On November 13, 2013, I started the HMR Diet. Walking quickly left me out of breath and running was out of the question.
On January 28th, 2014, I logged on to Facebook during my lunch break and saw on Facebook that the Disneyland Half Marathon was 90% full after only opening a couple of hours earlier.
I signed up.
I had not yet run a full mile.
On February 20th, 2014, I sent the following email to my health coach:
“I arrived early for a class and thought… Wonder if I could run a mile before class?
I did it! It was “only” at 4.0mph but I don’t care. I didn’t walk at all!!!!I am stupid excited and just had to share. Thank you for the motivation!”
I swore I wasn’t ever going to post progress pictures on my blog. When I first started writing about the HMR Diet, I wanted my experience to be anonymous. I just needed a place where I could explore what I was learning, thinking, and feeling. However I realize now that I can’t be anonymous at this point. Not because so many people I know read this blog now, but because it would be selfish of me.
When I started HMR, I craved success stories. I wanted to see progress pictures. Even now I buy magazines like People touting normal people losing weight because it inspires me and shows me we can all do it. So at the end of this post I will share my nine month pictures.
First, I want to explore my thoughts. I am officially down 122 pounds at nine months and one week. I have also begun my transition to Healthy Solutions (started last week at the nine month mark). When I started this program I gave myself one year to be on Decision Free. My mental framing that it would take this long kept me going — knowing there would be an eventual end. However a year seemed too long so I think the desire to transition earlier motivated me to stay in the box and to seize every fitness opportunity I could.
I have been in the box every day since starting the program. I have had a few emotional eating days but used meal replacements when other tools like journaling or exercise weren’t cutting it. I have had two or three weeks where I didn’t lose weight (also didn’t gain) and I missed two weeks of weigh ins for travel (one week in June and one a couple weeks later in July). I can say from experience that being away from class made it harder to stay on the program because those in person accountability points aren’t just to keep up in check but also have me leaving class feeling refreshed and motivated.
When I started this diet walking at 3.0 on the treadmill was fast and there were days where walking at 2.0 for 40 minutes while watching an episode of Scandal was a big workout. I swam laps but only a couple and very slowly.
This past Sunday, just a couple of days after my nine month anniversary, I ran my first half marathon since starting HMR. And by ran, I actually ran and killed my previous PR by over 50 minutes! Super proud of this picture because I feel like it captures how far I have come:
Was it easy? Never. But did it become habit? Yes. When you reframe away from what you can’t have and focus on what you can, it makes it so much easier to manage Decision Free. When you focus on each day as becoming the best person you can be, the days pile up into making you an awesome person. When you seize every opportunity for fitness and give it everything you have rather than make excuses then you find yourself seeing physical results even when the scale moves slowly or not at all.
You can make excuses or you can make your move. I had ALL the injuries. Bad knees. Sciatica. Lower back pain. Asthma. I work 40+ hours during the week and 20+ weekends a year. I am traveling ALL the time. I am not wealthy. I don’t live alone. I spend time around temptation EVERY day. And I HAVE found success but it wasn’t handed to me. I had to fight for every single pound and while I have had people tell me I “make it look easy” — it hasn’t been. But nothing amazing is easy.
Now I am transitioning to Healthy Solutions and although I am loving the produce and I am trying to take it slowly, I won’t lie that I am also scared. I have confidence in myself but I am anxious and I can’t articulate why, other than I am constantly entering new territory and that keeps me on my toes.
I teach public speaking – it’s one of the biggest fears in America. Thus I understand having unexplained anxiety and trying to manage and overcome to the best of our abilities. I practice positive visualization (ordering a Healthy Solutions option at a restaurant when I inevitably go out) and I carry a touchstone to keep me grounded when I need to make a decision. I journal my food and exercise. I practice tricks like always keeping a zero calorie beverage in my hand in social settings. And I expel the rest of the nervousness through exercise. I will manage my anxiety like I will manage my weight. One day at a time with mindfulness and positive energy. And no excuses.
A rather lengthy post. And I feel like I have so much more to say. But tomorrow we meet up with our students for the first time this school year so I am off to bed. But as promised, here are my nine month progress pictures. I am proud of my hard work and continue to motivate myself every day to excel so that the work I have done is honored and not destroyed.
I kicked off my transition from HMR Decision Free to HMR Healthy Solutions on August 13th and have been busy crafting all sorts of new dishes incorporating veggies and fruits into my diet! Hoping to share many of them here, however I will also be back to posting at Uncovering Food with any recipes I create that don’t use HMR products. I am also starting a new tab off of the main page of Healthy Academic which will include Healthy Solutions friendly recipes from Uncovering Food to make it easier for anyone in need of something new to try but who don’t want to surf through recipes that are outside of the box!
Speaking of being outside of the box… If you are on Decision Free, you can filter to only get posts and recipes about Decision Free so you aren’t tempted with the produce posts by clicking on the tags to the right! I COMPLETELY understand the temptations that exist outside of the Decision Free bubble and hope that helps make life easier for you as I imagine it would have for me.
THIS was one of the first things I played with and it was SUPER filling and only added 40 additional calories (20 per portobello mushroom cap) to the Chicken Creole entree! The hot sauce soaks into the cap and the seasoning flavors the outside of the cap, contributing to the overall flavor of the dish.
- 1 HMR Chicken Creole entree
- 2 portobello mushroom caps – cleaned off and stems removed
- Cajun seasoning
- Hot sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sprinkle Cajun seasoning on the inside and outside of two portobello caps and then pour some Louisiana hot sauce inside the cap. Divide up a Creole Chicken entree between them and sprinkled on more Cajun seasoning.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Holy moly folks! Starbucks has an iced coffee (unsweetened) that you can buy in stores! I went to my local Safeway last night and found a carafe of coffee in with the milks and juices after hearing about it from a friend. It was much cheaper than buying it at the cafe (although you could probably make your own cold brew at home for cheaper – I will try that someday). I had also picked up some sugar free chai syrup from DaVinci this last week, so an idea was brewing (haha get it? BREWING! okay sorry…) to try to make one of my favorite pre-HMR beverages.
A dirty chai is a chai latte with a shot of espresso. It is delicious and a total pick me up. But chai syrup and milk are both really high in calories, making this drink a TOTAL calorie bomb! Instead I made a super filling blended shake that was totally satisfying for only 170 calories!
Dirty Chai HMR Style
- 8 ounces cold brew coffee
- 8 pumps sugar free chai syrup (about 2 ounces)
- 1 HMR 800 Vanilla shake packet
- 8 to 10 ice cubes
Blend everything but the ice first then add the ice and blend to desired consistency. SO GOOD! And when it gets colder I will be attempting a hot version that won’t have as much volume without the ice but should still be a fabulous morning treat!
I am running now pretty consistently as I see half marathons approaching quickly on the calendar. Following my long runs I try to have some broth or something with sodium to replace lost salt from the run. However I am not usually really hungry. It means that some evenings I have a little extra food I need to consume to meet my minimum prescription!
This week I will begin to transition to Healthy Solutions. I have been on the HMR Decision Free diet for nine long months and haven’t stepped outside of it. I am down 117 pounds at the nine month mark and will be starting the school year soon, thus it was in my best interest as I get closer to my goal but needed to also manage the stress of the new school year, that I transition now. So I was feeling a little bit of awesome on Sunday when I had two shakes left in my Decision Free prescription and wanted to make something special.
This recipe isn’t really much of a new recipe at all. It uses other recipes to create a giant frosted cookie!
I used my basic muffin recipe but used a vanilla bean syrup instead of the chai and rum syrups. I also only made one-third of the recipe (one oatmeal, one 70 shake, 1/4 cup syrup, 1/2 cup water, 1 tsp baking powder) and then I poured it out onto a silpat mat on a cookie sheet (parchment paper on a cookie sheet would also work). Then I baked it for about 15 minutes until it was browned slightly on top.
I let the giant cookie cool before removing it from the cookie sheet. Meanwhile I made an HMR chocolate 70 into a pudding per packet description. I spread it out on top of the giant cookie like frosting and used a pizza cutter to slice the dessert pizza.
This is a very calorie dense dish for HMR – it’s about 430 calories! And depending on your prescription it may be more than 2 shakes (I know on my Healthy Solutions prescription is it four shakes!). So this is a rare special treat and I drank a lot of water with it. However it was super satisfying and a perfect way to top off an awesome day of running!
I know it isn’t always a good idea to celebrate with food. I usually find other ways to celebrate accomplishments like getting a new nail polish or watching a trashy tv show I like. How do you celebrate without food?
I have been working out every morning since I started teaching at summer debate institute. I figure it will help transition me into the school year while allowing me to beat the heat. And when I run in my local neighborhood, I end the run with a special treat! I get a trenta (aka really big!) unsweetened passion iced tea from Starbucks to enjoy on the walk back to my apartment. While I am there, I also pick up a tall (aka small) black coffee.
After drinking the iced tea, I have a perfect vessel to carry a homemade blended coffee beverage to work, which I make right after I shower and get dressed for the day!
Today’s shake was so delicious I had to share right away!
- 1 HMR Diet Chocolate Shake (I use the 800)
- 12 oz black coffee chilled (I throw my cup in the freezer while I shower and get ready)
- 2 oz Torani SF Almond Roca syrup
- 8 ice cubes (or the amount you want for desired texture)
Blend away and enjoy! A perfect sweet treat to jump start your day!
I have mentioned before that I love my HMR Core and On-Going classes. We share recipes and stories and I absolutely love the support we give each other. One of my classmates loves to play around with the HMR products and made an awesome meatloaf that she shared on her blog. I have also played with the chili and oatmeal to make burgers which I shared in December as well as submitted to the HMR Web site.
Over the summer I have been to a lot of cookouts and I wanted a way to enjoy BBQs while staying in the box on the Decision Free diet. So I took the meatloaf recipe and played around to create my own portable mini-meatloaf bites!
Mini Meatloaf Muffins
- 2 HMR Turkey Chili Entrees
- 2 HMR Oatmeals (I keep the fruit in the recipe for bites of sweet bbq sauce flavor)
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
- 1.5 tsp Worcestershire sauce (I use Annie’s vegan version of the sauce)
- 1 tsp hot sauce
- 4 tbsp water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini muffin pan with cooking spray (you will want a pan that has 24 muffin wells).
Mix chili and oatmeal. Microwave for one minute. Add in remaining ingredients. Divide into the 24 mini-muffin wells. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (my oven took 27 but my convection toaster oven only took 25). You want the muffins firm but not burnt. They will be moist in the middle so be careful removing them from tin.
I made a dipping sauce of 1 tbsp no-sugar ketchup, 1/2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce, and 1/2 tsp sriracha sauce. I also used mustard. Play around with your favorite sauces or try my classmate’s special sauce recipe included on her meatloaf blog post!
One half of this recipe is 12 mini-muffins and is one entree and one oatmeal for calculation purposes.
My husband and I volunteered to teach at a debate camp in New Orleans this past month. We flew in on a Friday night red-eye and I decided right before we hopped on the shuttle to see if there were any fun running events to keep me motivated. What I discovered was the Happy’s Running Club NOLA 5k which was happening that Saturday evening. So we arrived early Saturday morning, I took a nap, and then we were off to downtown New Orleans to sign up for the race!
First, let me just say that running in New Orleans in the middle of July in the early evening is a LOT different than running in San Jose early in the morning! Luckily, I had been running in Charlotte and Boston the previous week and spent a week in Florida the week before that, so my body was only mildly annoyed with the humid heat.
I was nervous upon arrival because I didn’t know much about the race other than it involved running in downtown New Orleans and it was affordable to register the day of. When we arrived I discovered this relatively small race had a fabulously festive atmosphere and there was clearly a tight knit running community in the area.
The registration and pre/post festival area was a parking lot off the main street where the race would occur. Just down the street in one direction was Harrah’s casino and in the other direction was the Superdome. The course itself was two loops up and down the main street with a small detour off the main drag. The course was relabeled a 3 mile race as they had issues securing the street needed to make the course a 5-k. However my GPS told me I still ran a 5k after weaving and zagging down three lane roads!
I wasn’t expecting to PR or even finish sub-30 because of the condition I was in after traveling and being out in the Louisiana summer. However, I wasn’t expecting that when I slowed for a walk at the 2-mile mark I would be taunted and “coached” by drunk pedestrians! I picked back up my pace and kept running until I was past the intoxicated crowd.
There is something really cool about exploring a new place via a race. From running through streets I wouldn’t have ever been able to run down, to meeting members of the running community, I got an opportunity to see the city from a local point of view!
The volunteers were fabulous, the course was solid, the random cheering groups that sprung up outside of bars was hilarious, and the other participants were all very supportive and friendly. A bonus was my husband standing outside one of the pubs cheering for me!
At the end of the race we got an opportunity to experience real Southern hospitality! Several restaurants provided free post-race food to participants, there was a beer truck, a local company offering samples of a low-calorie frozen electrolyte popsicle, and a live band. It was like a street party with everyone in running gear!
I am now motivated to try to find races on future trips. I probably won’t be able to do it when traveling for work but that won’t stop me from looking for other opportunities. And if we return to New Orleans around the same time next year, I will be back to run another NOLA 5k (3-miler)!