Monday, February 6, 2012

Day 36: Out of My Element

Wow, traveling and doing Body for Life is a challenge!  I guess that's part of why they call this a challenge.  I didn't realize how much of my progress was due to developing a finely honed routine.  My gym... my grocery store... my daily schedule.  Each day was just a repeat of the day before and that was working.

I gave myself a Free Day on the day that I flew to Florida but that was five days ago and my diet has been struggling ever since.  I've managed to get my workouts in but vacation is about yummy food!  Really, I've done better than I feel like I have but not as good as I was planning.  Finally last night I decided just to have two slices of pie and be done with it.  All of this picking at eating well but having little cheats was driving me crazy.  Better just to indulge once and then get back on the wagon.  Happily I've found that my motivation has returned and now I'm raring to go again.

If you've ever lost weight, has this happened to you... You overindulge once and then you feel sure that you've put all your weight back on?  I've lost 25 pounds since August but when I had two (small) slices of pie I was certain that I would look in the mirror and look like I did in July.  Fitness is so psychological, isn't it?

Monday, January 30, 2012


We're packing up to head out of town so I'll update the blog when we get settled later this week.  I had a reassessment at the gym today and I was happy to learn that my body fat percentage has gone from 29.5% to 26.4%.  That's about a 10% drop, which I hope is good for four weeks.

Have a great mid-week, everyone!

Day 29: Week 4 Comparison Photo

Four weeks of Body for Life completed!  I'm starting to fit into a size 8, which was one of my end goals.  That's very thrilling for me.  Less thrilling were the photos that hubby took yesterday.  I can see some change but it's subtle.  I'm the Queen of Unrealistic Expectations, though, so I know to be patient and keep on working hard.

One thing is for sure... the tanning bed has made a difference.  Doctor's orders for Vitamin D!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Day 27: Say No to Drugs

I learned a valuable lesson today.  It's best not to combine Sudafed, a cup of coffee, no breakfast and a cardio workout.  I mean, it was a great workout!  I was basically on speed.  But then my heart rate would not lower, even after I cooled off, stretched out and then sat in a chair.  In fact, when I was on the bike I began to feel dizzy and had visions of me getting off the bike and promptly collapsing to the floor.

After I sat for a while I tried to take my pulse.  But I couldn't remember if you timed it for 10 seconds and then multiplied by six or timed it for 6 seconds and multiplied it by ten... either way, I came up with 210, which I knew wasn't right!  So I asked the trainer on duty (who happens to be a paramedic) if he would check my pulse.  Thankfully it was down to 96 and I wasn't going to be spending the day at the ER or in rehab.

My husband and I went out to dinner last night and I counted it as my weekly Free Meal.  I wanted to eat healthy, though, because my devil scale said 128.4 yesterday morning.  That is soo close to a record low (since having children) of 127something.  Getting to that number meant more to me than anything on the menu, so I ordered an omelette.  My big splurge was some hash brown potatoes.

This morning?  127.2

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Day 25

Now I know why I was feeling particularly bad yesterday... I'm sick.  It's just a stupid cold but I feel like I've been hit by a truck.  Maybe not a Mack truck, but at least a Ford 150.

By yesterday afternoon I could tell I was coming down with something but it was just congestion and malaise at that point.  I went to the gym anyway and had a surprisingly good Upper Body Workout.  The weights I'm using are 5lbs, 8lbs, and 10lbs.  Just for kicks I tried to pick up one of the 35 pound dumbbells.  Couldn't even lift it out of its slot!

Ever the good citizen, I disinfected all of the weights and everything I touched afterwards.  I'd hate to get anyone else sick.  Today the cold has settled into my throat and chest so I'm postponing my cardio workout until tomorrow.  Hopefully I'll feel well enough to do it.

I'm still eating clean with the addition of some honey in my tea.  Tomorrow night hubby gets back from a business trip to Mexico and we're going to meet at a restaurant.  I'm looking forward to my free meal of the week!  And, of course, seeing hubby again!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day 24: SAD

I remember now why they named it Seasonal Affective Disorder because that's just how I feel... S.A.D.  It's been gray and gloomy since November and it has finally caught up to me.  I've heard that frequent moderately intense exercise works just as well as an anti-depressant.  Well, I'm doing/taking both, which has helped me win the battle... until now.

I am extremely fortunate to be able to get some significant relief by spending the month of February in Florida.  I know that sounds indulgent but it's truly a mental health solution.  Plus, driving down and renting a house inland for four weeks costs the same as flying down and staying at the beach for one.

I'll be bringing a set of free weights along but I won't have access to a gym.  The upside is that I should be able to get my cardio by going for walks/hikes/runs outside.  Exercise plus sunshine should mean good things!

This challenge is keeping me focused on healthy behaviors.  It is very typical for SAD sufferers to binge on carbs and lounge around all day.  But I am still determined to follow the eating plan and go to the gym each day, whether I feel like it or not.  It's nice not to have to think about it and try to decide if I should or shouldn't go.  No, I'm going because it's what I do.  It's also nice not to be feeling guilty as I watch myself gain weight all winter.

I may feel depressed but at least my body is improving!  That's worth ten Prozacs right there.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Day 22: Wherein I Commit an Act of Violence

Never have I harbored so much hatred for an inanimate object.  The manufacturer of my scale may say Conair but I know from whence it truly comes... the bowels of hell.  There is a little demon who lives in my scale and just loves to taunt me. 
My Scale - Possibly PhotoShopped

This morning's workout was not so good.  Oh, I did the Lower Body exercises but I just didn't have any energy.  I'm wondering if it's because I did it too late in the morning in a still fasting state.  It's one thing to do a pre-breakfast workout soon after getting up.  But to put off breakfast until 11:00am because you can't get to the gym until 10:00am may not be such a good idea.

I tried on the size 8 dress that now zips but doesn't quite fit.  Since I can't trust that demonically possessed scale, I'm looking for other ways to measure progress.  So I'll keep trying on the dress every couple of weeks.  I also tried on some skirts that I could not get up past my thighs last summer.  They fit perfectly!  That will be nice for our vacation next month.

Size 8 - In Need of a Sweater or Shawl!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day 20

I thought that since it was 4 degrees and four inches of snow had fallen that the gym would be empty this morning.  Wrong!  There are some very determined exercisers in my small town.  I wish they'd go away.  (Kidding!)

My worst fear came true... all of the treadmills were taken.  Plan B, an elliptical.  Also all taken.  A stairclimber?  I'd kill myself.  Besides, they were all taken.  There was one bike left and not one of the good ones.  Thankfully after eight minutes of hell one of the good ones became available and I snatched it up.

I had some extended family drama early this morning and almost missed getting to the gym.  The drama took hours of my time and I was tempted to blow off my workout.  But no... that is priority Numero Uno.  Well, actually Numero Dos since family did come first.

I took my frustrations out on that poor exercise bicycle and got my heart rate up nice and high.  I did intervals for 20 minutes and then 10 more minutes of moderate intensity.  It was a great distraction from the drama and the endorphin high afterwards was a blessing, too.

You know what's nice?  Having a collar bone again.  I never knew that I'd measure progress by my neck.  I may not be happy with my tummy but that collar bone sure is pretty.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Day 19: Closing in on a Goal

There has been a great discussion going on at the Body for Life forum about how often one should weigh himself.  I wholeheartedly agree with those who say that the scale can deceive and that we should look to other signs of progress, like measurements and how our clothes fit.  And yet, even though I believe that, I can not shake my habit of checking the scale first thing every morning.  I may be a wee bit obsessive/compulsive.

Argh.  Today it was back at 130.  Whyyyy can't I break through this number??  I make it to 128 but then it goes to 130.  Before I was stuck at 131/130/132.  I want it to be 120.  That's do-a-dance-down-Main Street level of happiness.  But I'd be delighted to be stuck around 125.  It's been months and I can not consistently get lower than 129.  Do you see what I mean about obsessive?

There could be all sorts of good reasons why the scale isn't budging.  It could be muscle growth.  That's a good thing!  I may need to tighten up the eating plan a bit.  It could be PMS (for months on end?!).

So today I decided that maybe the folks at the Body for Life forum know what they're talking about and I decided to check my progress in other ways.  I couldn't find the measuring tape so I decided to try on a size 8 dress that I knew didn't fit.  This was going to be depressing because I just know that I haven't changed sizes.  But I wanted to see if maybe instead of not being able to zip it up at all, maybe I could get it partially zipped.

Wow, I got it zipped all the way up!  Now, it was tight and not what I would call a good fit, so I'm not really a true size 8 yet... but I'm closing in on it.  That was my goal by the end of 12 weeks.  I may just get there at the end of four weeks.  Ain't no way I'll ever be a size 6, though.

Here is my Dream List from the Body for Life journal.  You are supposed to write down what you'd love to achieve.  In the past I would write down all sorts of lofty goals... and then never reach them.  This time I decided to be more modest in my dreams in the hope that they were more reasonable than before.

It's tough to read but my goals are as follows:
* Wear a size 8
* Do 4.2 on the treadmill for 10 minutes
* Develop good posture - No sore neck
* Build a strong core
* Lose 8 pounds, maybe reach 121
* Be able to see abdominals
* Get my cholesterol down to 200

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 17

It's Wednesday and that means another Abs class.  This time I was the only student.  It was like having my own (free) personal trainer.  But there was nowhere to hide!!  I truly hate this woman.  (Kidding!)  I thought that two sets were sufficient, but she insisted on three.  If I tried to cheat on my form to make it easier, she caught me.  She said she wants me to think of her tomorrow... meaning she wants me to feel the results of today's workout.  Oh, don't worry.  I will.  ~glares at her~

We had a fancy church function last night and I received several nice compliments on my evolving appearance.  I should take a picture of me in the form fitting red dress.  I look much better fully clothed and wearing Spanx.  I've never worn a bikini in my life... not even when I was a skinny teen.

I'm so glad that my religious convictions require modest clothing!  I feel bad for the young girls today who want to dress in fashion but are unhappy with their figures.  I even feel bad for the skinny ones who are learning that their value depends on looking "hot".  Covering up doesn't mean you're a prude.  It shows that you want to be valued for what matters... your kindness, intelligence, sense of humor.  Trust me, if men are staring at your boobs, they're not admiring your witty style of repartee.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 16: Week 2 Photos

Alright, what's a Body for Life blog without progress photos, right?  That's what we all like to see.  I'd like to see more progress but it's only been two weeks!  At least I do see a little progress and that inspires me to work even harder.

I seriously need new photographers.  The first photos were taken by my wonderful husband who has many skills... photography not being one of them.  The Week 2 photos were taken by my 11 year old, who can be excused due to his young age and inexperience.  Maybe for Week 12 I'll splurge for a pro!  Maybe I'll hire a better model, too!

Nothing too dramatic but I'm pleased to see some changes.  Hopefully in two more weeks there will be more changes.  I'm definitely motivated to focus much harder on eating clean and kicking up the cardio.

I did something today at the gym that I just. don't. do.  Y'all... I jogged.  For the last minute of my cardio on the treadmill I decided to bring the speed up to 4.2 and break out into a jog.  I was jamming along to the songs on my iPod (Hanson's Mmmbop and Bon Jovi/Jennifer Nettles' Who Says You Can't Go Home, if you must know my eclectic tastes.) and the endorphins were flowing and I just wanted to do more.

I've never been a runner.  I'm not built like a runner... I'm, uh... too curvy.  If I'm going to do this again, I'm going to need a better sports bra!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Day 15

Monday morning and I'm back on track.  I had a good Upper Body Workout at the gym and I'm following the eating plan that I put together ahead of time.  I was going to take photos today, since it's the end of two weeks but I decided to wait until tomorrow.  I want a day of clean eating first!

I haven't posted any photos yet because I want to be able to put up a comparison, even if it is only two weeks worth.  It's just too hard to put up the "Before" shots without having something to point to and show some improvement, no matter how slight.

I'm not expecting to see any changes because I don't see them in the mirror or in how my clothes are fitting.  Part of the problem is that the smallest amount of salt or carbs makes me puff up like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.  I hate that!  I've got to figure out a way to deal with water retention.  In the Body for Life book, Bill Phillips strongly recommends the consumption of large quantities of water each day.  For some reason, that is difficult for me.  I just don't want to drink water.  But I'm going to work on increasing my consumption.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day 13: The Perils of Not Planning

Today is Saturday and I have good news and bad news.  The good:  I had an all day pro-life conference to attend and needed to leave my house by 9:00am.  Going against my every instinct, I woke up early and went to the gym at 7:30am.  I'm not a morning person, so that was truly revolutionary for me.  Yay me, getting in a workout even though it was early and I had other things to go do!

The bad news:  I meant to bring along healthy foods to the conference but forgot.  They had boxed lunches, which were a fried chicken meal.  In fact, this conference had lots of food available, like cookies and chips.  But I did try to make better-ish choices.  I had one fried chicken breast and not the two that were in the box.  I did have the mashed potatoes and cole slaw but not the biscuit or cookies.  I grabbed an apple, instead.

Dinner was a sloppy-joe sandwich (I took off the top half of the bun) and tater tots.  I know, right?  I'm 40 years old and still eating tater tots.  I'm chalking today up to being a free day, even though I just had my free meal on Thursday.  It could have been better but in the past, I would have done worse.  I haven't been planning out my meals on paper, like the Body for Life journal has you do.  That would undoubtedly help, so I'm going to start doing that. 

Winging it makes me have to make choices when I'm hungry, which is the worst time to be making those sorts of choices.  If I had taken my lunch along, I wouldn't have had to think, "Should I have the cole slaw or does the sauce make it high in calories?  How much damage can one small dish of mashed potatoes do?  Those cookies look good... me want cookies!".

It's best to do my thinking ahead of time and then just follow the plan, regardless of what temptations spring up.  Live and learn!  Ugh, I feel so full.  And guilty.  And dismayed that I'll probably not see 128 for a while.  Thankfully tomorrow is another day and I will learn from my mistakes.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Day 12: New Low

Last night I went out with some friends so I planned ahead of time to have my Free Meal then, rather than this Sunday.  That's the second Thursday in a row that I've swapped out my Sunday Free Meal.  (I'm doing a Free "Meal" rather than Free "Day" because I'm afraid that I'd do too much damage with an entire day of eating with abandon.)

Heck, I was nervous just having a Free Meal.  Even though I was looking forward to it I panicked a bit when we got to the restaurant.  Should I really eat whatever I wanted?  What if I wanted the fried appetizer platter?  And a cocktail?  And gooey cake for dessert?

Maybe I should get the grilled fish and broccoli and figure that the one mixed drink would add enough calories to the day?  But I didn't want the grilled fish and broccoli.

To make matters tougher, yesterday morning I was thrilled to see the scale say 128.0.  I didn't want to wreck that!  What if I had dessert and then the next day the scale reads 129?  I've worked so hard to get down to 128.  But I know that it's important to indulge now and then or else I will get extremely burned out and run the risk of cursing it all and then binging.

So with great anxiety (a sickness, really), I ordered the trout almondine, grilled zucchini, sweet potato fries, a peach martini and had one small cupcake for dessert.  Oh yeah, and a garlic muffin or two.  All in all, it was a yummy indulgence but it wasn't too over-the-top.

I brought home the other three cupcakes to give to my children and today at lunch I wiped the extra frosting off of the container with my finger and ate it.  Ohhh man, I could have caved right there and then and eaten the cupcakes myself.  I was so tempted by the sweet sugar goodness.

Sometimes I wonder if there isn't some similarity with alcoholics.  I seem to be better off avoiding all sweets completely.  Having "just one" is enough to knock me off the wagon and bring back all of my old cravings.

The happy news is that the scale this morning said 128.8.  I doubt very much that I gained more than half a pound from one dinner... it might be the higher salt content from dinner causing that reading.

This morning I thought, "Oh, gee... do I have to go to the gym again??  The answer was YES! so I went and had a decent Lower Body Workout.  I read these Body for Life champions who say things like, "I've become so much more clear headed and focused and exercise became a routine.".  I'm not there yet.  The pull of the bed on a cold winter's morning is still very strong!