Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fitness & Weight Loss Journey: 30 Day Shred

Fitness & Weight Loss Journey: 30 Day Shred

Overview: This is a 20 minute intense workout by Jillian Micheals, one of the Biggest Loser trainers. The workout has three levels and she suggests starting at level 1 and working your way to level three. Since the workout is supposed to be for 30 days, I plan to spend 10 days on each level. Her workouts are based on what she calls the 3-2-1 method—3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, 1 minute of abs. The only required equipment is a set of hand weights and a mat if you are going to work out on a hard floor.

Day 1, Level 1: This was not the first time I have done this workout. The first time I did it, I couldn’t even do the whole thing. Today, I struggled with the push-ups but I’ve always had a hard time with that, even when I was a three sport, super fit, teenage athlete. There is a cardio series where you do jumping jacks, then jump rope, then jumping jacks, and then jump rope again. I had to go pee right in the middle of it, even though I went to the bathroom right before I started. I’m going to blame this on birthing a child less than 4 months ago.  I should note that I also ran 2.5 miles today (several hours after completing this workout).

Day 2, Level 1: Today my oldest child was watching her favorite tv show, so I popped the DVD into my laptop and took it out on our screened in porch. I got a little sweatier than I did yesterday when I was in the air-conditioned house with a fan blowing on me. J I made it all the way through the first set of push-ups today but did have to take a short (super short!) break on the second round of push-ups. I also had to go pee during the jumping jacks/jump rope section again. I tried to hold it but for some reason, I just really had to pee. I stopped the DVD long enough to run in the house and go to the bathroom. I came right back out and picked it right back up. I was a little bit sore today and I definitely felt the burn a little more today than I did yesterday. Overall it was a good workout and I am seeing progress with my endurance.

Day 3, Level 1: I liked being out on the porch yesterday so I did that again today. The humidity makes me sweat a little more. I like to imagine I’m sweating off all my fat. Ha! Today I did all the push-ups except 1 (for both sets) which is a major improvement. I’m essentially doing all the more difficult level moves as opposed to the modified version offered with the exception of push-ups. Even in my teenage prime, I could not do a “man” push-up and I certainly don’t expect to be able to do one now. Another accomplishment of the day, I didn’t have to leave to go to the bathroom during the jumping jack/jump rope segment. Because of this, I definitely felt the burn more today than I have the past two days. I can see improvement and that gives me encouragement to keep at it. Also, I thought I saw a vague glimpse of a muscle in my arm. Score!

Day 4, Level 1: Today I was in a foul mood. I started this workout hoping that it would clear my mind and help ease my mood. It didn’t. Eldest Tot kept coming out and asking me questions every three minutes. I must admit that I didn’t give 100% today but I did do it and I did complete it. The cardio part (jumping jacks/jump rope) was still killer on my legs and the push-ups were a struggle but I did them.

Day 5, Level 1: Today I spent 11 hours in the car. It was 9:30 (but 10:30 for what my body is used to) before I started the workout, but it felt great to do it. The cardio was tough but I made it through. The push-ups were easier (not easy, just easier). I made it all the way through with no complaints.

Day 6, Level 1: I skipped Saturday and Sunday L I feel like a failure. I could give you a list of excuses, but that is just it, they are all excuses. Today I did my workout in the living room of my mom’s house while watching 3 kids. The kids did the workout with me and I ended up having to use Addisyn as hand weights the last 5 minutes because she was only happy if I was holding her. The cardio section with jumping jacks and jump rope was still very difficult but the rest of it was not so bad.  Today I also ran a mile and a half.

Day 7, Level 1: My nephew hid my hand weights from me so I had to hunt for about 20 minutes to find them. Ansleigh and Tyler did the workout with me while Addisyn napped in the swing. The cardio part was still difficult but I managed it without completely dying. Everything was much easier at the end-not sure why.

Day 8, Level 1: Everything was pretty much the same today except that I had to use Addisyn as my weights for some of it because she was fussing so much.

Day 9, Level 1: Did the workout from memory today. Did not play the DVD at all. I went back and checked and I definitely got all of it in.  I also ran 2.5 miles today.

Day 10, Level 1: Finished level 1!!!! Did it all! Some of it was still a little bit of a struggle but I’m really excited to be moving on to Level 2—partially because I’m sick of doing the same things over and over again, and partially because I have compared to pictures from Day 1 to Day 10 and there is a difference.

So far, I have lost 6 more pounds since I start the 30 Day Shred, but that could be because I am still counting calories, or because I've been amping up my running, or a combination of all three. I will have to say that I've begun to notice a lot more fatigue on my body. I'm not sure if my body just isn't used to this much exertion or if it really is a bit too much. I think it would be best suited to do on my days off of running as cross training but I'm going to try to stick to it and finish out my 30 days. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Excuses, Excuses

I struggle with making excuses. I make excuses and make excuses and then whatever I'm making an excuse for or about never gets done.

My excuse making isn't limited to just one area of my life. I make excuses for why I'm too busy to wash those bottles or excuses for why I shouldn't make the bed. I make excuses for why it is ok if I'm late to work or why it will be fine if I don't grade those papers today. I make excuses about calling friends or helping somebody out.

Lately though, not to brag, but I've been totally rocking in the house cleaning, chore doing, dinner cooking department. Ok, maybe I'm bragging a little bit. Our beds have been made and clothes washed and put away, bottles clean, dinner cooked and ready to eat when hubs gets home, etc. It is easy for me (notice I said me, not everyone else--we all have different situations) to get all this done when I'm at home and not working my full-time job.

So what's the excuse problem? My workouts.

No, seriously. I often find myself making excuses, especially now that I've started the 30 Day Shred Challenge.  Instead of doing it in the morning when I have time, I think, "No, I'll do it later when the kids are sleeping." But then the kids aren't all sleeping at the same time. Or facebook and Pinterest really need my attention ;) Then it doesn't get done and it is 9 or 10 o'clock at night and I'm trying to talk myself out of doing it. I do this with my running too. Because I only run three times a week, I find myself saying, "I'll do it tomorrow." Eventually, the runs get done, but not the way they are intended to be.

I have eventually talked myself into doing the workouts, but I have found, that the excuses are the most difficult part of losing weight for me.

The one thing I have discovered though, is that you have to want to be healthy/skinny/toned/etc. MORE than you want to watch tv or play on the computer or go to bed early. This is something I'm still struggling with, but I know what the solution is.

I'm not perfect and I haven't met my goal yet, but I'm working on it, which is more than I was doing last summer.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Weight Loss & Fitness: My Decisions & My Opinion

There are a million ways out there for people to lose weight. Why did I chose the methods I've chosen?

Mostly, because they are free. Also, because they are lifestyle changes and I don't really have to leave my house (or at least not go very far) to do any of it.

From what I can tell, one of the most popular methods people use are diet pills. Well, that's great for you, but I don't care how many infomercials tell you it works, it doesn't. And even IF you lose weight, it will come right back.  Plus, you have to buy all those stupid things and they can get expensive.

Another common method is joining a gym. I think joining a gym is a GREAT idea if you are actually going to go. I joined a gym once when I was in college. I went twice and paid for that stupid thing for a year. What a waste of money! I won't pay for a gym membership, even if it is only $10 a month, because I know I won't go. Plus, seriously, when am I going to go to a gym with two kids, a full-time job, and a husband? I won't.

I've read about detox diets that make you drink all these disgusting juices and then you poop for however many days straight. If I wanted to lose weight that way, I'd just go get myself some food poisoning.

There are people who pay to go to nutritionists once a week and people who pay to get personal trainers. That crap cost money! I can get all that same nutritional information off the internet for free and I have a personal trainer--her name is Jillian Michael's and that woman is a beast. She cost me a one-time-fee of  $9.99 two years ago.

I don't do Weight Watchers or Nutrisystem either. It cost money! I know it helps to have that accountability but if you have a good friend or a spouse, you have accountability; you don't need to pay for it. It also helps to have someone telling you what you can eat and what you can't, but I've never liked to be bossed around and I'm not about to start now.

I use Lose It. It is an app that I downloaded on my phone. I don't know how much it cost now but when I got it, I'm pretty sure it was free. This is how it works: you enter your current weight, then you enter your desired weight, then you choose between losing one pound, one and a half pounds, or two pounds a week. From there, it will tell you how many calories you are allowed to have in a day. You enter the food (and drinks) you have throughout the day and it does the math for you. It has an incredible database of things already entered for you and if whatever you are eating has a code on it, you can just scan it into your phone. Easy peasy. If you are over your calories for the day, you have to do something (exercise type thing) to get back down under your limit. Hand washing dishes and even cleaning the house burn calories. Play the Wii. Do situps during commercials. It counts!

I also run. Running is something a lot of people think they can't do. Unless you have a physical reason from a doctor, you can run. It is your attitude that stops you. I hated it at first and then all of a sudden, I realized one day that I loved it. You may not love it, but it will get you into shape. Will you lose weight from just running? Only if you are controlling what you eat. If you run but have a milkshake everyday (hello 1000 calories!), you won't lose any weight unless you are running a good 13 miles a day. You don't have to be fast to run. By the end of my workout/training session, I can walk faster than I run. I've also gotten better though and now I can do a 9 minute mile when I need to, you know, if I see creepers in the neighborhood or big scary dogs.

I've said this before, but when I run, I use three apps on my phone. I know, that seems a bit excessive, but let me explain. Right now I'm in week 7 of the 9 week Couch to 5K training program. I *think* it was a free app too but I could be wrong. It tells you exactly what to do and exactly when to do it. It starts you out walking and then running. Over time, you increase your running and decrease your walking. When it is time to run, your screen goes red and it beeps at you. Awesome. :) The only thing I don't like is that it doesn't keep up with mileage or your pace, so I use Run Keeper for that. It was free too. Run Keeper has coaching on it too but I don't use it. The third app I use is a new one for me--Jog FM. This one indexes all the songs on your phone and then plays songs based on the pace you are going. You can blacklist songs (like all my Christmas music), choose "Pump Up" songs, and favorites. I love it. I think it was $2.

All in all, my weight loss methods have cost me a whopping $2 this go around and total (over past 5 years) maybe $20.

I do have to tell you that I need motivation to run, which is why I enter races. When I know I've paid to do something like that, it makes me more inclined to train for it. It is really hard for me to just train for nothing except fitness. So the races cost money, but they are SO much fun, especially the Disney races, and since we have passes, it turns into a Disney weekend for my whole family.  Races are not necessary and I spread them out over the year, plus, when you pay to enter a race, you are donating to charity! :)

Yes, you can spend money on cute running clothes, or hats, or watches, or apps, but you don't have to. Losing weight can be free.

If you are really motivated, you don't need to spend a crap-load of money so a bunch of people can tell you 82 ways to lose weight. In the end, the only thing that is going to work (and help you keep it off) is to do the work--hard work. Eat right and exercise. You can drink all the "smoothies" and take all the pills you want, but in the end, the weight will come back if you don't keep it up. People say they don't have time to run--BULL CRAP! If you have time for facebook and pinterest, you have time to run. Time isn't the issue, your "want to" is the issue. Get off your butt and go do something that makes you sweaty! :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Losing the Weight: Step 1

The first step in weight loss is the motivation it takes to get started. Everyone wishes they could lose 10 pounds or be as skinny as so-and-so or be as toned as someone else. It is easy to want to lose weight, but the hardest part is wanting to lose the weight badly enough to actually start.

The first time I ever really gained any weight was our first year of marriage but you must know that when we got married, I was 21 years old, was 5'6", and weighed somewhere around 115-120 pounds. The picture below was the day we got engaged. Would I like to look like that again? Of course I would! Who wouldn't? I was thin, toned, and totally healthy and happy....and 21. The weight gain was only about 10 pounds so it wasn't that big of a deal.
Then, two years after we got married, I got pregnant with Ansleigh. I only gained 22 pounds with her (excessive vomiting will do that to you!) but that muffin top was a beast to get rid of and I never really did. It took around two years to really get that 22 pounds off. I finally did and I felt GREAT! I used Lose It and ran my first 5K (The Disney Princess 5K) and my second 5K (The Flamingo Run). I ran some and walked some. The weight was off, I went back to work, and stopped caring.

I mostly kept it off for about a year and then I really stopped caring because the talks were beginning about having a second baby. Who cares about a few pounds here and there? Well those few pounds turned into about 25 in just one semester and summer. Yikes!

Once you put on the weight, you feel almost defeated. It is there. You see it in the mirror, you see it with your clothes that you can't wear, you see it the most in pictures of yourself. It was sickening for me.

Throughout my pregnancy, I kept thinking about the first time I lost the weight, how I did it, and how I could do it again.

It is one thing to think, "I'm going to lose this weight." It is another thing to actually do it. It is so much easier to sit on the couch than to get up and do something.

How did I motivate myself? I looked at pictures of myself when I was thin and happy. I also looked at pictures of myself when I was a Fatty McButter Pants.  When you have a new baby in the house, you take pictures constantly and as we uploaded them, I kept seeing myself and wanted to throw up.

I started with food. That is easier (to me) to control. I was careful about what I put in my mouth. Mostly just the amount, not what I was eating.

Then I got out of the house and started walking.

Honestly, my biggest motivation was that I'd be seeing my sister-in-law (who I LOVE! and who weighs like...10 pounds) in a few months and I'm always worried about what I look like when I see her because she always looks so great. My motivation was that I didn't want to be fat when I saw my SIL. She would never judge me, and for sure, not out loud, but it is just one of those things. Plus, I knew I had no more excuses. No pregnancy, nothing. No excuses!

I also was motivated by the fact that I had gestational diabetes. When you have that, it makes you much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Pair that with the fact that BOTH of my parents and one of my grandmothers all have type 2 diabetes and it makes me like the poster child for someone who will likely develop it. I love pasta and I love Coke and I love chocolate. I cannot have diabetes.

Another motivator was the fact that we teach our children by example. If I'm always shoving my mouth full of crap and never exercising, what am I teaching my children? Ansleigh is at such an impressionable age. I want her to think that a healthy lifestyle is the only option. Nothing will motivate you like your babies can.

My sweet husband would never say anything to me about my weight or what I'm eating--he values his life too much ;) and respects me more than that, but I knew he was concerned about my odds of having diabetes later in life. Plus, who would really want a fat spouse? I mean seriously! Especially when that spouse was a mere size 2 when you married her? I know he doesn't love me for my weight or my size but I love him enough that I should be healthy. I need to be healthy enough to raise our kids and spend my life with him.

What are some other ways to motivate yourself?
  • ask yourself why you want to lose the weight
  • look at pictures of the you that you want to be
  • talk with other people who have been in your shoes
  • find a buddy who is going through the same thing you are RIGHT NOW
  • find a friend that can be mean to you and by mean, I mean honest. 
  • enlist your spouse or roommate--make them tell you to put that cookie back
  • link up your running app or your weight tracking app with facebook so EVERYONE you are friends with, all 800 of them, can see that you went out and walked, or ran, or maybe went over your calories for the day.
  • ask your friends to encourage you, because they will. They are your friends and they love you!
  • GET OUT THE DOOR! That is the hardest part. 
  • Put on your workout clothes. Wear them all the time. Why? If you have them on, you are more likely to do something that makes you sweat. Promise!
  • If your kids can't read yet, put a sign on the fridge that says, "Put that back, Fatty!" :) Or better yet, train your kid to tell you that you can't have that or to remind you that you need to exercise that day. Kids are relentless. 
  • If you are on Pinterest, do some searches for fitness, healthy foods, running, whatever and follow lots of those board. Your feed will fill up with things that remind you to "Just do it, even if you suck!" Or it will tell you "You're not hungry, you are just bored. Drink some water and learn the difference." If that isn't motivation, I don't know what is. 
  • If you like to read, read books on nutrition, or losing weight, or running, or whatever you are interested in that is active. Not only will it improve your knowledge on the subject, but it will also keep you focused on what you are doing. 
  • Listen to your workout music when you are in the car or washing the dishes. If it pumps you up, it might make you want to go do something. 
What motivates you? 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Weight Loss and Fitness Journey

Last summer I was fat. Fatter than I've ever been. And then....I got pregnant (on purpose, might I add!).
This was one year ago. See? I told you I was fat.

When I got pregnant I weighed 164. Hold on...I just threw up a little.

Ok, better now. When I went for my first doctor's appointment she told me that I was officially overweight and on the verge of obese. OBESE!!!!!!! But I was pregnant so it wasn't like I could do some insane diet. I decided to just not care. I'd worry about it later and blame it on being pregnant.

As my doctor's appointments continued and I adamantly refused to look at the scale. I did not want to know what I weighed. Only at the very end of my pregnancy did I ask how much weight I had gained. I was told I had gained 22 pounds. Not bad for pregnancy but that just added to the extra weight I was carrying around. If you add those numbers together, you get 186 pounds. That means I weighed 186 pounds when I walked into the hospital to have Addisyn. Yes, almost 8 of those pounds were her, but still...

When I came home from the hospital, I was determined not to be fat anymore. Not just that, but I wanted to be healthy and toned and I wanted to keep it that way.

I decided to run a half-marathon. I knew I'd need a while to get ready for it so the 2013 Disney Princess 1/2 is what I chose.

I started out just going for walks until  I got tired (I'd been on bed rest for 5 weeks prior to delivery) and then I started making those walks a little longer. Then, I started trying to jog a little here and a little there. Six weeks postpartum, I started Lose It (a calorie counting weight loss app). By this point I had lost the 22 so I was back to 164. Again, barf.

My goal is to lose two pounds each week (the maximum the app will allow) and this allows me roughly 1200 calories a day. The more I did each physically, the more I could eat. Which means I often found myself scrubbing an already clean house just so I could burn all those calories...haha! That is a first in our house, I promise!

I might need to also tell you that I'm a smidge bit addicted to Coca-Cola. I LOVE it! It  is the one thing I refuse to give up. I know I could drop the weight much quicker if I'd stop drinking soda and only drink water but that wouldn't last long. I'd pick the Coke back up and the weight would come back. I'd rather lose it while still indulging in my one bad habit. I usually only have 2 canned cokes in one day anyway-one for breakfast (I don't drink coffee) and one with lunch. That's only 24 ounces in one day.

When Addisyn was 9 weeks old, we went to Disney for a week. When we came back, I started my training (running). I registered for a 5K at Animal Kingdom in November and started using the Couch 2 5K app. I am currently starting week 6 of the 9 week program and now run 19 of the 30 minutes which includes a 5 minute walking warm up and a 5 minute walking cool down.

I have become addicted. I love to run. I love the peace and quiet I get for 30 minutes. I love the sound of my feet hitting the pavement. I love the feeling I get when I get tired and want to quit, but don't and pick up the pace. I love the feeling of accomplishment I have when I get home covered in sweat. I love it.

The training program has you run 3 days a week. Ideally, you'd run Monday, Wednesday, Friday and rest on Tuesday and Thursday. I HATE taking the kids in the stroller, simply because I want to be child-free and it is much easier without pushing 50 extra pounds. Because of this, I usually go on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. My husband isn't home on Wednesday nights so that is why I run on Tuesdays. Plus, who wants to spend their Friday night running?

I have to tell you though, on the days I don't run, I find myself desperately trying to find a way to fit it in. My neighborhood isn't really a place a young woman my age would feel safe running in when it is dark outside so I have to go before then.

I have also done the Jillian Micheal's 30 Day Shred a few times. The first time I did it, I couldn't do all of it, even on the easy level. Now I can do all of it except all the push-ups, but that is because my 4-year-old has more arm strength than I do.

I've also started to read a new book and I love it. The author is a former Olympian runner and she makes things so simple and it is really set up for beginners which is very helpful for someone like me. She has tons of great tips and a great story and personality.
I have become much more interested in eating healthy foods and finding substitutes to make things better for us and lower calorie. When we go out to eat, I beg to go to Panera Bread (only if it is a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday) because they have the most amazing garden vegetable soup with pesto and the big bowl of it is only 160 calories!!! I have also found myself searching out fitness tips and healthy recipes on Pinterest. Being healthy has become an obsession.

I don't deprive myself of food I like. I ate a Kit Kat last night. I love pasta. I just try to find a healthier way to make the foods I like. I use whole wheat noodles and fresh vegetables. I watch my portion sizes and try to eat only one serving of food instead of three of four. One of the things I do so that I can still eat what I like is that I find a way to burn off the calories. I run it off or I do a work out DVD or wash the dishes that are sitting in the sink. Or cut the grass for the hubs. Something. Anything. Losing weight isn't impossible and you don't have to starve yourself and only eat egg whites and carrots.

Being healthy is an addiction. The more you work at it, the more you want to work at it. 
The picture on the left is at the hospital right before delivery. The picture on the right is at Disney World 13 weeks later.

I currently weigh 141 which means I have lost 45 pounds since I went into the hospital. I still have around 10 or so to go, but my focus isn't on what the scale says. My focus is on what I look like. People can't see what my scale says but they can see what I look like in my clothes. I know I'm not finished yet, but I've never been more motivated.

Yesterday I started a new goal. I'm going to do the 30 Day Shred for 30 days in a row. It has 3 levels so I figure 10 days per level. I took a picture of myself yesterday (Day 1) and will take a picture on Day 10, Day 20, and Day 30. Assuming that I reach my goal, when I do, I will post pictures and update you guys.

Do you have any fitness tips to share? A great weight-loss story? Any good healthy recipes? I'd love to hear from you!