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!
Monday, February 27, 2012
I'm such a sucker doing hours of martial arts every week. Turns out that staying safe is much less physically exhausting than I thought!
Image from http://pleated-jeans.com/
Stay safe, ladies!
(Sorry it's kind of hard to read the small print, this was the best picture I could find.)
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Well, at least I drank my water this week (picture my friend took yesterday, and then we doctored it up on her iPad).
This week had it's ups and downs. My eating was so-so. I overate greasy food yesterday, but the rest of the week my eating was decent. I just wasn't the best about tracking. Overall it was just a "meh" week--not great, not bad. I sacrificed some exercise time to hang out with friends, but it was worth it to catch up with them.
I found out today that I will owe about $1,000 between my state and federal taxes. It is my fault--I had credit card debt forgiven last year. The $1,000 is still better than the fees and interest that would have continued to accrue on the credit card debt, and I'm in a better position now to deal with the tax money.
After I found out that I was going to have yet another expense that I can't really afford, I wanted comfort food. I scourged my fridge and cupboard and made a very large pot of homemade soup. I added wild rice, lentils, potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, zucchini, vegetable bouillon, oregano, sage, red pepper, and rosemary. It's kind of hard to mess up soup anyways, but it is very good. Something was very soothing about the very act of making it. I am now convinced that there is nothing that can't be made better by eating a bowl of hot homemade veggie soup.
In any case, I'm happy that my first thought when it came to comfort food was to make something healthy and genuinely satisfying. I couldn't tell you the last time I craved chips and a pound of chocolate candy (a very typical binge for me) when I was stressed. I've noticed that the shift in my overeating has gone from being emotional to being social. I used to binge in private when I was stressed and/or sad. Now I am more prone to overeating in the company of others. Yesterday I went to 2 bars and had too much greasy food. Although that is rare for me, I would still like to avoid overeating a lot of junk. I prefer that I desire to overeat when I am with others and having fun rather than trying to stuff some void, but my skills at restaurants could often stand to improve.
This week my plan is to get back to tracking honestly. I will also be getting in more gym time. But again, just like social eating is more acceptable to me than secret binge eating, there's nothing wrong with ditching the gym to get in some time with friends (although we still went for walks together, so still getting in activity). I never feel guilty about taking time to be around great people.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
From Oxygen Magazine. These are almost a little TOO good...in any case, I made them tonight and they were great--ya know, the half a batch I ate. In any case, my plan is have these as pre- or post-workout snacks, so maybe I'll try making them again when I'm not having moontime cravings.
Tiffani Bachus’ Peanut Butter Protein Balls
Ready in 5 minutes • Makes 14 servings
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder (I used 2 Tbsp. brown rice protein powder)
3 tbsp ground flaxseed
3 tbsp dark chocolate chips
Mix together all ingredients. Should be the consistency of Play-Doh. Roll into 14 small balls. Refrigerate to firm them up, overnight for best results. Enjoy!
Nutrients per serving (1 ball):
Calories: 84, Total Fats: 5 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 3 mg, Sodium: 28 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 8 g, Dietary Fiber: 1 g, Sugars: 6 g, Protein: 4 g, Iron: 0 mg
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