I’m Done Making Excuses

Something happened to me a few weeks ago that I’ve been wanting to tell you all about. Only, I don’t know if I can explain the exact moment it happened. I don’t know what sparked it. I don’t know why it happened that day rather than any other day. I wish I knew, but I don’t. All I know is that something flicked a switch inside my brain a few weeks ago and it has changed everything about my daily life.

I realized something was different when one of my girlfriends asked if I wanted to go to the gym. Instead of making an excuse, I genuinely wanted to go with her. We went again the next day. I went by myself a few days after that. Then I went alone again the next day. And I’ve been going every second day since, either alone or with a friend.

Now, clearly this isn’t the first time I’ve ever worked out. I played sports and swam as a kid. I’ve been going to gym classes for years. And I trained for and ran my first 5K last summer. But this is the first time I have felt the motivation to lose the extra weight I’ve been carrying around for years.

I’ve always been honest with you all about my debt and the mistakes I’m learning from it, while working through my financial situation. At times, those have been some of the scariest numbers I’ve ever looked at. They have literally taken my breath away and caused me to standstill, sometimes paralyzed with fear. Now, as I’m close to reaching the halfway point, I’m finally ready and confident that I can start tackling a new number.

Excuse me while I let out a deep sigh and prepare to reveal the digits no girl likes to say out loud. Just two weeks ago, on February 27th, I weighed in at 206.2 lbs. At 5’7″, that’s considered to be obese. And, unfortunately, I’ve been sitting at that weight for at least 2 years, if not even longer. Although I have never let my weight define me, and have been complimented on my confidence more times than I can count, it’s there. But I want it gone, once and for all.

So, on top of counting the pennies that go in and out of my hands on a daily basis, I recently started counting something else: my calories. I created an account on Lose It!, rubbed the magical app and told it the number I wished to see (150 lbs.). In response, the app gave me three options for how quickly I could lose the weight. I chose to lose 1.5 lbs. per week which would land me at my goal weight in November 2012. For that to happen, Lose It says I can eat about 1700 calories per day (which, as I’m realizing, lets me eat a lot of delicious and healthy food). I’ve been working with that daily calorie intake ever since and like to think of it as my second budget.

On top of counting my calories, I’ve been going to the gym 4x per week. Most people think my gym schedule is insane; not that I’m going every second day but the hour at which I’ve been going. On Tuesday and Thursday, I get to the gym somewhere between 5:40 and 5:50 a.m. This gives me just enough time to workout, come home, eat something and get ready for work. On Saturday and Sunday, I like to get there when they open at 7:00 a.m.

I have always been a morning person, so this schedule is perfect for me. And, if I’m being totally honest, I’m forcing myself to go in the morning because I know myself. When I come home from work, there is not a chance you’ll talk me into going to the gym. By 5pm, my eyes hurt, I’m tired and I know I still have homework or other writing to do. I don’t feel as though I can spare any time in the evening and, if I can, I’d probably rather read in a hot bath or get some extra sleep.

But mornings are different. I crawl out of bed while it’s still dark out, make myself sweat at the gym, then come home and shower it all off. It kickstarts my day and then the rest of the hours are all mine. The fact that I have been able to find a schedule that works for me and my lifestyle often reminds me of the time it took me to learn how to budget. It took a few weeks of calorie counting for me to see where I was going wrong and what I could cut back on, and both my eating habits and gym schedule now revolve around my strengths, weaknesses and goals. In two weeks, I’m already down 5.4 lbs. Only 50.8 to go.

When I first started all of this, I found that there were a million-and-one pictures and quotes on Pinterest that either described how I was feeling or motivated me to push myself towards my goal. The first that really stuck with me is the one at the top of this post. As cliché as it might sound, I think of that quote on a daily basis. The second I just found the other day. It explains how I feel every hour of every day now, and I have to share it with you:

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on or blame. The gift is yours. It is an amazing journey. And you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life rely begins.”

– Bob Moawad

I’m done making excuses for my weight, just as I used to about my debt. There will be no more “soon”s or “one day”s. I want to be comfortable in my skin, and in my clothes, and I want to be a weight that I remember being at close to 10 years ago. And the best part is that I’m finally done caring about how my losing weight could affect others; this is important for me, my health and my future. And I’m going to kick the number 206.2 back to 2011, where it can stay.

When did your life really begin?

  • Sounds like you have a well thought out plan! I’m glad things are better for you since you started doing this! I just need your motivation now.

  • Good for you – I’m very inspired by your determination & also, seeing how well you’ve trained yourself to make better financial choices, I’m sure you’ll have no problem at all sticking to your weight loss goals! I’ve also used the Lose It app & love how it tracks all your calories for the day.

    Thanks for posting that amazing quote, too – I’ve copied it as a reminder to myself :)

  • That was a fantastically honest post!!

    I’ve been carrying the same extra pounds for a few years as well…..5′ 4″, about 196 lbs — I’ve been successful on WW in the past, but with the new Points Plus program the numbers just weren’t budging! I will definitely try Lose It. I don’t know if I’ll manage the gym 4x/week (I’m NOT a morning person), but I’ll try my best!!

    • Yea, I’ve heard the new Points Plus plan is ridiculous. You can basically eat as much junk as you want, as long as you don’t go over? That is not good…

      Lose It is a great tool. Even if you only use it for a couple weeks, it gives you a great idea of how many calories you’re eating in a day, which motivates you to lower your intake.

  • Love this post. This is similar to what happened with me in August – when I decided to lose weight and dropped 20 lbs. I need for this to happen again, because I think I’m slowly gaining weight back.

    • My biggest goal is to never let this plateau. I want to reach my goal weight and then continue to work out to maintain it and stay healthy. You worked hard to drop 20 lbs. Always keep in mind how good that felt!

  • I love this post and your motivation is inspiring. I’ve been struggling with keeping myself motivated in various areas of my life lately and hope some of yours will rub off on me :)

    Good for you! It looks like you’ve made fantastic progress so far… waking up that early on a weekend shows true motivation.

    • Yea, some days I’d love to stay in bed… but I tell myself that if I workout in the morning then it’s ok to hit the couch in the afternoon! :P

  • Way to go! You’re having great success so far and most importantly, it sounds like your head is in the right space. Keep on chugging darlin! November and your goal weight will be here before you know it!

  • Wow this post is incredibly inspiring. I can’t even imagine how much courage it must take to be so honest about something that society puts so much pressure on.

    If you love running, I highly recommend signing up for a race as an added motivation. I’m training for a 10k right now and have been exercising 5x a week for the past month. I’m not tempted to skip runs because I know that it’ll show in my finishing time.

    Good luck and can’t wait hear to more about this new challenge you are embarking on.

    • After falling twice in January and February, my knee still isn’t 100%, so I’m trying not to run at all. I attempted short runs on the treadmill and could barely get down the stairs after. Not good. But I hope it heals so I can run again this summer!

      Thanks for the comment, Jordann!

  • Good for you, Cait. I have a similarly insane morning schedule. I get up at 4:30am, to the gym by 5:00, home by 6:40 to get the kids up and ready for school.

    I was NOT a morning person, but I’ve become one. If I don’t workout in the AM, it doesn’t get done.

    I saw a quote recently on facebook: I didn’t say it was going to be easy. I said it was going to be worth it.

    You better believe it is….

    • You’ve had so much success with your own weight loss journey, Travis, so I trust you when you say that it’ll be worth it! Thanks!

  • I want to recommend a book that I’m currently reading that is really helping me in my body journey. I’m in the process of dropping some weight but have always had issues with viewing my body negatively. I am reading “Breaking Free from Emotional Eating” by Geneen Roth on the recommendation of a therapist friend and while some of it really doesn’t apply to me – what I am finding is the tone of the book is really inspiring me. Stuff about learning to see excercise as a joy to use and move your body in a fun way to celebrate being alive vs using exercise to punish yourself for being fat/ugly/etc. I am losing a lot more weight that I ever have before by working through her chapters and changing my mindset. It is probably availabe at your library and it might help to check it out!

    • Sounds like a great book, Beth! The moments I love most at the gym are when a song comes on my iPod that I just can’t stop myself from wanting to workout to. I’ve always loved dancing and have no problem swaying my head or hips to the music, while pushing along on the elliptical. I know people see my dancing workout and think I’m silly… but that’s one of the highlights of my day!

  • Good for you! The absolute hardest part is getting started, so congrats! The second hardest part is sticking with it, but I believe you can do this! I’ll be pulling for you! Keep us updated, k? :)

    • Absolutely! That’s why I wanted to post my story here. I’ve been able to stick to my financial goals, because of this blog… no reason I can’t use this blog as a way to stay accountable for my weight loss/fitness goals too! Thanks for the comment :)

  • It’s hard to take an initial leap into something that you don’t want to do, but once you get started its way easier. Good Luck!

  • Go C! Sometimes I feel like talking about weight is more taboo than talking about money. Especially for women. I am forever wanting to lose weight but never get around to bothering to do so. (I’m at a totally normal BMI, but at only 5’2″ every pound matters.) I would love to get back to where I was on my wedding day four years ago — 120 pounds. That is neither big nor tiny on my frame. I have been on my own “plan” that I’m calling Operation: Don’t Eat Like a Pig since January 1. Mostly I’m trying to cut out sugar and trying to moderate my wine intake — trying being the key word here. Some days are better than others, but I’ve lost 4 pounds so far. Only 7 to go…hopefully I can lose most of that before I go home to see my family in May for my brother’s med school graduation. I would love to look better in those pictures than I did at his wedding two years ago!

    Keep us posted – definitely helps my motivation to follow someone who’s trying to lose weight too. I have got to get back to the gym; I am using a busy work & social schedule as my excuse not to go.

    • A! My sis (also an A) is 5’2″ as well, so I know exactly what 120 lbs. looks like and how being shorter can make every pound feel more noticeable. I’m loving the name of your “plan” and think it’s fantastic that you’ve lost 4 lbs. so far! Being close to your target weight is when the weight loss gets more difficult… just stick with it!

      And I’ll definitely keep you all updated with my progress. :)

      • Hey C. Just wanted to check in with you. I was in Texas for work most of last week so didn’t have a chance to read after Tuesday. As part of my weightloss/workout plan I requested a stand up desk at work, and I’m happy to say that today is my first day of using it! So far, so good. I’ve only sat for about an hour today and I am really, really liking it thus far. I think it will really help me with my goals (I have been reading that you can burn anywhere from 80-250 calories an hour just by standing). I know that sitting is sooooo bad for me, and I do it 45+ hours a week at work, and then another 3+ hours at home. So hopefully my stand up desk will help me with my goals!

        So glad you’re starting to document this on your blog. I really look forward to following along. I might have to get a Twitter account just so I can keep up with you in real-time. :]

        • Texas, eh? That sounds fun!

          I’d love to request a stand-up desk at work but we just moved offices are stuck in these long rows of desks… but burning calories just by standing sounds about right. When I worked at Starbucks, I never gained weight because I was on my feet, walking/rushing around all day. I miss that…

          You may have to get Twitter, but I can shoot you an email soon too. Thanks for checking in, A! xoxo

  • Those post was so motivating! I am quite similar as far as height and weight go, I think you and I need to resume our Twitter checkups for working out!

  • Love this post! I had a moment like that right after New Years. My weight has fluctuated ever since starting college…with my highest being 191 during senior year. I’ve gradually lost some and was down around 180 at the beginning of January when I started running 3 days a week. I still wasn’t really focused on the food part…I was eating healthy stuff but had no idea about calories. I love love love the Lose It app and I’ve been using it daily! Since January, I’ve managed to drop 12.5 lbs…and my goal is 150, too! I’m 5’8. WE CAN TOTALLY DO THIS :) add me on loseit!

    • You’ve dropped 12.5!? Congrats, Amy! And thanks for your support! Tweeted you my email address… am happy to connect on Lose It!

  • Good for you :) I had this moment a few years ago and I’ve been pretty successful at keeping off the weight I lost, although it is a struggle from time to time. Keep at it and you will achieve great things!!

    • Love your post! I’m slowly finding that balance for me still = being able to eat pizza and chocolate but that I can’t overindulge anymore. And who needs the feeling of being super full from bad food? Not me! Go 2012!

  • This is so inspiring!

    I felt my life started when I got back from France — so June 1, 2011 =) I kicked my butt into gear professionally and now I have such a happy and rewarding career. It’s changed everything for me.

    You are doing such an awesome job! I’m really impressed with your commitment (I could never go the gym at 5:30am) and I’m certain you’ll reach your goal weight… and probably ahead of schedule, too!


    • I freaking hope so! It takes a little effort to pump myself up each morning but I know it’ll be worth it :)

  • I read this post and ‘Eye of the tiger’ started playing in my head. I think it’s awesome that you are so motivated to make a really positive life-style change. Truly inspiring. Keep kickin’ butt!

  • Good for you! Whoa – 2012 is going to be crazy good! You’re in a new place, going to finish your degree, pay off your credit card debt and bringing yourself to your fighting weight. What a year!

    I’m smaller now that I was when I was a few years ago, and you’re right. It’s like something just switched. For me, it wasn’t so much the exercise as it was that I just wasn’t hungry anymore. For a long time, I’d eat and not be full, and then one day, I was. I didn’t need another serving, or a cookie with my coffee. I actually wasn’t hungry. And then the weight just seemed to melt off.

    Good luck! You’re going to rock it!

    • Wow, when you put it all that way, it does sound like it’s going to be a good year!

      And I know what you mean about feeling full. I mean, I eat all the time… but the more healthy foods I eat, the less bad cravings I have! I might eat chocolate 1-2x per week now, compared to almost everyday before! And I feel my body craving things… good things… all the time. Happy to know it’s not weird that something just magically switched for me.

      Thanks for the support :)

  • i want to repeat the encouragement you are getting from the masses here.. great job!

    anyone can start a workout plan or diet .. i know that i have started both dozens of times in the past year.. it is the fortitude to stick with it after life throws you curveballs (sicknesses, busy times at work), that will bring you success..

    you can do it.. you are off to a great start.

    • Thanks! And while, yes, I’m counting calories, I don’t consider this a diet at all. I’m just trying to add more fruits and veggies to meals and still enjoy the things I love but in smaller portions. We’ll see how it goes!

  • Good for you!! Losing the weight now will make your summer that much more enjoyable. Use the blog the keep yourself accountable and let us tell you how proud we are of you :)

    • Aww, I hope you guys can be proud! But I’ll kick my own butt, if I don’t make myself proud first. :)

  • I’m so proud of you! If you can take control of your finances you can take control of your weight. Trust me it is not easy but it will be worth it. Just like anything else we work hard for. If you ever need someone to talk to or motivate you please let me know! Email or tweet me. I will always be here for you =) And an online workout buddy if you will.

    • Ooo, I could definitely use another online workout buddy! I may take you up on that, girl. Thanks for your comment :)

  • Great post! I’ve been wanting to lose weight for years now but haven’t been able to find the motivation to work out. Good for you for going in the mornings – my plan has been to go after work but I get soo tired and then Seinfeld is on.. it’s a challenge!

    • haha, see? It’s so easy to make excuses after work! It’s not always easy to make myself get out of bed in the morning, but once my gym clothes are on I’m ready to go! Thanks for your comment :)

  • Hi Cait

    I’ve been following your blog for a while and I really appreciate your honesty about how you are managing your money and your weight. I’ve been trying to understand my relationship with food and I’ve just recently come across this book, Women Food and God by Geneen Roth, and it has absolutely changed my view of myself, my values and my relationship with food. Your library should definitely have it.

    Good luck!

    • Wow, you’re the second person to mention a book by that author, Karolina. Thanks for the suggestion and your comment!

  • I just want to say I’ve been reading your blog for a little while and I appreciate your commitment to saving! Being able to relate to this post I wanted to comment. I’m about your height and weight and I’ve been battling it for years! I finally decided that I want to eat healthier and I’ve made that change. I just need to start working out more. Although I haven’t seen a drop in pant size, my belt has to go tighter than usual.

    Its awesome and very inspiring that your making it to the gym so often, keep it up! :D

    • The little things, like needing to tighten your belt more, are almost better than seeing any weight loss. You just start to feel more comfortable in your skin. Thanks for your support!

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  • Just wanted to add my voice to the encouragement, and thank you so much for the link to LoseIt! I have signed up and so far – day two! – i like where it’s headed.

    With regards to your following post, I say don’t worry about the extra money because if you pay less for a gym you don’t like, you won’t go, so think of that extra annual $110 as an investment in yourself.

    I’m looking forward to reading about your progress. Just remember, you’ve done it before so you know you can do it again.

    • Making an investment in myself is hard to do, after going into debt with that same mentality, haha… but you’re right, it’s worth it if I continue going to one gym over the other. Thanks!

  • love this. I use the same app and I find just being able to add something makes me more motivated to go to the gym! The calorie counting is the hardest part when you have a bf who loves to consume vast amounts of ribs and beer!

    I also use the app Flat Belly Recipes- you can’t go wrong if you love nuts and avocado.

    • Ooo, I’ll have to check that out. Thanks, Natalie! (And I’m not sure if I could do this with a boyfriend at all, haha… good luck!)

  • Wow, great post! I haven’t had any huge ‘aha’ moments yet, but I’m sure they will start coming soon :). Keep us posted on your progress… it looks like you have a lot of cheerleaders here :)

    • I’ve written papers on aha moments… you think I would’ve recognized it, when I had one! haha

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