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!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Spending Diet

A spending diet isn't much different from a regular diet. I tend to always blog about weight loss, but I'm branching out a bit to make a comparison that I recently realized makes a lot of sense.

Having just bought a condo on Dec 30th, I wanted to start the new year with a new diet... on my spending. Being healthier does save me money, particularly by not eating out as much, but I wanted to use 2012 to clean up more than my eating habits.

MFP lets us set a goal for how many calories we should eat. And breaks it up into categories of what we "spend" those on. We can "earn" more calories to eat by exercising. And we can save them up for a treat.

Replace the words calories with money and you have a spending diet! I personally use www.mint.com to keep track of all my finances, and I actually started using it right around the same time as MFP. So both go hand-in-hand for my habits. I set my budget for the month, break it up into categories, decide how much I can spend in each, and save some money for treats like a trip or an elliptical (or in the recent case, a condo down payment). Sometimes we let our eating (spending) get out of control. We give into temptations like meals out too often... or too many sale items in Victoria Secret (guilty as charged...). But coming back to MFP/Mint helps me get back on track.

In 2012, not only do I want to get my eating habits back in line and work on my running stamina, I want to be more financially responsible. It's the same mindset. It's going to require dedication to log everything I eat/spend, but I'll reap the rewards from it. I definitely can get impulsive with spending and food, it's a habit that I'm trying hard to control. If I want to eat something I shouldn't, I make myself wait 10 minutes to see if I really want it or am I just bored. With shopping, I need to consider my purchase for more than a minute to see if it's something I want but don't really need. Taking a second to consider it in the biggest context helps. Little things can really add up.

I'm definitely not a financial expert by any means, but I just wanted to share a comparison that I made. I know many of you on here have the weightloss mentality down, here's a way to apply it to a different part of your life. Let's hope that 2012 leads to skinny jeans and fat wallets! :)

Zeroing Out The Ticker

As of today, I've lost 0 pounds according to my ticker... in 2012. I've kept the ticker's starting point with my total weight loss from Day 1. It's incredibly encouraging to see how far I've really come in the process.

But it's time for a new mindset. Weighing in the 150s is the new normal. I did for all of 2011. Aside from a few lingering side effects, you would have no idea I used to be 60 pounds heavier. So in the spirit of putting that in the past and focusing on the future, I reset my starting weight to what it was this morning. 157.8 lbs. It's higher than it's been in a while thanks to the holidays and the laziness that comes with it. But it's a solid starting point.

Also seeing 0 lights a fire under my ass. I want that number to increase! I certainly don't want it to go negative. And I think that is what is going to keep me honest for this whole process. What worked for me to lose the first 60 pounds probably isn't going to work as well with the last 13 or so. I'm going to have to really focus on food with less of a margin for deficit. I'm going to have to get my fitness level back up with running. And I'm going to have to be honest. I gave into Donut Day at work this morning. And when I changed my ticker after eating my breakfast, it felt like crap. Because I know those aren't the kinds of behaviors that will help it move in the right direction.

I'd love to finally reach a reasonable goal weight and keep it there, and I think 2012 is my year to do it. I've let my body reset itself to be use to the 150s. Now it's time to shock it into losing the last 10-15 pounds to get to my real goal of 145-150. That's a weight I can maintain and feel completely comfortable at. I don't care if a healthy weight for someone my height is 141. I'm not a generic 5'2" person. Time to focus on myself and my goals for this year. Starting at zero...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I Won't Get Sucked into "The Fat Trap"

I read this article recently on the NY Times, and it really shed some light over my struggles in the last year trying to maintain my 60+ pound weight loss. Namely, that my body hates me... haha.

But really, it does illustrate perfectly that people who have lost a lot of weight have a completely different battle maintaining it than someone who has been the same weight all along. One or two days of less than healthy eating and I'm up on the scale for a week. I can eat under 1500 calories a day and I'm just maintaining. Losing more requires extraordinary measures, and I'm still 10+ pounds above a healthy weight for someone my height at 5'3". Basically, my battle is never really over. I'm just hoping it settles down in time.

Lately, I've realized how easy it is to lapse and let the scale creep up a few pounds. It doesn't take much. A few meals at Christmas, a few extra beers, and a few less workouts. But I've still tried to pick healthy items, workout when I could... and the scale still jumped up. I can see this is how people get discouraged and start to give up. It's EXHAUSTING trying to do this 24/7, every single day. I can't stop thinking about it. I can't stop moving. And this is all to maintain my weight or lose a few of the extra pounds. I'm not even trying to get down to 140 right now because I'm having issues getting to 150 and staying there.

I'm writing this blog mainly to vent my frustrations, but to also show people that maintenance is almost harder than the weight loss. I was dropping 1-2 pounds a week for a good 6 months and it wasn't this difficult. Then once I got to 150 and got stuck, it stayed that way for all of 2011.

I'm determined to make 2012 different. I need to get back into my peak workout shape. I gave up the running around summertime, and I might need to start that up again. I was under 150 when I ran and it stayed there. That'll be painful to get going, I lost my stamina. I'd like to get back into 5K shape by the spring though, I did really enjoy running those races and it gave me a goal to work towards. And hopefully it will help me get back down to around 150 where I was really comfortable. Even if it's still 5-10 pounds above my initial goal, I know it's attainable and more importantly MAINTAINABLE! People forget about that second part. Sure, reaching your goal is important but you have to think about staying there for, technically, the rest of your life. If you get down to 120 and stay there for a day and go right back up again, it's better to stop somewhere that you feel comfortable maintaining. It takes a lot of effort to maintain a weight. If you have to go to extraordinary lengths to do it, it won't stick. I could never eat 1200 calories a day the rest of my life. But at 150, regular exercise and eating 1500-1800, it was very doable.

So the lesson I want everyone to take with them today, MAINTAINABLE goals are crucial, just not attainable.

My goals in the next few months are these:
- Get back into my running form (it's gonna require the gym, but I'm willing to commit, I did it last winter!)
- Work my way slowly back down to 150 without sabotaging myself
- Get my unnecessary eating under control. I really need to stop buying food I know I shouldn't be eating, especially in larger quantities. I'm better getting one small treat that's gone after I eat it.