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!



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