Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Diet Break

I have a pattern with dieting and exercise.  The bad news is this pattern is responsible for me carrying an extra 25-35 lbs around for the past 5 years. The good news is I recognize the pattern (acknowledging the problem exists is half the battle) and I am putting things into place to change it.

I think I have gotten there with exercise...weightlifting is awesome.  NROLW (New Rules of Lifting for Women) is super awesome.  The first phase is kind of boring (8 weeks of the same, very simple workout makes me slightly batty - which is why I cut 2 weeks off this stage).  But all the other stages are 4 weeks, which is PERFECT for my easily bored, exercise ADD self.  Increasing weight is insanely encouraging for me and makes me want o do the workouts. I meet with the trainer every other week, which gives me my much needed accountability (this has to come from an external source-I suck at being accountable to me).  The trainer thing has been good on so many levels - he encourages me to increase weight ( I wouldn't do this on my own), he helps me push through those last reps where it gets really hard and my brain is telling me to stop, and I work harder in my just me workouts because I know I will have to give an update the next week. It is expensive, but as I previously discussed - If we can spend $350+ on cell phones, cable and internet, then I can spend money on getting healthy and getting the body I want!

The diet part is a little more tricky.  I know myself well enough to know that doing anything restrictive is a recipe for failure (hence the only diets I have ever done are WW and CalorieKing where I can eat whatever I want as long as I count the points/calories for it).  The hard part for me isn't really the eating is the tracking.  But I also know that I MUST track during my fat loss phase.  I am actually pretty good about maintenance (except in the winter - I really underestimate how much less I move when it's cold outside), but to lose requires me to see the numbers.  So the problem..I get tired of tracking.  I can be super gung ho and disciplined for about 2 months and then I fall of the tracking wagon.

I have been reading about planned diet breaks. Some studies have shown that if people implement a planned diet break (1-2 weeks) they have better long term results. It can also help with the dreaded plateau. The thought is it works because it gives you something to look forward to in those lower calorie weeks and that having a plan break makes it easier to get back on track after the break.  It also helps combat the adjustment that your body makes when it gets use to the same level of calories and activity. There are a couple of things to keep in mind to make a diet break successful 1.) Plan the break - have a set start date and end date and stick to it. 2.)Try to eat at a maintenance level.  This means don't use the break to eat everything in the pantry. 3.) If you have a lot of weight to lose, plan several breaks over the course of your fat loss journey.

So my diet break extends to not only upping the calories a bit, but also not tracking. My time period for break is one week. The current break ends on Sunday, April 29th.  My next break will begin on Friday June 22nd and end on June 29th.  Hopefully these breaks will help me continue tracking for the long haul.  I think it might actually work I took an impromptu break at the end of February and was able to get back on track after that so it shouldn't hurt!

Scale Drama

I pride myself on being all engineery and anaytical, but the scale reduces me to an obsessive moron.  I have never cried over the number, but obsess and worry and eat cookies (or cupcakes) because of the number that pops up on that horrible little contraption, yup been there.  That is why I swore off the scale last month...and then promptly reneged, not just because I have ZERO willpower, but because I keep reading fitness books that say you need that little number (or big number in my case) in your arsenal of measurements.  Of course this is supposed to be taken in with the context of body measurements and how your clothes fit, but that number was my undoing last week.

So back to engineery me...I am the chick that reads the "oh my god I gained 1-2 lbs this week, this diet isn't working" and rolls my eyes. Don't they know that scale weight means everything that your body is composed of, including the water and the poo.  Don't they know how many extra calories you need to consume to actually gain a pound of fat.  Well I have been doing NROLW (New rules of Lifting for women) and I LOVE it.  Lifting heavy weights is awesome!!!  But lifting weights can also make you retain water as your muscles repair themselves (chemistry stuff about glycogen and water ratio's and what not).  So it probably wasn't a good idea to set my weighin date for Thursday when I lift on Wednesday's. Moral of the story, up 4 lbs at weighin.  The analytical me said "it's just water weight, you didn't eat nearly enough to gain 4 lbs in one week" however crazy obsessive me said "OH MY GOD THAT'S INSANE, you need a crash diet right now, how about a cleanse, you just undid 2 months of work, you suck, weightlifting sucks- you must stop" and I proceeded to hop on the scale every 16.5 minutes to see if it went away.

By Sunday I still carrying my lovely extra weight around and still freaking out about it when I noticed that although I had only had 1 cup of coffee, I was heading to the bathroom every 30 minutes.  This made me completely estatic!!! Yay, my analytical brain was right, the water is finally leaving and the next day my weight was exactly what it should have been.  Lesson 1.  Don't weighin after weight lifting.  Lesson 2.  Ditch the scale - let the trainer measure body fat and weight once/month.

I still struggle with ditching the scale.  I mean how else would I have known that the crazy CATZ workouts that left me sitting in my car wondering how I could possibly drive home, resulted in zero fatloss (not just based on the scale-my measurements didn't change either).  No point in nearly killing myself for no gain.  I also would never have known that I lost 1.5 pounds while on a cruise (which brought about my new move more movement).  I think now that I can see a consistent downward trend (omitting the 4 lbs of water debacle from last week), maybe now is a good time to really let go of the scale for a while.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Goals Revisited...

I recently read a book called the Body Fat Solution.  It was an interesting read, it rehashed a lot of information that I already knew...the importance of weight lifting, not cutting calories drastically, increasing protein intake.  My biggest take away was from a section on mental training.  It talks about how elite athletes say that they get "in the zone" where it is like their bodies just do what needs to be done without much deliberate thought. It goes a little new agey with the visualizations and the law of attraction type talk, but something in it clicked for me.

One of the tips was to write down your goals...1 year, 6 month, 12 week, 1 week and daily goals.  That was nothing new, but then it said to rewrite them everyday.  The reasoning is that taking the time to rewrite our goals each day refocuses us on the goals. It helps make them a part of our subconscious so that it becomes automatic.

This really clicked and made sense to me.  I have so often wondered how/why people (including me) can follow a diet/exercise plan for months then fall of the wagon and gain the weight back.  I mean they say it takes 21 days to form a habit.  I have done Weight Watchers and exercise programs for waaayyyyy longer than 21 days and yet I always seem to revert back to my previous habits.  I realize that these changes are conscious choices and that we force ourselves to make them with an end goal in mind.  For most of us that means that once the end goal is reached or we get tired of making that choice we go back to our subconscious programming.

One of the awesome examples was driving home everyday and not remembering parts of the ride.  You have done it so often and know the route so well you can do it without even thinking about it.  But when you are going somewhere new it takes deliberate thought and sometimes if the route is similar, we end up at home instead of where we planned to go.

It also clicked because for as long as I can remember if I took notes in a class, I rarely needed to study for a test in that class.  It's like the act of writing it down made it stick in my head.  Why wouldn't that work with my goals too??

The last part was to frame goals in the present tense and as a positive statement.  The power of words is amazing. Writing goals in present tense puts you in a mindset of something being doable.  "I am" is sooooo much more powerful than "I want to" or "I plan to".

1. I plan to workout 3 times/week. (this implies ifs...if work doesn't get in the way, if the kids cooperate, if I find the time.)
2. I am working out 3 times/week. (no if, ands or buts about it)

Positively worded goals bring about a feelings of excitement and joy.  Negatively worded goals feel like a chore.

1. I am going to lose 40 pounds. (makse me think about how long it is going to take and how hard it is going to be.)
2. I will weigh 150 pounds (makes me think of cute clothes that fit well and not being self-conscious in my swim suit)

So I'm giving it a try.  It definitely can't hurt, but if it helps how awesome is that!

Settling into a Routine

Have I talked about my exercise ADD??  Unlike diets (of which I have only tried 2 - WW and CalorieKing) I have tried almost every exercise program I can find (except P90X -not interested).  So in the last year I have done Chalean Extreme, EA Sports Active 2,  Zumba for Wii, Dance workouts on the Wii, Sports Conditioning workouts, and I even have a Groupon for Crossfit that I haven't used (crossfit scares me).  Each time I get off to an awesome start and then something happens and it all falls apart.

So why doesn't it stick?? I decided it was time to do some self analysis.

I am too easy on myself.  If left to my own devices I tend to pick the easiest path (which is usually not working out).  I do better with competition or somebody watching.  I am easily bored.  This means that exercise DVD's can only keep me occupied for so long before I cringe at the thought of doing the same workout again.  I am social.  I work from home and working out at home makes me feel completely isolated.  I HATE cardio machines.  It is like a horrible form of torture.

I like lifting weights.  It makes me feel awesome, strong and powerful.  I like exercise classes, the group dynamic helps me push myself harder.  The set time makes it easy to schedule and stick to. I like results and sometimes weightloss and measurement results are slow to come...increasing the amount of weight or number of reps I can do tends to provide results more quickly.

So I have created and exercise routine that incorporated my likes and eliminated my dislikes.  I am doing New Rules of Lifting for Women and I really think this is something I can stick to.  Seeing how much weight I can already lift has me so excited to see how much I can increase it.  I also bought some personal training sessions.  I plan to schedule those for every other week.  The training sessions have 2 purposes...the first is to make sure my form is correct on these exercise, some of which I have never done before. The second is to have that extra push to add weight and complete all of the reps.  I love that the workout changes every 8-10 workouts so that should stave off the boredom factor.

I am also doing Body Pump classes and swimming.  I'm using Body Pump for more of the cardio effect and the social experience. And swimming because I want to get better at it and it beats a treadmill or an elliptical machine. So I am settling into this routine and plan to stick with it for the next 5-6 months.  I hope that putting together something with all the things I like will help me make this part of my lifstyle!