Thursday, November 16, 2017

Season 34 Holiday Rules & Guidelines!

1. Season 34 will begin on Tuesday, November 21. It will last 6 weeks and our final weigh in will be on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.

2. The buy-in fee this season will be $25. This is a singles season. Fees should be sent via Paypal to Jillyslosers@gmail.com with the note “Season 34 buyin fee” and your name. All fees MUST be paid by November 28. Make sure to mark your payments as being sent to family and friends to avoid any PayPal fees.

3. This season happens to fall during the holidays, which has always proved to be the roughest season of the year for Jilly's Losers. So this season will be a little different than the rest of the year and hopefully a bit less stressful (for me too!) For the first time ever, we’re going to do a “Choose your own goal” season! You may choose to either maintain or to try and lose some weight over the holidays. Whatever you choose, it’s up to you! When you post your starting weigh-in photo, you will also state your goal weight for the end of the season. You may not change it once you post it unless the change is to lose MORE. Anyone who reaches their goal weight will split the prize pot after the 6 weeks are up! Hopefully everyone reaches their goal and the split ends up only being a few bucks, but don’t worry! You’ll still have the chance to win bigger prizes for challenges! (NOTE: All prizes are given after challenge rewards are paid out and 10% is taken out of the pot for myself as insisted upon by you brats a few seasons back *grumbles*. Thank you lol)

ATTENTION!: For those of us who are current group members returning for season 34, I’m going to do something you may or may not enjoy haha. Your goal weight for the holiday season must be at or below your final weight for season 33. (If you missed the final weigh-in, your 3rd week weigh-in will be used. If you DQ’d before that, you will start over.) It really won’t be so bad though since all you have to do is be AT or LOWER than that weight in 6 week’s time. It’s totally doable for every single one of us! NOTE: You will still weigh-in on the 21st so that we can see where everyone is at and how we did on our week off!

4. Regarding weigh-ins: We have mandatory weekly weigh-ins every Tuesday. (Why Tuesdays? Because that's the day that The Biggest Loser aired on NBC when I started this group and it's just stuck!) Your weight picture must be posted by MIDNIGHT MST to count! Please weigh in under the same circumstances every week (morning/night/clothed or not, etc) As for strikes...you are allowed 2 missed weigh-ins per person. On the 3rd missed weigh-in, you will be disqualified and you will not get your $ refunded. (You may continue to stay in the group and weigh-in but you will not be eligible to win any $ or prizes either from challenges or the final weigh-in) Remember that weigh-ins must be a picture of the # on your scale WITH your feet showing. Not just a post of your weight.
5. Before pictures are MANDATORY. The pictures may be with or without a shirt (you'll notice more of a change if you do it without), but they must be full body pictures. If your before picture is not submitted within the first week of competition (by Nov. 28), you will be disqualified. (If you submitted an "after" picture for season 33, that will count as your "before" picture for season 34) Those who win prizes at the end of the season will not receive their prize money until an AFTER picture has been submitted and they must do so within 48 hrs of the winning announcement. NOTE: Newcomers to this group always worry that their pictures posted in the group will show up for the public to see. This group is secret. As long as you are on the group wall BEFORE posting your pictures, no one will see them but those in the group. Your pictures will show up on your own feed when you view it, but I promise you no one else can see it!

6. Starting and final weights will be confirmed with a KEY WORD. This is to ensure that starting and ending pictures are truly taken on the day of the weigh-in and not before. I will post the KEY WORD in this group the night before the first and last weigh-ins. It should be written on a piece of paper or notecard and placed at your feet in the front of your scale before taking your picture.

7. We will continue doing weekly challenges. They are not mandatory. But for this season, they will work a little differently! I like to do a 12 days of Christmas kind of thing where every day for 12 days (leading up to Christmas), a different prize is given away in a drawing. They will range from small gift cards to some really big prizes (depending on how big our group is)! What this means is that all of the challenges leading up to the 12 days of Christmas will earn you raffle ticket entries that can be used in any drawing you choose. Once the 12 days of Christmas begin, I will announce that day’s raffle prize first thing in the morning and you will have until that evening to decide if you want to use some of your tickets for the drawing, which will be done that night via FB live video. It’s a lot of fun with some fun prizes and hopefully will motivate everyone to work hard on the challenges to earn lots of tickets! NOTE: You may only win ONE prize during the 12 days of Christmas.

8. POINTS!!! Since so many of us rely on the points system to keep us on track during the week, I'd like to keep using it. The person with the most points at the end of 6 weeks will win a $25 Target or Amazon gift card.
-There is a weekly point calendar for each of the 6 weeks. (It will be posted as a separate document under the “Files” tab on the group page) Print it out and use to track your points and weight loss. If you prefer to use an excel spreadsheet that will do your math for you, Cody Mecham made one a few seasons ago that I’ve updated and will post as well for you to download.-Beginning on Week #2 there is a double point challenge (highlighted in yellow)
-You can exercise each day, but you will only receive points for exercising 5 days a week. You can earn 5 points for 30-44 mins of exercise and 7 points for 45+ mins. Just enter the minutes of exercise in the box on the excel sheet.
-Instead of no sugar/treats this season, we’re limiting it to one treat/serving per day. So when a neighbor brings over Christmas cookies, you just get one! Hopefully this will prevent any binges, but also allow us to enjoy the holidays in moderation.
-I’ve replaced “no carbs after lunch” with “get 7 hrs of sleep”, which may end up being harder for some! You can get 5 points for this…up to 4 times each week. “Sleep” means being in your bed TRYING to sleep. No phone, no tv, etc. You won’t be penalized for bathroom breaks or nursing babies.
-There is a sample food journal that you can use or you can use your own kind of food journal to keep track of what you eat.
-Daily contact with teammate: It’s amazing the strength that comes from encouragement from your teammates! We said that you could email, call, or text someone in the group to encourage them to have a healthy day. It helps knowing that you are all in this together and makes you accountable for what you do or don’t do. Posting or commenting on the group page also counts. Hitting LIKE does NOT count!
-There will be no extra points for pounds lost, but instead just the 5 points for either maintaining or beating your lowest weight of the season. NOTE!!!!! Points totals MUST be messaged via Facebook to Jill Tracy by midnight MST each Tuesday in order to be counted. With such a large group, I’m afraid there will be no exceptions. If you forget to tell me one week…they won’t count. I’m sorry!

9. Remember that this group is about gaining health and losing weight through eating right and exercising. Extreme/fad diets are not allowed. Weight Watchers and things like that are fine, but no pills/drops/powders etc.


10. This group is only for those who will be actively participating in the competition this season, so while I hope everyone will stick around, please know that if you choose not to join us this season, you will be removed from the group. You are always welcome to join us in later seasons https://www.facebook.com/images/emoji.php/v9/fce/1/18/1f642.png:)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Before and After...

What does that mean exactly. "Before and after" what? For most of the world, the first thought upon hearing those words or seeing someone's "before and after" pictures...whether it be for weight loss or any other drastic change...is that the "before" is bad and the "after" is good. Our first thought is, "Wow! You look so much better! Good for you!". But have you ever really stopped to think about the "in between"? Or the fact that there really is no "after" when it comes to losing weight and becoming healthier?

Before and after isn't just a picture. It's oh so much more than that.

Before...



I was morbidly obese.
I was depressed.
The most exercise I got was grocery shopping.
I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
I wore a size 28.
I wore clothes that were baggy to hide myself.
I couldn't climb the stairs without feeling like I was dying.
I couldn't fit in most chairs.
I couldn't play with my kids for very long.
I snuck food and often ate in my car.
I had no friends because I didn't want anyone to see me.
I didn't feel attractive or worth anything.
I could go on, but I won't....this list is long enough.

After...



Well...frankly...there is no after. I'm not done! I never will be...because I'm not on a diet that will one day end with me being my ideal weight forever without having to work on it anymore. HA! If only, huh?

So how about this.

Now...

I'm only a few lbs over being labeled as "overweight".
I am the happiest I've ever been.
I exercise almost daily, whether in someone else's class or teaching my own!
I've learned how to enjoy eating healthier without feeling like I'm deprived all the time.
I wear a size 16.
I workout in leggings and a tank top and feel pride in my body and what it can do.
I can take the stairs running (though I still hate them!)
I can sit wherever I want...comfortably. AND I can cross my legs!
I can keep up with my kids no matter what they're doing and I set a good example for them!
I only eat in the car when on road trips and I'm not ashamed of what I eat (though we all have bad days!)
I have more friends than I can count and they support and love me in my journey.
I feel sexy! And I love myself and know that I am worth the love of others.
And finally...(for now anyway)...I am PROUD of myself.

But as great as all of those things are...they are far from being an "after". That list doesn't talk about the in between. I have worked HARD to get to where I am now and will have to continue to do so for the rest of my life. I will never be "done" with working out or "done" with eating fewer calories and having to exercise control over WHAT goes into my mouth and how much. If I stop doing those things...I will go back to the "before". And I don't want that. I am a food addict if ever there was one and I struggle every single day with cravings and the desire to eat anything and everything. Sugar is my crack.

I have been running Jilly's Losers (my online weight loss community) for 6 years now. In those 6 years, 310 (yes...I counted) different people have joined and given it a try. 310. That's a lot of people. Some of them stuck around and have become like my second family, though most of us have never met. A lot, however, found that it wasn't for them and only stayed for one season. It made me sad going through 33 seasons worth of names and not remembering so many of them.

Do you know how many "before and after" pictures I have on my computer from 33 seasons? That is A LOT of befores. But if we're getting nitpicky...there aren't really any "afters". I can't think of a single person who joined Jilly's Losers...changed their life, got healthy, lost weight and then said, "well, I'm all done. Thanks for the help!" and left forever without ever having to struggle again. We're all a work in progress. Every single one of us "losers" still has work to do.

I've seen countless stories in the past 6 years. I've seen severely overweight people become thin. I've seen couch potatoes become gym rats and marathon runners. I've seen people recover from injuries and life changing surgeries. I've seen people completely transform their entire lives in more ways than you can imagine and it's BEAUTIFUL to watch. But if you think it's been 6 years of nothing but the positive then you obviously haven't given it a shot yourself yet ;)

I've also seen determination turn to frustration turn to "I QUIT!" I've seen hundreds of pounds lost only to be regained again. I've seen healthy, hard-working athletes succumb to injury/illness. I've seen months and years of hard work seem to come undone as a result of work, stress, death, birth, sugar, addiction, exhaustion.....and any other number of things.

I've seen...LIFE.

And life is what happens between the "before and after".

I am beyond proud of all of the "works in progress" that I have had the opportunity to meet and work with. I have loved getting to know so many people and hearing their successes and their struggles. Every pound or inch lost...every burpee or pushup or mile run (or whatever crazy challenge I've made them do!)...has changed lives and pushed ME to be better. I am inspired daily by those I call my "losers" and while there may be times I feel overwhelmed or tired of the work involved...I wouldn't trade my losers for anything.

So here are just a few of them :) Each of them has worked their butts off (literally) to get to where they are now and I have LOVED watching their journeys. I'm grateful that I've gotten to walk alongside them for even a part of those journeys and I know I've made lifelong friends because of it.

This is Chrissy "before"! She started her journey long before she became a "loser" and she has inspired me every day since we met. She's a mom and an incredible photographer...and she is HILARIOUS!

NOW! Chrissy is down 135lbs and is as badass as they come. I asked her what is something she loves to do now that she couldn't before. In true Chrissy style, she said, "I love that I can sit cross-legged in chairs now. I spend so much time with my legs twisted under me and it's the best thing ever." It's the little things.

This is Kate "before"! She is a mom of 3 and works with the children's ministry at her church. She and I met in a workout class at our gym a few years ago and have been close friends ever since. I don't even recognize the girl in this picture!
NOW! Kate has worked extremely hard (this past year especially) to make exercise a regular habit and to entirely change the way she looks at food. She has lost 45lbs! She is now an avid runner and although she hates Zumba, we are still the best of friends haha. THOSE ABS THOUGH!!!
This is Cody! I've shared his story before, but it is worth repeating. Cody is the reason I finally gave the ketogenic diet a try this year and subsequently lost so much weight. He did it himself first and lost close to 100lbs! He has been such a wonderful motivator and source of knowledge for me and I know his entire life has changed because of the changes he made in himself and his lifestyle.
This is Melissa "before"! She often shares the story of being called a "petite plus sized woman" when this picture was taken at her son's 8th grade graduation several years ago and how that comment set her on the path that got her to where she is now!
NOW! Melissa lost 67 lbs to reach her goal weight and has been maintaining for months now...but she still sticks around my group for support. Little does she know that she's the one supporting us. She is strong and determined and doesn't let anything stop her. She recently completed her first marathon and qualified to run in the Boston Marathon in 2018!! She retook her "before" picture at the same son's high school graduation this year and the difference is stunning. Especially in her smile :)
This is Shari! I met Shari in a Zumba class at the gym. She was quiet and reserved but she never missed a class. I watched her from the back as she kept coming back smaller...and smaller, the smile on her face growing bigger and bigger. I admired her long before we ever said hello. Now she is one of my very best friends. We are workout buddies and each other's support system...and if there were a "Foodies anonymous" group, we'd probably be each other's sponsor. Despite a tough year, she has made her health a priority and I'm beyond proud of how far she's come. She's lost 64lbs! She pushes me to be better every day.


These "before" and "now" shots make my heart happy. Seeing my friends happy...makes my heart happy. But the best "before" and "after" of this whole thing is that before I met these people...and all 310 that have come through Jilly's Losers...I was a wreck. After meeting them, my life has changed for the better in more ways than I could ever count. Each of them has taught me something(s) and each of them has carried me through my own tough spots more than they know. I'm grateful we are all a part of one another's "in between".

Saturday, September 30, 2017

100lbs gone...again...

On July 2, 2013...I posted my giddiest post ever. I had lost 100lbs and was over the moon about it. It was fun to go back and read this yesterday as my scale FINALLY made it's way back to that mark.


It has taken me a long time to re-lose the weight I put on when I got pregnant with Cooper in 2014. It was very frustrating to see that scale go all the way back up to 284.1 before I finally buckled down in March of this year. I had forgotten how much better I feel at this weight. Everything is physically easier...work, play, cleaning...everything. And I love it.

When I hit this mark the first time around, my mama was in town and took me shopping for a whole new wardrobe. Hitting this mark again, I'm fitting back into those clothes and it feels like a whole new wardrobe all over again! It's nice to have clothes in my closet just waiting for me to wear them again...but it'll be even more exciting when I finally get into NEW territory.

I have 23 lbs to go before I hit 207lbs, which is how low I had gotten in 2014 I was when I found out I was pregnant. I would really like to break the 200 barrier by new years, but I'll be happy to hit 207 again. Of course these next 3 months are the hardest 3 of the year when it comes to weight loss...at least for me. Food is EVERYWHERE over the next 3 months and it's all my favorite kinds. October won't be so bad because my family is still doing "no sugar" until Halloween. But I need to come up with some ideas for how to keep myself from going overboard on pumpkin flavored everything and Christmas goodies when the time comes. I refuse to be the person who won't have any at all. I'll never be that person. But I'm going to have to set some boundaries so that I can enjoy the things I love (and only get once a year) without going on a complete binge. Being so close to my goal should help :) So will spending Christmas at home I suppose. We were hoping to go to Florida for Gregory's last Christmas before going on his mission next year...but airline prices are ridonkulous. So we'll be here. One plus to that is not having my mom's famous Christmas fudge in my face for 2 weeks straight haha. (Love you mama!)

Losing the weight this time around has definitely been harder. This last pregnancy screwed up the way my body works when it comes to weight loss and I had to tweak some things...but I've learned I really can do hard things. And those hard things have been completely worth it. I just feel...good. Really good. And I'm excited to inch closer to seeing a "1" at the front of my weight for the first time since 1998. It's gonna happen this time people. Nothing's gonna stop me.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Pep Talk...

One of the mini-challenges I gave my group this week was to write themselves a pep talk and share it with their teammates. So here's mine...

Jill...you have come such a long way, it's almost impossible to see the starting line. I know your motivation rises and falls like the worlds craziest roller-coaster, but you always bounce back from the lows. Always. When the tough days come, lean on the amazing friends and family you have that have always been there to support you. You wouldn't be where you are without them!

You can do hard things. You've changed your diet, your exercise habits, your way of thinking, your level of self-confidence and respect, your habits...your entire life. You are a completely new person and a constant work in progress. So even though sometimes you might feel like you're tired and fed up and like it's just not worth the effort any more...don't give up. Those feelings always pass. Always. Push through them, and let others help. You don't have to do it by yourself.

You are almost back to 100lbs lost! Don't let that become a mental road block for you. You've lost almost 50 lbs since March and know how to reach your goal of breaking into the 100's by New Years if you just keep on doing what you're doing. Keep fueling your body with healthy things. Keep exercising and pushing yourself a little harder each time. Keep sharing your struggles and your successes with others and keep right on improving. You've got this and I'm proud of you.

Love, me

Monday, August 7, 2017

Back to the extreme...

As expected, Girls Camp completely threw me off of my routine. I had a great time with the girls and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but it definitely ran me off the rails as far as diet and exercise go. I tried to bring some of my own snacks and whatnot, but I really had no control over what was served each meal....and while I did have control over how much of each thing I ate, I exercised that control rather poorly. French toast, potatoes, chili cheese fries, cobbler with ice cream...I'd like to see most people say no to all those things haha.

But the problem wasn't so much the week at camp as it was that once I got home, I didn't jump right back into my routine like I should have. We had 2 sick kids and 2 weddings and 3 days of training for my new job...and I let it all become reasons to put off getting back on the wagon. We spent the last week eating out most of our meals and I'm pretty sure I've eaten my weight in baked goods. I truly feel sick. Not mentally....physically sick to my stomach. I don't know why we do this to ourselves. Eating that way makes me feel absolutely MISERABLE and yet it's so hard to stop!

Well today is a new day and it's time to go back to extremes. And this time the whole family is on board. Today is day 1 of no sugar in the Tracy house and the goal is to make it until Halloween (or Emma's birthday for herself...Oct. 20). I'll also be going back to doing the ketogenic diet every day, though the kids won't be doing that part with me. Ariana did ask if she could and I told her that she doesn't need to. I told her to just make healthier choices when it comes to carbohydrates. More fruit and veggies, whole grains, etc. She's excited to do it :)

I'm not as nervous about it as I was the first time around, since I know it works and works well...but I also know that I'm starting over from square one and the first 2 weeks SUCK. I'm not looking forward to it. When I was in full blown keto mode, I ate all my meals between 11am-7pm and rarely felt "hungry". Now it's barely 10am and I already feel like I'm starving. I know it's because I've lived off of carbs for the past 2 weeks and my body will need the time to re-adjust...but man it sucks. I'm so frustrated with myself for letting this happen. I knew it would happen...but it's like I just accepted it and let it happen instead of trying to fight it. Maybe one day I'll figure out why my brain works the way it does.

I need to get my eating under control because my workout schedule is going to be very different for the next couple of weeks due to lots of hours at work. I tend to struggle even more with my eating when I'm not getting in enough exercise so I need to really stay on top of it during these first 2 weeks. And I know I can do it because the first two weeks in March when I started this the last time were done while I was still unable to really workout due to my injury. So...no excuses.

So we're off and running. We have a new paper chain made and everyone has picked out something they want to earn should they successfully complete all 86 days of no sugar. I know for me, this is much easier when I'm not the only one doing it. Even Nathan and Gregory are in on it this time! So hopefully the 10lbs I put on in the past 2 weeks will come off quickly and I can continue on down towards breaking into the 100's by the end of the year.

Anyone else want to join us? ;)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

New job + girls camp = more routine change to challenge me!

After my mom and sister headed back to Florida (We had a BLAST with them here!) I was able to get back on track pretty quickly with my eating/exercise routine. Routine is what saves me. Routine keeps me motivated. In the past I really haven't done well when things change or when that routine is disturbed. So life is about to get very interesting!

Most pressing is Girls Camp. Since I am lucky enough to work with the young women (ages 12-18) in our church, I get to attend girls camp with them next week! While this is a lot of fun and a great experience to have...especially with my own 13 year old daughter...it makes me nervous. Last year around this time I had just lost about 20lbs and was finally in a good groove. Then girls camp happened. I did plenty of "exercising" around the camp...so that wasn't the issue. But I have no control over the food for 4 days and that's where I get nervous. After girls camp last year, I lost all mojo and ended up putting 30lbs on over the next 6 months. I REALLY don't want that to happen this year. It's not that the food at camp is super unhealthy or anything, it's just not what I've been eating for the past 6 months and it will be an adjustment to eat that way for a few days and then come back home and not let it become a habit again. I'm going to try and bring my own cooler with protein shakes/snacks to use as often as possible, but that won't fix everything lol. So I will just have to watch my portions, drink lots of water, load up on veggies/fruit when offered and promise myself to get right back on track the day I get home!

Exercising regularly has been easy for me for the past several years. I found workouts I love and it's just become habit for me to get a workout in at least 5 days a week. Well starting in August...even that is going to get challenged! I GOT A JOB!! I'm actually really excited. I haven't had a job in a long time. Yes, I know I'm a Zumba/fitness instructor, but at most that's an hour or two a week. Now I get to work part-time at the front desk of my gym. I'm really excited. When the job opened up, I jumped on it. I've always wanted that job, but wasn't sure if/when they'd be hiring or if I'd have the ability to even work outside the home given Nathan's job and the kids schedules etc. But it all worked out and I can't wait to start.

I have to get trained first, but once I am...I'll mostly be filling shifts for people who are sick/out of town or ones that no one is able to take. What this means is that I really won't have much of a regular schedule. While school is still out, I can fill in a lot more often since the older kids are home to watch my youngest while daddy works. This means that more often than not, I'll be working when normally I would be up in the aerobics room taking a class. This truly makes me nervous. I've relied on these classes for the past few years and while I know changing your workouts can often be a good thing...I really don't want to haha. So I will have to start trying out some of the harder classes that are offered at night or get back into working out alone with the weights/cardio machines. I'm nervous, but I know it'll be good for me. It's either that...or workout at home, and frankly I hate doing that if I don't have to.

So between camp and work, both my eating and exercise routines are about to get turned upside down and I am going to do everything in my power not to let it be the end of my progress. As of last week I was down to 243 and I REALLY want to get past that 100lbs lost barrier again. I do NOT want to see 250 again and have to go through that struggle yet again. So wish me luck....or hard work and determination. I'm gonna need it :)

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Well we knew it was going to happen...

Over the last couple of months as I did no sugar and low carb...the thing I probably heard the most from people was, "I wish I had your will power. You are so strong! How do you not give in?" I kept telling people that it wasn't always that way...and it wouldn't always BE that way. Being on a journey of health and weight loss has always been..and will ALWAYS be a roller coaster. That's why I ride the highs for as long as I can. Because I KNOW the lows will always come. Well here we are.

Something always happens in life whether good or bad that disrupts the routine and allows for old habits to seep back in. This time it's a great thing! My mom has been in town since the end of June and I LOVE having her here. I've been blessed with truly the best mother in the world (She just is, you all need to accept it and not argue me here :P). She is the most selfless person I know and having her around just makes life easier. And happier. Not to mention my kids are in heaven having their Gram around. Now if only Pappa (my daddy) were able to be here too! But having company always means a change in routine. And while I've definitely handled it better this year than in years past, it still tends to give me that mentality of "vacation" and I get a bit lax with my rules about eating. I'd say I can't help it but we all know that's not true. I just don't WANT to help it haha.

We've kind of had it both ways these past 2-ish weeks. Some days I make everyone, including my mom, eat MY way. And other days, we go out to eat or to parties or with friends/family...and I just enjoy it. My mom was also kind enough to make all her signature baked goods while Nathan and I were away celebrating our honeymoon so that there wasn't quite as much of it sitting around my kitchen. But it was still there. It's been a long time since I had sugar that actually tempted me...just sitting around my house. None of this is my mother's fault and I hope as she reads this she doesn't think I'm blaming her at all. This is just how my brain chemistry has always worked and the best way for me to work through it is to write about it! The sooner I write it, the sooner I seem to move past it.

Ironically last night was my first real "binge" in months...and my mom wasn't even here haha. She was at her high school reunion. But I had cravings that hit me HARD. I had eaten well/low-carb all day but it wasn't enough. And I was cranky and stressed and just plain MAD. And I said screw it. We had Thai food for dinner and I had more carbs than I can count. Then as we sat and watched a movie I ate about half a bag of the cadbury mini-eggs I had hidden back in March when I wasn't having sugar at all. I felt justified and ate every single one with an "I'm eating this and you can't stop me" attitude. Of course as I sit and write this, I feel sick to my stomach with a food hangover and regret every bite...but I think I needed to go through that. I think every once in a while...everyone needs to go through that. It's a growing and learning experience.

And I have grown. In the past, a binge like that would just be the start. It would last for days or weeks and I would go silent and depressed and probably put on another 10lbs. But not this time. I let my emotions take over and that's okay. I'm still learning how to deal with them without food and probably will be for the rest of my life. Today is a new day.

Tonight we have a dinner with a bunch of ladies I haven't seen in years. We're going to Zupas which is one of my favorite places...and used to be a binge issue for me. But not today. I know what salad I'm going to get and will be passing on the soup/sandwiches and desserts today. Because I don't need them. My mom is only here a few more days and I am not going to let food be the central focus while she is. It shouldn't be the central focus of anything frankly. But come Tuesday I will be making another paper chain and sugar is going right back out of the house. I REFUSE to put 10lbs back on before I start losing again. I'm below 250 and intend to stay that way permanently this time. So this is just a little detour on my road to better health...not a road block.

This dip in my roller coaster is going to be the shortest yet. Time to head back up that climb.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Losing weight in the off season...

I used to think that was an oxymoron...losing weight in between seasons of Jilly's Losers. Because who keeps working hard during the break?! Well some people do, but I never used to haha. It's like my mind is so relieved to have a break from all that goes into running the group that it refuses to make any more effort again until the next one starts.

BUT NOT THIS TIME! HAAA!!!

Season 31 of Jilly's Losers started today and I weighed in 3.1lbs down from last week! That's 38.7 lbs since starting keto in March and just over 85lbs down from my heaviest ever :) It felt good to FINALLY bet at a place where it was just another week and not a week for me to go off the deep end. It took me 6 years to get there so I hope those in my group who still struggle with it know that I know how they feel!!! But it really does have to be a lifestyle change and not a "diet".

8 more days till my mama comes and I can't wait!! And surprisingly, I'm not chomping at the bit to have sugar when she gets here. We'll make some of our favorite Gram treats (her cinnamon rolls are THE BEST!), but I'm now fully confident in my ability to not let it derail me. The taste of success is far sweeter than the sugary stuff. I'm excited to get to show her how I eat these days. I'm sure she'll think I'm nuts just like I used to when I looked at my friends doing keto. But now I'm proud to be one of the crazies.

I suddenly have a much bigger wardrobe again and getting bigger by the week. I forgot how much I LOVE that. I also have to go buy some new bras today because well...you know. Yay for shrinking sizes!

This season of Jilly's Losers is going to be a big one in more ways than one. Not only is it looking like it may be the biggest season we've ever had (52 have weighed in so far and it's only noon!)...but with our goal of 6% weight loss this season, that will put me right at 230.6 which will be exactly 100lbs lost from my heaviest. This was a big milestone the first time around, but I'm just as excited...if not moreso...to be creeping up on it for a second time. Words can't describe how grateful I am for my group. Sincerely...family and my love for my Savior aside, it is the most important thing in the world to me and I don't know where I'd be without it. They're all kind of intertwined at this point.

Life is good!!!


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Jilly's Losers Season 31 Rules & Guidelines

Season 31 Rules & Guidelines
1. Season 31 will begin on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. It will last 8 weeks and our final weigh in will be on Tuesday, August 15.
2. The buy-in fee this season will be $25. This is a singles season. Fees should be sent via Paypal to Jillyslosers@gmail.com with the note “Season 31 buy-in fee” and your name. All fees MUST be paid by June 27th. Make sure to mark your payments as being sent to family and friends to avoid any PayPal fees.
3. This season we’re going to go back to DietBet format! For those of you who have never heard of DietBet, it’s a company that runs 4 week weight loss competitions in which participants have to lose 4% of their body weight in that time. Those who do so successfully, get to split the prize pot. Ours will be a little different, but the same in that you are only really competing with yourself. After looking over this past season’s results, I’ve decided that our magic goal number will be 6% in 8 weeks. That will average out to be about 1-2lbs per week for everyone. This is completely doable, but not so easy that I think the prize pot will end up split 50 ways. But if it does, that just means that as a group, we lost a LOT of weight, and I’ll be extremely proud of us!!! After the starting weigh-in, I will post everyone’s 6% goal so that you know what you are personally striving for. The person who loses the HIGHEST % of weight in those 8 weeks will win 10% of the pot on top of splitting the rest with everyone else. Just a little extra incentive to keep going if you do happen to hit that 6% early! (NOTE: All prizes are given after challenge rewards are paid out (I tend to use half the total pot towards challenge rewards) and 10% is taken out of the pot for myself as insisted upon by you brats a few seasons back *grumbles*. Thank you lol)
NOTE: For those of us who are current group members returning for season 31, there WILL be a gain cap between seasons this time. It will be a 2lb cap. What this means is that if you weighed in yesterday at 200lbs and you weigh in next Tuesday at 205lbs…your official starting weight will be 202, which means those first 3lbs you lose won’t count towards your 6%. This will hopefully help keep us all from going too crazy in between seasons!
4. Regarding weigh-ins: We have mandatory weekly weigh-ins every Tuesday. (Why Tuesdays? Because that's the day that The Biggest Loser aired on NBC when I started this group and it's just stuck!) Your weight picture must be posted by midnight MDT to count! (Let me know if any issues arise. I’m pretty reasonable.) Please weigh in under the same circumstances every week (morning/night/clothed or not, etc) As for strikes...you are allowed 2 missed weigh-ins per person. That's 1 per month (or 2 in a row…or 1 here 1 there, etc. Use them wisely!). On the 3rd missed weigh-in, you will be disqualified and you will not get your $ refunded. (You may continue to stay in the group and weigh-in but you will not be eligible to win any $ or prizes either from challenges or the final weigh-in) Remember that weigh-ins must be a picture of the # on your scale with your feet showing. Not just a post of your weight. I understand people take vacations and sometimes use different scales. This is fine…HOWEVER…you MUST use the same scale for your starting and final weights so that we can be sure of accuracy.
5. Before pictures are MANDATORY. The pictures may be with or without a shirt (you'll notice more of a change if you do it without), but they must be full body pictures. (I highly recommend everyone take a shirtless before pic that they at least keep for themselves even if they don’t share it. You’ll be glad you have it one day!) If your before picture is not submitted within the first week of competition (by June 27), you will be disqualified. (If you submitted an "after" picture for season 30, that will count as your "before" picture for season 31) Those who win prizes at the end of the season will not receive their prize money until an AFTER picture has been submitted and they must do so within 48 hrs of the winning announcement. NOTE: Newcomers to this group always worry that their pictures posted in the group will show up for the public to see. This group is secret. As long as you are on the group wall BEFORE posting your pictures, no one will see them but those in the group. Your pictures will show up on your own feed when you view it, but I promise you no one else can see it!
6. Starting and final weights will be confirmed with a KEY WORD. This is to ensure that starting and ending pictures are truly taken on the day of the weigh-in and not before. I will post the KEY WORD in this group the night before the first and last weigh-ins. It should be written on a piece of paper or notecard and placed at your feet in the front of your scale before taking your picture. You may NOT just type the key word into your post or add it to your picture afterwards using an app. It must be physically IN the picture itself.
7. We will continue doing weekly challenges. I try to come up with new challenges whenever, possible, but for those of you who have been around a while, I'm sorry to say you will see some repeats! Each challenge will have different rewards/prizes that will hopefully help keep people motivated. There will even be a couple big prizes depending on how large a group we have!
8. Points system: I’ve decided to do the points tracking this season since it seems to really help those who participate in it. The points system is a tracking sheet (either print out or automated excel) for tracking food/sleep/activity, etc. More info below! (Note, the points have changed a little this time around!) The person with the highest points at the end of the 8 weeks will win 5% of the pot and a special prize that I have yet to decide upon file:///C:/Users/Jill/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image001.png:P The biggest change to the points this season is that you will NOT get points for weight loss. You will still get 5 points each week if you don’t GAIN…there will just not be extra points for losing. So you’ll really have to stick to the points if you want to win!
9. Remember that this group is about gaining health and losing weight through eating right and exercising. Extreme/fad diets are not allowed. Weight Watchers, the Ketogenic diet and things like that are fine, but no pills/drops/powders etc. (Protein shakes are fine)
10. This group is only for those who will be actively participating in the competition this season, so while I hope everyone will stick around, please know that if you choose not to join us this season, you will be removed from the group. You are always welcome to join us in later seasons file:///C:/Users/Jill/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image002.png:)
POINTS SYSTEM DETAILS!!! (borrowed from sixsistersstuff.com) -There is a weekly point calendar for each of the 8 weeks. (It will be posted as a separate document under the “Files” tab on the group page) Print it out and use to track your points and weight loss. If you prefer to use an excel spreadsheet that will do your math for you, Cody Mecham made one a few seasons ago that we’ve updated and will post as well for you to download.
-Beginning on Week #2 there is a double point challenge (highlighted in yellow)
-You can exercise each day, but you will only receive points for exercising 5 days a week.
-You can avoid carbs after lunch every day, but you’ll only receive points for doing so 5 times in a week (Carbs in this case is referring to the obvious…breads, pastas, cereal, grains/oatmeal etc, sweets. Fruits and veggies are FINE!)
-You can choose to not eat sugar/treats each day, but you will only receive points for not eating sugar on 6 days (everyone needs a free day!).
-There is a sample food journal that you can use or you can use your own kind of food journal to keep track of what you eat.
-Daily contact with teammate: It’s amazing the strength that comes from encouragement from your teammates! We said that you could email, call, or text someone in the group to encourage them to have a healthy day. It helps knowing that you are all in this together and makes you accountable for what you do or don’t do. Posting or commenting on the group page also counts. Hitting LIKE does NOT count!
-Example of maintenance points – If your weight is the same or lower than the previous week, you will get 5 points. There will be no points this season for losing so that will save everyone some math!
NOTE!!!!! Points totals MUST be either emailed (jillyslosers@gmail.com) or messaged via Facebook to Jill Tracy by midnight MST each Tuesday in order to be counted. With such a large group, I’m afraid there will be no exceptions. If you forget to tell me one week…they won’t count. I’m sorry!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The best season ever...

I'm sure my fellow "losers" (as in Jilly's Losers) are tired of hearing me gush about Season 30, but I'm gonna do it one more time anyway.

Yesterday we finished another 8 week season and I can say without a doubt that it was the best one. Ever. Going into it, I was nervous because we were doing teams of 4 for the first time. There are always people who LOVE working with a partner because it pushes them...and there are always people who don't enjoy it because of the fear of letting them down. So you never really know how a season is going to go when you force people to work together.

By the end, I had people begging me to keep it going!! That's saying something!

My own team...well honestly, there just aren't words great enough or big enough to tell you how I feel about my team. Amy, Shari, Sue and I met in our favorite Zumba class at the gym. Having a team that I could see several times a week definitely helped us to push one another. But in those 8 weeks, we went from workout buddies...to family. I genuinely love these women and I cannot tell you enough how proud I am of them.

As a team, we lost 67.6lbs in 8 weeks!! We worked hard and didn't let up. And as a result...we were the team with the highest % of weight loss at the end of it all :) I'm so beyond proud. This is only the second time I've "won" in 30 seasons...and the first time was when I was partnered with my husband. So clearly...working with other people works for me!

But even more than just my own team...as a group, Jilly's Losers lost 407.8lbs in 8 weeks. HOLY COW! I mean seriously! 407.8lbs???? This completely shattered our old record of 251lbs...and that was in 12 weeks time. Something about this season pushed people to work hard and try new things and to lift one another when it got hard. We only had one person DQ themselves the entire season and that in itself is a record lol. And it was only because she was out of the country! I'm seriously so impressed with this group of people and can't wait to do another teams season...sooner than later!

As for my own personal results, I'm pretty proud of myself. In those 8 weeks I lost just over 20 lbs and about 13" from all over my body. Yesterday I had to stop during a Zumba class and ask poor Sue to help me tighten my sports bra straps because I've lost so many inches and it was becoming uncomfortable! haha. One of the best parts was losing 5.3lbs in this last week...and that was after my birthday binge! It was a huge accomplishment for me to enjoy my birthday like that and get right back to work without even the slightest hesitation. Couldn't have done that without the support of my "Fit and Flab-you-less" team...and my amazing Jilly's Losers family.

I'm almost sad to be going back to a singles season next week, but I'm forever grateful for the support system that has come from this group. I crushed my season goal of breaking 250 and it's time for the next! 230.6 was my original 100lbs lost from my heaviest so that's where I'm headed next!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Birthday Binge 2017...

We all knew it was going to happen. Don't act so surprised ;)

My birthday was amazing. It really was. I started it out on the right foot by teaching a Zumba class and was lucky enough to have 15 great friends come to celebrate with me. I was truly touched to walk into the aerobics room and find that my 3 dearest friends and Jilly's Losers teammates had shown up early and decorated for me. Balloons, a banner, streamers on the fans...and DONUTS! haha! It's like they know me. (All pics were taken POST workout, so don't judge my sweaty skin and red face. The outfit was pre-planned so you can totally judge that :P)



Because my team was still finishing up a relay challenge for Jilly's losers on Monday, a good portion of my day was spent exercising...which made me not feel so bad about all the deliciousness I ate. Aside from Zumba I also managed about 16 miles on the bike, 30 flights of stairs and a bunch of pushups, crunches etc. But you guys don't care about that do ya. You wanna hear what I ate. How weird are you!

On Tuesday I was genuinely nervous about jumping right in to the sweets, so it was late afternoon before I had anything to eat at all. But eventually I decided I could handle it and I let the fun begin. The first thing I did was split a maple bar donut with my hubby. Amy had brought them to Zumba knowing I was bummed about missing national donut day. I felt so loved haha. I ate it slow and it was perfection. I got to try caramel M&M's for the first time and they were pretty good! Hubby had set aside a pack for me when they first came out, bless his heart. My kids had also gotten me some rolos...because chocolate + caramel = my happy place. I had one more small chocolate donut later on, but that was all the sugar I had on Monday. I was more interested in the carbs.

CARBS CARBS CARBS. Seriously. Since Taggarts was closed on Monday, we went to our favorite cafe...Sills. I had half a scone w/ honeybutter, 1 small pancake and some hash browns. (I also had bacon and eggs, but no one cares cause I've been eating that for the last 3 months!) It was a good thing I only had one meal that day because having so many carbs after 3 months of close to nothing filled me up super fast. It was worth every bite though.

Tuesday was a little different. Looking at the portions of things I ate, I really don't feel as though I ate that much, but my body disagreed. I had a single orange roll before my workout since that's all that was left after my children inhaled them the day before haha. It felt good to get in a workout after Monday's carb fest...and knowing what was coming! For lunch, I wanted pizza because I have truly seriously missed it. I LOVE pizza. Nathan suggested we get The Pie. Having not been there in at least a decade, I ordered the pizza that sounded the most decadent. It had cream cheese, chicken, artichokes, etc etc etc...and sounded amazing. I don't know if it was my changed taste buds or if The Pie just isn't my thing...but I wasn't a fan. I had 1 piece (without the crust) and was done. Though I did have 1 1/2 pieces of garlic bread (YUM). Nathan had also stopped at Great Harvest and brought home a loaf of pumpkin chocolate chip bread because he knows how much I love it...and I had a slice of that after lunch. But only one. I'm kind of impressed with myself there.

Before dinner, I had another handful of rolos and caramel m&m's to um...make sure they'd be out of the house and unable to tempt me once birthday binge 2017 was over.

Then came the part I'd been so excited about. We drove up into the mountains in Morgan and went to Taggarts. It's this tiny little cabin restaurant and it was crowded! It was obvious this place was a big deal. We even heard a guy walk out saying, "That's the best burger I've ever had in my life!" When you walk in, there's 2 HUGE dessert cases. We all picked out the ones that looked the best so we'd know what to get on the way out.

We ordered mozzarella sticks and red pepper/cream cheese poppers for appetizers...and honestly, I could've stopped there. The poppers were unlike anything I'd ever had before and I'm pretty sure I ate 5 of them. I was full after that...but I wasn't going to quit. I had ordered a chicken tostada because I kinda just wanted some veggies...but this tostada had more beans and rice and meat and cheese than any I'd ever seen. It was good, but not great. I'd prefer a Cafe Rio sweet pork salad any day, but hey..now I know. I ended up only eating about 1/4 of it before I called it quits. I did steal a few french fries from my kids though and THOSE were amazing. Of course their fry sauce didn't hurt either.

The biggest reason we went to Taggarts was for the dessert. Last year for my birthday, I didn't want to eat a whole cake, so I did a cake smash and barely got any in my mouth. That worked well. This year, I decided to go OUT for dessert so that we could just eat it and be done with it. But since we were all so full, we took it home. Annnnnd....since they had SO MANY that looked amazing and I couldn't decide...each of us picked the one we wanted so that we could just try them all.


Starting at the top of the pic and going to the right we got...chocolate cake, rocky road brownie, NY cheesecake w/ raspberries, turtle cheesecake, german chocolate cheesecake and carrot cake. I nearly went into a sugar coma just looking at them. But honestly...they looked better than they tasted (to me). My sister Heidi was right...no sugar for three months made them all taste WAYYYYY too sweet and I couldn't handle it! The only one that I had more than a  tiny bite or two of was the raspberry cheesecake because the cheesecake part balanced out the sweetness of the topping. The carrot cake was good, but still too sweet. Everyone else seemed to love them though because most of them disappeared by this morning!

So I went to bed feeling fuller than I had in MONTHS and honestly feeling pretty sick. But I had expected and planned for that. This morning I woke up with the mindset that my birthday was 100% over and it was right back to business. I was grateful for that. My biggest fear going into this birthday was that it would derail me and bring back all my cravings. It didn't. I went to Barre Fusion at the gym this morning to get in a good sweat (Thanks for kicking my butt Angie!) and then came home and had a 1 carb waffle with strawberries and heavy cream. And THAT...was the best "dessert" of them all.

The scale was up 4lbs from yesterday's weigh-in, but that's okay. I know it's at least 80% water retention from the massive influx of carbs and it will come off with a few days of good, low-carb eating. I'm honestly proud of myself. I needed to do this. I needed to be reminded of how much better I feel eating this way and how much my body dislikes all the junk I used to have on a regular basis.

So it's back to work. I decided to make another paper chain this morning to get my girls and I through another stretch of no sugar before my mom and sister come into town (YAY!) I'm proud of them for wanting to do it again! 17 days will seem like nothing compared to 96! But next time...there will be no binge and it will be nothing to write home about :)

Monday, June 5, 2017

How the ketogenic diet changed my life in 96 days...

Happy birthday to me :) I can't believe it's finally here. When I first decided to go from March 1st until my birthday without sugar...and doing the ketogenic diet...I was sure I would fail. I was sure I was nuts to even THINK I could attempt it. It had been a long time since I set a goal and reached it. But this time I reached it! Let me rephrase that...

I CRUSHED IT!!!

The ketogenic diet (just to recap quickly) is essentially a low carb/high fat way of eating. The goal was to stay below 40g of net carbs a day (total carbs - fiber = net carbs) and (for me anyway) to hit about 100g of fat a day. This was a huge change for me. For someone who has always stuck to the mantra of "balance is key" and "I refuse to cut things completely from my diet"...this was pretty extreme. But extreme is what I needed for a while. And it worked.

The first 2 weeks were pretty tough, but the rest of those 96 days really were a breeze. Some days I had a few more carbs than I should have (like the panda express chow mein earlier this week. oops!) but I stayed on track 99% of the time. And I learned to love finding new ways to reach my macros each day! I learned to appreciate my love for bacon, avocado, steak, chicken, cheese, eggs and so many other foods that I suddenly got to have more of. Sure...I missed things like bread and chips and french fries....and buns on my hamburgers haha. But seeing the results I was getting made it easy to just keep going!

The thing I am most proud of, however, is that NOT ONCE did I slip and have sugar. Not a bite, not a lick, not a single one. I did take plenty of deep inhales...but those are totally calorie free haha. And to take it one step further...today is my birthday and I can officially HAVE sugar. But I'm scared to and don't want to hahaha. My amazing friends brought some incredible looking donuts to my Zumba class this morning and I brought them home to share with my family. I have yet to take a bite of mine. I just keep staring at it! I was sure that when today came I would binge on sugar and be sick by noon time. I truly have changed. It's incredible and I'm grateful for it.



So...96 days of keto and no sugar. Here's what I got from it :)

In 96 days I:

-Lost 31.4lbs (at least half of which was lost without exercise due to my broken foot)
-2" in my chest, 3" in my waist, 3" in my hips, 2" in my thighs, 1.5" in my calves, 3" in my arms for a total of 14.5" overall!
-Learned that I really can survive without sugar. Really. I can.
-Learned that I can also survive without bread! Who really wants to..honestly..but at least I know I can!
-Went from a size 22 jeans to a size 18.
-Healed from yet another horrible injury and got back into better shape than I was before it happened.
-Got really good at substituting for carbs in our family meals (zoodles, lettuce wraps, etc)
-learned how to say no thank you when offered treats
-learned how to enjoy social functions for what they are and not for the food involved
-had the support of countless friends and family who made it 100% easier to stay on track on the days I really didn't want to.
-learned that of all the "diets" I've tried over the years...the ketogenic diet is the one that is the most sustainable and gives me the best results. I fully intend on continuing it indefinitely.
-found my motivation again and hopefully helped others to find theirs. It's almost impossible to try and inspire others to live a healthier lifestyle when you yourself don't care enough to do the same!
-taught my family how to be a little bit healthier...and hopefully it sticks!
-proved that losing weight really is 80% diet and 20% exercise.
-showed my food/sugar addiction who is boss.
-did and learned so many things that I won't try to list them all here. But basically...it changed my life.

I am grateful to Cody Mecham for convincing me that I could do this and for leading by example. I'm grateful to my other keto friends who gave me ideas and recipes and pulled me alongside them on the tough days. I'm grateful to my husband for not enabling my bad habits over the last 3 months and instead making every effort to make things easier for me. It made all the difference. I'm grateful to my girls who went 96 days with me without dessert! That's tough for a kid!

I realize that this was only 96 days of my life and here I am acting like I'm accepting an Oscar...but there really are no words for the impact that the last 3 months had on my mental state, my emotions, my motivation and on my self-confidence. The last 3 months are just the beginning.

So happy freaking birthday to me. 38 is going to be the best year yet :)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Goal reached with 6 days to spare!

I'll make this short and sweet.

When I set out on this no sugar/low-carb journey I set a goal of losing 30lbs by my birthday (June 5). Today at my Jilly's Losers weigh-in I was 253.6 which means I've officially lost 30.5lbs since March 1st :) Time to start deciding on some new goals!

Monday, May 29, 2017

ONE WEEK LEFT!!!!


This is what's left of our 96 link paper chain. 7 links. SEVEN!!!! My girls and I are pretty excited to say the least. They have done a great job of not having any dessert for the past 3 months! Of course, they still were having the occasional kids cereal and other things that contain sugar, but the point was to not have any candy, cupcakes, brownies etc....and they did a great job :) They had a lot of support and help from amazing friends and teachers. I am very touched by the lengths people went to to make sure they felt included in activities where treats were included! Even Ariana's cooking teacher helped her make her own version of no bake cookies that had honey instead of sugar so that she could participate.

While I am excited, I'll admit I'm a little nervous too. Since my "no sugar" the past 3 months has been a lot more extreme, I know that allowing it back into my diet has the potential to make me feel pretty miserable and to possibly derail me again, but I'm hoping that I've learned enough over the past 3 months to not let my birthday celebrations become a month long thing. And while in my mind, I'm planning all these delicious things I want to eat next Monday...I am 150% sure my stomach won't allow it. But it's fun to daydream about it!

So the plan going forward beyond next Monday is this...

Monday and Tuesday are going to be freebie days. I haven't had one of those in months. It won't start, however, until after I teach my 11:30am Zumba class or I'll be sick and we don't want that haha. Yes...I'm giving myself 1 1/2 days to enjoy myself. Then it's back to business. I will make another paper chain to get me through NO SUGAR again until my mom arrives at the end of June. It's only a few weeks, but I need to make sure that I'm firmly back on the wagon once family is in town so that it'll be easier to stay strong when normally I'd let it be a daily excuse to eat everything in sight.

As far as the low-carb stuff goes, though, I'm going to be changing things up. After the birthday celebrations are over, I will allow myself one carb-crazy meal a week. It will not be a full day of indulgence. It will be one meal. If I want pizza, I get pizza. If I want a loaded baked potato...great. If I want to eat a whole loaf of bread then no one's gonna stop me haha. But that's it. After that meal is over it's back to less than 40g of net carbs a day and eating everything between the hours of 11am and 7pm. No excuses. I ate that way for 3 months and I know now that it's completely doable.

So that's it. That's the plan and I hope no one will try and tempt me to deviate from it haha. Nothing is possible without as much love and support as I have had the past few months.

7 more days! I've never been so excited for a birthday in my life haha.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Obsession vs. Determination

Someone pointed out to me this week that I have an obsession with weight loss...and not in a good way. This struck a nerve with me (obviously) but it also got me thinking. Do I? As a challenge to my team this week, I suggested we all put our scales away and not weigh-in again until weigh-in day next Tuesday. You would think I had asked us to hold our breaths for a week! But the fact that we were all so nervous to do it just told me how important it was that we see what it was like. So far it's been 3 days without my usual morning weigh-in and it's not so bad. To be honest, I had Nathan hide my scale from me so that I wouldn't even be tempted. But does all of this constitute obsession? As my friend and teammate, Shari, put it..."Obsession and determination are two completely different things."

I think obsession is more of a passive way of viewing something that you want really badly. If I were merely obsessed with losing weight, I would sit and whine about wanting to, feel jealous of those around me who were doing so successfully and yet be unwilling to make any effort to do it myself. Determination, however, means (in my opinion anyway) that I want something bad enough to actually do something about it. I also firmly believe that if I were merely "obsessed" and not "determined"...I wouldn't have the desire to help others on the same journey as I have spent the last 6 years doing. And my obsession/determination is not about becoming "skinny". It is about so very much more than that.

I am not obsessed with losing weight. I am DETERMINED to lose weight and build muscle. But why?
Because...

It will make me stronger both inside and out.
It will make it easier to keep up with my children.
It will make it easier to fulfill my duties as a fitness instructor and set a good example.
It will give me more energy for the day to day tasks that come with being a wife and mother.
It will help prevent more injuries in the future.
It will lessen the amount of strain I am putting on my joints and on my back and my heart.
It will allow me to live a longer, more full life with my children and...one day...their children, etc.
It will allow me to go clothes shopping wherever I want instead of just stores that have plus sizes.
It will help me to feel more confident.
It will show my children the importance of taking care of our bodies. We only get one!
It will set a good example for those in my weight loss group who look to me for motivation.
It will help me sleep better, feel better and get sick less often.
It will save me money in the future on medical bills.
It will help me keep control over my food addiction instead of it controlling me.
It will help me continue to reach my goals in the fitness/health industry.
It will make me happier.

I'm sure I could come up with many more reasons, but why should I have to? This is what I want for myself and there is nothing wrong with me going for it. Some might say I should just learn to love myself as I am....but who says I don't? I can love myself as an obese person while still striving to be a better/healthier version of myself. I didn't love myself at 330lbs, but it wasn't just because of the weight. It was because of the life I was living as a RESULT of the weight. I changed that. Now I'm living the life I want. But it will be even easier/better to do so with less lbs on my body. I'd rather not have any more serious injuries that result from my mind thinking I can do things that my body isn't ready for.

So call it obsession if you want, but it's not obsession with being "skinny" or with fitting into some expectation society has of me. It's obsession with bettering myself. And I don't see a damn thing wrong with that :)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Week 12 (results)...when the impossible becomes the norm

12 weeks. Wow. Next week makes 3 full months of all of this and while it's seemed like the longest 3 months of my life in some ways...I also can't believe it's almost over! In week 12 I lost another 2.4lbs which brings the grand total to 27.9 since starting Keto/no sugar on March 1. I also took my measurements again, but I think I'll wait until my birthday to take them again and post my "final" results all together. I honestly haven't lost as many inches as I was hoping.

This past week in my weight loss group, our challenge was to follow a certain points system and try to get "perfect points" as a team. We got points for things as simple as checking in daily with our team...to things as difficult as no carbs (bread, pasta, potatoes, rice) after lunchtime. Workouts, water, no eating after 9, 3 servings fruits and veggies. And all these things had to be done for a full week. This isn't a new challenge. We've done things like this MANY times in my group. And every time, I would groan about it. Sure, I control the challenges, but I'm not doing my job if they're easy, right? No treats/sugar and no carbs after lunch has always been SO hard for me...especially mentally. It's usually where I would cave in or give up. I'd watch others around me breeze through it and I could barely make it through one day without those things.

Not this time. This time when I posted that challenge, it was EASY for me. I felt bad watching others who were in the shoes I used to be in...saying how hard it was and how cranky it made them. And I FELT THEIR PAIN! I have been there! But this time...it was just another week for me. I didn't have to change anything to succeed. And THAT...is how I know I've succeeded. I am finally treating my body the way it NEEDS to be treated to be healthy and strong. And I love that it's no longer this emotionally, mentally and physically draining struggle. That's not to say I won't ever have my downs again. Sure I will. They always happen. As do the ups. But this up has lasted 12 weeks and I'm gonna keep riding it as high as it'll take me.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Week 11 results and a bit of burnout!

This will be a pretty short post because I just don't have the energy for a long one! Last week's challenge in my group was a workout challenge that involved teams racking up as many workout mins as possible in competition with one another. My team managed 40 hrs and 40 mins of exercise in 1 week and came in third place! I'm so proud of us! I'm also freaking TIRED! haha. I ended that "week" by teaching 3 zumba classes in a 24 hour period (and have to go teach one more in a couple hours). That may not sound like much, but trying to yell out your cues WHILE dancing gets pretty exhausting. My body is pretty much done.

I did however post a 2.6lb loss this morning at the end of week 11! That brings my total since March 1st to 25.5lbs. I wasn't sure I'd be able to pull that off considering my little carb splurge on Saturday which was followed by a rather enjoyable Mother's Day. But I made sure that Monday was VERY low carb (12g net!!) and that I drank lots and lots of water. And sure enough I went right back into ketosis and saw a nice drop today. So yay! It's truly amazing what one good, clean eating day can do for your body. Now if only I could be that on top of things EVERY day haha. Still...it's nice to continually lose every week after 2 years of steadily gaining.

Week 12 is going DOWN!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Day 73...paying the price

So yesterday was another one of those days where I may have gone juuuuuuuuust a lot over on my carbs due to an "I don't care" kind of attitude. Apparently I forgot what I learned on Easter about being unable to bake "treats" and keep them in my house because I did it again. A good friend of mine who is also on Keto (Amy!) had brought me some low-carb/no sugar peanut butter bars a while back that I LOVED. They totally hit the spot. I made the mistake of asking for the recipe and making them myself yesterday. I managed to eat 4 of them (about 750 cals total) before I put them in the freezer to stop the binge. They were just SO GOOD! Why is one never enough? Obviously even 10 weeks is not enough to cure me of my food issues. And then from there it was as if the rest of my day didn't matter.

For dinner, we had something we haven't had in a LONG time. If you live in/have ever visited Utah, you've tried Betos/Rancheritos...and you know how amazing their food is. I told myself I would just share a burrito with Nathan, but then he brought home my favorite super nachos (mmmm carne asada) and I was done for. I still didn't eat nearly as many as I would have in the past, but I had about 10 fully loaded tortilla chips and I definitely felt overly full for the first time in months.

It didn't take long for my body to revolt against this influx of unhealthy food. I felt pretty miserable the rest of the night and had some unfortunate side effects that we won't get into. I expected a full blown food hangover this morning, but luckily it wasn't too bad. I was definitely swollen/retaining water and my stomach still felt blah...but it was nothing like the results of binges in the past. So I guess I am improving to some degree. Luckily I went to teach a Zumba class and was able to sweat out the rest of the blahs without any trouble.

But do you think I've now learned my lesson? Do you think I can say "it'll never happen again!" No. Because we all know it will. And that's okay. I still haven't had any sugar and going over my my carbs once in a while won't be enough to knock me out of ketosis. So I think I'm still on track :) Next time Amy or I bakes anything though...we're splitting the batch. Cause self-control and sweets will never exist in the same sentence for me. I just have to accept that!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Week 10 results, road trip, new restaurant and some new insight to Keto...

I truly cannot believe it's been 10 weeks that I've been doing this. I never thought I'd have that kind of determination. Normally when I would go a whole week (or longer) without a blog post, it meant I had fallen off the wagon and just wasn't ready to face it. But in this case, it just means it's all sort of become so routine that I don't think anyone else cares to hear about it anymore! haha. And that's a great thing in my opinion.

In week 10 I lost another 1.6lbs which brings my keto weight loss total to 22.9 thus far! I was surprised I lost so much though since the scale didn't budge until weigh-in day. That "swoosh" thing is no joke! But knowing it will always come keeps me from giving up when nothing's happening for days on end.

On Saturday, we took a day trip up to Idaho Falls with our 2 youngest kids and it had me nervous. I haven't spent that much time in the car since starting on Keto and I was nervous about falling into old habits of fast food and junk in the car. But I have an amazing hubby who packed the cooler full of healthy snacks before I even had the chance to think about doing it myself. He has been so great about helping me stay strong on the days I don't want to and I'm so lucky to have that. So we ate breakfast before leaving, snacked on almonds, cheese, low-carb muffins, etc as we drove and then came the part that made me really nervous. We were going to visit Nathan's brother and his new wife and have lunch at their home. It was wonderful to see them and to spend some time with his mom and other members of his family, but when you have no control over what someone else is cooking it has the potential to get a little stressful. Or at least I expected it to. But I found that instead, I didn't feel like the whole visit revolved around food and instead I focused on the social aspect as I should have! My brother-in-law made a delicious salad and a chicken/broccoli casserole (all without knowing it was perfect for keto) and it was delicious! I didn't over eat and I enjoyed people's company and it wasn't the big deal I was worried it'd be. Not every meal has to stress me out.

On the way home, we needed to stop for dinner and the kids wanted taco bell. Did you know taco bell (at least in Idaho) has a protein bowl? I ate around the rice and beans and it was delicious!! We made it home and other than not getting in enough water for the day (cause I didn't want to stop at 10 gas stations on our drive home haha)...I was pretty proud of how I did.

Monday night, we had a date night...cause we needed one. We decided to try a newer restaurant at Station Park in Farmington called "Mad Greens"...where I had the best high fat/low carb salad I've ever had! Chicken, bacon, eggs, avocado, tomatoes...all made/cut fresh right in front of you. Why do all the good salads have to be such a drive from my house! It's just not the same making it at home. Something about someone else making my food makes it taste better haha. We will definitely be going back.

Yesterday a video showed up in my FB feed of a woman talking for 15 mins about the ketogenic diet and I had this feeling I should watch it. And then I felt I should share what she said with those of you who are still reading ;)  She talked about what's "allowed" vs "not allowed" on the keto diet and how really...everything is allowed. People always ask me "what I eat" if I can't have this and this and this. And I've always listed off the things I DO eat. But this video changed what my answer will be in the future. Really in it's simplest definition...keto means eating a high fat/moderate protein/low carb diet. Typically those in ketosis eat between 20 and 40g net carbs each day. That's it. Those are the rules. So if I want to use my carbs on a slice of pizza...or on some Halo Top ice cream...I'm "allowed" to do that without any guilt! Now...since I'm still doing my "no sugar" challenge until June, I personally am not allowing myself to have certain things, but if I wanted to use some of my carbs to share a small dessert with my kids...I could.

Of course, eating healthy, whole foods is always going to be a "better" option when it comes to fueling my body. But last I checked, I'm human...and sometimes I just don't wanna dammit. Last night we had Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner and I managed to fit a mozzarella stick, 2 onion rings and 6 wings into my macros just fine. Does that mean it was a "healthy" choice? No...but I didn't binge. I didn't overeat...and I stayed in ketosis. All while indulging in some of my favorites. So yes...I eat a ketogenic diet, but I still have the freedom to eat the things I love. And I LOVE that!

Time to tackle week 11!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

9 weeks down, 5(ish) to go!

I guess this past week was pretty uneventful if this is the only entry I've written! But that's not necessarily a bad thing.

For the first time in 5 months, I was at the gym SIX days this week! The weekly challenge in my weight loss group was for each team member (there's 4 on a team) to come up with a workout and then we all had to do all 4 of them. One of the benefits of having teammates who all live nearby and go to the same gym is that we could plan our workouts around our favorite classes! We ended up with Zumba (duh), Barre Fusion, Yoga (NOT my favorite, but Angie made me love her class!)...and our 4th workout was HIIT, taught by me! I ended up actually taking THREE Zumba classes (one which I taught myself) because well...I love a good shimmy. Barre was a class I had really missed over the past few months, but I was able to do it without too much pain...and even did it barefoot! I still can't do lunges that require me to balance my weight on my right foot with it bent, but that's okay. This issue also made downward dog rather difficult in yoga, but one thing I have gotten good at over the past few years is learning how to modify!! Our HIIT class kicked my butt. Yes...I kicked my own butt. I was nervous about it because the last time I did HIIT...well...I ended up with a screw in my foot. And normally when I teach HIIT I'm not doing the workout full out with my students. So this REALLY kicked my butt. And it was great! My teammates were troopers and I'm so proud of them! My foot is definitely sore after all the extra exercise (AND volleyball!), but I'm learning to push through it. I've accepted that the nerve damage from my surgery is something I may just have to deal with for a very long time and I refuse to let it stop me from doing what I love. Ice packs are my friend.

My eating was perfect this week. I LOVE that I can say that and I love that it felt easy. I even had a girls night out on Saturday with a whole bunch of friends and we went to Cafe Rio! If you don't live somewhere with a Cafe Rio then you can't possibly understand how AMAZING their food is. Their sweet pork is to die for. I knew we were going and I knew what I wanted ahead of time, so I got on their nutritional website and figured out how to make it work with my macros for the day. Instead of a salad that comes in a giant, soft, delicious tortilla...I did a sweet pork tostada. This meant that all my favorite salad items were still included, but placed on top of a small corn tortilla (hidden so it didn't even tempt me haha) instead. My friends thought I was nuts for having my salad with no rice and no beans, but honestly it was just as good without them! And because I didn't have them, I was able to finish the whole thing instead of only eating half like I used to when getting everything on it. So I'm telling you...it is entirely possible to ENJOY the Ketogenic diet and still live your life! I'm sure everyone thinks I'm super high maintenance for it, but it's totally worth it to me haha. Sorry guys!

In week 9 I lost another 2.8lbs! That's a total of 21.3lbs in 9 weeks. I was a little nervous this week when the scale didn't move for several days...but then as always when I least expect it...it just drops and I'm smiling again haha. My favorite pair of jeans are starting to drown me and while that's exciting...I hate having to give up a pair of jeans that I LOVE! But that just means I'm closer to fitting back into the OLD jeans that I loved! My closet is full of an entire wardrobe just waiting to be worn. It won't be long :)