiness and joy and self-control and confidence that I've gained. No biggie."

As I've struggled to figure out what to say tonight, as I've prayed and pondered, as I've searched through old blog posts and pictures, as I've gone over my final notes, I've thought a lot of thoughts and felt a lot of emotions.

With this bird's eye view of my journey, all laid out in one small chronological map, I've been able to see Point A and Point C as well as the messy, curving, spiraling, dotted Line B.

In the matter of a few minutes I read the post about when I was struggling to "wog" to the end of the block only to then read the post on how I was now running 16 miles, soon to be 26.2 miles.

I found this picture...

And then this picture...

And then it hit me.

I did this. I lost 100 pounds. I kicked obesity in the fanny. I changed my fate. I altered my family's fate too. I did it without anyone pushing me. I ate healthily as I sat by a husband who did not. I have figured out ways to make exercise and healthy eating a daily part of my life. I have planned and sacrificed and pushed and endured. I got out of bed before sunrise over and over again. I made it a priority. I found my inner and outer beauty. I chose happiness. I did it.

And I'm still doing it and I'm hoping to help others do it too.

Not to toot my own horn or anything.

(Can I admit that during this process, more than once, the thought of writing a book came to my mind? Ssshhh.)

13 March 2013

Vlog Vednesday #1: Moms CAN Exercise

Let's go for a walk, shall we?

Note to Self: Wear sunglasses next time. No one needs to see that much of the inside of your nostrils. Sheesh.

09 March 2013

My Sweet Sixteen

I'm a very lucky girl in that although my husband travels so much he is typically home on Saturdays, the days I do my big runs. He can stay with the kids while I go out and conquer the world, one mile at a time.

Unfortunately he has a lot of two week long trips coming up, meaning I need to find other ways of getting my training in. I really hate asking people to watch my children. I know how inconvenient four extra little ones can be. And it's no small task to take on my little brood, especially with their food issues. But if my long runs are going to get done, I'm going to have to start asking for help.

I'm also a very lucky girl in that my sister lives about half an hour away and is brave enough to take on my clan. I'm very grateful to her today for letting them terrorize her house for four hours. Yikes! Thanks Erin!

Driving half an hour away today meant a change in scenery for me AND a new running partner. I "met" Becky on my running group and have really been wanting to meet her in person for a long time. Her lovely personality just radiates from her typing so you can imagine what she's like in person. Even lovelier.

In the two plus hours we ran together I'm pretty sure I spilled my entire life story to her. In detail. She was very gracious to listen, especially at the end of our run when I started to get whiny about achy knees and hips. Not to mention the patience she had with my natural ability to get lost as we tried to find each other at the beginning of the run. (At least I only ran 1.5 miles in the wrong direction before realizing my error.)

It really is fantastic to chat with someone while you run. Those 16 miles zoomed by. It would have been rather treacherous without the good company. The wind and cold temperatures, aches and pains were a little easier to ignore. It's always fun to talk to someone who you've felt like you've already known for a long time. All in was a great way to start a Saturday!

That being said...I was pretty spent by the end of my 16 miles. New personal record! But, oh my poor toenails! Four Ibuprofen and a couple of hours kicked back in the recliner later and all was well.

16 miles down. Only 10.2 more to go!

P.S. How could we forget to get a picture, Becky?! Next time...

08 March 2013

Just Call Me, "Dear Flabby"

I've spent far too much time on this computer today trying to play catch-up. I need some time to spend with my kiddoes and my house work, so here's the long and short of it:

I've been getting lots of messages on Facebook asking for weight loss advice, healthy eating tips, a good dose of motivation, or a just a shoulder to cry on. I've been trying to answer these all personally, but there are enough of them and with similar themes that I'm going to start trying to write blog posts that can answer several people's questions at once. Just call me, "Dear Flabby". ;)

I am very happy to help and honored that anyone thinks my advice is worth seeking out, but I do want to make a couple of things clear...

I'm NO expert. Or doctor or nurse or dietitian or even a personal trainer. I'm just a girl who's been through a weight loss journey--who is STILL on a weight loss journey. I do not have all answers. I still have a lot of weaknesses to work on myself.

I will try to not lead you astray by sharing the things that have worked for me. Just because something worked for me, doesn't mean it will for you, but we can sure work together to figure it out.

I need to be careful about not letting this become an obsession. I tend to be a little obsessive-compulsive. When I have a project, I love to devote everything to it. But I am a mother (an often single mom) of four kids and they are my biggest project and priority. I will try to answer your queries in a timely manner, but please forgive me if I take a bit.

To make this a little easier and more accessible I finally did something today that I've been considering for awhile. I took The Jolly Green Giant to Facebook! I have my own "Like Page" now. I'll be posting my blog post links there and hopefully fostering a supportive community that will help to motivate and inspire anyone who wants to be on this journey too.

Alrighty...That is all.

Sincerely, "Dear Flabby"

07 March 2013

Spooky Seven Miles


And it was just what I needed to kick these blues to the curb. I know I just wrote a big old long serious post about how much running helps me, but SERIOUSLY! Almost as soon as I started running I could feel the release throughout my entire being. Ahhh!

This is where I defeated the dementors that have been chasing me for the last several days. My patronus was bright and strong.

And then as I began to pound out my seven miles, a different sort of tension began to build. I was running on the same trail I ran on with my running group on Saturday. Only on Saturday it was almost crowded and fully lit and quite welcoming.

Tonight was different. I wasn't able to start running until 5:30 pm so it was starting to get dark and was almost completely dark by the time I finished. Initially, I was very pleased about finding unpaved trails that paralleled the river away from the surrounding neighborhoods. If I squinted a bit, I could almost imagine I was out in the woods instead of in the middle of a huge city.

And then I started passing by several men, either running themselves, walking, or just loafing around. It didn't help that most of them were dressed in black. And that it was only men I saw. I was the only female on the entire 7 miles.

Taking the road less traveled...That is until I got too scared.

I got so spooked that I pulled out my ear buds just so I could hear if someone was running up behind me. I moved to the paved trails and I kept glancing around making sure I was alone. Every time I approached another person I made mental notes of their clothing, hair, build. You know...the details I would need to give the police in case I wasn't just pushed into the nearby river and left for dead.


I probably should have just abandoned the run and gone home, but I needed it so badly. For training and for mental soothing.

I don't think I'll be running that path, that late in the day, that alone, again. And maybe it's time to start carrying some pepper spray or a rape whistle. 

P.S. As I finished my 7 miles, I remembered a blog post on a blog I really loved to follow several years ago. The writer was a free spirit who thrilled to run miles and miles just for the pure love of running. I just didn't get her back then. (I do now.) I remember, vividly, reading a post where she did a 7 mile run one afternoon, just as part of her day. No big deal. "Just 7 miles". I remember thinking, "That is so unhealthy. I think she has a problem. How is that humanly possible?"

It's always good when you can laugh at yourself.

P.P.S. I broke in my new shoes and belt tonight. All is well. The marathon training may continue.

06 March 2013

Depression and Running: My Drug of Choice

It's been a pretty gnarly week over at our house this week. Nothing in particular has happened. It just feels like everything is wrong and hopeless and bad and dark and...wrong.

There is a part of my brain that KNOWS none of that is true. But it is a very small, quiet part that can't quite seem to override the more grizzly parts that take over every once in a while.

I think I have struggled with depression for almost my whole life. I believe it is genetic and that I was blessed with this Debbie Downer DNA from both of my parents. But my parents never really labeled what it was. Like ever. Maybe they were in denial of their own condition. Maybe they didn't want to acknowledge their daughter's distress because that only gave fuel to the fire. There was never talk of medical conditions or mental health or doctors or drugs. It was, "You just need to pray harder, Evelyn. Rely on the Spirit and the gospel. You need to overcome the 'natural man'. Just BE happy. Just do it." They were trying to help. They just weren't.

My weight didn't help either.

I remember my mom telling me once that she noticed I started really gaining weight in the 4th grade. And that was also the year that school stopped being so easy for me. And that was also the year that I began to really care about food. She said I would get upset about food, like if she told me I couldn't eat something, I would get mad or sad.

I would sneak food. My parents didn't buy junk food or take us out to eat very often. We hardly ever had pop. Delivery pizza and root beer was a treat. We ate lots of homegrown vegetables and very little meat. So I would creep into the laundry room where our food storage was, find the bags of chocolate chips, and hide them in my room.

I have this very vivid memory of coming home from school, bitterly disappointed about falling out of a Spelling Bee competition I had been doing really well in. My mom was making a no-bake cheesecake. My favorite. I don't know if she said this or I simply made this correlation in my mind, but the cheesecake was my consolation prize for losing in the Spelling Bee. And the cheesecake was delicious and comforting compensation.

At some point I made an emotional connection with food.

Food was my friend as I tried to deal with the sadness and anger I felt over so many things. I didn't have any friends for most of junior high. The friends I thought I had betrayed me all in one swift swoop. They invited me to a fake birthday party, hoping I would show up and realize I had been tricked. I remember finding some shells and photographs I had given them, smashed and ripped and blowing around the school yard. People called me a "brown noser" because I tried to do well in school.

I came home every single day just as smashed and lost as those shells. My parents did their best to try to put me back together each day. I remember lots of notes of encouragement and late night talks. There were also lots of commiserating treats.

My last year of junior high, I finally found my way into a group of wonderful girls...who, because of city boundaries, all went to the other high school after we finished junior high. Again, I was friendless and lost in a big new school full of big new experiences.

Eventually I found new friends. They were fantastic and I loved them dearly, but I still felt alone as "The Jolly Green Giant" of the bunch. I was one of the tallest and heaviest girls in the group. I felt awkward and obvious. I had no idea how to act around guys. I tried to compensate for my size and uncoordination with humor; humor that probably just made things worse at times. The only guy-ask-girl dance I went to was a Valentine's dance where my friend asked me via phone message machine at 11 pm the night before the dance. I was grateful to be asked, but crushed to know I was, once again, last choice.

Finally high school drew to a close and college began. I never could master the art of dating and settled for being "the buddy" or the heart breaker of every weirdo in my hometown. But, lo and behold, one day I met my future husband. He was handsome and athletically-built so of course I immediately set about matchmaking him with my younger (skinnier) sister, "because no guy like that would ever go for a girl like me". But I soon realized he wasn't looking at her. He was looking at me. Well...this is new.

We were married and quickly got very comfortable around each other. No boundaries meant no more time in the gym and no more being vigilant about every little calorie. Soon I was pregnant. And then I was pregnant again. Before I knew it I was 100 pounds over my wedding day weight and struggling with what I thought was "just" postpartum depression; and what I thought was my first encounter with depression. But the "postpartum depression" raged louder with each pregnancy and birth. And it came ever maliciously with a miscarriage. And then it was there all the time. Anger and apathy and jealousy and over-sensitivity and feelings of inadequacy and frustration and pity and hopelessness.

After 31 years of life and almost 10 years of marriage, I have learned a few things.

I suffer from chronic depression.

I am an emotional eater.

My natural tendency is to "medicate" my pain with food.

Prescribed medications do not work for me.

I will probably struggle with depression and weight my entire life.
I do not have to live in misery my entire life.

No one is responsible for my happiness but me.

I have found my drug of choice.


I can pinpoint exactly why this week has led me back to the doorways of depression. I have not been able to get a decent run in since Saturday. At first it was a time conflict, but as each day passes it becomes a motivation conflict. Very quickly it spirals into dark, old conflicts between my brain and my body. I forget very quickly just how much I love running and how much running loves me.

If someone had told me in junior high or high school how much I would love running, I would have told them they were nuts. But now it drives me nuts that no one did! Running is so healing physically AND mentally. I would probably have been at a better weight. Maybe guys would have asked me to the dances then. I would have lots of endorphins rushing through my brain counteracting all those nasty, gnarly, negative thoughts and doubts. I might have come in contact with people who could have helped me learn about the very positive and powerful effects of exercise and healthy eating. Maybe I would have made the correlation that just as I can stick to a training schedule and achieve major mileage goals, I can stick to other things and see other big life goals come to fruition.

I feel like I can say with a great degree of certainty that my adolescent experience would have been a TOTALLY different experience had I known how to be a runner.

I hate hearing people say they have no regrets or "live life without regret" because I do! I have so many regrets! And then I have guilt because I must be living wrong if I am living with regret. My saving grace is that I have running. While I wish I could have had it 15 years ago, I am so grateful to have it now. When that nagging depression raises its ugly head I know how to combat it. I know how to help my children not make some of the mistakes I made. I can teach them ways to cope with the hard times that will inevitably come with things other than food and well-meaning "just get over it"s. I can show them in a very tangible way how to set goals and actively achieve them.

And that is very powerful medicine.

04 March 2013

Social Running or How One Gets Through 14 Miles with a Smile on One's Face

L to R: Kathy, Evelyn (me!), Teresa, Jacy, Heidi, Dave, and Ethan (12 years old!)
I never thought I would be someone who enjoys running with other people. Of course...I never thought I would be someone who enjoys running PERIOD. But look at me now! Gettin' all social while gettin' all sweaty, and stinky, and huffy. I LOVE IT!

Running socially is a fantastic way to make the time and miles (almost) blissfully pass. Instead of staring mindlessly at my GPS app or desperately searching through Pandora stations for the perfect music to give me that needed boost, I'm chatting away with friends about music or food or running gear or goofy kids or spirituality or gardening or whatever! Behold the power of distraction!

My Facebook running group is one of my happy places on the internet. It's a place where I've been able to ask a lot of questions and voice frustrations or just brag to a group of people who understand the little triumphs in the life of a mom/runner. It has also become a place to find local running companions.

I must admit that, initially, the idea of meeting "strangers" to complete such physical tasks with was unpleasant. Anxiety would set in as the date for the meet-up would draw nearer. Racing heart, sweaty palms, dry mouth. It was kind of like dating all over again. But every meet-up has been positive thus far and I'm happy to report that the anxiety is diminishing with each new encounter.

On Saturday seven of us met up for a run. Five were from the FB group, along with one son, and one friend. A few people I had previously ran with and a few were new to me. All of the rest of the group didn't need to cover the 14 miles that was on my training schedule so I left my house an hour or so early and clocked in almost 7 miles before meeting up with everybody else. Then we covered an additional 7 miles together leaving me only half a mile to complete my 14. They stretched while I finished my half mile and then cheered and high-fived me as I achieved a new personal record, my longest run to date!

14 miles!! (My previous longest run was the 13.1 miles I did during my first half marathon in September 2012.)

And now I'm pretty sure I can cure cancer or solve world hunger. Or maybe, even possibly, just might be able to run a full marathon.

Running socially is definitely how one gets through 14 miles with a smile on one's face. Here's to many more long runs with sweaty friends!