Better Than Yesterday

In my last post, I discussed my decision to enroll in The Biggest Loser Fall Bootcamp. I wanted to post an update on the first 2 weeks of the program. First thoughts: It’s a solid program, the nutrition is good, if a little low on protein (for the food plan I selected), the daily motivation is good, and I like the little reminders and checklists they give every week to help keep you on track. You also set a mini-goal every week and you see it every time you open the page. The community forums are also nice, because you have people who have never done a bootcamp, to those who have completed several, and everyone has great advice and is really good about boosting each other up and keeping each other motivated.

Week 1. As I mentioned before, the first week of bootcamp I was off work, so at home and more in control of my food and activities. I stuck to the meal plans and only did not eat what was prescribed a handful of times, primarily there were 2 meals that I ate out. I did the prescribed exercises in addition to workouts I did on my own. Even with my meals out, and occasional off-menu snacks, I still managed to have a negative calorie deficit for every day, in fact, according to their calculations, I had a 9000+ calorie deficit for the first week. So, you can understand my frustration when I weighed in on Saturday and had only lost .5 lbs. Half a pound! I wanted to scream! Not only that, but some of my measurements showed a gain, so I also only lost 1.5 inches.

I was pissed and furious, and this my friends, is when I would have thrown in the towel. But the hubs told me to keep pushing and to at least finish the program. I tried to read everything I could get my eyeballs on about why I didn’t lose weight. This is where the forums really helped-I posted my absymal results, and turns out, I’m not the only one.

As the week went on, I could tell that my lack of progress was getting to me because I kept making poor food choices even when I had healthier options. Sort of a, “Who cares. I can’t lose weight whatever I do, so I’m gonna eat whatever I want”, attitude. I still pushed myself at the gym, and continued to make a calorie deficit, but I had that defeatist attitude through it all. A few days later, after I had missed a workout and then furiously tried to make up for it the next day, I came to a realilzation.

I had been asking myself what the point of all of this was. Well, the point was to lose weight, duh! But there had to be more than that, right? Reading the forums gave me the answer I sought. My priority couldn’t just be changing the number on the scale. I needed to also focus on learning to sustain myself after the boot camp ended. I needed to learn to feed myself for the rest of my life, not just these 8 weeks. So, I’ve readjusted my goals to focus not solely on weight loss, but also journey itself, and to make each day better than the last.

For Week 2, I struggled with the disspointment of my Week 1 results, comforted myself with the wrong kind of foods. I changed my overall goals for the boot camp, and decided that it was more important to learn what worked for me and what I can maintain for life than to focus solely on weight loss. In the end, I gained back that stupid half pound.

Going into Week 3, I am more determined than ever to make this week the best. I will be adjusting my calorie count and my macronutrient ratio because I don’t think I’m getting enough protein or enough calories to cover my Basal Metabolic Rate under the standard plan. So, we will see how this pans out and what adjustments need to be made. I can only operate under the plan to be better than I was yesterday.

 

 

Yay for Monday! No, seriously.

Earlier I asked myself, “does sitting in my car in the parking lot count as going to the gym?”.  But, I made it in, I forgot my iPod, they were playing ho-hum music, but I got some weight training in followed by about 30 minutes of cardio.  According to my heart rate monitor, I torched a lovely 1000+ calories when all was said and done.  And this was in about an hour.  Plus, I had a pleasant conversation with the gal on the treadmill next to me as we were both on our cool downs.

meetings with the bossWhen I got to the gym, it was about 8:45.  I didn’t want to go in.  I wanted to go home and go back to bed.  So, I let myself sit there for 10 minutes with my eyes closed, telling myself my appointment is at 9:00.  About 5 minutes till, I cut the engine and headed inside. 

The workout was okay even though I didn’t go through it with my usual vigor.  I just didn’t have any energy this morning.  I don’t know if that’s going to be the way it is because of my shift, or if I could do something about it.  I know I would probably be better a little later in the morning, but I also know that if I don’t get it done before my day starts, then I won’t go.  I’m sort of hoping that as I continue to workout, I will be more energetic.

It’s one of those awful catch-22s in life, you know.  You’re tired, but you want to work out.  You know that if you work out you’ll have more energy, but you don’t have any energy to work out!  Bah!  It can really get you stuck in a rut.

Well, I have another meeting with the boss at 2:00 before I head into work!  Have a great week and keep moving forward.

You want to order what?

anything to lose weightIt’s Food Friday, but no food today.  I wanted to share an interesting conversation I had with the hubs last night about supplements.

So, we’re sitting there watching “Hannibal”-great series if you’re into gory deaths, hallucinations, and dark imagery, and the ubiquitous Dr. Hannibal Lecter-and the hubs says, “Hey Pause it for a minute, I want to show you this stuff I think I should get.”  After expelling a long suffering sigh (I hate for my shows to be interrupted by chatter), he shows me his iPad, which is open to this page touting some “miracle” muscle building pills.  I give the article a readthrough, then open a browser window so I can see if I can find more information about this stuff.  I’m not surprised that most of the links that I find are more “testimonials aimed at selling more of this product.

But the hubs was all excited about it and keeps asking if I think he should get it, and wouldn’t it be awesome if he got all ripped like that, etc, etc.  Finally I look at him and ask if he wants my honest opinion.  He hesitates (because he knows my answer is not just no, but hells no-LOL), but then says yes, he wants to know what I think about it.  I tell him that he doesn’t need any pills or muscle-building supplements to get ripped.  If he would lay off his 3 scoops of ice cream nearly every night (!), the copious amounts of beer he’s been drinking lately, not sit around eating out of the bag of trail mix, crackers, chips, etc, and stuck to a exercise program, he would build muscle and burn the fat.

I showed him pictures of Tom Venuto, who wrote the ebook “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”-excellent read, great information, BTW.  He is a natural body builder, meaning he doesn’t take any enhancement drugs to be totally ripped.  He trains hard, and he gets results.  I told the hubs if Tom could do it, so could he.  I also pointed out that he would look like a total freak if he had too much muscle because he’s short, and that he should focus on building a lean and flexible physique, not a bulky one at any rate because I didn’t think I could love a man whose boobs were bigger than mine.  I think it was the last comment that swayed him.

There is NO substitute for exercise and eating right.  I don’t have a problem with using protein powders or drinking Shakeology, because while technically they ‘are’ supplements, they don’t do anything but add calories, protein, and minerals and vitamins to your daily diet.  You don’t know the long term effects of using metabolic “enhancing” supplements, especially ones that label themselves as an “steroid alternative”.  As part of the microwave generation, we all want quick results and yeah, I would love to be able to lose 30 lbs in 30 days.  But the reality is that shit is just going to come back.  I feel any advertisement you see that claims you can lose a ton of weight without exercising is a crock.  Sure, I guess it’s possible, but what exactly are you losing? And once you stop taking those precious little pills, how long before you put that weight back on?

The hubs looks at me, and says, “So, I shouldn’t get this?”  I just look at him until he huffs out a breath and says, “Fine. I guess you’re right.”

I pushed Play.

What do you think about all these ads for “steroid alternatives” and “lose weight without exercise”?

 

A Tale of Two Women

It’s Whiny Wednesday.  Fair warning:  I do have a need to talk about something (someone) and this tale is sure to be loaded with snark with a few dashes of vitriol for good measure.  So, if you don’t want to read any further, it won’t hurt my feelings.  However, if you’re in the mood for some head shaking, guffaws, and drama, read on.

body imageThere are two women, Ethel and Maude, who are related by marriage.  They each have their own little lives, and their own families to deal with.  You would think that they might be good friends, but no.  Maude can’t really stand Ethel because of a variety of reasons, mostly because Maude thinks Ethel is a dumbass.  At first, Maude wondered if her dislike of Ethel was misplaced, since Ethel is skinny and sort of has the body Maude would like to have.  But Maude’s husband has said if she ever lost that much weight, he’d divorce her because he doesn’t want to have sex with a skeleton.  Maude thought that was pretty funny, but after spending more time around her, she’s decided the dislike is rooted in the stupidity of the other.

Ethel is stick thin, and her bone structure is small.  Maude, in all reality, could never be that thin without looking like an anorexic, and she knows it and has determined that she doesn’t want to be skinny anyway  She wants to be strong and fit, something Ethel in all her skinny glory, isn’t.  Over the last months, Ethel has started complaining about her body because she’s gained weight since she moved to the area, developing a nice pair of saddlebags (which you can totally see because she’s always wearing leggings) and a bit of a belly (big enough now it looks like she had to lay down to zip her jeans).  She even has a pair she keeps wearing that she can’t button, and then wears a little shirt that shows a little belly (and her undone jeans).  She thinks she’s so sexy, but it’s just sad.  She likes to make like she’s a supermodel if you see her pics on FB.

She knew Maude exercised at home, so asked if she had any old DVDs she could have so she could get in shape.  So Maude, being the nice gal she is, gave her 2 of her older DVDs that she didn’t use.  For all her complaining about wanting to get in shape, Ethel has only used the DVDs once.  Another time, she also went for a little run-1/4 mile and used her husband’s weights. And a time after that, she went for a little walk (4 miles).  These events occurred weeks apart from each other, after which she spent the rest of that week complaining about how sore she was from her exercise.  Maude just shrugged, because she knows how it is when you start a new workout, in shape or not.  Ethel thinks she’s healthy and fit because she’s not overweight, so doesn’t get that she isn’t healthy at all because weight is only one indicator of fitness.  She thinks she’s in such great shape, but Maude could probably toss her across the room without breaking a sweat.  Maude may be fat, but she’s strong as hell.

But you can’t talk to Ethel and explain these things, because despite a lack of education, she thinks she knows everything.  Like how Nutella and fried potatoes are essential food groups, and skinny means she’s healthy.   Seeing Ethel and hearing her complain about her body, yet does nothing about it only annoys Maude these days, and it just pisses Maude off to no end that Ethel is determined to make her kid just like her, by saying things like, “oh, you don’t like to eat that” just because Ethel doesn’t like it.   Just like doing all sorts of things for Ethel and her family annoys Maude because whatever they gave, it wasn’t good enough, what they wanted, or they wanted more.  Ethel pesters their mother-in-law to ask Maude for things or information, but Maude doesn’t have time for such ignorance or these annoyances because she’s on a mission.   Oh, she still does what she can (family’s family and all that), and tries to do it with a gracious heart, but still gets annoyed to have to be doing anything at all for that lot of ingrates.

See, Maude has spent most of her life overweight and out of shape and the last couple of years complaining about it.  She spent some time blaming her husband (his snacking), her kids (no time), and genetics (family is overweight too).  She spent probably too much time in negative self-reflection, wondering why she could never lose weight, and why she was a failure.  Recently, she realized she was doing waaaaay too much complaining and beating herself up for past failures and not nearly enough DOING.  So, she decided she’d had enough of making excuses and rationalizing her shortcomings away.  In short, she decided to quit bitching, because no one else was going to be living her life but her, and if she wanted to have a good one, she’d better “git-to-gittin'”.  So, she put on her big girl pants and decided to make her own destiny instead of waiting for someone else to give it to her, unlike Ethel, who didn’t want to learn about her new home (hers was so much better), learn the language (she hasn’t bothered, other than a few phrases), and expected her in-laws to help her find a job (which they did, and then regretted it when she acted like she was too good to work there).

Maude doesn’t think she’s better than Ethel, but she knows damn well she’s smarter and more determined.  Smarter being the sticking point-Maude knows that the random efforts Ethel makes toward fitness are not going to get her in “bikini-ready” shape.  Maude knows that to make it with anything-whether it is making a new life, or transforming the one you have-you have to want it, and you have to work hard for it.  Maude struggles with the slow pace of her weight loss, but knows the number on the scale is not the be-all-end-all of her journey to fitness.  She’s keeping her eye on the prize, because with every workout, she feels how much stronger she is getting.  She feels how rock hard her thighs are getting, and sees how her butt is looking more and more awesome with every set of lunges and squats.  She admits to flexing her biceps in the mirror to see those proud little bumps she never had before.

Whether it was more money, more fitness, more time, more things, Maude often dragged herself down thinking about what she didn’t have.  But realizing her wanting never got her anything but more heartache, she’s changed the way she thinks.  Maude now likes to keep her focus on what she wants and HOW she’s going to get it, instead of WHY she doesn’t have it.  Maude looks at Ethel, and sees a shadow of her old, unhappy self, who often wondered why she didn’t have “it”, whatever it may have been.  Ethel only sees what she doesn’t have and WHY she doesn’t have it and who’s to blame for the lack.  Oddly enough, she’s never the one at fault.

I can already see who’s going to get their “Happily Ever After” 😉

Harmony in My Head

Good Motivation Monday to you all!  The other day I was reflecting on how, a lot of times when I wake up,  I have a bit of song playing in my head.  I used to wonder if I was crazy because it’s not something people talk about, and by the time I’m brushing my teeth, I’ve forgotten what it was.   But in that half-twilight between sleep and awake, I find myself playing a little ditty in my head, sometimes an old favorite, sometimes something new.

I love listening to music.  Mostly, I just tune in to the radio, but when I’m exercising, I like the hard, driving beats stored on my iPod.  I haven’t quite caught on to the whole iTunes and I’m terrible about ripping my CDs to my computer, which means I don’t have very much new music, and what I do have on there is pretty old. I’ve been listening to the same playlist for over 10 years now, but a good song never goes out of style.  I favor techno beats above all else, but there’s some rap and rock mixed in there too.  What makes it even better is that the songs I listen to on a run or in the gym are not songs that you hear on the radio, so when they queue up on my playlist, it’s like a little visit from an old friend.

music is my fuelSometimes, a song might come on that’s not what I need right then.  Maybe the beat is too slow, or the lyrics are not what I want to hear, cuz, you know, I’m not really feeling Taylor Swift’s “Today is a Fairytale” when I’m trying to get my cardio on.  Those are the times when I start fumbling with the iPod trying to find something else.  Something that keeps me going, pushes me to the end of the set or interval.  There’s just something to be said about the right song that motivates me to finish strong, that finds the little extra fuel I need to get to the end.  I especially need this when I’m running.

When the hubs and I go for our walks, we don’t listen to our music since we spend most of the time talking.  Well, I can’t speak for him, but I spend most of my time gasping out half sentences between steps and grunting in acknowledgement or dissent as we make our way on the route.  Sometimes, especially when we hit the hills (all up, natch), I wish I had my tunes to keep me going when my shins start burning and I want to slow down.  The hubs, who is in better shape than me, just trucks right on up, leaving me in the dust.   Gah, sometimes, I wish he’d get nicked by a car on one of the blind corners!  He’s nice enough to wait for me at the top of the last hill, bastard that he is.

In appreciation for those things that motivate us to keep going even when we think we don’t have the juice,  I thought I’d share with you 10 of my favoritist tracks from my meager collection, in no particular order.  Have a good Monday, and an excellent start to the week.

Song Artist
1 Sabotage The Beastie Boys
2 Lose Yourself Eminem
3 Spice Eon
4 Busy Child The Crystal Method
5 Millionaire Queens of the Stone Age
6 Feuer Frei Rammstein
7 Get Free The Vines
8 Lust for Life Iggy Pop
9 We Have Explosive The Future Sound of London
10 Kernkraft 400 Zombie Nation

Don’t Look Down!

Hello, Motivation Monday!  It’s time to rock and roll, shake the cobwebs out, and get moving and a groovin’.

new way to beThe weekend was fraught with peril-it was the hubs’ big 4-0, and Orthodox Easter (Kalo Pascha! to any other Orthodox out there).  Next weekend will be another whopper: our anniversary and Mother’s Day.  Will the insanity ever end?  Yes.  Yes it will.  Things are SOOOOO much less stressful since I’ve given up on the “all-or-nothing” attitude.  It helps me to put things in perspective, reminding me that a half slice of the hubs’ b-day cheesecake was not going to break the calorie bank, or undo all my hard work.

Of course, if I ate like I did last night, I would, but that’s the beauty of special occasions.  They are called so because they aren’t everyday occasions.  A big part of changing my life has been about changing how I think and react to things.  In the past I might have denied myself the cake.  Or I would have had it and then felt tremendous guilt.

These days, I like to redirect my mental energy into positively programming my subconscious.  Instead of focusing on what I want to avoid, I focus on what I want to achieve.  You know how you might be climbing to some precarious height, and someone else yells, “Don’t look down!”, and of course, the only thing you want to do is look down?  This is the same concept.  For me, this revolves mostly around food, but sometimes  around my workouts too.

For instance, I haven’t worked out yet today.  I feel bad about it, but I haven’t yet done anything about it.  However, when I was reading up for today’s entry, I realized that I’m the one holding myself back.  I have had rather dismal results in the weight loss department (I’ll post updates tomorrow), but I have lost significant inches in my hips and waist.  But instead of focusing on the improvements, I have unfortunately focused on the number on the scale.  So, in my head, I’m telling myself that I’ll never get where I want to be.  And of course, what is the outward result of that?  I ain’t done shit today!

I’ve determined I need to focus and shower myself with positive affirmations consistently.  I know, it sounds stupid, and my inner pessimistic cynic is sneering in mockery.  But here’s the truth:  if you’re already telling yourself that it’s not worth it, then it won’t be, whatever it might be.  Believing that positive thinking doesn’t work becomes a self-fulfilling negative affirmation.  You can’t think yourself thin, but you can change the way you think to make your fitness and weight loss goals totally achievable.

If I’m just sowing weeds with my negative thoughts, I’ll never see my goals achieved.  I have spoken before about changing my inner monologue, but like a lot of things, this is something I need to practice everyday.  And I have been neglecting that part of my growth.  Sometimes, I feel like I’m trying to juggle a toddler, a baby grand, a medium hippo, and 3 camouflaged balls, trying to keep up with all the things I need to do on the outside, I forget to work on the inside stuff at the same time.

So, instead of the voice in my head so insidiously whispering that I’m not going to workout today, so why did I bother with the sports bra? I’m whispering back to it that I’ll be working out when I get home from picking up my son from school.  That I will make time for anything I’m committed to.  That I love working out.  That the scale may not be budging, but my muscles are growing stronger.  That I am the only one responsible for my results.  To quit bitching and get fit.

Instead of telling myself not to look down, I’m going to tell myself to look up, and ahead.

 

Food is Fuel. Choose Wisely.

This Food Friday, I want to remind everyone to be conscious of what you are putting in your body.  The weekends are usually the time when I sort of just let it all go, and eat whatever, and then struggle to undo the damage over the next week. Which of course, then ends in another weekend where anything goes.  Breaking the cycle is tough, and yes, sometimes it sucks, but if I want to reach my goals, I have to be totally committed to the change, because this isn’t a diet.  It’s a lifestyle.

I saw a Facebook post from a friend who is also a Beachbody coach, and he was talking about how he had just bought a box of Hamburger Helper and a package of oreos.  He was talking about how he and his wife used to eat stuff like that twice a week because it’s quick and easy, and of course it tastes good.  Or, at least it used to.  After having cleaned up their diets and lost weight, they found that the Hamburger Helper was not as good as they remembered it.  Way too salty, and just generally nasty.  They ended up not finishing it.  The oreos, he claimed were just as good as he remembered, but they ended up throwing that out too.

work hard in the gymThe other day, we had pizza from Domino’s.  And guess what?  Same reaction.  Pepperoni pizza and I could taste the fat in the meat!  So gross.  And it was soooo salty!  We used to have pizza all the time.  That night, I managed 2 pieces before I just couldn’t take it anymore.  Anyway, Robbie’s post got me thinking about how we used to eat. We were a box dinner family, too.  I also used to buy those frozen chicken patties and put it on a bun.  I was also a HUGE fan of Stouffer’s French bread pizzas.  God, I can almost taste them!  And those Tostino’s party pizzas?  We would eat 1.5 of those-each! We also ate out frequently: fast food at least 2xs a week, and dinner at a restaurant every weekend.

Wow.  When I think about the way we used to eat, it actually makes my stomach turn.  It took me a while to think about all the trash we used to eat on a daily basis.  I’ve been slowly changing our diet, learning to cook (and well!), and making smarter choices at the grocery store.  I generally stick to the perimeter of the store, and only go down the aisles I need something from.  Of course, I still end up at the check out with items that wouldn’t get past the food police.

However, as my picture suggests, I have busted my ass in the past, trying to lose weight, get in shape, etc, but I always failed, and the reason always boiled down to a bad diet.  Previously, it was starvation.  Now, it’s a certain overly liberal slackening of the food.  I noticed the other day that I have not been eating as clean as I was, or even should.  Too many snacks and other stuff I just don’t need, and it’s interfering with my results.  Honestly, I have not been as strict with myself since I finished the 6-Day Express.  And that’s terrible.  When I saw this meme on my Facebook today, I realized I have not been paying attention to what I’ve been putting in my body.  In short, I have not been choosing wisely.

So, now it boils down to:

1.  I have 6 weeks before we move, and I’ll be seeing my family en route.

2. I want to lose at least 10 lbs before then.

3. I’d like to wear my wedding rings by the time we leave.

And, the plan for that starts with:

1. Tracking my food and exercise.

2. Planning ahead.

That’s it in a nutshell.  Do you find yourself making poor food choices, even though you are busting ass working out?  What do you do about it?  Sometimes, I just need to see something that gives me an “A-ha” moment, and I’m good.  This week it was a blueberry meme.  Next week, who knows?  The only thing to do is to make better choices and keep moving forward.