How to Fight for Your Fit

ErikaLenzi_TransformationTuesday

Over the past two years I’ve received messages from readers asking, “How did you lose the weight?”

I shared the start of my weight-loss journey with you, but since weight loss hasn’t been a focus on the blog, I haven’t formally checked in much along the way. At this point, I have lost 16 pounds in total, about 2 dress sizes, and am feeling back to “normal” and confident in my own skin. My ultimate goal is to lose 10 more to get back to my pre-Hoboken weight but I’m no longer being aggressive about it. As I am sure you well know, there is no magic formula, only hard work, but here are some important truths I have embraced in the last 22 months.

Continue reading How to Fight for Your Fit

Erika’s 2012 in Review

Welp, it’s that time of year again – that dreaded time when we look back and realize how many resolutions we made and failed to accomplish the year before. In a smart move, I publicly made only five for 2012 – which were:

  1. Write more
  2. Become more active
  3. Reach our financial goals
  4. See new cities
  5. Remain baby-free

Remain baby-free.
Yay! We did it! Remaining child-free enabled me to accomplish much of my other four goals with fervor.

Write more.
I look at this goal now and just have to laugh. The good news is – I did write more than last year… but only barely. I posted 20 times (21 including this post!) and had 5,200 views, up from 2011’s 12 posts and 3,300 views. So thank you, dear readers, for showing up and listening to my not-so-regular musings. (Click here to see the complete report.) I went into my year with a part-time job and great expectations about new opportunities for blogging now that a steady, meager salary could be counted on. What I didn’t expect was that two months into my new job I would go full-time, and then soon after be offered a raise and more responsibility. It has been a blessing financially and for personal growth, but an obvious direct challenge to my lofty writing goals.

Reach our financial goals.
With the failure of my writing goals came the triumph of our financial goals. We became debt free by the end of May, which was an incredible feeling after struggling somewhat financially in 2011 in our first year of marriage since I didn’t have a job. We saved up a 3 month emergency fund by August. Then we bought a Jetta with that e-fund. Ok, a new used car wasn’t a dire emergency, but a great deal popped up and with my sister getting engaged and living all the way in Virginia, it seemed like a good time to upgrade to a car that could actually make it on the highway. I also started contributing to my first 401K in July, like a real live adult! As of today, we have rebuilt our 3 month e-fund and are looking forward to the financial freedom next year will afford!

Become more active.

2012 Workout Summary
It took me until the summer to finally kick my butt into gear, but I finally started to accomplish this goal! Looking at the stats above, I am definitely proud of the improvement I made in the latter half of 2012. While I continued to gain until August, I finally buckled down and lost 12 lbs. which put me back in a my healthy BMI range, and have been maintaining since.

See new cities.
After years of talking about it, we finally traveled to Chicago, IL in May to celebrate our 27th birthdays and becoming debt free! I absolutely adored it – the architecture, the parks, the deep-dish pizza, the sculpture, the crowds of people biking and running along the river… I finally understand why everyone has been telling me I would love it for years! Then in October, we planned a last-minute weekend getaway to Burlington, VT. I had no idea it would be such a hippie fest – I figure it is the northeastern equivalent of Asheville, NC. Burlington offered such good food, a relaxed atmosphere and gorgeous fall scenery. It was just what we needed right before Superstorm Sandy hit and Hoboken was turned upside down.

All things considered, I set achievable goals and made progress in all of them. Some were home runs, and others I only made a slight dent, but looking back I am fairly satisfied with the way 2012 turned out. The good news is that a fresh year is right around the corner. Stay tuned for next year’s goals!

How did you do with your 2012 resolutions? Where did you succeed or fail and what are you looking forward to next year?

Lip-Smackin’ Matrimony (or How Marriage Made Me Fat)

Left: August 2010, Right: August 2012

I came back from a fantastic vacation at the beach with my family two weeks ago, stepped on a scale, and came to the realization that I have gained approximately TWENTY FIVE pounds since I moved to New Jersey just over two years ago. I did the calculations and found that I was officially outside my healthy BMI, and therefore “overweight.” It shocked me because I have never packed on this many pounds before. For most of my life, I have been an “average” size 8 (depending upon designer of course), and therefore have recognized this as my normative state. I gained the freshman 15 in college, but managed to work about half of that off fairly quickly and felt reasonably comfortable in my own skin again.

During my nine month engagement, I did try to be intentional about my eating habits, and even worked out here and there. I did not want to become a hyper-obsessed bride, pushing myself to achieve a “perfect” version of myself, guaranteed to fade as soon as the vows were said. I didn’t maintain a certain goal weight or exercise regime in order to snag a man while I was single, so why would that drastically change after marriage? But I also told myself that after the wedding, I refused to be the girl that “let herself go.” So how did I not realize that slowly but surely, I was gaining about one pound per month?

We moved to the Heights from Hoboken last June, and I can probably count on one hand the times I exercised from June 2011 until April 2012. In January, I resolved to become more active, but the cold weather in combination with my lack of gym membership kept me sluggish. But this spring I realized I was having trouble fitting into far too many of my clothes. I noticed the dreaded belly paunch was returning in a serious way. My hips widened by at least two inches. I started to dread getting dressed in the morning, looking in the mirror, and shopping for new additions to my wardrobe. In May I decided I had had enough. I was finally getting fit, dang it.

Every month since then, I have slowly but surely been increasing my level of exercise. I was feeling really good about the progress I made even while on vacation, feeling that I ate well but not over ate, as well as having biked, run, and swam. But then I got on the scale and saw I had broken into the next ten-digit ceiling and I was furious. I finally hit a breaking point. I got off the scale and vehemently told my husband I was finally trying an official diet plan.

Today marks the start of my third week on a diet, and it has been both harder and easier than I expected. I shared with my dinner group the night I joined that I thought I could adjust my weight on my own, because I had done it in the past with minimal effort. But after three months of attempting to eat intentionally and exercise more regularly, it turns out I could not. Sometimes discipline is necessary and good, even though I HATE IT. I don’t like being told how much or not to eat and when. But the choices I was making on my own were apparently not good ones. Joining a formalized diet plan for the first time in my twenty seven years is an admission that I don’t have it all together. Sometimes you have to admit you need help and accountability.

Over the past two years, I have heard the phrase “eat like a New Yorker” countless times. Twenty-five months after moving here and consistently eating out and partaking of NYC’s consistently delicious fare, I finally get it first hand. So many people here have expensive gym memberships because you pretty much have to join a gym if you want to live the city life and maintain a healthy weight. It’s frustrating, but it is also reality. Eating out in New York is deeply ingrained in the lifestyle here – it is not just eating for fuel, but a memorable aesthetic experience to enjoy.

There is also the reality that I should not eat equal portions with my husband. This is hard, especially when we are cooking together and I am not necessarily dishing out my own portions. I am a female, and six inches shorter than Nick. It should be common sense that I need to eat less, and yet there is a selfish, warped part of my brain that says it’s not “fair” that I should have to eat less. I also somewhat blame my increased appetite on the blasted hormones in birth control. (Ugh!!)

Now, I am not about to give up eating out or treat foods altogether. I recognize that ultimately what is important is balance, and I have let the pendulum swing too far towards eating food for pure enjoyment. I want to eat delicious foods, but in moderation. I want to eat more of what fuels my body for energy, and less what my brain and tastebuds are craving. My husband still tells me I’m beautiful (bless him), but I want to feel confident and comfortable in my own skin and in my clothes. Although I can not deny that I want to look good, being “skinny” is not nearly as important as pursuing a healthy lifestyle and habits that will stick long-term.

I would really love to hear from other women/wives/brides on this topic. Did you gain weight when you got married or got serious with your significant other? How did you deal with it? What is the hardest thing to say no to when you are sharing food with your husband? What works to keep yourself motivated to live a healthy lifestyle?