New Beginning

So, the last time we talked, I announced that I was pregnant. I’ve read one too many weight loss blog that turned into a pregnancy blog that immediately lost me as a reader to know that I didn’t want to go that route with my blog.

That being said, I’m a mom!

IMG_7125

With my second re-birthday on the horizon, I’m feeling a little sentimental, so let’s catch up! The day I found out I was pregnant, I weighed 219.0 pounds. The day I delivered, I tipped the scales at about 282 (I think). I gave birth to a beautiful little 7 pound 2 ounce baby in mid-May and officially weighed 240.0 pounds as soon as the fluid melted away (within about two weeks). Since then, however, I have battled the following things:

  • Breastfeeding hunger
  • My baby’s milk protein allergy (meaning I went dairy free)
  • A lingering sweet tooth from quitting smoking
  • The inability to bring myself to routinely prepare healthful and appealing meals while caring for a needy newborn

As a result, I somehow weighed 257 lbs at my doctor’s appointment on Monday of this week.

In spite of all of this, I need to pause to remind myself that I used to weigh 353.4 pounds and even though I’ve gained weight, I’m still nowhere near 353.4 pounds. So, how do I get back on track? Honestly, I’ve become complacent and fallen into the not tracking and not caring trap once again, though for most of my pregnancy, I did track my food. Lately, I’ve been so consumed by the baby that the “nice” thing I do for myself is eat horrible food that tastes amazing but is leaving this totally saggy gut in its wake.

Since having the baby, I initially started by making one goal each day to get back into the swing of things. My house is now back in order, the baby has a routine, so now I need to take those few poorly executed attempts at meal planning that just haven’t panned out and actually get back in the saddle.

How did I do this before? How did I lose 133 pounds in one year? I started with simple guidelines. I reread my first month’s recap where I discussed the keys to my success that first month. I’ve had so many false starts with tracking my food over the past few months, and now with the baby, the last thing I want to do is to have to remember one more thing like tracking every little thing I eat. The answer? My very own advice:

  1. Simply filling.
  2. No soda or booze for the first month.
  3. If I’m hungry, I’m going to eat.
  4. No obsessing.

The other way I set myself up for success? I religiously wrote in this blog and posted my weekly weigh-ins, milestones, measurements, everything.

I’m going to take tonight and tomorrow to prep my grocery list and pantry for the week ahead. Friday will be my first official postpartum weigh-in!

How are the rest of you doing?

Catching Up

So, I’ve been absent for about ever. I mentioned previously that I had been promoted, so I’ve been in my new role for a month now. It has been a big adjustment! Pretty stressful and time-consuming as well.

  • Starting Weight: 353.4 lbs
  • Last Post (Week 34): 253.4 lbs
  • Week 35: 248.8 lbs
  • Week 36: 249.0 lbs
  • Week 37: 246.2 lbs
  • Week 38: 246.2 lbs
  • Week 39: 246.2 lbs
  • Week 40: 245.2 lbs
  • Change since last post: -8.2 lbs
  • Change overall: -108.2 lbs

I met my goal of getting under 250 AND my 30% (247.4) goal! Great scale victories. Next up on the goal-front: getting under 230, which coincides with my 35% goal of 229.7 pounds. 230 is a HUGE deal for me, as it is my lowest adult weight. It’s about what I weighed when I graduated from high school. If you remember my story, I was able to get down to 230 a few years ago before gaining back the 95 pounds I’d managed to lose. There’s a definite mental block in place here. I honestly can’t imagine being under 230, even though I’m just over 15 pounds away. And getting under 200 pounds? I still can’t even begin to fathom it. I will get there, but I still have a whole lot of work to do on my mindset.

I think it’s pretty evident that the stress and changes from my new position are affecting me, weight-wise. I have been eating more carbs, not drinking enough water, and using most, if not all, of my weekly PointsPlus allowance. The stall in my weight loss is definitely not due to a natural plateau! More often than not, I’ve found myself wanting to stray from the plan, but I haven’t given in. I’ve had more beer and pizza in the past month than in the past 10 months combined, but I counted every last bit, even when I didn’t want to. And I weighed in, even when I didn’t want to. I haven’t gained, which is great, but the change in attitude is concerning. I have been preoccupied with work and really wanted to fall back into my old habits. Anyway, thanks to Rachael, I’ve decided to make some changes.

  • I changed back to Simply Filling this week to help kick the habit of excessive carbs, granola bars, and pizza. I haven’t decided how long I will stick with it, but the change is refreshing!
  • I switched my weigh-in days from Monday to Friday (my first Friday weigh-in was 5/1/15 (Week 39). I initially chose Mondays to keep myself on track over the weekends. It was good in the beginning, but I’m at the point now that I want to be able to have a beer or two on the weekend and not worry about the water retention ruining my Monday weigh-in. I think this will be a good change!

The thing is, even though I’ve only lost 3.6 pounds in the past 5 weeks, the tape measure still showed major progress! I move around a lot more in my new job, which is awesome. Plus, I think the stall in my weight loss is a good thing – it’s giving my skin a chance to catch up and possibly tighten up. Since March’s measurements, the following changes took place:

  • Bust: no change (41.25″)
  • Waist: -1.75″ (37.5″)
  • Hips: no change (55.0″)
  • R arm: -0.75″ (16.25″)
  • R thigh: -1.25″ (28.75″)
  • R calf: -1.0″ (18.5″)

Do you see that?! My calves have been the same size since at least September 2014 (when I still weighed well over 300 pounds). Boom! Just like that, a WHOLE INCH. Huge deal!


I also mentioned in my last post that I had to fly for work. I was really nervous about it, just because I have avoided flying since I was 18 years old and weighed about 230 pounds – it was a close fit then, so I was worried I wasn’t going to fit. It was still a close fit, and there was more of me spilling into the seat next to me than I would have liked, but I didn’t need a seatbelt extender. This was such a big deal for me! I feel like I can go anywhere or do anything now. D and I have been planning trips ever since! Next big goal? Riding rollercoasters! I won’t try that until I’m closer to 215 pounds.


What else is new? The weather has been gorgeous, and I’ve been spending a lot of time outside doing yardwork and the like. I’m thinking about buying a new bike, and trying to plan for a good weekend to go kayaking with my awesomely handsome husband. Speaking of my husband, he’s lost even more weight too! He’s now tipping the scales at about 165 pounds. Since he’s over 6′ tall, he’s within his healthy weight range. He looks great, and he’s more active than ever!

We also remodeled our pantry. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m really proud of it! We worked together on a concept, and D built the whole thing himself. I was in charge of decorating and organizing… and a little painting.


And finally, I kept up with my tradition of taking bimonthly progress pictures (also updated on my Progress Pictures page). I can’t believe the changes I’m seeing in myself! In spite of being stressed out and exhausted lately, I feel amazing. I can’t imagine how I would have coped with this change a year ago.

I was going to wear the same pink tank in April that I wore for February’s photos. I put it on, and it was WAY too big! Also, I showed a comparison photo to one of my friends recently. She said, “I love that you’re still bootylicious after a 100-lb weight loss!” Excuse me, 108.2-pound weight loss!

And of course – I received my Blogger Care Package from Harley! She was so creative, and I loved everything. I can’t even pick a favorite at this point, though I have been carting that adorable cup around with me everywhere! D has also been enjoying the Crystal Light packets 🙂 I hope everyone else has had as much fun with the package swap as I have! Did everyone get to send out their packages? Tell me about your experience! I need to get back in the loop, stat!

IMG_1035

And because I love comparison pictures…

IMG_0938

Blogger Care Package Swap: Round One Update

I apologize for the delay! I started a new job this week, and things have been hectic, to say the least. I’ve been exhausted!

You should have all received the person to whom you have been assigned to send a care package. If you didn’t receive this email, please let me know as soon as possible (alison@journeytoafter.com).As I said in the email, please try to send this out by the end of the month! When you receive your package, it would be fun for you to post a picture on your blog, but that’s not required 🙂

I hope you all have fun with this! I’m looking forward to seeing how this pans out!

Week 34 Weigh-In: 100 Pounds GONE

I have done it. I’ve lost exactly 100 pounds!

  • Starting Weight: 353.4 lbs
  • Last Week: 253.6 lbs
  • Current Week: 253.4 lbs
  • This week’s change: -0.2 lbs
  • Change overall: -100.0 lbs

3-30-15

I can’t begin to adequately express how I feel about such a monumental accomplishment, but you all know I’m going to try!

When I started this journey on August 1, 2014, I really only started because my company was offering a discount on Weight Watchers. I had tried so many times and failed, even having previously lost about 95 pounds with Weight Watchers in 2009-2010, as I explained in my story. I didn’t have an a-ha! moment, and I’m not sure what made this time different. I didn’t have high hopes or big expectations, but I promised myself two things: I wouldn’t consume any alcohol for the first 30 days, and if I was hungry, I would eat.

Surfing the internet for inspirational stories of people who’d lost over 150 pounds and followed Simply Filling, I found Brooke: Not on a Diet. Brooke has been a great source of motivation and inspiration for me in this endeavor, and I highly recommend that you check her out! In her post about reaching her weight loss goal, she said, “I’m an after,” and I thought, “Yes! I can be an after!” It was then that this little blog was born, aptly named Journey to After. I started my blog in the hopes of just holding myself accountable for my actions. As a recovering food addict, I believe this was a necessary step. The support and friendship I have found here on WordPress has been indispensable. As with any addiction, support is absolutely key to the recovery process.

I still have about 120 pounds to go to reach my weight loss goal. Though, I’m still not totally sure what my goal really is, and I don’t think I will know until I get much closer to that point. I THINK that number might be in the 130s, but it is subject to change. I am 5’1″, and I have always been overweight, so I really just don’t know what to expect. HOWEVER, the change in my mindset from “I can’t believe I still have this much weight left to lose” to “I only have this much weight left to lose,” is refreshing. I didn’t set out to lose 100 pounds in 34 weeks. I didn’t even initially hope to lose 100 pounds in one year. I just wanted to feel better. Then I lost 19 pounds in my first week, and something just clicked. I was doing it! And I wasn’t going back.

I look back to last July, and that girl feels like a different person. I don’t ever want to forget that person, but I don’t ever want to be her again. The Alison of July 2014 was uncomfortable, losing confidence in herself, experiencing social anxiety, sitting on the couch all day, in pain, and unhappy. Since embarking on this journey, so much has changed. Yes, I still battle with feeling uncomfortable, and that old social anxiety creeps up sometimes. Now though, I’m outside and moving. I go for walks, I work in my yard. I’ve always loved cooking, and I do that more. My husband and I actually do things together instead of sitting kind of near each other while watching TV. I’m enjoying life, and I’m so excited to go kayaking and hiking and biking this summer. I’m learning not to let my size define me anymore.

This rediscovered self-worth has had an amazing impact on my marriage as well. This journey isn’t just about losing weight – I am reclaiming my life and my relationships. I am learning to love myself and learning that I am worth more than my weight in cheeseburgers and potato chips.

The “secrets” to my success?

  • I track everything that I eat. This includes EVERYTHING.
  • I prepare most of my own food, making a lot of crock pot meals and casseroles over the weekend to prepare for the week ahead. Most of this food is fresh. I try not to use overly processed foods like fat-free cheeses and salad dressings. I refuse to eat margarine or light butter and light breads, and I rarely buy TV dinners or those crappy 100 calorie packs of junk food or candy. I use full-fat butter and cheese in moderation. The next time you are at the grocery store, compare the ingredient list of reduced fat cream cheese to the ingredient list of the full fat version. I dare you. I am, however, down with the Sandwich Thin.
  • I eat every 2-3 hours so that I don’t get so hungry that I go home and eat my entire couch. My mid-afternoon snack is my secret weapon!
  • I eat at least one serving of fruits (though not more than 3 servings of fruit!) or vegetables with every meal and snack. They fill you up, and they prevent you from getting scurvy!
  • I balance my plate with proteins, carbs, and fruits/vegetables, following the plate balancing trick of dividing your plate down the middle, filling half the plate with veggies, then dividing the other half again. In one quarter, you have protein, and the last quarter is a starch in order to try to limit my carbohydrate/starch intake to one serving per meal or snack. Say I go out to a restaurant or over to someone’s house for dinner and there’s mashed potatoes and dinner rolls: I will normally just choose one or the other.

  • Baby carrots.
  • I use my weekly PointsPlus allowance if I want to. If I want pizza, I will eat pizza. If I want cake, I will eat cake. If I want a beer, I will have a beer. But I eat them in moderation, and I track as I go. I even ate a crispy buffalo chicken wrap at work the other week, and you know what? I didn’t eat it because I felt like I deserved it or because I was emotional or because I was self-sabotaging. I ate it because I planned for it and because it fit into my day. This is the rest of your life. There needs to be a balance, and you don’t need to have an all-or-nothing mentality.
  • I’ve accepted that I need boundaries and guidelines when it comes to my eating habits.
  • I’ve accepted that “normal” skinny people do not eat whatever they want all the time, and I’m not doing myself any favors by treating my body like a landfill. Most of the thin and fit people I know are very conscious of what they are putting into their bodies. Sure, there are exceptions, but actually watch your friends and coworkers; I think you will be surprised!

In other news, (now that I’m off my soapbox) if you haven’t already signed up for a blogger penpal, the deadline is fast approaching! So far, I have heard from Amber, Rachael, and Katrina (and me!), and would love for a few more to get in on the action.

I wanted to include a photo of myself with this post, but today is my work from home half day, and I’m slumming, so here is a photo of me from Saturday afternoon. This is the face of a lady who is just about to reach her 100-pound weigh loss goal!

IMG_0384

And this girl from Friday who’d just enjoyed a very classy vodka gimlet while wearing an extremely loud shirt.

IMG_0371

IMG_0407

Sincerely, thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout this leg of my journey. I don’t know where I would be without you! Hey, I lost 100 pounds in less than a year!

Blogger Care Package Swap: Round One

Some of you expressed interest in participating in a care package buddy program. I’ve seen swaps of this sort happening around Instagram for a while, and it would be a great morale/team building exercise for us bloggers, too! I’m thinking that it would be fun to do it “Secret Santa” style, where people send me their information and are arbitrarily assigned a blogger to send some treats!

The Rules:

  • United States participants only (sorry!)
  • Fill out the form below with your information by Sunday, April 5, 2015.
  • Make sure to note any dietary restrictions, likes or dislikes in the comments section.
  • Keep it at a $10-$15 maximum price point.
  • Ideas: Include some of your favorite or essential weight loss foods/tools, snacks, stickers, hair ties, notebooks, anything! Especially fun? Try to include items only found in your local area or region!
  • Optional: post a picture of your package on your blog for all of us to see
  • Have fun!!!

Sign up!


I think this will be great fun!

Week 33 Weigh-In and an Idea!

For the first time in months, I’ve had 3 consecutive large losses!

  • Starting Weight: 353.4 lbs
  • Last Week: 255.6 lbs
  • Current Week: 253.6 lbs
  • This week’s change: -2.0 lbs
  • Change overall: -99.8 lbs

So close to 100 pounds lost! I don’t want to get cocky, but I think there’s a good chance I should be hitting that goal next week… if not, then the week after! I’m sure Gen will be posting something similar then too!

In regards to rewarding myself, since the 100-pound mark, getting under 250, and my 30% goal (247.7) are all within 5.7 pounds of each other, I am going to have a joint celebration for them. I haven’t decided what I want yet. Maybe a pedicure…

In addition to these scale victories, there are also some major non-scale victories going on lately. I wore one of my old “skinny” dresses to work the other day – it’s a size 14/16! Since I was wearing a 26/28 (maybe even should have been wearing a 30), this is a huge deal. All of the dresses I’ve been closeting from Gwynnie Bee have all of a sudden been size 18… and they fit! And all of a sudden, I’m wearing size 20 pants… and I even worse these riding boots that I bought back in the fall. When I bought them, I couldn’t zip them halfway up my calf.

As for personal victories, I just accepted a promotion at work. I start Monday, 4/6!


Now, the IdeaRachael and I have been doing these little care packages to each other, where we put in some of our favorite foods or whatever (within the $10-$15 range) and mail them off. It’s been pretty fun, especially since we live on opposite ends of the country! Anyway, we got to thinking – what if we opened this up to our fellow blogger friends? Let me know if you would be interested in participating, and I’ll try to orchestrate something!

What good things are happening for you? Let me have it!

Week 32 Weigh-In

While last month was slow and steady, this month, the weight is just falling off.

  • Starting Weight: 353.4 lbs
  • Last Week: 258.6 lbs
  • Current Week: 255.6 lbs
  • This week’s change: -3.0 lbs
  • Change overall: -97.8 lbs

I have lost more in the past 2 weeks than I did in the entire month of February! I haven’t been doing anything differently, except I had cake… twice (it was D’s birthday!). Oh? You mean that you can have your cake, eat it, and still lose weight? Who knew? Obviously, I didn’t indulge in mass amounts of cake, but yes. It’s possible to indulge and lose weight.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that balance lately. When I’ve been “off the wagon,” everything was extreme. I wouldn’t have a sliver of cake, I would eat half a cake with ice cream and chips… and probably a burger or two… and chicken tenders with ranch. So many chicken tenders. Life doesn’t need to be like that!

I would be lying if I said I didn’t still sometimes get the urge to binge. I don’t think that every urge is even triggered by something particular. Sometimes, they’re just there. Sometimes, you just have “hungry days.” I know that if I give in to these urges, it will start an entire downward spiral, wherein I would binge every day. So now, when this happens I make allowances. I try to fill that emptiness by making smarter choices. I eat small amounts at a time and track them as I go. I might as well buy stock in baby carrots because they are my go-to when the binging urge strikes. I can sit on the couch with a bag of baby carrots and mindlessly eat them like potato chips, at a fraction of the calories.

This balance is part of my life now more than ever before. Sometimes, I think that I don’t care and I want to let go, but I know that’s not true. I matter. I can’t continue to kill myself by binging wildly. I don’t want to let go, and I don’t want to throw away all the progress I’ve made. I still have a long way to go, and I know that I will struggle with this for the rest of my life. I’m striving to eat like a “normal” person. I make good choices and prepare my own food 95% of the time, so when I do indulge, it seems special, and it’s something to be savored.

How do maintain balance in your daily life? Any tips or tricks?

Weeks 30 and 31 Weigh-Ins

So, I’ve been a busy girl and forgot to post last week’s results!

  • Starting Weight: 353.4 lbs
  • Week 29: 264.4 lbs
  • Week 30: 263.2 lbs
  • Week 31: 258.6 lbs
  • Two-week change: -5.8 lbs
  • Change overall: -94.8 lbs

I am super excited. I’m in the 250’s!!! I walked 3 miles today! Up 3 giant hills!

In other news, my Fitbit Flex won’t charge anymore. I definitely will not be buying another one, and I’m glad that I used Sears points to pay for much of it. My issues with FitBit Flex, in a nutshell?

  1. My steps NEVER correctly synced up to the challenges. Not once.
  2. Customer service is terrible. I contacted them about the problem above, and two different reps treated me as though I didn’t know what I was doing instead of actually trying to help.
  3. The idea of a wrist tracker is nice, but if you’re pushing a cart or carrying something, it’s not counting your steps.
  4. The battery life quickly deteriorated after the first month or two (I bought it in September 2014).
  5. For the past few months, I had to mess around with the charger to try to get it to charge. Finally today, no matter what, it wouldn’t charge.
  6. $100 for something that will only last for 6 months and doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to.
  7. It’s really just a glorified pedometer. It doesn’t actually have any calorie burn information like a heart rate monitor would.

I will miss the silent alarm… but I think that’s it.

Disclaimer: above opinions based solely on personal experience.

Measuring Up: Month 7

While I’ve hit what might be my first real plateau/stall (I don’t want to spoil tomorrow’s weigh-in post, but… according to yesterday’s peek at the scale, I’m still dancing around the same pound that I’ve been seeing for the past 3 weeks), I still lost 5.4 pounds this month thanks to a huge loss in the first week! In addition to those 5 pounds, the tape is showing some great progress.

Total Inches Lost: 36.0″

Waist to Hip Ratio: 0.711

Waist:

  • Starting: 49″
  • Last month: 41.0″
  • Current: 40.5″
  • Overall Change: -8.5″

Right Bicep:

  • Starting: 21.0
  • Last month: 17.25″
  • Current: 17.0″
  • Overall Change: -4.0″

Bust:

  • Starting: 51″
  • Last month: 43.25″
  • Current: 42.25″
  • Overall Change: -8.75″

Right Thigh:

  • Starting: 35.5″
  • Last month: 30.0″
  • Current: 29.75
  • Overall Change: -5.75″

Hips:

  • Starting: 66″
  • Last month: 58.0″
  • Current: 57.0″
  • Overall Change: -9.0″

I knew something was up when I inexplicably all of a sudden am in a size 20 dress instead of the 22 I’ve been wearing. In fact, the size 20 may even be a little too big, but I’m nervous to try out an 18! According to my bust measurement, I should be a size 16, while my waist should be a 20, and my hips should still be somewhere between a 28 and a 30. When choosing the right size, I tend to try to go with my waist measurement, meaning the bust and arms are too big and the hips have a shot at being snug, especially because I’ve recently uncovered a deep and abiding love for shift dresses, even though I know I should really stick to the fit and flares!

11015380_301643560005887_1293853904_n

Why yes, that is a size 20 dress that I found in my closet!

10967712_299259870244256_277371505_n

I was informed that this size 20 dress was too big for me.

Can you believe it’s been just 7 months? I feel like a new person!

Progress Pics – Month 7

I have been taking “official” progress photos every other month since October. When I realized tonight that I’d almost missed February, I immediately ran to change and snap some photos.

I’m pretty sure I’m wearing the same pants in the first and last photos. I can’t believe there’s just 40 pounds difference, and I really wish I had started taking these photos in the beginning.

It’s been a busy weekend around here. We’ve been working on our pantry, which turned out to be a complete overhaul, including having to tear out the floor joists and footers. This has actually been passively going on for a few months, but we kicked it into high gear this weekend!

Don’t forget to check out my Progress page! How are you guys doing?