How I Lost 50 Pounds

BeFunky CollageThis morning was not the first time that I stepped off of a scale and cried, but it was the first time that those tears were from joy and pride. It’s taken me almost nine months and it’s been a difficult journey, but I finally hit one of my biggest goals and have lost a total of 52 pounds since January of 2017.

I’ve hinted at it briefly in my other blogs, but for most of my life I’ve had trouble with my weight and keeping it at a healthy number. A lot of that is due to the fact that I have Hypothyroidism, which means that my thyroid which controls my hormones as well as my metabolism, does not work as well as it should. I was diagnosed with this condition when I was in the third grade and had to start seeing a specialist at Children’s Hospital every six months. Although I took the medicine that helped treat my condition, it did not magically speed up my metabolism or suddenly make me love sports. As a result, I steadily began to gain weight and when I was in high school, I tried and failed a couple of times to lose some of that weight.

I credit those failures a lot to the doctors that I was seeing at Children’s. I started to dread my six-month check-ups because I knew that all we were going to talk about was how much I weighed and that I needed to exercise and eat healthier. When I would sit in the room waiting for the doctor to come in, at some point I would almost always start to cry in the anticipation of the lecture that was coming. I felt like I could never do anything right — nothing that was actually going to make a significant improvement.

So eventually I stopped caring so that I wouldn’t feel that way anymore and could just get the appointment over and done with, with no tears or anxiety. This was probably more harmful to me than the words they said because it just meant that I continued to gain weight. In December 2016, I was at my heaviest at 232 pounds and was meeting with our new family physician in North Carolina.

I prepared myself for another lecture because this new doctor was going to take over the monitoring of my thyroid. But thankfully for me, something else happened. She very briefly mentioned my weight, she said that it would be good for my health if I could lose a few pounds but she said she thought I was smart and knew what to do.

So finally, after eleven years of feeling like I couldn’t do anything to help myself or my health, someone had finally said the right words to me. She told me that I knew what to do and that validated my feelings and confidence in a way that I can’t even explain. It was so simple for her to say that and it has made a world of difference in my life.

In January, I made a New Year’s resolution that I was going to get down to a healthy weight. I didn’t put a number on it, I just wanted to be healthier and maybe even get in shape. I changed my eating habits, I started exercising 3-4 times a week, and suddenly I was meeting all of the small goals I set for myself.

I never thought that I could lose 50 pounds, not in a million years did I think it was possible. But I’ve done it, and I’m not going to stop there. But like my New Year’s resolution, I still will not put a number on my health. I will continue to live my life with the changes I have made to it and see what happens. But for any of you that might ask me how exactly I did it, here are a few of my tips.

Believe in Yourself

You have to do this from day one of your weight loss journey because the only one who is going to get up every day and work toward your goal is you. You might have coaches, family, or friends who support you, but none of them are going to go to the gym for you or eat those vegetables for you.

Cheat Days are Important

I’ve discovered over the several times I have tried to lose weight, that the reason I give up or don’t succeed is because I miss the food that I used to eat. That is where cheat days come in. I usually reserve mine for the weekend and don’t track my calories during my cheat day. However, I don’t binge on cheat days. I eat whatever I want, but I do that in moderation and when I’m full I stop.

Drink Water

This is also important when you’re having a cheat day. Water keeps your digestive system moving and can help filter out extra sodium or other bad things you might eat or drink on your cheat days. It’s also just good to be consistently hydrated, especially on days when you plan to exercise.

I’ll probably have more tips and tricks to share with you in the future, but I promised myself I would write this blog when I met this big goal and now I have and I am unbelievably proud of myself so I don’t have much more to say!

Thanks for reading!

Getting Organized for the New School Year

I’ve been in Athens for almost three weeks and while I love relaxing and being able to hang out with my roommates, I am ready for classes to start. I feel like I’m absolutely frying my brain with my phone and TV shows right now (I’ve been marathoning Game of Thrones for a week). So, I might regret saying this a couple of months from now, I’m ready to get to work on this semester.

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Shocked? Honestly me too, I rarely ever look forward to going back to class after summer break, but classes aren’t the only thing I’m looking forward to this year which is why I’m probably itching for the school year to start. On Monday, I’ll be starting my social media internship with the Career Leadership Development Center at Ohio University and I am PUMPED. I didn’t have an internship this summer, so I’m excited to work hard and learn a lot this year. I’ll probably give you more updates on my internship as the year progresses and let you know about all the cool things I’m learning and doing!

I’m also involved in two organizations on campus: The Post and 1804 Communication. The Post is a student-run print and digital news publication at Ohio University and this year I’ll be working there as the Social Media Director. It’s kind of a huge undertaking for me, because although I’ve previously had that title at another news source on campus, I’ve never been in charge of a social media staff as big as the one at The Post. Still, I’m really excited for the challenge and getting to know my staff.

My other big commitment this year is working as a Strategy and Media Account Executive at 1804 Communication. 1804 Communication is a student-run public relations and advertising firm at Ohio University. I’m really looking forward to my involvement in this organization this year because this is the first year it has existed; at the end of last year ImPRessions and Thumbprint Advertising merged to create this new group. It’s exciting to get involved at the ground level of 1804 Communication and help shape it for future students.

At this point you might be wondering how I’m going to go to class – you and me both.

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Just kidding, I have a really nice schedule this semester with several huge gaps between classes to go to work, do homework, and fulfill my responsibilities in these organizations. However, all of these commitments are going to require some decent organization and planning on my part. So for this blog I’m going to give you a couple of tips on how I plan to stay organized this year and if you’ve got a busy semester ahead of you too, maybe some of them will help you out!

Buy the right school supplies

Shopping for new school supplies every year is one of my favorite things, it’s like a little office supply Christmas (I know, I’m a nerd, you don’t have to point that out to me). This year, on my annual school shopping trip to Target, I paid special attention to some of the items I was buying. One of the most important things I buy every year is my planner, because in my opinion it is the most important piece of the organization puzzle. So, instead of picking out my planner based on color or pattern, like I usually do, I paid closer attention to how it was organized. I think I found a pretty nice planner for this year and here’s why:

  • It has a place for my three most important to-dos of each day, which I think will help keep me on track during my busier days.
  • There is a section under each day for things that need done or happen at night. That will most likely be filled with meetings that I have in the evening, but I can also use it to remind me which homework needs done each night.
  • When the planner is open it shows me the entire week, which is something I really love because I like to plan ahead so the I know what’s coming each week.

Basically, I just love this new planner I got and if you’re as obsessed with school supplies as I am, let me know in the comments what your favorite planner or school supply was that you bought this year.

Write things down, don’t just rely on your phone

Okay, so I know technology is awesome and it can help a lot of people stay organized, but I still believe that a pen and paper are your best friend when it comes to planning. While I do have my meetings, work schedule and other appointments saved in my calendar on my phone, the old fashioned person in me also makes sure I write all of those same things down on my wall calendar as well as my planner.

Why? Because sometimes your phone dies or you forget your laptop at home or you drop your phone in a lake or your laptop explodes or crazy Athens squirrels steal your phone (only the first two of those things have actually happened to me but like you never know, right?). If one of those things happens, but you have plans, homework assignments, meetings, etc. written down on paper somewhere, there is a better chance you won’t miss one of them or forget to do something.

Procrastination is enemy No. 1

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Move over Harry Potter,  because procrastination is about to take over your spot.

I have been a member of the procrastiNATION for as long as I can remember. I used to do homework on my bus ride to school in the morning and I’ve been up into the wee hours of the morning several times in high school and college. But this year is going to be different! Hopefully. In all honesty it has to be, because each day I’ll have a limited amount of time between classes, work, and meetings to get things done. I’m also hoping to keep late nights to a minimum because every day, except for one, the latest I wake up is 7:30 am (dies internally). So, I don’t really have a tip for avoiding procrastination other than recognizing when you’re wasting time and trying to keep that to a minimum, especially on busy days.

However, that doesn’t mean that having fun is over forever. My old pals Friday and Saturday still come around every weeks. I firmly believe that letting off some steam on the weekends is another key to staying organized and stress free. I will say that my Sundays are definitely reserved for homework, but that homework might get done while I’m sitting on my bed in my pajamas, because Sundays are also for relaxing.

The first semester of my junior year of college starts in four days and I’m excited as well as nervous to take on all these responsibilities. But, I’m going to do my best to stick to these tips I gave you and I also welcome any tips that you have for staying organized during the school year.

Thanks for reading!

It’s the Final Countdown

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This Saturday I’m headed back to the great state of Ohio to move into my first apartment with my cute and awesome roomies, pictured above. I’m really excited to get back to Athens, my home away from home, and my packing is coming along slowly but surely. While I’m looking forward to my junior year at Ohio University, I would be lying if I said the upcoming move wasn’t giving me some considerable feelings of anxiety.

Most of these feelings are centered around the fact that when I’m at school, I’m six hours away from my family. It was really hard adjusting to the distance last year and a lot of my anxiety is coming from the knowledge that I’ll have to go through that experience again. I’m hoping that it won’t be as hard this year for a couple of reasons: I know what to expect, how to combat the homesickness, and my apartment will feel more like home then a dorm room did.

Even though I know these things, anxiety is an unreasonable little monster and doesn’t want to leave me alone. Thankfully (or maybe not, depending on how you look at it) anxiety is an old friend of mine and I’ve developed a few ways to deal with it over the years.

Talk to someone

For me, this someone is and will always be my mom. She is the perfect listener and is calm and measured where my anxiety is unreasonable and frantic. Your someone doesn’t have to be your mom or anyone in your family, but if you can find someone you’re comfortable talking to it can really help to get those feelings off of your chest. Talking might not fix any of the problems you’re worried about, but it can rationalize them and tell your anxiety to take a hike for a while.

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(GIF via http://gph.is/1a9rtBL)

Make a list

(GIF via http://gph.is/1xhfQug)

I love making lists. Grocery lists, packing lists, to-do lists; they are my jam! So now, when my anxiety keeps piling on more and more things to worry about I write them down. I write down the problem or thing that is bothering me and then if I can figure out a solution or reasonable answer to it, I write that down too. This way I get those anxious thoughts out of my brain and onto a piece of paper where they are more manageable to deal with. However, if lists just make you more anxious, definitely skip this one.

Listen to some music

I’ve been having trouble falling asleep lately and one of the tips the handy-dandy internet gave me, was to listen to some soothing music before going to bed. It’s been helping a little bit, but you can also use this tip for those moments when you just want to shut off your brain. That could mean loud rock tunes, soft piano music or acoustic covers, whatever helps you in the moment. Spotify is one of the best places to find and make your own playlists for whatever mood you are in.

Checkout this great playlist, “Dude. Chill Out.” from my friend Mary Puzder the next time you have an anxious moment and need to calm down:

Do you

When it comes to mental health everyone is different in the way they experience their ‘bad moments’ and how they cope with them. Anxiety has been my biggest enemy lately and these are the best ways that I have found to battle it. I hope one or more of them might work for you, but if you have any tried and true methods that you already use, stick to those. I’m always open for new suggestions too so if you feel up for sharing, leave a comment below!

Thanks for reading the latest installment of The State of Kate, I’ll see ya next week with a blog about the do’s and don’ts of move-in day.

Going to an Amusement Park: the Healthy Way

Heyyooooo! It’s been far too long my blog-reading friends! Okay so this post is only a couple days late, but it was delayed with good reason (at least for me).

Yesterday, I went to the Carowinds amusement park with my family and it was amazing! I don’t know about you but I LOVE rollercoasters and the adrenaline rush that comes with them. However, as someone who has been working to lose weight and eat healthier, amusement parks come with a few things that I don’t particularly love.

So here are some of my not so favorite things about amusement parks and ways to combat and or avoid them.

Eat healthy…ish

When it comes to food at one of these parks, your options are usually limited to fried foods, pizza, burgers or hotdogs. However, Carowinds had a variety of restaurants including Panda Express and Harbor House, which both had some veggies and/or salads to choose from.

Since this was a special day, I used it as my once-weekly cheat day and when we had lunch I happily ate my Chick-fil-a nuggets with two packets of ranch dipping sauce. Now, I know that’s not really a healthy decision, but I chose not to get fries with my nuggets and just pilfered a few from my sisters instead.

Another healthy-ish choice we made as a family was to stop filling up the reusable cups we bought with soda and fruit punch. After lunch we switched to Powerade and water so that we stayed hydrated, got back some electrolytes and did so with a smaller sugar intake.

Sharing is caring

One of the biggest things I’ve learned when trying to lose weight is that it only makes things worse to deprive yourself of the foods you love and it’s okay to treat yourself every once in a while as long as you do so in moderation.

I absolutely love Chick-fil-a’s waffle fries, but as one of my healthy decisions I decided not to get my own. Thankfully, we’re a food-sharing kind of family and I was able to get a few here and there from both of my sisters.

Later in the day we went to the waterpark and eventually we hit that point in the afternoon where we were exhausted and starving. So once again, we shared. My sisters and I split two soft pretzels between the three of us; it was the perfect snack and didn’t feel too heavy since we were sharing.

Finally, right before we left the park we got two funnel cakes to split between the family because who can say no to fresh fried dough with some powdered sugar sprinkled on top? I know I can’t, but there was no way I would have been able to eat one or even half of one by myself and sharing them as a family was definitely the way to go.

The park is your treadmill…sort of

It’s no secret that when you’re in an amusement park, you’re walking EVERYWHERE; from one side of the park to the other and everywhere in between. Yesterday I walked over 10,000 steps, which is over my daily goal and my feet can definitely feel it today. So, although I wasn’t able to fit in a workout yesterday, I was still burning calories while I was in the park. Obviously walking around all-day won’t give you the same results as a cardio or strength workout, but I didn’t feel as bad about some of the unhealthy foods I ate because I knew I was constantly moving.

Another thing to remember if you’re visiting an amusement park is that you might not feel so great the next day. Rollercoasters and waterslides can knock you around, the walking will probably make your feet sore, and the next day you’re going to be downright exhausted. One of my feet really hurts today and I slept horribly last night, so I’m going to take it easy today and skip my workout. I’m paying closer attention to my calorie intake and drinking a lot of water, but I feel like my body will benefit from another day off and I’ll be able to work even harder tomorrow instead of giving half-effort in a workout today.

(Featured photo from Carowinds website).

Back to reality

Ah, the beach, feel the breeze, hear the waves, soak up the sun and on that last day of your vacation let the dread of returning home fill you up.

Okay, so maybe it’s not that dramatic, but we’ve all been there on the last day of vacation, wherever we might be, hoping that we had more time. Part of that dread lies in the knowledge that we’ll have to get back to our commitments, our day-to-day routines and reality in general. As someone who has been on many vacations and school trips, I’ve discovered a few tricks to getting back into a regular routine as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Unpack

I can’t stress this enough, which is why I’ve put it at the top of this list. In my opinion, if you don’t unpack within the first 24-48 hours it can be really hard to get back in your groove because your luggage is just sitting in the corner of your room mocking you. “We had so much fun,” it says. “Why did we ever leave? Let’s go back now!” Most likely, that isn’t going to be an option for you, so if you can unpack your souvenirs and dirty laundry and put that taunting piece of luggage in its place, it’s going to be so much easier to get back to reality.

Ease back into things

Raise your hand if you didn’t follow your workout or diet plan on vacation…oh my gosh, I’m not alone! Vacation is about relaxing and spending time with your friends and family, so don’t sweat it if you ate some guilty pleasure foods or said peace out to your workout routine for a few days. While it’s important to get back to your healthy lifestyle, know that there might be a little lag time in your workout intensity or vegetables might make you cringe and that’s O.K.  because you had fun and made memories, which is the point! So take this transition step by step and don’t get mad at yourself if it takes a little more time.

No regrets

Helloooooo down therrrre,” I scream into the empty abyss that is my wallet. It’s easy, well it is for me, to spend a little too much money on vacation and when I get back sometimes I start to regret my decisions. But, when you let regrets sneak into your thoughts, they can put a cloud over the great time you had while you were making those decisions. So, my advice is to save a little money in the weeks after your vacation by packing your lunch for work, wait a little bit longer to get those new shoes you’ve been wanting and remember that it’s worth it because you had so much fun!

Hope these tips help you the next time you’re coming back from a vacation, school trip or weekend getaway!

Got your own tips or tricks to share? Let me know in the comments.

(Photo credit Kate Ansel. Carolina Beach, NC. June, 2017)