Monday, September 1, 2014

Twenty-Nine Miles Done...Plus One More, Along With September Goals!

Happy September, everyone! Drinking a pumpkin coffee from Wawa as I write this since, you know, it's the season after all! Seriously, if you're ever in Jersey, get to a Wawa and get some coffee and chocolate milk. They're both awesome.

Anyway, since it's now September 1, I guess I should recap my August goal, huh? ;-)

Well, if you remember my post in the beginning of August, I said that I wanted to run 29 miles since my 29th birthday was on the 7th.

Guess what? I didn't run 29 miles.

I ran 30!!

I ended Friday at 29.5 miles, and thought I would be happy with that. Here's the pic I posted then as proof of my excitement (Sparkle Athletic skirt and all):


I let it sink in for a day or so, then yesterday, I thought that if I put in just another half mile, I would be at an even 30 for the month, and since you all know I like things nice and even, I decided to go out yesterday and do it, despite it being the hottest day of the month.


Boom. I started off the month not sure that this would happen to going a mile over my goal. You know, for a girl who used to HATE running (I WALKED the mile in high school, for crying out loud!), I did pretty good for myself. Granted, I may never be the fastest, but I finish what I start. That's what counts more, right?

In case you're wondering, I still haven't decided on my reward for this. I'm leaning toward this Alex and Ani Champion bracelet, since I've not only been wanting it forever, but at the same time, it's a fitting symbol of how far I came with this!

All five of my current bracelets are in silver but I think this one looks awesome in the gold, no? Well, I have to wait until next week anyway, but I think this is what I'm getting myself!

Well, since I rocked my one BIG goal in August, I decided to go back to smaller ones for September. Here's the lowdown if you haven't seen it on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram:


1) Complete The Conscious Runner's 30 Day Plank Challenge. I got invited to this on Facebook (only have a personal page), and decided to go for it. It's four planks (side on each arm, basic, and reverse) for a set amount of time each day, with rest days built in to the challenge. Perfect for me!

2) Run three times a week and NOT on consecutive days. I have a 5K coming up on October 5, and want to keep running so I'm race ready that day! I'm trying not to run on consecutive days, mostly for injury prevention. I did in August (mostly to meet my goal mileage), and want to prevent that in September. I'm taking a week as recovery, and planning on going full force after the 7th!

3) Place at least $50 in savings. Hoping I get to save a little more this month. I wasn't able to in August (Okay, $10--which is better than nothing!), and want to get some more money set aside for a rainy day or maybe a Fitbloggin' trip next summer! ;-)

4) No daily weighing. I was doing good with this, then started to let this bad habit sneak back in toward the end of August. So, back to banishing the scale except for once a week!

5) Try at least two new recipes. I fell into a cooking rut. Again. I found a vegetarian recipe online that sounds amazing and want to try! I'm finding so many other recipes now that I'm back in the Pinterest game (hoopsfreak03 over there), so I have TONS of inspiration!

My reward for this month will be two new Sparkly Soul headbands. It's been awhile since I bought any, and there are several that I want!

Anyway, that's my recap of August and plans for September!

Here's to starting the fall off right!

Do you have any awesome September goals?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The "HOW" of My 100+ Pound Weight Loss

Happy Sunday, friends! Unwinding a bit and enjoying the last few days of a much needed week off work.

Anyway, I've been getting several (good) comments about how good I look and if I've lost weight recently. Shocker, I haven't! I've been around the same two or three pounds since last September, when I hit goal. I think it might be toning and replacing muscle with fat. I've been lifting and doing core work like crazy as of late. Still, if it helps me look good, roll with it, right? ;-)

After all that babble, people keep asking me HOW I lost over 100 pounds.

Here's another shocker: I did it on my own.

Yup, y'all heard that right! No pre-packaged meals, no counting points, and NO SURGERY.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking down on those options at all. What works for one doesn't always work for another. I wasn't overweight enough to NEED the surgery, plus other options (Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, for example) were too much money for me. So, I decided to just watch what I ate and worked out. That's all.

However, there are a few things that ANYONE trying to lose weight MUST do, regardless of what diet plan you use (in no particular order):

1) Watch what you eat. Common sense here, right? Right. I'm not gluten-free (no need to be), not vegan/vegetarian (or even close), and I don't rely on pre-packaged meals. I just eat good, healthy food in portions that work for me and enjoy a treat sometimes. Which leads me to...

2) Treat MEAL one day a week. Confession: I love pizza. I love fro-yo. Chocolate chip cookies and French fries will forever be in my life. However, the trick is to LIMIT how much you enjoy these items! I usually limit myself to one treat meal a week. It might be pizza, chicken fingers from Sonic (pretty much the only fast food I eat anymore), or even baby back ribs (like I had on my birthday). I keep it to one meal and move on. Same goes for sweets, even though I usually limit them to the weekends (one treat per day Friday-Sunday).

3) TRACK! I can't stress this enough. I do so much better when I track what I eat. I've actually been tracking for about 350 days straight. I'm a visual learner, so it helps to see what I eat and how I can adjust my patterns based on my goals. Oh, it also helps me own up to anything I mess up on (Lemon Chicken Orzo on a DAILY basis, for example). I use MyFitnessPal (hoopsfreak03 over there), but there are a ton of other options out there for you to choose from! If all else fails, there's always pen and paper!

4) Get moving! I'm not saying to get out there and run a marathon. Hell, even I haven't done that! Everyone has to start somewhere. Try something as simple as walking for 10-15 minutes at a time. I eventually worked myself up to Wii Fit and Biggest Loser DVD's. I even completed Jillian Michaels's 30 Day Shred! Eventually, I got a gym membership, fell in love with spinning, and completed several 5K's! Find what works for you and go from there!

5) Find support. I have a crazy, but loving family who supports me in this 100% (even if I don't think so sometimes), but I have so many friends and supporters online too. Point is, you need someone to cheer you when times are good, support you when they're not, and maybe even give you some tough love when you need it most but least expect it. There are so many out there who have similar struggles (I try not to say "same," as no two people are exactly alike), so there's always someone to listen! You can even message me or shoot me a tweet, and I'll help you too! ;-)

Last, but certainly not least...

6) Do it for YOU!  So many times, I've seen people wanting a friend or family member to lose weight, but the person rebels against it. In fact, I was that person myself. This is one of those things where you have to want it for yourself; not to please your family, not for an event, and not even to be accepted by society. If you do it for all those things, are you going to stick with it after everything comes and goes? NOPE! I know from experience that I didn't really want it until just over five years ago. At that point, I was just sick of being overweight and wanted to be healthy and happy in my own skin. Sure enough, I am today!

Well, there you go! That's how I lost over 100 pounds and kept it off for ten months, but planning on keeping it up forever!

Do you have any tips for losing or maintaining weight?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

July Goal Recap and August Goal

Where has July gone? It feels like the month just started, and we're already in August! I don't like it!

Well, since July's over, guess I should recap my goals from the month, right?

In case you missed them, here they are:


And here's how I did!

1) Put at least $50 into savings. Nailed it halfway through the month. I would have loved to made it more, but a less than normal paycheck last week didn't make it happen.

2) Blog at least once a week. I think I made it at least three out of four weeks. Not perfect, but better than it was. I'll take it.

3) No running AT ALL. Tough, but I did it! I never thought I would say it, but I was missing the pavement! I started running again on Friday, and it's been slow, but I know I'll be back fiercer than ever!

4) Plank-A-Day. I went 31 for 31! Still keeping the streak alive too! Hoping to keep this up through the rest of the year! Or at least through August. ;-)

5) One movie a week. Another three out of four. Although I think that three hours of Parks and Recreation makes up for the one week, right?

So all this earned me my reward. I will eventually get my Yankees bracelet, probably after my next paycheck or the one after. Still have a few bills to figure out. =P

Anyway, I was thinking of what to work on for August, and I couldn't think of anything. That was when I decided that I wanted to do something tying to the number 29 (since I turn 29 on Thursday).

Then it hit me: Why not run 29 miles in August?

I was honestly on the fence about it, then on Friday, I put the goal into RunKeeper, and there was no turning back.


This picture actually reflects my total distance (all 4 miles) as of today. Still have 25 to go, but I think that if I pace it right and make the most of my runs, it will happen!

You can follow my progress on Endomondo (the app I use to actually track my runs) and RunKeeper (where I plug them in and have the goal set up). I'm hoopsfreak03 on RunKeeper, but you have to enter my full name (Tracy Carroll) on Endomondo.

Edit (8/24/14): I am no longer using Endomondo and switched over to Caledos Runner for Windows Phone as of two weeks ago. The miles automatically sync to my RunKeeper. Still hoopsfreak03 on RK.

As for my reward...no idea what it is yet! I'm sure I'll think of something during the course of the month!

That's all for now! Happy August!

Have you ever set a mileage goal for a month? Was it for race training or for yourself?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

If Only People Knew...

This post is going to be a little ranty. You've been warned.

Since hitting my goal weight ten months ago (That long already? Wow.), I've gotten more than my share of "If I was your size..."

Let me just say one thing (okay, scream): YOU HAVE NO F&*KING IDEA WHAT IT TOOK TO GET TO BE THIS SIZE!!

Whew. That feels better.

Seriously though, I wish people did know what it took.

They have no idea about the sacrifices that I had to make in terms of both food (not being able to eat what I want when I want) as well as time (two hours in the gym when I would rather be chilling).

Nor do they know that being my size will be a battle forever. I probably won't drink soda ever again (as much as I want a root beer...boo) or eat bread bowls of soup whenever I want (third of my day's calories and then some). In addition, I will probably have to keep busting my ass at the gym when I would rather be home watching NCIS reruns.

Do I get jealous of people who seem to be able to eat what they want and not break out into a sweat yet don't gain an ounce? Sadly, yes. I wish was one of those people.

However, I think that if I was, I wouldn't be as thankful for the body I have now. Nor would I be as proud of it. So what if I don't have a "perfect" bikini body or a thigh gap? I busted my ass for five years for this body! It's real, it's mine, and I'm damn proud of it!

So, next time people say "If I was your size...", I will simply think to myself that I'm glad that I am my size and will keep doing what it takes to stay there.

Oh, and I will probably never say that to anyone again.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Product Review: Flapjacked Protein Pancakes

Disclaimer: I received no monetary compensation for the following review and bought the product myself. Pictures and opinions are my own.

Happy Saturday, friends! This week seemed to go a little slow, and I'm just glad it's the weekend!

Over the course of about a month or two, I was hearing about this awesome protein pancake mix called Flapjacked. The mixes come in three flavors (Buttermilk, Banana Hazelnut, and Apple Cinnamon) and have about 15-17 grams of protein per half-cup serving. So, basically, they will keep you fuller longer than your average pancake.

It was about a week ago that I ordered my own bag and gave these pancakes a whirl myself. I was lame and went with the plain buttermilk, but I plan on trying the other two soon enough!


If you noticed on the package, they said "No Artificial ANYTHING!"

Say WHAT?!

That's right! All-natural ingredients!
 
 


I can pronounce everything on the label! Yay! 
 
Oh, and did I mention how easy they are to make?
All you have to do is add some water to the mix, let sit for a few minutes to thicken up, and cook on a low heat setting like you would any other pancake! That's right! If you don't believe me, here's proof that the company even said so! ;-)



So, on Monday night, after an intense cardio kickboxing class, I decided to make these!

One of the company's tips that I saw on their Instagram was to use a food scale to measure the mix since a half-cup is equal to 56 grams. Plus, people tend to pack their cups, so they end up with WAY more than a half-cup without realizing it. So, that's what I did. I put my mix right into the bowl though, so I saved myself a step...lol.

Anyway, once the mix was measured, I added my water, mixed it, and let it sit for about five minutes while the griddle heated up.

After about five minutes, my mix was ready to go, and I scooped it onto the griddle. Half a cup of mix will get you quite a few pancakes! I was surprised at this!

I love how the company even puts on the label to cook until there are no more bubbles in the pancake. Some pancakes can be hard to tell when they're done, so having this helpful hint was awesome. Not that I'm kitchen illiterate or anything, but still, it helps. ;-)

Less than 10 minutes later, I had pancakes! The company has all sorts of recipes for each mix, but I was simple for my first time out, and just topped mine with some syrup. One word: DELICIOUS!



Oh, and yes, I was full for the rest of the night. So, there. Protein does keep you fuller for longer!

Since they take less than 15 minutes to make from start to finish altogether, I might be making these for breakfast before work during the week! Maybe adding some yogurt or turkey bacon to make them a more complete meal!

Next time I make these, I plan on being more adventurous and using some of the recipes on their site, but they're just as delicious on their own!

The company occasionally runs sales on their items, so be on the lookout for them! Still, a full bag will run you about $12, plus S&H, which isn't too bad, considering how yummy and filling they are!

Have you tried Flapjacked pancakes?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Showing Myself Some Tough Love: Be Yourself!

This is a post I've been meaning to write for some time, but not exactly in this format.

However, in the post-Fitbloggin span of about two weeks, I've been seeing a lot of "tough love" posts. Basically, as bloggers (and friends), we can be a little too easy on each other, and not push as much as we know we should, which in turn, lets us keep living in a bubble of "It's okay." Truth is, it's not always okay, and we need to call ourselves out on crap.

Recently, I came down with a huge case of "Keeping Up with the Joneses" syndrome. In a nutshell, I spend a lot of time comparing myself to others and feel like my life is an epic fail because I'm 29 (almost), not married with kids, still living with my family, and not having a "real job." Oh, and not to mention the fact that I didn't go from couch potato to marathoner in a blink of an eye. Yes, I know things can always be worse, but I was in a mindset of "I'm already at the bottom. There's nowhere else to go." Not exactly what I want to be thinking.

My friend Dani of Weight off My Shoulders wrote an awesome post about this some time ago (which you can read here). The whole point of the post was that everyone has their own journey, and we just have to live our own. I reread it yesterday and realized that I needed to call myself out on this big time because I'm not doing that at all.

So, here's to showing myself some tough love!
 
Dear Tracy,

You've been spending a lot of time comparing yourself to everyone else around you, right? I thought so.

You think that because you don't have a real job or a marriage and kids, and still live with your parents, your life is an epic fail at almost 29, right?

Well, guess what? IT'S NOT!!

Epic failure would be not having any sort of job AT ALL! At least you have some way to make money to pay your bills and feed yourself! Yes, times are tough, but there are people who don't have any sort of job! Be thankful you have one, even if you're asking people if French baguette is okay with their meal!
 
So what if you still live with your parents? Do you have a roof over your head? A warm bed at night? Yes on both? Good! Then, you can't say that you have nothing. You have someone who cares enough about you to let you stay with them!

Oh, and this whole thing about not being married with kids at 29? So what? Those people were ready! You weren't! You still had to focus on yourself!

Speaking of which, you are a ROCKSTAR just for doing what you did by losing over 100 pounds and still keeping it off! Honey, there are people who would LOVE to do what you did and are still doing!

Are you getting it now? You are? Good.

The whole point is that no two people live the same life!

Our journeys are all so different, and we need to follow our own in the best way for OURSELVES. Comparing yourself to everyone else won't do that.

Yes, I know it's so easy to get wrapped up in trying to keep up with everyone else, but really, at the end of the day, the only person who matters is YOU!

I mean, really, would you have lost over 100 pounds if you didn't love yourself? NO WAY! That alone says a lot!

So, instead of saying "I'm not as good as everyone else," try saying "Why would I want to be like someone else? I can be a kick-ass version of myself and love it!"

I needed to get this out for a long time and already I feel better about myself.

Physically, I'm the best I've been in a long time. I've completed two 5K's this year, and planning at least two more. Mentally, I'm in a much better place than I was. I love myself and realize that if I had the same life as everyone else, that would be boring.

So, I've decided to stop dwelling on everyone else, stop trying to keep up, and remember that I am the only person that matters at the end of the day!

I mean, isn't it all about taking life one step at a time? No matter how long it takes, it's still a step!

I know I'll get to where I'm meant to be, but for right now, it's about letting it fall into place, enjoying the ride, and being that kick-ass version of myself without worrying about other people!

After all, success is a JOURNEY, not a DESTINATION!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

July Goals!

Happy July, everyone! Hope everyone had a fun 4th and is enjoying your weekend!

I finally managed to come up with some goals for the month. Theme for the month is challenging recovery (if that makes sense...haha). Here's what I came up with:



1) Put at least $50 into savings. I put $25 in when I got paid on Tuesday, so I'm already halfway there! Yay!

2) Blog at least once a week. I'm in a rut...AGAIN! I want to get myself out of it. Anything you guys want to see on here? I'm more than open to suggestions!

3) No running AT ALL. You read that right, folks. I mentally and physically need a break from the road and 'mill. Plus, I want to focus on my cross-training a little more, so I'm going off the road and back in the gym for a bit.

4) Plank-a-Day...again. I was doing good when I had this as a May goal...then fell off the wagon a few days into June. So, I'm going back at it!

5) One movie day or night a week. Whether I go to the movies, pop in a disc, or watch something on HBO, this will be my time to unplug and relax! I need a few hours a week to myself, and this is a good way to do it!

Reward for this month is another Alex and Ani bracelet. Shocker, I know. ;-) This one will be a Yankees one with a navy background. It's gorgeous, shows my fandom...and is also $38. I figure this would be a good reward for an awesome July as well as a birthday present (My birthday is a little over a month away, on August 7).

Here's to an awesome July!