Thursday, March 24, 2011

Weigh-in Day, Mar. 24

195.2. That's down 1.4 pounds in two weeks - and one of those weeks I was on vacation! So, not a huge loss considering it's 2 weeks of time, but managing to not gain weight while I was vacationing is quite an accomplishment!

Speaking of vacation - I DID work out some of the days that I was gone. And I managed to make good food choices . . . some of the time. I often didn't track my food in the Weight Watchers website, mostly because I wasn't around my computer a lot. Yes, I could have used my phone to do it, but it's kind of a pain in the butt. I usually only do it if necessary when I'm out and about. Doing it for 5 days would have been a really big pain in the butt. And while I did work out some, I'm sure it wasn't equivalent to my normal workouts. BUT, vacation is MEANT for a little indulgence, right? The lesson is: don't consider vacation an opportunity to eat everything in sight. But don't deprive yourself while you're on vacation either - just like in real life, if you don't give yourself a break every now and then, you will never be able to keep this lifestyle up.

Coming back to my normal routine after my vacation felt really bizarre. And I'm talking about my diet/exercise routine here, not just work. It wasn't necessarily bad or good - it just felt weird. It sort of felt like I was starting all over again with my diet. There was that little sigh of sadness in my soul when I bought salad instead of potato chips. (That's right - sigh of sadness.) But after a day of going back into the routine, it felt just as easy as it had before I went on vacation. So, the first day was kind of hard, but the next days were fine. What I'm getting at is that I can understand why many people (and in the past, myself) struggle after getting back from vacation. But once you get past that first day of eating well, you remember how to do it. You don't have to reteach yourself every time you come back from a trip. Now, if you relapse into old habits for 3 months after your vacation, and THEN you try to get back on track, then you will have to relearn those habits. Morale of the story - don't allow vacation, or coming back from vacation, to become your get-out-of-jail free card. Allow yourself a vacation, then get back to it! You don't let vacation throw you off your job for more than a day or two once you get back, right? Why should your diet - taking care of your body - be any different? If anything, your body should be MORE important.

I'm not sure why Americans are so "work-oriented" compared to other countries. But I'm fairly certain it's one of the habits that has contributed to us being the fattest country in the world. We neglect taking care of ourselves to make sure we do our job. We even choose our jobs over our family and friends a lot of the time. (Just to be clear - this isn't all Americans. We all know people that obsess over their looks above everything else. But I know many more people who put their jobs first and let their health slide. Just an observation.) I am particularly guilty of choosing work/school over taking care of myself. I'll sacrifice sleep, down energy drinks or coffee, and shove fast food into my body just to accomplish a to-do list. Or shall I say, I HAVE been particularly guilty of doing all this. I'm proud of say that I have set aside time in 5 days out of the week to take care of my body, cook once a week, and get healthy food at the grocery store once a week. Interestingly - it's enabled me to get more work done because I'm not exhausted all the time. So taking care of ourselves is a win-win!!

More to come soon, weight loss followers!

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Biggest Loser

I have to write this while it's fresh in my brain.

I was catching up on the Biggest Loser tonight on I was sitting there feeling so proud of these people that I don't even know as I see pictures of them at their starting weight next to pictures of them now. The way that you can see the light in their eyes because they know how far they've come is so inspiring. I'm almost in tears over these strangers!

I used to watch this show with a callous over my heart. I would be impressed by the number of weight they lost, hope they wouldn't vote my favorite people off, wish I had trainers like Bob and Jillian, etc etc. It was superficial interest. I was jealous. I was hardened because I wanted to be able to work out for 6 hours a day. I wanted to have food plans designed specially for me. I wanted to lose 8 pounds in a week! I'm sure I could if I just had all those things.

Now I sit here watching it seeing them as my future. I see myself looking as good as they do, and knowing that I feel as good as they do. I see myself as one of those success stories they show every few episodes who lost all their weight at home. Who is this person that's writing this right now? It's so overwhelming to see emotional changes in me that I didn't even know were taking place. I know that I'm changing my life and that I'm going to be where they are soon enough. I took control of my life, my diet, my fitness. And everyone who knows me knows how much I prefer being in control! It might temporarily feel good to eat chocolate or McDonald's or whatever your go-to junk food is. But I PROMISE YOU - this feels better. No matter what setbacks I have or how frustrated I feel, I am determined to do this. And once I set my mind to something, you can bet your ass that I'm not giving up until I get there.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Weigh-in Day, Mar. 10!

196.6. -0.8 lb. That's a little frustrating. I can't pretend that I'm thrilled with this number. I didn't get to work out on Saturday, and I usually burn a lot of calories that day. I tried to make up for it on other days, but there's only so much you can do.

But - like Courtney on the Biggest Loser - the number went down, so I'm satisfied. I said all this last week - I'm gaining lean muscle mass and losing fat. I'm not remaining static, and I'm certainly not gaining weight. My friend Katy, whose journey has been pretty similar to mine, reminded me that a pound is a pound. Another friend mentioned to me today that the weight looks like it's falling off of me. Why do I feel like I have to do more, lose more, work harder? THIS IS HARD. It will always be hard. I can do my best every week - and as long as my best lets me lose weight, I should celebrate that. The only way I'm going to get to where I want to be is for it to be hard. Because I can either have emotional pain for the rest of my life, or I can have physical pain right now. I'm pretty sure I know which one is better.

Let's focus on something positive - the past 3 days, I have done something EVERY DAY that I didn't know i could do before. On Monday, I ran a half mile without stopping - in 6 minutes. For those of you who run, you know that's not exactly fast. But I don't remember ever running a half mile outside of gym class. And I did it! Not even 2 months ago, I couldn't run for 2 minutes without feeling like I was going to pass out. And now I'm halfway to being able to run a mile! On Tuesday, I ran for 2 minutes at 6 miles per hour. Usually I run at a max of 5 mph. I just thought - I wonder if I can? And I did! And yesterday, my trainer had me do hamstring curls on a stability ball. I've always watched other people do those - and laughed at the vision in my head of me attempting to do it and failing. In case you don't know - here's what they look like -

So, they're HARD! It wasn't easy to do them, and I'm certainly sore today, but it wasn't impossible. I love pushing myself - I love seeing what I can do now.

Goals for this week:
Thursday Mar. 3 - 4 fruits and veggies
Friday Mar. 4 - 5 fruits and veggies, worked out with trainer
Saturday Mar. 5 - 4 fruits and veggies
Sunday Mar. 6 - 3 fruits and veggies
Monday Mar. 7 - 4 fruits and veggies, worked out with trainer, tried a new recipe (tilapia puttanesca)
Tuesday Mar. 8 - 5 fruits and veggies, worked out (running)
Wednesday Mar. 9 - 3 fruits and veggies, worked out with trainer

So, a little better than last week on the fruits and veggies, but not as much working out. Which I knew was going to happen - March is crazy busy! This Monday I leave to go on vacation for a few days, and I hope to do my best while I'm there. My hotel has a gym, and although I know there will be more eating and drinking than usual, I'm hoping the gym and walking around will help counteract it. All I can do is give it my best and see what happens!

Don't give up!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Weigh-in Day, Mar. 4!

197.4!! Can you capitalize numbers? That's how excited I am. That 1.4 pounds lost from last week. I'm now well into "One-derland" as the Biggest Loser contestants call it. That also means that I've lost 7.8 pounds since the beginning of January when I restarted this whole process. Also, to catch you up on how the measurements went last week, I lost a total of 1.5 inches. Not nearly as much as last time, obviously. But my body fat % went down almost an entire percentage point - from 35.8% to 35%. So that means that while my body might not be shrinking visibly, I am losing fat and gaining lean muscle mass. Which is kind of the point.

I will admit that this whole process isn't going nearly as fast as I'd like. But, I feel AMAZING. I feel so fit and limber and strong all the time. I might have sore muscles, but in general my body feels great. I have more energy, too! When I can't work out one day, I actually miss it. (Who am I?!) I'm wearing clothes I couldn't fit into a year ago, and all my other clothes fit so much better. Lately it seems like even my trainer is surprised by the amount of weight I can lift or how fast my heart rate recovers. I feel like I'm addicted to health! I love watching myself do things I've never done before. This week I ran for 5 straight minutes outside - NOT on a treadmill. And then I could run for 4 minutes, walk for 2 minutes 4 TIMES! Running on a treadmill is a great way to work out, but you're not pushing your own body weight nearly as much as when you run on pavement. I couldn't believe I could do that! I'm really looking forward to being able to run a whole mile. I think it will happen fairly soon!

When I mentioned all this to my trainer, she simply said, "It will come." When you make a massive change in your lifestyle, your body takes a little time to adjust. And beyond that, it takes everyone awhile to get into a routine. I feel like I'm there now - and look at the results! In the last 2 weeks I lost 4 pounds! You can't allow yourself to get discouraged early in the game. And if you're irritated that you've let yourself backslide a little, look at me! For 6 months last year I didn't diet at all and I gained some weight back. It just takes a little bit of work to get back in the routine. It might not be fast and easy - but hey, if that was the case, everyone would be a size 2! And it's possible!

Here's my update on my goals for this week:
Thursday 2/24 - 4 fruits and veggies
Friday 2/25 - 4 fruits and veggies, worked out with trainer
Saturday 2/26 - 4 fruits and veggies, worked out (dance game)
Sunday 2/27 - 3 fruits and veggies
Monday 2/28 - 4 fruits and veggies, worked out (ran and weight training), made new recipe, Spicy Skillet Chicken and Rice
Tuesday 3/1 - 5 fruits and veggies, worked out (ran outside)
Wednesday 3/2 - 4 fruits and veggies, worked out with trainer, made Grape and Walnut Chicken Salad again

So, 5 days of working out, 2 days of cooking, one recipe is new, and I did alright on fruits and veggies. I think my goal for this week will be to improve on that. But I will say that the Spicy Skillet Chicken was SO yummy! And pretty easy to make. I found that I couldn't wait to eat my leftovers. Here's the recipe if you guys want to try it?

Spicy Skillet Chicken and Rice
Makes 4 servings
4 PointsPlus values per serving

1 tsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium clove of garlic, minced (I used garlic powder and it tasted great.)
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground Cumin
1/3 cup uncooked white grain, long grain (I used brown rice instead.)
14 1/2 oz canned stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1 cup chopped roasted chicken breast
4 pimento stuffed olives

  • Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the Cajun seasoning, chili powder, and cumin; cook 1 minute. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until the grains are coated, about 1 minute.

  • Add the tomatoes and water; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Add the chicken and olives; cook, covered, until the rice is tender and the chicken is heated through, about 5 minutes. Yields 2/3 cup per serving.
For the vegetarians out there - this would be a great recipe for tofu or tofurkey or fake chicken. There's so much flavoring with the spices, I couldn't even tell that the meat was chicken! I hope some of you give it a shot! More to come soon!