Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Lately I've been trying to kick up my cario a notch, in order to avoid a plateau and to keep losing. I really want to make my goal or get as close to it as possible. Problem is, I am bored to tears on the cardio machines!!
Don't get me wrong: I LOVE to work out. I think I am just stuck in a gym rut.
I've been on every type of elliptical they have, as well as the treadmill and the bikes. Snoozefest!!
Today I was on 2 different ellipticals and also hopped on the rowing machine afterwards, just to mix it up a bit. The rowing machine was fun but I don't know whether it counts as cardio or strength training. I am logging it as cardio today, screw it!
I might just be tired because I have given myself a goal of burning at least 500 calories before leaving the gym. At least for me, that is pretty tough to do -- it means at least an hour but usually more at a pretty good pace. I know the machines say I've burned more than that, but I wear a heart rate monitor so I know what I am really burning. The machines lie!!
Anyway, even if I am tired, I sense there is a difference between when I am just tired and ready to go home and when I am truly BORED. I love my fitness classes. They are never boring. Thank goodness tomorrow is my strength training, i.e. Body Pump day. That will help I think.
Monday, April 14, 2008
I spent a lot of time shopping this weekend -- getting some new spring/summer clothes, and especially for my upcoming vacation!
It was tiring because I pretty much need EVERYTHING but I had a lot of fun. It is so much easier to shop when everything you like fits and looks cute on. I am loving trying on size 4 clothes and small/xtra small! Woo hoo!!
For the past few years, I've hated going shopping. On more than one occasion, I was actually in tears from the experience. It feels so good to enjoy shopping again.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
I've been on Spark for more than a year now. And once you've been here for a while, it's inevitable that at some point you will take a serious look at exactly what you are putting in your body beyond calories and fat grams. Lately, I've been thinking: Am I eating Diet Food or am I eating Healthy Food? There is a difference.
I have been a hungry-girl.com subscriber for about a year now. If you haven't heard of Hungry Girl, she has a newsletter (and a new book coming out) featuring diet-friendly recipes of typical high-calorie restaurant fare and foods we all love to eat but are commonly "forbidden" if you want to lose weight. She also stays on top of all the new diet foods that come out on the market. Her newsletters are fun to read and I've taken a lot of her recommendations in the past year. I am even a member of the Spark Team in her honor. She is not a dietitian or doctor, she's just a hungry girl. As such, she makes no health claims in her postings but she does indeed advocate eating fruits, veggies and whole grains. She's also very skilled at reading labels. Thanks to HG, I am up to date on all the latest 100-calorie packs, sugar free syrups, low-cal granola bars, etc. All the food that falls into the category of Diet Food. Unfortunately, this food -- which many dieters flock to -- is usually loaded with sodium, artificial sweeteners and chemicals.
On the other end of the spectrum, I recently bought a cookbook written by Ellie Krieger. She is a nutritionist and she has a show on the Food Network called Healthy Appetite. Ellie favors real ingredients: fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, natural sweeteners such as malassas and honey, real mayonnaise made with canola oil, and a little bit of real whipped cream (if you're going to have whipped cream), but otherwise low-fat (not fat-free) dairy. Organic when possible, and as few processed foods as possible. Makes sense to me!
But here's the rub: Sometimes I want a fun, snacky, diet food that tastes sinful but is not calorie-dense. And a war breaks out in my mind: Diet Food vs. Healthy Food. Who will win out??
Currently, there is a spirited discussion here on the boards about high-fructose corn syrup. People are doing a clean sweep through their refrigerators and cabinets and purging this offending ingredient from their homes. Seems to me that HFCS is the latest thing people are paying attention to, thanks to Oprah and Dr. Oz. No HFCS: What is left to eat? Even my beloved Fiber One Bars contain HFCS.
Thinking about all of this makes my head spin. It's so frustrating!
- When one offending ingredient (the one people are paying attention to right now) gets removed from products, the manufacturers just put something else in it that's just as bad or worse (like trans fat in place of saturated fat).
- If an ingredient is fat-free, that usually means more sugar. If something is low-cal, check the sodium. Uh oh! One bad ingredient removed does not make a food healthy.
- Experts have varying opinions and contradict themselves all the time. Some say artificial sweeteners are perfectly safe, others say they are the worst things to ingest. Dr. Oz says to chuck that HFCS! Next episode of Oprah has Bob Greene (also a so-called expert) with his "Best Life" label on all sorts of products made with artificial sweeteners and HFCS.
- Despite the studies done and the FDA claiming artificial sweeteners are safe, I am not convinced that they are. But I admit I enjoy some low-cal foods that contain Splenda. Still, I wanna know, is it better to just have real sugar? What is a healthy sweetener? Does such a thing exist?
- What's left to eat if you just want a snack or dessert???
I am leaning toward Ellie's point of view here. Still, that HG fan in me is often tempted by all those diet foods. But slowly, I am learning to love and appreciate healthy whole foods, with ingredients that I can pronounce. I crave the diet foods less and less. I also recognize the gimmicks that manufacturers use on their packaging to get us to buy their foods. I know they don't have our health in mind as much as they have their bottom lines in mind. And I hope to one day rid my diet of junk food entirely.
If only I could determine what is the best healthy, natural sweetener so that I can calm that sweet tooth without those fake sugars....
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
More than a year ago, I thought of a big prize for losing 63 pounds and making it to my goal weight. A huge trip! The trip of a lifetime. A trip to Israel!!!!
Well, hubby and I have been thinking of going in May and I have been desperately trying to make it to my goal. Truth be told, I thought I would be at goal by January, then February, then certainly by now. Well, I still have 10 pounds to go!!
And here's the kicker -- hubby bought our tickets today!!! No turning back now. We needed to get the tickets before they got too expensive and also before it gets too hot there to enjoy walking around. May seems like the perfect time.
So, I need to do all I can to actually be at goal by May 13! I don't want to fail. I want the trip to be truly deserved and earned, not just "close enough."
I think it's totally doable, but I have to kick it up a notch. Losing 1 pound every few weeks is not going to cut it. I need to lose 2 pounds a week.
I have a plan:
- No eating out at restaurants, especially not those Indian buffets that I love so much.
- Burn at least 500 calories every time I go to the gym (except on my strength training day)
- Participate in challenges with a couple of my SparkTeams to keep it fun and to keep me accountable.
If anyone has any other suggestions to help me lose 2 pounds a week, I am all ears!! Please????!!!!!
I gotta do this! I want to finally see an end to this weight loss and get into maintaining! I want to say "I DID IT!!"
Monday, March 31, 2008
On Saturday I finished the Couch to 5K program. For those who are not familiar with it, it is a 9-week beginner running program designed to help you go from being a couch potato to running a 5K.
I am so excited to be able to say that I completed this program because I used to HATE running. I would get so tired and gaspy and out of breath, and I wondered why people would willingly do this to themselves. But as with anything, the key is to start slowly and build up and that is exactly why C25K is so effective. Also, I started this after almost a year of doing regular exercise, so that helped too.
I want to thank my special Spark friend Anne7777, who motivated me to get off my butt and actually start the C25K program. I had been tossing around the idea of starting for a few weeks but was not actually starting it and making tons of excuses for why not. She just said, "Come on, I'm starting on Jan. 31, let's do it together!!" So I said, "OK!!" She and other wonderful members of the MP3 team were so great and supportive and cheered me on throughout the whole thing. It made the program so much more fun for me.
The Couch to 5K Group was also awesome. People were always at the ready with a welcome, a kind word of support, or help with any issues you face. For anyone who is thinking of starting the C25K, I highly recommend joining this SparkTeam.
Now, I am thinking about where to take my running next. I think I will keep running 3x/week for 30 minutes until it gets easier and increase my time at that point. Once the weather gets a little nicer, I will take more of these runs outside. I will also focus on gradually increasing my speed. Maybe I will sign up for a 5K race in the next few months and maybe even a 10K in due time. new.music.yahoo.com/singleVideo/?vid
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