Wednesday, March 21, 2012
I am not someone who has ever had any particular seasonal allergies, but I have been hit very hard with hay fever over the past week. It seems like a lot of people have been hit hard with allergies thus far this spring. I have been a sniffly, itchy-eyed, lethargic mess. My workouts have gone a bit to the wayside and I skipped the gym today. I made it in Monday but "only" did an hour of Jiu Jitsu and that took it out of me (I normally workout 2-3 hours on mixed martial arts training days).
I have still been fairly active over the past week, but my body clearly needed some rest. I was finally able to sleep a lot today and feel a bit better. I have also been taking loratadine and using eucalyptus and tea tree oil for aromatherapy. I try to avoid drugs whenever possible, but I need to hit these allergies hard with some antihistamines.
Now, allergies are no excuse for the binging I did this week (ordering from my favorite pizza place), and it goes to show that I still battle with balance (either eating well and working out, or not doing either particularly well). It was "only" 2 days of poor eating, but it could have been avoided with a little forethought. I am low on food at home and need to get to the grocery store.
Not much else to report--I've been resting whenever possible. Nothing exciting this week.
I'm already out of steam. Now...*sniffle*...could you please pass the tissues? Ah...ah...ah-CHOO!
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
My good SparkPal MUSICALLYMINDED asked in her blog today whether we are on this journey to lose weight (especially for vanity reasons), or to gain health? My honest answer is that it is for both reasons. I do look better now than I did 50 pounds ago, but that is also because I look much healthier. While the scale may not always move in the right direction or may stagnate for a while, choices that are good for health can be made every day (as she shows in her Good Choices blogs). I have taught myself patience so that I don't get too concerned about the vanity part, but I am happy when I am losing weight. It usually means that I am doing well with making healthy choices.
Check it out and let Tracy know what you think:
Monday, March 12, 2012
This week I celebrated finally surpassing the 50 pound weight loss mark (see yesterday's blog). It took 15 months with lots of ups and downs. I have been fine with slow weight loss (and am an advocate of losing slowly), but reaching the 50 pound loss point has been a major long-term goal for me because 50 pounds officially feels like A LOT of weight lost. Crossing that line makes me truly feel like I can reach my goal of losing 136 pounds.
My workouts this week were pretty good and I hit it hard. I like my more laid-back approach to training now. My main training tool is a 75-cent spiral notebook where I write down the workouts I plan to do for the week, then I check them off and enter the day I did them. I am consistent enough about working out that I don't need to schedule which days I do certain workouts; I do them on the day that is most appropriate for my energy level and time. Tailoring my workout plan according to my energy level and time has allowed me to work harder during my workouts because I'm doing them when my body thinks it's best, not when I think I "should" be working out.
I was much better about tracking this week, although I seem to do fairly well with intuitive eating recently. There have been days when I have tracked at the end of day and I had eaten when I was hungry and until I was satisfied, and was spot-on. I know that ultimately I need to track, though, partially for tracking the calories, but also to make sure I am getting enough macro- and micronutrients.
This past week I had a couple of splurges (yet still lost 8 freaking pounds--go figure). They were splurges, not binges. My boyfriend enjoys baking and so do I, so we baked peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies. In the past, I would have probably eaten about 1/4th of the dough, and probably 10 cookies before the time the cookies were even cooled off. This time, I just enjoyed spending time with my boyfriend as well as the process of making the cookies. Of course, I had to lick the beaters, and I had a cookie right out of the oven, which was what I really wanted. I took about a dozen cookies home and planned on having 3 of them; the rest are for the guys at the gym. Having those cookies in my house used to stress me out. I had the ones I planned for and was satisfied with them. That has been an ultimate goal, to not just stop eating, but to be truly satisfied with the food. After all, the point of eating a treat is to feel happy about it, so I am very excited to have reached the point where I GENUINELY enjoy having "just one." I feel like I am starting to have the mindset of a lean person. I will be blogging this week about some of the sensory integration work I have done to help me overcome my food cravings.
This week I plan on keeping on truckin'. I am in a great place and will hang here for a while. One major goal I have this week is to finish and post some of the blogs that have been rolling around in my head.
Have a great week!
Saturday, March 10, 2012
I finally crossed the 50 pound loss mark this week! I have had plenty of ups and downs in my weight over the past year, but the overall trend has been downward. This week I was hell-bent on hitting the 50 pound loss mark, and I surpassed that and am also out of the 250s! My little kickboxer avatar is now kicking the astronaut right in the face on my tracker; I have been patiently watching her creep closer and closer over the past year. I "only" have 45 pounds to lose before I am in Onederland, and 45 pounds seems like a manageable amount to me.
To my shock, I stepped on my scale to see I had lost 8 pounds this week. Because I have had large losses consistently over the past several weeks (I lost 9 pounds in February), I am going to try eating a little more. My appetite has been much more regulated since cutting out wheat and I am eating plenty, but I am going to try adding some extra food after my workouts to see if that slows down the losses a little bit. I definitely don't want to defeat the purpose of my workouts by gobbling up my lean muscle mass for fuel.
Although the focus of this journey has not really been on the scale, I was still happy to cross over the 50 pound loss mark this week. Some of the things I have done that have helped me lose 55 pounds:
Having friends in the right places. My SparkFriends have been an invaluable source of love and support. MUSICALLYMINDED has been my daily source of inspiration, humor, and honesty. I am also fortunate to have supportive, yet non-judgmental, family members and friends.
Focusing on clean eating and eating mostly whole, fresh, and homemade foods.
Cutting out wheat to find out if I am sensitive to it. Yeah, the bloating went away and I dropped almost 20 pounds within weeks. I would recommend at least cutting out wheat products on a trial basis to see if that helps if the scale has been stagnant--the signs of wheat sensitivity can be subtle.
Building up activity gradually--very gradually. Yes, I can now work out for 2-3 hours at a time and it isn't a big deal. It took me well over a year to get to this point, working hard when it's okay and resting when I needed it. Had I tried to do 2 hour martial arts workouts, lifting super heavy weights, and doing high-impact activities like running all at once, my body never would have tolerated it. Listening to my body has been key--when it wanted rest, I gave it rest, and when it wants to go super hard, I bring it.
Working out like a bad-ass martial artist. The guys at my gym are my ultimate fitspiration, and they treat me like an athlete. I go to the gym for Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai classes 3-5 days per week and lift weights and/or do a kettlebell workout 3 days a week. I have also started running again.
Lifting very heavy weights. Powerlifting has made a major difference in my physique and has helped build fat-gobbling muscle. Lifting heavy weights stimulates growth hormone, which I believe is an important hormone involved in healthy weight loss (that's another Nerdrageous Blog! topic).
Blogging. I am so glad I have been keeping a journal of this journey. It is gratifying to look back on successes as well as setbacks that I have overcome.
Daring to try new things--even if it means being uncomfortable. I took up the saxophone again and have gotten a lot out of my lessons with my cool teacher Jeff. I also started doing Jiu Jitsu, even though I was terrified at first of being physically able to do it as well as being touched during grappling. Now, needless to say, I'm a little obsessed with Jiu Jitsu and am actually getting good at it.
Channeling creative energy. Writing and playing music have helped me take creative approaches to changing my mindset and solving problems.
Getting organized. I have organized my home and finances and although neither are perfect, being more organized feeds into being healthier.
Getting enough rest. I have focused on getting more sleep as well as taking a break from exercise when I'm exhausted.
Meditation. I have not been doing meditation daily, but am making an effort to do more. Meditation has helped increase my body-mind awareness as well as serving as a tool to avoid binges.
Yoga. I do yoga several times a week, which has been very helpful in increasing my range of motion and decreasing arthritis pain.
Having a sense of humor. Learning to lighten up about the scale, food, and frustrations has helped me become more patient about weight loss.
Eat a treat every day. Yep, I eat chocolate every day. I'm not talking about that diet crap, I have a real treat every day, usually a hunk of dark chocolate.
Drinking water and green tea. I love water, so I have no problem chugging it. I also have 2-4 cups of green tea almost every day.
Reducing food stress. This is probably #1. I knew I had to majorly change my relationship with food or else I would never keep the weight off even if I were able to lose it. Changing my relationship with food through reflection (writing and meditation) has helped reduce my stress level overall. Food held me captive and was intertwined with every area of my life. Now I have a much more reasonable relationship with food, allowing me to eat healthfully and plentifully without stress.
I am very glad I have been taking progress pictures. Although the scale isn't everything, weight loss is a tangible sign of improvement in my mental health. Here are my first set of progress pictures and some from today (all nice and sweaty from Jiu Jitsu!).
February 2011, at about 295 pounds
March 2012, at 243 pounds (55 pounds down)
Thanks for all of your love and support, SparkFriends!
"...ultimately, above all else, I want to be healthy and happy and take exquisite care of myself. A scale can't measure that."
Thursday, March 08, 2012
...and I feel great. My experiment with cutting out wheat (or at least significantly reducing my consumption of it) seems to be paying off. I feel so much better and have not been bloated and nauseated. I also came across an article that discussed how some people who are sensitive to wheat feel hungry all of the time when eating wheat, and that was certainly the case with me. I always felt ravenous, so no wonder I was having a hard time losing weight.
February was a pretty good month overall. I lost about 9 pounds, most of it within the 2 weeks following cutting out wheat. I will not say that I think wheat itself causes weight gain or that cutting it out is some magic bullet for weight loss, but I am glad that I pinpointed that I am sensitive to it. I was eating healthy foods (whole grain breads like Ezekiel bread, whole wheat pasta, etc.), so it wasn't an issue of eating refined foods. Now my diet is mostly flour-free and brown rice, beans, lentils, oatmeal, raw fruits and veggies, and healthy fats make up the bulk of my diet. I feel satisfied and have had few cravings for junk. Cutting out wheat products seems to have regulated my appetite a bit.
I was pleased with February overall. I worked out a lot, although I didn't follow my wrkout plan exactly. It is good that I have learned to be more flexible with myself. Jiu Jitsu is going well and I feel I am learning new things and improving almost every day. I haven't been doing as much kickboxing, mainly because there aren't many suitable workout partners at my gym now. I have a goal to start doing more kickboxing anyways and just make sure my coach gives me a good workout.
I have been more consistent about strength training and have been following a fairly casual plan of doing a kettlebell workout, and hypertrophy (muscle growth) and/or endurance workout, and Olympic lifts each week. I have been writing the workouts as I go along or doing a suitable DVD. I can see a definite difference in muscle tone over the past month, and I am very pleased with that.
I have started running again and it is going well. I am doing the Jeff Galloway method and will probably follow it permanently. Jeff Galloway advocates running with walk breaks, which is easier on the muscles and joints. So far my knee has tolerated the running.I have been doing 15-30 second running intervals with 1-2 minutes of walking for 15-30 minutes, and I will build up from there. Eventually I will run for 4-5 minutes and walk 30-60 seconds for up to an hour at a time. Jeff Galloway's website is here:
My goal for March is to follow my workout plan a bit more closely, that is, to get to martial arts classes 3-4 days a week, do my 3 strength/conditioning workouts a week, and run 3 days a week. I should also be better about tracking my food, however, I feel like I have been eating well intuitively, as I was pretty bad about tracking during February yet still lost 9 lbs. I feel like my eating has gotten a lot more reasonable and I stress a lot less about food and wanting to overeat.
Here's to an awesome March!
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