Archive for the ‘Weight Loss’ Category

Cooking up a Storm

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

This week I’ve been hugely successful with my cooking goal. With the exception of yesterday’s lunch, every single meal this week has been prepared at home by either my husband or myself. We had things like roasted chicken, pork chops with sauerkraut, tilapia with quinoa and broccoli, stuffed pepper with turkey sausage, and other delicious eats.

It wasn’t all that hard, either. I went grocery shopping early in the week and really thought about the meals we would make. Then we froze all of the meats that we weren’t going to have that day or the next, and each morning (or the night before) we would decide what we were having for dinner and pull out the necessary food from the freezer.

This worked beautifully! What often trips me up is not being able to decide what to make, and not having things in the house to cook (or them being frozen, which I hate). There were 2 days when I almost gave in and said “Screw it: Let’s order Chinese” but my über-supportive husband stepped in and made dinner those nights. It really helps to have a sidekick!

Yesterday I was down something like 4.5 pounds from the beginning of the week. That’s absolutely absurd! Luckily, today I was only down 3 pounds, which is much more sane, lol. I really think that cooking more regularly is going to help me achieve my weight-loss goal of 20 pounds by December 31 (for those keeping track, that would put me at 156.5, as I was 176.5 at the beginning of The Hot 100). 

Regarding my other goals: I ran twice this week (not bad) and only blogged once (fail). I’ll have to work on those two more this week!

A lot of you said you were in on this challenge but had to consider your goals first. Have you come up with anything yet? You’re losing days! We’re down to 92 days left in 2012 – let’s do this!!

Constant Craving

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

All throughout my pregnancy, people kept asking me if I was craving anything ‘weird.’ I wasn’t. The most I could say is that I always wanted spicy food – the spicier, the better! – and I was really enjoying sushi (either fully-cooked or from a reputable place, not a grocery store or buffet).

But now? Oh my, there are cravings. Not for anything weird. In fact, what I’m craving is so boring and cliché it’s almost embarrassing to admit it.

Chocolate. And ice cream.

Geez, I sound like Deanna Troi from Star Trek.

And now I sound like a geek…

Anyway, I find myself wanting ice cream frequently, but since it’s not in the house – I can’t trust myself around it! – I don’t give in to that one very frequently.

Chocolate, however, is a different story. Even though I almost never buy chocolate (or if I do, it’s a single piece of chocolate – like an individually wrapped truffle), it has been in the house in one form or another, since Halloween. It’s awful.

First, there was the devil’s holiday itself. I call it that not for any religious reason, but because of the prevalence chocolate and candy. What an evil day. My husband bought a few bags of candy for trick-or-treaters, and the proportions were off just a little. As in, we could have given each trick-or-treater an entire bag. I indulged a bit over the next day or two, but honestly, I would only have a few pieces. I never dug in and ate more than say, four pieces in a day. And we’re talking about the super small York Peppermint Patties and the SUPER small Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. In fact, we still have some of those Peanut Butter Cups, and they don’t really call to me (though I’d like them to be out of the house already…)

Then there was my husband’s holiday party with work. Normally, this wouldn’t be an ongoing problem: Just a single night to indulge. But not this party. They had a CANDY TABLE. It was adorable, really: A very long table loaded with large, clear glass containers housing a wide array of chocolates and candies wrapped in Christmas papers and foils. They also provided small, red boxes (like Chinese food leftover boxes) so that you could load up! And indulge for days…

Once my box was gone though, no problem, right? Except that my husband had a box, too, which he hasn’t finished yet because he does not suffer from the same infliction that I do, so I’ve been dipping in to that from time to time (sorry, honey!).

The other problem is that at this candy table, I discovered a new variety of Hershey’s Kiss which I LOVE – Candy Cane! It’s peppermint-flavored white chocolate with tiny, crunchy, pepperminty, balls inside. I liked them so much, I hinted to my husband that it wouldn’t be an awful thing if a bag of them showed up in my stocking on Christmas. He dutifully obliged, and now I have those sitting around. Staring at me. All. The. Time.

Interspersed with the holidays have been gifts from lovely clients. Gifts of delicious chocolate in many forms: Chocolate-covered popcorn. A box of mixed chocolates. A tin of chocolate toffee. Chocolate-covered strawberries. I love my clients. And I love the thought behind the gifts. I even love the gifts themselves! But after a few days of eating way too much of them, I end up throwing the rest out. Wasteful, I know. But necessary. For my own good.

You see, I don’t have willpower. Willpower is overrated. I simply keep things out of reach, and then I don’t NEED willpower. But lately? With the gifts of chocolate that have been perpetually available for the last few months? I’m flailing.

It doesn’t help that when my daughter is crying incessantly for seemingly no reason (misfiring sensor), I feel… compelled… to eat chocolate. And it’s available. And so I do.

Hopefully, with the last of the chocolate on its way out, I can get back to craving chocolate, and not actually eating it.

At least, not every time my daughter cries without purpose.

 

New Year, New Baby!

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

I’m back! And I had my baby! Her name is Alexandra Constantina, and she surprised her father and I by arriving over 2 weeks early. She was born on October 28, 2011 and weighed just 5lb 10oz. We’ve decided to keep her :)

Since this is a health, fitness, and weight-loss blog, I’ll try to keep my posts centered around that – even though so much of my life these days is about feeding this little creature and less about feeding myself…

Prior to getting pregnant, I weighed 178. At my last doctor’s appointment before having the baby, I weighed 224. Riddle me this: If the baby weighed less than 6 pounds, and the rest of the fluids and birth ‘stuff’ weighed about 10 pounds, how did I gain 46 pounds?

Answer: Eating whatever the hell I wanted to eat and not exercising. Shocker.

Since giving birth, I’ve gotten down to 199 pounds (finally, yesterday morning, after weeks of hovering around 201 – how about THAT for a good way to enter the new year?!). That  means I’ve lost 24 of the 46 pounds I gained, and I have 22 more to go to get to my pre-pregnancy weight. Sure, there’s another 10 pounds to get back down to my lowest, and then another 18 to get down to my ultimate goal of 150, but I’m taking baby steps. (Ha – “baby” steps – get it?)

I entered a Biggest Loser Contest that started 2 weeks after Alexandra was born. I felt a little bad at first because during the first 2 weeks of the contest I lost 5 or 6 pounds, which I attribute to the loss of fluids from the pregnancy. However, now I’m struggling to lose weight again (ie: I have to WORK for it) so I no longer feel like it’s unfair. I just got a little head start.

My goal is to get back down to pre-pregnancy weight – 178 – by May 3rd when the contest ends. That gives me 4 months to lose another 21 pounds. I figure if I do that, I might actually win! And if I don’t win but I reach that goal, well who cares about the bragging rights and a little bit of cash?

For the first 6 weeks after giving birth, I wasn’t supposed to exercise. Some days I felt really good though, so I took Alex for a number of walks in those weeks. I felt sore afterward, but it was wonderful getting outside and doing something again! And so nice to have some company, even if she’s less sentient than my cat at this point :)

Two weeks ago I was cleared for exercise by my doctor. I was so excited to get that news, but did I start exercising? No, not really. Not right away at least. I don’t want to be one of those people who uses their kid as an excuse for not exercising, but seriously – a newborn requires a LOT of attention! And when she’s sleeping, I feel like I should either get some sleep myself, do some client work, or do some housework. I’m going to start making more of an effort to schedule it in, though. It’s just as important as those other things.

Last week I exercised a little – I went for a run and I did a 25 minute workout video, both of which I’m sad to say were quite difficult. The run was just under 2 miles and I couldn’t even make it that distance without walking. I walked frequently, but not for long each time. When I returned home, the recovery took a lot longer than it used to. For a few hours, every time I tried to take a deep breath, I coughed. I think much of that had to do with the cold weather, but I’m clearly very out of shape, so it’s likely a combination.

I’m not going to let it get me down, though! It just gives me a good idea of where I am right now. A baseline, if you will. I’ve decided to run another half marathon in September of this year, so I have a long way to go, but I’m confident I can do it. I did it before!

So there you have it: I’m back to eating right. I’m back to exercising. And I’m back to blogging.

I hope you’re all doing well! Here’s to a fantastic 2012! 

Mission Accomplished!

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Today is Day 7 in my little 7-Day Challenge, and I’m proud to say that I worked out each and every day this past week! This challenge has caused me to remember what it was like when I was training for the half marathon or doing P90X – when, in both cases, I worked out every day, or nearly every day. Here are my insights:

• Planning is essential. In order to fit in a workout every day – or even just on a day that you intend to work out – it’s necessary to think ahead and fit it in when you can. This week, I’ve had other commitments like client meetings, taxi-ing husbands and friends (just one of each) to the airport and back, dinner with friends, etc, and in many cases, if I hadn’t thought ahead of what my day entailed and squeezed in my workout when I had the chance, I would have missed my only opportunity and ended up missing that day.

• I hate doing laundry. After one of my long-term fitness commitments which meant working out on a daily basis, I purchased enough shorts, tank tops and sports bras to get me through 4-5 days without having to wash clothes. But now that I’m pregnant, only a few of those things still fit, and I haven’t bought more of that type of clothing that will fit my new shape, so I’ve had to do laundry at least every other day. It sucks. I hate it. I need more pregnancy-friendly workout clothes. Period.

• When I work out, I feel good. I don’t generally feel good DURING the workout, though some days, I do. And I don’t generally feel good (or excited about working out) BEFORE the workout, but after the post-workout shower? I feel great! And then for the rest of the day! And not just physically, but also mentally. I can look back on my day and say that I did something positive and healthy for myself (and my baby!). Right now, after 7 days of working out, I feel much less like an amorphous blob than I did a week ago.

• Some days I feel better than others. With the exception of Saturday, when I counted my Kung Fu class as my workout for the day, I did Suzanne Bowen’s Long and Lean Prenatal Workout. Overall, I progressed quite nicely with this workout: I was able to do more and more of the workout (today I did damn near everything without  having to pause at all), and generally felt better doing the moves – like I had better form and wasn’t going to die from them. However, Thursday was a bad day. A rather lackluster workout. I simply wasn’t in the mood to do it in the first place, and that didn’t go away even though I pushed myself to do it anyway. I don’t know if it was something I ate (or didn’t eat) or the weather, or what, but I just didn’t have as good of a workout as the other days. In fact, I may have skipped a few moves altogether. But then on Friday? Great again! Ebbs and flows, people: Don’t let it get you down.

• Being physically active makes me want to make healthier food choices. After working out, the last thing I want to do is eat a heavy, calorie-laden meal. I’ve had more salads this week than I have in ages, and I ate them because I wanted to, and they tasted great. Focus on one area of health, and the others seem to follow!

I know at least a few other people were doing this challenge with me – how did you girls end up? Did anyone else do it in secret? That’s cool too – I hope anyone who attempted it was successful. Even if you didn’t work out every day, if you worked out more than you usually do, I’d call that a success.

Now time to schedule my massage reward!

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Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

I’m two days into my 7-day challenge and I’ve stuck to my commitment thus far! I like the new workout video I bought (Suzanne Bowen’s Long and Lean Prenatal Workout), though it’s not really yoga. In fact, it’s not yoga at all. I don’t know why I *thought* it was yoga, except that I found it on Amazon after specifically searching for “prenatal yoga dvd” – but probably after clicking on a few links.

Anyway, there are 3 sections to the workout: The first is 20 minutes of standing work which I would have laughed at prior to my pregnancy – it looks so easy! – a lot of slow, controlled movements like leg lifts and squats. But seriously: Now? After how many months of doing very little exercise, gaining nearly 30 pounds, and circulating roughly 4 extra pounds of blood? It’s tough! Not too tough to do, for the most part, but I feel like I’m getting a good workout – I certainly work up a sweat and get my heart rate pumping!

The second section is also 20 minutes, and is mat work. It starts out with pushups, which have never been my thing, but I can power through most of what she asks here, since they’re knee pushups and she breaks them into sets of 8. Very manageable. After that there are some leg lifts and some arm strengthening moves all of which make me feel like I’m doing something, but not so much that I ever feel like I’m endangering the baby. There’s no jumping or jarring movements at all.

The third section is 10 minutes, and is just a bunch of stretching and relaxation moves. I didn’t love this section – I always balk at stretching, I always have. I did it yesterday, but skipped it today. Is that bad? Hmm… now I feel bad for skipping it. Maybe I’ll add it back in tomorrow.

There are a few little things about the video itself that bug me. For instance, the instructions are a voice over, which is fine, except that a few times she says right leg but actually uses her left leg and vice versa. It’s a little confusing at times, but overall, I’d give it two thumbs up.

Of course, this is only Day 2, and I’ve committed to doing it seven days in a row. I’m a bit concerned that I’m going to be sick of it by Day 5, because it’s hard for ANY workout video to feel fresh after doing it over and over again. Hopefully, I’ll see improvement in what I can do in short order which will keep me motivated.

I’ve also decided to treat myself to a massage at the end of the week if I stick to my plan as extra incentive. I *love* massages, and boy could I use one!

 

Seven Days of…

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

A comment on my last post from my friend Emily who had a baby of her own about a month ago really made me feel better. I was lamenting the fact that I wasn’t doing as well as I had hoped in the exercise department, and she had this to say:

Hang in there! I know I intended to do much of the same in my pregnancy [exercise regularly]. And, like you, had only bits of success. I was way too tired / nauseated for the first trimester and then too uncomfortable in the the third. I did better during the second, but only a bit. I ended up gaining about 40 lbs… and in the month since giving birth I’ve lost 30 lbs and I haven’t done a darn thing to do it. My unsolicited advice is this: everything in moderation. As long as you are healthy and feel good, so does your baby. You’ll lose the weight later… but pamper yourself now. :)

I especially like that bit about pampering myself!

Really, though, I know that I can (and should) do more exercise now than I have been – and I think I’ll feel better both physically and mentally by doing so. My idea is to do something in my air conditioned cocoon to minimize the discomfort by the heat of the summer, and the plan is yoga. I’ve done a little yoga in the past (very little) – a class or two, plus the yoga workout once a week during my 3-month stint doing P90X. I wasn’t great at it, but I didn’t hate it either.

So I did a search on Amazon, reading the customer reviews for a number of prenatal yoga videos, and settled on one that 52 out of 60 reviewers gave 5 stars to: Suzanne Bowen’s Long and Lean Prenatal Workout. It arrived yesterday, and though I haven’t removed the shrink wrap yet, I’m excited to give it a try!

The writer of one of the blogs I frequent, Krissie of Questions for Dessert, has recently issued a challenge to folks to do 7 days of yoga, starting August 1 (tomorrow!). It was just the call I needed to jump start my foray into actually exercising during my pregnancy – and perfect timing since I just got that new video! I’m psyched :)

Anyone else want in on this? It doesn’t have to be yoga, if that’s not your thing. Just commit to doing some sort of workout for 7 days straight. Like Krissie says at the beginning of her post about this, I’m a little worried about successfully carrying out this commitment, so I’m trying to recruit others so that I’m not alone. I find it’s easier to stick to something when you A) tell others about your goal and B) get others to join you. So that’s what I’m doing!

I know it’s short notice, but if you’re going to join me, let me know that you’re on board in the comments and tell me what you’ll be doing! I want to hear about it!

And I’ll let you all know how I do with my 7 days of yoga. Hopefully I like this video and I’m not like the one person out of 60 who gave it 1 star… I’m optimistic about it!

Hotter Than a Match Head

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Last week I had another doctor’s appointment. This one went significantly better than the last one, which began with me breaking down into tears after being weighed (and freaking out my husband with my crazy pregnant lady hormones).

After that ‘rock bottom moment,’ I made a conscious effort to improve my eating habits. I started off with a bang – cooking more & eating out less; eating more vegetables; not eating ice cream for dessert on a daily basis; not eating whenever I damn well felt like it; etc. – and most of that stuck. The cooking has decreased a bit and the vegetables aren’t as plentiful as they should be, but all in all? Not too bad.

The exercise thing in the last five weeks has been better, too, though there is definitely still room for improvement. The heat has been a real hurdle to working out. It’s like all temperatures are amplified: If it’s a little cool, I’m freezing, and if it’s a little hot, I feel like it’s the desert in summer. So when it’s actually hot? I’m completely miserable. The other day I was outside for less than five minutes, and I felt like I was going to pass out. And given my track record with passing out, I was concerned enough to retreat to the sanctuary of my air conditioned cocoon (aka: The Couch). The heat has never made me this uncomfortable before, so I can only attribute it to the growing creature inside of me.

Despite the intense heat of late, I’ve managed to make it to Kung Fu about twice a week, on average. However, it’s so freaking hot in the school that my workouts there are a bit lackluster. (Air conditioner anyone?!) Plus, there’s only so much I can do there anyway: My kicks are little more than knee height because when I kick high my thigh hits my belly and it feels weird; I obviously can’t spar; I refuse to hold body bags for anyone to kick into; I (discreetly) avoid working with people who I feel don’t have good control; I have terrible endurance these days and require frequent breaks; etc. etc.

I’ve walked a few times, but honestly, rarely long enough to consider it an actual workout – more a (reasonably) pleasant way to spend half an hour or an environmentally friendly way to get from one place to another. (I actually really like walking for transportation, but – with this damn heat – by the time I reach my destination I often look and feel like crap. That means I have to be judicious when deciding if this is an option. Hopefully I can do this more when the temps drop a bit – soon, with any luck!)

There have also been occasional one-off bouts of exercise: Lots of volleyball a few weeks back; a kayaking adventure with some friends; a few short hikes. Really though, nothing too crazy. I mean, I know I’m not supposed to do anything crazy, but it would be healthy to increase the frequency and perhaps duration of these exercises.

What I really should be doing is yoga or something similar in my house. That way, I can be in the sweet, sweet air conditioning and still get a good workout in that’s safe for me and the baby. Have I done that though? Even once? I sure haven’t!

Despite all of the things that I could be doing better, I did make improvements between my most recent doctor’s visit and the one before it. And I only gained 4 pounds in that 4-week period. Yay! Still too much, and I still got a well-meaning discourse from my doctor, but I’m making headway.

And I didn’t cry.

I’m a work in progress.

Making Headway

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

Since I wrote the last post about my deviant snacking behavior, I’ve forced myself to be more aware of how frequently I’m eating in the afternoon/early evening. I think just admitting to the world that I have a problem has compelled me to face the issue head-on… and work to fix it.

So far, so good!

There are two main obstacles to escaping my snacking hell: 1) Habit and 2) Boredom.

Eating frequently between lunch and dinner has become a routine for me. For instance, every day around 3 or 4, I leave my office and go downstairs to get myself a cup of tea and a snack. I take them both back up to my office and continue working until about 5 (when I usually get another snack!). This week, I’ve forced myself to either not go downstairs at all, or to stop at the cup of tea and just go back upstairs without getting something to chew on.

I’ve started staying in my office later than usual, too – more like 6pm than my usual 5pm. This is good because it’s less time that I’m bored and looking for something to do with my hands, plus I get more work done and make more money (except when I get sucked in to playing Zuma Blitz on Facebook…)

I will still eat a snack if I’m actually hungry, but I’m pushing myself to first ask myself if I am hungry, or if I just want to eat because it’s habit or I’m bored. The fact of the matter is: I like eating, and I have to be more aware of when I’m eating on autopilot, or I will never reach my goals.

Thank you all for your support and commiseration! It makes me feel more normal, and that goes a long way!

Struggling.

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Let me tell you (and by ‘you’ I mean the 2 of you who are still reading this): I am STRUGGLING.

In general, I eat well. I cleaned up most of my bad eating habits a few years ago when I decided to make a change with myself and my life. I removed high calorie junk foods, reduced portion sizes, started cooking more, ate more vegetables and whole grains, seriously cut back on snacking, cut out the vast majority of processed foods – and nearly all processed foods containing additives & preservatives (like the dreaded high fructose corn syrup).

I’m still doing great with most of those things.It’s the snacking that’s getting me.

I can’t seem to stop! They’re all healthy snacks, there are just way too many of them. Between the hours of about 3 & 7, I eat.

And eat.

And eat.

And eat.

Each time I eat, I choose a healthy snack, and a reasonable amount of it. But that doesn’t satisfy me. So I pick something else to eat. Still healthy, still a reasonable amount, but another one. And that doesn’t satisfy me, either. So the pattern continues.

Let me give you a specific example: Yesterday, on my way home from a meeting at about 3pm, I ate a granola bar that I happened to still have in my purse from when I was out of town last week. After I got home, I worked until about 5, when I ate a banana, with the teeniest smear of peanut butter and a sprinkling of granola. Fifteen minutes later, I ate the last of some home fries leftover from Sunday’s breakfast. An hour after that, I ate a grapefruit. Not long after that, I had ANOTHER granola bar (different flavor!). Then I went to Kung Fu, so I had a break from food for about 2 hours, at which time I had dinner.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!

Now, granted, yesterday was worse than usual, but this is not a new thing. I know I wasn’t actually hungry for each of those snacks. So what was I doing? Why was I shoving food in my mouth even though I didn’t actually want it?

I was bored. And I like eating. And that’s all that mattered at that point in time.

I thought I had a better handle on the mental aspect of food and had control of my eating habits. I guess I still have some work to do!

I’m certainly not back at the beginning. At least all of my snacks are healthy now!

It’s so very frustrating though. As I scoured the kitchen for my next snack, I thought about how I wasn’t hungry. That I was just bored. And that this is the exact reason that I’ve been bouncing up and down with my weight, losing and gaining the same 5 pounds for months and months on end.

But did that keep me from eating what I wanted to eat? Not even a little.

Think I need therapy?

Promises, Promises

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

After learning that the weather in Pittsburgh this week would be unseasonably warm, I promised myself I would get out for a run at least once.

Of couse, I’ve made all sorts of excuses, and now it’s Wednesday night, I still haven’t run, and I’m running out of time!

The last time I ran was on Christmas Day, when I ran about 2.5 miles in New Jersey while visiting my in-laws. I’m a little nervous to learn how much of my running endurance I’ve lost, but it’ll never get better if I don’t get back out there, right?! And besides — it’s not like I’m out of shape altogether. In fact, I feel like I’m in reasonably good shape these days, thanks to Boot Camp.

But running is so different from everything else…

Guess I’ll see tomorrow or Friday where I am with all that! I’ll be busy on Saturday — more on that later!