Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Not Just The Running...

Having recently lost a noticeable amount of weight, people like to ask me how I did it.

My standard answer is that I began running with the help of my extra supportive husband, Shawn.

First we set a goal because running just to run isn't much fun. We talked about doing one of those adventure 5k's one year from that conversation and then decided that a shorter term goal would be a good idea. It was July so we figured we could run and complete a respectable 5k by Halloween.

Near Halloween there is a run called the Monster Dash. Everyone dresses up and it is a grand time!  I figured if nothing else I could walk a 5k no problem and just check out all the costumes.

We started our training on July 19th with our version of a Couch to 5k program. It was painfully hot. Leave it to me to decide to start running in the middle of July! We had heat index well over 100 most days and I had never run a day in my life.

My motto had been - I only run when being chased. And I avoided being chased at all costs!

We started off with a 3 minute brisk walk for a warm up. Then we alternated jogging for 60 seconds and walking for 90 seconds until we had completed that cycle 6 times. It was killing me and I complained like you have never heard but we did it and I was very proud. Then I went home and passed out on the floor in the living room.

We did this for the next three times we went out.

Then I realized that I am a huge excuse maker. If there is an excuse to be made I would come up with it.  I needed to remove all obstacles such as making sure I had good shoes so my feet, knees, and back would not hurt.

When the Adidas shoes I bought ate up my ankles I realized that running is very different from walking and the best thing to do was try new shoes. My new Puma's made a world of difference.

Another excuse would be that we are just too busy. So I pulled out the calendar and mapped out three runs a week, at least one day apart. This held us accountable and made sure we thought about our running when making other plans. This was a life saver and really worked!

Here I am after our second day of running. It was July 20th, 98 degrees outside but we did it!

Every fourth run we would make it harder. I don't remember exactly what we did but it was something like this:

Week 1 -
  • 3 minute warm up walk
  • 60 second jog, 90 second walk, repeat for 20 minutes
  • 5 minute cool down walk

Week 2 -
  • 3 minute warm up walk
  • 90 second jog, 60 second walk, repeat 3 times
  • 60 second jog, 60 second walk, repeat 3 times
  • 5 minute cool down walk

Week 3 -
  • 3 minute warm up walk
  • 90 second jog, 60 second walk, repeat 6 times
  • 5 minute cool down walk

Week 4 -
  • 3 minute warm up walk
  • 2 minute jog, 60 second walk, repeat 3 times
  • 90 second jog, 60 second walk, repeat 3 times
  • 5 minutes cool down

We completed that 5k in 38 minutes! I was so impressed with myself even though it was still very hard.

Our second race was a 7k that we ran on St. Patrick's Day. We finished in 54 minutes and 17 seconds. I was ecstatic with this time. My original goal was to finish in under 50 minutes but we had only run 4 miles one other time and we hadn't been running much during the winter since it gets so cold here.


That's half of the story of how I lost 45 pounds.

The other half is something I don't talk about much because when I first started I had a huge complex about it. I thought people would think I was the fat girl who couldn’t figure it out.

But one day, about 20 pounds later, I realized I was actually the fat girl who had figured it out!

I am still a bit self-conscious about this but most of it is because I don't know how to explain it in a way that really makes sense.

But here it goes.

I wear a band on my arm.  It's called a BodyBugg. I first heard about this on The Biggest Loser. Have you ever noticed the arm bands they wear? Now you know what it is! 

It looks like a pedometer and if you ask me about it in the elevator, that is exactly what I will tell you it is.

But it's so much more than that. It tracks my actual calorie burn throughout the day in addition to tracking my steps. 

I wear it about 23.5 hours a day. Then I plug it into my computer where it loads the data into this little website. I also log everything I have eaten that day in to the same site.

On this day you can see that I burned 2841 calories and I took in 1552. If you look at the graph below you will see huge spikes around 6 pm. That was me running! And you will see how low the lines are throughout the day. That's me sitting at my desk all day.

It tells me how much KARA burned during the day which is so helpful because it is true to me, not some estimate based on my age, job description, activity levels, and weight.  It's actually what I burned.

Then it does the math between what I burned and what I ate to tell me my actual burn.

To lose 1 pound a week I need to burn 500 more calories than I take in each day during that week. So, if I want to eat a lot, I need to move a lot. If I don't move much, I should probably not eat too much, or make smarter choices.

This is a picture of the same day but showing steps. Something I learned early on is how little I walk in a day. On a typical week day, when I don't try to do anything extra, I was taking 3500 steps. When I would try hard to walk the long way or get away from my desk more often, I would log 4500 steps. That's a far cry from the recommended 10,000 steps in a day. My run this day was 3 miles. Notice how I ran 3 miles and still didn't hit a 10,000 step count? That sure was eye opening!

 This is exactly what I was missing all these years. I had no idea how inactive I was prior to wearing this armband. It has shown me not only what I AM doing but most importantly what I am NOT doing every day.

So, that's how I did it. And that's how I am doing it again now that I am on chapter 2 of my journey. I will tell you about chapter 2 soon, stay tuned!


Anonymous said...

Just looking from last July to St. Patty's day, you can see the difference. You are looking great and you inspire me to keep moving, even at my old age.


Ashley said...

Love the post! You are such a rock star. I did laugh the whole time though because of that picture of Shawn. He looks just like the movie poster. I am still giggling about it!

Kara said...

Thanks MB! You have seen me through my ups and downs so this means a lot to me!

Ashley, isn't that a riot?! People kept asking to take a picture with him. It was so funny!

Libby said...

That's awesome! I want to look into that armband. For years, I've worn a pedometer off and on --- it's horrible how little I move during the day! Sickening, actually.

Thank you for sharing!

thecoffeehouse said...

this is so awesome. and that's how i look every single morning after walking with sherman. and that's just walking!

Erin said...

Love it!! Can't wait for future runs together!! The few we have done have been great!

Janelle said...

Kara - Thank you for sharing! What you have accomplished is awesome!