Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Okay, here it is..... The way I ate to get my size to come down 9 pounds in 5 weeks. (Remember, the first 7 weeks no progress was made with help of a professional, so I "wung it" on my own after that.)
After a good, hard, panicked cry at being solo and a deadline to reach I started reading a lot on cutting diets. It was all pretty confusing and much of it was contradictory. Finally I had enough of the madness and just got out my book The Leanness Lifestyle by David Greenwalt. It's my fitness and nutrition bible! I turned to the section on the last few weeks before a competition and implemented his macro-nutrient suggestions along with a few things I'd learned about leaning in from my own experiences.
I will say this wasn't really a "cutting diet". It was more a weight-loss diet with moderatly low carbs.
Here's what I did:
1. I figured I wanted to eat about 1600 calories a day, This was what I thought would be enough to propel me through my workouts and still leave me at a level where I could lose fat. My BMR is about 1450, so this kept me well away from going into starvation mode, which my body had been on for the past 7 weeks.
2. I chose 150g of carbs because I had learned from my own experience AND from the studies of a good friend who is taking nutritional classes that below about 130 was putting one's body into ketosis. Since I had been below 130 for the entire 7 weeks prior (I had been misinformed by another source that ketosis didn't occur until you were down in the 20's for carbs- me thinks my source was off by about 100grams. Had I realized I was putting myself into ketosis I would never have agreed to be on low carbs for that long), I felt my internal organs needed a break and brought my carbs to 150. This would be 600 calories a day from carbs. (1g carbs=4 cals)
And for the record, I was having typical ketosis symptoms, the biggest of which was very blurry vision. This was so unusual for me that I remarked to my friend, who then had a little red light go off in her head when she read the level for ketosis along with symptoms in her textbook. I'm so glad this happened, or else I'd of kept myself on too-low carbs unwittingly.
2. I made 20% of my calories from fat (320 calories, or about 35g/day. 1g fat=9 calories.)
3. I took the remaining amount of calories (680) and divided them by four to determine my protein. (1g pro=4 cals) This came out to 170g protein, which is pretty much- on track, because cutting diets are typically higher in protein than other nutrients to preserve muscle and promote fat loss.
4. I made all of my foods clean (nothing processed) choices. Everything was as close to the way mother nature made it as possible, except for protein powders.
5. I was already off of dairy, so I kept that out of my diet for the most part. Although David says you don't have to be scared of dairy and doesn't recommend cutting it way back until the last week or so before final pics or competition.
6. I was already off of wheat products, so I kept it that way, also, although David also says that same thing about wheat that he does dairy. He says the idea of wheat increasing estrogens is false, but I didn't see any point in adding something back I was already accustomed to doing without.
7. I continued to drink, at minimum, 1 1/2 gallons (yes, that's 24 cups) of water a day. And yes, I pee a lot. Most people on a cutting diet drink anywhere from a gallon to two gallons a day.
8. I tapered my carbs down during the day. Breakfast was carb heavy- 3/4 C of dry oatmeal, cooked (that's a huuuuuuuge bowl of oatmeal, BTW), with a tablespoon of peanut butter in it, a piece of fruit, and a whole egg with 3/4 C egg whites. But trust me, I was so hungry that I was able to eat it (you'll see why when you got to what I had for dinner). This was my biggest meal of the day, and my body appreciated it after the carb depletion it had gone through for the 7 weeks prior. After my workout I had 1/2 C of natural unsweetened applesauce with a scoop of protein powder in it and two rice cakes. Lunch was typically 4 ounces chicken breast with quinoa, brown rice, beans, and queso fresco. Afternoon snack was tuna with egg white on a rice cake OR protein powder and a rice cake. Dinner was 5 ounces lean meat or fish with 1 C of steamed non-starchy veggies, a teaspoon of olive oil, and a tiny bit of grated Parmesan. And before bed I have 1 1/2 scoops casein powder. This was pretty much the food I ate, day in and day out, for four weeks. Why? I knew the macronurtients worked for me.
9. For the last week I followed David's suggestions to drop a bit more fat and reduced my calories to about 1450. I knew this was cutting it close to my BMR and I couldn't get away with it for long, but it was crunch time. Of this, I ate about 60% of calories from protein, 30% from carbs, and lowered my fats to about 10% of calories. This was the hardest part to transition, because it meant cutting out the peanut butter, egg yolk, queso with lunch, and oil. Breakfast wasn't as big because oatmeal went down to 1/2 C before cooking, and I lost the piece of fruit. No more rice cakes after workout. Lunch carbs amounts reduced slightly. Dinner couldn't change much more than it already was, except I no longer got the olive oil. I got an extra ounce of meat for both lunch and dinner. Casein powder never did change.
10. The last week I tried to get 2 gallons of water a day, except for the very last day before my final weigh-in, where I only had a single gallon, which was pretty much done by dinner. On the last day I just lightly salted my food. I didn't want to create unnecessary bloat, but I wouldn't say my sodium level was what anyone would call low that day.
The honest truth is that had I dehydrated and carb depleted the day before weigh in I probably could have come in at least 2 pounds lighter. But I was so over extreme measures after all I had been through that I just couldn't bear to do that to my body. The next morning I was thrilled to get on the scale and see a final number of 148.2.
Not bad for a gal who did it on her own, I'd say!
These are changes you can implement any/all of without destroying your health, although I would suggest that unless you are actually on a "cutting" diet or have an intolerance to dairy or wheat that you feel free to implement these foods into your macro nutrients.
I hope this benefits someone!
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Today is the day my final pics and measurements in the 12-week challenge with my gym. While it will be a long time before I hear the results of the contest, I wanted to share my own progress pics with my Spark Friends.
When I did a 12-week cutting diet a year ago with a nutritionist, my final pictures were taken dehydrated, and sodium depleted. I felt weak and frail and like a good wind would knock me over. I am none of those in these final pictures. Yesterday I drank well over a gallon of water, got plenty of carbs (and fat and protein), and refused to compromise my health in any way for the end result.
I attempted to work the the nutritionist for the first 7 weeks of this challenge and it simply was not working- I was gaining both scale weight and size. So we parted ways and I managed the last 5 weeks on my own. So virtually all of the weight loss I showed was actually accomplished in 5 weeks, not 12. And I am really proud of what I managed to accomplish by myself!
My weight at the end of the cutting diet last year was 147.8. My weight this morning was 148.2. I have been lifting very heavy for the past year and feel I can safely make a modest assumption that I gained 4 pounds of muscle (In all reality it was probably twice that). At any rate, with four pounds extra muscle on me, it doesn't take a mathematician to be able to deduce that I am leaner this go-round than I was last. Last time I was 10.89% body fat by 7-site calliper test, and doing some quick math that would put me at about 8% body fat right now. This doesn't surprise me, since I came out at 9.93 by 7-site caliper not long ago. Of course, caliper tests can be off by as much as 3%, I think it is, so these numbers are simply a gauge, not a be-all end-all.
I took measurements this morning. My hips are down to about 39 3/4 inches, which is low for me, and my waist was 25 1/4 inches held normally, but I can suck it down to 24, which is both fascinating and weird at the same time! Especially on someone who is 5'9".
In one week I get professional photos taken with Doug Jantz. I won't be dehydrating or carb depleting for those, either. I never want to do that to my body again!
March 27 Front:
March 27 Right:
March 27 Rear:
March 27 Left:
Start Close up:
March 27 Close-up Front (no hiding in this one!):
March 27 from a little farther away:
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Warning! A lot of pictures ahead!
As anyone who read my blog from yesterday knows, this past week I both injured my back and was rendered unable to work out AND my nutritionist and I broke up 7 weeks into a 12 week cutting diet. It's been quite the stressful week. Despite that, I have been able to lose 3 pounds of scale weight (157 last week, 154.2 this week- and I did NOT dehydrate) and drop my measurements back down. My hips are back to 41 1/2, and my waist is at right about 26". I'd love for my thighs to shrink more (24". Sigh.), but that will come with time.
The other significant change is that the size 6 pants I bought in anticipation of getting fairly slender during the cutting diet (so that I would have SOMEthing to wear at the end- last time my pants were falling off of me!) are actually zipping up fine and getting closer to being something I can wear outside and not look like I painted my jeans on. So despite all the setbacks, I HAVE managed to make progress.
My method to get things moving downward again was pretty simple: As I said in my blog yesterday, my calories were coming in on average at about 1500/day. I had a gut feeling this was simply not enough for me, followed my instinct, did some quick math, and raised the average to just over 1600 calories a day. I didn't stop there, though- I started to cycle my calories, making the daily number swing widely from day to day, keeping the 1600 or so average. I also started eating (slightly) more carbs than I had been with the nutritionist. I'm guessing it was these little changes that were enough to get my fat loss going again, but it could very well be that it was for some other reason that didn't have anything to do with my food. Only time will tell. I will raise my calories a tad more when I get back into the gym if need be.
So this is all good news...... I guess stress didn't play into it as much as I was hearing it did, because this all happened when I was totally stressed out. Praise God! (No sarcasm, there- I really am giving Him the credit!)
Okay, so now for the plethora of photos:
11 Weeks Front:
12 Weeks Front:
12 Weeks Front, Legs apart (to closer match week 1 for fair comparison):
11 Weeks Right:
12 Weeks Right:
11 Weeks Back:
12 Weeks Back:
11 Weeks Left:
12 Weeks Left:
Close up, Week 4 (12/30/2010- The earliest close-up pic I have during the challenge):
Close-up 12 Weeks:
Just for fun, I also took pics in what I consider one of my two "real" swimsuits (The other one is the red one in my photos). As you can tell, I am not ashamed to be a HUGE Oakland Raiders fan, even living so close to Dallas. (Vallejo California, my hometown, was called "The Little Oakland", and growing up Oakland was just a stones throw away). I like this swimsuit because it gives me more coverage and the racer-back-style ensures the top stays on when I swim. Sting bottoms were NOT designed for high activity, let alone in the water!
First, I took pics from the angle I've done all of my progress pics: With the camera on self-timer, sitting on top of my jewelery box at about upper-ab level (the highest I could get it and still get my whole body in):
Then, I went out to the kitchen and asked my 5'10 1/2" 14-year-old daugter, Lane, to take my pics. Look at the difference a higher angle makes- I look less bottom-heavy. This makes me have even more admiration for those figure gals who have photos taken from below stage level, which isn't exactly lower-half-flattering:
Raiders Suit, 5'10 1/2" person perspective:
Lane, uber tall daughter (this is one truly great kid. As a bonus, I get to live my dream of being 5'10" or taller vicariously through her):
Can't wait to wear this suit this summer! Should be fun in Cowboys territory! (Insert evil grin here.)
I want to thank everyone sincerely for the kind words and encouragement that was left on my blog yesterday. This has really helped me to pull myself up by the bootstraps and forge ahead. This is a pretty awesome group of people, here on Spark. I am grateful for all of you!
Sunday, February 13, 2011
My belief is that, after Squats, lunges are the best exercise out there for the lower body- Especially the butt! If yours is flat, lunges will help round it out. If it's too round, lunges will help it look more compact. The folks I've seen who do lunges religiously have nice firm backsides and hamstrings, and flared hips with reduced saddlebags.
But a lot of people are afraid to lunge and never realize the benefits of this compound move. And with good reason- Lunging wrong can cause some serious damage to knees. I avoided them for a long time, then started to do some experimenting and discovered a few very simple things that finally made lunging possible for me again:
1. Do walking lunges ONLY! Forget stationery lunges or back lunges- both types seem to aggravate the knee of my forward foot when going into the backwards part of either motion. (This would be pushing back into start in the case of front lunges, and lowering down in the case of back lunges). The tendency when going backwards is to stabilize with the toes, and my experience is that when I am stabilizing with the toes my knee will instinctively go in front of my toes to balance my body, which stresses it. Walking lunges enable me to leave my toes out of the equation entirely, if I really concentrate on pressing through my heels.
Also, in my opinion, walking lunges simply do a better job of shaping the lower body, since they use all the muscles together through the entire range of motion.
2. Push through the heel of the front foot! Just as with squats, I make a mindful effort to think "heels, heels, heels" when I am lunging. When I push through the toes of the front foot, there goes my knee too far forward again and I feel that old familiar twinge for the next few(or more) days.
3. Take a big, "This-feels-way-too-long" step forward. The farther out you step, the safer the position is for your front knee because it's as far away as possible from being over the toes.
4. When following through with your back foot (bringing it forward), pause slightly, touching your foot to the ground, when your feet come even to regain-your balance and center yourself, before bringing that back foot forward. This will help keep you from landing on your toes when that foot moves to the front position.
One added note- I hate those short lunges people do to better hit quads. They just look to me to be a knee disaster waiting to happen. If you want to do a multiple-joint exercise that focuses mostly on quads, do front squats.
And that's it! In a nutshell, do walking lunges with big, wide steps, pause before you bring the back foot forward, and stay in your heel on the front foot. You'll feel these the next day, and your backside will thank you!
Monday, January 31, 2011
1. ASK ME FOR HELP! I'm not going to bite, and I'd be honored!
2. YOU AREN'T LIFTING ENOUGH! If you are still leg pressing the same weight you were pressing six months ago (or one year or five years ago), you aren't challenging your muscles and aren't going to see growth. Women especially are guilty of this. They seem to think "Eight pounds is what I curl", instead of "How much more can I curl?"
3. YOU'RE LIFTING TOO MUCH! If you are losing your form (arching your back, using momentum to get the weight up, or otherwise employing bad technique), for Pete's sake, lower the weight and do it correctly! Not only will you dramatically reduce your risk of hurting yourself and gain better muscle, but you also won't look like an idiot to everyone else in the gym.
4. YOU AREN'T GOING LOW ENOUGH ON SQUATS! Check my blog "Squatting Re-learned" to see what I'm talking about. itallmakesadifference.blogspot.com/2
5. YOUR BACK ISN'T STRAIT ENOUGH! Hunching when you do ANY exercise is bad form. You're back should feel so strait that it feels like you're butt is protruding. I see a hunched back most often on Dumbbell Bent Rows and Tricep Kick Backs. Look in the mirror and check your form! You should be able to put a 3/4 full cup of coffee on your back and not have it spill.
6. LET GO! When you set the treadmill to an incline and then hold onto the handles and lean backwards while walking, you are no longer at an incline! Let go and do an incline that you can manage withOUT hanging on!
7. GET OFF THE CARDIO MACHINE! As I've said in the past, lifting weights does more for fat loss and body shaping than cardio ever could. Cut your elliptical time in half and come lift weights! We really aren't scary people at the lifting end of the gym.... really! (Please refer to #1)
8. UNRACK YOUR WEIGHTS! Okay, all of you lugheads... Not everyone can take that 45 or 100-pound plate down from a bar that's 5-feet off the ground. And it's just a hassle to have to put someone else's weights away. Practice good gym etiquette and put ALL your weights away after you are done using them. Even if you started with weights that were already racked.
9. READ A BOOK! Or a magazine...... Pick up some literature on correct lifting technique and setting up a program. You'll be safer and see results quicker this way.
10. TRY SOMETHING NEW! Ever seen the big guys that are in their 50's and played football in College and are STILL lifting the exact same way because "I've always done it like this!"?. Notice that they don't look like college football players anymore? This is because they are missing one very key component: Football! Look, when you're out there doing the stuff that a sport, particularly football, requires, you don't have to be as comprehensive in the gym because the sport itself is most of your workout. But when you take the sport out of the equation, you need to change your gym routine to reflect that! (And they wonder why their bodies never change.)...... This rule also applies to anyone who is not getting results in the gym- You can't do the same routine forever expecting to get the same results, because muscles adapt so quickly. Keep 'em guessing and try new moves frequently!
11. ASK ME TO SPOT YOU! I may be a female, but my partner is the most muscular fella in the gym. If I can spot him, I'm pretty sure that between me and you we can get that heavy weight off of you before it falls on your head and knocks you cold or crushes your sternum. I'd rather spot you than perform CPR.
12. SHUT UP! Just stop talking and exercise, already!
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