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Kari Blouin of Snohomish (Alternate)

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Week Twelve - FINAL

Starting Goal: I want to begin and maintain a healthier lifestyle, including eating better and exercising more. Do you feel that you accomplished your goal? I am proud to say that I finally feel that I have taken control of my own health.  I know how to make healthy food choices for my family and I.  I have gotten into a good exercise routine, where I feel good about the fact that I have pushed myself farther than I ever thought I could! What are your goals for the future? My goal for the future, is to continue what I have started. Exercising on a regular basis, and making good food choices.  I want to be a good role model for my children. I want to say thank you to the YMCA and the Everett Herald for allowing me to participate in this challenge.  It has truly changed my life.

Week Nine

The most challenging thing for me this week is that I have been sick for most of the week. I have only exercised a couple times this week. I am so thankful for the extra rest and time off for the holiday weekend, but I am anxious to get back into my routine this coming week!

Week Eight

This week the most challenging thing was the break from my normal "Y" routine. I did manage to get up and get on my treadmill before work. And most of the days I used it again at night. So that was a great accomplishment. We also went camping again this weekend. I did get up and go for a good bike ride on Saturday, so that was a great accomplishment. My goal for next week is to mix up my workout a bit. I think I may try swimming laps in the morning a couple days this week. It's something I've wanted to try because my knee has been bothering me. So, this will be a good way to give it a break while still getting my work out in! My tip for everyone would be to remember that this is not a "diet", it is a new way of life. It's about creating a new healthy habit that will eventually start becoming second nature!

Week Seven

This week, the most challenging part was being away from home, on our church camping trip. There are so many food temptations! And although I wasn't perfect, there were so many things that I DIDN"T eat that I really wanted to! My greatest accomplishment this week, was actually exercising every day, despite being away from home. The first day of camping, my work out buddy and I got up and went for a jog through the campground. Our kids tagged along on their bikes. We even ran up and down the big hill a couple of times. The second day we took a bike ride. The kids tagged along again, which was great until they got tired. Not the best workout that day, but at least it was something! The third day we decided to get up at the crack of dawn to go on a harder bike ride. So up we were before it was light out, in an effort to get the workout in before the kids woke up. We rode up a huge long long long hill and finally down another huge hill. Took a short break at the bottom and turned around and rode up the hill we had just rode down. Turns out that one was much harder than the first one was. Thank you Chris at the "Y" for all those hills during cycling class! I was exhausted and proud when I was done. Although it has been slow progress losing weight, it was a great moment to realize that I have made huge accomplishments as far as my endurance and strength. I AM getting healthier! My goal for the coming week is to really focus on the foods I eat. I want to be very intentional in what I put in my mouth. My other goal is to get up and exercise at home in the morning and then visit one of the other "Y"'s in the afternoon. My regular routine will be disrupted a little because my normal "Y" is closed for the annual maintenance this week. This will push me to try new things though, so I look forward to that.

Week Six

This week has been better than last week. Last week I was feeling a bit frustrated. I am realizing how much I beat myself up for not being perfect. This week I wasn't perfect either, but I have realized that this is life! It's not just about this 12 week span of time during the challenge. I have to find a system that is going to work for me for life. And I am going to have to figure it out by trial and error. Right now my system for the beginning of the week is sound and has become a habit. I feel really good about it. My system for the end of the week needs some reworking-but I am confident that I will find a routine that works for me. I think the most challenging thing about this week was the temptation from my husband to eat out. We did eat out, and I probably ate more than I should have. But I at least talked him out of the blizzard he wanted to coax me into on one of the hot nights this last week! This coming week we will be camping, which brings new challenges. Fortunately my work out partner & her family will be camping with us too, so her & I have planned to run or bike together early in the morning before everyone else gets up. I am happy to have a plan for success, and someone to help keep me on track. In summary, I can't believe that we are half way through. I would love to see the scale start moving a little faster in the right direction, but I feel good about what I have accomplished so far. I am able to feel my progress while I am running and I am able to keep up with the rest of the class a little more easily. I am able to feel definition in my muscles. I can see more definition in my cheekbones. As long as I focus on my accomplishments I will continue to move in the right direction. I am gaining control of my own life and health-finally!

Week Five

I need a do-over for Week 5. This has been a terrible week! I feel like I am back to square one. Very frustrating! It started out just fine, but by Thursday I had gone back to my old habits of eating to calm my anxiety, stress, and whatever other feelings I didn't want to be feeling. This of course led to the guilt, which also caused snacking and bad food choices. This led to the disappointment in myself and grumpiness that I had blown it so badly, which led to more bad food choices...and the cycle continued for the rest of the week. I am now desperately trying to get my mind back on track, knowing that my body will follow. I am fighting that feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. I have wasted precious time & gone backwards. I must have a better plan for the week ahead. I need to have an outlet for this stress. I need to be able to make it past the difficult days of the week (Thursdays & Fridays) without undoing what I have worked so hard to do at the beginning of the week. So, here I come week 6. You will not defeat me! Goals for this week: 1. Write down everything I consume & plan my meals ahead of time. 2. Get on the treadmill each night this week.

Week Four

The most challenging part of my week was attending a birthday party. I avoided the appetizers and stuck with the healthier choices during the meal. I told myself that I wouldn't be eating the cake, but when the time came it was hard to resist. I had some! But the good news is that I only ate half of it before my willpower kicked in and I threw the rest away. That is definitely a step in the right direction. As far as my goals, I did write down my food most of the week. This helped me keep on track and the scale rewarded me well! This week my goal will be to get up on Thursday and Friday mornings to work out at home before work. These are my 2 most challenging days to fit exercise into my schedule. My intention is always to do it at the end of the day, but that seems to be more easily said than done. To sum up this week, it was a good one. I'm glad that I pushed through the challenges of last week. I am looking forward to another good week this week!

Week Three

The most challenging thing for me this week was everything! Everything seemed harder this week for some reason. From writing down what I ate to exercising, I really struggled. I felt a lot of stress and fatigue, which of course didn't help in the self control department. My biggest accomplishment this week was reaching my running goal of 6 minutes! Another accomplishment is that I added in the strength training exercises twice this week. I am starting to see and feel the results of my efforts, which is really encouraging. I had this cute top hanging in my closet that I don't know if I had ever worn. I had been afraid to wear it because I didn't want anyone to mistakenly think I was pregnant. This week I was able to wear it to work and actually received compliments in it! Next week my goals are to 1. write down what I eat 2. increase my running time to 8 minutes 3. Include strength training 3x this week. To sum up my week... I am realizing that this journey is really just about many of the same small choices over and over again. I can choose to eat something unhealthy to feel good for a moment, only to feel bad about it later, or I can choose to eat something healthy and feel proud of my choice and the results it brings. I can choose to go to that 5:30am cardio class and feel energized the rest of the day, or I can choose to sleep in. I really don't think that on my death bed I'm going to be missing that milk shake that I could've had back in July 2010 or remember the morning I could've slept in longer! But if I don't make wise choices now, I could certainly be regretting those poor choices later on.

Week Two

This was a challenging week for me. The biggest thing was that my stress level was high both at work and at home. This tends to hinder my ability to think rationally when it comes to food. I found myself wanting to snack more as my stress levels increased. I need to find a more useful way to deal with these situations. I do have a big accomplishment this week. My goal from last week was to increase the time I could run non-stop on the treadmill to 3 minutes. I actually pushed myself, and was able to make it to 4 minutes! Next week I will increase this goal to 6 minutes. Another accomplishment this week was that I intentionally added some kind of physical activity into each day. Monday I went to cardio blast class at the Y. Tuesday the group cycling class. Wednesday back to the cardio blast class. Thursday the mini trampline while watching tv, Friday & Saturday the treadmill, and Sunday walking the dogs with my husband. I am feeling really good about the changes I am making so far!

Week One

This week of the challenge started off great! Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday I kept track of what I was eating and intentionally made time to exercise. Thursday started well, but hit a snag in the evening. It was my husbands birthday, which meant eating out with the family. While I thought I had made good food choices, when I later figured out the calories I had consumed, I quickly realized that I had hugely underestimated the calories of my meal! Friday we were out of town all day. I didn't eat as well as I would have liked, and didn't get much exercise that day either. But, Saturday and Sunday I was back to a routine and feeling much better about my diet and exercise choices! The most challenging part of the week: Planning and packing meals ahead when I knew I'd be gone all day. Biggest accomplishment: Getting back on track right away when I've had a less than perfect day. In the past that's been hard for me. Goal for next week: Be able to run 3 minutes non-stop on the treadmill.

Beginning of Challenge:

Goal: My 12 week goals are to lose 30 pounds, find my waist, and be able to run 10 minutes straight.
Age: 37
Weight: 217 lbs
Height: 5' 8''

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