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Size 6 jeans!Today I did something very exciting… I bought new jeans AGAIN. Size 6. This is a mythical size I always thought they put on the shelf for mythical people who didn’t exist, a size that only exists in Dave Barry comedy routines. For those of you who do not know me IRL, I’ve been on this diet and lifestyle change kick for over a year now. I started out at a size 16 (and vainly searching the shelves in denial for the one size 14 that might fit…). So this is HUGE for me. It was amusing to have trouble finding my size again, for the opposite reason. And to think I used to hate shopping…

I decided I needed to lose weight *NOW* after a friend took me shopping at Lane Bryant and I was lovingly lectured about bras that will help strap in my rolls of fat. I was shocked and horrified. I was a bit in denial of my rolls of fat, and if I was going to admit they were there, strapping them in wasn’t my health and beauty plan of choice. Happily, my husband was in about the same place, and we went on a very successful diet/lifestyle change. I’m down over 50 pounds, he’s down about 40. Here’s how we did it:

Step one for me was over years and years before my change. I had to accept my body as it was, think its okay no matter how it is, and basically not be upset at its shape. Diets always failed before this because I’d get extremely moody, binge, and quit.

Step 2 was that moment where I realized “This is not who I want to be and it is worth any reasonable amount of effort to change this.” I admitted to myself I didn’t feel healthy and I didn’t like the way I looked. I got winded to easy, I didn’t fit into my clothes, I needed to change for me. I knew it would be work and decided it was worth work.

Step 3 is the real lifestyle change part, after all the motivation factors fell in line. Over a week, we changed nothing, just counted our calories. I was eating nearly 4000 calories a day. I really thought I was eating healthy, and I was more or less… just I was eating 2 healthy diets each day instead of just one! Peter was drinking over 1000 calories of Pepsi a day. We figured out what our danger spots were – what reliably sent us over the line (sugar drinks became a big no-no, portions needed some resizing). This was really important, because what we needed to do was probably different than what some diets would say. This helped us personalize our plan

Step 4 was the big change. We started exercising more or less daily (shoot for daily, succeed 5X weekly minimum) and cut all the way back to 1500 calories a day – 3 meals, 500 per. This was our jump-start phase. Oh and I didn’t really get on the scale that first week. I know from past experience it is NOT going to drop and it’ll just upset me. I think we tried to stick to this diet for about a month. about 2 weeks in I started dropping weight, a pound every 2 or 3 days, 3 pounds a week at a steady clip.

Step 5 was a transition to maintenance. We stopped counting calories so rigidly, and accepted that we’d often be nearer to a maintenance level of 2000/day. I think in this stage the exercise came in binges – some months were good, some months were nothing. The key in this stage was keeping track – we’d still pay attention to our eating, we still weighed ourselves several times a week. The goal was to not slip backwards, and when we had the energy and desire, try to actively lose more.

Its been a lot of learning for me. I learn I can’t just sit still – I do gain weight back if I don’t keep up the exercise, and I go back to feeling out of shape and easily winded. I’m back to trying to exercise daily, and continue to just not try to overdo on the food, pay attention to when I’m actually full. Peter can get away with not exercising and maintain his weight. I am extremely jealous! but the nice part is… if I do keep up the exercise, I seem to gradually lose weight. I seem to either move up or down. 🙂 So I’m choosing to move down. As you see in the picture above its having nice results. I have a waist that goes in! For reference, here’s a before picture:

before.jpg
This is me at my PhD Graduation, summer of 2005. As you can see, I wasn’t so horrible to start with, but I have come a long way. And I have a ways to go still… I’m very curious to find out what my body actually feels like when I’m finished with the training ahead of me!

Wish me luck!

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Suzi after runToday’s goal was more preparation. I didn’t have any clients (work is very slow right now) so I took myself down to Sports Chalet and bout even more work out clothes. I decided to take to heart advice about stay-dry fabrics, and besides, I wanted some pants for cooler morning runs, and shorts instead of exercise skirts I wear to look cute and flirt with the husband (tho I may well talk myself into running a marathon in the short sport skirt ;-) )

So last night, Peter in his loving helpfulness, took his bike out for a ride around the park path, and measured 1 lap out to precisely 0.68 miles, plus 0.09 miles each way from house to park. I was a WEEEEEEEE bit nervous about running 3 miles to be placed in my pace group… I’ve never run 3 miles in my life! So I decided to actually get some shoes on and run today, at least 3 laps around the park. First lap was UGH, wow, this is more work than Dance Dance revolution. -P I’d honestly thought I’d run the whole way, hills and all, and I got a little discouraged walking up that first hill. But I tried to keep to a pace where I didn’t get totally winded, run as soon as I catch my breath, walk as soon as I start loosing it again. By the 3rd lap I was hitting a stride, seemed to be running and walking in about the same amounts I’d started, so I decided to go for a 4th. probably could have done 5 but I decided pain is a bad thing, and I was REALLY feeling the work in my thighs. DDR does NOT work those muscles. Only problem is I completely forgot to check the time when I left and when I got back, so my speed is a total guess. I guess 35 mins or thereabouts for the whole thing, 2.9 miles all told. I’m feeling a lot better about the first training Saturday – at least I know I’ll make it thru the first 3 miles and still be able to stand up!

Aids Marathon Logo

Well everyone, I’ve done it. 🙂 I’ve gone and signed up for my first marathon. No, I’m not completely crazy! I’ve actually been mulling this idea over ever since a friend of mine in grad school did the same thing. Then, a year and a half ago, my husband and I embarked on a lifestyle change, and I’ve been exercising and eating right, and lost 50 pounds. In the process, I’ve learned a lot about myself. This effort is part of solidifying the changes I’ve begun, both physically and mentally. I CAN DO THIS! 🙂

I have several goals/reasons/sources of motivation for this decision:

  • I have never been more physically fit in my life. I weigh less than I did in college, and will soon weigh less than I did in High School. I’ve never thought of myself as particularly athletic or fit. I “fondly” remember being the last person picked for any team, and sitting on the sidelines more than playing in most team sports. Completing a Marathon is part of reshaping this image of myself – I can be and AM a fit athletic person, and with the right training and attitude, I CAN DO THIS
  • This is a decisive stroke in my ongoing battle with depression. Research shows exercise is as good as Prozac and I’ll certainly be getting enough of it. 🙂 Its also an opportunity for a mastery experience in an area I’ve often felt less than confident about. Finally, working on such a large, step-by-step goal, accepting I may not make it the first time but WILL if I keep working towards it, will hep me be more patient with myself – to strive for high goals without demanding perfection or instant success.
  • And of course finally, I want to contribute to a cause. AIDS is a worldwide epidemic, and is one of the leading causes of death in many nations in this world. It is also unfortunately tied in the minds of many to prejudice – too many people believe it is a disease of bad morals, or even a judgment. I want to do my share to support research, treatment and education with the hope of one day eliminating this disease.

In the coming days, as I learn more about the program, you’ll find links here to donate to my race effort. I encourage everyone who cares about or is inspired by ANY of my goals to help me out in whatever way you can, whether that is in the form of donations, going for a run together, or just cheering me on as I work towards this goal. Thank you all so much!

SF AIDS Marathon 2008

On August 3, myself and about 500 other runners will complete the San Francisco marathon in an effort to raise $1,000,000 for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. This is the culmination of nearly 2 years of lifestyle changes and weight loss for me, and a chance for me to use my new-found energy and fitness to give back to my community. I hope you will join me in this effort by reading and offering your support through my blog. If you are able, I also welcome your contribution to the cause! Thanks and keep on running!

Progress Bar:


Marathon time: 5:40:22
Total Raised: $2,815.70

My Sponsors

I'd like to thank the following organizations and individuals for their support of the SF AIDS Foundation!



Dianne Whitfield of the Bunny Hay Loft


Ulf Anvin
Rob Millner
Scott Lamb
Jeff Barlow
Erika Duplantis
Nick and Carol Esser
Kathryn Mercer
Nicole Pauls
Kathryn Coll
Timothy Berger
Susan Druding
Jenny Forman
Kathryn Mulgrew
Jamie Piperberg
Lucia Sanchez
Fran Taillon
Douglas Leeder
Barbara Kirsch
Ellen Atkinson
Valerie Esser
Peter McCourt
Carla Schroder
Sandra Spicher
Matthew Wilson
Valorie Zimmerman
Kathryn Kramer
Roxanne Seabright
Gayathri Swaminathan
Jason Spiro
Dianne Schoenberg

Thank you so very much for your support!

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