Tuesday, December 18, 2012

New Motivations and Old Habits

As this year wraps up, I've been thinking about the progress I made... and then the progress I completely erased. It's scary to realize how quickly it can all reverse itself! Photos from just early summer and spring seem different to one I took last week (and hated). The difference: 15 or so pounds. I'm only 5'2" so even 5 lbs shows up on me. 15 lbs has resulted in a new jean size...

It really easy to start making excuses and it's really hard to stop falling back into them. Well I'm on a trip so it's OK. But then my entire month of October was spent traveling. That's really the turning point in all of this. Up until September, I was hovering around 160 give or take 2 lbs. My clothes still fit and I was happy with my weight lifting progress. Then an entire month spend hopping around the country for work and personal vacations got me into lazy mode. Eating out, skipping workouts, eating what other people were eating, and drinking lots of beer. And my mindset completely shifted back to what it was before I tried to lose weight. It was indifference and it was going with my what stomach was telling me instead of my brain.

The end result of all of this is that now I weigh 173.4 lbs of this morning. That's a weight I haven't seen since I was losing the 60 lbs I lost all in one go between February to December 2010. I ended that year around 150 lbs. I ended last year around 152 or so lbs I think. And I'm ending this year up about 20 lbs from that. I have a bit more muscle now, but certainly not 20 lbs of it. Maybe 2 or 3.

Here's my chart... notice a trend?
It's like doing OK, weight lifting so it goes up somewhat in Feb-April and then I'm doing great through June. And then summer hits, I don't log the couple lbs I put on, finally fess up to it in September. And then there's November. Yep, I'm screwed. Why after 2 years of maintaining did I suddenly just give up? Part of it is laziness for sure. And the other part is that it is SO frustrating that I can't just be normal. I'm always formerly fat and I have to watch my diet and exercise a lot more than someone who has been a normal weight their entire life. It was disheartening to see that even if I don't pay full attention to it for a month, this is what happens. And now I have to go through the months of losing it again.

Here's the photo taken last weekend. I loved the dress, but I hated how it was tight around my hips and my face looked a lot heavier than in my other photos. And given how my pants have been fitting lately, I can tell where all the weight went.

So, here's my goal. One pound a week. At that rate, I'm looking at 3 months. Maybe it will be more, maybe it will be less, but by Springtime when I have to put away the sweaters I've been hiding in, I want to look good. I really wanted to be under 170 for New Years, and it's still possible if I stop screwing myself over every weekend. I want a different photo in that dress again, with a thinner face and less pooch around the middle! I really hate to be THAT person who gets back into gear for New Years, so I'm starting this week instead. I tried to start like 3 weeks ago, managed to lose like 2 lbs and then put it all back on again. No more screwing around. I'm trying to save money too, so buying bigger clothes is not an option!!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

The 80/20 Rule Doesn't Work...

...when that 20% is bad enough to COMPLETELY cancel out the 80%!

Or when it becomes 70/30, 60/40... well you get the idea.

So this summer I started out doing amazing with my New Rules of Lifting for Women program, I was fitting in my size 6 jeans, and in general I felt pretty good in my bikini. 80/20 rule was going well, my weekdays were on point and I wasn't going too overboard on the weekends so I was maintaining where I wanted to be.

Then come July, work started getting busy, I did some traveling, I did stuff with my boyfriend in the middle of the week, etc. So 80/20 started to slip and my weekdays were getting worse and my weekends even more so. To the point where in August I got sick for an entire week (no gym at all), travelled even more and only got 2-3 workouts in a week. DEFINITELY not enough to cancel out my weekends.

So, it's back to basics. The result of my 60/40, 50/50, whatever problems was a 5 pound weight gain (UGH!) and my size 6 jeans not fitting at all at the moment. I didn't notice it that much because I wear dresses all summer and I was enjoying myself (a little too much I think). Now that it's just about Fall, I would like my pants and tops to fit properly, and even look awesome, so things have got to change.

I know what works, I've done this whole thing several times over. I can finally see the results of my heavy weight lifting program that I started back in February. It's very empowering to be hauling around 100 lb barbells like it's nothing (well, sort of, haha) and I have some defined arm and back muscles. I'm a regular fixture in the weight section of the gym and people have been commenting on my progress. Now that I've reached that point, I think it's time to balance it out with more cardio. I still have more fat loss to go, my beautiful muscles that I've worked so hard on are hiding underneath the fat!!! What's the point of that?? I want to fit in those size 6 jeans! I want the scale to go back to 155-157! And most importantly, I don't want to erase what I have worked really hard for in the last 2 1/2 years.

If I want to look at it positively, exactly 2 years ago this month I reached 160 lbs for the first time in my adult life, and I've kept it there since. I was even around 150 for a while before I took up the weight training instead of killing myself with cardio. I know I can get myself there, it's just going to require cutting back on all the cheating that I've allowed myself. I can still have beer, but when you throw in a hamburger and onion rings it's just really over the top. I only have 2 stages left in my New Rules program and I would love to have some impressive after photos. Right now my stomach is bigger than I would like so I've got more work to do.

My goal in the next few weeks is to get down to under 160 lbs again. I also want to finish Stage 6 of the NROLFW by time I leave for a week in Colorado on Sunday, Oct 7th. My birthday/anniversary with my boyfriend is on October 22nd and I want to look my best!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Hazards of Summer

I really do love summer... time to do lots of different activities, people coming to visit, spending the evenings going out when it's not too hot. But that comes with less time for the gym, more opportunities for eating (and drinking) off my plan, and weekends where I'm out and about. The end result is that I've gained back a few pounds and I'm not pleased.

I managed to survive spring with getting to the gym at least 3 days a week, if not 4. I did my strength training and cardio, plus I didn't do too bad with food. I was able to stay between 156-158 for several months. Now I'm up above 160 and it's been that way for a few weeks. Pretty much all downhill from the 4th of July... and I know I'm completely in control of my destiny (and the scale), but for some reason summer just kills my motivation. It's too hot for the gym, I want a mojito, I want to go out with my boyfriend in the middle of the week. I want to LIVE A LITTLE! I'd be OK with the scale if I knew strength training was still happening 3 times a week, but it hasn't been. 2 has been the usual, some weeks one! This week I caught a nasty cold and it kept me out of the gym Mon-Wed.

And all I keep thinking to myself is excuses, excuses! I am fully capable of making better choices, getting to the gym more, not picking unhealthy food when I go out. I've been doing this for 2 1/2 years, its not rocket science :P

I think I need to reassess a few things. First off is my food. I tend to sabotage myself, especially around the boyfriend. We've gotten much better about cooking healthy dinners together on Sunday night, but I need to be better about what I do Fri-Sun afternoon. We need to be more active too, fall will be great for that when the heat subsides, but even now we can go to the pool or walk around indoors somewhere. When I'm by myself during the week, I'm terrible about nibbling on treats or going overboard on carbs. And I need to get to the gym 4 days a week again. Kickball takes up my Thursday nights, so Mon-Wed and Friday need to be gym days.

And I need to stop making excuses. With the exception of having a cold this week, lately my motivation to get to the gym has been slacking. Doing the easy thing and just eating junk food isn't going to cut it when I know I can do better. And the excuse that it's too hard to try and find healthier alternatives is kind of BS. I finally managed to take a plain chicken breast and make it taste delicious, no pre-bought chicken breast and it's healthier! I will bring my lunch to work every day possible (like today I packed a lunch to go to a coworker's going away lunch at a pizza place). And I will stop having bad snacks in the evening. I should really just throw out the ice cream in the freezer...

I know what to do. I just need to follow through with it! I really would like to lose these couple pounds over the next few weeks. It's not impossible. I know once they start to creep back on it's a slippery slope. I'm nipping it in the butt asap before it's 10 extra lbs. I can deal with 3.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

NROLFW Phase 4 Done and Needing a Shakeup

It took over a month, but I finally finished Phase 4 for the New Rules of Lifting for Women program. 4th of July holiday gave me a week off and an incredibly hectic schedule cut my lifting days down to 2 a week (some weeks only 1!).

And now I'm starting to see the rather unfortunate effects of that. I haven't taken new measurements, but I'm fairly certain they would have gone up. The scale was hovering around 159 in the past 2 weeks, but this weekend of travel, a wedding, traveling back and trying to submit a proposal for work by 11:59pm on Monday night had me eating fast food or restaurant food just about every meal. And now I'm at 163! ACK!!! I know its probably water retention, but it frustrates me slightly that I'm veering off track half way through the program.

I knew 7 phases would be long, but I saw really amazing progress between Phase 1-3. Then towards the end of 3 and all through 4, I slacked off and summer hit. My strength has at least gotten a bit better, I've continued to increase my weight on most exercises, but my inches haven't shrunk and the scale has inched up a pound or two. I think this needs to be a bit of a wake up call to get back on track so I can really see some results by the end of all 7 phases. I still want a flatter stomach and toned arms, but right now there's extra fat hiding all my hard work with the weights.

So coming up for Phase 5, I have a few goals.

1.) Get the scale back down to a reasonable number (156-158) through cleaner eating and less junk food/fast food/extra treats etc. Yes, it's summer and I really love the local custard ice cream from Del Ray, but things like that need to be a treat and not something we do every time. My weekends are still going to be busy, but I really need to focus on not letting myself go during the week too.

2.) Start to cook my dinners again. I've been cheating and having a protein shake as my dinner lately because I don't want to cook. While it's OK on occasion, it's probably not good to replace every dinner with it. I'm going to make healthy chicken breast with some veggies or quinoa or something.

3.) Get to the gym or workout 4 days a week MINIMUM! And I want to try to be more active on the weekends with my boyfriend, go kayaking or for a walk in DC or something that gets us up and moving. It'll benefit the both of us. I'm not going to see results from NROLFW if I can't get at least 2 strength workouts in a week, 3 is preferable.

4.) Stop the excuses. I know perfectly well what I'm doing. I know how many calories I'm eating, I know when I make bad choices, when I choose to nap instead of working out. Those aren't going to make me happier with myself unless I do something positive to change it.

And here's a few highlights from Phase 4 with strength progress.

Deadlift - 115lbs to 135 lbs
Underhand lateral pulldown - 105lbs to 115lbs
Step ups - 30 lbs per hand using a box that goes up to my knees to 15 lbs per hand on a box that goes halfway up my thighs (it's a BIG step up!)
Front squat/push press - 55lbs to 60 lbs
Dumbbell prone Cuban snatch - 15 lbs per arm to 20 lbs per arm

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Minor Rebellion

Have you ever had a day where you want to throw all the healthy stuff out the window and just do whatever you want for once? Not having to worry about spending an hour+ at the gym after work, or staring at a menu for 5 minutes trying to find the healthiest option, or walking past the box of donuts that your coworker brought in to share. Or even just something as simple as drinking something other than water with your meal!

I may have had a day like that yesterday. It was 99 degrees out, my gym has crappy air conditioning, and I just wanted to eat some Chick Fil A and get a small cup of ice cream with it, while skipping the gym after work since I didn't want to die. And I did it. Still stayed around my calories, and I did walk around the mall on my lunch and around Town Center after work so I wasn't completely sedentary.

And ya know what, the world didn't stop turning! And the scale didn't shatter when I stepped on it this morning... it was actually down to 158.3, which is the lowest I've seen all week. And I REALLY enjoyed the cup of ice cream and having a small bottle of beer with my dinner.

I think sometimes we get so caught up in being PERFECT with trying to lose weight/be healthy/reduce body fat %/whatever your goal may be, that we forget that it's not really something we're going to do every single day of the rest of our lives. There will be hot days where all you want is a beer and an ice cream cup, and there will be days where all you want to do is hit the gym and sweat it out. I've had both. I logged what I had yesterday, and I didn't wake up this morning hating myself for "stepping out of line" for a day.

The most important part of this whole journey is to think about the long term. I've been maintaining my 60-ish lb weight loss for nearly a year and a half now. If I tried to stick to 1200 calories a day, crazy cardio, gym 6 days a week, etc, I'd completely rebel and regress back into old habits. But if I let myself have a mini rebellion day every now and then, a beer, an ice cream, skipping the gym, eating out with the boyfriend, etc. it keeps me sane! And it's not enough of an impact to throw the scale into oblivion. I bounce back, I get motivated the next day to continue, and that's the most important thing. I admit sometimes I give myself a little too much rope and end up hanging myself (i.e. the scale freaks out for a week or something), but I pick up where I left off.

I just wanted to explain my thought process on long term success. I know many people on here are still in weight loss mode... but what happens when you're near or at your goal? You still have the rest of your life to deal with it! I like being a voice for the maintainers, since it's not a voice you here as often. My victories are in a new weight for my deadlift, or surviving a week away without gaining 5 lbs in the process. And just being happy to buy clothing that is 5 sizes smaller than I was 3 years ago. It's all about balance and seeing progress in those things.

And yes, eating a cup of ice cream every once in a while!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

NROLFW Phase 3 Results

So here's what happens if you dilligently do all the workouts, increase your weights.... and eat and drink terribly on the weekends. You lose 0.5" total. LOL!

So Phase 3 was only 3 weeks long, 8 workouts total... and definitely a buttkicking. I really liked Workout A, and Workout B took some effort to make it a challenge (all that ab stuff, bleck). I have mastered the Body Weight Matrix, and my thighs apparently have responded since they're the only area of my body that lost inches! I will say that my legs in general look much more toned lately, and more lean. I usually have chunky thighs and chubby calves, but they're transforming into muscle and I like it.

As for the other half of the equation, my eating hasn't been great the 3 weeks of this phase. I had weekend travel, 2 Nationals MLB baseball games, long weekends with the boyfriend when we'd eat out or drink beer. I had an awesome time, but it didn't help much for trying to lose weight or inches. It just goes to show how you can work your butt off in the gym, but if you don't balance it with eating right, it won't do a darn thing for the scale!!! (or the measuring tape in my case).

I'm more hopefuly for this Phase. As much as my boyfriend rocks, he's not around this weekend since his mom is visiting and that means I won't be tempted to go overboard. I can control my meals better and I won't drink as much (if at all). That should go a long way in getting back on track. The following weekend I'm in Jersey for 5 days for 4th of July and since there's usually not food in the house, I don't eat much, LOL! I will have to take a break from my NROLFW workouts while I'm home tho, but I'll still try to get to the gym at least once with my sister to do a regular workout. My next big event is my cousin's wedding on July 21st and I want to be looking my best! So... I've got a month to get there, hopefully I'll have just finished up Phase 4 that week.

If anyone is interested, here's my progress with the workouts in Phase 3. I'm rather proud of my incline bench press, 60 lbs is a lot for a tiny girl like me! The guys probably thought I was going to drop them on my head, hahaha. Nope! I also can finally hold a plank for 90 seconds, but it hurts!!!

Workout A
One Arm Dumbbell Snatch - 30 lbs to 35 lbs
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift - 30 lbs in each hand to 35 lbs (60 to 70 lbs total)
Barbell Bent Over Row - 60 lbs to 85 lbs
Single Arm Overhead Squat - 15 lbs above, 30 lbs below to 20 above, 30 below
Incline Bench Press - 25 lbs each arm to 30 lbs each arm (50 to 60 lbs total)
Plank - Holding it for 70 seconds to holding it for 90 seconds, whoot!
Reverse Wood Chop - 50 lbs to 60 lbs
BWM - Slowest time was 2m 24sec, fastest time was 1m 25sec!

Workout B
Deadlift/Bent Over Row - 65 lbs to 80 lbs
Single Leg Squat (used the box) - 15 lbs in each hand to 25 lbs
Wide Grip Lat Pulldown - 100lbs to 115 lbs
Back Extension - Holding a 12 lb medicine ball to a 25 lb plate
YTWL (bane of my existance) - Stuck with 8lbs the whole time
Swiss Ball Crunch - Held a 25 lbs plate over my head the whole time

Thursday, June 7, 2012

No One's Perfect

I realized I haven't blogged in a while, mainly because I've been on the same roller coaster that I'm always on. Strength training has become my main workout activity and I'm loving it. I'm used to eating more calories on a daily basis and getting enough protein. And I still have my weekends and my days where all my best intentions go completely to crap and I start the week up a few pounds.

Like this week.

The day before Memorial Day I managed to get to 156.6 lbs. I felt tiny, my bikini looked good, and I was coming off a week where I had managed to workout all 5 days after work. And then came Memorial Day weekend. I didn't do too terrible, since we cooked our own meals quite a bit and only ate out twice in 3 full days. We did drink, but it wasn't excessive. Then the week after I only got 2 workouts in because of my schedule and I left for Boston early on Friday morning. Travel ALWAYS throws me for a loop, and despite my best intentions and efforts, I was up a few pounds on Monday. And then Tuesday was a baseball game where I threw caution to the wind and ate a HUGE dinner at the restaurant while drinking beer.

Needless to say, I can talk all I want but it doesn't mean much if I'm not able to follow through with it!

I honestly wish it was easier. And I wish my boyfriend and I didn't enjoy beer so much. Or junk food wasn't so readily available (try ordering healthy in a baseball stadium!). But, I've learned its about tradeoffs and making the best choices possible. Sure, I can go the game and refuse to eat or drink anything, but there's no enjoyment in that. I love baseball games and I only go to a few a year. And I only travel a few times a year on top of that. It just happens that it all fell within the same week.

So, here's my promise to myself. I'm not going to stop myself from living a little and beating myself up over it. I'm pissed the scale shot up 4 lbs to 161 lbs. It's not a number I want to see. But I know how I got there. And I know it doesn't stop me from doing my best in the next week to fix it. I didn't go through all this for the last 2 1/2 years to let one week drag me down. I've got the next 40 or 50 or 60 years to deal with life situations. There are always ways to improve, and there will always be trips or baseball games. What's the fun in being a healthy weight if I'm miserable?!?

So, to focus on the good things, here's my accomplishments for the week.
- I held a plank for 90 seconds without giving up! My previous record was 70 seconds.
- I can bench press 60 lbs on an inclined bench now.
- I can actually see the muscles in my upper back and shoulders!
- It's bikini season and I don't feel like a cow in my swimsuits. Which is good, because I own like 6 bikinis and a few tankinis!

Friday, May 11, 2012

NROLFW Phase 2 Results with Photos!!

On Monday, I finished Phase 2 of the New Rules of Lifting For Women! Given my short attention span, I'm happy I've kept up the program as dilligently as I have. I started the last week of February, so it's been about 3 months where strength training has been my focus. I still do cardio on my off-days (2 days a week on average, with one of them being kickball night), and I do cardio to warm up before strength training. The one challenge has been reeling in my eating on the weekends, and honestly every weekend is a battle. I know I can see better results if I stop sabotaging myself, so it's something I'm trying extra hard to focus on before summer starts. But, for what you really came here for, my results!

Change in Measurements:

Waist - 30.5" to 30" (P2: -0.5", Overall: -3")

Hips - 37.5" to 37" (P2: -0.5", Overall: -2")

Thigh - 24" to 24" (P2: no change, Overall: no change)

Calf - 15.5" to 15" (P2: -0.5", Overall: -1")

Bicep - 12" to 12" (P2: no change, Overall: no change, but way more muscle)

Chest - 36" to 36" (P2: no change, Overall: no change... good!)

Belly Button* - 33" to 32" (P2: -1", Overall: -1")

Abductors* - 39" to 38" (P2: -1", Overall: -1")

*Forgot to measure these things when I started, so I only have the results between the end of Phase 1 and the end of Phase 2.

Body fat % - 28.9% to  27.8% (P2: -1.1%, Overall: 1.9%)
Weight: 156.1 lbs to 157.7 lbs (basically I haven't lost any weight from the start. I'm the exact same weight the day I started the program. It bounces between 156-159.

Workout A:
Front squat/push press - 40 lb barbell to 50 lb barbell
Step-ups - 25 lb kettlebells in each hand to 30 lbs in each hand
One Point Rows - 20 lb kettlebells in each hand to 25 lb kettlebells
Static Lunge - 15 lb kettlebells in each hand to 25 lb kettlebells
Push-up - 10 pushups with feet on the squishy part of a Bosu ball to 12 reps.
Plank - 60 seconds... no progress on this one. It's HARD!
Cable Wood Chop - 50 lbs to 60 lbs

Workout B:
Deadlift - 115 lbs to 125 lbs (I didn't use the box, I'm so short that regular deadlifts are challenging enough!
Bulgarian Split Squat - 15 lb kettlebells in each hand to 25 lb kettlebells
Underhand Lat Pulldown - 100 lbs to 105 lbs (but it got easier, I wanted to try 115 but forgot)
Reverse Lunge from Box - 25 lbs kettlebells in each hand - no progress, someone had the 30 lb bells that I wanted yesterday to try
Cuban Snatch - 12 lbs each arm to 15 lbs each arm (couldn't manage 20 lbs, next highest dumbbell)
Swiss Ball Crunch - Holding a 20 lb kettlebell straight over my head to a 25 lb kettlebell
Reverse Crunch - 10 reps, no change
Lateral flexion - Honestly, I skipped this one.
Prone Cobra - 60 second hold, no change

And now the best part... my Progress Photos!!!!!

And here is a photo from today in my SIZE 6 FITTED GOAL JEANS! I used to fit in these when I weighed 10 lbs less than I do right now. And they zipped but I looked like a sausage in them when I tried them on the day I start the program back in February. And now they fit!!!!! I just need to have good posture, my muffin top hasn't completely gone away (and after losing 60 lbs and 5 dress sizes, I don't know if it will ever look perfect) but I'm happy with it. It just means no slouching!

So, here is living proof that weight is just a number... and a rather useless one at that. Do I look like I'm 5'2.5" and weigh 157 lbs? I wear a size 6! I can squat 10 lbs less than my body weight. I can deadlift 125 lbs without blinking (well, not really, it hurts my eyes, but you get it). And most importantly, I've finally started to break my unhealthy relationship with the scale. It doesn't mean strength training is the end-all-be-all, or that cardio is all you need. I do both, I enjoy both, and the results are what you see above.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Not My Best 5K, But An Enlightening One

I ran my fifth 5K yesterday morning through the streets of Washington DC. It was exactly one year ago that I ran my first 5K in the same race, getting a time of 39:33 with running the entire race. This time I got 36:26, and it was my second slowest time. I'm used to getting better with every race that I run. I ran my 5K in March at a blistering 34:51 (for me, haha), breaking my record by 30 seconds.

This time was different, and I knew it would be. I haven't trained outside because of allergies and moving to a new neighborhood that lacks a consistant sidewalk network. I've been doing more strength training, so my cardio was somewhat reduced. And I woke up with a stomach ache and sore muscles from my previous workout on Friday. So I went into the race with reasonable expectations.

Once I started, I could tell it wasn't going to be pretty. I was already looking at my HRM to check the time after 5 minutes. My legs were definitely still sore, and my inhaler didn't help much so my HR shot up to 180 within a few minutes and stayed in the high 180s most of the time I ran. Oh, and it was humid, bleck. But, I set a goal. Even if I don't run this entire race, I'm running the first 2 miles as fast as I can.

Mile 1:
Running towards the US Capitol on Pennsylvania Ave is pretty darn awesome. So at least I had a goal that I was working towards. Once we rounded the corner and ran in front of it, I saw Mile Marker 1 pop up in the distance and saw I was on a pretty good pace for myself. I crossed Mile 1 in about 11:30, so I was happy.

Mile 2:
This is where I started questioning my ambitious goal of running the first 2 miles. I slowed my pace and stopped to walk for 30 seconds at the water station. Around 20 minutes in and my lungs were ON FIRE (imagine Chalene Johnson yelling that in the Turbo Fire video, that's how I felt). Yes, yes I'm on fire. But I refused to stop until I passed Mile Marker 2. And I stuck to it. I passed it right around 23:30, for an 11:45 split. Not too shabby...

Mile 3:
I stopped to walking for a minute or two after passing Mile 2, and I really wanted to try to run the rest of it without another walking break. Yeah, that didn't happen. I was completely spent and I knew it. So I ran for probably half a mile, walked again, and ran thinking I was going to see Mile Marker 3 soon. Nope, it was still .2 miles ahead despite my Map My Run telling me I had just hit 3 miles. Not sure what was going on there, but whatever.

The Finish:
Passed Mile Marker 3 and knew a record time was completely out the window, but I wanted the best finish I could muster. I made a feeble dash for the finish and that last .1 mile felt like it was going to kill me. Crossed the finish line in 36:26 official time and had a HR of 191. Then I limped off to the popsicle stand and had one of those red white and blue rocket ones, haha. I totally earned it.

I learned a few times from that race. I will not always beat my record from the race before, everyone has off days and this was one of mine. I can't always count on hills in a course to give me a boost in speed (happened in the last race). My strength training is not a complete replacement for actually running outside to prepare. And primarily, even if I'm not going to break a record, I might die trying. I'm in need of some ibuprofen and an iced coffee today... haha.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A New Mindset

When I first started out, I was so dead set on hitting 140 lbs that the scale was the entire focus of measuring my progress. It was 75 lbs away from where I was starting and it seems like 200 lbs. And then I managed to get myself within 8 lbs of that goal. But I didn't expect to completely stall out before reaching it! I wasn't even a healthy weight by BMI standards, so why was my body being stubborn?

Well, after a year of soul searching, or at least answer searching, I've finally found a reason. Who the bleep cares! BMI is total crap. Does it take into account that I've got quite a bit of lean muscle? NOPE! Or the fact that I fit into size 6 even though I'm considered now 10-15 lbs overweight? NOPE! It's all crap... haha. I might be 5'2.5", but I'm a little powerhouse of muscle and determination. I don't recommend getting in a fight with me, I'm a fiesty one, haha.

So what it really boils down to is that when you're approaching your goal weight, that number is pretty much garbage. I know there are definitely women out there who do hit the number they set for themselves, but there are a bunch of others like me that don't. And that probably shouldn't. I'm not going to starve myself, cut out my strength training, and give up the things I enjoy just to reach a specific number. So I'm focusing on my waist and hip measurements, body fat percentage, and most importantly, how smokin' I look in my clothes and swim suits. Whether it's at 150 lbs, 155 lbs, or by some miracle I got down into the 140s, I'll survive.

But does this mean I'm never stepping on the scale again? Definitely not! I can't give that up, because it does help me stay in check. If I see the number jump up 2 lbs, I know it's because I let myself go a bit too much, or I'm super sore from a workout. But being conscious of that number is important for me to keep moving forward. I don't ever want to go back to where I  was, and seeing the number daily is a reminder of where I am in comparison. I'm just about to finish Phase 2 of the New Rules of Lifting for Women and I'll redo measurements, and take a set of comparison pictures from 2 weeks after starting the program. I'm curious to see if I notice any changes, since I see myself all the time and don't notice if I'm really shrinking. But my jeans do fit better and my size 6 tight fitted NY&Co pants are getting more wearable. Maybe in another Phase or two I'll be able to wear them in public again. My main goal is to shrink the muffin top and pooch. That's where a large majority of my excess fat is hiding and it's gotta go, haha!

For everyone who sees the scale everyday and freaks out because it's not the number they want, please step back and reassess how you can measure your progress. It's honestly taken over a year for me to get to this point, and I still beat myself up often over making the wrong decisions. But at least I'm not shooting for an unobtainable goal anymore.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Food Frustrations

Being a creature of habit, I love knowing what I'm eating each day, how many calories are in it, and how much of it I can have without blowing my calorie count out of the water. But throw in meals that I can't prepare myself and my OCD kicks in...

Take this weekend. The first half I was awesome and made myself dinner Friday night, worked out Saturday morning, and made myself lunch. Scale said 156.3, which is right about the lowest that I've been the last few weeks. Then I met up with my boyfriend and we had dinner out, brunch on Sunday out, takeout for dinner on Sunday. And we don't eat at places with ANY nutrition info! I can make all the awesome choices I want at these places, but I'm severely limited by the lack of available information. We were at independently owned local restaurants, so looking something up on a website isn't possible.

Usually I make my own lunches during the week, but yesterday and Monday I had breakfast on the go, lunch from a quick food place (Wegmans and Chick Fil A) and Monday was dinner out! Some had nutrition info, and I noticed that really steered my choices in the right direction.

I think a big reason that people tend to go overboard when they go out (myself included), is the lack of information about what they're eating. It's on just about every product sold in the grocery store, why can't restaurants be held to the same standards? Some people say "well, even if I know there are 500 calories in an order of fries, I'm going to order it". That's fine to me, at least you know what you're getting yourself into. But I think for many people like myself, having that information is a big deterrant to making the unhealthy choice. Especially with food that masquerades itself as healthy, but is loaded with fat and calories (I'm looking at you, excessively decadent salads!!!).

So, should all places that sell food be required to publish the basic nutrition info (I'm talking macros of fat, carbs and protein plus sodium and calories)? Maybe it's too much big brother, but the healthy crisis in the country is getting out of control. Having the information necessary to eat healthy is a key step in abating it. I know that if I knew something had more fat and calories than another choice, I'd pick the better option. Maybe it would force restaurants to rethink dishes that come in especially unhealthy.

I'm partly to blame for making bad choices at restaurants, but so many of us eat away from home on a regular basis. I don't think it's too much to ask to know what I'm really eating. Stepping on the scale and seeing 159 this morning was hard, but even when I try to make the best of the situation when eating out, it doesn't always work.

Just a thought that I had today. I really wish the legislation that passed a while back (I believe it's part of the health care law now in contention in the Surpreme Court) was more comprehensive, and went into effect sooner. Our health really can't wait for them to make up their minds...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall...

Why do you keep messing with my head???

I've really managed to get my mind off of the idea that "weight loss equals progress", even though I still weigh daily, I don't put nearly as much emphasis on what the number is. So, I'm trying to measure in other ways like taking body measurements or just judging how I look in the mirror.

Which I've realized is driving me crazier than the scale sometimes!

My mirror at home is slightly messed up, it kind of bends so it looks like a funhouse mirror, and thus I tend to think I look fat. I put on a pair of jeans and a top and I'm convinced my stomach looks puffy. Then the next day I'll be wearing a different outfit and look in the bathroom mirror at work and think of how tiny my waist looks. The inability to put a number on my appearance is oddly stressing me out.

I like what I see with the muscles in my upper body, but I hate the squishy stomach. I like my toned calves and hate my still thick thighs. I think I just need to stop looking at before and after pictures because it's not what I'm going to look like. I don't know if the dreaded pooch will ever go away. Or if my thighs will ever slim down. So instead of shifting my focus away from the scale and onto something more productive, I just end up fixating on something else. And then I see that people were able to go from 200 lbs all the way down to 120 or 130 and I wonder what in the world is stopping me from getting past 150. It's not an unrealistic expectation. I'm only 5'2.5", a healthy BMI is 141 at the top of the range! Have I really screwed my body up that bad in the first 23 years than I can't get to a healthy weight? And no, I'm not considered overweight because I'm packing serious muscle. I have more than the average person, I'd guess, but there's still enough body fat where I could lose 10 lbs and look SO much better.

It's just hard to measure progress without a scale, because my mind plays tricks on me. Between that and the lingering irritation with my inability to get down to a healthy weight really frustrates me to no end. I didn't expect to magically be skinny, but after busting my butt for 2 years, I never thought I'd get stuck before I even hit a healthy BMI. I know I'm not an angel, I still eat unhealthy food on occasion or drink. But I eat my calories, I eat healthy, and I workout 5 times a week. Something doesn't add up... It's just that after 2 years, I really wonder if anything will work.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Results!!! - NROLFW Phase 1 DONE!

I've finally completed Phase 1 of the New Rules of Lifting for Women (NROLFW)!!! It was definitely a step outside my comfort zone, but now I've become a regular on the weights side of the gym. Guys say hello, personal trainers help me with my questions, and I get the occasional "that tiny girl is lifting heavier than me!!" glare. Gotta love those moments... I relish in having one attempt to help me like I have NO clue what I'm doing, only for me to adjust the squat rack and load up 135 lbs onto it like it's nothing.

Onto the awesome part... my results! I started on February 27th with Workout 1A, so just over 5 weeks ago. I took measurements and weighed myself to start. Here's the changes!

Change in Measurements:
Waist - 33" to 30.5" (-2.5")
Hips - 39" to 37.5" (-1.5")
Thigh - 24" to 24" (no change)
Calf - 16" to 15.5" (-0.5")
Bicep - 12" to 12" (no change... but I see muscle now!)
Chest - 36" to 36" (no change... phew!)

Body fat % - 29.7% to 28.9% (not sure how much I trust this number though, the handheld device was all over the place)

Weight: 157.0 to 156.1 lbs (the scale went up to 158+ then back down to 156 and now it's hovering between 156-158)

Now for the awesome part... the difference in the weights I started with and the weights I lifted this past week for the last workouts. It's AMAZING to see the difference. I definitely started out a bit light until I knew what I was doing. Now I'm like, eh, what's another 5 lbs? I'll drop the weight down a bit if I can't do it with good form (CRUCIAL PEOPLE! Don't get hurt!).

Workout A:
Squats - 40 lbs to 135 lbs (I discovered the squat rack for workout 2 and jumped up to 65 lbs immediately)
Push-ups - I could do 15 reps with my hands on a weight bench (30 degree incline) and I finished with 8 reps of pushups with my toes on the squishy part of a Bosu ball for added difficulty.
Seated Row - 70 lbs to 105 lbs
Step-ups - Holding a 10 lb medicine ball to holding 50 lbs total (25 lbs per side) of kettlebells
Prone jacknives - I've always done 15 reps of these, I've been trying to keep my legs straighter tho

Workout B:
Deadlifts - 60 lbs to 115 lbs
Dumbbells Shoulder Press - 12 lbs weights in each hand to 20 lb weights in each hand
Wide-grip Lat Pulldown - 60 lbs to 100 lbs
Lunges - 20 lb kettlebells in each hand to 30 lb kettlebells in each hand
Swiss Ball Crunches - 10 lb medicine ball above my head to 20 lb dumbbell above my head

I'm taking half a week off since I'm going to Jersey to see the family for Easter weekend. I'll start Phase 2 on Monday, whoot! That one is shorter, it's only 8 workouts, so I'd imagine it will take about 3 weeks to complete. I'll do another progress blog update after that. My goals for this 3 week period:

- Try to cut back on processed carbs (not eliminate, but I snack on carbs quite a bit, I need more fresh food)
- Try to log on the weekends so I hold myself accountable.
- NOT FOCUS ON THE SCALE! Since judging by these results, it's full of crap, haha.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Random Little Secrets to Share

I was thinking last night about how much I do or what I've done in the past that people would really have no idea, or at least you surprise you if you didn't know me insanely well. So... here's some to share.

1. I'm a card carrying member of the American Homebrewers Association. I don't actually brew my own beer, but it gets me discount in my favorite Dogfish Head Alehouse and at a couple other places. It was a Valentines gift from my boyfriend, haha.

2. I was a cheerleader from 5th-8th grade. I gave that up when trying to be on top of the pyramid failed miserably and I was relegated to doing cartwheels.

3. I taught myself algebra in 6th grade because I was so sick of learning fractions for the 80th time. My teacher just gave up and let me do my algebra workbooks in class.

4. I did Model UN in high school and college for 8 years. Despite being an engineer, I had a weird thing for international affairs.

5. I have my entire closet organized by clothing type and then in color order. White, rainbow, brown, grey, black. If it has a pattern, it goes with the dominant color and then closer to the side that has the secondary color. Did I mention I'm kind of OCD?

6. I met the governor of New Jersey when I was 10 for winning a poster contest in 4th grade. I was the county winner so I got to go to the state house and meet her with all the other country winners.

7. I built a battle robot in college for one of my classes. The goal was to smash the other robot in the ring to pieces and knock it out of the circle. One broken wire right before the competition made our robot blind and we lost miserably. I do believe we were hit by a hammer on the end of a rat trap...

8. I tried Irish dancing at age 7 and realized I lacked all coordination. My little sister kept it up and she's been competitively dancing for 15 years and has competed in the Nationals for it. Just think Riverdance, haha.

9. I never really went on a diet or tried to lose weight until 2 years ago when I went in 100% and didn't look back. I was always kind of unhappy, but I never really did anything about it. I don't go into anything halfway it seems...

10. I hate waking up in the morning to the sun shining and the birds chirping. I just want it to be dark and quiet and for those damn birds to stop their squawking!!!

11. I'm terrified of birds. Which is probably why I hate listening to them. I had an incident in St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy that scarred me for life. And the seagull incident on the Jersey Shore...

12. I have and always will be scared of mummies, petrified bodies, dead bodies, and anything that resembles a dead body. I can't go into the Egypt section of the Natural History Museum in DC...

13. I went to an All Girls Catholic high school... and then promptly went off to college to major in Mechanical and Aerospace engineering where I was one of 12 girls in a class of 120 or so. It was glorious...

14. I didn't listen to pop or modern music for all of junior and senior year. My ipod had nearly exclusively classic rock from the 1960s-1980s, mainly Beatles, Zeppelin, Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, and Bon Jovi... hahaha.

15. I watched every single Yankee game on TV in some capacity for the entire 2000 season when I was 13. That's 162 games with the Yankees winning the World Series against the Mets.

16. I'm from Jersey, I go to the Jersey Shore just about every summer, and I've never seen the TV show The Jersey Shore because the cast members aren't even from Jersey!!!

17. I've seen the movie Apollo 13 more than any other movie. I think I watch it at least once a month for entertainment.

18. I wanted to grow up to be Ariel from the Little Mermaid when I was a kid. Now I just dye my hair red and waltz around in bikinis. I think I'm good without the tail.... hahaha

19. I was thrown out of ballet class in 5th grade because I was giving the teacher trouble. I definitely wasn't made for slow, quiet and graceful types of dancing. Or any type of dancing really...

20. I know more about beer from what I've picked up in the last year and a half than most self-proclaimed beer guys do. I'm a fan of a good Barleywine or Strong ale, but my favorites are hoppy reds and ambers.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Workout Queen

It really bums me out how many women (including myself) have said that they feel intimidated by the male-dominated weights section of their gym.

At my gym, I'm often the only woman actually working out with the weights (excluding women using the open space for mat work or using light weights). I thought guys would judge me, or be like "what's she doing over here" or not want to share (haha, I know, crazy, this isn't a sandbox!). So my first time over there by myself I was slightly terrified. And this is something I've heard several women on here mention when questioning to start strength training. But after a workout or two, I started getting comfortable. I'd gather my equipment (I'm amusing lugging 2 25lb kettlebells across the floor with my iPhone shoved into the front of my workout top), stake out my spot for the next half hour and get to work. I'll even ask to share equipment to "work in" as I've realized its called if someone is using it.

And apparently the guys have taken notice, in a good way! I ran into two guys from my gym in the grocery store last night. The first thing they said was "hey, it's the Workout Queen!" And then they proceeded to tell me how impressed they were that I was busting my butt over there and they don't usually see women using the weights. So, it looks like I'm making an impression that I didn't even realize. I'm giving all women a chance to get over there and blend in, or even stand out :) Then they started asking what was in my hand basket and started adding things to their grocery list (greek yogurt, quaker Stila bars, etc.) since "I clearly had this whole thing down", haha.

The moral of the story is that anyone can conquer the weights side of the gym. It doesn't matter if you're lifting 5 lb weights or 50 lb weights. It's a start and it's something people take notice of! So if you're questioning whether to start adding strength training into your cardio workout routine, don't let the weights section scare you out of trying. I promise you'll gain much more respect just by walking over there and trying! And like I blogged about yesterday, strength training and cardio training go hand-in-hand. My 5K time rocked, I deadlifted 100 lbs yesterday (need to work on my grip), and my waist is looking smaller! I don't think it gets much better than that...

Monday, March 26, 2012

I'll Make A Man Outta You

This was the song playing on my iPod when I crossed the finish line of my 5K yesterday. It was oddly fitting, and I think it's the reason I got a personal record 34:51 time in the race, beating my old time by 35 seconds. You see, I haven't run an outdoor 5K race since last June... and I only run once a week. So how in the world did I get a PR???

I've come to realize that all exercise is really interconnected. It's why a lot of fitness professionals and athletes stress cross-training. My workout routine lately has been New Rules of Lifting for Women 3 times a week (with a 10-15 minute cardio warmup and 10 minute cardio cooldown), plus 2 days of cardio like an outdoor run or 45 minutes on the stairmaster. I get incredibly bored doing the same thing every day, so I have to mix it up. And it seems that has effects that goes beyond my sanity.

Strength training makes my legs stronger, so presumably I can run faster and they won't get tired as quickly. And it's good for my heart so I can increase my endurance. If only I didn't have exercise asthma that limits how long I can run without getting too winded to continue. That was my wall for this race. I ran the first 2 miles in 22:30-ish, the first mile was in 10:45 or so, which blew my mind. I NEVER run that quickly in the gym, but being a race setting really helps. I want to keep up! It was after Mile marker 2 that I had to take a walking break, and I ended up taking 2. Around 2.75 mi a girl saw me walking and encouraged me to keep going, so I started running again and kept it up until the finish line. And BAM, under 35! Whoot!

So how does all this tie into being like a man, haha. Well, strength training really goes beyond making your muscles look nice and having a toned bum. I was concerned that my lack of regular outdoor running was really going to affect my time, but somehow it's helped it! I don't look like a man with crazy muscles, but my extra strength helped me run faster. So, to help answer the debate over cardio vs. strength, you can't do one without the other! Strength helps you improve with your cardio with stronger muscles, cardio helps you have a strong heart and endurance so you can improve your strength training.

So to answer the question, has strength training made a man outta me? Nope, but I'm a pretty kick ass woman right now. I can run circles around people AND beat them up, hehe.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Time Will Tell...

If anyone here is guilty of extreme impatience while trying to lose weight, raise your hand...

I have both of mine in the air right now, haha. Because I'm one of the most impatient people ever. You'd think it has gotten better after 2+ years losing weight, keeping it off, putting a bit back on, and trying to get it off again. Not so much.

As I've mentioned in my previous blogs, I'm doing the New Rules of Lifting for Women, which is technically a 6 month program. 6 MONTHS! That's a seriously long commitment. And Phase 1 is at least 6 weeks long, which is also for me a long time to "let things play out". I feel like on MFP with tickers and weight loss numbers and calorie counts in full display, it's hard to see the scale stagnate even if that's expected to happen. I love logging a loss as much as anyone, but it's a huge shift in mindset to move away from tracking my progress on the scale and tracking it through measurements, new weight lifting records and how my clothes fit. I'm the only person who sees the number on the scale, everyone else sees the other things. But it's still hard to move away from.

I have 6 workouts left in Phase 1, which will likely take me 2 full weeks to finish. I'm hoping to finish Phase 1 by Easter so I can take that long weekend off and start Phase 2 when I return. I'm also trying to move away from the mindset that I MUST lose weight. At this point, my muscles are still developing and they're going to take a while to start burning more fat. My body fat won't disappear overnight (unfortunately, at least not medically unassisted). I'm hoping that after doing this for a month or more I'll start seeing the changes. This week is a terrible example as I feel like I've got an ocean of water weight (my stomach feels huge).

But, the main point is that I need to trust the program for longer than 3 1/2 weeks. A lot of people on here make the mistake of changing things every week and that's entirely too short a time to see if what they're doing really works! Breaking a plateau is not something that can be done overnight. If you're body took a few weeks or months to settle into a plateau, chances are it will take a few weeks to break out of it. Plus this doesn't even take into account replacing fat with muscle mass, something only non-scale measures will tell.

So if you raised your hand about being impatient, coming from someone who completely understands, it's OK but stick with what you're doing! As long as it's healthy and it's something you can keep up for more than a week (crash diets and working out 3 hours a day definitely don't fit into this description), it should start to work. There's always a chance it won't and you'll need to try a new approach, but let your body have the time it needs to do it's thing. In the meantime, I'm going to give it the best chance I can at working by focusing on not messing everything up this weekend. No eating bad meals when I go out for dinner, limiting how much I drink, and hopefully running a 5K on Sunday if the weather holds up.

Monday, March 19, 2012

NROLFW Phase 1 - Halfway Done!

Today is the official halfway point in my New Rules of Lifting for Women Program, Phase 1. I've been at it for 3 full weeks and I'm definitely hooked.

The progress has definitely been mixed. I haven't actually lost any weight, but eating more calories every day (I upped it about 400-500 calories from what I was eating) hasn't made me gain weight it seems like either. That was my major concern with following the eating plan, and so far it's worked out well. I fluctuate between 155 and 158 depending on the day and what I've eaten and such. I've added in mostly healthy calories too, but it's nice that I have a little extra cushion when I do treat myself. I definitely earned my Guinness beers this weekend for St. Patrick's Day, my boyfriend and I walked to the pub and back for a round trip of at least 4 miles.

As for the workout part of the program, I've increased the weights I've been using on every exercise. I started with only 60 lbs on a squat and I've been able to go up to 115 lbs by switching to the squat rack and using the padded foam thing to cushion the bar. I find kettlebells work really well for step ups and lunges, they're much easier to hold on to than dumbbells. I can tell my upper body is improving. I'm hoping to do the more difficult form of the push up by the end of Phase 1, right now I can do regular ones on my toes on the floor. I think the next step is lifting up a leg or something, yikes!

I was a bit dubious about not doing as much cardio, but this program is still getting my HR up as much as when I'm on the Stairmaster or something. It ranges between 150-180 depending on what I'm doing, so I'm still burning lots of calories. I start and end with 10-15 minutes of cardio, so overall it's a power packed hour of exercise. My plan this week is for Mon, Wed and Fri for New Rules workouts, tomorrow I'm judging a middle and high school science fair (so nerdy, I love it) and Thursday I'm gonna aim to run outside to get in one more run before my 5K on Sunday. Then I'm taking Saturday off so I'm rested for the 5K, but I suspect Randy and I will be walking around DC or something.

I took measurements when I started 3 weeks ago and I'll do measurements again when I finish. My body fat % was at 29.7% to start with. I'd love to get it down a bit after these first 6 weeks, not sure how accurate the hand held device is though. But it's at least a point of reference. It's really the measuring tape that will tell though.

Friday, March 16, 2012

My Top Five Lists

MFP-ers are always looking for new ideas on here about everything from snacks to workouts to surviving the weekends (yeah, I need advice on that last one myself!). So, I thought I'd list out some of my favorite things to give others new ideas.

My 5 Favorite Snacks:
1. Apple slices with Better N Peanut Butter (chocolate) - 180 calories
2. Fiber One Brownies, Chocolate variety - 90 calories
3. Hummus with Special K crackers - 170 calories
4. Greek Yogurt (Chobani, Dannon Oikos and Fage are the best) - 120-160 calories
5. String cheese or colby jack cheese sticks - 60-80 calories

My 5 Favorite Exercises:
1. New Rules of Lifting for Women
2. Turbo Fire
3. Running
4. Stairmaster (I've grown to love it)
5. Crossramp machine (kind of a mix between a stairmaster and an ellipcal)

My 5 Favorite Breakfast Ideas:
1. Breakfast sandwich with egg patty, slice of cheese on an english muffin - 230 calories
2. Oatmeal - 150-200 calories
3. Bowl of Multigrain Cheerios with soy milk - ~200 calories
4. English muffin toasted with some peanut butter - 200 calories
5. Veggies egg scramble with some cheese and avocado on top (from my favorite brunch place) - Unknown calories, but delcious and not horribly unhealthy

My 5 Favorite Ways to Get More Protein:
1. Grilled chicken breast for diner
2. Greek yogurt
3. Soy milk
4. Protein granola bars
5. Low or no sodium added lunch meat

My 5 Favorite Snacks that Taste Like They Should Have A Ton More Calories:1. Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownies in Chocolate
2. Better N Peanut Butter Chocolate - only 100 calories per serving!
3. My Protein smoothies - Greek yogurt, protein powder, soy milk, a bit of Trop 50 juice and some frozen fruit - Tastes like a delicious milkshake/smoothie but has less than 300 calories and the same protein as a chicken breast
4. Fage 0% Greek Yogurt with Mango Guabana or strawberry Goji - 120 calories
5. Jello 60 calorie no sugar chocolate pudding

My 5 Favorite "Swaps" to Reduce Calories in Dishes
1. Greek yogurt in place of eggs and oil in recipes, also good in place of Sour Cream
2. I Can't Believe It's Not Butter instead of real butter (honestly, tastes the same...)
3. Truvia instead of sugar in my coffee
4. Light soy milk instead of real milk (not hard, I'm lactose intolerant! LOL)
5. Balsamic vinegar instead of salad dressing, its only 15 calories per tablespoon and tastes delicious.

My 5 Favorite Things I Don't Have to Worry about Anymore:
1. Not being able to find clothes I want to buy in my size
2. Fitting into any size seat and on any amusement park ride without worrying about annoying the person sitting next to me by spilling over into their space
3. Walking up steps or a hill with someone and still being able to carry on normal conversation, since I'm not completely out of breath.
4. Wanting to bury myself under the sand at the beach or hide under the water in the pool while wearing a bathing suit, let alone my bikinis! Love my bikinis, haha...
5. Feeling out of place in the weights side of the gym. Yes I have muscles, yes I'm squating with a 95 lb barbell, and yes, I'm using that weight bench!!!

So, there you have it. Please feel free to add on to any of these lists in the comment section with your own ideas! This post is meant to share and inspire :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Eating More and Losing More

It has to happen at some point. You think you're doing everything right, cutting calories, working out 6 days a week and generally being healthy. And the scale doesn't move! Your clothes don't fit any different. And most likely, you're incredibly frustrated.

I feel like that's been me for the last 6 months. I workout out dilligently (pretty much all cardio), I was watching my calories and I had a big calorie deficit. And the SCALE WOULDN'T BUDGE! In fact, it went up about 5 lbs in that time. WTF!

And then I started chatting with other MFP friends that were near their goal weight, and I noticed a trend. A lot of them were weight training. Most of them were eating 1600, 1800 even 2000 calories a day... and losing weight or inches or both! What is going on here!?!? So I bought a book to help me figure it out: The New Rules of Lifting For Women (as I talked about in my last 2 blogs). The most important thing I got out of that was I can't keep starving myself.

Yep, that's really what it boils down to. Working out 5-6 times a week, burning 500 calories and eating 1200 a day means my calorie deficit is around 1000. Which would be aweosme, if I still weighed 215 pounds and needed to lost 75 lbs. But now I'm at 155 and I want to lose around 5-10 lbs, or at the very least replace some fat with muscle (which the scale is terrible at determining).

So, the starvation is over. The book recommends that I eat 1650 calories on rest days and 1950 on workout days. That's an extra 500-700 calories! And the key is to make sure those calories are a good balance of carbs, protein and fat (I'm at 50c/25p/25f) but the book recommends 30% protein and the rest split between carbs and fat (I'm working up to 30% protein). And honestly, I feel better. I can do my entire workout and not feel dizzy. I eat snacks throughout the day to keep my metabolism going. And I'm sticking to 3 New Rules workouts a week, with 1-2 cardio days mixed in.

I know results take time, but the scale really is down 2 entire lbs from last Friday and I've been eating MORE! I'm not ready to call this a complete success, but I'm really interested to see where I am at the end of Phase 1 (which is 6 weeks long).

So, if you're stuck in a rut, eating and working out like crazy but not losing, try and take a step back and look at your calorie deficit. It really shouldn't be more than 500 calories if you're close to your goal. Your body just can't handle it. I set my MFP number to a 1/2 a week weight loss (gives me 1680). Its something that I really struggled with the first few days because it goes against everything I programmed my brain to believe. Less food, more exercise, more weight loss. Until that just didn't work anymore. I know I've said this before, in a blog that still is near the top of the Blog list. And honestly, I managed to convince myself otherwise. But following that advice, I got to my lowest weight and lowest pant size EVER! It's not a coincidence, it's math and genetics and how your body works. It just sucks that I forgot all of it and spent the last 6 months doing the wrong thing.

I hope this advice helps those of you who are at the point that I am. I'm not advocating buying this book, but balancing strength training with cardio and eating MORE to fuel your body can be the secret to getting the body you've been wanting all along. The scale might not be the low number you were aiming for, but measurements will tell a completely different story. Besides, only you see the number on the scale. The rest of the world sees how awesome your body looks :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Just One More Bite...

Like many people on here, I've realized that even after 2 years of a healthier me, I still have a terrible relationship with food.

I'm not the type that eats when I'm stressed or depressed or something. I don't eat when I'm bored really. I'm just terrible with saying no and stopping myself. When I'm home, and I have all my healthy options in front of me and little to no junk food, I'm amazing. But I don't stay at home 24 hours a day. And most of the weekend I'm not even at home, I'm at my boyfriend's (where his fridge is filled with beer and milk and little else...).

It's the tempations at work: Donut Thursdays, random cookies in the break room, leftover donuts from Donut Thursdays. And then when I'm out for dinner, there's a whole menu of bad and delicious things to pick from! And impulsively, I keep choosing the bad ones even though I KNOW BETTER! And I'll always let myself have a few beers. But still... if presented with the option, I have a terrible habit of not making the best one.

Short of saying I'm going to do something about it, I don't really know what else there is. Randy and I have agreed that we need to cook dinner in more often to save money, so that helps and he's a good cook (usually we have a grilled protein, rice and grilled veggies so it's pretty healthy). But when I go out, I really need to stop being stupid. Take Sunday brunch for example. I was all set to order the veggie omelette. And then out of my mouth pops "I'll have the stuffed french toast" (head smack inserted here). I don't know why I do it, and it's frustrating that I keep doing it!

I think this all goes back to my tendency to make impulsive decisions with everything. One more donut, I could use that dress from Macys, what's one more beer... and then I look at my credit card bill or my food diary or something the next day and smack myself in the head for being stupid. Not sure what point I'm trying to make, I'm just writing it out that I realize I've got issues with making better decisions. And food really needs to be the focus on that. Even when I eat out, I need to stop ordering crap. And I think I need to voice this to Randy too so he's on board and helps me. He'll order whatever he wants so it makes it a bit tricky.

So if you see me making bad food choices, please call me out on it. Like today. I had a donut for Donut Thursdays. And I didn't need to. I'm now hungry since there is no nutritional value in a donut, and I need to go burn it off at the gym today. There, it's a starting point...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Strength In Numbers

The result of my latest blog was the realization that strength training had completely fallen out of my workout routine, and it's probably the main reason why I'm having so much trouble the last few weeks with maintaining any sort of weight loss.

January was a good month, I did get down about 5 lbs from my peak right after New Years. But it was by eating 1200 calories a day and doing cardio 4-5 times a week. I can honestly say I didn't do strength training ONCE the entire month. And what happened? One week of eating semi-normally with one or two overindulgences and I put back on 3 of the 5 pounds! It leads me to believe that I was just running on empty and once I ate like a normal person, it "put the weight back on".

The root of all of this is that I want to look like I did at the end of last Spring. I was running regularly, eating decently but not like a saint, and yes, I was strength training often too! I had more muscle mass, even if I only weighed about 5 pounds less than I do right now. So I looked much better, and I was incredibly happy with it.

Fast forward to now, where I slacked a little during the Holidays, tried to do a 180 in January with having as large of a deficit as I could manage, and I don't look any better. If anything, the muffin top is slightly worse! Blarg...

So between listening to the advice of my MFP friends and really looking at what I was doing last year, I realize that strength training is such a crucial part of the routine when you are 10 lbs away from your goal like I am. That goal number doesn't matter as much if I'm building muscle mass and getting more toned and fit. I was a pretty toned and fit 150 lbs last year. Now I'm a somewhat jiggly 155 lbs. Not a fan... summer will be here entirely too quickly and I own enough bikinis to clothe the entire Victoria Secret modeling crew.

My goals for the next 2 months should help me get towards the body I want to have for summer, and getting in better shape as well. I'm not going to focus on the scale, although I suspect the strength training will help to get around to 150 again. But it's not the way to measure my success, a measuring tape will be.

- Do a committed strength training workout 2 times a week at the gym.
Cardio warmup, 30 minutes of strength/interval training, and then 15-20 minutes cooldown cardio. Just like what I used to do with my personal trainer, only now I'M the trainer. I bought the New Rules of Lifting for Women to guide me along the way.

- Eat more, but eat better.
I don't think 1200 calories is enough for strength training, my body is going to start eating the muscles I'm trying to build! So, I think I'm raising my base calories to 1400 again. I need to add some more healthy foods, probably with an extra snack in my lunch or during the afternoon and making sure I eat a good dinner after my workouts.

- Keeping doing cardio, but cut it back to 2-3 times a week
I still plan on running my 5K in March, and likely 1 or 2 more in the Spring after that. But strength training will indirectly help with my running. Strong muscles are good so I don't tire out as quickly. I'll likely alternate running days and strength days at the gym for a total of 4 out of 5 weekdays. Then likely an interval workout combining both Saturday mornings.

- Stop giving into every temptation that presents itself.
I admit, I love to eat in restaurants and have a few beers and just be normal! But, it's becoming entirely too frequent. I didn't need to order french toast (in which the portion size was HUGE) yesterday. I was all set to order the veggie omelette and I caved. Its little choices like this that are adding up to not losing a single pound in the last 2 weeks (in fact, I'm still up a few). At the very least, I need to start picking the healthiest options on the menu when I do eat out, and make sure to pack a lunch during the week every day.

I'm hoping this renewed focus will keep me motivated and I'll start seeing the results I want by time the weather warms up. I conquered the weights side of the gym on Thursday. It's starting to get less crowded during the week (guess those Resolutioners read that blog post of mine from a while back... hehe). I just need to find my space, grab the weights I'm using or a medicine ball and forget about everyone else around me. And that includes you, creepy man on the arm machine that did 3 reps and then proceeded to stare at my cleavage for the next 5 minutes! HA!

Anyway, the same strategy that lost me 50 pounds 2 years ago (1200 calories and cardio cardio cardio) just isn't going to work now. My body knows my usual tricks. It's time to surprise it with something new.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

2 Years on MFP! And Still Learning...

I realized that I started the whole "weight loss journey" 2 years ago yesterday. How in the world has 2 years gone by already? And how in the world have I managed to not only lose about 60 pounds (give or take depending on the day), but I've kept if off for a year on top of that!

I know that dieting is usually a start and stop process. You get really into wanting to lose weight, manage to keep it up for a month and lose 5 pounds, and then old habits creep back in and you're right where you started. That's not how my mindset works for anything in life, weight loss included.

If I set my mind to something, I HAVE to finish it. I've been like that since I was a little kid. Getting into programs in school, getting into my #1 choice college, getting a job in the career I wanted. It was never a question of "if" this is going to happen. I knew it would if I worked at it. So I approached my next big challenge with weight loss in the same mindset. I had just started my job right out of school and I knew if I didn't change my habits now, it would be MUCH harder later. New routine I had to get used to, new city, more money to buy healthy food and such. It was the ideal time to go for it. And I did 100%. It was pretty awesome that the weight came off without too much difficulty. It also helped that I didn't have much of a social life in DC yet, so I could focus and not eat out in restaurants too much. After about 9 months of successfully losing weight, I was down to around 155 in October of 2010 and I met my current boyfriend.

Year 2 was SO completely different than Year 1. I was down to 150 last February, in a relationship, rocking an entire wardrobe of new clothes that were size 6 (when I started a size 16), and I was training for a 5K! Seriously? Me... running... 3.1 miles?? Yeah, I thought I was nuts too. But May 1st I ran my first 5K without stopping in DC, along Pennsylvania Ave and past the Capitol Building. I did 2 more that spring with my best time of 35:26. I wore a bikini this summer! And I did all of this while maintaining my weight loss.

I admit this fall got a bit chaotic, I like to eat dinner and have drinks with the boyfriend every weekend. A few pounds crept back on from the holidays, but I still kept up my habits 90% of the time, working out at least 4 days a week. It's helping me realize that you can't stop living your life forever. Sometimes you have to travel for work, eat a delicous dinner your boyfriend cooked you, or just enjoy a few beers. And while I battled with feeling guilty and angry with myself for "giving in," I need to learn that it's part of life! I always use the term Diet Hermit and it's something that I don't think is realisitic. It's great for getting weight off more quickly in the beginning, but it's not something that can be done long term.

So here I am with the first day of Year 3 in this whole thing. I'm right around 155, still fitting into my size 6 clothes (which is awesome because it's really expensive to keep buying new clothes). I admit my habits haven't been as stellar as usual in the past 2 weeks, but that doesn't stop me from getting right back on track today. I have another 5K scheduled for March 25th and it's helping me keep in focus. I still have a goal around 145 in mind, which is 10 pounds away. It seems SO far, even compared to when I was 200 pounds and looking at my 150 goal as INSANE! But I did it. And I can do it again. Even if it takes all of Year 3, I know I'll get there at some point. And stay there! I just have to keep reminding myself of where I started.

And where I am today (well, this was taken in October on my 25th birthday, exactly 3 years after the picture above).

Who knows what I'll look like next year :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Own Worst Enemy

It seems like every time I get a good routine going and lose a few pounds, I immediately start to get a little to complacent and I blow it. Of course it happened again this past weekend with eating out too much. I did great all week, didn't cheat at all, and managed to lose 1.8 lbs by Friday over the previous 2 weeks. Then I ate out Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday lunch and Sunday dinner. UGH! Sodium bomb, even though I tried to make good food choices. Plus I drank Saturday and Sunday night (a few beers each night).

There's not much point in doing so well Mon-Thurs or Friday just to blow it every single weekend. It's start to piss me off, even though I know it's something completely under my control. I spend the weekends with my boyfriend, we pretty much spend every Saturday night going out for dinner and drinks. It's how we relax and unwind after working all week and get to spend some time together. Honestly, it's not really something I'm willing to change. I just need to do better in those situations. It also doesn't help that I screwed up Friday and Sunday night too. If I'm gonna let myself have a treat once a week, it needs to stay at once a week. Not 3 days in a row.

I really want to get to my intial goal of 150 by the end of the month, but I just beat myself up about little slip ups that I know I can avoid. Honestly, I expect better of myself and it just makes me angry that I don't follow through with it. I just want these 5 pounds gone so I can be content again. And I know it's me being fixated on the scale again, but trust me, I'm not building muscle to make up for it since I do mostly cardio for exercise. It's my own indulgences and water weight (or pizza weight...).

Another thing that also really gets on my nerves is that I can't handle the same diet that someone who has always been a lower weight can. If I want to maintain my weight, I need to eat below what is really estimated as maintenance calories. Maybe my metabolism hasn't caught up yet, maybe it just sucks to begin with and it's not going to change. But I can't stand that other people can eat what the want, kind of exercise, and stay the same weight. If I let myself do that, I'd gain weight back (and I did for a few months by adding about 10 pounds from my lowest weight that I hit over the summer). I'm not asking to be 5'2" and 110 pounds. I just want to be a healthy 140. But after being considerably overweight my entire life, I just don't know if that's ever going to happen. Maybe if I had no life, no boyfriend and no desire to ever go anywhere but the gym, work and home. But that's completely unrealistic. I just need to do the best I can and hope that it gets me somewhere near 140. I'll take 145! Lately, I'm starting to think I'll take 150. I'm just still not happy with how I look, and it was better when I was in the 140s. It'll never be perfect, but if I can't reel in the bad habits, I have no chance of getting there.

Sorry if this is a bit of a melancholy post, but I know people like it when they get an honest picture of what this journey is really like. I've been doing this for 2 years this month now, lost about 60 pounds at this point. It's starting to get exhausting to do this day in and day out... I really hope I don't have to workout 5 days a week and eat 1200 calories a day forever to stay this way...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Little Things Add Up

So what happens when you take a bunch of small, easy things you can do and you add them all together... you get big weight loss numbers! At least big for me, since I'm under 10 lbs from my initial goal of 145. I haven't made any crazy drastic changes in the last month. But I'm down 4.7 lbs as of this morning. And it's really been the little tweaks that I've made to my habits that have helped me to get to that point. This is after being the same weight/gaining for the past 3 months. It doesn't take a lot to reverse the trend!

- Look at what you're eating and swap out one or two things for something healthier.
I was snacking on granola bars and stuff during the day, so I swapped that out for an apple every afternoon. Much more filling and it's all natural. My dinner was too often something processed from Trader Joes like pasta. So I swapped that out for chicken breast (Whole Foods sells it already coated with a parmesan mix) and a sweet potato. It's not an overhaul of my diet, but it helps to get rid of some higher sodium, lower nutrional value foods for ones that are better for you.

- Workout a little bit harder
I had gotten lazy in the gym, I'll admit it. But I was still going 3-4 times a week. So I vowed to really sweat if I was going to the gym, at least 3 days out of the 4 that I go during the week. So, I took up running, signed up for a 5K and now that's my workout most of the time. I still use the other cardio machines on occasion, but I try to avoid them since my HR doesn't get nearly as high as when I run.

- Be honest with logging food
I found myself nibbling and snacking on things and I wouldn't consider it really eating, it was just a bite or two right? Well, they add up! I was eating 50-80 calories of "nibbling" before I even ate my dinner at night! Just because I was hungry and didnt want to wait 15 minutes to cook the chicken, haha. So, I started logging it, and it's helped me to stop doing it! And I've been counting out the number of crackers or crisps and putting them in a bowl, so I don't take more than a serving and I don't eat half the package at once.

- Stick with what you're doing!
I know I'm incredibly impatient, so forcing myself to stick to what I'm doing for more than a week has helped a ton in getting things moving again. I have an off week every now and then, I didn't lose at all last week, but I stuck to it and I lost 1.8 lbs this week. So if the scale isn't moving for you and you're doing something new, just give it another week or two. It really does take that long for your body to "get with the program".

So there's my words of wisdom for the day. This weekend will be a bit challenging since I'm going to a Superbowl party, but I'm planning to eat smart and not nibble on any of the snacks. It's OK to have one slice of pizza... but when you add eating chips or something while watching the game, a few beers and more chips, it's a mess. I get to pick one treat and that's it. Same goes with any eating out I might do this weekend with the boyfriend. SMART CHOICES! Doesn't have to be a huge change, but little things really do add up to big weight loss numbers :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Beating a Dead Metabolism

Winter hibernation has a tendency to kill the motivation to exercise, eat right and make healthier choices. It felt like my metabolism went into hibernation too, along with a bit of motivation! But after one full month of getting my sorry bum back in gear, things are looking up.

I started January at 157.8 (boooooo!!!). It was the highest I had been in a year after being really good at staying around 150 for the first 9-10 months of 2011. Then that winter hibernation kicked in (I think it was the October snowstorm on the East Coast that started it all). But since January has been unseaonably warm (thank you global warming!), I've come out of hibernation and now so has my metabolism.

After 4 weeks of eating right, watching my portions and moving into my new condo (what a workout!)... I'm down to 153.3 for a total of 4.5 lbs lost. I ran an entire 5K on the treadmill without stopping in 40m, 30sec. I've been able to say no to crappy food and make healthier choices at restaurants.

And best of all, my metabolism is back! That's the really crucial part, because it helps me to absorb less than steallar food choices without gaining 3 pounds instantly. I really do feel better and more energized.

So, for anyone who's metabolism is still in hibernation, it just takes some dedication for a few weeks of eating right and working out to rev it up again. I've been keeping my calories pretty low lately to keep the weight loss going. I plan to increase it a few hundred eventually when I settle into a weight I'm comfortable with. I'm aiming for 145-150. But with how things are going, we'll see what it possible :) I'd LOVE times a million to finally hit my goal of 140. I keep making progress to get there and then something throws a wrench in the plan or my body stops cooperating. Either way, I'm going to try. At least me and my body are on the same page again :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Give Up On Those Resolutions!

I have never seen my gym so incredibly crowded. But what else should I expect when my gym did a New Years Resolution Groupon offer for a month-long membership. So, I've decided that I need to start encouraging people to give up. There aren't enough treadmills for all of us. And here's my reasoning:

1.) Losing weight is hard. You're gonna have to eat the right food, workout regularly, turn down goodies 99% of the time, and in general live a healthy lifestyle. It's not for everyone... You might actually even start to enjoy nutrious food! Bleck.

2.) You're gonna have to buy new clothes. It's expensive to drop sizes and need new clothes. Your bank account would be much happier if you just stuck to the same size. You might even look good in those new clothes, which would cause you to buy even more!

3.) Weight loss tends to result into more self-confidence and a generally happy attitude. You're just going to confuse everyone. They might start thinking you're on something because you don't act like your normal self. Your significant other won't know what to do. And who wants to be "the happy coworker". Who wants to work with that?

4.) Plane trips are going to be more comfy with all that extra room in the seat. You might even be tempted to go on vacation and wear a swim suit! Who can afford that in this economy? Really, you're better off.

5.) All those extra compliments are just going to go to your head (resulting in Reason #3). Who wants to hear "you look awesome!" and "have you lost weight?" all day long? Its just going to distract from the important things in life, like getting that report at work done efficiently.

6.) You're going to live longer. Which means you might be around when the zombie appocolyse happens... or 2012 or whatever. You're going to have to start stockpiling for 20 years in your fallout shelter to account for that.

7.) Your doctor and pharmacy companies isn't going to be making nearly as much money off you. All those tests and pills you won't need. Who's going to fund the next Viagra or fad weight loss pill without your money?

8.) And lastly, you'll free up my treadmill for training for my 5K in March.

So there's the reasons why I think it's a good idea to give up on your New Years Resolution to go to the gym more. As you can clearly see, it's really in everyone's best interest :P

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Slow and Steady... Kinda Sucks!

But it's necessary.

With numbers being a very prominent feature on MFP (tickers, weigh ins on the Newsfeed, calorie goals, etc.), it's easy to get caught up in the fever for big weight loss numbers every week. I know I get a thrill when I see the scale plummeting at a rate of a few tenths of a pound a day. But how much of that is actual fat loss, and how much of it is that I had a light dinner the night before?

I know I'm guilty of trying to "bend the scale to my will", so to speak. I'll have a protein shake for dinner the night before a weigh in. But is that really doing me any favors? In all likelyhood, it's just artificially increasing my weight loss number. And it sets me up for a huge bounce back up on the scale from the weekend if I'm not 100% strict on the food. Given that I'm in the 150s and am 5'2.5", it's not really all that realistic to see fat loss of 2 pounds a week anymore. So when I see those numbers, it's fishy and it's something that I shouldn't be trying to force myself to do.

I'm putting this out there because I know I'm not the only one in this situation. Not everyone on MFP has 50 pounds to lose anymore (even though we may have at some point in the past year or two). Not everyone even has 10 pounds to lose anymore. So it's a balance between seeing results that fit our bodies and comparing them to people who are capable of losing 2+ pounds a week. I'd love to put up huge numbers, but I need to see that I can be just as happy with one pound, or half a pound. I know it's slow and painful, but playing tricks with food and exercise and forcing my weight low for one day isn't helping.

The moral of the story is that I need to resize my expectations. I'd rather be down 1 pound this week and know that I've gotten rid of a pound of fat than be down 2 pounds and see the number jump right back up again on Monday after I ate a real meal. Hopefully by keeping a steady schedule and not inflating my weight loss number, I'll have a steady decline and I'll be able to keep it off. I really want to be in top shape once I get to my 5K race on March 25th. Lugging an extra 5-10 pounds around for 3 miles is not fun and I feel my best when I run regularly. Not fueling my body isn't going to help that at all.

Here's to hoping for a small loss tomorrow... as long as it's a loss, I'm happy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How to Get Back on Track!

The holidays are always tough... January and adjusting to a normal schedule again is even tougher. But here are some useful tricks that I used to turn my holiday laziness around and actually lose some weight for a change instead of slowly putting it back on.

Step 1 - Get rid of the holiday stuff. I had candy and cookies and christmas tree decorations all around my apartment. It looked like and felt like the holidays. Which meant I wanted to be lazy and eat cookies! Getting it all out of the apartment really helped to reset my attitude to "time to get in gear!" No more mini Christmas tree or Christmas cards. No more cookies sitting out in plain sight. No more laziness!

Step 2 - Make friends with the gym again. I know, it sucks when all the New Years Resolutioners are packing into the gym the first few weeks of January. I cannot stand waiting for a machine. But it has to be done. It's not a good enough excuse. So I just started leaving work a bit early. It's win/win. I'm not stuck at my desk past 5pm and I get to the gym before the 6pm rush.

Step 3 - Hit the grocery store... hard. I tend to eat out a lot around the holidays. So when I got back from break, I did quite a bit of healthy food shopping. Got some things to make a healthy lunch (and save me money, my other New Year goal). Got some healthy dinner choices, and snacks. No treats. No junk food. No guilt!

Step 4 - Don't let other lazy people influence you! If you think you're still stuck in a holiday rut, most likely the people around you are. So don't give into their bad habits. Just because your coworkers think you're nuts for cutting a 410 calorie Chick Fil A breakfast biscuit in half and putting the other (untouched) half back... doesn't mean you have to feel bad. (True story, by the way... hahah, I told them to stuff it). I still went out to eat with my boyfriend this weekend... and I scoured the menu for a not-so-horrible option. Much better!

Step 5 - Put your Christmas gifts and giftcards to good use. Buy some new workout clothes. Join the gym (January IS the best time for signup deals). Get a set of weights or a new workout DVD. Something to add a bit of spice to your usual workout routine. Personally, I started running again and I signed up for a 5K on March 25th to keep me motivated with a deadline.

Since getting my lazy butt in gear, I've gone from 157.8 (UGH) to as low as 155 on Saturday morning. I'm hoping to be 150 soon enough again, maybe even lower by time I get to my 5K! But sticking to bad holiday habits will get me nowhere. So try any or all of these tips and look hot for Valentines Day... hehe.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Conquering the Weekend

The weekend has always been my problem area, even when I started losing weight. Now that I've got a really small margin to work with in terms of calories and deficits, it's become my #1 nemesis. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the weekend. I don't have to sit at a desk all day, I get to explore DC, I hang out with my boyfriend or friends. It's great... except the fact that it bring an entire host of temptations and unhealthy situations that I love and hate at the same time.

Usually the way my schedule works, I don't get to exercise between Saturday afternoon and Sunday night. Not a huge deal, I try to get a workout in Saturday morning to make up for it and a Sunday off isn't bad when I've worked out nearly every other day during the week. But we do have a tendency to eat most of our meals out on the weekends. Which leads to some unhealthy choices. And I know that's my own fault. It would be easier to not eat out at all (and we are trying to scale back), but I've taken eating out as an excuse to eat whatever I want. Bad mindset!

I've been focusing extra hard this week on making good choices. I didn't get any snacks at the movie on Wednesday and I brought my own water bottle and 100 calorie popcorn bag. I worked out Mon, Tues, Thurs and I'm going to the gym tonight. And I've been under 1400 (usually 1300) calories a day. And I've lost 1.7 pounds this week!

But here comes the test. The weekend is where it all goes to crap. And I cannot let that happen anymore. What's the point of all that hard work during the week if I can't keep it up during the weekend. There are things I can adjust without having to stay in, workout, and not eat anything for the 2 days (don't think my boyfriend would like that very much...).

- Pick the healthiest option possible when eating out, not the tastiest. Salad with dressing on the side, fish or chicken... no heavy sauces or dips. It's not impossible. And I can veto a restaurant if necessary.

- Keep the drinking to a 2-3 beer max. That's gonna be the HARDEST one. It should be 2... but going out for a few beers is what we do. I love it, we hang out, try new bars, new delicious beers, etc. And unfortunately I have a taste for darker (i.e. more calorific) beers. Having only 2 will save my wallet and my waistline

- Workout Saturday mornings. Sometimes I get lazy, or make excuses. It's not impossible to wake up at 9 or 9:30 and workout for 45 minutes in my living room. So, I'm gonna do it. At least it will boost my metabolism for the rest of the day.

So there's what I'm going to try to do. Writing it down makes me feel more accountable for my actions. It will make me think twice when I order something. I can treat myself later, for the next couple weeks I really need to focus on losing a few pounds to get down to 150 or so and get my running stamina back. Carrying around the extra weight isn't making it any easier!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Confessions of a Shopaholic

I promised myself this month to focus on eating less and spending less... but as I know all too well from when I turned around my unhealthy habits, it's not an easy process. Tackling the shopaholic side of me is proving to be difficult. Since I started my job 2 years ago, I got really used to having an income that supported my shopping habits. I wasn't one for crazy expensive things, but I CANNOT turn down a good deal. Case in point... Victoria Secret Semi Annual Sale. And the shipping discounts they were offering before Christmas. needless to stay I've bought entirely more things than one person can wear. All because I convinced myself "this is such a good deal! It's better than if I bought it at full price later..." But, it's still costing me more than not buying it at all!

Anyway, to bring this topic back to the main theme of my blog. I'm impulsive when it comes to shopping, just like food. I go into it with the BEST of intentions... and then it all goes to crap when I saw a huge bin of clearance bras, or a delicious menu of food that I want to eat. It's extra calories/money that I don't really have to spend or need to spend, but I do anyway. I have a money budget set up just like I have a food budget (MFP diary plan). But then I go and waste it when I could be saving up for a treat. It's a mentality that I have to get over. It's difficult to avoid being in these situations all together. I'm going to end up in stores on occasion, or browsing online, or out to dinner. But I need to start making better choices in what I spend my money/calories on.

Since I spoiled my stomach with all the food I ate in December, it's not too happy that I've cut back to 1400 or less calories. But I can't let that be an excuse to eat more, it's just a matter of planning out small snacks and eating right. Same goes for shopping. I went a bit overboard in the last month and now I have to pay for it (literally, my credit card bills are due, LOL). I need to plan out my spending so that I can afford things like my condo bills and still have some money for dinners, gifts, and the occasional thing for myself. I also don't believe in carrying a credit card balance except in certain circumstances, so at least I haven't dug myself into a hole.

My action plan is to take a step back. Before I buy something or eat something, I have to think about it. Walk around the store holding it. Let is sit in my online shopping cart for a while. Or thoroughly scan a menu to see what better choices I could be making, instead of jumping on the most delicious thing I can find. I'm already lower than my weigh in from last Friday, so that's success in that department. And yes, I've resisted buying the $50 worth of items in my VS online shopping cart. Seeing the small successes helps, I'm just impatient and want to be back down to 150 (and lower!)... and have more money in my savings, haha. I'm finding it quite interesting that my relationship with food and shopping are so similar... but at least that allows me to tackle both issues at once! Might be painful, but it's a change for the better. And then I'll have money to buy some new smaller clothes if I need them! :)

I just scored 224 points on the Bzz Agent Smarterer quiz!