Thursday, February 24, 2011

Things I've Learned/Noticed Mostly This Week . . . (updated)

My jeans are looser.  Even when freshly washed.
this is not me

The best showers are the ones after a really tough workout.

I actually really like a lot food that's good for me.

I love lifting weights.

Bananas are my favorite fruit, hands down.

I haven't craved anything so much that I can't resist it in the last few weeks.

I feel stronger.

Supporters are imperative and I'm thankful for mine.

Bikes are back at Costco and I'm going to buy one this weekend even though there will still be too much snow to ride it for months.

One man with b.o. can permeate an entire exercise studio in under 15 minutes.

I need a massage like crazy and my appointment isn't till Monday.

I heart veggie and fruit smoothies.

I know there was more but I can't for the life of me remember!

**The update** a couple of requests for a recipe for the smoothie.  The one in the above picture is my current favorite concoction.

1 c frozen blueberries
1/2 frozen banana
2 good handfuls of spinach
big cup full of water (I use my hard plastic starbucks cup)
ground flax seed (optional)

Blend blend blend.  This makes enough for two full glasses but I drink it all myself.  If your fruit isn't frozen, add some ice to replace some water.  I really like my smoothies to be thick but blended well.  Sometimes I make this smoothie right after work but before the gym so I will add 1/2 scoop of vanilla protein powder.  I only do that if I'm heading to work out though.  I've experimented with a few other greens and I've found that spinach is the one you can taste the least.  I don't taste it at all now.   Also, vitamin C eaten with spinach increases the iron absorption so feel free to toss an orange or strawberries in there for extra oomph!  Don't be shy with your favorite fruits, I've never made a smoothie that was undrinkable.  I did make one that was the color of baby poo (no joke) so I drank it out of a solid container so I couldn't see it!!  I blame the mangos for that one.  

Monday, February 21, 2011

Less of Me!

I worked hard, I tracked, and I conquered!!  I was down...drum roll... 

-3.0 lbs!

I know every week won't be like this but oh, how I love the weeks where all the work pays off with something measurable.  My activity this week consisted of:
  • One boot camp class
  • Two barbell blast classes
  • Three week one Couch to 5km run/walk's
  • Two days of the stairs at work

I continued to track every day and I stayed within my points.  The end of today makes 21 days!!  Three Weeks = Habit.  Right??  

What I'm noticing as well, is how much less I crave things.  I used to hear people say this or read it in fitness mags but I didn't truly believe I would crave anything any less.  I believe it now. The first week, I would have given my right arm for a giant bag of chips and dip or a chocolate bar (or 5).  Or anything "bad".  The longer I've gone without that stuff, the less I think about it or crave it.  The same goes for fast food.  I think it's been over a month since I had fast food.  OVER A MONTH!!!  I think I've only ever done that once before and that was years ago in a two month bet which I'm pretty sure I lost.

Also, previously when I've done WW, I've celebrated a great loss with food right after the meeting.  No, really, food.  Fast food (hangs head in shame).  It doesn't make any sense at all to immediately undo some of the great things I did.  Yet, that's what I did.  What's even more odd is that I did the same thing to console myself when I didn't have a loss.  Talk about sabotage!  

So this week, the activity goals are exactly the same as above except I will try moving on to Week Two of the Couch to 5km.  If it seems too tough, I'll repeat week one.  I don't want to hate it, burn out, or re-injure my ankle.  I'm not in a race to get to 5 km again, I just want to get there.  

A big thank you to everyone for their comments and for following!

Michelle :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Little Things

The little things I'm talking about are the little things that work for me.  I'm having a great week on plan.  I've actually had a few good weeks in a row.  Tracking the number of consecutive days I've tracked is helping like crazy!  I'm in the middle of Day 19 right now and I so don't want to have to change that number to "1".  I know at some point it will happen, I just don't want it to be soon.  I don't remember what they say is the number of weeks it takes to form a habit, three or six?

In the past, I've usually fallen off plan because of a mixture of cravings and boredom.  What I've been doing lately is finding substitutions for whatever my craving is.  Most recently, it seemed like everyone was talking about hot dogs.  I love hot dogs.  Haven't had one in ages.  Yesterday I bought a package of Yves Veggie Dogs.  I used half of one of those thin buns as a hot dog bun, light cheese slice, mustard & relish, and chopped onion.  Yum!!!  I also made sweet potato fries.  So good, it felt indulgent and it took care of that hot dog craving.
Haha!  Looks gross but totally hit the spot!

Other substitutes I've been using that while not exact, are close enough that I feel like I've satisfied the craving when it hits:

  • Pop Chips, I love salt & vinegar and barbeque.
  • Mini Rice Cakes in chip flavors but I do prefer the Pop Chips over the rice cakes.
  • Any frozen fruit blended in my Vitamix with a bit of water.  Makes something close to gelati.  I use milk when I want it to be more like an ice cream.  Most recently, I used a frozen banana and 1 tbsp of peanut butter.  So so good!  When I'm using blueberries or strawberries, I sneak spinach in there too.  

Meal planning for me was always a challenge.  Cooking for one sucks.  Mostly because you look at a recipe and it seems like a lot of work to cut it in half because a "whole can" is required, then you've got half a can of whatever leftover.  I decide to just make the whole recipe and then I'm eating the same thing for days.  I find my biggest challenge is getting to food before it goes bad.  I've started making things that are versatile and freeze well.

  • Baked Brown Rice. I got this recipe from daisygirl and it has worked wonders.  I make the casserole dish of rice once every 10 days maybe.  I bought some snack size bags from the dollar store and I freeze it in 1/2 cup portions.  SO EASY!  I use it as a base for a quick stir fry or a side with supper.  I've mixed 1/2 cup with a bit of baked chicken breast and one of those Green Giant Steam broccoli & cheese sauce packages and it's an instant casserole.  
  • Black Beans. I love adding black beans to things like chili, salad, soups, quesadillas.  However, if you're not using the whole can, black beans turn on you quickly and turn your fridge into a "somebody died in there" situation.  I bought a bag of dried black beans ages ago and only recently found what to do with them and it's amazing!!  Slow Cooker!  I used this method/recipe and now I have the equivalent of 3 1/2 cans of black beans in the freezer and the best part is that I can just take some out and use it without wasting the rest of the can.  And it's cheap!
  • Flatout Bread.  I love love love flatout bread.  I use it for pizza, salad wraps, scrambled eggs, and so on.  I even cut them up and bake them for tortilla chips with salsa. Versatile, quick, freezable, and delicious.  
  • Eggs Benedict.  I got this from Natasha and it has become my beloved Saturday morning tradition.  Treadmill, Barbell Blast class, home for Eggs Benedict and coffee.
  • Smoothies.  I pretty much chuck whatever into the blender.  This morning before the gym it was blueberries, 1/2 banana, two big handfuls of spinach, 1/2 scoop vanilla whey protein powder, and water.

The other things which aren't really "little things" but are so very helpful and every bit a part of this journey.

  • Friends.  There are now four fantastic women who come with me to Barbell Blast and Boot Camp.  With there being a  few who are regularly coming, I pretty much know I won't be there by myself and I'm not dreading going anymore!!!  That's huge.  I'm loving it.  
  • PVR.  I'm a tv junkie.  I admit it.  I don't care.  I love that while I'm busting my butt at the gym, I know that my trusty PVR will have recorded whatever it is I'm missing and I can watch it sans commercials as soon as I get home!
  • Melatonin.  I'm not a fantastic sleeper.  Not good at all actually.  Someone had suggested melatonin a while back so on the days when I'm feeling restless and not relaxed enough to fall asleep, I take some melatonin and it has worked wonders for me.
  • This blog.  I never imagined there was this whole community out there.  Yay!
I'm sure there are other things that are helping me along but this is what I could come with for now.  I'd love to hear what helps you!

Michelle :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Disappointing Loss?

I weighed in this morning.  I was so excited to step on the scale this morning so I could update my weight and do a blog post.  I was down 1 pound.  I should be excited.  I should totally be excited.  I'm aware of this.  However, I'm disappointed.  Before you start calling me a crazy b*tch in your head, that's okay, you can still call me that.  I'll tell you why I'm disappointed.  I tracked every day.  I stayed within points every day.  I did four classes at the gym.  I used the treadmill twice.  And I did those &%&*#$@ stairs at work (28 flights and 24 flights).  So honestly, I was so hoping for two pounds. Fresh off the weight loss math I had to do to get my butt on a plane, I really just wanted to lose two pounds this week and I really felt like I earned it.  So this is where the disappointment and discouragement are coming from.

The first thing I wanted to do was eat.  Eat poorly and eat lots.  I've repeated in my head about a million times today "If hunger isn't the problem, food isn't the answer".  I'll just keep saying it until it passes.  Even now as I sit here and type this, I'd like to go through a drive-thru or order pizza.  Part of what's stopping me is that it's Valentine's Day and that just really seems too pathetic for words.  Anyhow, I expressed this disappointment to my Dad who told me that because I had mostly been doing resistance training and weights, it's quite possible that in addition to the pound that I lost inches and gained muscle.  That makes me feel a little better.  I've never taken my measurements so I think I will do some today.  I also talked about being disappointed to Lindsay (friend, co-worker, & barbell blast buddy) and she said that one pound was awesome and to go to the grocery store and pick up a pound of ground beef and realize that that's how much I lost off of my body in one week and that's pretty awesome.  That reminded of a woman in my old WW meetings who used to look at the one pound blocks of butter and look at the stack and add  up what she'd lost.  It helps to picture something like that.  So I'm going to be thankful for the lost pound and appreciate that it's gone and keep on going this week.  I am going to add more cardio though.


Well, more annoying for me, but funny for everyone else.  Okay, it's funny for me too.  I laugh at myself A LOT.  I got to the gym for Barbell Blast class on Saturday morning.  Another girl from work was coming so I'd be meeting four people there.  We got there at the same time, walk into the locker room and I'm unpacking my bag and realize I only have one running shoe.  What I currently have on my feet are big Kodiak winter boots, so that won't work.  I was in disbelief!  The funniest part was that I just kept repeating in disbelief "I ONLY HAVE ONE SHOE!! I ONLY HAVE ONE SHOE!!! I CAN'T BELIEVE I ONLY HAVE ONE SHOE!!"  Then I threw all my stuff in the locker, asked my friend Nicole to pull out a bench and mat for me to hold my spot in the class and I grabbed my keys and raced home and then back again with my other shoe.  I got there about three minutes after the class started and jumped in.  I'm so very proud of myself for going home and coming back.  This is the best example of how having people to work out with helps me be successful.  Had no one else been there, I would have left and I likely would have hit the McDonald's drive-thru for a Sausage McGriddle on my way home.  So thank you to my gym buddies!!!  (only two of which know about this blog).

Plans for Tonight

As of last night, I was planning to go to the gym after work and maybe start the Couch to 5K training plan again.  Enter the disappointing weigh-in, the lonesomeness of a single Valentine's Day, a poor night's sleep, getting home later than normal from work, and a strong feeling of just wanting to stay home, I think I have a new plan.  Instead, I'm going to figure out how to use the new heart rate monitor accessory I bought to go with my Garmin watch, I'm going to write out week one (at least) of Couch to 5K on a small card so it's handy to take to the gym, get some new music for it, take my measurements, watch some TV, do some Zumba or Just Dance on the Wii and treat myself to some sushi for supper.  Oh yes, that's the new plan!!

Tata for now!


ps - anybody got any music that really gets them going for cardio like running?  I've been using the latest Girl Talk download but it's starting to get a bit old and I need to mix it up.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Weight Loss Math Wizard

If n = 15 lbs, solve for x.  So how many of us know weight loss math?  I know I can't be the only one.

On Tuesday, just as I was pulling on my boots to get to the gym for the treadmill followed by boot camp, I get a text message from my Dad saying "westjet is having a seat sale that's over in 60 hours, any chance you can meet me in Vancouver in May?"  I am seized with fear.  The last time I saw my Dad was about a year and a half ago.  I was 40 pounds lighter than I am now.  I have a brother & sister in Vancouver that I haven't seen in years and I was 60 pounds lighter than I am now.  This goes through my head at lightning speed and then is followed by the weight loss speed math trials.  The speedy thought process went exactly like this:

February, March, April, May = 4 months x 4 weeks = 16 weeks.
60 pounds to go ÷ 16 weeks = almost 4 pounds per week - too much.
50 pounds to go ÷ 16 weeks = 3 pounds per week - still too much.
16 weeks × 2 pounds per week = 32 pounds, 32 pounds from now, I'll still be 180 pounds.
If I stick to the goal of one pound per week in 2011, minus 16 pounds from now = still fat. Sigh.

This took me about a minute.  I told my Dad I would check at work the next day knowing that it will be okay to take time off then but buying myself a day to digest.  I started to get choked up and I wanted to bail on the gym, stay home, watch the Biggest Loser and EAT. But I'd told the girls in the class that I would be there.  I composed myself and went but I did it slowly and cost myself a little time on the treadmill.

In boot camp, I was balancing on the exercise ball doing chest presses thinking about a plan.  Part of me wants to go apeshit on activity and try to lose weight Biggest Loser-style but I know that's highly unlikely.  I'll start off strong, burn out in a few weeks and crash & burn hard in a bag of chips and pail of ice cream.  So what I really ended up landing on was my current plan.  Tracking, classes, water, consistency.  The thing I have to add to that plan now is feeling okay with myself, as is.  Being the only one in my family who struggles with weight isn't something I'm often faced with because the vast majority of my family doesn't live near me.  So while I know that I won't be where I'd like to be when I go, I'd really like to make the gap smaller.  I now have a plane ticket to go from May 18 - 28.  I'm excited and terrified.

To make the gap smaller . . . FASTER, I've added some additional daytime activity. Yesterday, I started leaving my desk on the hour every hour for three minutes to do four flights of stairs.  My heart rate gets up, it only takes three minutes and by the end of the day, I'd done 28 flights of stairs!!  Today, my calves were killing me between the stairs and lunges in barbell blast last night.  I still did the stairs on the hour, every hour except I missed 1:00 pm.  Guess I just got too carried away in my work, haha!  That made today 24 flights.  Not sure if I'll be able to do this every day because my calves really do ache but maybe a few days week :)  I also added a 15 minutes speed walk around the mall across the street with gym-buddy Lindsay on our coffee break.  I'm taking runners to work tomorrow so I'm more prepared for the walk.

And finally, a picture of the pizza I made for supper tonight.  It is so yummy.  When I used to make pizza, you couldn't see the veggies for the cheese!!

Tracking is going great!!  Ten days so far!

Michelle  :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

So That's The Answer!!

Who knew??  I knew.  So funny how I've always known the answer to losing weight is to eat healthy foods and exercise yet it's the execution that is the huge stumbling block.

This last 7 days has been really great as far as following through with the plan.  I've just finished supper on my 7th full day of tracking.  My goal this week was to go to boot camp and the two barbell classes and do some cardio time before them.  I did all three of those.  And I was rewarded for my efforts.

-2.8 lbs!

I'm so pleased! A few things that have worked for me this week . . . 

  • I made a doable goal to just do those three classes at the gym and fit the cardio in before them. I had company in each one too so that helps!
  • Committing to track the consecutive days of tracking worked.  I don't want to start at day one again.  In the past, if I had a bad day, I just wouldn't track it.  Now I'm going to track it regardless.
  • A budget.  In the new year, I made myself a budget which included a budget for eating out and groceries.  With less money squared away for eating out, I've been saving that for meals out with friends not take-out for supper because I'm too lazy to cook.  Everything I make is better for me than what I would order.  The budget thing is just an added bonus.  
  • Getting a little more creative in the kitchen with what I have.  I have to start writing them down so I remember!
  • I made a very simple excel spreadsheet (very basic) of my cardio, classes, tracking & weight.  I was inspired by Sheryl @ Ms Bitch Cakes.  She never ceases to inspire whether it's to get out there and DO something, be more mindful of my eating, and more recently to track, track, track.
I've been thinking about the classes at the gym today and about how I don't want anything to interfere with them.  If I had registered and paid for a 10 week session of Tuesday night boot camp, I would never miss one.  I've done it and didn't miss any.  If someone asked me to do something that night, I would say that I couldn't because I had boot camp.  And that's what I'm going to do now because I PAY FOR THE MEMBERSHIP.  So yes, I'm paying for it!  From now on, Tuesday evening, Wednesday evening and Saturday morning are off the social calendar . . . unless they want to come to the Y with me!!

The goals are the same for this week - tracking, hehe, and tracking my tracking, the three classes with cardio before them.  I could be doing a little better with water so that's on the list!

Have a great week everyone!

Michelle :)

ps.  I have a fancy GPS Garmin watch that I always used for outdoor running and last night I ordered the wireless heart rate monitor piece so I can track the calories I burn on indoor cardio machine and in my classes more accurately.  Might have to add a column to the excel spreadsheet already!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Why Is Getting There So Hard??

First up, I was down 0.6.  It could have and should have been better but I have a tracking issue.  The issue? I'm a lazy tracker!!  So I decided something today while I was getting my ass kicked.  You know those signs or chalkboards that are usually seen at physical workplaces like construction sites and it's got a tally of the number of days without a workplace injury?  That's what I'm doing.  I'm going to put a tally on my blog somewhere of the number of consecutive days tracking.  If I skip a day, I go back to one.  It starts today.  Convenient being the first of the month.

This is what we looked like today but inside.
The main question today -- WHY IS GETTING THERE SO HARD??  I'm talking about the gym.  I knew I was going to get on the treadmill today and then do boot camp class after it.  I started thinking about it and dreading it yesterday.  Then I dreaded it all day today.  I came home from work and dragged my butt around gathering my things.  Still dreading it.  Why do I do this?  I'm so confused by this.  I'm confused because I KNOW that when I get there, it will be just fine.  I'll get on the treadmill, crank my iPod, people watch or watch a show.  Then I'll go to boot camp where I will see a couple friends and some friendly regulars and then we get our butts kicked and I HAVE FUN.  This does not sound like something to dread!  Wait, it gets better.  I FEEL GOOD AFTER!!  So from now on, I really need to focus on those good things instead of the fact that I'm leaving my cozy, warm living room.  I'm going to barbell blast tomorrow evening so I'll do my best not to dread it!!!  I believe a couple of my new gym class friends will be there too.  :)

So my goals for this week . . . water, water, water, tracking, tracking, tracking, and stop dreading the gym!!

p.s.   I'm kind of happy for my toque incident because that story has been thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who has heard it :)