Archive for the ‘weight loss’ Category

When Should I Speak Up?

When you change your lifestyle, or at least any significant part of it, and it yields good results, you want to shout it out from the rooftops. You want to tell everyone and anyone what you’re doing, because you want them to find the same success that you have found.

So when is a good time to volunteer (unprovoked) information about all you’ve been doing, and all that someone else could be doing?

Almost never.

I would say never, but there are always exceptions tucked in dark corners, so I’ll say almost never to leave room for exceptions.

Do you remember yourself, back before you started to make changes? If you had spent a meal with someone, and they critiqued the food and your eating the entire meal, would that have changed what you ate? My money’s on NO. But it would have made you resent the person and perhaps do what you could to avoid eating with them again.

You become “that person.”

I’m sure there are things now that people could preach at you about that you’re just not ready or wanting to change. Everyone has different priorities.

For example: on Thanksgiving, I didn’t eat any turkey or gravy. Everyone there already knew I’m vegetarian, and no one — including me — said anything about it. I also didn’t eat any dessert. When offered, I said, “No thank you. I’m skipping sugar this weekend.”

Was there anything on the table I could have commented on? Um, yes. Probably everything. But we didn’t gather at Thanksgiving to eat a well-balanced healthy meal and discuss the merits of doing so. We gathered to be together on what has become a holiday spent with family.

If anyone had asked my thoughts on any of the dishes, I surely would have answered them carefully but honestly. (Carefully because someone in the room prepared each dish. It would be rude to cut them down, especially in front of everyone else.) If anyone had asked why I was skipping sugar, I would have told them. (Empty calories were a reason, but I had bigger reasons. Everyone just assumed I was “being good.”)

But no one asked. So I didn’t volunteer. And it’s OK. If people want to talk about it, I can talk for hours 🙂 But only by request.

The other piece is: if people ask me how I do what I do, then of course, I’ll tell them. I start in not too much detail and allow room for questions. It’s easy to launch into a soliloquy, but that’s typically not what people are looking for.

Again, it serves you well to tread lightly in many areas, and I don’t usually argue much when people say, “I could never [do anything healthy].” Of course they can. They haven’t chosen to do it yet. But it’s not likely that me pounding them over the head (with what amounts to guilt and shame) is going to change their life — or our conversation, or our relationship — for the better.

If you’ve made an obvious body transformation, people will ask if they want to know.

Everyone is on their own path. Let them.

Your Tastes Change…

I went to a party over the weekend. It was a potluck with an “American food” theme.

Needless to say, most of the food there was junk food, though conspicuously, there was no apple pie!

Anyway, someone brought Twinkies. I haven’t had a Twinkie in years. I decided, just out of curiosity, to try a bite of one and see what they taste like.

They taste like chemicals. It was disgusting. I spit it out.

This is the thing: I used to like Twinkies. A lot. They weren’t a go-to food for me, but they were pretty delicious.

Taste buds changed, not as a result of time passing, but as a result of time passing without me eating crap like Twinkies.

As you remove garbage food from your diet and replace it with whole, real food, you develop a liking — a craving, even — for good, whole, real food. The more of it you eat (assuming you’re eating food you like), the more of it you want.

Did you see the fine print there? It needs to be food you like. If you decide to “go on a diet” (which is not a good plan in the first place) and eat lots of “salads” made of iceberg lettuce and carrot shreds and hate every minute of it, well, you’re not going to crave more of it.

Find produce that you like. Reduce the amount of cheese/dressing/sauce/dip you eat it with. Eat more of it. At the same time, eat less junk food, less processed food, less sugar and sugar substitutes.

As time goes on, keep eating more good food and less crap food, and before you know it, you’ve completely changed how you eat. I am a living testament to this process. People think I’ve always been healthy or that it’s always been easy — but that’s just rationalizing why you “can’t.” It was no easier for me than it is for you.

Drop the excuses and get it done. Because you can. And it’s worth it. YOU are worth it.

Beyond A Year

it’s Wednesday and thankfully, Nichol looked at her calendar.

My year is slowly (very slowly) coming to an end. I’ve really been thinking about what life is going to look like when I’m no longer beholden to this crazy idea of mine.

I have decided that I would like to do another round of P90X. I’ll probably do it on my own schedule. I will still be interning so won’t really be into the whole 7 days a week bit.

Daily exercise has become increasingly inconvenient in light of my new schedule. It’s still happening, but it’s definitely more of a burden now. Especially Tuesday and Wednesday. I work at 8 in the morning and have class until 9 at night. And this semester, I am unlucky enough to have two professors that like to take class right up to the bitter end. Saturday’s have also sucked because I intern from 6am to 6pm. I get out early enough, but 12 hours of internship does not make me want to go home and spend time with Tony Horton.

I have finally come up with a workable schedule, which is nice but I can’t lie. I’m really, really ready for this year to be over.

I do need you all to make me a promise though. Don’t let me stop. If you see me get complacent, call me on it. I may punch you in the throat but I’ll thank you later…and maybe apologize.

Conflicting Advice

 

I have heard many complaints that there’s so much conflicting advice, people don’t know what to believe.

Some of this is because of “common knowledge” that hasn’t caught up to more recent research. (Some of the “more recent” research isn’t all that new — it’s just not managed to eradicate the old knowledge. Change is possible, but it sure is slow sometimes!)

Some of it is conflicting research.

But some of it is just conflicting goals.

Advice that is given for weight loss is not necessarily healthy.

Examples:

Weight loss advice: Use artificial sweeteners instead of sugar to reduce calories.

Health advice: Artificial sweeteners are not good for you, mess up your taste for sweetness, and should be avoided.

Weight loss advice: Use low-fat products instead of their full-fat counterparts.

Heath advice: When fat is taken out of processed foods, flavor tends to go with it. Manufacturers replace the fat with other things, generally chemicals, that aren’t good for you. Full-fat in moderation is better than low-fat. (For an explanation of why this is also true with dairy, please see here.)

The advice dished out about fat and carbs is enough to make your head spin.

Don’t get me started on meal replacement (protein) bars. Or potatoes.

Here’s my take: if it is healthy, it is a good choice. If you focus on being healthy (eating healthy foods, keeping your body moving, getting enough sleep, reducing stress, etc.), the fat loss will follow.

If you focus on fat loss, there are too many negatives associated with it. Too many opportunities to feel deprived. For many, too many, “I can’t — I’m on a diet”s. These mindsets are not sustainable.

Eat to be healthy. Look for the information that guides you to health. The fat will follow.

Happy Birthday To Me!

It’s Nichol’s birthday and it’s Wednesday! Two for one!

So I’m 33 today. I’m having some emotional lability about that. Let’s do some pros and cons.

Pro – presents!
Con – single
Pro – cake!
Con – cake makes me fat
Pro – increased recognition that cake makes me fat
Con – I’m going to eat cake anyway
Pro – I’ll exercise more
Con – still single
Pro – still fabulous

Basically, I’m choosing to be happy and only minimally wallow because the pro list includes cake and presents.

There’s also the non-shallow pros. Which include all the accomplishments I’ve racked up since my 31st birthday (mini sprint tri, 5K, weight loss, healthy eating).

I’m actually okay with being 33. I think that if I hit 35 and I’m still single and in school and perpetually broke, I’ll let it affect me a little more but for now, I’m going to celebrate and just be thankful for my life and the many blessings I have reaped. Not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally.

The last two weeks have been intense, in reference to my well-being. In a totally good way, but totally intense. There has been a lot of reflection going on in this giant brain of mine.

Now, don’t be alarmed, but I took a day off. A real, honest to goodness day off. No P90, no running, no walking, no biking, no swimming. I slept 12 hours that night.

I have racked up 226 straight days of exercise. Well, it was 221 straight until my day off. I’m beginning to think that I might need a few more of those. Problem is, I had such intense feelings of guilt about it, it almost wasn’t worth it. However, if I’m not resting, my body can’t repair itself. I am currently always aching. Not in a worked out yesterday and I’m sore kind of ache, but a pretty constant, dull throbbing kind of feeling. Probably not a good thing.

I’m still thinking about it. I would have to get over the whole pride thing I have going on. When I make that decision, you will be the first to know.

In the meantime, I’m going to party like its 1979. I’ll see you peeps on the other side of 33.

Week Six

Nichol decided not to do her product review today; that’ll be in two weeks. In the mean time, what is she up to?

Oh P90X, how I hate love you so…

In Friday, I will be at the end of my 6th week of P90X. I’m loving the (subtle) body changes I notice from day to day. Problem now is I’m doing so much strength training, that cardio has gone by the wayside and the weight isn’t coming off as fast as it was before.

I’ve made the decision, however dumb, to throw biking/running/swimming back into the mix to increase weight loss. I’ve been attempting to get my P90 done in the morning so I can run or bike at night. This has not been going to well. But you know me, if I am dissatisfied, I will find a way to put parameters and rules in place to get what done what I want to get done.

Saturday through Wednesday, I P90X and cardio. Thursday is solely for P90X and Friday is just cardio. I know that I need rest days, but resting isn’t in the cards until January 1st. Sweet, sweet January 1st.

Did I tell you what’s happening January 1st? Nothing! Nothing is happening January 1st. No miles, no lifting, no Tony whatshisname making me do hard things. Just sweet, sweet bliss. By the time you read this on Wednesday, I will have 146 days of the year left and only 50 days of P90X left.

How else should I celebrate? Would it be awesome if I started the year with a other round of P90X? I’m considering it.

Living the X Life

P90X is no joke. I’ve completed one month and as much as I complain… I’m kind of loving it. I’m already contemplating doing another 90 days after my first 90 days is up. After a break of course.

I am definitely noticing a difference, particularly in my arms. My legs are coming along nicely. I’m still really disappointed in my stomach. I just can’t figure out how to get that to go away. It’s quite annoying actually.

I’m still struggling with the weight loss portion of life. I’ve definitely hit a plateau and I am working hard to stay away from the d-word (discouraged). That’s something I struggle with every single time that scale goes up. I’ve previously acknowledged that I know that weight fluctuates but I can’t help but get super frustrated. Then I start beating myself up for things I’ve eaten within the last two days.

The thing is, I’m generally a good eater. Lots of fruit and chicken. I could stand to add more veggies to my diet. I don’t dislike vegetables, they just seem more high maintenance than fruits.

Maybe that’s my new goal. I need to up the vegetable intake. Any suggestions on quick and easy veggies that I can premake and last a couple of days? Items to note – I don’t eat bell peppers, they have a gross after taste. And I don’t eat curly leaf spinach or whole green beans. Don’t ask why, I could not begin to explain it to you. I’m just an odd duck.

P90X and beyond

Nichol will need someone to take dictation for the next 80 days. Or learn to type with her tongue. Ew.

Day 11 as of the moment you are reading this. Is that P90X intense or what?

My whole body hurts. I think maybe that’s a literal statement. Let me check… Yup. My whole body hurts, LITERALLY.

Some of the videos are great and I feel super pumped (Kenpo, legs, arms) and some make me want to kick Tony and all other people right in the throat. (Tony is the guy who annoys me through each P90X video.)

I haven’t seen many muscly results, although I have noticed that I am able to do a little more this second week, which is encouraging. And my sister reports that she can see slight tricep definition when I flex. And since arms are one of my main concerns (abs are the other), I’m feeling okay about keeping this train going.

Most people I talk to have made it to week 4 or 5 and then stopped. I’m all about finishing what I start (usually) so I’m not sure I’ll be stopping at that point. But who knows? Maybe I’ll be so ripped and awesome by week 4, I won’t need to finish! That would be sweet.

I’m Back!

Wednesday + Nichol = blog post!

I’m back. Physically. Mentally, I am very much still on vacation.

I’m feel okay with how my healthy lifestyle fared in vacation. I ate things that I don’t ordinarily eat, but it was definitely in moderation. I ate French fries, and dipped them in ranch dressing. I ate a burger. But the most sinful thing I had? Chicken parmesan. My favorite Italian food meal and a ridiculous load of cheese and sauce and pasta and. . . my mouth is watering.

As for my mile, I got it in everyday. We walked a lot on vacation, as my family invariably does. I definitely got in more than my fair share of miles last week.

I don’t have any amazing updates or new parameters I’ve set on myself. Right now, it’s really more about making sure I get back into eating and miles ASAP. I don’t want any leftover vacation eating sneaking up on me.

My New/Old Journey of Change

138 pounds.

That’s what I weighed this morning when I stepped on the scale. The last few days have been between 136 and 138, so that’s my starting window.

It’s time for the baby fat to go.

When I was pregnant, I had plans for losing the baby weight after The Kid was born. What I didn’t take into account was milk supply. To put it mildly, nursing was … difficult at first. Once we hit a good groove, I went back to teaching (thankfully only part time) and needed to pump. Through all of this, The Kid has been a very enthusiastic eater. It was really important to me to keep up my supply, so I didn’t focus on cutting calories. There was time later for the fat to go.

The time has come.

I’m still nursing, but I rarely need to pump. He’s starting to eat solid food, though he wears or drops more than he eats, I think. But I’m ready for these extra pounds to go. (Oh, and the “breastfeeding helps you lose weight” thing? Might be true, if it also didn’t make me HUNGRY.)

While I am using the scale as a tool, it’s not my end-all-be-all. 120 is my target, but really, my pre-pregnancy clothes need to fit. My arms need to not jiggle. And you need to be able to see my abs. Those were all in place prior to the baking of The Kid.

Here’s the thing, and if you’ve ever gotten into a habit and had it thrown off, you know this already: getting back into the habit of eating well and exercising is hard. Yep, it’s hard for me, too.

There are an awful lot of people who think that these things come easily to me. False. That said, once I’m in an exercise groove, once I’ve kicked the sugar cravings, then it’s easy. But if you could get there, it would be easy for you, too. It’s getting there that’s hard. My advantage right now is that I know how it feels to be on the flip side, to crave vegetables instead of cookies, to be able to tell from my body and not the calendar that I didn’t exercise yesterday. It feels amazing. Energy, clarity, stress levels. a-MAZ-ing. Worth it. Oh, and it’s healthier.

OK, so we’ve established that I’m human and that I’m a step beyond “soft.” What am I going to do about it?

I am running accountability groups, but I see those as something to manage, not something to participate in. My external accountability will be here, on the blog, but that’s just motivation, not a plan.

I already registered to do a triathlon in October, which means I need to train. But that’s not a plan; that’s just motivation.

Here’s my plan:

1- Create an exercise schedule. I’ve been going to spin on Thursday evenings on a fairly regular basis. The plan is to spin on Thursday evenings and Saturday or Sunday mornings. I’m going to swim two days a week, lift two days a week, and run at least once a week. Some of these things will be on the same day, so maybe I’ll spin then run on Saturday, or something like that. (That works well for tri training, too.)

2- Plan meals better. The Big Man and I are pretty good about planning dinners for the week on the weekend, shopping for whatever we need on Sunday or Monday, then following through. What we don’t plan, and where I get stuck, is lunch. I hate lunch. I wish I didn’t need to eat in the middle of the day. But I do. So I’m going to do better in planning lunch, which will give me the fuel I need to exercise in the morning and also allow me not to be famished (and overeat) at dinner. What I think I’m going to do, though I haven’t given it much thought yet, is to incorporate a “rainbow” into my lunches, so no matter what we have for dinner, I’ve already covered the spectrum.

3- Cut the crap. I’ve been off and on with reducing/eliminating sugary foods. My long-term plan is to cut added sugar entirely. I have a post in the works about all the nasty things that sugar does to your body, and when I remember, I think hard about those things when really, I want a cookie. It helps. I’m already off artificial sweeteners, and I already know that when I don’t eat junk food, fruit is sufficiently sweet to take care of a craving almost all of the time. (And when I very rarely eat sweets, one cookie is enough. Talk about liberating and not to be ruled by the cookies!) Regardless, my short-term goal is twice a week. This includes coffee shop chai, which is loaded with sugar. (I’m getting closer to a home-brew that is delicious. In trying recipes, I’ve stepped up from “I can’t drink this” to “This has promise.”)

That’s all. Haha — “all.” But I know that I can manage these three things at once. The Big Man is on board with the exercise schedule. (He needs to be, since he’ll be watching The Kid at those times.)

I am excited to rediscover my old habits and my old body. And with The Kid being mobile now, I’m going to need all of the energy I can get…

What are your short- or long-term goals? Do you have plans to go along with them? (Near or far, come join an accountability group — we’ll help you!)

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