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OhhhhhhhhhhEmmmmmmmmGeeeeeeeeeeee… as I type this I am waiting on pins and needles to see the Carb Lovers Good Morning America segment!!! The producers wrote me yesterday to say that it would air between 8:10 & 8:25 Eastern Time, so I just assumed that meant an hour before for us in Central. Well, just like the time zones… they air the show exactly an hour back so it ends up being the same time here. Now I have another 45 minutes or so before I can see it.
(Flash forward 50 minutes…) YAY!! I did good, but it was so fast! And that “before” photo was really, really funny. Good times. I am really glad that my sister warned me about it being a part of a fad diet segment, with Carb Lovers being the only non-fad at the end. We were the heroes! If I had watched that segment not knowing the point, I may have had a heart attack when they started talking about injections and the baby food diet. I never want to be affiliated with something unhealthy or unsustainable, which is why I picked Carb Lovers to begin with. It is just so amazing to be not only at my goal weight, but able to maintain it with relative ease.
In celebration, I am off of work today! Mostly so I can work on my carriage house. I have to pull up carpet boards & tile, then clean the whole place top to bottom. My dad is going to help me sand the concrete floor tomorrow, then I will prep it to paint after that. There is a lot of work to be done this weekend! Tomorrow I am going to post a Flickr gallery with a lot of the photos I’ve taken thus far and will continue to take as I finish it over the next week or so. It’s going to be a complete transformation.
For my female friends here in the Birmingham area who have a blog or are interesting in making one, I hope to see you next Thursday (the 28th) at So You Think You Can Blog by See Jane Write! I will be on the panel along with Rachel Callahan (Grasping for Objectivity) and Laura Kate Whitney (Magic City Manifesto). Read more about the Birmingbelles by clicking here, or sign up for the free blogging event next week via this link! Girl power.
Wow, taking a Friday off is the way to go!! I camped out at a local coffee shop and enjoyed the time off to myself by replying to comments & posts from the day before. It took about 6 hours to respond to everyone!! Thanks again for taking the time to write me, I really appreciate every single one of you.
There are a few more questions that I would like to answer in addition to the ones from yesterday:
How tall are you? You seem pretty lean for 145.
I am 5’10″, so that makes a pretty big difference! I currently have a BMI of 20.8.
How much do you exercise?
This is a really great question. I have always been very active, but I took a month off from exercise when I started Carb Lovers because I really wanted to focus on my diet. After a few weeks in, I started to slowly incorporate running back into my weekly schedule. Now, I am training for my first marathon in just a few weeks! I also plan to complete my first Ironman distance this August.
What do you eat on a typical day?
While I was still losing my 47 pounds, I counted my calories every day on MyPlate (LiveStrong.com) and followed Carb Lovers exactly. Now that I am in a maintenance phase, I am much less restrictive. I only count my calories Monday – Friday, but I still follow Carb Lovers pretty closely… because it really is a way of life. I eat a high fiber cereal in the mornings with 1% milk, then usually an Amy’s Vegetarian Whole Meal for lunch, and dinner can range anywhere from a baked potato w/ greek yogurt & 2% cheddar or a big yummy salad with black beans & avocado. For snacks I like to stick with TLC’s oatmeal raisin cookies or corn tortilla chips.
My plans for today are pretty glorious! I’m going to head to the local coffee shop again to do some planning & work on my book and Ghost Ghirls. Then later on I’m going to get a 60 minute bike workout in along with a strength session. Tomorrow is my 21 mile long run, and Vero & Brandi will be joining me for the first 10 miles. I’m a little nervous about it since I missed last weekend’s long run due to being sick, but I’m sure I will be OK. While we are on the topic of exercise, I have to speak the praises of doing push-ups. I used to hate, hate, HATE doing them… and now that I can actually do about 40, I adore them! My upper body has changed so much just from that alone. So cool!!! Now, drop and give me 20!
We had a really wonderful evening last night at Vero’s Naked Art Gallery for the monthly 3rd Friday in Forest Park! Mostly because I discovered Sneaters… these freakin’ adorable little stuffed animals made from recycled sweaters by artist Colleen Casey of Atlanta. I now have one of my very own!!!! Maybe my Sneater can be the new mascot for The Jen West Quest! I’m thinking that’s a pretty fantastic plan…
Total blog views from yesterday: 12,942!!! And I’ve already had close to 4,000 visitors today. Thank you so much for reading and I hope you come back often to see what’s up on The Jen West Quest. 2011 is going to be a great year, and I hope to share it with all of you!
Yesterday was a complete blur. It started at 5:30 a.m. for a 60 minute run with my friends Vero & Brandi, then it ended about 12 a.m. last night when I got home from the fabulous Girl Talk concert. I am just sooooo happy that I’m off of work today (good planning on my part) so I can absorb everything that happened yesterday and respond back to everyone who wrote me on Facebook, Twitter, and this blog!
I got asked some pretty funny, yet relevant, questions after the show aired. Here are a few of the best:
Were you making pasta soup? Why were you pouring milk into a bowl of noodles? Yuck!
I was not making pasta soup, though it did look like that on TV! I do like to add 1% milk to my whole grain pasta along with light butter, garlic powder, parmesan, salt and pepper. It makes a nice light flavorful sauce that I really enjoy. I guess somewhere in the editing the rest of that got lost… and they held the shot of me pouring the milk a little to long.
I thought you lost 47 pounds, but on the show they said you lost 40?
At that moment in time (the show was shot in October), my goal weight was 150 and I was 152. After reaching 150, I decided to go for 145 because I still had the extra pounds to lose. I also think my body has changed a great deal since then because of exercise and strength training!
Did you have to get a spray tan?
Ohhhhhhh yes indeed. Click here to read more about that experience!
That cheeseburger you ate looked really gross. Was it good? Why did they make you eat it?
The cheeseburger was in fact very disgusting since it had been sitting out for about a good 2-3 hours before they had the chance to film me eating it. The carrot cake, however, was pretty delicious! Eating those types of foods represented my bad eating habits from the past.
Was Rachael Ray nice?
For the 3 or 4 minutes I actually got to be around her, yes, she was extremely nice & personable. She even stopped to talk to me for a second or two after we filmed the bikini clip and told me that she loved reading my blog & liked my new haircut!
Was it cold in your bathing suit? Did it feel awkward to be standing there with practically no clothes on?
Yes, and YES. I had a major dilemma with what to do with my arms and hands. Since I had no pockets or a place to rest them, I had to really plan out what how I was going to stand there. Isn’t that a strange thing to worry about??? And it was super cold, it literally had to be in the 60′s in the studio itself.
What do you think will happen next?
I don’t know the answer to this question. It was amazing to have such a huge opportunity, and you always hope it will lead to more doors being opened. Or at least I do! At this point, I expect the unexpected. I would have never anticipated Rachael Ray calling me up, but she did! I am just going to keep my 2011 goals the same – to finish my book, complete my first Ironman, play around with Ghost Ghirls, blog every day… and just be myself!
(Please excuse the poor sound quality in the video below… it was just too much fun not to share!)
For those of you visiting my blog for this first time, please read about my full Rachael Ray experience by clicking here! Below is my post from this morning before the show aired. So glad you came to visit my blog and I hope you visit often!
Oh. Geez. I. Am. So. Nervous. And. Excited. That. I. Might. Die… Seriously. Die. Or, implode.
Last night I was so amped up on adrenaline that I couldn’t sit still! At this very moment, it’s T-minus 2 hours until my TV will be turned on to the Rachael Ray Show, where I will watch myself prance around in a bikini in front of the whole entire freakin’ world. Pale as the winter snow. Knee caps bobbing up and down from excitement (God I hope they didn’t get that on camera…). I was the happiest girl in the world that day!!! And despite my nerves, I am equally as happy TODAY.
After RR, I am doing the FOX 6 midday show for those of you in the Birmingham area that can watch. If you aren’t local, then I will post the midday clip as well as the Rachael Ray segment on my blog tomorrow for everyone to see. In the meantime, you can learn more about my experience in New York by reading this story on Magic City Post.
Before I go… I want to say thank you to my running partners Vero & Brandi for taking on an extra challenging run this morning with me. It helped me blow off some serious steam! I love my girls.
Today’s blog post is sponsored by the Naked Art Gallery since David & Vero were kind enough to find me a celebratory Girl Talk ticket for tonight’s sold out concert! LYMI
Weigh-In Wednesday #42 – 144.8
No, I haven’t read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. But since it is my husband Mike’s favorite book, I thought I would quote it in today’s title since it is in fact week 42.
While I was sick last week, I took a total of 5 days off from exercise (Wednesday – Sunday). It was a very hard thing to do mentally, especially with my marathon only 4 weeks away. I just couldn’t do it… moving felt like the last thing my body needed to do. On the fifth day, I even tried to go on a run with my running buddy Vero but didn’t make it half a mile before I turned around to go home. Monday was the turning point – that night I went to the gym and knocked out 5 miles with no sweat. And last night, I kicked some serious a** on my bike trainer for about 60 minutes! Baby, I’m back!!! The real test will be my 21 mile long run this weekend. I just hope that I haven’t lost any of my endurance while being out. If all goes well, then my last long run before the marathon will be next weekend for a total of 22 miles. Since this is my first race at this distance, I don’t think it’s necessary for me to go the full 26.2 prerace. My only real goal is to finish in under 4 hours, but once again, I will be happy to just finish strong.
I’ve asked Sonthe Burge for help with my exercise/fitness nutrition since I’m going for my first full Ironman this August. Sonthe was our amazing dietician while on CarbLovers, and she offered to help awhile back if I needed any advice transitioning into sports mode. Now that I’m in full swing, it’s probably about time for a refresher course just to be sure I’m fueling my body properly. I will keep you posted on when we finally get together!
To round off week 42, I will leave with the like titled Coldplay song… which happens to be one of my favorites by them. Happy Wednesday! See you tomorrow for Rachael Ray Day! Ahhhhhh!!!!!! (And for those of you who are local, I will be on the FOX6 Midday show tomorrow with Janice Rogers after RR airs.)
Did you know that today is the most depressing day of the year? “Blue Monday” is always the 3rd Monday of January and it is a downer for many reasons: it’s the beginning of a new year, it’s cold, resolutions are starting to crack, people are sick, and … well, it’s January. How am I feeling on this Blue Monday? I’m actually feeling much better as I start to get rid of the cold I had last week. And even better than that, today starts the countdown to Rachael Ray!!! Be sure to set your DVR’s this Thursday (the 20th) because I’m going to be on TV in my BIKINI!!! Click here to read about the segment on the Rachael Ray Show website. I’ve also created a public event on Facebook that you can RSVP to here.
And I have another reason why this Blue Monday isn’t so blue after all… my sister Christy basically gave me a whole new wardrobe!!! After having her baby Anna Marie last February, she had to buy a lot of clothes in a size or two bigger than she normally wears. She eventually lost all of her baby weight, so the new clothes she bought no longer fit. Soooo, she gave them to me!! I really, really needed some new threads. While I have purchased a few items since losing almost 50 pounds, I was still in desperate need of a wardrobe make-over. And out of blue, I got one! Thank you so much Christy for being so generous. I hope to return the favor one day!
I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier, but last night finally I added a page to this blog that only shows the weekly weight-loss bikini photos that I took. You can view my transformation by clicking on “Bikini Photos” in the top navigation bar.
Before I go, I want to share a little sunshine on this Blue Monday. If you haven’t had a chance to check out Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, then I hope you will today! It’s all about reversing the childhood obesity epidemic and full of great ideas to start doing so. Even the mayor of Newark, New Jersey is jumping on board by losing a few pounds himself. Read Cory Booker’s inspiring blog post here. A big THANK YOU to my friend Amanda Storey for sharing these links with me last night. She also has an amazing blog called Food Revival that you absolutely must check out!
It’s Friday, and I am feeling a little better! I skipped exercise all together yesterday because I felt that I needed the rest. I got in another 10 hours worth of sleep last night too, so I should be on the rise! Watch out world!
Last night while surfing the web, I came across an interesting article on Triathlete.com about a program called Crossfit Endurance. You can read it here. The program immediately sparked my interest, and I found a local branch offering an introductory course this Saturday (please read a more specific description from the instructor, Justin, in the comments section of this post). Being the impulsive freak that I am, I signed up and plopped down the $40. While I don’t have a lot of money to be experimenting on things like this, I’ve been looking for ways to become a better athlete and step-up my game. Even though I’m a very fit person and capable of training for big events on my own (Ironman, anyone?), I still feel like I am hovering in a certain class of fitness. I want to be better & stronger. It’s hard for me to type what I’m about to say without hearing laughter off in the distance… but I want to be an age grouper. And ultimately, I want to make it to Kona someday. (The Ironman World Championships are in Kona each year and you have to quality in order to participate.) That is a long-term dream!!
For those of you who are my friend on Facebook, you may have seen the Rachael Ray Show date drama unfold first hand yesterday afternoon. I heard from them out of the blue saying that the date had been changed to January 18th, but within the hour they had changed it back to January 20th (the original air date). Sorry for the confusion… just pretend like none of that ever happened! For those of you who might miss the show live, I will have it up on YouTube by the next morning’s blog post. So we can all bask in my pale skin’s glory together!!
I am ordering my new Jen West Quest logo running shirt today, so I will share the image of what it looks like with you guys tomorrow morning! I may even do a sneak peek on Twitter today if any of you follow me there. Happy Friday!
No matter how hard you try to hide it, January has to be one of the most difficult months of the whole year. There is a noticeable slump after the holidays and the overwhelming sense of what’s to come in the New Year. It’s cold, dark, and slow. A lot of people are also really sick (including my husband who I won’t touch), which scares the crap out of me. It seems like no matter how chipper you try to feel, you are constantly reminded that it is in fact January. January here, January there, January everywhere!!
January reminds me of the old burnt down condemned house across the street from us (pictured below). It looks pretty scary from the outside, but at night there is always a warm glow from a light inside. Is someone still living there? God, I hope not… who am I kidding, this was a depressing example. They just need to tear that sucker down and rebuild! In that sense, it is a little like January.
There are lots of people on diets too. This adds low blood sugar levels into the mix, which is always a scary thing. Whether you choose CarbLovers like I did or another healthy eating plan, please remember to take it slow and listen to your body. Don’t try to eat less than what you need and eat nutritious, whole foods. The biggest advice I can give you is to make realistic long-term and short-term goals, and shout them out to the world! Your goals need to be something that you feel passionate about, otherwise they will eventually be pushed aside.
There are a few positive things to say about this month. Nothing beats a good floor heater when it’s cold outside. Snow can be fun (and here in the south it means that everything shuts down). A warm bowl of soup or vegetarian chili always hits the spot, and a warm snuggly sweater can bring you more comfort than your favorite foods. However, thoughts of springtime are dancing through my head…
Weigh-In Wednesday #40 – 145.2
FUN STATS: This is my 294th blog post, on my 280th day since starting The Jen West Quest! How’s that for some numbers? While looking through my stats this morning, I also discovered that I had a total of 76,217 blog views in 2010. My busiest day so far was December 1st with 3,102 views. Thank you so much for being interested in my life!!
One race at a time. One month at a time. One week at a time. One day at a time. One workout out at a time. As I was trying to motivate myself through my bike workout last night, it occurred to me that all I have is this moment. This one chance to get closer to my goals. It’s just a small step among many that leads to something much bigger than myself. There is no time to put anything off, all we have right now.
I had a huge non-scale victory last night – I did 30 strong push-ups! Back when I started this blog I couldn’t do 2. My upper body is finally responding to the strength sessions that I’ve been doing for the past few months. I can’t wait to have strong & defined shoulders just like a real swimmer! I’m becoming an athlete right before my very eyes. When I reach my new goal weight of 140, I am going to post an updated bikini photo so you can see the difference.
As promised, below is my 2011 timeline chart. I will edit & add to it as the year progresses. It’s just nice to have a solid starting point!
(Click chart to enlarge.)
Yesterday I asked for feedback on my blog from a few honest friends. It was pretty unanimous – I am writing too much about health & fitness, and not enough about me. I would have to agree with them… the only problem is that I am living and breathing it 24/7! It is hard not to think about anything else sometimes. On any given normal day, I have 4 important things to accomplish: write in my blog, eat well, get my exercise in and do my job. There isn’t much time for anything else. Then they asked me a question that I’ve been getting a lot lately – why am I blogging everyday? Because I want to. Blogging everyday makes me happy, and I don’t want to stop! But I don’t want to be boring… that’s the last thing I want to happen.
I think my blog will go through phases of peaks & valleys, just like life. After all I am writing Every. Single. Freakin’. Day. When I was blogging about weight-loss, that appealed to a lot of people because it was inspiring. It was something tangible that happened before our eyes. It’s hard to beat a good before & after photo! Now that my goals have shifted to maintenance and sports, it might be a little harder for every person to relate to.
I asked for some ideas from the friends who gave me the feedback to see what they’d like to read more about. They said that they find themselves interested in a lot of the people I hang around with, and they miss reading about the “Jen West” philosophy on life. I’m going to think on those suggestions and see what sort of creative ideas I can come up with! If you have any thoughts, please feel free to leave them as a comment or message me privately on Facebook. Honestly… it could be as easy as answering a silly question each day or doing a video on a specific topic, just something to get me out of my blog box!! Seriously – I am taking requests so put it OUT THERE and I might just do it. But just FYI – I will always blog about exercise b/c it is such an important part of my life. Especially since I want to finish my first full Ironman in 2011!
GOOD NEWS – I found out my Rachael Ray segment is going to air on January 20th!!! AAwewEWOwewooo!!! <— (That was excitement.) It airs on FOX 6 at 10 a.m. for those of you here in Birmingham. Annnnnnd, since the newest Health magazine issue is out, it’s finally OK to post my full “I Did It” article! (Click to enlarge)