Thursday, April 10, 2014
It's been a while since my last blog entry, which in the past may have indicated that I had completely fallen off the wagon, but this time I am proud to say that is not the case! My days have been so incredibly long and busy that by the time I get home I have very little time to myself, and the time I do have is often spent doing homework/taking quizzes and then promptly going to bed. I'm relieved to have a little break this evening so I can have some real ME time before the jam packed weekend that is in store for me.
I went to New Orleans for vacation almost two weeks ago and had a fabulous time! Had a great, long weekend with my boyfriend and our friends, regardless of the fact that it ended up being just me with six dudes. Drank way too much the first night I was there and felt the after effects all weekend. I didn't drink as heavily after that first night but I did continue to EAT like I haven't eaten in ages, which is not so great. The last night we were in town my boyfriend and I went out to eat and treated the meal just as if it were our last. We ordered an appetizer, a big entree and dessert, and we left feeling so stuffed we couldn't do anything else aside from going to bed. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling nauseated and actually threw up, and I am embarrassed to say I think it is because of all the food! Definitely need to stick to smaller portion sizes next time I go on vacay.
Returning from vacation was rough. My eating was terrible for about two full days and as a result I felt physically and emotionally run down. The second day I felt so miserable I actually called in sick to work, citing the "stomach flu" but in reality I just felt so incredibly crappy from all that bad food I had binged on. After the second day of feeling terrible I woke up resolved to get back on track, which I have managed to do so with very little issue.
I weighed in at boot camp yesterday and am OK with the fact that I now weigh the exact same as I did before I left for New Orleans. In fact, my final weigh in for this six week session shows a total weight loss of 10 lbs., which officially makes me the "biggest loser" in my boot camp group! I think my reward is something like half off the cost of a future boot camp session, which I will happily use as I continue my journey.
I've recently added some things back into my diet that I had cut out during the month of April in an effort to eat entirely clean. My mornings now start with a big cup of coffee, and I am having an occasional serving of dairy (such as greek yogurt or cheese). I am also going to allow myself to drink alcohol (in moderation) on the weekends and have 1-2 cheat meals per week. I'm going to try this out and see how it impacts my weight loss. If a few weeks go by and I either gain or don't lose any weight, I may go back to my more strict diet plan that has proven to be so effective in the past. However, I am hoping I won't have to do that, especially when it comes to the cheat meals and the drinking alcohol in moderation. I am sick of turning down dinner invitations with family and friends, or stressing over what I can eat on the menu, or having to eat BEFORE going out to a restaurant and being the one weirdo who is sipping on water while everyone else is enjoying their meals. I am also tired of going to sports events, parties and other social gatherings where all of my peers are enjoying beer and wine while I stick to water. I feel that if I keep up with my exercise regimen and continue to eat mindfully for the majority of the time, I will still be able to lose weight - but we will find out for sure when I weigh in over the next couple of weeks!
I have started wearing new, smaller clothes to work lately and it's really nice to have people notice how I am looking different. On Monday I wore a button down blouse with a camisole and a pair of skinny/form-fitting pants and a couple of co-workers told me that I looked tiny! Me, tiny?! I have always been "short" but it's been a long time since someone referred to me as petite. :) Today I tried on an NFL jersey my Dad bought me for Christmas that was a size too small when I first got it, and now it fits PERFECTLY. I am so pumped that I can put this thing on come draft day and it'll look good. Who knows, maybe by the time pre-season rolls around in August it will wind up being too big? I shouldn't get ahead of myself, but it sure is nice to dream!
Summer will be here before I know it, and I am SO wanting to be able to wear a swimsuit, shorts and a sleeveless shirt. After all, temperatures reach over 100 degrees where I am at and it would be such a relief not to have to sweat in jeans and t-shirts while everyone else around me is sunning themselves. I do notice that almost every day I look at my arms, legs, stomach, etc. in the hopes that I will see a drastic difference, only to be disappointed that not much has changed. You would think after all this time I would know that changes happen gradually and in small steps, not overnight. I am just really eager to feel comfortable in my own skin, and even though I am close to getting there I haven't quite made it yet. Now is the time to stay focused, stay motivated, and continue to love and care for myself by filling my body with healthy foods and staying active. I'm in a good place right now, a place I wish to remain in indefinitely! Just gotta keep on keepin' on, and I'll get there.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
I've been fighting really hard to avoid processed foods all month. For the most part, I do OK - I've had two days during the whole month of March where I really got off track, but I was able to turn around and make my way in the right direction after those slip-ups. I really am enjoying eating clean as I have found I feel better overall.
However, today was just "one of those days." Very long day at work, very busy, I am feeling overwhelmed and overworked because co-workers keep calling in sick and I feel that sometimes I am one of the few who is reliable and consistent and always picks up the slack. I fought through rush hour traffic to get to my bootcamp group, powered through a very difficult workout and made my way home. Had a very healthy dinner consisting of spaghetti squash with grilled chicken and avocado, a side of raw green beans and a big ole bowl of black grapes and raspberries for dessert. I thought I was done, but about an hour ago my stomach began to growl ever so slightly and it hit me: I REALLY wanted chocolate!
I've kept an "emergency" dark chocolate bar in the pantry for a couple of weeks now and am pretty proud that it has remained intact. Truthfully, I've never been a huge dark chocolate fan. I like it alright, but I prefer milk chocolate (or white chocolate, which I suppose isn't really chocolate at all). For whatever reason that dark chocolate began calling my name and I made my way over to the kitchen, opened up the chocolate bar and broke off 1/4 of it. I took it back to the office and savored it while I got caught up on some reading, and now that it is over I have to admit: that was so delicious, and so worth it!
I know I didn't end the day over my calorie limit because I ate a reasonable portion of the chocolate, plus I have this bad habit of staying UNDER my calorie limit on almost a daily basis. I do pretty intense workouts 6 days a week, yet I still struggle to allow myself to eat over 1400 cals a day. The scale keeps moving in the right direction, so I figure I obviously am not starving myself. However, I know when I go for a long run and burn over 400 calories I should probably up my calorie intake. I just have this irrational fear that I will eat too many calories and the scale will stall, and I'll be pushing myself/depriving myself for nothing. I need to get over that fear because it's silly and it makes absolutely no sense, so I have pledged to work on this and be more mindful about eating within my real recommended calorie range (and not continually coming out below it) during the month of April.
I've lost about 20 lbs. since January and I am feeling really good about my progress. My bf was the first to notice subtle changes starting sometime last month, but I noticed in just the past couple of weeks I have had more and more people comment on how they can tell I have lost weight. It's a wonderful feeling, but I have to be careful because this type of situation has happened in the past and I get complacent and let the pounds creep back on. I have about 15-20 more lbs. to lose and I so badly want those gone before my best friend's wedding in October. More importantly, I want to lose the last of my weight and keep it off! I am tired of the yo-yo dieting, the losing and re-gaining... I am ready to meet my goals and reach maintenance mode. I figure if I have already lost 20 lbs. since January, I may be able to get the last of my weight off by the end of summer, as long as I stick to clean eating and exercising. Fortunately I have a supportive group of friends and family members who are here to help me, and I know I can do this if I just hang onto my motivation and keep up with the good habits I've established.
Friday, March 21, 2014
I honestly didn't ever think I would call myself a runner. I remember being pretty fit and active at age 18, taking jogs through my neighborhood but always having to slow down to a walk every few minutes. Fast forward a few years later to me sitting in my doctor's office, struggling to lose weight and asking my doctor if she thought considering my weight issues and asthma, could I ever realistically run a 5K? "Sure you can," she told me - but I was still pretty skeptical.
I am now so happy and proud to report that my last half dozen or so runs have all involved me running 3+ miles with non-stop running and NO slowing down to a walk! I am still pretty slow and have been averaging roughly 12 minutes per mile, however today I improved my time to 10 mins 30 seconds per mile and ran a full 5K in just over 32 minutes! I ran in the park by my house and it was so incredibly windy, I don't know how I kept up my pace with the wind blowing against me and the hills and the twists and turns but somehow I did it. I came home afterwards and felt so good about what I had just accomplished I took it a bit further and completed 300 abs. Considering I usually do 150 abs after runs I was ecstatic that I managed to double that.
My fitness is definitely at an all time high. I have to contribute this to my outdoors boot camp I do 2x a week. I used to utilize Jillian Michaels DVDs, and while her workouts did great things for me and helped me lose a lot of weight, I didn't find true strength until I started boot camp. I visited a new boot camp location on Wednesday and was a little bummed with the group - compared to my normal group I work out with, these folks didn't seem to push themselves as hard. I ended up being the first one to finish almost every exercise (aside from the running), so I essentially felt like I was "carrying the group" since most exercises are done when the first person reaches the designated goal. I was feeling a little put off by this and even texted my regular trainer that I thought this other group was kinda "weak sauce" compared to ours, however when I woke up the next day and was sore ALL over I changed my tune... sure, I might have been the only one doing all the exercises to completion, but in doing so I pushed my body and muscles to new limits! I am still sore two days later and am hoping I will wake up tomorrow morning feeling better. :)
The clean eating initiative is still going well - for the most part. I will admit I had two binges occur fairly recently. One planned, one completely unplanned. Am I ever going to fully kick this habit? I am starting to think I might not, but along with that disappointing realization I can also see how far I have come and I know that if I succumb to a binge it is so much easier for me to get back on track compared to how it was in the past. Both days I binged I felt entirely crappy for 24 hours afterwards, and I sooo regretted my decisions. Not only was I emotionally downtrodden due to my mistakes but I also felt physically ill, almost like I was suffering from a hangover. I felt dehydrated, didn't get any sleep, had no energy, and my tummy was achy and angry with me for treating it like a garbage can! I need to hold on to the memory of these horrible feelings the next time I am tempted to binge - the fleeting satisfaction of eating whatever I want is not worth it compared to the awfulness I feel when it's over.
Saturday, March 08, 2014
I'm a bit of a Pinterest addict. I wish I was the type of Pinterest person who pinned cute DIY ideas, home decor, etc. but sadly I am not super creative or handy so that is not exactly the case. However, I am obsessed with the health & fitness boards and have scanned them and pinned ideas on a daily basis for over a year. I do try a lot of things I find, whether it be fitness or nutrition-related, and I'm happy with a lot of what I have discovered.
One thing I have come across quite often while browsing Pinterest is articles about interval training when running. When I first started running I definitely did intervals, but it was always back and forth between walking and jogging. Once my endurance and fitness increased to the point where I could actually jog for extended periods of time, I've settled into a comfortable jog pace that I pretty much keep up with for the entirety of my runs. Now that I can jog a full 3 miles without stopping, I've decided it's time to increase my speed and have added in some faster intervals during my past two runs.
It's too early to tell if this has had (or will have) any impact on my weight loss, but I can definitely feel a difference post run when I throw in intervals. I'm far from the fastest runner... in fact, I stumbled across this saying a while back that pretty much sums up my running abilities:
Basically, a comfortable jog for me is between a 5.0-5.2 on the treadmill. The past two times I have hit the treadmill I have hopped on and begun jogging at a 5.0, and every 5 minutes I speed up to a full run at 6.2 for 1 minute. I attempted to do 2 full minutes of running the first time I tried this out and I was so winded by the end of that I decided I would start smaller. I have found that changing the pace really helps my runs go by quicker, and I am definitely more tired by the time I am finished. I hope to keep this up 2 days a week, and complete an easy jog the other 2 days a week. My running on top of boot camp classes should be a nice combination of exercise to help get me in shape for the summer. :)
My eating has been going really well lately. Still missing caffeine and dairy, but I have found ever since I have increased my fruit and veggie intake I find myself wanting to eat these things more. I have been addicted to grapes lately, and while they probably aren't the healthiest fruit choice I love eating them as a snack/dessert right after dinner. Really hits the spot, and grapes are still a fruit and are healthier than eating a bowl of ice cream or a cookie, so I'll continue to snack on those when I am craving something sweet.
My biggest struggle as of late has been taking this one day at a time. I am a planner by nature, and this habit extends to my weight loss goals. I keep counting how many lbs. I want to lose and envisioning myself at or near my goal weight, and getting discouraged that I'm not close enough right now. I've only been back on track for about two months, but sometimes it feels like I've been at this for much longer. My fitness ability has really improved, and while I am proud of what I can do, I can't help but feel a twinge of annoyance when I see people in my boot camp who are smaller than me or look fitter than me, but are struggling to keep up with what I am doing. I don't know why I feel this way... I should feel proud that I can push myself harder and do more than the skinnier gals, but sometimes I don't always have that perspective. I guess I feel like if I can do so many squat jumps and push-ups, I should look as good as they do. But the reality is that right now I don't, although I shouldn't give up hope or let that fact get me down because if I keep this up I will reach my goals... all in good time!
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
I'm halfway into my first week of clean eating and so far I am having mixed feelings about this challenge. I haven't really been tracking my food because I am eating LOTS of fruits and veggies, probably 2x what I was eating before (which is good!) but my time has been so limited that I haven't had any opportunity to sit down and count calories. Our trainers are recommending just eating until you're full, which I have been doing. I had a little bit of down time this evening so after dinner I tracked everything I ate today and the grand total is just under 1300 calories, which I am pleased with. I'm not sure how accurate my lunch was - I made a ground turkey/spaghetti squash casserole type concoction, added a bit of olive oil, oat flour and spices and to be honest I just filled my bowl today and didn't bother measuring out. However I figure I am pretty close, +/- 100 cals, so I'm not going to stress over it.
When I first started losing weight a couple years back, I went to see a nutritionist who prompted me to adjust my diet by adding lots of protein. This "clean eating" kick I am on is making that difficult. Aside from the occasional hard boiled egg I am not eating any dairy, which used to be a major source of protein for me. I can eat lean meats and fish, which I am, but after tracking my cals today I noted the percentage of carbs was wayyy higher than usual, and protein was much lower. I know a lot of the carbs I am eating come from fruit, and I am eating plenty of healthy fats that have a bit of protein along with them, but I'm still a little concerned about the lack of protein. I honestly think I am just going to do this whole clean eating thing for a month and then ease back into some of my old habits, including eating dairy and drinking coffee! While I want to continue eating plenty of fruits and veggies, and I do want to be more conscious of the ingredients in the food I buy, I don't want to avoid dairy and coffee for the rest of my life. I miss my daily cup of joe and my cheese!
I used to be a daily coffee drinker, and now I am going without it entirely. No added caffeine is a big component of this diet and I am wondering if I am experiencing withdrawal? I was hit with a major headache around 3pm this afternoon which carried on until around 8pm. My trainer suspects it could be due to the lack of caffeine, and considering my daily coffee was sometimes followed by a Diet Dr. Pepper I wouldn't be surprised if that's what is going on here. Aside from the headache, I've also had some unpleasant tummy side effects... I'll spare the details, but a friend of mine who is also following this diet plan texted me that she is having an upset stomach too. I've read that this may be the body just cleaning out all the toxins, or the added fiber, or both - I just hope this doesn't keep up!
All in all, I am glad that I am eating more fruits and veggies, and I'm proud that I haven't been tempted to cheat. I had no idea how many processed foods were hiding in my pantry and fridge until I began this diet... I used to think Kashi made the healthiest granola/snack bars, oatmeal, cookies, etc. until I looked at the ingredients and saw a looong list of additives and preservatives whose names I could barely pronounce. It's nice to know exactly what I am eating now, and if I do buy something in a package or a box I can look at the ingredients list and see what I am consuming is whole and natural.
I'll admit that so far I am exhausted, and I was hoping switching up my eating habits would give me renewed energy. It may just take some adjusting, plus I will admit I have been skimping on the sleep lately so I am sure that hasn't helped. My goal tonight is to be in bed by 10pm so I can at least get a full 7 hours sleep, maybe 7 1/2 if I fall asleep quickly. I'll try to post another blog entry after I've been doing this for a full week, and I'm hoping at that point the unpleasant side effects will be replaced with more positive benefits!
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