Wednesday, January 25, 2012


So I started my health and fitness journey a little earlier than most.  This year I didn't want to make a New Years resolution because for some reason that seems to create a lot of hype that is difficult to live up to.  I started my journey to be healthier and more fit in December which means I have been at it for 2 months and I have been sticking to it for 2 months.  I must say that I am pretty proud of myself right now.  I wanted to document this and make note of it because this is the point where I normally start to fall off.

I have been thinking a lot about what my motives are for embarking on this journey and a good majority of it comes from improving my body image - getting rid of the jiggly thighs, the back fat and the muffin top- but those reasons have not been enough for me to stick with it in the past.  Weight Watchers works and I lose weight and then I get tired of the tracking and the planning and I quit.  I have done exercise in the past and I start to see some definition and gain some strength and then I get wrapped up in work or schedule changes and I stop.

So to make it stick I need a different motivation - health.  Turning 35 has been a very interesting milestone.  My body has definitely changed and not for the better. Things hurt that didn't hurt before and things just don't work the same.  I want to be one of those women who looks forward to physical activity, who can walk an amusement park all day and go dancing at night.I had kids young so I will be 48 when the last one leaves the house and I want to feel good enough to travel and sight see and not be bogged down by my body.  This is part of the reason that I wanted to banish the scale.  I need to focus on how my body feels,  how my body is processing food and activity.  I want to be more mindful about what my body is telling me.  I don't want to feel a headache and just take a painkiller.  That doesn't address the reason for the headache - am i tired, am I hungry, am I dehydrated- those things are likely culprits but if not addressed are likely to get worse. Instead of popping pills, maybe a nap, a snack or a bottle of water can cure my body. 

I am definitely stuggling to keep that perspective right now.  I have been doing a new workout class which is BRUTAL.  I feel completely wiped when it is over (even jittery sometimes) but I LOVE that it pushes me past my physical comfort zone. However, I keep wishing that I had the scale to see how much weight these insane workouts are blasting off my body (mind you I have only taken 3 classes so I would probably be disappointed in the number anyway).  So why is feeling like I just accomplished something amazing, knowing that my body is working muscles I haven't worked in a long time (I have felt the discomfort in a different spot after each workout) and the knowledge that I am most certainly BLASTING calories away, not enough?

We have been so conditioned to measure progress by the number on the scale, by doctors and weight loss programs and tv shows and movies that letting it go has been much harder than I thought it would be. One thing the scale does provide is more of that instant gratification that is so prevalent in our society.  So even if I can't see the physical changes just yet, knowing that number has gone down 1,2 or 3 lbs tells me I am on the right track - or does it. Would I be happier with my body if I weighed 150 lbs?  What if all I could eat to get that "ideal" weight was fake weird diet food?  What if I was still jiggly at that weight?  What is I was that weight but had a life threatening illness??  I need my body to be HEALTHY and my weight is a small part of that.

SOOOO I need to set some non weight related goals that should help shift my focus...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Little Perspective...

So I had an awakening regarding health fitness and the almighty dollar.  People like to complain that weight loss programs, gym memberships, and healthy foods are too expensive. That it shouldn't cost that much money to be healthy.  I had the same reaction when I looked at the price of joining a chain gym near my house and when I had to shell out the $40 a month for WW.

Then I thought about the $100+ cable bill I pay every month.  The $100+ cell phone bill I pay every month. The "snacks" that I buy for the kids and the $$$ we spend eating crappy food on the go.  Is my health not more important than all of this. So I have a trial membership for a VERY expensive gym (love Groupon) and if I like it and stick with it for the 6 weeks then I will make the committment and sign up.  I am worth it!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Journey to fitness and health...

I have been pretty focused on fitness and health recently.  I do have some other life things that I want to work on - procrastination, being more organized, displaying more patience - but as we know trying to do too much at once is a recipe for failure (for me at least).  So I will continue to focus on fitness for a while until it feels like I've got it under control.

Sooooo I have made attempts to lose weight before and one time - before that last kid - I was successful.  I lost 20 lbs using Weight Watchers and kept about 15 of it off for over a year.  It took me 8 months to lose that 20 lbs, mostly because I have always been very honest with myself about what kind of "diet" I will (or won't) do.  I am not one of those "I've tried ever diet under the sun and nothing works" kind of girls.  I know me well enough to know that low-carb, low-fat, super restrictive, eat these 3-4 foods together, or any other craziness will last about 3 days at my house.  I lost weight on Weight Watchers because I could eat what I wanted when I wanted.  It took 8 months because I was not going to do something just to lose weight and not be able to do it for the rest of my life.  That is the recipe for gaining the weight back. (Which I did - when I got pregnant)

So my new journey to fitness and health started in January of 2011.  After an interstate move I found that the weight I had been maintaining for a couple of years had increased by 10 lbs.  So I decided to go back to the thing that worked in the past - Weight Watchers- and I was incredibly excited about the new Points Plus program.  I did WW for a few months and lost about 8 lbs and then I lost my mojo and even an upcoming trip to Aruba couldn't get me back on track. I started to track WW points along with calories and realized that I was only eating 1200 calories a day.  I don't want to ONLY eat 1200 calories a day for the rest of my life.  Do you know how fast 1200 calories goes??
During this time I started to get more interested in the health aspects of food.  I watched Food, Inc, Food Matters and any other food related documentary I could get my hands (remote) on.  I found that while the things that I saw disturbed me and changed the way that I thought about my local grocery store, the cost prohibitive nature of natural and organic products was difficult to overcome.  I am also a bit of a skeptic when it comes to product claims.  I worked in a deptartement where it was my job to design product testing and I know first hand that it is possible to design the test to get the claim you want. I also know that a lot of things that aren't good for you can be consider "all natural" and I just wasn't ready to pay a premium price for something that may or may not have been a premium product.

So I did a little more research and found that the food at the mecca of the natural, organic grocers -Whole Foods - was really just a step up from my regular grocery store and did not justify the exorbitant prices they were charging (go ask someone at Whole Foods where the pasture raised chicken is *hint there is none*).  You have to carefully read the labels there because they do have conventionally grown foods there - at a significant mark up.

So instead I have been doing a slow conversion.  The first substitute was whole wheat bread - I try to buy the brands that don't contain high fructose corn syrup.  Then I swapped out the white flour pasta for whole wheat pasta - If you cook it a little longer, the texture difference is negligable.  Then I moved on to brown rice - I have found that the Brown Jasmine Rice from Trader Joe's has a pleasant texture.  (I mention texture because that is always the biggest complaint when switching from refined white products)  I have started to experiment with grassfed beef and pasture raised chicken.  I wish there was somewhere local that was reasonably priced but I will likely reorder from Baucoms Best again.  I am also experimenting with fruit and veggie smoothies.

I had a fitness revolution as well... I HATE CARDIO.  I detest sitting on a bike, walking on a treadmill, step aerobics and most other cardio type activities.  The only exception is dancing.  Give me a Wii dance game and I will work it.  I LOVE weight lifting.  When I was going to the gym, I would regularly choose Body Pump or classes the used body weight strengthening techniques.  So imagine my joy at finding and seeing these women with AWESOME bodies suggest that it was possible to have the body I want with just managing my macronutrients and lifting heavy weight.

So these are the things I am focusing on Lift Heavy, Watch Macros.  I am positive this the right path for me.  It is so in sync with what I like and what I know I am willing to do :-)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thoughts on Weight...

One day I saw a girl at the gas station.  It was warm and she had on shorts.  She wasn't fat but she had BIG legs.  But the thing I noticed was that her legs were solid, not jiggly and cellulity.  And I said to myself  "Self, if my legs looked like that, I wouldn't worry about losing weight and I would wear short shorts everyday."  This is when it dawned on me that my mindset was all wrong and could be stalling my weightloss efforts.

You see I think I have a reverse body dismorphic issue, most times I look in the mirror and think I look great! Then I take the clothes off and see the cellulite and remember that I am, in fact, overweight.  So the girl with big legs brought about a mindset shift.  I don't really want to lose weight (I am fine with my size)...I want to lose FAT.  Now some people don't understand the distinction, but it is an important one.  Losing FAT requires a slightly different mindset than losing weight.  Our weight is made up of water, fat, muscle, bone and organs. When you focus on "weight" loss most times you lose some combination of water, muscle and fat and people seems to be okay with it as long as the number on the scale goes down.  Ever watch Biggest Loser or go to a Weight Watcher meeting where someone loses 10 lbs in a week??  You will hear them say "I know it's mostly water weight, but I'll take it". Well water weight can come back, just go eat a nice meal of chinese food and watch the scale creep up over the next couple of days. And losing muscle will turn you into a flabby skinny person - which is not what I want to be.

Seeing a change on the scale (up or down) does not directly correlate to diet and exercise.  If I weigh in after drinking a glass of water - I will weigh more, if I weigh in after using the bathroom - I will weigh less. If I weight in after weight training I may weigh more (water retention for muscle recovery).  Scale weight also doesn't take into account recomposition (gaining muscle while losing fat)  so I may be slimmer but see no change on the scale.  So what then is the point of the scale if it is affected by so many variables, some of which are out of my control. 

I have decided to do away with the scale!!!  I will no longer be one of those women whose day can be decided by a number on the scale.  It can't tell me how much fat I have lost so I don't need it.  If I had a strong muscular body with thick non jiggly legs and a pretty sculpted back I could weight 185 and be happy.  So I am focused on lifting heavy weight and upping my protein intake while lowering my overall calorie intake.  This should allow me to lose FAT while maintaining/increasing my lean muscle mass.  This thought is soooooooooooo incredibly freeing that it just might work and put me on the path to the body I really want!!!!

So in keeping with my Big Changes/Small Changes...I might make a slight detour.  I am still working on weightlifting consistently (the holidays are horrible for staying on routine especially when we travel).  But I love the way I feel after weightlifting and I can see how it is changing my body so I know I am sticking with it.  I have added in the 2nd Big Change of tracking my calories & nutrients.  I am going to stick to these two big changes and not do any small changes at the moment.  The reason - weightlifting to lose fat/maintain muscle is futile if I don't eat enough protein/watch my calories. 

On another note I have mastered two of my small changes - I quit coffee and I am getting my liquids in (my new russell and hobbs teamaker is definitely helping!)