Week 30: Fighting Demons

Give me the slightest excuse to be lazy, and I am going to take it. It’s not my best quality. I wish I was the kind of person that can’t function if I haven’t worked out for at least an hour a day, or wouldn’t consider sitting around watching TV with potato chips as an actual activity, but that’s just me. I fight that person on a daily basis.

So when I doctor tells me to “take it easy” that’s pretty much all I need.  To be clear, I wasn’t actually sitting around with potato chips, but I wasn’t doing much in the way of activity. I had big ideas of working out last week, I did go for a 4 mile walk with spurts of running mixed in on one day, but that was about it. I was feeling high and mighty too from finishing my Jillian Michael’s Shred program, so I had that “I deserved a break” kind of attitude.

I’m feeling quite ashamed of myself! There is no such thing as a break in a lifestyle change. Exercise, in whatever form, whether it’s low key walking or high intensity interval training, is not suppose to be optional. Yes, I am suppose to be taking it easy but that doesn’t equal doing nothing.

Luckily the medication I am taking has not resulted in any major weight gain, so far just 1 pound total, and I should be on it for only another week. Perhaps if I moved around more last week I would have even lost weight. Well, there is no going back now so I need to pick up the pieces and move forward with this week. With a new week, there is opportunity to be better. There is still time to salvage this minor setback and come out of it feeling a sense of accomplishment.

Aside from my laziness and guilt, I don’t have much to report this week. My goal for this week is to simply do better than last week, which is not a very high bar to set, but I also don’t want to stress about it. Once the air clears from my health situation, things can get back to normal and I can start re-cracking the whip on myself.

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Week 29: Screeching Halt?

I’m in a time out. My 40-pounds-in-40-weeks program has come to a screeching halt, at least for a few weeks. I went on some medication last week that is going to cause some weight gain. Not much, I hope anyway, but I won’t be losing any weight for sure, and I expect to gain a couple of pounds. I am going to continue to track my weight from week to week, but I am trying to be breezy about the situation. It’s easier said than done though, I was already upset this past week when I gained a pound after 6 days of working out and counting my calories. I can’t let it bring me down though, I need to be extra diligent  to ensure that any weight I gain will only be from the side effects of the medication, and not because I slacked off and filled the time with eating comfort food.

In addition to the medication, I am suppose to be “taking it easy” on the exercise. I can still work out, but nothing strenuous. I’ve thought about this a lot, and I decided to walk 4 miles 2-3 times a week, and do strength exercises three times a week. I have to admit I hate walking, so it’s going to be torture. I’m going to want to run. I just feel if I’m not sweating up a storm then it’s just not worth my time, but I’m going to give the walking a try. For the strength exercises, I am digging out my old friend Tony Horton and doing the Level 1-2 Strength DVD from his Power 90 program. The Power 90 strength DVD will not be challenging for me at this point, but I really want to at least do something with weights during this time period. This is the only workout DVD I have that I feel I can get away with doing and still consider it taking it easy.

I really wanted to start my Insanity program next, but that definitely will not fall under the “taking it easy” category. The good news is that I finished up my Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred last week – on time and everything! Pat on the back. Although I didn’t see any huge changes in weight loss from Jillian’s program, I still really liked it overall and I would recommend it to anyone, especially people short on time. As I’ve said many times, I hate working out, and the fact the workout was over in less than 30 minutes was perfect for me. I had no excuse to ever skip it. Plus, she really works you over so you feel accomplished in that short period. I would love to try her BodyShred program somewhere down the line, maybe in the winter.

My husband  keeps telling me lately to try and turn a negative situation into a positive one (he quotes a Star Trek episode), so I am trying to harness that way of thinking over the next few weeks. I might not be able to work out like I want to, and I will more than likely gain weight despite any of my efforts to deter that from happening, but I can set alternate goals for myself over the next month. My mind is always racing, so while I’m out on my leisurely walks around our local pond, I am going to try to relax and meditate. Work on my mental well being and focus on other activities that will help me in the long term. For example, instead of trying to accomplish losing a pound next week, I will focus on finding one new healthy recipe to add to my meal rotation. That’s just an idea off the top of my head, I’m still working on it, but the last thing I want is to feel I completely wasted a month of my program. That would be very deflating. I might not lose weight, but I want to come out of this time frame feeling a sense of accomplishment. There’s a lot more of me to work on besides my weight, and I refuse to let things come to a screeching halt. I’ll figure it out.

Week 28: Calorie Crackdown, Part 2

I learned something last week. 1297 calories is not a lot of food! I was probably only successful eating within that limit for a few days out of the week. I wasn’t counting my daily exercise against my calorie total, so I know I had some breathing room in there to eat some extra viddles. Still, I lost two pounds and I am very happy with the results.

It was an eye opening experiment, and I am going to continue to track my food intake until I get it down. Basically, I had to sacrifice most of my snacking to eat within my calorie range. The handfuls of grapes and cherries I would consume when I opened the refrigerator are a thing of the past. Truthfully, I was hungry. If I was hungry, I ate something because I don’t believe that I should ever be hungry. Given the fact I really don’t know how much I’m burning with my workouts, I would eat a light snack (80-100 calories) if I was hungry to balance things out.

I’m coming up to a big milestone with my weight loss. I’ve lost 24 pounds so far, and I am ACHING to get over the 25 pound hump! It represents a lot of things for me. First, if I can lose 26 pounds, I will be the same weight I was when we moved to New England from Florida. I call those excess 25 pounds my “New England Weight.” Not that I’m making excuses for my weight gain, but moving back here was extremely stressful.

For the first 8 months, we were living with my father-in-law, crammed into one room with our large dog. I was working remotely for the first time, and had to set up my home office and business from his house. My husband was traveling weekly, and it was just me and his father all day long. Not that we don’t get along, but he’s not a very chatty person, and it could be quite awkward at times. Although I think he enjoyed having us around, I felt we were an imposition. My father-in-law is a really super skinny guy, who can eat anything and not gain a pound, so I would make a lot of meals for him I wouldn’t normally prepare. He doesn’t eat a lot of healthy foods (frozen dinners, frozen everything..), although I was able to successfully introduce broccoli into his life (I’m very proud of this)!  I was so grateful for his generosity letting us stay with him, and I wanted to do anything I could for him, so cooking big pasta meals and baked goods during the week was something I could offer that he enjoyed. I figured even if something like Baked Ziti isn’t the healthiest of meal choices, it was better than his prepackaged frozen meals, and on occasion I could even hide a vegetable in the food. Of course he is still super skinny, but my waistline took a big toll during this time period. We eventually found a house, but looking for a place in New England that would be suitable for not only our budget, but our over-sized Florida furniture was not an easy task. It’s a miracle it only took 8 months.

Second, after we bought a house, it was just one bad thing after another – my husband had some health issues, our dog passed away, and a few other things I won’t get into – it was just not a happy time. On top of everything, I was feeling so unhealthy and I hit the fattest I had ever been in my life. I became very depressed, and gained about 15 extra pounds in just a few months. On some level, if I can erase the total of 25 pounds that I gained during this time period, I feel like I can have a fresh start. It’s silly, I know, but this weight has been a constant reminder of the misery during that time period. I want it to go away. I have been SO CLOSE for 7 weeks now, and it’s way overdue. It feels as if the scale just doesn’t want me to forget.

Lastly, I’m finishing up my 30 Day Shred this week (4 more workouts to go!), and if I can lose 2 pounds, then that will attribute 10 pounds to the Jillian Michael’s portion of my program. She won’t come close to the 16 pounds I lost when I was doing Tony Horton’s Power 90, but 10 pounds is not too shabby. I think it would make Jillian proud to hit double digits for her.

Therefore, I am going to be extra vigilant this week in regards to counting my calories. It seemed to work for me last week, and I am just dying to lose another 2 pounds again this week. I haven’t lost 2 pounds in back to back weeks since I started my program, so hopefully I am not setting myself up for disappointment, but I’m just going to really try my best. I think it’s a very doable goal, and reaching this milestone will help motivate me in the final stretch. Let’s do this!

Week 26 & 27: Calorie Crackdown!

I am pulling my hair out! I haven’t lost weight in six weeks. In fact, I’ve gained a pound in that time frame. I’m working really hard and nada. I am exercising like a crazy woman 6 days a week, and it’s not like I’m binge eating or drinking. I have had a minor splurge here and there, but my overall my diet is very healthy. I had a realization this week that it’s nearly impossible for me to make my goal anymore within 40 weeks. I’ve lost too much time with no weight loss. Depressing.

I’m obviously consuming too many calories. I mentioned in an earlier post that I rarely track my calorie intake, which I guess was fine when I was twenty pounds heavier. The reality is that the thinner I get, the less I should be eating, and I’ve been eating the same amount throughout this program. I opened my “Lose-It!” app over the weekend, plugged in all my recent data and it told me to lose 1 pound a week, I should be consuming 1297 calories. Although I don’t track my food, I would have thought that I was consuming around that amount anyway, after exercise.

It’s time to find out. This week I’m doing a calorie crackdown. I’m going to track all my intake, and get to the root of the problem. If I still don’t lose weight this week, I will be at a serious loss. I am guessing I eat more than I think. I was talking to my friend, a dietician, and I was telling her that I think I might eat too much fruit. She says 4 servings of fruit a day is recommended, but that isn’t as much as it sounds. For example, I have been keeping a big bowl of grapes in the refrigerator, and I tend to grab a handful whenever I open the refrigerator. This past week it was a bowl of cherries. I also eat blueberries and strawberries on my morning oatmeal or cereal, and I might buy bananas or peaches during the week. I admit I have developed a bit of a fruit addiction, but the fruit this time of year is so amazing! When you’re eating fruit, at least for me, you don’t think you’re doing a bad thing, but the calories add up like any other food. This week, I measure everything that goes into my mouth.

Despite the lack of weight loss, I am proud of myself in regards to my workouts. I am still working on Jillian’s 30 Day Shred program, and today will be my 20th workout. I’ve been doing it six days a week, and tomorrow I start Level 3, on track to finish this program by Friday, July 17th. I’m looking forward to being done with it and moving on to a new workout program. The lack of any weight loss during these workouts has made me sour on the program, although I don’t think I can blame the program. Every time I complete a workout I am drenched in sweat and feeling a sense of accomplishment. I see a real value in this type of circuit training workout, and although I can’t see any visible results on my body with the layer of fat I have covering up my muscles, overall I feel stronger.

I’m really surprised at where I am right now in my program. When I started, I would have guessed my failure would come from the fact I hate exercise. I’ve been so focused on making sure I complete my workouts and check a box off on the calendar everyday, that I have let my diet take a backseat. I’ve always thought I had that part of the plan down, and as long as I made sure I exercised regularly, the weight would fall off.

Well, I’ve said it once and I will say it again, I am a work in progress. I can’t assume that just because I am not eating Twinkies and Coke everyday that I don’t need to track my food. I’m hoping this week will reveal the problem. Let the counting begin!