Hi, my name is Andrea, but you can call me raynes.  I live in Hamilton, Ontario with my husband, Derek, and our two cats, Meka and Chloe.  We were married (my husband and I, not the cats) on August 29th, 2009.  It was about a year before that I started my journey towards becoming fit and healthy.

It was a combination of things that finally made me realize I needed to do something about my weight.  The biggest two were seeing pictures of myself from my friends wedding, and a comment made by my then fiance.  Likely we had been watching some TV show and there was some person on that weighed 200 lbs.  He said that he didn’t think he could be attracted to me if I weighed 200 lbs.  At that time I was 194 lbs.

The comment hurt, but I knew that he wasn’t referring to how I looked/how attracted he was to me at the time, because he honestly had no idea.  But it played a very big part in my decision to make a change.

I will admit, that, in the interest of taking the easy way out I tried “diet pills”.  They made me jittery and paranoid, so in the garbage they went.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Then I started out looking for information.  I’m an engineer, so I like to learn.  I turned to the Getting in Shape board on The Knot, a wedding planning website that I was a member of at the time.  I lurked for a while, soaking up the suggestions.

One of the first good things I did based on those suggestions was pick up the book YOU: On A Diet.  I really like that the book explained the science of food and what we eat.  It talked about how our bodies handle different types of food, and what reaction we have to them.

The biggest thing I took from that book, though, was the YOU-turn.  Realizing that just because I’ve “messed up” by eating the wrong thing, or too much of something, that doesn’t mean that I failed.  It doesn’t mean that I should just throw in the towel because clearly I suck.  No, you make a YOU-turn and you get back on track immediately.  No wallowing in self pity, hovered over a tub of ice cream.  We’re allowed to make “mistakes” because we are only human and no one is perfect.

After that I started using The Daily Plate (which soon transferred to Livestrong.com, and is now called My Plate) to keep track of the food I was eating each day.  I set my calorie goals so that I’d lose 2 lbs a week, and didn’t beat myself up if I went over my calories.  Using this method I was able to lose 15 lbs by November, and a total of 20 lbs by April.

I picked up Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred DVD and started doing that.  Man-oh-man that first few days sucked.  By that point Derek and I were living in a second story walk-up apartment, and I could barely make it down the stairs I was sore.

Eventually I got bored with Jillian Michaels.  Workout DVDs were never my strong point.  So, I picked something new.  Every year a group of people from my office run the Ancaster Old Mill race.  Most do the 5k, but some braver, fitter people do the 10k.  This course is very hilly.  I’d walked the course in 2007 with a co-worker (in 43 minutes) so I decided, “Hey, lets learn to run!”

Why I picked running, I have no idea.  I’d never run before and always seemed to hate it.  At this point there were 6 or 7 weeks left until the race.  I signed Derek and I up and tried to figure out what the heck to do.

Enter Couch to 5k.  C25K is a program designed to take a couch potato to the point where they can run 5k straight in just 9 weeks.  It’s a progressive walk/run program that using changing intervals to gradually increase you endurance.

We started in week 2 (or maybe 3) of the program and ran 3 evenings a week.  Derek was such a fantastic support.  He could have easily left me in his dust, but instead kept with me, pushing me when I needed it, and just being there to help.

By the time race day arrived we hadn’t quite made it to the end of the program, so we decided to just do our best.  We walked when we (I) needed to, and ran as much as we could.  In the end we finished in 35:03, which I say is a pretty decent first (real) 5k time!

At this point, I’m sad to admit that I started to become lax.  The seamstress where I was having my wedding dress altered told me I should stop losing weight until the wedding, so that, well, my dress fit.  She’d already taken it in two sizes!

The wedding happened, and I continued to be lazy.  A few pounds managed to creep back on, but it wasn’t ever a lot at once, so I wasn’t worried.  By January of this year I was up 7 lbs from my low point of the previous April and decided that something serious had to be done.  It wasn’t a new years resolution, it just happened to occur at the New Year.

This time I turned to the Health & Fitness board on The Nest (because I’m married now, so I should Nest, not Knot, right?) for inspiration.  I wasn’t too thrilled with running, but when I saw a post about the book The New Rules of Lifting for Women, and read the intro on the book’s site, I was hooked.

I picked up the book and read it cover to cover.  I implemented the suggested eating plan immediately.  In the past I’d only ever concerned myself with calories.  I’d never really taken the time to learn about macronutrients and using them in different ratios.  I found that I was quite happy and sated following the 40:3030 carbs:protein:fat ratio suggested.  Taking advantage of the New Year deals at all the local gyms, I picked one and joined.  And on January 17th I did my first NROL4W workout.

Since then I’ve been seeing great increases in my strength, and while the number on the scale might not be dropping too quickly, I’m seeing a lot of inches lost.  And most importantly, I’ve found something I enjoy.  I’d joined gyms in the past and never really knew what I was doing.  I’d go, and copy someone else, or just move around from machine to machine not really doing anything.  With this program I’ve got set workouts, with set exercise and clear instructions.  And lifting heavy things is fun!

I’ve been spending more time recently learning more about the nutrition aspect of this whole thing, and trying to stick to it.  It’s all well and good to know what to eat, you just have to actually do it!

So, that’s about me, and what I’ve done so far.  From here on out the journey will be documented on the main page!  Also, as I work my way along, I’ll periodically update the Progress page with pictures of how I’m doing.  I know I’m a sucker for progress pictures.


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