NANCYANNE55   88,727
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NANCYANNE55's Recent Blog Entries

Tight Abs and Loose Skin

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lately I've been getting quite a lot of positive comments about my abs on my new professional pics I posted here on Spark, mostly because I've had four babies and women are marveling at how I got my abs into the shape they are in. While I really appreciate the positive comments (Keep 'em up!), I want to be really honest about a few things:

1.) I have a little loose skin in my stomach, and the skin around my belly button is droopy. (I also have stretch marks, although they have really paled and blended over the years.) I almost had a tummy tuck because of it. I backed out at the last minute because I felt that the scar all the way across the bottom of my abs would look worse than the loose skin does. You don't see the loose skin in my photos because a.) I know how to pose (most of the time) to take up the slack. And b.) I'm not going to post pics that don't show me at my best! :-D

Except now. Here's some pics of me all stretched out and looking the way I want to for pics:





And here's reality (smaller like these the loose skin isn't showing up, but the full-size you can really see it):






2.) Given that, I think I got blessed in the skin elasticity department. I have God to thank for this. Yes, I work out like a fiend and eat right to have very little fat over those muscles and look as good as possible, but there is NOTHING I did after birthing four babies to make the skin as tight as it is. This was just God in my corner. (I think He was making up for the cellulite and broken spider veins in my legs and bum.)

3.) I can thank my Mom for my waist-to-hip ratio. I believe that if she'd taken better care of herself I'd be bearing LOT of resemblance to her in the body department right now. So while I have had to work hard (really, really hard!) to get the body I have, being able to get a waist to 25" after multiple pregnancies is something that not everyone can do, because not everyone has the genes I do. Again, I lucked out on this one.

4.) Thank you very much for the compliment, but I do NOT have a six pack! A six-pack is the wash-board look of horizontal lines going across the abs. It's stunning, but I don't have that. Wish I did, have been shooting for it for years now, but don't and probably never will. Why do I doubt this? Because even when I was a 5'8" 135-lb size 4 19 year-old with a 22" waist (yes, you read that right!) who had never experienced childbirth I STILL didn't have a six-pack. I have muscular abs, but it's not a six-pack. I think this is a genetic thing, too.

The fact is that we all have our strong points. Abs are one of mine, and I have learned to enhance and draw attention to them. It's because I want to draw attention AWAY from my least-favorable area, my legs. And I've built up my shouders to help even out my hips. If you have a good shoulder line, work on making those delts more defined! Legs? Put on a cute little skirt and show 'em off! (I envy you!). I have good abs and I work to make 'em better. Play up your assetts!

And never stop lifting and trying to improve- you'd be amazed how what you consider one of your worst parts can turn into one of your best. Who knows? Maybe one day I'll have the hard legs and a tush that have eluded me for so long now........

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THECRAZYMANGO 8/21/2012 8:44AM

    I think you look GREAT! Thanks for posting.. I have been considering having surgery at my 5 year maintenance mark!

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ATINYDANCER 6/12/2011 12:16PM

    I love your positive attitude. I want to start strength training eventually and some of the other people who are into it on this site are really hard on themselves and don't leave me feeling excited about it the way you do. This is life and it's not about being perfect all the time. I would way rather eat a few bites of the real thing, like you, then load my pantry with sugar free everything!

To each his own but I am glad you are here to inspire me and others! Keep up the great work! emoticon

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COOL_CHARLOTTE 6/8/2011 11:54AM

    Love this blog!! Thanks for sharing!!

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FITBUG78 5/20/2011 6:03AM

    I love your confidence despite having problem areas, you just embrace it. I think you look amazing regardless because I know how hard it is to achieve a healthy/fit body when genetics is not in your corner. Keep up the awesome work, you still inspire me!

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MEGSMILEY 5/18/2011 1:01PM

    awesome blog... I am just working at peeling away the last lasyer of flab under the skin on my belly... I hope I look as good as you do when I'm done. :)

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PAULAMARIEF 5/18/2011 11:36AM

    Beautiful photos and wonderful blog. Thanks for your take on the whole abs issue! I totally agree with playing up your assets.

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BLISSFULBALANCE 5/18/2011 8:51AM

    Thanks! Need that this morning. Muwah! emoticon

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MELLYBEANS0919 5/17/2011 9:13PM

    You are beautiful, thanks for being so open and real.

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MIMICOTO 5/17/2011 2:09PM

    I just happened across this blog and am so glad I did! Your honesty - and your willingness to post the photo that shows your abs in a different light - totally lifted my day! I had both of my beautiful babes after the age of 40, and have the same kind of loose skin as you do....and you know what? Seeing it on someone else makes me realize that it does not look that bad AT ALL! Looking at you, I see it as a part of the whole - and this helps me to look at myself the same way.

Thank you again!

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TRAINER_T 5/17/2011 12:12PM

    Looove it and your honesty is amazing. This made my day!

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AMC120 5/17/2011 12:09PM

    NancyAnne! You write the best blogs ever. I always know I will get something encouraging, honest and benificial every time I read one! Thank you for that! I'm a much shorter version of your body type, being just 5'2.5"... I have the small waist and carry all my weight in my legs & bum... fight cellulite like crazy, but it's always there starring back at me. However, I won't quite fighting the fight! emoticon

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SMALLERMELORIE 5/15/2011 7:17PM

    Thanks for sharing. I have been noticing as I lose more weight that I am having trouble with skin.

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RASCALRACCOON 5/15/2011 12:49PM

    A beautiful honest blog - thank you :) What an inspiration - all to often I have heard people making excuses as to why they cant get into shape but you have tossed any excuse in the bin, worked SUPER hard and proved to us all that it can be done :)

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OFFDREA 5/15/2011 11:09AM

    One of my goals was a six pack, Im thankful to know now that even with all that hard work it just may not be possible!!!! You are very inspiring, thank you!!!

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MISSYGEEN 5/13/2011 12:07PM

    Thank you for keeping it real. All too often we see images of beautiful people with beautiful bodies and want to emulate them. We may even think it is impossible to achieve and give up. But such honesty gives people a reason to continue persisting. As always you are an inspiration.

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GODZDESIGN95 5/11/2011 2:45PM

    Awesome! your abs are beautiful. Stretch on tummy is very common especially after having kids. Funny you are talking about them....I fell out with my hubbie over mine. I too have kids. Don't down your looks. You look GOOD! I'd like to have abs like that.

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SAMSON826 5/11/2011 10:10AM

    thank you for this blog!!! everyday i try to love my whole body and say this is who i am and that i am trying to make me the best me as possible. plus also to realize everyone has an issue with a body part or doesn't always feel awesome about themselves. you are so amazing and inspirational keep on going!!!

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CICI510 5/11/2011 9:38AM

    Another awesome and honest blog. I am trying to learn to love the parts of my body I hate (mostly my thighs). Even though I'm 133lbs my thighs still jiggle and shake horribly. You wouldn't happen to know the best thing to do for that would you? I do squats and lunges and can feel the muscle but the flab is still just OMG. I do cardio so I'm not sure what else I can do.

Thank you again for another thought-provoking blog! :)

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JESSLYNND 5/10/2011 8:54PM

    Thank you for your honesty! :) I really enjoyed this post!

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WINTERRAIN 5/10/2011 5:34PM

    Awesome blog, very honest! Thanks for sharing!

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FUZZY1TOO 5/10/2011 4:54PM

    Everything else aside....I think you look great! And you give me hope for my own belly when I'm done my 'journey'. I, too, have birthed 4 babies and have another on the way and am looking forward to the day when I can post pics in which I look as wonderful as you do.
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Wear your stretch marks and loose skin with pride, hunny, you have 4 beautiful babies to show for them.


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ELECTRICITY3699 5/10/2011 4:47PM

    Thanks for being real Nancy!

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MYLIDDLEDALLAS 5/10/2011 4:37PM

    You are so right. Accentuate the positive huh? Maybe I should start listening to my bff and start showing off my legs, for some reason my fat resides upstairs and not downstairs! LOL

P.S. I think you look amazing!

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SHRINK71 5/10/2011 3:32PM

    Awesome & honest!!! When I look at my stretch marks I just think - "They were SO worth it! Look at my 3 beautiful children!" & I'd do it all over again. I strongly believe in shooting for the best "YOU" you can be... not shooting to be someone else entirely! the best ME is going to always have a little pooch from pregnancies... & I wouldn't have it any other way!

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CYNTHIAMINUS40 5/10/2011 2:57PM

    I'm so glad you posted this today. Through some of my spark friends who are also on your spark friend list I've read several of your blogs and alway marveled at your abs! I've lost 40 pounds now to date and this morning I was thinking about my abs. Everything else is great, I'm very content, but that wiggly jiggly mid section bugs me. I, too had a 22" waist when I was younger. I'm a shrimp - just under 5'4". I once weighed 105 with a tiny little 22" waist. I've never had children so I'm blaming my waistline on menopause. But you've renewed my resolve to keep at it and do the best I can working toward my goal. Thank you!

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MOMASAURUS 5/10/2011 2:57PM

    Thank you for being so real!!
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BOBINVA 5/10/2011 2:31PM

    One lean, mean, workout.....mother with character marks.

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JANET0116 5/10/2011 2:13PM

    Thank you for this post! My stomach (while getting smaller) still looks like I was ran over at a monster truck rally. I've only had one child too - darn kids! LOL My stretch marks are very severe and I have seriously thought about a tummy tuck. Not sure if its worth it or not. Plus not at my goal weight anyway yet so we'll see how it looks when I get therE1

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KLPEFFERS 5/10/2011 2:04PM

    I absolutely love this post! Thank you for your honesty and candor. It's so refreshing to see a bodybuilder be completely honest about what is and is not. It's that simple. Some things truly are genetic and no matter how hard you work, its not going to undo nature! REGARDLESS you look FABULOUS!

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THEHONESTME 5/10/2011 1:57PM

    This is what I love about you -- you are REAL! You tell it like it is and you make us all feel better about ourselves. I'll say it til the cows come home... YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION!!! A beautiful, small waisted, abs-to-die-for inspiration! emoticon

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CAROLYN1213 5/10/2011 1:52PM

    I love your abs Nancy! I could have written a very similar blog last week when someone commented on how tight my skin is and how shapely my body is (especially considering I've lost 115 lbs.). I told them that I purposely pose in ways that accentuate the positives and draw attention away from the negatives. We all have good features and others that no matter how hard we try will not be all that great. Thanks for sharing!

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GYMRAT_AT44 5/10/2011 1:50PM

    Nice post Nancy.

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BANKER-CHUCK 5/10/2011 1:49PM

    May not be "six-pack" abs as you described but you look great with a well defined waist line. You may be to critical with yourself about the loose skin. I don't see the issue you are describing. You look great and after having 4 babies...you cannot tell.
Overall great photos and a great looking body.

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The Importance of Water

Sunday, May 08, 2011

One of the keys to losing and now maintaining my weight has been drinking copious amounts of water (rarely less than 1 and sometimes up to 2 gallons a day). I promised someone a while back who was surprised I considered it so important that I would post a blog on the subject. I'm finally making good on that promise.

Here are a few of the many benefits of drinking plenty of water (not zero-calorie beverages: WATER!)

- Let's start with the most motivating one: Water helps waste move through the body in a mighty way. This means that a bunch of crud won't be hanging around inside you so you're more likely to weigh less on the scale in the mornings (after you've peed), because the content of your intestines will weigh less. Full intestines can cause several pounds of scale weight gain if you are.... er..... stopped up. So drinking water helps to give you a truer scale weight.

-Water helps to break down the nutrients in your food better, thus increasing your metabolism. Not only that, if you are getting the nutrients you need the chances of cravings is reduced.

- Water helps regulate blood sugar, which helps insulin levels to stay steady, also reducing your likelihood to overindulge in sweet stuff.

- Water helps to give your stomach a full feel so that you are less likely to overeat.

- Plenty of water in your system helps your body to keep you cool during workouts, therefore allowing you to work out harder and get more bang for your exercise buck.

- Water is the primary ingredient in the synovial fluid around the joints, which allows them to move freely and gives them cushioning during your workouts.

There are a TON of other ways that water benefits the body, but these are ones that specifically relate to weight loss and fitness.

Generally speaking, you want to drink all the water you can. Someone noted in the comments on this blog that Spark says 5-6 cups of fluid a day is adequate and it doesn't all have to come from water. I've been seeing that Spark tries to keep things as easy for people to maintain as possible- They don't want you giving up! But if you want to take your body to the next level you are going to need to drink more than that. (I personally get way too hungry when my water is below about 12 cups a day and am almost guaranteed to binge.) Besides, I've never once heard of a figure competitor (which I aspire to look like) or any sort of serious athlete who doesn't drink way more than they traditionally accepted 8-cups of water a day.

Can you drink too much water? Yes- There is such a thing as water toxicity. But to get that you have to drink stupid amounts of water. The kidneys can process quite a lot of water an hour (over a quart) easily. You'd pretty much have to TRY to drink too much water to get water toxicity. Stay away from water-chugging contests and you'll probably be fine. :-)

And I know you are wondering..... Do I pee a lot? YES! But you don't pee out all that you drink- water goes out of you in other ways like sweat and respiration, too. And I will say that my bladder size has increased since increasing my water intake, so while I still visit the bathroom more often than most other adults I know, I'm not seeing the inside of the ladies room as often as I did this time last year.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BROCKJUL 4/14/2012 12:19PM

    I totally understand this concept-it's just implementing it is the problem. I took a nutrition class in college and we had to keep a daily diary of everything we ate and drank, and we had to give it to our professor. One day after class my professor asked me "What is wrong with water?" He noticed that I never drank it, only drank Diet Dew. I told him that I don't like the taste of water . He then asked me "Why not?" I said " Because it's not sweet enough of a taste" He told me then that I trained myself to not like water by drinking all that artifically sweetened soda. Which is totally true-I just made it o.k. in my mind because it wasn't a regular soda. I do enjoy water if it is super cold but if it is lukewarm then I cringe.

Thanks so much for all of your wonderful help and advice!!!
Julie

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ICYCLE2 5/19/2011 2:14PM

    This info makes sooo much sense and I am taking it with me. I forget to drink water quite often but decided yesterday to start charting it and then I read this blog, the first one, (I am a beginner to SparkPeople) and now it's in my face...thank you!!!

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MYWALK2FITNESS 5/17/2011 1:35PM

    Awesome blog! Thanks for sharing! :)

Shug away! emoticon

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SNOOPY-ACE 5/10/2011 2:10PM

    YOU MIGHT NOT BE WHERE YOU WANT TO BE, BUT YOU ARE NOT WHERE YOU USE TO BE.
YOU LOOK GREAT!
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HISARTIST 5/10/2011 12:31PM

    Thanks for the blog! I like what you said about your hydration affecting your sweet cravings. Maybe I need to look into this. My doc said he wants me to drink a gallon to a gallon-and-a-half a day...always seemed like a lot, and I'm usually only getting about 3/4 of a gallon, but I do feel better if I get more.

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LOIDAEG 5/10/2011 3:06AM

    Great blog!!!!! =)

I try to drink water before my meals so that I feel full faster. I eat a proper serving then drink more water after and actually get to the point of feeling "stuffed" but I know it's just all the water I drink lol It makes me feel guilty sometimes to get that full feeling but I keep reminding myself it's just the water. I ate a proper sized meal. Nothing to feel guilty about but then after dinner I feel quite satisfied and am NOT hungry again for the rest of the night! I love that! And I have noticed when I don't drink enough water in a day I end up feeling heavier for a couple days (I weigh myself and surely I am heavier than normal). I don't like that feeling so I have to try my best to drink at least 10-12 8oz glasses per day. It's hard at first. Still hard sometimes :)

thanks for this!

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CYNTHIAMINUS40 5/9/2011 4:38PM

    Water's always been my beverage of choice and now that I'm dealing with some pretty horrendous hot flashes again there's nothing that puts the fire out like tall glass of iced H20

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AMC120 5/9/2011 3:57PM

    This is a huge downfall for me! I just can't seem to drink that much water a day! I'll keep on trying though!!!!

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THEEMPRESS 5/9/2011 2:48PM

    Thought about bringing a gallon jug and straw to work today!! Thanks for this post!

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THEHONESTME 5/9/2011 8:24AM

    I love my water! The more I drink, the more I want! And, yes, the more I go to the bathroom -- hey, added steps in a day with all that scurrying to the ladies room, right?! ANOTHER PLUS! LOL
Have a great day, NancyAnne -- hope you had a nice Mother's Day!

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SHRINK71 5/9/2011 7:44AM

    Yes... all true... although I think that 2 gallons is a LOT for me!!! I just cannot fathom visiting the bathroom quite that often!! A gallon will do me just fine! LOL

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SNOOPY-ACE 5/8/2011 11:15PM

    GOOD INFO. THANKS
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CALIRPM 5/8/2011 10:37PM

    Interesting blog. Especially loved the first point! Haha.

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BANKER-CHUCK 5/8/2011 10:22PM

    Your Blog is just in time!! I am leaving on my motorcycle for So. Cal next week where the temps are getting hotter. Then on the 18th I join the Run For The Wall group in Los Angeles, about 800 total motorcycles with 400+ going on the Southern route, and head out on the Southern Route for Washington DC. I hear it is hot in New Mexico and Texas now. It will take us 2 days just to get through. This will be my 3rd year and I know how important water is to the body. On a motorcycle it is hard to determine how hydrated you are and if you don't keep hydrating often it can be a dangerous situation
We use the term drink till you pee clear. That way you know you are well hydrated. I may have hydrated to much at times because when we stopped for a fuel stop I didn't know if I should get gas or pee first! emoticon When we re-fuel we do so as a group and should not pull out of line. The last time we went through Odessa it was hot and raining. I think I was sweating while it was raining.
By the way...great sexy Avatar. Keep up the great work. I will be MIA for about a month when I return back to Oregon after the Run For The Wall.

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KATYAROSE 5/8/2011 10:20PM

    Great blog - I drink tons of water every day too, but it's great to read a reminder as to all the wonderful things water does for our bodies!

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FREDDYB29 5/8/2011 10:16PM

    I read on Sparks nutrition that 8 glasses a day is a misconception. Weird huh? They say 4-5 cups a day will take care of your daily intake of water. And also, water itself isn't all liquid you can have and be qualified as your daily water intake. Apparently you can get it with other liquids in the same manner as what they say water does for you.

Something that was interesting to read.

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WANDATIME 5/8/2011 9:56PM

    Great blog, thanks for the info, I learned some new stuff!

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It's All In The Details

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I've been working with an individual who is in the middle of his weight loss journey. He has managed to lose about 40 pounds but still has at least that much to go and has hit a plateau. I asked him if he was logging everything that crossed his lips, explaining that most often eating plans don't work because the user is doing something wrong. He assured me that he was. So we bumped up his calories. Still no progress.

Than last week he called and said that he was looking at the back of his jar of olive oil and was stunned to see that it had 120 calories per Tablespoon. Turns out he had not been logging the points from his oils and condiments, thinking there were such small amounts that it wouldn't make any difference in his weight loss. I explained that these calories can add up very quickly and indeed stall well-intended weight loss efforts.

He said something that I was, quite frankly, relieved to hear. And that was; "I think that when I had more weight to lose I could get away with making mistakes like this, but now that I've lost some weight I have to be more diligent."

Bingo!

EVERYONE who is trying to lose weight should account for everything that crosses their lips, but it's especially important for people who have been on the weight loss journey a while. And when you get down very close to goal (within about 10 pounds or so) it is particularly important to be fastidious about logging virtually everything you eat and watch your macronutrient ratio. (I like 40% of calories from each carbs and protein and 20% from fats, as I blogged about in my "Moving Past a Weight Loss Plateau" blog a couple of months ago.)

Also, little things like the sugars in ketchup, eating bites off of your kids plates, and eating starchy snacks before bed (this can do a real number on your insulin levels, causing you to store fat instead of burning it while you sleep) can make the difference between losing weight or not.

So if the scale isn't moving-
1- Go back to the basics and re-read the ground rules of the program you are on.
2- Recommit to the plan in it's purest, un-you-if-ied form.
3- Measure everything- Portions tend to grow with time when you are eyeballing them.
4- Drink plenty of water each day. (I'm talking a gallon or more- no kidding!)
5- Most importantly, investigate the calories of EVERYTHING you eat, and log them.

Most times I am less likely to eat a handful of BBQ chips if I know I have to write it down and account for the calories and macronutrients.

It's the little things, I've found, that can make or break weight-loss success.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COCOAMARIA 5/10/2011 3:11PM

    Thanks for this blog! I will continue to work on my shoulders

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BEACHGIRL76 4/27/2011 3:45PM

    Great blog! BTW I love your new pics! :)

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MESEATURTLE 4/26/2011 2:49AM

    Thanx so much for sharing!!!!!

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THEHONESTME 4/25/2011 8:59PM

    I'm behind in my reading -- due to work and then the holiday, I simply didn't have time! However, this was a perfect time to read this blog. I'm to within 10 pounds of where I want to be, but I haven't been totally real with my logging and my weight loss has stalled. Now I see why it's even more important for me to be diligent about logging every bite! THANK YOU!! I needed to read this and I needed to read this now!

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AMC120 4/25/2011 3:47PM

    I know this is my downfall.... Thanks NancyAnne, for the reminder!

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BANKER-CHUCK 4/23/2011 3:31PM

    I am like your friend. I went onto a plateau at around 50 lbs loss and stayed on a plateau for 3 months. Kept playing with my calorie intake for a week or two at a time. In one of your Blogs, or statement to me on my SparkPage, made a difference that caused me to analyze how my intakes could/should be. You said if you eat at BMR you should be able to maintain. So I thought if I eat and workout within a range I should be OK. If I do not workout hard I make sure I eat at the bottom calorie range. If I workout hard I (try) to eat at the upper range. I say "try" to eat at the upper range because I feel guilty when I consume the upper range. Could be a mental issue that is causing the eating at the upper range . Sometimes I can burn 1200 in a cardio workout but still eat close to the bottom range. I need to be more consistent.
With my loosely made program I have managed to lose 19 lbs over the past 8 months. Very frustrating, as when I started losing weight16 months ago I dropped 50 lbs rather quickly within 5 months.
Thanks for your informative Blogs. They are very helpful.

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NAN111 4/22/2011 8:36PM

    Great post! I needed this info & reminder. Thank you!

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CICI510 4/22/2011 3:31PM

    emoticon emoticon

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SUSANMOMOF6 4/21/2011 11:37PM

    Great advice and reminders. Thanks!

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THIRTEENREASONS 4/21/2011 8:34PM

    I definitely needed this blog! I was away from spark just long enough that I lost that habit of logging everything I ate. Lately I reverted back to being one of those people who will have "just a sip of the orange juice" or "just a couple pieces of candy" and I've learned that if I feel too guilty to log it that I shouldn't even be eating it in the first place.

Besides, eating something indulgent like a big juicy burger is just more fun when it fits into my cals and macros :)

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WAVEDANCER7 4/21/2011 3:11PM

    This is so true! I almost NEVER log my oils bc i too feel that they are such small amounts, they can't possibly add up to everything. Especially when i'm working out a lot and on my feet a lot in the day. However, i bet i'd be SHOCKED to see how much oil i really do use and how that could contribute hundreds more calories. I'm going to start and see how that goes. :)

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JOYINRUNNING08 4/21/2011 2:43PM

    Thank you for the reminder. I needed that kick in the tush. :)


I never thought I'd thank someone for a butt kicking. lol

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TERJEGOLD 4/21/2011 1:40PM

    Great points!

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HISARTIST 4/21/2011 12:32PM

    Amen!! I am so on this! Thank you for posting this...I'm really trying to tighten up things A LOT to get this last 10 off, and I am starting to really see the importance of this. Not like I haven't known this (and stated it), but I'm finally living it, and I'm seeing the difference. Thank you for stating it again!!

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RUFIT- 4/21/2011 11:00AM

    Hidden sugars were my nemesis. Once I started searching for those and abating that problem I started losing again. Also after about 8 weeks I mixed up my cardio. I tried working in a spinning class or two a week and that knocked me off another plateau. Lifting has again provided me a another fat burn mechanism and after 12 weeks I just mixed that up by adding some plyo work. Variety is great fun and a good plateau buster.

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MAJORMOM68 4/21/2011 9:59AM

    Writing everything down is so important. This was really good. You're right, if we are aware of what is in our food and how much we are less likely to eat it and if we do eat it we at least know where the problem came from. Losing weight takes work. Thanks, this was good!

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STEVESTARR1 4/21/2011 9:05AM

    THIS IS SO TRUE... I NEEDED THIS THANKS ...

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ALESHABEE 4/21/2011 8:29AM

    I couldn't agree with you more Nancy!! Having been on this journey for a while as well anytime I see that scale starting to creep in the wrong direction (lol) I ALWAYS go back to the basics you have mentioned here...logging everything, drinking tons of water and measuring my food. If I do this for 1-2 weeks the scale always goes right back to where it needs to be. I love this blog!!!

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WEEZYB7881 4/20/2011 10:55PM

    great blog thanks for the reminder

louise


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COCOAMARIA 4/20/2011 10:54PM

    Thanks and I guess I need to buy a box of Poise if i drink all that water. LOL!

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OUTSENE 4/20/2011 10:16PM

  My mother was trying to lose weight a few years ago, when the scale stopped going down, we re-evaluated what she was eating. Turns out her "sucking candy", was packing WAY more sugar then we thought!

...what a difference it made when she switched to sugar-free!!

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MCMOM11 4/20/2011 9:18PM

    emoticonFigured that out last week and making the changes, got away with it all this time and now I'm at the end and that is exactly the problem;) Thanks for keeping it in the front of my mind;) emoticon

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MIMICOTO 4/20/2011 8:44PM

    Great great blog! Thanks! Now I'm going to scour your archives for the plateau-busting blog. I am some kind of stuck, with 3-4 lbs left to go.....

emoticon

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SWEETPOTATO60 4/20/2011 7:13PM

   

Thanks for the tips!!

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SONYALATRECE 4/20/2011 6:39PM

    So true! You told your friend exactly what they needed to hear. I have had this same experience and learned from it as well. emoticon

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MYLIDDLEDALLAS 4/20/2011 6:22PM

    Ooh, thanks for the advice. Makes lots of sense. On a related issued, you mention that 20% of your calories should come from fats. How can someone go about lowering their percentage to get closer to this number?

I've gone through my last two days of menu graphs and I'm coming up high! But then again, I always seem to do that!!! Any suggestions? I cut EVOO from my diet and only use PAM now for the same reason.

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DARACOX 4/20/2011 6:01PM

    Thanks for this! I'm totally guilty of this sometimes. I have been tracking and weighing everything for so long that sometimes now I eye ball it because I figure I know so well.....

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BREEVES3 4/20/2011 5:42PM

    Well said! The little things certainly add up (and will no matter where you are on your journey, I think)

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Avoiding the Huge Post-Contest Weight Gain

Monday, April 11, 2011

A common and often disappointing issue that competitors who have just been through a cutting diet experience is gaining most, if not all, of the weight that they lost through 12-16 weeks of grueling training and restrictive eating back within a few days after their show. I did a cutting diet of my own recently and managed to keep all but 3 pounds of the weight I lost off. Want to know my secret? Here it is:

Ease back into normal eating!

Here's how:

First of all, pay attention to when you are full. Most competitors have been eating such little bits of food leading up to the competition, with portions getting smaller and smaller as they get closer to the finish date, that their appetites have shrunk considerably. If you eat past when you are comfortably full because suddenly you have access to all the food your little heart desires, you are setting yourself up for bloat and the dreaded "carb spillage". If you don't do anything else in this blog, do this!

If you dehydrated (I wouldn't recommend it: it's a practice that is becoming less and less used, but some still do), don't slam back a gallon of water as soon as you are done with your show or photo shoot or whatever it was you were leaning-in for. After the shoot/photos, just drink to satisfy thirst. No pushing water like you did pre-contest. The next day, go up to 8 cups or so. The day after that, 12. You don't want to stay dehydrated, but I've found that if I flood my body with water after dehydrating it seems to hang on to every single drop for fear it won't see water again for a while. So give it time to readjust to being hydrated.

One aside- please don't think the instructions here will have you maintaining your dehydrated weight. I'd suspect you'll be able to stay very close to where you were before you dehydrated, but to stay at your dehydrated weight right after a show is not only unrealistic, but unhealthy.

If you sodium depleted (almost everyone does), ease back into sodium, as well. This is not the time to have six pieces of pizza and movie theatre popcorn! The day before and morning of my shoot I eliminated all salt possible in my foods. After the shoot we went out to Jimmy Johns for a sandwich. I got a six-inch Baja, and I am certain the lunch meat and condiments had plenty of sodium. But the rest of the day I took it easy on sodium . I didn't avoid it, but I didn't salt my foods and tried to make choices that were relatively low in salt.

Same goes for carbs. Yeah, I know you want to grab the donuts and whatever else crap they have backstage after the shoot, but if you give your carb depleted body a ton of 'em at once it's gonna hang on to those suckers for dear life, PLUS the accompanying water (3g for every g of carbs) that comes along with it. The next morning you're going to feel like you are 4 months pregnant! Like I said, I had my Jimmy Johns sandwich, but then the rest of the day I pretty much avoided carbs, except for the ones in produce. So pick one thing that will feel special to eat higher in carbs, but then go back to fairly low carbs for the rest of the day. The next day, ease carbs into two meals, then next three, etc.

Also, don't introduce a whole bunch of foods that your body has not been used to eating all at once. The sandwich had white bread, salty processed turkey meat, mayonnaise (yeah, I got the mayo!), pickles, and sprouts. Oh, and I split a package of BBQ Chips with my daughter. My body hadn't experienced foods like this in weeks. I figured that was enough "new" for one day. The rest of the day I didn't eat the exact same foods at the same times of the day I had through the cutting diet, but I DID eat pretty much the same TYPES of foods. (Snack was peanuts and dinner was an omelet with a side of fruit.)

I know it's hard to exercise restraint when you have felt deprived (and are just plain old hungry) after weeks of limited, repetitive, low carb, and dull food choices. But likely there is nothing you are going to eat today that won't be there tomorrow. So if you want to try and keep yourself fairly lean, pick one special meal to have that day, and keep it close to the vest the rest of the day.

And if you did pig out, take heart: I read somewhere that if you go back high carb/salt eating after a big gain following leaning in it takes the body about 2-3 weeks, but you CAN get most of the water weight back off. Of course, if you got extremely lean a little weight gain afterwards is to be expected and healthy, but you don't have to stay swelled up like a dead armadillo in the Alabama heat.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRACEFULIFE 4/23/2011 1:40AM

    You mean I shouldn't do the Lee Priest, from this
http://www.hardcorebodybuil
dingontheweb.com/precontestbibl
e/Lee_Priest.jpg
to this
http://images.t-nation.com/
forum_images/6/8/68c6d-leeoffff
fffug4.jpg ???

LOL, I know, he bulked up, pushed his stomach out for the shoot... and doesn't get that big off season anymore. But at least he can still make fun of himself by allowing pictures with KFC, even posing with the bucket:
http://www.adastreet.com
.au/uploads/images/Shop/LEE_PRI
EST_KFC.jpg
http://www.adast
reet.com.au/uploads/images/Shop
/LEE_PRIEST_BUCKET.jpg

You gotta like people who can laugh at themselves.

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MISSFITOKSANA 4/19/2011 5:16PM

    THANK you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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CAROLYN1213 4/19/2011 3:18PM

    Thanks for sharing your journey Nancy! You are always a wealth of information!

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DREMARGRL 4/16/2011 6:54AM

    Thanks for sharing that, NancyAnne. You are such a dedicated person about yourself. Nice to see such an improvement and perseverance! Great advice for my vacation-eating binge, too. lol. emoticon

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CHARLIESANGEL10 4/15/2011 10:18PM

    You are one amazing & smart woman! Thanks for sharing with us.

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ALESHABEE 4/15/2011 9:13AM

    Thanks for sharing...will definitely keep these tips in mind :-)

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CICI510 4/13/2011 6:52PM

    emoticon

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AMC120 4/13/2011 11:04AM

    Another GREAT BLOG!!!! Thanks so much!!!

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LORENVER 4/13/2011 5:00AM

    Sounds like really good advice. I can see why it worked for you!

Loren

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BOBINVA 4/11/2011 8:55PM

    Great advice and great blog. I never think of those things until I am there.

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BOBINVA 4/11/2011 8:54PM

    Great advice and great blog. I never think of those things until I am there.

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DARACOX 4/11/2011 4:42PM

    Thanks for this! I'm not on such a strict cutting diet, but I am carb cycling, so I want to make sure to come off of that carefully!

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GYMRAT_AT44 4/11/2011 4:24PM

    I like hearing that the dehydration is starting to become a thing of the past... still trying to determine if I will go that route. It is just not healthy.

For others that may read not only the blogs but the comments - doing the "pigging" out can cause other problems besides the bloating and weight gain. Irritable bowel syndrome for one.

Think of it as an extreme form of yo-yo dieting...I'm with Nancy on this one, slowly let the carbs back in, and the weight gains and consequences won't be there.

And as my trainer would remind me, have your white carbs before 3pm - period.

Great blog Nancy.

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RACHEL_MAC 4/11/2011 3:51PM

    Thank you thank you THANK YOU for this, a lot of great practical advice that I totally hadn't considered. Will you please re-post this link on my wall on May 15?? :) :)

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How I Worked Out During the 12-Week Challenge

Thursday, April 07, 2011

I promised another Sparker that I would post about how I exercised during the 12-week Transformation Challenge with my gym. I feel an obligation, however, to point out that my changes came mainly from how I ate, not how I worked out. As I have said a ba-zillion times before, you can put on all the beautiful muscle in the world, but if it is covered by fat, no one is going to see it. AND, I might add, if you aren't eating right you aren't going to put on muscle that is as plentiful OR as beautiful.

Before I started the Challenge I was doing three sets of 15 reps per body part, for the most part. To elicit maximum growth and change during the 12 weeks I knew changing things up was going to be key.

My program:

Before lifting I always did/do 5-10 minutes of moderate paced cardio to warm up my muscles. Often I follow these few minutes of cardio with light stretching to further warm and lube everything up.

I followed every lifting session with thorough stretching, often my 15-minute stretch routine.

The first four weeks:

- The first set for a body part was about 12-15 reps with a moderate weight, just to make sure blood was pumping to the area. Then is was time to get down to business.....

- Three exercises per body part, three sets of 8-10 per exercise, aiming to max out by the last rep of the last two sets. This is a good range for building muscle, and I was still in building phase.
----------The exception to this was light leg day, where all sets were 15 reps. I felt two heavy days was risking injury. This doesn't mean it was easy, though. After the first set I still tried to make the weights heavy enough that I maxed at 15 reps. "Light" day is a harder workout than "heavy" day, and "light" day leaves me sorer after.

PLEASE NOTE!!!!!!: I do NOT recommend that beginners start out with trying to max out their weights! You have to condition yourself into this kind of intensity.

- My split was something ike this:
Mon- Light Thighs (2 exercises multi-joint, 3 ham/glute specific, 2 quad specific, 1 inner-thigh for a physical therapy reason), Cardio
Tues- Chest (5 exercises- needed to build)), Tri's (2 exercises- already built), Abs (3 exercises)
Weds- Back (3 exercises), Bi's (3 exercises), Calves (2 exercises- they already got hit pretty good with legs), Cardio
Thurs- Abs (5 exercises- mainly weighted), Cardio
Friday- Heavy Legs (2-3 multi-joint, 2-3 each quads and hams, 1 inner thigh), Delts (4-5 exercises- can always use wider shoulders!) Didn't do cardio this day-Longer lifting day and there was nothing left in me after heavy legs!

- Short rests between sets- Just long enough to feel the muscle normalize somewhat, then on to the next set.

- For cardio I did either 25 minutes of HIIT cardio (20 minutes HIIT with a 5-minute cool down), or 40 minutes of steady-state.

Weeks 5-7:

- I went to my favorite workout style, which is modified pyramids, doing reps of 12-8-4-12, aiming to max out on all but the first set, then immediately (no rest) switch to another exercise for the same body part and crank out 12-more reps, maxed. If I chose my weight wrong and couldn't get 12 out, or could get more reps out, I rested a few seconds, adjusted the weights, and did another set of 12.

-I kept the same split, for the most part, but added an abs session at home on Saturdays, usually Kari Anderson's "Curl" DVD.

-During this time my (former) nutritionist had me doing tons of cardio (I believe I was up to about 10 hours a week) on very low carbs. Because of this, I was compromised muscularly with so little glycogen in my cells and pulled a muscle in my scapula that put me out of commission for a week at week 7. That is why I only did this split for 3 weeks instead of the intended 4. When I was ready to go back to the gym I came in with phase 3, which was......

Weeks 8-12. It was time to go into fat burning mode:

- I started getting 1 hour of cardio first thing in the morning at home on an empty stomach.

- Mondays was a whole-body boot camp class at my gym. Multiple sets with lighter weight.

- Rest of the week I did sets of 20-25, with minimal rest in-between. 2 sets per exercise, I started with 3, but I felt the volume was going to become too much on my joints after my injury, so dropped it to 3 sets. Plus it was taking me too danged long to get out of the gym.

- Minimal rest (20-25 seconds) between sets.

- Roughly the same split Tues-Sat and number of exercises per body part I'd been doing the weeks prior. Leg day was also 20-25 reps, but I added in more glute-specific exercises.

- In addition to 6x/week early AM cardio, I kept up the hour of Wednesday evening cardio and added in 1/2 hour cardio on Tuesday nights while my daughter was at dance. I would have got more cardio in yet during these last weeks, but my shoulder was still not feeling 100% and I didn't want to further injure myself, so I took it a little easier than I would normally at the end of a cut.

My final weigh-in with the gym was Sunday morning at the end of week 12. By my scale I showed an 18 1/2 pound loss, by theirs just over 16. BUT I had gained about 8 pounds in water retention right before the initial weigh-in, so really it was about a 10 pound loss overall. Which isn't bad for 12 weeks. Again, if I'd of been doing it on my own the whole time instead of with help from a nutritionist who's instructions and meal plan actually set me back the first 7 weeks, I believe I could have been down further yet.

But it is what it is. That fact is that I gave it my best effort all along and did the best I could with what was dealt me.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTHYME47 4/10/2011 7:59PM

    Very interesting stuff! You got great results so thanks for sharing!

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THEHONESTME 4/9/2011 2:42PM

    Thanks for sharing, NancyAnne! You truly are Wonder Woman!! When will you know the resuts of your competition? You're a winner in my book already! emoticon

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AMC120 4/8/2011 3:15PM

    Thank you for DETAILS! We love DETAILS!!!



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TOTALFOCUS 4/8/2011 1:26PM

    Wow...thats great information!
Thanks for sharing!!

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1_OF_5 4/8/2011 1:08PM

    I too would like to thank you for all the detail, and inspiration!

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CHICKENCHASER78 4/7/2011 5:41PM

    Thank you so much for sharing this! Its is really nice to see the details of what other people plan in their workout programs.

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TB_KITTYKAT 4/7/2011 5:20PM

    Thanks so much for such detailed blogs =) I have you bookmarked all over the place!

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HANKENSTEIN 4/7/2011 5:14PM

    wow! rock on, nancy.

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COCOAMARIA 4/7/2011 3:47PM

    I will save it also .

Thanks

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MYLIDDLEDALLAS 4/7/2011 12:35PM

    Ooooh, Thank you so much for sharing this. It's intense for sure. I'm saving it! One day I'll grow into this routine. emoticon I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. - Veronica



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EDWARDSC393 4/7/2011 12:34PM

    Wow you really had it down pat. I like pyramid sets too. I lke working the upper body, mutijoint, but I,m not crazy about working legs, but I know I have too. Muscles Have memory, so I hope to progress a little faster. I need to do more bodyshaping cardio! I have Tosca Renos Book about "Clean Eating Recharged"She also has wonderful recipes in her books. Have a good day, Cherie

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BANKER-CHUCK 4/7/2011 12:24PM

    Thanks for sharing your workout schedule. You worked really hard and it shows. Hopefully you can get on your maintenance plan and relax from the pressure you have put yourself under during those 12 weeks.

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