Thursday, March 03, 2011

Team Challenge Honoree

I have been asked by TEAM CHALLENGE ILLINOIS to be an honoree. Team Challenge is a group of people that will be training for a half Marathon in July. They will be part of this team and will be fundraising to raise money to further the research that may lead one day to a cure for Chron's and Colitis.

As most of you know I was diagnosed with Chron's disease in October. It took me until the end of December to be ok with that. I was in denial. I wanted to go back to eating what I wanted and working out how I wanted. I didn't want to have to worry about my stomach. I didn't want to be different. Once I moved beyond my diagnosis I started looking for answers and The Chron's and Colitis Foundation of America is a great website that I found. They have lots of information and lots of help on there. That is also where I found info about Team Challenge.

I really wanted to train for the 1/2 marathon with the team, but realized with me moving in June it would not be a possibility, so I told Junnie that maybe I could be part of Team Challenge New England when I move and that is when she asked if I would like to be an honoree and share my story at the Team Challenge Illinois informational meetings. I didn't think that I would have much to offer since I was just at the beginning of my journey,but she assured me I could help encourage others with my story, so I said yes.

Here is the write up they have on their website:

Melissa Black has had stomach problems since her late teens, however, she brushed off stomach pains thinking they were the result of poor eating habits. She never sought out doctors care because she was afraid they would just tell her she was overweight.

In 2008, after watching her mother die of cancer, Melissa finally decided to change her lifestyle and set up a doctor's appointment. She worked hard to lose 106 pounds, but Melissa's stomach pains became unbearably worse. Finally, she was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in 2010.

After a slow period of acceptance, Melissa has decided to share her story with the world. She is training for her first Iron Man in August 2011 and inspiring Team Illinois and many others who suffer from Crohn's or colitis!

I look forward to speaking at these informational meetings this month and look forward to being part of Team Challenge Illinois. I hope that through my story I can encourage others with Chron's to stay active and do and be all that can be even with the challenges that having Chron's presents.

Even though I will not be running the 1/2 marathon with them in July I will be running my own 1/2 Marathon with my brother in Ohio. I will be wearing my TEAM CHALLENGE jersey and will be doing this race to raise awareness about Chron's and Colitis and raise money to help in researching for a cure. Stay tuned for another post about giving to my fundraising efforts for such a great cause.

Here are all the informational meetings if you would like to come here me speak or get info on joining the team.

11:00 a.m. Saturday, March 5,2011
Fleet Feet Sports- Pipers Alley
1620 N. Wells Street, Chicago, IL 60614

6:00 p.m. Thursday, March 10, 2011
REI - Chicago
1466 N. Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60642

6:30p.m. Monday, March 14, 2011
Whole Foods-Naperville
2607 W. 75th Street, Naperville, IL 60540

6:00p.m. Wednesday, March 16, 2011
REI - Schaumburg
1209 E. Golf Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173

11:00 a.m. Saturday, March 26, 2011
Fleet Feet Sports - Lincoln Square
4762 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

I have a wicked sweet tooth

I was just in Southern California from Feb. 23rd-28th. I had a lot of time to reflect on my life, where it's been, where I'm at, and where I want to go.

I was in California for a wedding. Lots of family and childhood friends were there. I went to Disneyland, a rehearsal dinner, a wedding, a wedding reception, a dinner after the reception, a hotel with Keith, and then flew home. There were lots of opportunities to eat and there were lots of sweets.

I worked out three times while I was there and two of my favorite times were swimming outside in February. When I swim I think about a lot of things and my weight loss was one of those. I have been very frustrated with my current weight gain. For those of you that follow my journey know that I lost 106 pounds and know that I gained 40 of it back after getting sick and diagnosed with Chron's disease. I was told by doctors and numerous people that the weight would just fall off after I went off the steroids. Well, I have been off steroids for awhile now and the weight still isn't coming off.

With all the working out that I do, the weight should be coming off, and it's not really. Yes, here and there I am having some weight loss success, but really not what I should be, so on the plane ride home I really revaluated what is going on in my life as far as my eating and my weight loss efforts.

I came to this main conclusion. I HAVE A WICKED SWEET TOOTH. I got into some really bad, old habits when I was sick and couldn't really eat anything healthy. Sweets were ok for me to eat, according to the doctor, and I took advantage of that. I have been having sweets everyday basically and the thing is, is that I can't just have one or one serving. I have to have the whole package or a lot of whatever it is. I saw this happen more than once in California.

I have also noticed that I have let my portions get big again, so I have committed to these three things and need your help holding me accountable:

1. I am having no sweets except for gum and the occasional Latte (which is only 4 points on WW) until I go on a trip at the beginning of April. The reason I say until that trip is because my best friend, Darlene, and I are going on our 25 year Friendiversary trip to Hershey Pennsylvania. I have to have a little bit of chocolate while I am there. I will not be going crazy there, but will be having some.

After that I will have no sweets until May 15th, my 1/2 marathon and then after that I will allow myself one sweet thing per week on Saturday or Sunday One thing that I love about Weight Watchers is that you can eat whatever you want on the program as long as you figure out the points. However, sweets have become a problem for me, so I will be taking a break for a month and see how it goes after that.

2. As I looked back over my eating journal I noticed that I have not been paying close attention to my portion sizes. So, I am committing to measuring and weighing everything that goes into my mouth. I don't know how long I will do this, but I will do it until I get my portions under control.

3. I have also committed to eating lower carbs in my diet. I feel like the more carbs I eat the more I want them. Most of my carbs will be coming from fruits and veggies and that I will eat higher protein. I know that some of you may have a problem with this, but I need to do what is best for me and this is it. I know my body and know what I need to do.

This journey is not an easy one. The day it gets easy is the day I need to worry. There is always something that I can adjust and make better. There is always something to learn. If I want to be an Ironman, I need to tweek these areas now, so I can make my dreams become reality. No amount of sweets that I eat will taste as sweet as crossing the finish line at Ironman 2012.