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Reader questions answered

Posted by Elizabeth Comeau  October 3, 2012 08:48 AM

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I'll have a post soon on how my half marathon training is going (so those of you who always tweet me asking how my long runs are going, thank you!). But first I decided that today we'd do something a bit different.

The amount of e-mails I'm getting asking various questions about who I am, what I do, and my personal fitness and diet habits are really starting to pile up. And since I can't answer every e-mail, I decided to pull out a few of the questions you've asked me and answer them as honestly as I can.

Topics range from my former-fat-kid status, what I eat, why I settled on running, and more.

Ready? Here we go:

Q1: In all of your blog updates you've never actually posted what you weigh. Are you ashamed of the number?

My answer: Nope. Not ashamed of the number -- ashamed of what the number was when I started? Sure. Now? Nope, because I'm still a work-in-progress. I've intentionally left the number out of my posts because a number on the scale is not what matters most to me. I've said that before. I'm not doing this to fit into skinny jeans, or to hit a number on a scale. I'm doing this for me: To get fit, become the healthiest version of myself, and do everything I can to ensure I'll be around long enough to see my toddler have children, and those children have children. But, if you must know the numbers: When I started this blog I was 185. This morning I clocked in at 130. That's 55 pounds gone. There it is. No shame.

Q2: You have talked about the MyPlate guidelines and trying hard to follow them, but how well do you do, really? I mean, I could lose weight and eat doughnuts as long as I stayed within a certain number of calories. What are you actually eating?
LoseItFood.jpgMy answer: It's hard to show you via a blog what I'm eating, but I've been asked this question enough times now that I started tweeting what I'm eating (who knew you guys cared about what I shove down my gullet!). Sometimes I forget to tweet my food, but if you look at the stream, you'll see there are no doughnuts in there. Sure, you'll see the occasional treat (hey, I'm human!), but overall, I try to eat whole, unprocessed foods as often as I can. Plus, if you read this blog often, you already know I also log everything using Lose It (the company we are partnering with for our Hometown Wellness Showdown). If you are really that curious about my food habits, find me via friend search on Lose It and friend me, that way you can see my food log in greater depth.

Q3: You've called yourself a "former fat-kid" a few times in the blog. Why?
My answer: This name for myself is not meant to be demeaning, but rather to illustrate that weight and fitness are things I've struggled with my entire life. I was always an active child, but I never paid attention to what I ate. I just ate whatever was around. Now, I make very deliberate choices about what goes in to my body so that it performs at it's peak. The saying that you can't put cheap gas in a Ferrari and expect it to run as well as it should is something I apply to my body. If I put junk in, I'll run and feel like junk. It's a personal choice. The "former fat-kid" name is something I call myself to remind me that it's a lifestyle I don't want back. "Former" means in the past -- I'd like to keep it that way -- the name is a little reminder of where I've been and where I'd like to end up.

Q4. What's your favorite type of activity to do for exercise and why -- I know you run a lot but you have said it's not your first choice if you could only do one thing?
My answer: That's true. I took up running because it was something I never thought I could do and have always wanted to try. I used to hate it. Do I enjoy it now? Absolutely, yes. But, when push comes to shove and I could pick any form of exercise it would be rowing. Hands down. There's something so magical and unique about quiet of the morning on the Charles River and the sound of an oar slicing through that silence with each stroke through the water. Plus, psychically it is extremely hard work. Your entire body works (hard) when you row. Running is great because I can pretty much do it anywhere with nothing more than some sneakers. But rowing is a passion of mine. If I can ever figure out how to juggle to fit it back into my work/exercise life balance, I'll be pumped. Still working on that ...

Q5. Why don't you ever write about classes you take or anything like that?
My answer: I don't write about any because I don't take any (at the moment). My schedule is just crazy enough that actually finding a class that works with my work-life balance has proven nearly impossible. Given the wide array of fitness classes in the Boston area, I would love to sign up for several classes, but between work, my family, and occasionally getting some sleep (supplemented by coffee consumption) classes just aren't in the cards. This part of the blog is about my fitness journey. However, we are working on a new feature that we hope will highlight some of the awesome fitness offerings in the city and beyond to whet your appetite for that, so stay tuned.

Q6: How do you motivate yourself to get up so early?
My answer: If questions I've gotten were like frequent flyers, this guy would have a million travel points racked up ... that's how often I am asked this question. Bottom line: I'm a morning person. Always have been, always will be. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy late nights out from time to time, but 99 percent of the time I'm in bed by 10 p.m. I wake up at 4:15 every day -- and even weekends I don't really sleep in. I still get up by about 5 a.m. to fit in a workout before the rest of my household wakes up. In high school, I was the child who woke up before her parents and padded downstairs to make her breakfast and brew them coffee. In college, I had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. for crew practice. I get my best work done in the morning. By about 1 p.m., though, I hit that mid-afternoon slump. I'm a morning exerciser. If I didn't do it in the morning, it wouldn't get done. That alone is my sole motivation for working out and waking up so early. I also am a planner. I lay out everything I need for running, and pack my lunch and lay out my clothes for work. I am like clockwork. My daily routine is fairly regimented simply because I know what works for me.

You all have such interesting questions, and I really appreciate them. Feel free to e-mail me or drop a comment on the blog any time. What else are you dying to know?

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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