Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tortilla Making Adventure

My first time making tortillas was neither a huge success or a failure. They taste great; just like the kind from the store. They do not happen to look all that pretty. Okay wait. They don't look pretty at all. I followed the recipe but I think there was too much liquid in the mix. It was very sticky and difficult to roll out.


The recipe was from the 100 Days of Real Food website.

Here are the pictures of my adventure:



Making the dough.


Getting it ready to separate into equal parts.


After it's divided, the dough is made into balls that are flattened, covered with clear plastic wrap, and set aside for 15-60 minutes.


Time to roll it out!


Heat a skillet, griddle, etc. and then put a little oil in it. Add your tortilla and cook 30-45 seconds per side.  I had trouble with my tortillas keeping their shape when I put them into the pan because it was too small!


The finished product....Totally mishapen and not pretty! I tried a piece and they taste good!

Dinner

I haven't posted food in a while...

Homemade whole wheat mac and cheese, recipe from 100daysofrealfood.com, and organic green beans on the side.

Team Beachbody

After months of thinking about it, I decided to join Team Beachbody!  I took advantage of a trial pack offer (seriously debated until nearly the last minute; it ends today). I joined as a coach so we'll see how it goes! I thought that coaching would be a good way to move in the direction that I want to with my career. I'm not really doing this to make money right now... I'm using it as a stepping stone to where I want to end up. The networking will be great and it will help me better my skills in working with those who want to improve themselves.  Honestly I'm NOT a salesperson so I don't think I'll be moving up through the ranks at lightning speed. The nice thing is that not everyone does that and it isn't required. Some people act as a coach just to get the discounted rate on products.  It took a lot of thinking because I'm sketchy of any business like this, but after reading the info, I really don't feel the pressure that existed when other similar opportunities have been presented to me.  This is something I can do at my own pace and I can use it as I'd like to. I'm excited to get some experience in working with people who want to change, and networking with other fitness minded people!!

With my trial pack, I selected the Brazil Butt Lift DVD program.  There were a couple other options, but after reading them I decided to go with that one. It sounded fun and it works my "problem areas" - butt, hips, thighs.  I think it'll be a good one to start with. I can't wait for my package to come!!!

The one thing I was most hesitant about is the Shakeology.  It is EXPENSIVE for a month supply, even if you're a coach.  I may cancel that after the trial period.  I love my 100% whey protein shakes, but I'm willing to try something new.  Who knows, maybe I'll love it.  I think that being a coach, it will be good to try it for a while so that I can know what I'm talking about if someone asks. It's good to know your product and know what you're talking about!!

My page (which is totally in progress since I'm so new!):

Team Beachbody Profile

I'm in the process of making homemade whole wheat tortillas for the first time and I think they should be ready to roll out and cook. Hopefully they turn out as well as I expect them to. Hurray for new cooking adventures!!!

XOXO

Dietary Changes.

Today marked the first day of my new eating plan.  It went pretty well.

Eating wasn't too big of a deal, although I wish I had more food in my refrigerator. I usually shop every other Sunday, but I skipped my shopping day to spend the day on the river instead. By the time I was done, I was tired, hungry (ate dinner at my parents' house) and definitely wasn't feeling up to shopping.

I was limited in my food choices.

Luckily I had boiled some eggs last week and had some left. I had raisins and two hard boiled eggs for breakfast.  Then for lunch I used some of the eggs and made some egg salad, which I ate on its own. I also had some natural applesauce with it.  Dinner was simple too; some crackers and hummus, and some veggies...Light, but good. By the time I got home, I wasn't really feeling like cooking much. Most of the recipes I've found call for a bit more cooking time. I'll try that tomorrow when I have a bit more time.

Processed foods have been purged from my refrigerator and cupboards (mostly). I had some dairy that I won't be eating anymore that I bagged up and left in a refrigerator at my Dad's business.  If he or my Mom don't want it, I'll be looking to see if someone else wants it. A friend said she'd be interested in trying the fat-free cheese but I probably won't be able to connect with her until the weekend. I also discovered that my yogurt isn't organic so I'll be giving that to my parents. I know my Mom will eat it. I do still have some canned things to get rid of, but those last longer than the dairy stuff so I'll probably take that up to my parents this weekend. I think I just decided that they're my food dumping ground. I'm sure they'll make use of it. I just don't want to throw it out (what a waste) so I might as well give it away. 

Shopping wasn't too much different. Other than making sure things are organic (a little label reading helps!) or not highly processed, I bought a lot of the same things I usually do.  I guess I was closer to eating in this manner than I thought.  I'll be trying some new things an I'm sure I'll have some new cooking adventures, so that should be....Fun and interesting. I'm hoping that some of these recipes are so wonderful that I can bake without white flour or sugar (using honey, for example, as a natural sweetener).

Day one went well and wasn't much different from an average day for me. I just had to be careful that things were organic, but that really wasn't difficult.

I'm getting excited for The Color Run this Sunday. It's a 5K (not timed) that I'm doing for fun. I will, most likely, walk it. My cousin is one of my team members and she doesn't want to run. I'm pretty sure that rather than leaving her behind, I'll probably just walk with her.  I'm excited to wear silly outfits and be covered in powdered color.  I'm not all that excited about having to get up super early (the run is about an hour and a half away and I will need to make sure I'm there with enough time to park so we'll probably leave two hours before it starts).  There's nothing like getting up at 5 AM on a Sunday....Right!?  We're meeting the rest of our team at 7:30 at a location not far from the starting line.

I have a family reunion after the run, which I'll be home for pretty much right on time...Maybe a little late. I'm sure my family will think that our colorful outfits are....interesting. Fortunately it's usually a small group and I know them well, so they won't think I'm too crazy! I'll wear my crazy, colorful outfit with pride - no matter who sees me!

I am a bit nervous about what to eat at the reunion. I'm pretty sure that there will be foods full of processed ingredients. My guess is there will be more of those than there will be of what I want to eat. Oh well, that just means more thinking for me.  I'll probably make a couple things that are not processed ahead of time and have my Mom take them for me.  Hmmm...Or maybe I can find an easy recipe and convince her to make a thing or two for me. I'm sure if I have some crackers (Triscuits are "real food" approved by the way), hummus, and some fresh organic fruits and veggies I'll be good to go. 

I suppose that's it for now. I need to ride my bike and get working on our outfits for the run. 
**Biking didn't happen. I was a bit ambitious when writing this and thought I had more time than I did. I'll be doing the 60 minutes at another time.

Have a healthy week!!!

XOXO



Friday, July 27, 2012

A Most Unusual Feeling

The last two days I've felt lighter and smaller.  My scale has not reflected this change. I haven't taken measurements in a while but I'm thinking I need to start again. I got away from it because I had so much swelling after surgery. The last thing I wanted to know was exactly how far my belly seemed to expand (yes, despite having skin removed).  Something just feels different and the scale isn't showing it.

I don't know what it is. Maybe it's what I'm wearing? Yesterday I wore a pair of pants that had small vertical strips. Not quite thin enough to be pinstripe but not some crazy design (or those cook pants) either. They are super cute, from Banana Republic (the outlet, actually).  I bought them Thanksgiving weekend and they were a bit snug but they are spring/summer pants so I thought they'd fit. They do, and they're a little on the baggy side after I wear them for a while.

By the way... WHAT IS IT with pants? The dryer seems to make them smaller but then after I have them on for five minutes they're too big. I don't get it. If they're tighter or more fitted, shouldn't they stay like that? Maybe it's the dryer? I wonder if I were to air dry them they would do the same thing. Anyone have experience with this? I hate having to struggle into pants that fit me comfortably. Honestly I feel like a cow when this happens.  I also hate putting on pants (that I know are too big, like the jeans I'm currently wearing) and having them fit and then later they're too big.  I know I should get rid of the old pants so I don't have this problem. If they're gone I won't be tempted to wear them.

Anyway....

The pants I've worn the last two days fit a little loose. Is that what's making me feel smaller? Baggy pants?  Maybe it helps when I look in the mirror? I don't know.  I'm not sure it's that.

I wonder if it's because I haven't eaten sugar in the last few days.  I'm sure there's been some sugar in my foods (I mean, there usually is!). I haven't added any sugar to anything. I managed to kick my cinnamon and sugar toast snack habit this week.  I threw the bread away (it was ready) on Monday.  The trash was collected Tuesday morning.  This is going to sound gross to some, I'm sure....

Background first... When you bake, do you sometimes sneak some of the batter? I know it's not healthy, but I know lots of us do it.  Well, I sometimes "test" the batter before most of the dry ingredients are added.  There's something about the creamy, smooth texture and sweet taste of a batter with butter, sugar, and vanilla (just before the egg, because I really do try to avoid testing batter with raw egg in it!).  I'd say my favorite time to test better is then....Even though it isn't quite batter.

Okay, so there's the background. Baked good batter, in progress. YUM!  Well, since I got rid of the bread I kind of treated myself to a little margarine and sugar.  No, I didn't eat it out of a bowl of something nasty. It was just a tip of the spoon into the margarine, then the sugar, followed my a lick of the tongue. It's a good mixture. I like it.  Too much. 

The sugar found itself in the trash on Tuesday night. Enough was enough!! I hadn't eaten sugar on a regular basis until I got into this cinnamon and sugar toast kick a couple months ago. Other than for baking, I didn't use it. Then came the toast kick.  I haven't baked in a few months (I miss it but haven't had a reason since I baked some adorable Big Bird, Elmo, and Cookie Monster cupcakes in April). I decided that since I haven't been baking and don't have a reason in the near future, the sugar needed to go. All it was doing was sitting there, tempting me, forcing me to eat toast.  Okay, not forcing me.  That was all me. However, out of sight...Out of mind. I haven't even wanted that treat all week. Of course, I have been treating myself with Vitatop muffins and brownies. Oh and Triscuits and hummus (that was lunch too).

Maybe it's the lack of sugar in the last few days? Is it possible that by cutting out that treat, I'll feel lighter this fast?  I'm not so sure about that. I suppose it's a possibility, but I think it's about as likely as the pants being the reason that I feel so good.

I think it's largely in part to my workouts. I didn't follow my training plan over the weekend (busy; out of town with friends...Did some walking/shopping but no actual workout for three days).  Maybe just getting back into my routine full force has made me feel better? I feel like my muscles are tighter. They certainly feel tighter; especially my thighs. I think that my five mile run on Monday initiated that soreness.  In total I've done over 15 miles this week - in walking and running.  I'll be adding at least five more miles of biking to that total today.

Maybe that's it? The use of those muscles. I think that's a huge part of it.  I don't feel like I look any smaller, but my legs feel it. That's been the area I've felt I've been smaller....Makes sense with the pants. I know that in a matter of four days, changes are not going to be that huge.  No one will see it. I don't even see it! In fact, I still do not like my thighs. YUCK! They're lumpy. They don't look tight. I am pretty sure that I'm seeing this because my swelling is resolving.  I have loose skin. The lipo I had done promotes skin tightening but it takes a while.... About a year before final results will be seen. I have extra skin (I mean, obviously, since I had between two and three liters of fat taken from my thighs). I think that a combo of the loose skin and the cellulite is causing me to continue to dislike my thighs. I'm definitely having a lower body lift. That will be my next surgery. I dislike my thighs even more than my arms. I doubt that they'll improve THAT much as my skin continues to tighten over the next nine months and (almost) two weeks.

It can't be seen. I feel it though. I feel as though I've worked my muscles. Sometimes feeling that tightness and knowing I've been working them makes me feel smaller... Even if I'm not. I've also done some good ST this week (see my 10K training page for workout info) and that helps me to feel tighter. Even if I do squats, lunges, and such I generally feel the effects of ST in my arms, shoulders, back, and abs....Not usually in my legs. Of course with all the running and walking I do, it's hard to know what makes the muscles feel tight. It's probably a combination of both. It really doesn't matter the source. It feels good. I feel good.

Whatever the reason and no matter what the scale says, I feel good today.

 I feel tight. I feel smaller than usual. I feel strong. I feel confident. I feel sexy (mostly because my muscles feel tight and well, that's just hot! After all, "I'm sexy and I know it... I work out!"). I feel happy. I. Just. Feel. Good.

Time for some biking? I think yes!!!

Have a great weekend!!!

XOXO

Motivation Madness!

Some of you may not understand this and others of you will. 

Yesterday I logged into my e-mail to find a bunch of friend request and message notifications from SP. I honestly thought, "what is going on!?" I wondered if maybe a bunch of new people signed up (yay!). I also wondered if somehow SP had been hacked and these weren't true notifications. It turns out... They were.

It was in the first message that I read that I realized I'd been chosen as a SP Motivator. To me, this is an honor.  This means that the people of SP have recognized my accomplishments. They know I've worked hard. They feel that I'd be someone who others could look to for motivation.

Some of you may think, "okay that's nice... It's a website. What's the big deal?"

The big deal is that SP has become a part of my life. I have "friends" on there who understand my journey; where I've been, where I am, and where I want to be.  We've shared stories about our lives - the good and bad; the ups and downs.  I feel a great sense of community when I interact with my SP buddies. We give one another tips, support, encouragement, and new ideas. We keep track of one another and we worry when one of us goes MIA.  SP is more than just a website to track my nutrition and fitness info. I don't even use it for tracking all the time... I've found that I like the tracking on MFP, so I've been using that more often (although I do still track my fitness on SP).

One of my SP friends is going to do the Princess Half Marathon with me and we're going to try to coordinate to meet up. It's awesome to have someone to train with, who has a common goal, even if we live several states away and our support is virtual.

Being that I feel such a strong sense of community, being chosen as a member who would make a good motivator made me feel really good...Happy, proud, accomplished.  It's good to know that I give others the same things that I take from them. It's also a good reminder that this is what I want to do in my career. I want to help others to reach their goals. I want to encourage them and support them. I want to explore their thoughts and feelings.  I've always wanted to help people... Until a couple years ago, I  never realized that I wanted to do so in the area of health and wellness. 

So...

Thank you, SP friends.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Processed Foods

There are a lot of "diets" out there. I don't mean diet in the sense of being on a diet. I'm talking diet in terms of your diet...What you eat. People follow a variety of plans and build that plan into their lifestyle. Any change is difficult at first, but becomes easier over time. Sticking to it isn't always easy, but if you plan and shop according to your plan, you should be in good shape.

When I first changed my diet I didn't have a whole lot of trouble. I got rid of the bad and bought the good. For me this meant no white flour and a seriously reduced sugar content. No more pre-packaged meals ("diet" style or regular") were allowed in my house.  To this day, I haven't bought any. There are so many nasty things lurking inside those meals, especially sodium which was my main focus.  I drastically cut down on my alcohol intake, which has managed to creep back up recently. I've gotta decrease that again. I stopped drinking completely for a while, then would allow myself one or two drinks here and there, when out for dinner. I've been drinking more this summer.  Maybe it's the thought of a cool beverage on a hot summer day (or night) that makes me want a drink. Or maybe it's the fact that I've been much more social.  Whatever it is, it isn't good for me and I must cut back.

I thought about changing to a vegan lifestyle once.  Then I decided I couldn't handle that. NO animal products? NO WAY! That's not for me.  Plus I've read some scary information on the health impact on vegans. There's argument that vitamins and such can provide what might be lacking, or there are other sources to get what's lacking, in a vegan diet but.... FOR ME this wasn't the right choice.

I do participate (sometimes) in Meatless Mondays.  There are Mondays that I forget and others that I remember. I think that with better meal planning for specific days (or at least for Mondays) I'll be better able to remember.  I generally buy groceries for a couple weeks and then eat a meal on whichever day I'm in the mood for it.  Planning each specific day is annoying. I like to have fun and that's too regulated for me.  I think I can handle ONE planned day a week though, especially if it will keep me on track to remember that it's Meatless Monday!

One thing that I noticed is that I allowed my sugar content to creep up again. I've written before about liking cinnamon and sugar toast, which is a go-to snack for me. It's been too frequent of a snack so I had to take action. I threw my bread away. And my sugar.  If I need it for baking, I'll go buy a small bag. I don't see myself baking anything in the near future (I only bake for others) so I think I'm safe sans sugar. If it's gone, I can't figure out a way to eat my cinnamon and sugar toast-style concoctions (this has included rice cakes).  The truth is, I do not NEED sugar in my house. I don't use it unless I'm baking. I'll eat my toast if it's there, but I don't NEED it. So? Buh-bye, sugar. I am also not planning to purchase any bread on my next shopping trip. I don't generally eat sandwiches, so the only time I'm eating the bread is when I have my treat.  I've tried not eating as much of it, but I'm unable to resist. I guess I'll do what I did with some foods when I first started....They're just not allowed in my cart.

I generally eat healthy but even those small little things, like more booze and more carby snacks, are probably preventing me from dropping weight like I would want. Despite counting values, and despite tracking I've plateaued. I still desire a little loss.

It IS the quality of food and what you eat that makes a huge difference (especially when you've lost as much as I have). Sure, at the beginning I could eat some of those things without a second thought, mostly because I changed from white to whole wheat or whole grain (100%, please!). Now though, it's different...I've gotta become more strict and make some more changes.

I've also read about the non-fat, low-fat, light debate... These foods are packed with chemicals that aren't good for your body. They're also frequently bumped full of carbs, like sugar.  Sure, the fat and calories might be low, but the other things that are added aren't good. 

Trying to limit these, or even avoid them and buy full fat versions will be hard for me.  As it is now, I don't think I buy anything that doesn't have one of those qualifiers on the label.  The idea of buying full fat products scares me a little.  Moderation is the key when it comes to these... Fortunately a lot of what I buy that's labeled that way happens to be super processed....Most of which would be dairy products. I'm trying to cut down on processed foods.

One thing that I try not to eat much of is processed food. Processed foods (like those frozen meals) are so bad for you.  Even with a "diet" company label on the package, they're still not good. I'm sure some people have some success at times due to the portion control and some of the values (lower calories and fat)....BUT the sodium is a huge killer.  There are also other unhealthy things packed into that stuff.  Other foods that include this that I try to limit are pre-packaged foods like lunch meats, hot dogs, sausages, cheeses, pepperoni, etc.  I do pretty well limiting my processed meats. It's the dairy that I'm not so good at. I continue to buy it but I don't eat it often.  As infrequently as I eat them, I should be fine buying the full-fat, reduced chemical counterparts.

I did recently buy some turkey bacon, thinking that a BLT (minus the T) would be a good dinner idea. It's still in the refrigerator, unopened. The date is good but I'm not going to return it.  Call me weird, but I think that's a little weird.  I desperately need to shop this weekend, so I'm debating whether to open it and eat some of it or to just pitch it (the idea of waste pains me).  I'll probably eat some of it and do a healthy shop this weekend and start fresh.  Of course, eating a BLT would mean that I need to buy bread again, which I'm trying to avoid.  I wonder if making some sort of concoction in a low carb tortilla would work. I have some that I need to use. Perhaps I'll try.  The worst that can happen is that it will be horrible.

I came across this fantastic website about not eating processed foods; 100 Days of Real Food.  This site seems to be a great place for someone who wants to start cutting out processed foods. 

I know the differences between processed and what's not processed.  I know reasons to avoid processed foods. However, I'm not so great regarding recipes or coming up with ideas that do not include those things. There are some foods that I'm unsure about whether or not they'd be considered processed or not. Generally things that say raw, natural, or organic are safe, but reading labels is very important.  While I grasp the basic concept, I think I need to learn a bit more so that I don't start without the proper knowledge.  There's nothing like confusion to cause something to go astray.

I already buy a lot of organic products. I'd say my biggest issues are sugar and dairy.  I've already been eating whole grains, buy organic fruits and veggies, and generally avoid processed meats. Sugar will be easy, since I don't eat a lot of it and my bag has currently been placed in it's grave within my trash can.  I'd say dairy will be difficult for me. With the correct planning, though, I should be okay. As the website points out, their belief is not eating HIGHLY processed foods so full-fat dairy is okay. They don't eat raw (which would avoid any processed foods), which I think is a more realistic philosophy for me. I'm a little afraid to avoid non-fat/low-fat/reduced fat/light dairy products but I eat diary in moderation now, so a little extra fat shouldn't be too scary. In fact, most days, I eat too little fat, so this will actually be a good thing for me in that way too.

Dining out will be the hardest. How in the world am I going to stay organic at a restaurant?! This will be an area that I need to research a little better. I may have to go back to my old habit of not eating out for a while. I hate that though because that, like drinking, limits my socialization, which I so, so enjoy (and need!).

The website listed above has challenges that you can do.  I'm thinking that to start, I'll do the 10 day challenge.  Eating foods that are not processed and not eating out for 10 days (unless I discover the secret) won't be something that's difficult.  I also think that 10 days is a good place to start.  I'll learn if this is something I'll be able to do forever.  Of course there will be the occasional splurge (like a good pizza) but I don't think that's a bad thing. I'm doing this for my health overall. With any type of diet change, you're allowed a little wiggle room (I think). Unless, of course, you adapt a lifestyle which is very strict and you adhere to it perfectly.  I'm not a perfectionist. If I eat non-processed foods the majority of the time, I'm going to enjoy a piece of pizza now and again. 

I have a little bit of studying and some planning to do! I'm excited about this!! I plan on shop on Sunday, so Monday will probably be a good day to start my challenge.

Anyone up for doing a challenge with me!?.

XOXO





Encouragment through Cough Drops.

I recently bought a pack of cough drops (thanks to allergies, sinus difficulties, and such) and noticed that the wrappers have positive messages printed on them.  I wasn't sure whether to laugh or think that's a cleaver idea.  When I'm feeling super yucky the last thing I want to do is read that kind of stuff. When I'm just dealing with a little cold or some sinus junk I'm not quite so cranky. 

Being that I'm feeling pretty good I thought they were pretty funny.  Words of encouragement on cough drops? I never would have thought of that. I mean, they're Halls, not those promises or treasures...Or fortune cookies.

My current wrapper has the following printed on it...

"Get back in there champ!"
"Go for it."
"Don't waste a precious minute."
"You've survived tougher."
"Put your game face on."
"Don't give up on yourself."

And one that I can only see part of, which says "Take charge..."  I'm not sure if there's anything else after it or not.

I'm going to have to look at the main package. I am wondering if I bought some special Halls for athletes. Those phrases are something a coach might say to a player, or a team.

They can apply to colds too, but mostly I felt like I was reading signs from a pep rally.

The phrases wouldn't do much for my sick mood, but they're pretty funny. I am thinking the point is that if you continue to take the cough drops as needed, you'll be "back in the game" (of life?) in no time.  It's definitely an interesting take on a marketing strategy. 

Will these phrases cause me to continue to buy these cough drops? No. I have bought the same brand for years simply because I like how they work and I like the flavor.

Whether you're feeling sick or feeling well...

GO YOU!!

XOXO

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Those People Who...

... Maintain blogs but only post when they have something "good" to say, like a weight loss or a change in measurements....Annoy me!  This is, obviously, just my opinion, but I feel that if you are going to have a blog that you want people to read, then post more than just the good.  Some people will have months where they go backward. Instead of writing about it they avoid posting anything at all.

Why?

I have my ideas...

One... They only want others to see the good things that they do. They don't want to admit to the "bad" (for lack of a better word, but that I'll now be using to describe those not-so-good moments) because of how they might appear. You're not perfect. We ALL have moments, days, weeks, whatever when we slip into the bad. I think that by posting everything you are more real to your readers. They can relate to you better. If you have a bad day, that's okay! Share it. Someone else probably had a similar day.  Only posting the positive is like giving others an illusion that you're perfect. You're not.  When you don't post unless it's something you're bragging about, it is noticed.  I'm sure I'm not the only intelligent reader who can come up with conclusions and see through it.

Two...They want attention. They simply maintain a blog, highlighting the good, to gain attention and praise from others.  Usually when you're participating in the bad, you don't get that praise. You might even get criticism (or encouragement perceived as criticism). If you're sharing your journey in order to share your journey then you shouldn't be expecting praise.  You should do it to share your story and give others another example of how to lose weight or get healthy.

Okay, I guess I only had two. I was thinking there were three but it's escaped my mind. Hmmm...Should I go back and delete this because I forgot what I was going to say? I wouldn't want anyone to think I'm capable of forgetting something! Sarcasm.

I maintain this blog and post pretty much everything that relates to my journey...Unless it's something super personal or super gross, I share. My point of writing is to show where I've come, to share workout ideas, tips, healthy foods...Whatever someone else may find helpful. 

On Monday I had an awful day in terms of exercise. I summarized it and was actually going to post about it but was then too tired. Am I the only person, ever, to have a bad workout day? Certainly not! Why would I not post about it? I want someone reading to know that if they're having a crappy day, I have too. Despite my weight loss success and my view on healthy living...I have my days.

Monday I was not into the idea of working out. It was my long run day and I was absolutely dreading it. I knew it had to be done so I forced myself. Usually those workouts aren't great because my mind is already in a negative place.  It was hot and humid, which made the idea of running even less appealing. I also ran on the treadmill which gets boring. I had a bit of a headache and felt pretty sluggish (which I later realized was because I wasn't feeling well).  My phone, which I use for music, froze so I had to stop and reboot that (I cannot run without music...SO BORING). 

Then there was my left shoe. That freakin' thing kept coming untied. I know how to tie my shoes, but no matter how tight it would loosen and come untied. I think I stopped four or five times to tie it. I was at a point where it was so frustrating I was ready to take it off and throw it. That would've accomplished nothing, but it would've gotten a little of my frustration out.  I love my shoes but UA, you make the laces too long!!

 All of these little things combined and just got to me. I took a good five minute break during my run to just sit and cry. I cried because I didn't want to run. I cried because I wanted to quit but I knew I wouldn't let myself. I cried because I was frustrated. I cried because I was tired (and probably because I didn't feel well).  I cried just because I needed to....Because that run felt like torture. 

I honestly do not go into every run with a happy, positive, "I'm so excited!" attitude.  Sometimes I workout because I feel I HAVE to, not because I want to.  Most days I do want to workout but every now and then I try to resist with all I have. I usually lose the battle to  quit  because the part of me that says "you're doing it" is stronger than the part of me that resists.

I had a bad day. I shared it. Will you now think less of me because I had a bad day this week?  I'm going to guess that most of you will say "no."  Why? I'm a person. I'm not perfect. We all have bad days.

There's nothing wrong with sharing your accomplishments.  There is also nothing wrong with sharing the bad things that happen. You're human. You may sit behind a computer screen but you are not a machine. If someone has a genuine interest in reading your blog, it's because they have a similar interest as you do (or they're a friend or family member, or some random nosey person who doesn't care but likes to read...all of which are okay).  I know that if I'm reading a personal blog for a specific reason, I want to know that the person I'm reading about is human. I want to know that they struggle sometimes. It makes them easier to relate to. It also makes me feel less pressure to try to be perfect....Even though I know I'm not.

I hope that you can find comfort in the fact that despite my success and my hard work, I struggle sometimes too.  I hope that you can relate to me. I hope that you realize that it is okay to have a bad day.

XOXO



Getting Stronger.

I love cardio. I love the calorie burn. I love the sweat. Cardio is probably my favorite activity.

I go in streaks when it comes to ST.  I'll be really good about it and then I slack off. I have a history of doing the best with body weight training. This includes BR workouts, planks, squats...The exercises that don't require extra weight. You use your body's natural weight and resistance.

 I have gotten away from BR...I like it but just got burnt out on it.  It really worked me, which made it difficult to do after running. My body would just be too tired. I can see how most people ONLY do BR. That wasn't enough for me.  I want to do more than 12 minutes of exercise each day.  I was in a habit of staying up too late, so I wasn't getting up early.  I used to do two-a-day workouts but haven't done those in ages.  The perfect plan (for me) would be to get up and BR in the morning, then do my cardio later in the day. I was just too tired to get up and do it.  Getting enough (at least seven hours) sleep is also very important.  I could get up and workout on little sleep but I'd be tired, sluggish later in the day, and not feel "right."

Lately I've been on a ST kick.  I've taken some moves from a BR workout and modified them a little. There are little cardio intervals included.  Sometimes I do them, but other times I do not. They are based on using (mostly) weights rather than body weight.  There are a few body weight moves included, like tricep dips, but most are based on using extra weight. I've changed the weights and reps as I feel myself getting stronger and can tolerate more. For example, when I add weight, I decrease the reps or break the reps up into smaller sets.  I have also added some body weight training to the mix too.... Various planks.

Right now I'm looking forward to doing ST.  I think I go in streaks because it can become "boring" doing the same thing over and over.  Why I don't tire of cardio like that is beyond me. I'm guessing it's a mental thing and I enjoy cardio a little more. Oddly it's been a bit different this week. I do the cardio but am excited to get to the ST portion of my workout. I think it's because I can feel it working my body. I've been sore.  Last night after my workout I had a hard time lifting my arms to shampoo my hair. I can feel the tightness in my arms, back, core, butt, and legs (not so much my calves though). I know that my entire body has been worked. I am certain I don't look any different but even adding ST back the last few weeks, I FEEL like I am. Right now I'm okay with not looking different because I feel it and I know my body is changing. I just have to keep it up.  

My relationship with ST (on-again, off-again) is like the relationship some people have with exercise in general or with healthy eating. It is the relationship I once had with both healthy eating and exercise. I'd do really well for a while and then go astray. I guess I wasn't ready to make the changes I needed to.  I never go too long without ST but I'm inconsistent.  I need to get to the point where this relationship is on, and that's it.

I love it when I'm in a good place with my ST. It makes me feel good (and sometimes sore, which I think is good). I feel more fit, stronger, and sexier when I do ST.  I love my muscles. I really love seeing them.

I do not love having to start over.  The weight I use decreases. My reps, even with lower weight, are difficult to do.  I'm never gone from it for too long so I generally increase fairly quickly, but I don't like having to work my way back up. I should be working toward heavier weights...Not starting over. When I stop and then have to start again, I feel like I've lost the physical strength I once had.

I'm reminded of a quote...

"If you're tired of starting over, stop giving up."

This can be applied to anything. It's a good thing to keep in mind. One bad day doesn't mean you have to walk away from the rest. 

YOU have the power to change your life.

Keeping pushing; don't give up.


XOXO

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Yikes!

I can't believe it's been nearly a week since I've posted. I've been a busy girl! Then I was a cranky girl, and then a sick girl. I'm finally getting back to being my normal self.  Maybe now I will feel up to writing a bit more.

My workouts have been going well....Still on-track with my 10K training and as soon as that's done, I'll be starting my half marathon training. I'm excited and nervous! I'm slow but that's okay. I don't think I'll ever be a fast runner.  I run for fun; it's a hobby and I enjoy it. I don't need to win any races...I just need to finish them! Naturally I'm always trying to beat myself, but I think that's a typical thing.

I've added more ST into my workouts the last couple weeks. I increased my weight tonight and added a few moves. I feel sore. I love it! Sometimes a workout is hard to get through but I really do enjoy feeling tight and strong. I may not look super tight, but that's okay. Feeling it is what I love; eventually the appearance will be there too.

I have a few good topics so hopefully I'll take some time to write a longer post soon. I need to get up for a workout in the morning so that means I need to get ready for bed soon....Which means...No long post.  I just wanted to write something quick to say I'm still here; still working hard.

Hope you all are doing well!! Go out there and get some exercise!!!

XOXO

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Importance of Planning Ahead.

I've known for a couple days that I'm having dinner out with a friend who I haven't seen in a while. I'm super excited, by the way! Anyway, so I knew going into today that I'm going out for dinner. Our choices were down to a couple so I just looked at menus for the two (both local; not listed in most calorie counters like chain restaurants) and used info from the bigger chain restaurants. I know it may not be an exact calculation, but it should be pretty close. 

I looked at menus and decided on a fish dish at either place, both accompanied with a side salad and either a choice of potato or steamed veggies. We decided on the place, so I planned ahead and calculated out my dinner.

 I love salads, so that wasn't an issue...Regular house salad with light dressing. Easy.  I'm struggling with the potato or veggies. I have not had a baked potato in ages...Honestly, I have no idea when I last ate one.  The potato sounds amazing at this very moment. I would likely dress it with a little butter and sour cream, both of which will be full fat because that's how these restaurants are. I'm okay with that. I usually don't eat enough fat during the day, so full fat stuff won't hurt me. Honestly the debate over a potato or veggies has been a small battle in my mind. Both sound good, but the potato sounds a little better. However, I know that the steamed veggies would be healthier. 

I still haven't officially made up my mind, but I did track the potato.  Now that I tracked it, I'd have to eat a snack when I get home if I go with the veggies because I'll be under my daily net calories. At this point, the potato sounds easier so that I don't have to find something else to eat and re-track.

According to MFP I am 277 calories over my daily net of 1200...I'm at 1477.  SP has me at 1480. No matter what I decide, the difference between the two isn't a great deal. It's funny how sometimes these sites can be different; luckily today they are not very different.

Today is a day that I will do 30 minutes of crossing training. I will probably do a little bit more. I plan on doing this after dinner because my time right now is limited....There is just not enough time between work and dinner to workout, shower, and get ready to go. I have about an hour between when I get home and when I need to leave. I was planning on biking and if I bike, I'll likely do a few extra minutes because my heart rate doesn't go very high when biking.  I only need to burn 277 calories to get to my net daily goal so that's not too bad. I am anticipating having to do a little longer than 30 minutes because I know that I do not burn 300 calories during 30 minutes of biking.  I suppose I'm okay with that. I'd like to burn a whole bunch of calories but I guess that isn't necessary. 

It's nice going into dinner knowing what I want (love that menus are online!) and that I can plan my exercise accordingly. I knew all day what I would want to eat, so I guess that helped me to better plan.  It's the last minute dinners out that can cause problems for people. 

Planning ahead not only makes tracking for the day easier, but I think it's much more relaxed that way. I know that I've gotten a little anxious at last minute dinners about what to eat, trying to estimate calories, wondering if I worked out enough, making sure what I eat is light enough so that I can workout after.... And so on.  Tonight I can go to dinner and know that I'm having a (mostly; minus that potato) healthy meal and that I can still exercise.

Some people may look at this negatively and say that I'm being obsessive. I'm not. I know what it's taken for me to lose weight and being diligent (NOT obsessive) is important. Tracking is vital and for me planning plays a part in that. Some people may say "don't worry about it; you can go over a little" or "it's okay to have a cheat day."  That's fine...For them.  If they enjoy that philosophy, great.  Sometimes I tell myself that too. However, after having had too many days in a row of being unhealthy, I'm in a very serious mode right now. I allowed myself those off-track times last week. This week? Not so much.  It is entirely possible to go out for dinner or go to social functions and still be healthy... You just have to plan ahead!

Planning is important if you're trying to lose weight; whether a few pounds or a lot. It's important to plan menus, plan your day, and for some people even your week (I can't do that; I change my mind too much).  You should plan your exercise as well as your food. Do you always need to plan? No. Don't do it if it doesn't work for you (but please, at least, track!).  If you're at a stable, happy weight and you just eat healthy and exercise in general, then you probably won't worry so much about planning...As long as you stay on-track.

From my own experience, planning has worked. I've seen it work for others too. I think that everyone wanting to lose weight should try it out for a short time. You won't know if it works if you don't at least try.  Yes, it takes time. I feel that it is time well-spent.  I know I'm where I am thanks, in part, to planning.

Whatever you do; stay healthy!

XOXO

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hmmm.... If I like guacamole I wonder if I would like avocado sliced on a salad or sandwich or something.

Monday, July 9, 2012

This Way, That Way...Which Way?

I have been... A hot mess lately. I feel like last week was insanely busy and I've been going in different directions. I had a few extra days off work and I feel like I didn't get much rest. Here's my little recap and update, since I haven't posted in nearly a week.

My eating...HORRIBLE. Thank you, Fourth of July. Okay it wasn't just the fourth. Between being busy and having meals out three nights, and enjoying too many adult beverages on the fourth, I feel like I need a calorie detox program. YIKES!

My exercise... Equally horrible.  I ran four miles a week ago and that was the last traditional exercise I did. I did quite a bit of walking on the fourth but that's about it. Shame. On. Me.

On Friday I had an appointment with my surgeon. Things are looking pretty good. He said that the scar around my belly button looks more like a six month scar than a two month scar.  My big scar is healing well. He did say that I have what are called "dog ears" on my hips, which are little puckers of excess skin on my abdomen/hip area that weren't removed with the tummy tuck. Google images shows lots of pictures of them. This is just because I had so much skin to be removed. He said that a revision could be done and he would extend the scar on both ends, to remove the skin and tighten my tummy/hips in those areas. It's not that anything went wrong with surgery or healing, it was just hard to remove all of what needed to be removed.  This happens sometimes. 

I am now compression garment free! I'm happy about this, to say the least.  He said that I need to still wear it if I'm highly active, but that the compression workout capris I have will be fine. Those are actually more fitted than the garment is (I think it's too big now). I feel a little odd not wearing it. I've worn it for so long! Also, I'm experiencing a strange feeling in my tummy because of it. Not like pain, it just feels weird not to have it on. I still have a little tenderness and I guess maybe when I move around is when I notice the tenderness. 

Oh! The big question that I had...Those lumps. How did I almost forget to write about those? They were causing me such stress! The surgeon said not to worry about them; they're a normal part of the healing process. The areas where they are located bulge out, which he said is just swelling. He reminded me that the swelling from the lipo will likely take six months to go down, and up to a year to show the final results. While the tummy is healing faster, there's still a bit of healing left there too. The lumps should resolve as the swelling goes down.

I go back in November and we'll discuss my options and my plan at that time. I'm waiting a while before I have more surgery through... I need to get these first two procedures paid for first.  I am also not doing another surgery in warm weather. That compression garment was not fun to have on in the recent 100 degree heat. I'll probably wait until a year from this coming fall (maybe October) before having more surgery. I've been planning on having brachioplasty as well as a lower body lift. My hope is that maybe the tummy tuck revision can be done as part of the lift so that I can get it done with the others. I really don't want to have to do a third surgery, especially just for something like a revision.

I'm still contemplating putting my pictures on here. I haven't taken any progress pictures in the last couple weeks, but have decided I'll be doing those monthly...Which means I need to take some very soon, as today is two months post-op (Wednesday will be nine weeks). I generally don't have time to do this in the morning, before work, so I'll probably take some on Saturday or Sunday...Depending on the level of water retention I have going on (girl stuff). I have posted pictures Facebook page (see contact info) but haven't quite come up with the courage to put them on here. I don't know why...If they're on-line, they're on-line!  I think it's because fewer people visit the Facebook page as opposed to this site. Sigggh...I'll wear a bikini at the beach but I won't put pictures on here? I think something is wrong with that.

I'll more than likely post some soon.

What else is new? I'm sure I've written before about PMDD (again, visit Google), which is currently rearing it's ugly little head. UGH! As though the fluid retention from my poor habits wasn't enough, PMDD decided to strike and I will now have to face several more days of fluid retention. Thank goodness for Diurex. It helps a little. I can handle most of the physical symptoms fairly well, but the retention really gets to me. Fatigue gets to me too, but I can handle that better...As long as I can talk myself to a better place emotionally, I can usually fight the fatigue and workout.

 The emotional symptoms are another story. I can't wait for my mood to hurry up and get back to normal. I've been moody since Wednesday (which was not pretty, especially when alcohol was thrown in the mix; definitely like adding fuel to the fire!).  I did okay the next couple days, but I was busy. When I'm busy and have no time to sit and think (about anything; from something stupid that I did or said to something that's not a bother at all) and let the anxiety get to me, I'm usually okay. Yesterday was much harder. I cried a bit. I was with my cousin for a while and had to fight from crying in front of her while we were watching Say Yes to the Dress. I had a few teary episodes later, but then went away quickly. I then had a big ol' cry fest when I watched the first Sex and the City movie. That movie gets to me every stinkin' time, but yesterday was worse than usual.

Today I've wanted to cry most of the day, but so far haven't. I really didn't want to start crying at work, especially for no specific reason. I have to say this morning was much worse than the rest of the day. I was literally fighting back the tears. I did not want to get up and absolutely dreaded having to go to work this morning.  Naturally it wasn't so bad when I got there, but it took me a while to shake the really bad mood. It improved to just slightly bad. After lunch I was pretty much okay, but still rather quiet and that lump in my throat was present most of the day.

It is hard to stay on track in terms of being healthy when PMDD hits. I've noticed that some months are worse than others, but it's always there. There are times when it seems like it's so mild it might only be regular ol' PMS (except for the crazy mood swings and fluid retention), then there are times when I feel absolutely rotten. Apparently this is a rotten month.  I already feel like an unhealthy blob from my poor habits. NOW I have to handle PMDD too. I'm going to fight hard to make this a decent week.

I do have a plan for getting back on track...

First, I'm going to get right back into my exercise and healthy eating.  I've gotta cut out some of the things I eat. Lately I've been on a bit of a carb kick (which is only going to get worse this week!).  I still to whole grain and whole wheat things, but combined with the fruit that I love, I'm afraid I'm going to turn into a carb.  I love fruit, but definitely need to cut down a bit, while increasing my veggies. I'm much more of a fruit eater than a veggie eater. I'd say that on average I have two servings of veggies but four to six of fruits. Need. More. Veggies.

Part of my plan is going to involve a change in my social life. I feel like I've been going out for dinners and drinks too often lately. I went for so long without going out at all and now I feel like I'm going out a lot.

Last week I had meals out on Thursday night, Friday afternoon, and Saturday night.  I consumed alcohol on Wednesday and Saturday. Not. Good.  I hate it but I can't have the habits that my thinner friends do. It's really hard to try to do things with them when they really don't even have to worry about it and I do. Naturally, healthy is healthy and unhealthy is unhealthy so I TRY to keep in mind that I'm just being healthy...But it's still hard.  Throw my current mood into the mix and trying to resist those urges last week/weekend were even more difficult.  Sometimes being healthy makes me feel like as much of an outcast as being fat did. I wasn't an outcast but I let myself feel that way sometimes.

Oh great.. Here come the tears. Life with PMDD is so exhausting.

Anyway... Back to my plan... Basically it's just going back to my usual healthy lifestyle. I can't let a couple days get me so off-track. I get frustrated with myself because I KNOW what to do but lately, when I have big things going on I feel like I'm just lazy when it comes to doing them.  Sometimes I just want to be "like everyone else." I know I can't though. I care too much about my health to put it in jeopardy by eating whatever I want.

Sometimes I wonder where I get this strength. How have I not given up; given-in yet? Maybe it's just that I've really changed my lifestyle. Sure I have moments (too many recently, I think) that I've enjoyed some craziness but I haven't gone back to that lifestyle. Apparently I do have strength although there are days that it honestly surprises me that I have any at all (that's the mood talking).

On another note, registration for Disney's Princess Half Marathon starts tomorrow. A friend of mine is registering later in the week... I'll probably wait to see if she registers before I do. You know because God forbid I end up having no support there... I know I can do things on my own, yet I'm still afraid to sometimes. Again, the mood.

Today's workout plan includes a run and some strength training, just like I did last Tuesday. Although I'm off my 10K training plan, I'm not starting over. I'm just picking up where I left off. I'm a little nervous because unlike the previous week (that I took off from training), I haven't really done any working out this week. With no exercise in nearly a week, even four miles sounds a bit intimidating. I'll do it though; I always do.

Off I go....To begin my workout!

XOXO

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Personal Growth and Change.

After taking last week off from running, I am ready to get back into it. I did not end up running on Saturday morning. I spent time cleaning instead. The house needed it and I didn't have time to do both in the morning. Then I was off and running for the day...

I got that tattoo I'd been talking about. "Believe" on my wrist; nothing else.  First, as I suspected, nothing else would fit next to it. What I wanted would've had to have been too large because of the details. I'd been thinking of not getting something additional anyway; sticking with just the word. I wasn't disappointed when they said it could go there, it just wouldn't be detailed. I now have a permanent reminder to never stop believing in myself. I will always remember the steps I've taken to become who I am today.

It's interesting to think about how I've changed inside as well as outside. I'm much friendlier now. I think that in the past I was so afraid of rejection I just stayed in my little comfort zone and didn't go out of my way to talk to others. It wasn't that I didn't want to. It's that I was too afraid. I didn't like who I was...So why on earth would anyone else?

I'm much more open now. I talk to people that I don't know, although I'm not always the first to start the conversation. I've met some really cool new people this summer.  I'm more direct than ever before, but not in an obnoxious over-bearing way (at least I don't think so). It's sort of freeing to just say what I feel (okay, within reason) and not worry about sending someone running in the other direction. Well...I may worry but I no longer fear that. It's bound to happen. Not everyone in the world will want to be my friend.

I feel like now that I'm more outgoing I'm perceived as nicer than before.  It wasn't that I was mean. I was insecure. I didn't want to be rejected so I just didn't talk, unless approached. Now? I'm warm and friendly. I smile and shake the hands of people that I meet. I talk to them. I'm no longer afraid that I'll say the wrong thing and they'll reject me.
WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?

Honestly I thought that, even a few months ago, I was quiet.  Now all of the sudden I'm coming out of my shell. Maybe it's the people I've been hanging around with. They seem to accept me for who I am. Maybe having that acceptance from people I didn't know well before (or at all) has made me realize that people aren't going to run from me. I'll admit that I do fear losing them now... What if they change their mind? There are some pretty awesome people in my life right now and I would honestly be crushed if they walked away, but overall... I'm okay.

I will say that in some ways I have always been a confident person, but in other ways I was very insecure. I was shy because of fear. That fear was, in part, because of my weight. I never felt beautiful. I could never dress the way that I wanted. I felt fat and ugly.  Although it appears as though I was a depressed loaner, I wasn't. I had lots of friends. I've always been very social. My family and close friends accepted and loved me. The new friends that I met were through others though. I didn't really make many friends on my own, unless I had a class with them. Generally, though, they started talking first.  It was like I needed some sort of safety net that wasn't there. I didn't want to be rejected from anyone. In my mind I pictured them thinking, "why would I want to be friends with you?" 

Wow. My self-esteem wasn't the greatest. At least not around new people or in new situations. When I was comfortable, I let the real me shine through. I was my bubbly, outgoing self around the people I knew well. 

I'm not afraid anymore. I don't hold back like I used to. I've learned that the risk of missing out on something that could be great is worse than the risk of rejection.  If you're rejected, you can overcome it. Never knowing what could've happened would be, in my opinion, far worse.  How do you overcome a lifetime of "what if..."  This doesn't just apply to our relationships with others, but in other life events too.

We have to learn to face our fears. We have to learn that failure is okay because we all have to fail sometimes. We can get over disappointment. We make our way through sorrow.  We are never able to answer "what if..." if we never even try. 

This reminds me of a Winnie the Pooh quote...

“You can't always sit in your corner of the forest and wait for people to come to you... You have to go to them sometimes.”

Enough on personal growth.

Now... As you may or may not know, depending on whether you've read other posts, I took a week off from my typical exercise. I needed to recharge. I just needed a change of pace for a bit.  Last week instead of my typical routine, I did walked and biked instead.  It was nice to break out of my typical routine. I need to vary things now and then or else I start to lose interest. I like being kept on my toes sometimes.

I am ready to jump back into my 10K training...Which starts today; with a four mile run.  Part of me thinks that this is a little ambitious since I haven't ran in over a week. Then I remind myself that I don't have to run fast. Slow and steady.... I'll be just fine.  I need to stop focusing on my mile time and putting that kind of pressure on myself.

I have a bit of a new plan, thanks to my change in activity last week. I would go home from work, relax for a bit and eat dinner one (small), then do an hour walk, then I'd do whatever I needed to get done and eat dinner two before biking.

My changes...

1. I will run, right away after work.

I don't care how badly I want to watch whichever episode of Friends is on (especially since I have every episode on DVD and can watch it anytime I want). I do not need to sit and relax for "just 30 minutes..." or "just an hour..."  When I do this I start to get hungry, so then I eat dinner, and delay my workout even more. 
 *Writing this post so doesn't count  (today anyway)!

2. I will do more strength training; more than the 10K training suggests. This will be done after running.

I haven't been doing BR so I've been severely lacking in my ST. I need to do it.  It doesn't need to be a BR workout, but I need to do some sets of body weight training and some weight training with weights...Not a lot, but I need to get back into it. As odd as this sounds, I miss feeling the pain in my muscles.

3. If I decide to do a second workout, I'll do a BR later in the evening.

It's 12 minutes...I think I can manage that. I've seen how much people have changed doing only BR (daily). It's impressive, if the pictures are correct. Sometimes I wonder...

I was thinking that I had another change or two that I'd thought of, but if I had, I've promptly lost them. I think that three small changes to my plan is probably enough for now. 

Bonus! I just looked at the BR page and the last one listed is not the typical  interval workout. It's actually ST, based on reps.  There are, of course, some cardio intervals in the mix. I guess I'll be doing a BR after my run....Looks like a good routine; and a good way to get some ST done.

Speaking of workouts and procrastination....I guess I should get to it. 

Have a great week everyone!

XOXO