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Weigh-In Wednesday #52 – 147.8

How do you measure a year?

A lot has happened to me in the past 365 days.   Mostly good, very little bad.  Here is a small sampling:

1.  I started The Jen West Quest exactly one year ago today!  :D
2.  I finished my first Half Ironman last April.
3.  I lost over 45 pounds!!
4.  I was featured on the Rachael Ray Show for my weight-loss success & blog.
5.  I was featured in Health Magazine’s “I Did It!” Spotlight.
6.  I was a Birmingham Bombshell.
7.  I made new running besties:)
8.  My wonderful husband and I decided to split up, but remain friends.
9.  I injured my knee and was unable to finish what would have been my first marathon.
10.  I am temporarily living with my parents until our lease is up in August.  :D
11.  I have grown & prospered in my 9 to 5 job.
12.  I blew my previous 10k PR (personal record) out of the water.
13.  I have become both mentally and physically stronger.
14.  I appreciate food as nourishment for my body, not as an emotional filler.
15.  I am a much more confident person.
16.  I turned 32.  :)
17.  I met or exceeded all of the expectations for myself.

In honor of this special day, my boss surprised me with a new haircut at my favorite salon in 5 Points South (Peter @ Orbit).  I go today over my lunch break for my new ‘do.  Thank you Andrea!!!!  I love you so much.  :)  I will post a photo later on Twitter to show you guys what it looks like.

Thanks to all of you for surrounding me in love, on both the good days and the bad.  I can’t wait to share the next 365 with you!

Vero and I, my ultimate running buddy! :D

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!

In case you missed it, you can click here to view the Rachael Ray Show segment from yesterday!  You can also view the local FOX 6 segment I did yesterday here.

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.  :P  The carrot cake, however, was pretty delicious!  :D  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!)

It’s so strange… when I first started this blog, I never thought in a million years that I would have as many readers as I do today.  While I may have hoped that people would eventually start checking in from time to time, my main motivation was always to get healthier and change my life.  Not only did I blow my original goals out of the water, I’m already working on new ones!  My body is different, my abilities are greater, and the possibilities are endless… all thanks to sticking with the program.

Every now and then I have sensitive days where I have to ask for positive reinforcement to soothe some of the anxieties in my head.  We all know that Thursday is a big day for me, an opportunity to show what I’ve got to a whole new audience.  Will these new readers like my blog?  Will I do good on Rachael Ray, or will I be a goober?  What happens after the show airs?  This is your cue to slap me and shake really, really hard.

None of that matters.  Well, it does matter, but what matters more is continuing on my Quest.  What matters is maintaining my weight.  What matters is finishing my first Ironman this year.  What matters is completing my book.  What matters, is that I matter.  I started this blog for me.  And as long as I stay true to myself and keep accomplishing my goals, then all will be right in the world.

End pep talk.

In all honesty, I have high hopes for the future.  I want to be a great writer both on this blog and through my book.  I want this journey to eventually turn into some sort of career opportunity.  I want to defy the odds and become a capable athlete.  I know what life is able to offer those who work hard for their dreams, and I’m going to put forth a huge effort.  However, saying such things makes me feel extremely vulnerable.  I know failure is always a part of success.  So there is only one thing to do… to steal a quote from my dear friend Tabitha Boyd – Breasts out, tummies in, and walk it out! Snap, snap!  True that, sista.  Confidence is everything, because you don’t believe in yourself… who will?

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)

Health Magazine Article

Have  you ever been afraid of accidentally deleting something important off of your camera before getting the chance to upload it?  Well, that happened to me last night.  While trying to view the video Mike took while I got my book signed at the Rachael Ray event last night, I deleted the movie file.  It happened so fast… yet in slow motion.  The only thing I could do was yell, “Noooooooooooooo!”.  As my eyes started to fill up with tears, Mike quickly googled how to retrieve deleted files and downloaded some recovery software.  Neither of us were very hopeful, but we still had our fingers crossed.  After about 45 minutes & two tries, Mike was able to locate the video clip!  He is my hero.  :)  Here it is without further adieu:

Speaking of Mike, in case you missed his post last night you can read it here.  He’s made some significant progress!

I skipped my morning run with Vero & Brandi today because I felt I needed the rest.  Instead I am going to run tomorrow (which was my original scheduled off day).  I’ve been working out pretty hard this week, so I needed a day to chill sooner than later.  It was nice to sleep in!

Yesterday at work we had holiday parties galore.  There was food everywhere, and I have to admit that I partook in the festivities.  :)  Who says no to Italian holiday cookies?  Well, I usually do turn down sweets… but I chose not to on this occasion.  This means running a tight ship for the rest of the weekend!  Next week I will let myself have Christmas Eve off because there’s nothing better than having a glass of egg nog before Santa comes to town…

This morning while running 6 miles with Vero & Brandi, I calculated that I will have run 43 miles by the end of the week (plus one spin class)!  Nuts!!  It actually feels really good since I built up the distance gradually.  I’m going for a 19-20 mile long run this Sunday, and Vero & Brandi are even going to split the distance with me.  So Vero will do the first half and Brandi will do the second half.  Isn’t that so nice?  I’m pretty pumped about it.  :)

I forgot to snap Mike’s weekly photos this morning, but I’m thinking that he should give an update personally later this afternoon anyway.  He’s made a lot of progress, so I will let him fill you guys in himself!   Stay tuned…

Today after work I’m going to see Rachael Ray… and it’s all I can think about!  :D  Vero had a funny idea this morning (jokingly of course) that I should show up in a big oversized coat and then flash her in my bikini that I wore on her show.  That way she is sure to remember who I am!!  Ha!  :D  I’m sure her security people would looove that.

I don’t have a whole lot of time to write this morning, but I promise to make up for later today with a special entry from Mike.  See you then!

It’s been a pretty great week so far, I have to say.  I think December’s pace is going to be just what the doctor ordered – laid back, yet social.  I’ve worked really hard this year on all fronts so I deserve this little break!

New Year’s has been weighing heavily on my mind, but in a good way.  I am a resolution junkie (who would’ve guessed?) so I’m already thinking about what 2011 has in store.  But first, I think it is important that I take a good long look back at 2010 and all of the amazing things I’ve accomplished.

1.  I completed my first Half Ironman in April!  Read about it here.
2.  After being laid off in late 2009, I found & landed an even better job that I adore.
3.  I will have lost 50 pounds by the end of the year!
4.  Major doors have started to open because of this blog that I write in everyday.
5.  I’ve started writing a book that I know will be very special in 2011.

I’m going to start working on my New Year’s resolutions soon and will share them with you guys on New Year’s Eve.  2011 is going to be great, I can feel it.

Tonight I am heading to Montgomery to watch Mike perform in The Lounge Guys, one of my favorite shows all year!  I will take some video & post a clip or two for tomorrow’s post.   I’m still sick (boo), so that has been a little frustrating to deal with this week.  I’ve gotten a lot of extra sleep but that hasn’t seemed to help very much.  Hopefully it will run its course soon!

A friend said something really powerful to me this week… she said that I was limitless.  I countered by saying isn’t everyone’s life that way?  She said in return that there was something specifically limitless about me when compared to other people.  I’ve been thinking about that ever since.  I don’t know if it’s true, but the thought of being limitless is a very motivating & freeing thought.   I hope to live up to it!

A Facebook post really caught my attention a few days ago.  It said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”  (A quote by Soren Kierkegaard.)  We are all clueless about what tomorrow holds, but we still have tremendous power in shaping the outcome to our favor.   One day when I have the clarity of looking back on my life, I hope to say that I lived it fearlessly.

Fun news:  Rachael Ray is going to be here in Birmingham on December 16th signing autographs for her new book at Brookwood Mall!!  More information here. Totally going!!  :D  :D

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