Monday, July 17, 2017

WEIGHT FOR IT

I was having a hard time with the name so I figured a pun is always an option and I did create a "Growth Roadmap" when I started back in February but waited until I had some results to share.


I started my journey/health focus/new life-style (or whatever you want to call it) 5 months ago yesterday. While I do wish I could say I have lost 40-50 pounds, I know in time I will get there. For now I am happy that I am still at it 5 months later and I have had some wins along the way:
  • I don't think I have EVER been this dedicated to my health. 5 months is an unofficial record form me
  • I still stand at my desk (most of the time)
  • My endurance has gone up. When I started it was a battle to stay on the elliptical trainer for 40 minutes at a level 5 resistance and now I consistently do 65 minutes at level 12. I do this 3-4 days a week
  • I have added weight training via Cross-Fit 2 days a week (for the last 3 weeks). I often get asked what I think. I love the results. I literally was able to see more muscle tone after the first workout. The class (right now) is pure torture. Though so was the elliptical trainer 5 months ago. It does make it easier to resist reaching for an empty calorie fix when your arm is too sore to move. I hope to someday increase to 3-4 classes a week, but right now it takes me 3 days to recover from each session so I can only do 2 a week
  • I eat much healthier than I ever have but I am not perfect and need to really buckle down to get where I want to be
  • My kids tell me there is nothing to eat in the house, so I take that as a good sign I am buying less junk
  • My clothes fit better. I can't say I dropped a dress-size because I refused to buy a bigger one, but if I had, I would probably be out of it by now
  • I have lost 13-15 pounds (Even though I was pretty good on our trip home over the 4th, I still gained 3-4 pounds that week and then was pretty pissed and had a pity-party which probably bumped me up to a 5 pound gain in total). But I quickly rebounded (one Cross-Fit class will do that to you) and spent the last week shaking off 3 of re-found pounds
I get asked if I feel better and in all honesty, I feel tired. I wake up early to workout, work all day and then get crabby at night. I try to go to bed earlier but I am still restless. Sometimes I have zero desire to be on mom duty and feel lazy but I am just pooped. I know I need to make this my next optimization and quickly before homework starts back up again.


Even though my digits aren't where I would have loved them to be, I still thought it was time to share my Roadmap. It is sort of like facing your debt in order to conquer it or doing the 12 steps. Thanks for the encouragement and reading along with what I plan to be the first part of my journey. Onward and downward from here and what I assume will be another month before my next check in.




Sunday, June 25, 2017

CROSS FIT

I have to dedicate this post to Holly and say THANK YOU for giving me the push I needed!


Let me explain...


Last week I mentioned looking for a personal trainer and on my Facebook post, Holly said she was looking into joining Cross Fit and would I be interested in joining her a few mornings a week at their 5:30 am class.


I read it and had a little panic. I asked for recommendations and here was this offer but immediately reasons why I didn't want to accept popped in my head:
  1. I have looked at Cross Fit in the past and it was about 3x what I wanted to spend on a gym membership but people do seem to get great results
  2. What if I sign up and don't use it? That is A LOT of $'s to burn.
  3. 5:30 am? I rarely get to the gym by 6:00. How would I possibly make a 5:30 class?
There were others but these were the biggies. I spent most of the day trying to figure out my response to politely turn the offer down. The more angles I tried, the more I heard myself, the more clear it became that I was trying to justify excuses.


I had no choice but to take this offer as a sign that it was something I needed to do. So I accepted the challenge.


Yesterday I went to a 7:00 am class for beginners which turned out to be a private training session for me with a trainer and his wife. They told me all out the new gym, gave me a tour, and then walked me through a demo class. We did stretches and some work with kettle bells, rings and a rowing machine all the while they were showing me how to do each movement correctly, giving me tips and cheering me on.


As I explained it to Pete he thought is sounded awful to have 2 people watching you workout like that, but it really wasn't. They were watching my form and helping me do each exercise right to get the maximum workout. Oh, and I did. I bet I worked out a total of 30 minutes in the hour I was there and my heart hasn't beat that hard in forever. I walked out of there like jello and this morning I can feel every muscle in my body. It is probably mental but I swear my legs already looked more toned yesterday afternoon.


As for the price, they do offer a punch card: 10 classes for $100.


I will be starting this next week as I plan to go 2 times a week and the other 4 workouts will be my typical elliptical trainer routine. Who knows, I may up it but for now this is how I am going to ease into it.


So Holly, again thank you. I am still just saying no to excuses. Look forward to killing it in the gym with you soon

Monday, June 19, 2017

VEG OUT

I really thought I would be better about blogging more regularly but here it is another month between posts. Much like last time, I have been consistently boring. My work trip went well. I really focused on eating my veggies and in the time since I have been home, I have continued my elliptical trainer workouts 5-6 days a week. I have eaten pretty good but not perfect and my weight has hovered around a 15-13 pound weight loss. I was noticing that while I seemed to be eating a little less than I had, the carbs were sneaking back in here and there.


My first veggie box couldn't have come at a better time. I almost forgot about it, but after seeing a poster in the gym and a booth outside our cafeteria at lunch one day, I decided to take the plunge. I joined a 20 week local farm (Community Supported Agriculture) crop share. Each Thursday I pick up a box of veggies grown organically near here. I was a little nervous about getting more than we could/would eat but after some internal debate figured it was a great way to try things I may not normally buy and as much as I love the idea of farmers' markets I don't love shopping at them. I feel like I don't know what I am doing. It's weird, I know. Anyway, this took the thinking out of it. They fill it with whatever is ready to harvest and we enjoy.


Anna had practice that night so I almost forgot about it, but I got it home and found romaine, green onions, strawberries, shallots, rutabaga, mushrooms, micro-greens, 2 bunches of bok choi, 2 herbs which I need to pot and confirm what they are ; )


This gave me the push I needed to refocus my eating. I made a mushroom/bok choi stir fry, made roasted rutabaga for the first time ever and vegged up my breakfast replacing my English Muffin with sauteed spinach, red peppers, shallot and micro-greens.


Another part of the equation is definitely my workouts. I know I need to mix it up and add in resistance training but I really like my routine. I am reading for the first time in ages. It helps me forget that I am sweating like a dog, defining hot mess, all at a gym filled with my co-workers. I get in to a book and leave it in my gym locker so I need to go back the next day to read some more. Great motivation to go back but if I am honest with myself, these are just excuses not to push myself harder.


I HATE pictures of myself. Every time I try to take a selfie I am grateful that I am part of a generation that doesn't require this as a daily communication form. But in a few weeks my mom has booked a family photo session. Talk about some motivation to kick it all up a notch and break through the 15 pound plateau. I have sooooo much more to go it is way too early to hit a plateau.


Still thinking about a personal trainer. Any locals have any recommendations, I am all ears. I would like to find someone who can show me a few routines to help me build muscle and tone up and repeat them when I am on my own with minimal equipment. I know there are trainers at KC but I sort of want to consider other options as well.


Updated to include stir-fry recipe courtesy of a Pinterest Link:
1 pound baby bok choy
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger (I sprinkled in powdered ginger because that is all I had)
5 ounces small fresh mushrooms, such as shiitake, button, beech, or enoki (cut into clumps), rinsed, tough parts of stems trimmed
2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine* or dry sherry (I used rice wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper
calories 101
caloriesfromfat 63%
protein 2.7g
fat 7.3g
satfat 0.9g
carbohydrate 6.4g
fiber 2g
sodium 345mg
cholesterol 0.0mg

Directions

Trim bases of bok choy and separate outer leaves from stalks, leaving the smallest inner leaves attached. Rinse and thoroughly dry bok choy in a salad spinner.

Heat a wok or large frying pan (not nonstick) over medium-high heat until hot when you wave your hand over the bottom. Add vegetable oil, garlic, and ginger and stir once; then immediately add mushrooms and stir-fry until they just begin to brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add rice wine and cook 30 seconds. Add bok choy leaves and stalks and cook, tossing with tongs, until beginning to wilt, about 1 minute. The wok may seem crowded, but the leaves wilt quite a bit.

Add soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and pepper; cook, tossing often, until bok choy is tender-crisp, another 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.


NOTES: I found this too salty but it could have been based on my substitutions. I added some fresh spinach to cut the salt and that worked just fine.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

LITTLE BITE OF THE BIG APPLE

I realize it has been a few weeks since my last check in. Typically when a weight-loss, hobby blogger goes silent it is due to falling off the wagon but I am happy to say that is not the case. Actually it is completely the opposite for me. I have been very routine. So much so that the thought of writing about it seemed boring. I couldn't imagine reading about someone's daily routine over and over, so I was sort of waiting until I had something better to share.


My new routine is:
  • 6 days a week I do the elliptical trainer for 65 minutes each morning
  • Breakfast = high fiber English Muffin with a protein (typically either eggs or peanut butter)
  • Snack = apple and almonds
  • Coffee, I can't for get my coffee (creamer, no sweetener)
  • Lunch = either baked chicken and steamed veggies or a turkey/swiss wrap with lots of veggies (and I peel off any of the wrap not needed to hold it together so I only eat about half the carbs)
  • Snack = if needed is another fruit
  • Dinner = a baked protein and more veggies
  • Treat = if craving sweets, a beet/fruit smoothie, maybe some greek yogurt in it, or popcorn if I want something crunchy and salty
The results: I am down about 14-15 pounds depending on the day. I still fluctuate 2-3 pounds a day but overall it is still trending downward so I will take it. I have also heard the slower it comes off the more likely it is to stay off so I am fine with crawling if that is what it takes.


All fine and dandy until this week.


A work trip.


Work travel can be a dietary disaster and I was really nervous about a big set back. I have a history of bringing workout clothes only to return with them still clean, never making it out of the suitcase. To arm myself for this battle and sharpen my focus, I met with Kate to get some fresh tips and dining advice:
  • The obvious: take things like nuts and Lara bars in your bag for a quick snack
  • Take a little cooler pouch with some fruit, maybe a yogurt
  • At the airport, shoot for a salad (I H__A__T__E salads) or even a hummus/veggies or fruit/cheese grab and go option at one of the little markets
  • Take an empty water bottle and fill it after you pass through security to keep drinking your water
  • Concentrate on your veggies. Get them in at every chance you get.
  • If you have a fridge in your room, hit a market and buy some yogurts, fruit, veggies and even string cheese. Look for high fiber, high protein options to have handy.
My translation of this advice:
  • I specifically booked a flight that allowed me to get my morning workout in as normal
  • I ate my typical breakfast too
  • Cut up an apple, some strawberries and lemons and put them in one of Ella's old lunch sacks
  • Packed almonds and bought some Lara bars and some Lara double chocolate brownie bites as I knew I would need something to help curb chocolate cravings.
  • Once through security I got ice for my water bottle at the bar, tossed in some lemon and filled it at the water fountain or bubbler as they call it in Wisconsin
  • My first flight I ate almonds and skipped the pretzels offered
  • In my layover I hunted for a to go pack of peanut butter. After 4-5 little markets with no luck I saw a frozen yogurt place and sure enough they sold me a little side for $0.53. I ate my apple with peanut butter for lunch. Oh, and had an iced coffee.
  • Flight #2 I had a few more almonds and a serving of the brownie bites
  • Dinner was 3 Ahi Tuna soft tacos and fresh guacamole (but I only ate 2 of the tortillas). Oh, I did have 1 glass of wine too.
To avoid the mini-bar and any munchies at the last minute I saw a facial mask and tossed it in my bag. It was perfect. A little pampering in a nice hotel to myself with Bravo... It was my own little belated Mother's Day retreat.

Today is also going pretty well. I did get up and use the fitness center this morning but I really didn't like their elliptical trainer. Tomorrow I may have to do the treadmill  - ugg.

My meetings had healthy breakfast options and we ordered our own lunch vs a pre-ordered buffet so that gave me more control and was better than I feared. If the rest of this week keeps going this way, I look forward to facing the scale when I get home.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

THE GREAT AND POWERFUL OZ

The second I left my appointment with the KC nutritionist (Kate), I was dying to tell everyone I saw about my experience.

I can't say for 100% certain what I expected. Let's be real. I have been at this for 30 years. In that amount of time, I have learned a thing or two about nutrition. I know what I should do. It is actually doing it that has been the challenge. But I did have some questions and if I am honest with myself, I really wanted to hear that my diet wasn't that bad. There must be some other reason for my recent weight loss stall.

I was really excited for the visit. I was asked to fill out some forms beforehand. Stuff like:
  • My goals
  • My health background
  • My weight loss history/things I have tried
  • My likes/dislikes
  • My activity level
And most importantly:
  • a food log for 3 days to show what I currently eat
I H...A...T...E food journals. Every kind. I have never kept it up, even the aps which are supposed to be so easy. I never really used it as a tool to learn but instead to list and when I didn't want to add reality to it, or reality came too often to admit, I quit. I just quit. And typically, shortly after, I quit trying to make healthy choices and would regain anything I happened to lose and often a little extra. I think I lost the same 5-10 pounds 9 billion times.

But I did my homework - well sort of. I had been thinking about tracking my food for the week prior to my appointment but rather than write it down in the moment, I waited until the night before and filled it all out at once. That way I was able to pick the days I wanted to share. I picked a day that was a really good - what I considered healthy day, one that was embarrassingly bad, Easter because it was a holiday and a weekend, and a day that was not perfect but pretty good. I wanted to provide a range and also let her know how typical each was.

During the appointment we talked about why I was there, what I wanted from the consultation, my challenges and some strategies for dealing with my emotional eating. I was able to ask her my random questions and best of all we walked through my food journal. She pointed out the good choices, and we discussed strategies for the next time I was facing the bad choices. Then she had taken my good day and tweaked it to make it a great day and used that as an example for how I should model my eating.



The good news was that my good day was not too far off. I was eating too many carbs because my portions were too big and when I eat away my anxiety, carbs are my #1 go to. Plus I love carbs. I relate to Ophra's "I love bread" commercial. I feel ya girl! 

Answers to some of my questions:
  • I asked about my often times 3 pound weight fluctuation from day to day and learned for every 1 (let's say ounce because I honestly don't remember the measurement term she used) for every 1 ounce of carbohydrate you eat up to 3 ounces of water can stick to it and remain in your body. This shows up on the scale.
Mind blown...
  • I also asked about eating around my workout and learned I could cut my preworkout breakfast in half so I now eat 1/2 an English muffin with protein vs the entire thing. It has been enough to get me through my workout and then I have a fruit and protein as a snack after
  • She gave me a check list of how many fruits, carbs, veggies and proteins I should eat in a day but I am not really using it. So far I have been using it as a mental check list vs a physical one but I am keeping a food journal. The difference is I am mixing my thoughts/humor in it to keep me amused.
  • I also asked about my family. I don't want my kids to hear me talk about this and have it translate into something negative or lay a foundation for body issues in them. Kate told me the best thing I can do as a mom is to set a good example. She is totally right and I am sorry it has taken me this long to get it.
The Results:
It has been 5 and 1/2 days since my visit with Kate. In that time I have been crazy good with the exception of dinner last night which was not a total dive in the deep end but a bit of a cheat. I have also worked out 5 of the 6 days (cause how can you count a 1/2 day?).

I have lost 8 pounds. This brings my total to 12!

I am so excited! I finally feel like I am moving in the right direction. When I was brainstorming a title for this post I thought of Dorothy and how she just wanted to get home. She went seeking all these answers but in the end the Wizard of Oz showed her she had the power and it was inside her the entire time. I am relieved that I was able to make some small changes to my diet and see results. It was the motivation and validation I craved.

If there is one thing I have learned in my ups and downs is that you have to really get to know your body. Listen to it and learn what works and what doesn't. This is such an individual journey what is working for me may not for you and vice versa. It has to work for you and your lifestyle.

Thanks to all for your continued support. I am so fortunate to have you all in my life!

Monday, April 17, 2017

YIKES, PAST TIME FOR AN UPDATE

I honestly can't believe how fast time is flying. I really thought I had checked in a week or two ago but it has almost been a month. I am going to apologize for the thoughts loosely strung together in this post. I have had a lot swirling in my head for a while and am just randomly spewing them out.


Just had to look at my calendar and saw I am on week 8. I didn't exactly keep track officially, but going back through the dates and guestimating, I think I have worked out roughly 48 of the past 61 days...


Not bad but I had higher expectations of myself.


In all honesty I had higher expectations of scale results too.


I let travel, holidays, and congestion hold me back from working out. Hitting the gym after missing 3 days is like a mini-restart. Not as bad as the first one, but the excuse voices are definitely stronger the more off-days I take. This morning I laid back in bed after my 5:00 alarm but did eventually make myself get up and go. Now I have guilt voices too saying, "You are going to blog about this, you must get up and do it."


- so a little thank you for reading and keeping me accountable


My workouts currently consist of 65 minutes on the elliptical trainer while reading & listening to Pandora. I know I need to mix it up but right now, I enjoy the mindless routine. I don't have to think about what to do or manage my time to get to a class. This is easy and I had missed reading. This has been a great way to incorporate entertainment and exercise.


I haven't really been watching what I eat in the last 4 weeks. I have good meals and bad. I'd like to think I am consciously trying to make healthier choices but not being a slave to it. In my twenties and thirties, had I eaten like this and worked out this much I would have lost 20 lbs by now. It was so much easier then it amazes me I waited until my metabolism hit a wall before I made this more of a priority in my life.


The scale bounces between 4-7 lbs weight loss in the last 8 weeks. This depresses me a little bit so I have decided to focus on looking ahead. We booked a vacation in late summer so I am setting that as a goal to see some real progress because so far:
  • my clothes pretty much fit the same
  • the scale clearly reflects this
  • I am tired all day from waking up too early
  • I am seeing more stamina during my workouts as I have increased my resistance double to when I started and now 60 minutes is a given where as originally 45 was often a battle. When I started the little incline leaving the gym was a struggle to hobble up but now I walk confidently out each morning back up to my car.


I recently discovered my company has a nutritionist in our health facility so I have scheduled an appointment for Wednesday. I am pretty excited about it and will keep you all posted on how that goes.


I am hoping to keep my consistent workout routine while I shift gears a bit and get my diet going in the right direction. Then I will look to mix up my workouts and dial up the strength training. Might be the right time to book the personal trainer as well.


I am trying to make small changes I can live with and build on this time around. I am a work in progress. No rush, no due date, no final deliverables...

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

SPRING FORWARD, STUMBLE BACK

As much as I love the extra hour in the fall, I absolutely LOATHE losing the hour in the spring. It has always been annoying but after having kids it just became cruel. This year, I knew it was coming but still forgot to change the clocks ahead so I woke up at 6:30 with a plan to get to the grocery first thing and try to bang out as many chores as possible before Ella woke up. As I got in my car to head home I checked my phone only to realize it was now 9:00 vs 8:00 and those precious 60 minutes had disappeared. I spent the rest of the day working around the house, non-stop and...


I skipped my workout.


By 8:00 pm I was totally pooped and caved.


Monday morning the alarm went off and I could barely move. I SOOOOOO didn't want to get out of bed. That is when the time change really hits. The clock said 4:52 but it felt every bit of 3:52 am. That is a time that should not even exist in the universe.


I laid there for a split minute with my feet on the ground hanging over the side, my back on the bed and then pulled myself up, forcing myself into my workout clothes. Pretty sure a few choice words slipped out because I was definitely thinking them.


Tuesday was a little easier but I was still feeling the Spring Forward hangover and needed the alarm to wake me up.


Wednesday I needed to be in Green Bay by 8:30 which meant I needed to leave my house by 4:45 to get the workout in, shower and make the 50 minute drive up north. I was feeling pretty proud of myself for that one.


Thursday, things were finally starting to feel normal again but I had a tickle in my throat. Then in the afternoon a team building event with wine and painting and it was the first drink I had had in months. Well probably 2 months or a month and a half-ish... It was very needed and a great way to chill with my peers. I miss adult company especially with Pete working later than I stay awake. My diet was not as strict as my workout routine and I over did pretty much everything.


By Friday I could definitely tell I had a cold, I was not really hung over, but tired and I slept in. It was totally needed. Unfortunately it did nothing to help my escalating cold which pretty much kicked my butt over the weekend and I basically parked on my couch. Monday I worked from home hoping to keep the germs to myself and again my gym shoes were lonely.


Today, my meds kicked in and though my cold is probably hiding in my chest or head somewhere it was not in my nose and I could finally breath. I set the alarm and saddle back on the horse. Slow but managed the entire hour.


On the upside from my workout blip, other than Thursday, I was watching what I ate and trying to eat only when hungry. The cold helped minimize that so I actually saw a little gift on the scale. I am about 5 weeks in and 7 pounds down. Normally I would be bummed but I know I earned each of those 7 pounds and I am good with it.


The big hurdle this week will be travel. Kentucky friends, who wants to walk this weekend?