Saturday, July 31, 2010

Long run story

I wanted the title to be, "Long run FAIL success" but it won't let me use srtikethrough text in the title.

This morning I got all ready for a nice, long run (it's been awhile since I've done a good long distance run): I had a big protein-infused smoothie, got dressed, applied sunblock, stretched, put water bottles, protein balls & energy gel in my running belt, & grabbed my ipod touch.....but where were my headphones?

After 30 minutes of frantic searching (i cannot do long runs without music & I need headphones for that) I had almost given up. I'd already taken off my shoes & socks & plopped onto the couch to look up the next soonest yoga hour from my local studio (Yoga Oasis has awesome "yoga happy hours" where they do an hour yoga class for $4!) but I was still discontent. Then, I thought to look under the couch and *hoorah* There they were!!

I'm stuck in a slump though. I cannot break past 8 miles. I plan longer routes (I look them up on & have even changed up my training: adding way more intervals, weights, resistance-type training that is supposed to aid in long distance running. But I hit 8 miles & I just can't do anymore! I cut through some shortcut & come home. I don't know what to do! That's certainly going to be a problem since I've signed up for the Rock & Roll 1/2 marathon in January!

I've got to look up some training plans & start putting them to use!

So I guess the long run was a combo failure/success.

Chris & I went out to a yummy lunch at a new place I've seen & wanted to try - Healthy Greens. Chris got a panini & I got a big grilled BBQ chicken salad. They were delicious (Chris thought better than Beyond Bread or Panera Bread), but they were pricey! $22 for lunch when we both just drank water?! Chris ate all his, but mine was at least big enough that I can eat it for an entire lunch tomorrow (I always get dressing on the side for this reason).

I think tomorrow will have to be Yoga Oasis. Haven't been in over a month since I'd been doing the 30 days for $30 at Bikram.

She's too skinny, she's too fat....

My weight-loss & fitness journey over the past few months has really been a trasnformative experience & one that has caused me to re-evaluate all of my food choices, exercise routines, and even my friends.

It's hard to be healthy when you are surrounded by people who think (and then share their thoughts) in unhealthy ways.

I have 2 friends that are polar opposites:
-one is a little heavy-set, and she always looks at thin girls as stick figures and belittles them (behind their backs) for being so tiny. They must never eat, they must have no life outside the gym, they must etc. etc. etc.
-The other is very slender, but has also struggled with weight in the past. She always looks at bigger girls and belittles them (behind their back) for being their size. They must have no self-control, they must not know the meaning of exercise, they must etc. etc. etc.

It's hard to keep this type of company - and, of course, you are judged by the type of company that you keep. But not only that, it's really unhealthy to have EITHER of these points of view.

Women, especially, seem to be in a perpetual struggle to find their healthy, happy weight. There is nothing wrong with wanting and trying to become a fit individual. Their is something wrong, however, with trying to reach those goals in any unhealthy way, or by yo-yo-ing between the extremes depending on whether it's bikini season or winter.

We should all struggle, instead, to be happy with who we are on the inside, as individuals. It's hard to "fix" the outside when the inside is sorely lacking work. So before you start a big fitness-makeover routine, think about what you really want to change.

Do you find yourself thinking too much about the outside, and not enough about the inside?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Isn't life grand???

This week has been STRESSFUL!!!

Lots of personal family issues, plus lots of work-related urgent projects, plus trying to get everything together since I'm going out of town next weekend - which means LOTS of phone calls for wedding related meetings, events, etc. In short, I am swamped!

And stress doesn't bode well on my workout regime. I've been kind of skimping lately. I am trying to stay as active as I can & I've been doing lots of silly little things
(e.g., doing squats as I'm brushing my teeth, dancing in the stand-up tanning bed instead of just standing there, taking Rocky for longer walks instead of just standing waiting for him to do his business and rush back inside). But, in terms of actual workouts - well, I'm not doing that great.

But, stress has its upsides - I've barely been able to eat the last couple days! Today I stepped on the scale and found it down an entire pound from Monday's weigh-in! Hopefully I'm not loosing muscle mass!!!

This is really what this blog is all about - fitness in the real world! And let me tell you, it's not easy! That's why I started my workout challenge during the summer months, so that I'd have a little more time available. Well, time is again a precious commodity & I have to be better about forcing myself to find time to work out.

This evening I'm planning on doing a long evening walk with Chris & Rocky after dinner. Thursday I'll hit up the apartment gym. Friday I'm helping some friends move, which I think counts as my exercise for the day since they're moving from a second story apartment into another second-floor apartment (lots of arm work & leg work!)

Lets hope I can keep it together!! Only another week and 2 days until my bridal portraits. I'm not allowing myself ANY soda until then, and next week I'm going to really watch my salt intake so my body won't be retaining water weight.

That's it for now - got to get back to work!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Weekly weigh-in

Still the same weight - which is a good thing, since I'm now trying to just "maintain" & tone up some.

I exercised day 31 by going to a Zumba exercise class with a friend who has a gym membership. First time at Zumba & it was actually way more aerobic than I'd expected. They threw in some weights too (which I appreciate) & I had fun shaking' my thang : )

Day 32 I went to the lake & swam & knee boarded. No "official" exercise, but I think that counts because I was as sore as could be the next day!!!

Day 33 was my first official "rest" day since the start of my program. I spent it driving home from the lake, grocery shopping, doing dishes, and ramping up for the crazy-busy week to come. I'm going to try to keep working out about 4-5 times per week for a minimum of 150 minutes per week (some workouts may be long, others may be short - but that's my goal time for total weekly exercise).

Also, although my summer challenge is over, my bridal portraits are still rapidly approaching (a week from Friday), so I'm not abandoning my "diet" just yet. I got the guidelines from the "Cut the Fat" podcast that I've mentioned before - check it out:

Appropriate "diets" for Fat Loss:

Food breakdown:


40% carb

30% protein

30% fat


40% protein

30% carb

30% fat


50% protein

30% carb

20% fat

I'm kind of straddling between "good" and "better." I'm also taking into consideration not just "carbs" in general, but the quality of carbs - following the below guidelines.

“good” carbs: veggies, oatmeal

“OK” carbs: fruit, whole grains

“bad” carbs: all else!!

I'm allowing myself "good" and "ok" carbs - but my goal is still to eat none of the "bad" carbs.

Happy Monday, y'all!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 30!!!!

Today was day 30 of my 30-day summer workout challenge.

I'd challenged myself to work out every day for thirty days & I've told the transformative story throughout the past four weeks.

So - the results are in.....

In the last 30 days, I've lost 2 pounds.
I know it's not much, and I'm ashamed of myself for not taking other measurements (like size around at waist, legs, arms, etc.; body caliper for % fat, etc.). But, I'm pretty sure I've been gaining muscle and loosing fat! I feel stronger, healthier, more energetic, and better just in general.

So what's your motivation? Mine is my upcoming wedding (and bridal portraits in just 2 weeks!)
So I actually started loosing weight several weeks ago (probably about 20 weeks or so - I've been documenting the last 16). In total I've lost 20 lbs! I'm back into all my old clothes that I haven't worn for at least a year or so. Woo hoo - nice not to have to buy new stuff! : )

So what's next?

long term -
I'm running my first half marathon in January
After that, I want to start training for my first triathalon

short term -
I want to try to loose a little more & keep toning up with weight training.

I've talked about how loosing too much weight too quickly causes your body to go into "starvation mode" So, here's what I'm thinking: I'm going to try to maintain weight for the next month and let my body acclimate to my new slightly smaller self.
Then, I fully intend to join a gym once the fall semester begins again & I'll again kick up the working out intensity to try to shed the final few pounds. I've been so anti-joining a gym but here's the deal: this is a new priority in my life. If you are also a "real world" girl who has a job and other responsibilities, you know how difficult it is to find time to work out. But why make it harder on yourself by not being a member of a gym? I still like to vary workouts, but a gym is a good trustee stand by. And it's totally worth the money. Tucson has cheap gyms (like $20/month). My health and fitness is worth way more than that!!!

Food Tip/Trick
I've recently started freezing stuff (bananas, strawberries, etc.) so I can save them before they go bad & use them in smoothies later. Here's my latest tip/trick:

You can make home-made froyo (frozen yogurt):
I always buy the big tubs of yogurt (both greek & regular) rather than little individual size portions. But, sometimes I don't use the whole thing before it's going to go bad. So - before it "turns", but when the expiration date is nearing, take the yogurt & grab your food processor.
Throw the yogurt (I usually buy plain or vanilla. This tastes better with greek yogurt, but it works with regular, too) into the food processor. Add some shredded coconut & whatever fruit you have on hand, chopped up (I've made different batches with black cherries, strawberries, blueberries, and even watermelon before - again, do it when the fruit is getting old, but before it "turns"). Blend up in food processor until smooth.

Then, pour mixture into ice-cube trays or mini-muffin pans (no tins) & freeze. Then, you can either add to smoothies OR if you are in the mood for some froyo, you can take them out & throw them back into the food processor. Add some milk & process until smooth (you can also add a touch of honey or agave nectar). Ta Da - Delicious!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In

Sorry, with all the excitement of creating a new bloggy blog, I forgot all about my weekly weigh-in yesterday. Turns out - ZERO change! I'm at peace with that. As I've said, I'd like to loose a few more pounds still, but I'm happy where I am (if I can continue to tone up).

I don't want to go through all my "specs" until the end of my 30 days, but I've been pretty pleased with my progress. Also, I've been listening to a podcast: - it's awesome! They talk about how you can only healthily loose about 10-15% of your body weight at a time, then you need to stop and just maintain for awhile so your body doesn't go into "starvation mode." Well, I've lost 15% of my body weight (from when I FIRST started loosing weight, not from the beginning of the 30 day challenge). So, I think I need to maintain for a few weeks, keep working on strength training, etc., & really start to push it hard again come late September/October so my body has a chance to acclimate to my new weight (*smile*), and yet I still have an opportunity to try to loose a little more weight before the wedding.

Can I just say - I've done this totally healthily! When I first wanted to start loosing weight (really around January 2010), I had SO MANY WOMEN tell me that the only "real" way to loose weight was to basically stop eating. SO NOT TRUE!!! Sure there have been some sacrifices. Sure there have been some changes in diet and lifestyle. But, I most certainly haven't stopped eating, and we all know I don't deprive myself too much. ; )

Seriously - if I can do it, ANYONE can do it! The real challenge is going to be for me to keep up this lifestyle once the semester begins and the pre-wedding craziness really settles in full-force.
A word to the wise - unless you have to, do NOT plan an out-of-state wedding!!!! DON'T!!!!

Happy Monday, y'all!

Monday, July 19, 2010

How it all began...

It all began with a personal challenge: working out every day for 30 days, plus eating healthy, too! I'm getting married in November 2010 and I want to be healthy and fit for the wedding! I'm an academic and, as such, have very little time during the academic year. So I thought summer was the perfect time to kick-start my diet & exercise challenge. Read back to some excerpts I've copied and pasted from my private blog:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

So I've been out of town for a full week (Wednesday through Tuesday). With all the eating out and drinking that has been going on, I've been really worried. But I've tried to pick healthy meals & I've nursed my drinks so as not to consume too many calories. And I guess all the walking in Oregon really paid off because I managed to accomplish the "impossible." Not only did I manage to not gain weight this last week, I even lost 2 pounds! Woo hoo!!

Today is Day #1 of working out every day for 30 days.
Not all the workouts will be intense or extreme, some days I may just do yoga, bike riding, etc. But, I will workout every day for the next 30 days.

Additionally, I'm going to be switching up my eating habits. Lately I've been learning a lot about fat loss (rather than weight loss), and learning the science behind how it works physiologically, etc. The conclusion makes me sad, but the evidence can't be denied: I need to switch to a low-carb, high-protein diet. At first I'm not going to be super extreme, especially since I'll need carbs for energy for working out every day. But pretty much EVERYTHING has carbs: fruits, veggies, etc. I'll keep eating those (and probably increase my normal intake), but I'm going to cut out stuff like bread, pasta, cereal, rolls, muffins, etc. etc. etc.

I'm going to buy some flax seed meal today (it's a low carb whole grain) and use it to bake my own bread and/or muffins. I figure no time is better than summer because my teaching is all online and the class I'm teaching actually ends in a couple weeks, so this is the PERFECT time to pick up a rigorous, time-consuming exercise routine because I actually have a couple minutes to spare here and there : )

So, hopefully this blog will help to keep me on track.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I'm not going to lie, it's been tough. And I've already made some modifications to my "diet."

So, today is day # 7.

I have, indeed, been able to work out every day. Days 1-3 were no problem. Days 4-6 were tough. Today (day 7) was actually pretty easy again. I think it helps that I'm varying my exercises (e.g., one day I went running, one day I swam laps, 2 days I went to the gym, 1 day I did yoga, and 2 days I've done workout videos).
My general rule of thumb is that I need to exercise for a minimum of 20-30 minutes and burn a minimum of 200 calories. But as for most things - more is better, and I've actually been working out closer to 45 minutes or an hour every day (or 90 minutes on days when I do Bikram!)

As for the diet:

When I started I was trying to eat low carb (30% of diet), low fat (30% of diet) and high protein (40% of diet). This was all but impossible.
I dunno if you know this, but EVERYTHING has carbs! like, everything!
So, even when I was eating high-protein foods (peanut butter, some nuts, etc.), often times they still had MORE grams of carbs than of protein. It made it pretty much impossible to hit the "correct" proportions. I made it through 5 days just killing myself before I decided I needed to revise my diet plan, so here's the new one:

NO measured out proportions!!! I'm going to cut out 100% of REFINED carbohydrates (think bread, muffins, cookies, chips, pretzels, etc. etc. etc.) BUT, I'm not going to worry about any of the other carbs (like fruits and veggies). I'm still going to try to eat low fat & high protein (I even bought some protein powder to mix with drinks after really hard workouts as a way to repair my muscles faster & get more protein)

The bread thing has been WAAAY harder than I thought it would be, but I'm going to stick with least for the rest of my 30 day workout period. I do have to admit that I'm already planning a "cheat" day for the 4th of July (only the diet, I still plan to exercise). But I'm totally okay with that.

In terms of weight, this week I only lost half a pound, but I feel myself getting stronger. I think my stomach is getting flatter, so maybe the scale isn't budging a lot because muscle weighs more than fat & (hopefully) I'm adding muscle & removing fat!!!

I've been working really hard, so hopefully it shows. & hopefully I can make this more of a lasting lifestyle that will stay with me long after the wedding is over.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Day 10
So far - not too bad. Days 4-6 were tough, but everything else has been a breeze! Working out is kind of addicting even! I mean, I've always tried to be "healthy" and I've been in the habit of exercising at least 3 days a week for a few years now. But, I've never done a daily exercise regime before - and I had no idea how much I'd enjoy it!!! A preview of my workouts:
1 - swam laps
2 - hatha yoga
3 - P90X video
4 - Jog
5 - free trial day at nice new gym
6 - weights & sculpting
7 - UA gym
8 - Bikram yoga
9 - Jog, apartment gym, & evening walk
10 - Biggest Loser video

Last night I went on an evening walk just around my apt complex (it's freaking huge & the neighborhood, itself, really isn't safe to walk around at night). It sounds weird, but it was actually really enjoyable! It's weird that I've lived here almost a whole year and have never really explored. My complex is massive & I had no idea, for example, that there was a "sand volleyball court" (I say it in quotations b/c there's no net) a couple buildings behind me. I got to explore everything & Rocky got a nice little walk out of the deal : )

I've also been mixing weights in several days (I focused on SOLEY weights on day 6, but several days it's been incorporated into my routines). And, I've been taking scoops of protein powder in smoothies about every other day to help replenish muscle & ensure that I'm burning FAT and not MUSCLE!!!

I feel like its working b/c I feel flatter & tighter, but at the same time it's disappointing not to see the scale moving! I plan to try another Bikram tomorrow so that'll make me shed some pounds, lol.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I've continued working everyday toward my weight & fitness goals. This week there was ZERO change in terms of weight. It's frustrating, but I KNOW I've been doing well, so I'm again taking it as a sign that I'm gaining muscle, which weighs more than fat. Today marks exactly half-way in terms of exercise (day 15 out of 30). The workouts are really easy at this point. The one day that was hard was the day after the 4th, just cuz the night before was late & I was NOT feeling it. BUT, I was really proud of myself for continuing to eat healthy all day on the 4th (even though I'd given myself a "cheat" day). But I really enjoy the workouts - even when my 30 days are up, I think I'll probably keep trying to work out a bunch. Maybe not every day, but probably 5 times a week at least. My apartment complex has re-opened our gym (it's been closed for like 8 months now), so it's really convenient to just be able to walk downstairs & use it. Plus it's really addicting! I love it!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Well woo-hoo, I've pushed past my "holding" stage. I managed to loose another pound & a half! Slow & steady! That's the way to do it for lasting weight-loss, so I'll take it! I'd still like to loose another 10-12 lbs., but we'll just see how I do. At a minimum, I need to maintain weight & tone up (especially my arms since that's really what's seen when you're in a bridal gown, lol). But, I'm not ready to call my weight-loss quits yet - I'm pushing on to try to get down a few more pounds!!!

In terms of my workouts, I'm on Day 20 of working out every day for 30 days.
I know it sounds silly, but it's really been a transformative experience for me! Like, I really want this type of living to become a permanent lifestyle! I think this kind of marks a shift in my life. Late teens/early 20s were all about partying & having fun. I think that my late 20's (and hopefully beyond) will be more about balance, health, etc.
I've already completely changed the way I've been eating. I'm not going to say it's been easy & I'm not going to say I've stuck to it 100% (mmmmm, chocolate, lol)but I think it's been a huge improvement. And in terms of working out - I really think I could do this forever! I feel great!

Anyways, I don't know how different I look. I feel like I have been gaining muscle, but there's still a layer of fat cushioning, lol. I wanna get rid of the fat so I can look better (of course), but I really can't believe how good I feel! Hopefully this just continues to get better! : )

Sunday, July 18, 2010

To aid me in my 30 day workout & diet challenge, I've been reading a lot of "healthy eating, healthy living" type of blogs. It helps me to see what other people are doing and keeps me motivated to stay the course. So, I've come across several posts now of people talking about the infamous "Green Monster" & today I had my first taste....

NO - not that kind of "monster!" THIS kind -


I've always loved smoothies & I drink probably 2-3 a week! I'm not a big fan of most breakfast foods (I hate eggs, I don't eat cereal, don't drink milk, etc. etc.) In the absence of eating refined carbs (because I used to eat things like english muffins, bagels, pancakes, or waffles), I'm left with only having pretty much Oatmeal or a Smoothie. The Green Monster is a smoothie, but with the added nutrients & antioxidants found in veggies like Spinach & Celery! So today, I made one of my fave smoothies - a banana, strawberry, pineapple, but I added a ton of SPINACH & 4 scoops of hemp protein powder. Because of the powder, mine wasn't as green as the smoothie pictured above (the powder turned it a lovely poop color). And the verdict???????

Delicious! Had no idea there was entire fist-full of spinach in my morning drink! I'm sure I"ll be having this more often! Because I'm eating way more natural foods (foods that go bad quickly), I've been trying to find ways to prevent from waste. Blending up stuff that's otherwise starting to go bad (like limp spinach, brown bananas, slightly mushy strawberries, etc) still tastes delicious & is a great way to get the most bang for your buck when you're out shopping. So here's what I do: Whenever something is starting to turn (before it's all the way "bad"), I'll freeze it! Then, throw in the smoothie & blend up! It prevents waste & makes it so I need less ice in my smoothie! I do it to everything! I've started washing & cutting up fruit like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, (whatever I have on hand) & adding them to ice cube trays. That's another fun way to do it b/c it can be added to a smoothie OR just thrown in water to give it a nice fruit-infused flavor! Try it!!!

So right when I started my 30 day challenge, I also joined a Bikram studio. It had a special (30 days for $30), so I signed right up. My first class I HATED!!!! Wish I would've paid for a single-time usage because I never wanted to go back. But since I paid in advance, I've forced myself to go back & now I think it's not so bad. I'm still against working out in that type of heat & humidity (I think it's not good for you), & I think Bikram is kinda a cult-like thing. But, I've gotten the hang of it & I'm gonna see through the rest of my 30 days. My first day they challenged me to come 3 days in a row. This is hard to do because of the time commitment, alone. Bikram is 90 minutes, plus its FAR from my house & when you factor in driving, time after to cool down & shower, get dressed, etc., it's like a 3-4 hour commitment. But I was able to go on Friday, so I thought - why not Sat and Sun, too? So I went yesterday (Sat) & woke up early this morning to make my green monster & hit up the 8am class today (Sun). I'm hard core that way - waking up early on a Sunday to hydrate, fuel up, and hit up an exercise class : )

Confession - I really need to be better about the diet part of my challenge, though. I've LOVED the working out & I think I'll continue it (maybe not EVERY day, but pretty much), but the diet has been tough. I've done pretty good at cutting out refined carbs, but I still feel like I'm eating too much, just in general. And, I basically cannot have sweets in the house cuz I have ZERO self-control. I bought a bunch of dark chocolate covered almonds at the farmers market last Wednesday & I've been eating like probably 1/2 a cup a day (like 400 calories worth - eeek!!!!) ever since! Geeeze!!!! I need to get it together! lol. We'll see what happens come weigh-in day tomorrow! (Fingers crossed, ugh! I don't think there's been any change).

There you go - this is how it all began. I view this as just the beginning. I'm 27 days deep into my 30 day challenge, but I think I've adopted a new way of life!



And then there were two...

This blog was began when I realized that my personal (private) blog was being overrun with health and fitness-related posts. That's not really what my personal blog is all about - it's more of a journal. So, I decided to take my fitness posts public & share my successes (and failures) with the world! Who knows - maybe my continued quest to find health and fitness in the REAL WORLD will help inspire some of you, too!