11.08.2011

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


Roasted Cinnamon Pumpkin Seeds

Since I don't have any kids and I live too far out in the sticks for trick-or-treaters, Halloween usually passes me by without any fanfare.  I don't normally carve pumpkins or dress up.  But I am all about scooping up a fantastic deal on the after-Halloween pumpkins to make one of my favorite healthy fall snacks...pumpkin seeds!  When I saw pumpkins on sale the day after Halloween for $1 each, I knew it was seed roasting time.

Roasting pumpkin seeds is SO easy...and fun, too in a sticky, messy kind of way.  You can also roast other types of squash seeds, so don't throw away the insides of your butternut and acorn squash!

First, cut your pumpkin open and scoop out the insides.  Try to pull the pulp and strings away from the seeds as you go.  It will be much easier later to get the seeds clean.



Give them a good rinse under running water.  I like to rub them through my hands to make sure to really get the seeds clean.

Spread the seeds out on a baking sheet with a little canola oil or cooking spray.  I lined mine with foil for easy clean-up.

Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so.

At this point, you can add seasonings or just eat them plain.  I did a batch with just a little tiny bit of butter and some salt and another batch with cinnamon!  Yum!!

Once you add your seasonings, turn the oven to 350 and roast for another 15 minutes or so.  Check them frequently to make sure they don't burn.  Store the seeds in an airtight container for several weeks in the refrigerator (if they last that long).

Pumpkin seeds taste great and are great for you.  1 ounce is about 85 seeds and has 126 calories.  The seeds are full of essential fatty acids and healthy oils, and the outside of the seed, the hull, is full of fiber.  And, yes, you can eat the whole thing.  No need to shell them!

What are your favorite ways to season pumpkin seeds? 

10.30.2011

My First Triathlon!

I think I've said before that I am always better at working out consistently when I am training for something.  While training for the bike trip, I made it a point to ride my bike practically every day.  Since the trip came to an abrupt end, I have only ridden a couple of times.  Even though I actually really enjoy riding and I love that feeling of accomplishment I get when I've been working out regularly, I just struggle with actually getting off the couch and getting started.

I decided that I needed something to train for over the winter so I don't fall into my normal lazy habits when the weather turns cold.  I have been interested in trying a triathlon for a while now, specifically a sprint triathlon.

A sprint triathlon is usually a 750 meter swim, followed by a 12.4 mile bike ride, finishing off with a 3.1 mile run.
It's not official yet since they haven't opened the registration for next year, but I have decided I am going to run the Kansas City Triathlon on May 20, 2012.  I am SO excited to run my very first triathlon!!

I am going to spend this winter working on all three disciplines.  I have actually never swam a proper lap in my life, so Goal No. 1 is going to be learning how to swim laps. I found a community center with an indoor pool fairly close to where I live that offers lap swimming hours.   I'm also going to see if they have any adult swimming lessons so I can learn and work on proper swimming form.  I need to work up from walking a 5k to being able to run a 5k.  I am also going to continue riding my bike when the weather allows it throughout the winter.

Have you ever run a triathlon?  Were you nervous your first time? 

10.25.2011

The Pink Ribbon

Image Source: carolsutton.net

A little pink ribbon…we all know what it means.  The pink ribbon is the worldwide symbol for breast cancer awareness.  Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the pink ribbon is everywhere.  NFL players are wearing pink shoes and reading plays off pink notecards; NASCAR drivers are driving pink cars and sporting pink hats.  But even with all this pink in my face all month, I never really stopped to think about what it all meant.

This past week, I became aware of breast cancer in a way I hoped I would never have to.  My aunt revealed to me that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. 
If caught early, breast cancer is very treatable.  In fact, according to the Breast Cancer Institute, there is a 100 percent five-year survival rate for those whose breast cancer is caught at the earliest stages.  However, my aunt is the type of person who stays away from doctors at all costs.  She is 50 years old and had never had a mammogram until recently.  Now she has been diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer that has spread to her bones…incurable.

My family has always been very private, so this is a hard thing for me to talk about.  I can’t even imagine the fight my aunt is in for.  I feel scared and helpless and just wish I could think of a solution that would make everything better.
Now seeing all the promotion for Breast Cancer Awareness Month has taken on a new meaning.  Some of the advertisements out there are cute and catchy.




But there is nothing cute about breast cancer.  1 in 8 women will contract some form of breast cancer during their lifetime.  Please take a minute today to check yourself for lumps.  Learn about how to do a self-exam here.  If you're over 40 or have a history of breast cancer in your family, talk to your doctor about scheduling a mammogram.  Something so simple (and relatively painless) could save your life.

10.24.2011

A Weigh-In...Finally

I have been avoiding a weigh-in for a while now.  It's easy to see from my lack of posts that I have not been focused on weight loss lately.  I decided today that it's time for another go at this.

When I saw the number on the scale today, I wasn't really shocked.  I am very disappointed, though, in how I have done this year.  I came into 2011 feeling like it would be my year for big changes, but it turned out to be more of the same.  I know it's nobody's fault but my own and we've still got 2 months left in 2011, so it's definitely time for me to turn things around.

Today's Weight: 278.0

Goals for the week:
  • Drink a TON of water  (I have been really bad about this lately and have fallen back into the habit of drinking Pepsi with meals.)
  • Eat breakfast every day
  • Exercise at least 5 days
  • Cook at home every day...NO eating out!
I'll be checking in this week to let you know how things are going.

10.20.2011

Bike Trip Disaster - The Aftermath

You can catch up with Part 1 of the bike trip disaster here and Part 2 here.

Seeing my grandpa laying on the ground triggered lightning bolts of panic buzzing through me.  I knew I had to remain calm and figure out how badly he was hurt and get help quickly.  I ran back to him and felt relief wash over me as I saw him moving around and trying to get up.  He said his shoulder hurt, but he didn't think it was anything serious.  He was bleeding from his elbows and knees, so my main focus was on stopping the blood.

After the initial shock started to wear off, I realized his shoulder didn't look right.  He acted like it wasn't a big deal, but I could tell it was hurting him a lot more than he was saying.  I grabbed my cell phone and tried to call my mom and dad.  They were supposed to be, at most, two miles down the road waiting for us to ride to them.  At first, I couldn't get the call to go through.  Cell service was spotty where we were, and I started to worry I wasn't going to be able to get ahold of anyone.

I finally got my mom on the phone and tried to explain where we were on the trail.  My mom completely panicked and got lost trying to find us.  After 10 minutes of waiting for her and my dad, I started to think I should have just called 911.  Just then, my grandpa announced that he thought his shoulder was broken.  I felt his collarbone and could clearly feel the bone sticking up where it definitely shouldn't have been sticking up.

That sealed it for me that 911 was going to be our best bet.  I called 911 and explained to the operator that we had just crossed over the Boonville bridge and were on the Katy Trail.  We waited another 10 minutes before she called me back and said the emergency response team was having trouble finding us.  I was beginning to worry that nobody was going to be able to find us.  My grandpa was getting more and more pale by the second and was still bleeding from several places even though I had bandaged him up the best I could.

We could hear the sirens in the distance, so we knew the ambulance had to be close.  I told my grandpa I would run to the highway about a quarter mile down the trail and flag the ambulance down.  He insisted on coming with me and he absolutely refused to leave our bikes alone.  Did I mention that his bike is his baby?  Even with a clearly broken collarbone, he wouldn't leave it.  So we both started pushing our bikes back toward the highway.  By then, almost 30 minutes had passed since the accident.

Just as we reached the highway, everyone converged on us at once.  My mom came speeding up followed closely by not one, not two, not three, not four, but five emergency vehicles.  Then a four-wheeler with two EMS workers came speeding down the trail from the opposite direction.  Everything started to blur together at this point.  I realized I was sweating, sunburned, shaken, and covered in blood.

We spent the next two hours in the hospital.  The doctor confirmed that my grandpa's collarbone was definitely broken and that he needed surgery.  However, they didn't want to immediately do the surgery because of my grandpa's age and past medical history.  Needless to say, the Katy Trail ride 2011 had come to an abrupt end.

I felt so bad for my grandpa.  He lives for our yearly Katy Trail ride.  He talks about it nonstop from the time we get home from the previous trip until it's time to leave for the next one.  I could tell the pain of the broken collarbone was overshadowed by the disappointment he felt for not being able to ride his bike anymore.

It's been almost two weeks since the accident happened now.  My grandpa's doctor decided against doing the surgery on his collarbone and told him that he would have a bump there forever.  We don't know yet if he will be able to ride a bike again, but my money is on him.  If he puts his mind to something, he will do it.  He's already talking about taking the trip again next October.  It looks like I need to keep on pedaling so I can keep up with him next year!

10.19.2011

Bike Trip Disaster - Part 2

 When I last left you guys, I was telling you about how even with a sprained ankle, the bike ride across Missouri was going great.  However, things were about to get ugly.  If you missed it, you can read Part 1 here.

After resting for an hour, I was ready to tackle “the hill.”  I have ridden the Katy Trail a few other times over the past few years.  The Katy Trail is known as a rails-to-trails trail in that it was converted from an old railroad track into a biking and hiking trail.  Most trails like this are relatively flat, and the Katy Trail is no exception.  Most of the time the trail runs along the Missouri River and the trail is cut into the bluffs of the Missouri Ozarks making it a flat, smooth ride.  There is one 12-mile leg of the ride that gets me every time, though.  It is a 12-mile nonstop incline.  Even though it isn’t steep, it never lets up.
The last time I attempted “the hill” was three years ago.  At the time, I truly didn’t think I was going to make it.  This was the one leg on the trail I really wanted to ride this time.  I wanted to show it who's boss.
Since my ankle was starting to hurt quite a bit by this point in the day, my mom offered to ride “the hill” while I followed in the car, but I knew I had to try it.  As soon as I started riding, my heart rate jumped into the 170s and stayed there for an hour and 20 minutes.  I regreted not taking my mom up on her offer a couple of times during the ride, but I was so proud when I pulled in to the trailhead at the end of "the hill."  I didn’t break any speed records, but I conquered it.
Stats for “The Hill”
Miles: 12.4
Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Calories: 945!

The rest of the day was mostly uneventful.  We ate lunch, and then my mom and I switched off riding with my grandpa.  We finally made it to Boonville around 3 o’clock.  We only had one leg to ride before stopping for the night.  At this point, it was starting to get pretty hot.  We were all starting to get tired, but we knew we only had 12 miles to a hot shower, a TV, a couch and relaxation.

Riding out of Boonville towards Rocheport was SCARY!  Leaving Boonville, we had to ride over a long bridge spanning the Missouri River.  I could see the water flowing a hundred feet below me, and all I could think about was the fact there was only a flimsy chain-link fence separating my bike and me from plunging into the frigid water.
I thought it would be smooth sailing after making it over the bridge, but I was wrong.  We had just turned off the bridge and ridden down the trail about ¼ mile when it happened…the wreck. 
I always ride slightly behind my grandpa so I can keep an eye on him while also riding my own pace.   I was just to the left of him when I saw him bend down to adjust his water bottle.  Since he has had several strokes, he doesn’t have very good control with his left hand.  When he bent down with his right hand to fix his water bottle,  he lost his balance and his bike careened to the left.  His front tire went directly into my leg, and I had to hold on with everything I had to keep from crashing. 
Everything started happening in slow motion.  After I regained my balance, I skidded to a stop and turned to look behind me.  I turned just in time to see my 80-plus-year-old grandpa flip over his handlebars and land face down in the ditch next to the trail.
Come back tomorrow for the conclusion of the bike trip disaster.

10.09.2011

Bike Trip Disaster - Part 1

Lately I have been telling you guys about how I have been training for a bike trip across Missouri with my grandpa.  The trip was scheduled to happen from this past Wednesday (the 5th) until Friday (the 7th), but things went wrong...very wrong.

Before the Trip

This story begins about two weeks ago.  At this point, I had already been riding my bike every day for the past 5 weeks.  I was feeling amazing.  I hadn't really lost any weight, but everyone I saw was commenting on how fantastic I was looking.  I was definitely toning up, gaining muscle and losing inches.  Over those 5 weeks, I came to absolutely love the time I spent outside riding my bike.  Then it happened.

I was walking in the backyard when my foot got stuck in a groundhog hole, and I sprained my ankle badly.  Before the pain even registered, I started thinking about how I was only 2 weeks out from the bike trip I had been training so hard for.  My ankle immediately swelled up and within a couple of days it had turned an ominous shade of blue and purple from my toes to the bottom of my calf.



I got an air cast for my ankle and wore it for about a week.  Sitting in a chair with my foot in the air was not exactly what I had in mind 2 weeks before the bike trip, but rest was the best medicine.  The week before the trip, I decided to try to ride my bike a few miles just to see how it felt.  My first ride did not go well.  My foot went completely numb after only 2 miles and swelled back up.

Just as I was feeling like I wouldn't be able to ride as planned, I started to feel a lot better.  The swelling was almost completely gone by the day of the bike trip.  I decided to go ahead and ride as far as I could and just see how I felt.  My mom and dad were also coming along on the trip, but they were planning on driving a car in case my grandpa or I needed help.  My mom decided that she would take over if I couldn't ride any further and I could follow in the car with my dad.

The Trip

The weather was absolutely perfect leading up to the trip.  The sun came up at 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, and my grandpa and I were ready to go.  We set off riding from Calhoun to Windsor, an up-and-down ride of about 7.5 miles.  It was COLD when we started off and my arms were freezing.  I warmed up quickly and actually really enjoyed the ride.  My ankle felt great and I was starting to feel like I was going to be able to ride the whole way as planned.

We stopped in Windsor for a granola bar and some water and then were back on the way.  The next leg of the Katy Trail was from Windsor to Green Ridge, a flat and easy 8.8-mile stretch.

Next up was Green Ridge to Sedalia, 12.2 miles.  By this point, my ankle was starting to hurt a little bit, but I was so proud that I had ridden almost 30 miles and was still feeling fit!!  Once we pulled into Sedalia, we decided that my mom would take the next leg of the trip.  I took that hour to ice my ankle and get ready for my next ride.  I was shocked when I looked at my heart rate monitor.  I was having a ton of fun and had burned a TON of calories.

Stats for the Calhoun to Sedalia ride:
Miles: 28.4
Time: 3 hours, 11 minutes
Calories: 1552

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the bike trip where things take a BIG turn for the worse!


9.06.2011

Keep on Pedaling!

Well, I have been slacking on posting here, but I have not been slacking on riding my bike and prepping for the bike trip.  I am actually having a GREAT time riding my bike every day.  I always have to talk myself into actually going, but then once I get out there I feel fantastic!  The weather has been amazing for the past week, so the riding has been even more enjoyable.

I went further than I have ever gone on the Katy Trail on Sunday.  I discovered a gorgeous sunflower farm.  There were literally tens of thousands of sunflowers that stretched as far as you could see.  I stopped and took a picture, but my iPhone really didn't do it justice.


I'm noticing some positive improvements in my heart rate the more I ride.  When I first started, my heart rate would consistently stay around 160-165 and easily go up to 180 when I was pushing hard up a hill.  Now my heart rate stays in the low 150s and won't really go over 170.  I have read before that a lower heart rate usually indicates you are more fit, so my cardiovascular fitness has definitely been improving.

I have been struggling to eat right for the past couple of weeks.  My brain keeps telling me, "It's okay to eat that (insert junk food here) because you rode your bike for 2 hours today."  I need to get out of that mindset.  Exercising is NOT a free pass to eat whatever I want. 

I decided that the only way to keep myself accountable is to go back to tracking calories.  I downloaded MyFitnessPal on my iPhone, and it is a fantastic app!  I know a lot of you already use MyFitnessPal, but I will have to do a detailed review of it soon for those of you who don't.

I've got 4 weeks left until the bike trip, so I'm going to keep on pedaling!

8.21.2011

Bike Training

In my last post, I told you guys about how I am training for a 265-mile bike trip across Missouri in October.  I planned my training rides out and have been following my schedule of riding for the past week.  I am already feeling SO much stronger on the bike!

Friday I was scheduled to ride 6 miles, but I didn't make it.  We had an insane storm on Thursday night, and this is what I woke up to.


There were also several HUGE branches that broke off and were still stuck up in the tree.  I spent several hours cleaning up the yard and got a real-world workout for sure.  I decided trying to ride my bike afterwards wasn't a good idea and called it a day.

Saturday was my rest day, but I had a 20-mile ride scheduled for Sunday.  On Saturday night I started getting really nervous about riding 20 miles at one time.  I didn't know if I could do it.  The longest ride I had ever done before today was 10 miles.

When I woke up this morning, I fought with myself for about 20 minutes before I finally decided to at least give the 20-mile ride a try.  I made a strawberry-banana smoothie, packed some nuts and fresh cherries in my bike bag to eat during the trip, loaded up my bike and set off for the trail.  The ride went absolutely fabulous!  I rode my bike 20 MILES today!!  I felt so accomplished when I pulled back into the trailhead at the end of the ride.  I am starting to really love riding my bike.

And do you want to hear the best news of all?  I burned 1173 calories during my ride today!  Wow!

I have some shorter rides planned for this week and then a 30-mile ride at the end of the week.  I can't believe it, but I am actually looking forward to knocking out some more miles this week.

8.18.2011

If He Can Do It, I Can Do It

My grandpa is an amazing man.  He was born during the Great Depression.  His mother, father, and eight other brothers and sisters struggled through life in a small two-bedroom house (the house he still lives in today) in rural Missouri.  His father died when he was only 8 years old, and he dropped out of the 3rd grade to get a job to take care of his mother and other siblings.  He went on to fight for our country with the Navy during World War II.  As he got older, he got sick and had three strokes over the course of two years.

After his last stroke, his doctor recommended that he begin riding a bicycle to help him recover and improve his health.  Since the Katy Trail passes right through his yard, cycling was the perfect activity for him.  Less than eight years after his third stroke, he has now ridden his bike more than 10,000 miles!  Oh, and did I mention that the strokes left him unable to even use his left hand?  Like I said, he is amazing.

For his 80th birthday in 2006, he announced that he wanted to ride the whole length of the Katy Trail, from Clinton, MO to St. Charles, MO, a span of 265 miles.  My aunt and I planned the trip, and in October my grandpa rode the Katy Trail over the course of three days while we followed in a car in case there were any mishaps.  He had the time of his life and started talking about taking the trip again before even finishing the first trip.  So every year since 2006, he has made the trek from Clinton to St. Charles.

This year, my grandpa turns 85.  This October, we will once again be taking a trip across Missouri to ride the Katy Trail.  There is one thing different about this trip, though.  I am going to ride the ENTIRE THING (265 miles!) with my grandpa.  Now, I usually ride with him for small sections of the trip, but I have never tried to ride every leg with him.

As of Monday I had seven weeks to get prepared to ride about 85 miles a day for three straight days.  I mapped out a training program, and I feel confident that I can do it.  My mantra is, if my grandpa can do it at 85 years old with only one good hand, I do not have an excuse! 

I ride my exercise bike pretty often, but I haven't ridden my actual bike in...ahem...a while.  I decided to start off fairly light with a 5-mile ride on Monday.  The ride went pretty well, but riding the exercise bike is nothing compared to actually riding outdoors.  According to my Polar heartrate monitor, I burned 338 calories in 35 minutes.

On Tuesday, it was raining, so I rode the exercise bike inside.  I burned 283 calories in 36 minutes (proof that outdoor cycling burns more calories than an exercise bike).

On Wednesday, I discovered this awesome iPhone app, Cyclemeter.  The app works like a bike computer.  It tracks your speed, location, elevation, time, and distance using the built-in GPS on the iPhone.  I love that it's integrated with Google Maps and shows your route.  Here are my Wednesday stats.  And by the way, when it says 2.55 mph for my speed, I was walking then.  I'm not that slow on the bike!




Today, I upped my mileage and did 10 miles and burned 640 calories.  The last three miles were tough, but I felt so good when I finished.  I love how I feel when I get off the bike.  I don't know why I haven't ridden more often.  Here are my Thursday screenshots.


Do you ever cycle for fitness?

8.11.2011

The Real Food "Rules"

A couple of days ago, I announced that I am making a drastic change in how I eat.  Now the question is, what am I going to eat?  What actually constitutes "real food"?

Real Food

Fruits - fruit in its natural form with no added sugar or unnatural preservatives

Vegetables - vegetables in their natural form with no added sugar or unnatural preservatives
  • Citric acid is an acceptable and natural preservative.
Seafood - Wild-caught is preferred over farmed seafood.

Meat - Any type of meat is fine as long as it hasn't been processed.  Local, organic, grass-fed meat is best if it is available.

Whole Milk

Unsweetened Yogurt

Eggs - organic, free range if possible.

Cheese

Beans

Whole Grains

Seeds

Nuts

Popcorn

Honey - in moderation.

100% Real Maple Syrup - in moderation.

Fruit Juice Concentrate - used as a sweetener in place of sugar (in moderation).

Coffee

Tea

Wine

Beer

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Unrefined Coconut Oil

8.09.2011

A Drastic Change

I just can't be trusted when it comes to food.  I have been telling myself that a calorie is a calorie.  I can eat whatever I want in moderation as long as I count calories and stay under 2,000 calories every day.  For me, this just isn't working.  If I leave room in my calorie budget for, say, a cookie at the end of the day, there is no way I am going to stop at one cookie.  If I have them in the house, I will eat them all.  If there is sugar in the house, I will eat it.

My goal when I started this new lifestyle was not only to lose weight, but also to be healthy...really, truly healthy for the first time in my life.  Technically I have been able to lose weight eating processed, low-fat foods and then using the rest of my daily calorie budget on sugary desserts...but I'm not getting any healthier.  In fact, lately I feel worse than I have in a long time in terms of my health even though I've lost 20 pounds.  I have started to feel like I am never going to lose weight, like I am never going to be that healthy person that I so badly want to be.  I don't want to struggle every single day for the rest of my life against this power food has over me. 

So what's a girl to do?

I have decided to make a huge change in how I eat.  I am going to transition to a real food diet, eating food that comes from the ground or the field in as natural a form as possible.  I am going to have to sever my love-hate relationship with sugar for good.  Is it pathetic that I want to cry right now just thinking about how hard this is going to be?  However, I feel like if I want to be healthy and live the life I deserve, this is something I have to do.

What exactly is "real food"?

Eating real food is both extremely simple and difficult at the same time.  It is simple because real food is simply that...real food.  Real food is unprocessed, unrefined.  Real food hasn't been altered to be low fat or sugar free.  Eating real food is difficult because grocery stores are literally teeming with thousands of products posing as real food that are really something else entirely.

I know eating this way is going to take dedication.  I won't be able to just grab something from a fast-food restaurant and call it a day.  If I lived in a big city and had more money, I'm sure I could find more real food restaurant options.  Since I live in a super small town, my options for real food are very limited.  I am going to be spending a lot of time in the kitchen developing a whole new repertoire of real-food-approved recipes.

I'm working on a list of "real foods" that I'll be posting by the end of this week.  I'm also going to be scouring my local grocery store to find some quick and easy go-to items that will make my new lifestyle a little bit easier, and I will be keeping a list here on shrinkella.com. 

If you can think of any products that are readily available that use only real ingredients, please let me know!
 

7.30.2011

Blah

I've been feeling like a wrung-out sponge lately.  I have no energy, and I just want to sit in front of the air-conditioner in front of the TV.  I know I'm not the only one because it seems like all the weight loss bloggers have been talking about losing motivation recently.  We've been under a "heat dome" (like most of the rest of the country) for the past several weeks and have been hitting highs above 100 almost every day.  I know it's just an excuse, but I just have not been able to motivate myself to work out this month.  Cooking has also been torture lately because even heating up a can of soup makes the house unbearably hot.  I was so ready for summer after a cold spring, but now I am SO ready for fall.

I haven't gained any weight, but I haven't lost any either.  I seriously need to get my weight loss mojo back!

7.18.2011

Monday Weigh-In

I skipped my weigh-in last week because I was out of town.  This week, I'm at 270.  I lost yet another pound.  As long as the numbers keep going down, I am not complaining whatsoever.  I know by now that the key to weight loss is just being consistent.  If I consistently eat healthy and consistently exercise, the weight consistently comes off no matter how slow I might feel it is happening.

I haven't posted a P90 update in a couple of weeks either.  To be honest, I am finding it more and more boring.  There are only two different workouts to do that you alternate between.  You do Sculpt one day and then Cardio/Abs the next day.  I know all of Tony Horton's cheesy jokes by heart at this point.  On the plus side, I am seeing some definite results.  Even though I am not losing very much weight, I feel so much stronger.  In fact, I have been using 5-pound weights during the Sculpt portion and I know I need to break down and buy some heavier weights.  It is just getting too easy!  When I think back to the very first time I did P90, I can tell that I have come a very long way.  I originally did the Sculpt workout without any weights at all and just did the arm movements, and my arms were SO sore the next day.

I like having a specific routine to follow along with every day instead of just mindlessly walking on the treadmill or pedaling the exercise bike.  I feel like I push myself more when I am following a DVD.  However, I am looking for something to replace Power 90.  I want something maybe a little more fast-paced and something with more variety. 

Does anyone have any fun workout suggestions?  I need some inspiration here!

7.04.2011

A Weigh-In and P90 Update

Happy 4th of July!  Does anyone have anything exciting going on?  4th of July is usually a holiday filled with cook-outs and beer, so it is hard to stay on track.  Heck, there's even a hot dog eating contest on ESPN2 right now.  I decided this year that I am going to spend a relaxing day at home, so it feels like any other day for me and I plan on eating healthy today as usual. 

I lost another pound this week putting me at 271.0.  I am not stressing about how slow it seems like the weight loss is going.  I know if I can just stay consistent, it will eventually all be gone!

Power 90 Day 3 through 7 went fantastic!  By Day 4, I FINALLY got my sore muscles working normally again.  I definitely think I overdid it those first couple of days.  It seems like it gets easier every day now.  I am feeling stronger and stronger.  My brother wants to join in doing Power 90 with me, but he wants to do the Level 3/4 DVD.  I think we are going to start that this week.  I will be wearing my Polar to see the difference in the calorie burns between the Level 1/2 and Level 3/4.

6.28.2011

Power 90 Day 2

Today was cardio day with Power 90.  My legs were SO sore from doing Sculpt yesterday.  I hopped on the exercise bike for about 30 minutes before I even started today just to loosen my legs up a little bit.  After kicking, punching, and jumping my way through my workout, I felt amazing!  I did a ton of extra stretching for my oh-so-sore muscles and then had a protein shake.



For me, working out has a double benefit.  Not only am I burning calories during the workout, but I find it a lot easier to stay on track with eating if I have worked out.  If I start having some unhealthy food cravings, I just think back to my workout and how hard I had to work to burn those calories.  I don't want to add them back for a few minutes of satisfaction.

I think I'll hit the exercise bike again tomorrow before doing P90 Sculpt.  It really helped to get me warmed up!

What workouts do you have planned for the week?

6.27.2011

89 Days To Go

First up, my weigh-in.  I was 272.0 this morning, which means I lost 1 pound this past week.  I'll take it.  :)

I promised you guys (and myself) that I would start Power 90 today.  I had a lot of stress with some late work coming in, and I had to rush to get it done.  Of course, that threw me into "tomorrow" mode.  Every time something comes up and I start getting stressed, I start telling myself that it will be fine if I just work out tomorrow and eat healthy tomorrow.

Excuses I thought of to not start Power 90 today:
  • Work stressed me out and now I just want to relax.
  • I don't want to get hot and sweaty.
  • Ugh! I can't find my sports bra anywhere.
  • Where is that Power 90 DVD again?
  • I don't want to!  I don't want to!  I don't want to!  (Stamping feet)
I finally decided to just start the darn workout and see how it went.  After a couple of minutes, I was into it, and it was over before I knew it.  I LOVE that feeling of accomplishment you get when you are done with a workout.  It felt so good to work out again after taking over a month off.  I definitely felt it too.  It was HARD!  My legs and arms are still wobbly.

I used my Polar to track my heart rate during the workout.  I did Sculpt I/II today, which is only 28 minutes including the warm-up and cool-down.  Sculpt focuses on building muscle, so I wasn't expecting to get my heart rate up very high.  I was surprised to see that my heart rate was up to 171 at one point (I think it was during the lunge/squat combo torture section).  Tomorrow is Cardio I/II and should get my heart rate up and keep it up throughout the workout.  I am interested to see the difference in calories burned between the two workouts.


 

6.26.2011

Power 90 (Take 2)

This week absolutely flew by.  I did a lot of cooking and stayed pretty much on track with healthy eating.  While I am proud of myself for that, I know I need to get moving.  Summer is usually the hardest time of year for me to pry myself off the couch because the heat just seems to zap my energy.  Last month before I went on vacation, I did a couple of weeks of Power 90 and could tell that I really benefited from it.  I love that Power 90 combines cardio and strength training.  So tomorrow I have a date with Tony Horton.  I'm going to do the full 90-day circuit this time.  I can't wait to see the changes that happen over 90 days.

I recently got a Polar heart rate monitor, and I'm really excited to see how many calories I burn with Power 90.  I know it will definitely get my heart rate up!

6.24.2011

Recipe: Fish Tacos


My entire life I have hated fish.  Okay.  Well, actually, I just thought I hated fish.  I don’t even know if I ever even really tried fish until just recently.  I’ve just always had it in my head that I hate fish…and that was that.  Last month for my birthday, I decided I was going to broaden my culinary horizons and decided to celebrate by going to Bonefish Grill.  I got the halibut and after taking one bite, my world changed.  I realized that maybe I should give fish a chance after all.  My brother ordered the fish tacos and we both decided we should try to replicate them at home.  These tacos were E-A-S-Y and F-A-S-T!  If you think you don’t like fish, you should give these tacos a chance.  We used tilapia, which was not "fishy" at all.  Best of all, it was affordable, available at the store (which is not to be taken for granted since I live in the most land-locked state in the US – Missouri), is super low in fat and calories, and packs a ton of protein.  You could also easily use cod or halibut for this.
Fish Tacos
2 fresh or frozen (thawed) tilapia fillets - about 4 oz. each
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of half a lime
4 soft taco-size flour tortillas
Any toppings you like!
Rub tilapia fillets with olive oil and sprinkle evenly with cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper.  Preheat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium heat.  Grilling in a fish basket or on aluminum foil will really help the fish hold together on the grill.


 Grill on medium heat about 5 minutes per side.  Add a little extra time if your fish is more than 1/2 an inch thick.  The general rule for cooking fish is 10 minutes per inch of thickness.  The fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork.
Throw the flour tortillas on the grill for about 30 seconds to heat them through.  Flake your fish and divide it evenly between the tortillas.  Squeeze fresh lime over the fish.  Add whatever toppings you like.  Enjoy!

Yield: 4 Tacos

Approximate Nutrition Facts Per Taco (Fish and Tortilla Only):
Calories: 200
Fat: 3.5 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
Protein: 23 grams
Carbs: 18 grams
Fiber: 1 gram

6.21.2011

Summer and a Much Needed Weigh-In

For a lot of people, summer is the best time of the year.  People look forward to summer almost as much as Christmas, dreaming of swimming, grilling, camping, and any number of other outdoor activities.  All around the country, millions of kids spend the month of May waiting for the strict schedules of school to change into day after day of fun in the sun. 

For me, summer is the absolute worst time of the year.  It is hot, for one…like ridiculously hot.  I can’t hide under layers of clothing like I can in the winter.  I don’t want to go anywhere near a pool.  God forbid I be seen in a swimming suit or shorts.  Just going grocery shopping turns into an uncomfortable, sweaty, miserable experience.  Oh, and did I mention that it’s hot?
The thing is…I want to love summer.  I want to throw on shorts and a tank top and go to the lake with my friends.  I want to walk around a street fair and not feel like I’m going to have a heat stroke.

I have to admit that I haven’t been doing great on the weight loss front for the past month or so.  I have been queen of the drive-thru lately.  I am in a pattern that I have to get out of.  I know how to eat healthy.  I like healthy foods.  I just can’t seem to string together more than one day without saying, “Eff it,” and losing myself in a sugar-induced stupor. 

Since today is the first day of summer, it’s got me thinking.  I need another challenge, a goal to reach for.  There are exactly 365 days until the start of next summer.  A lot can change in a year, and I know I can improve my health a lot in the next year.  By next summer, I want to be am going to be healthy.  I want to be am going to be a part of the summer instead of lying on a couch with the A/C blasting praying for fall.  I want to look forward to the summer.  I know I can get myself back on track.

And now to the weigh-in... 

Current Weight: 273.0

My results weren’t exactly unexpected, but it’s still very frustrating to realize I’ve gained back almost 10 pounds in the last 6 weeks or so.  I worked hard to lose that weight, and it was all too easy to put back on.  I’ll be back to posting weekly weigh-ins from now on, and I have a ton of healthy recipes that I have been wanting to try.  I’ll be sure to share all the good ones with you guys.  Stay tuned!

6.02.2011

Excuses

To me, weight loss is a mind game.  When I am shoveling spoonful after spoonful of ice cream into my mouth, I tune out that little voice telling me, "This isn't helping you.  Please stop hurting yourself."  After that voice has been silenced, it's usually pretty easy to justify a reason why it is ok to eat myself into an ice cream-induced sugar coma.  I will tell myself, "Well, today will be a free day.  I'll start tomorrow and be super healthy from then on." 

I'm always trying to convince myself that waiting a few days to start a healthy lifestyle will not hurt anything.
  • "Today's Friday.  Monday will be a good day to start."
  • "I am going out of town tomorrow.  I'll start when I get back.  I don't want to be restrictive on vacation."
  • "Our annual family barbecue is coming up.  There is never anything healthy to eat there.  I'll just start when I get home."
  • "It's the 26th.  I should just start at the first of the month.  That way, I can see how much weight I can lose in a month."
Countless times I have sat down and made an extremely detailed weight loss plan, charting out the calories I'm going to consume, the exercises I'm going to do, and the amount of weight I am going to lose and then set the start date for somewhere in the future.  Usually I either blow right past that start date without a second thought about that immaculate spreadsheet I spent hours on days earlier.  Sometimes I will actually start the plan but fizzle after a couple of super-restrictive days.

Well, I don't need a crazy plan this time.  I have stopped and started this weight loss adventure enough times to know exactly what I need to do to lose weight.  The only thing standing between me and my goal of being a healthy, normal-sized person are excuses.

My advice to all you guys and gals who feel like you're on a sinking ship but aren't quite ready to jump into the water -- advice I'm going to follow myself -- is start RIGHT NOW.  I know there is always going to be something coming up that is going to be a weight loss obstacle.  But I can't just keep ducking under the hurdles.  I need to start jumping over them.

5.31.2011

I'm Back, Baby!

I'm back from vacation, and I had an AMAZING time!  Orlando was SOOOOO much fun!  I have never been to a city so tourist-focused.  Wow!  Orlando, The Land of Gift Shops and Mickey Mouse.  There was even an electrical pole shaped like Mickey.



We started out at Cocoa Beach.



Then we went to Islands of Adventure.  Every store had a different theme, and the rides were great.  If you've been reading for a while, you will know that I was very nervous that I wasn't going to fit on some of the rides at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios.  I am extremely happy to report that I rode on every single ride.  It was a tight squeeze on a couple of them (Rip Ride Rock-It and Harry Potter's Forbidden Journey).  If I hadn't lost 20 pounds already, I definitely wouldn't have made it.



We also went to Universal Studios Florida.  It was like we stepped right into Hollywood.  There was so much to see!



After two days of theme parks, we were ready to cool off.  We went to a waterpark called Wet N' Wild.  It was great!  The rides were crazy there.  I've never seen so many tube slides packed into such a small area, definitely a fun way to end the vacation.



The vacation was just what I needed.  I was starting to feel burnt out from working and finishing up my MBA.  The only downside of the vacation was I went a little crazy with the food and didn't get back on track when I got back last week.  I'm trying not to beat myself up about it, but it is hard because I know instead of taking a few steps backward, I could be a few steps further ahead by now.  The only thing I can do at this point is to get back on track quick.  I am recommitted as of today.  I will be weighing in next Monday for my first weigh-in in about a month.  I'm nervous about what the scale is going to say.  Hopefully it won't be too bad.  I hate that I worked so hard for four months and then feel like I've undone so much progress in just a couple of weeks.  But...I'm still committed to losing weight and I know I am going to see this through this time.  I know I might stumble again, but it's okay.  That's life.

5.09.2011

Not MIA

Don't worry!  I haven't fallen off the wagon!!  I know I missed posting my weigh-in this Saturday for the first time in 16 weeks.  I have been SO, SO busy.  I haven't had a chance to post at all.  I finished my coursework to get my MBA last week and celebrated that along with my birthday pretty much all week.  Now I am way behind on work and only have a week to catch up before leaving for Orlando (my graduation gift to myself!) 

I need a brain break!  I am taking a blogging hiatus until I get back from vacation to Orlando on May 23rd and will have my next weigh-in then.  This will be my first vacation where I am attempting to eat healthy, so we'll see how it goes.  I'm not going to be super restrictive, but I'm not going to allow myself to go wild either.   

5.01.2011

Just the Facts: Month 4

I can definitely tell I am shrinking.  Every single one of my shirts is falling off my shoulders.  The Size 24 jeans I pretty much lived in prior to January won't even stay up.  I love finding old clothes that haven't fit and are finally starting to fit again!  I wish more was coming off my stomach, but I guess it will in time.

Measurements:
Neck:                16 (No change)
Left Arm:           19 (No change)
Right Arm:         19 (No change)
Bust:                  47 (LOST 1/2 inch)
Upper waist:      44 (No change)
Lower waist:      51 (LOST 1/2 inch)
Hips:                 49 (LOST 1/2 inch)
Left Thigh:         30 3/4 (LOST 3/4 inch)
Right Thigh:       31 (LOST 3/4 inch)
Left Calf:           17 (No change
Right Calf:         17 3/4 (LOST 1/4 inch)

Month 4 Total Inch Loss:  3 1/4 inches

Total Inch Loss To Date:   24 1/4 inches

4.30.2011

Weigh-In: Week 17

I can't believe I'm heading into my fifth month of weight loss already.  It's been flying by and crawling by all at the same time.  Does that even make sense?  :)  This was a great week.  I stayed on track with exercising and cooking healthy meals at home.  It's getting easier to plan out all the cooking for the week.  The key is to make a plan ahead of time and then stick to it.  I've also been saving a ton of money on food and gas by eating my meals exclusively at home for the past 3 weeks.  My countdown to graduation has officially begun as well.  Tuesday is my last final.  Only 3 days to go.  I will be paying a LOT more attention to this blog once I am finally done with school!!

Week 16 Weight: 265.4
Week 17 Weight: 264.4

Week 17 Weight Loss: 1.0 pound

Total Weight Loss: 21.8 pounds

4.23.2011

Weigh-In: Week 16

I seriously ROCKED this week!  I cooked every meal at home from scratch.  I ate absolutely nothing processed, no white flour, and no added sugar.  I did Power 90 every day.  I feel stronger every day that I do it.  I actually did a push-up yesterday!!  The downside is, I'm exhausted!  Between having only two weeks left until I finish my degree, cooking every meal last week, a heavy workload, working out every day, and just other everyday things, I feel like I just moved from one task to another all week with no downtime.  I need to work on finding a good balance.  Plus, I know things will get better after I'm done with school on May 3rd.  I'm going for another "perfect" week this week.  We'll see how the scale treats me.  :)  Oh, yeah...and I'm finally down my first 20 POUNDS!!!!

Beginning Weight: 267.0
Week 16 Weight: 265.4

Week 16 Weight Loss: 1.6 pounds

Total Weight Loss: 20.8 pounds

4.19.2011

Power 90

Have any of you tried Power 90?  I bought the program about 2 years ago but gave up after only a couple of days.  If you haven't heard of it, it's a two-part exercise program with two different levels.  The idea is to complete the program 6 days a week for 90 days.  The first day is Sculpt, which incorporates lifting weights with lunges and squats.  The second day is Cardio/Abs, which combines yoga, kicks, punches, and other torturous moves!


Photo courtesy of Beachbody.com

Last week, my brother Chris and I decided to give all we had to Power 90 until we leave for vacation on May 16th.  Oh, my gosh!!  I LOVE IT!!  It is SO challenging.  I can't do all of the moves without modifying them yet, but I already feel so much stronger.  The Sculpt will make your arms burn like crazy, and the Cardio...well, the Cardio is HARD!  Cardio will definitely kick your butt.  I love that you don't need any special equipment other than some 5-pound dumbbells or resistance bands and that you get such an amazing workout just using your body.

The follow-up program to Power 90 is P90X, which is designed for people who are already in moderately good shape.  My goal is to do a full round of Power 90 after getting back from vacation in May and then move on to P90X.  I have also heard that P90X2 is coming out sometime this year and that it will build on the moves learned in P90X.  If you're looking for a good workout program but you have limited space and limited exercise equipment, I would highly recommend this program.  I have only done the Level 1-2 so far, but the Sculpt is only 30 minutes and Cardio is only 40 minutes long.

I would love to hear if anyone else has had experience with Power 90 or P90X. 

4.16.2011

Weigh-In: Week 15

Another week, same old story it seems like.  I am getting frustrated!  This week, I did everything right.  I walked.  I played tennis.  I rode the exercise bike.  I lifted weights.  I feel like I was in perpetual motion all week.  I did good on the eating side of it, too.  I cooked healthy food and controlled my portions.  I just knew I was going to have a big loss on the scale...BUT the scale had other plans.  I only lost a half a pound!  What is up with that?!!  I know if I just keep it up, the weight has got to come off eventually.  It's just getting so hard to keep it up every week and see no results on the scale.  On the positive side, I do feel a LOT stronger.  When I first started exercising, I could barely make it 5 minutes on the exercise bike at 10 mph.  Now I am riding for an hour at 13-15 mph and feeling great.

Beginning Weight: 267.6
Week 15 Weight: 267.0

Week 15 Weight Loss: 0.6 pounds

Total Weight Loss: 19.2 pounds

4.09.2011

Weigh-In: Week 14

The word of the week this week was STRUGGLE.  I struggled to stay motivated.  I struggled to eat right even though my sugar cravings came back with a vengence.  Every single day was a struggle to get off the couch and get moving.  I definitely struggled, but I made it.  I had a good week and worked out a lot.  I also made smart choices when eating.  I was hoping for a big loss on the scale because I actually feel skinnier this week.  Does that ever happen to you?  You just wake up one day and actually feel skinnier?  Well, I felt skinnier, but I really didn't lose too much.  However, I am still going down little by little, and that's all that matters.  I will keep at it.  :)

I don't know how many of you are still watching The Biggest Loser.  Do you remember a few seasons ago a contestant named Julie Hadden?  She's a mom that was diagnosed with PCOS, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.  PCOS is an endocrine disorder that affects your reproductive system.  According to Wikipedia, insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity are all strongly correlated with PCOS, but the cause of PCOS is still unknown and there is no cure.  PCOS also makes it hard to lose weight.  I remember Julie on The Biggest Loser being so upset because she wasn't losing weight as fast as everyone else.  The first week, she only lost a couple of pounds, while the other contestants were losing 20-30 pounds.

I was diagnosed with PCOS in 2001 right after my 19th birthday.  I know this disease is probably contributing to my slow weight loss.  Even though I am working hard every week and feel myself getting stronger, it is so frustrating to still be hanging around in the high 260s.  But regardless of how slow this weight loss goes, I am still going to get to the finish line at some point.  On The Biggest Loser, Julie ended up being the runner-up at the finale, so she was ultimately able to reach her goal weight.  It just took a little longer than the others.

Beginning Weight: 268.0
Week 14 Weight: 267.6

Week 14 Weight Loss: 0.4 pounds

Total Weight Loss: 18.6 pounds

4.03.2011

The April Crackdown

In exactly 42 days, I am heading to The Sunshine State to visit Orlando with my little bro, Chris.  I am super excited because I have never taken a real vacation.
I am not going to miss this.
I am going to miss this.
My birthday is in May, and I'm FINALLY finishing up my MBA!  Woot woot!  This trip is kind of a birthday/graduation present to myself.  I posted a few weeks ago about how I am using this upcoming trip to motivate my weight loss efforts.  I am really anxious about the fact that I might not fit on all of the rides at Universal Studios.

I found this website where people share their experiences at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.  They list their measurements and talk about what rides they could and couldn't ride on.  It seems like anyone under 250 pounds didn't have any problem fitting on all of the rides.  My short-term goal at this point is to be under 250 by May 16th.

I know I can get there.  I will need to lose about 3 pounds a week to meet the goal.  That is a little more than I usually like to lose per week, and it's a little more than I have been losing per week.  However, I have so much to lose that I think I can safely lose that much each week and then scale it down after the trip.

I have noticed that the weeks I work out 3 or more days per week, I have been losing a LOT more than the weeks where I don't work out much (Go figure.  Huh?).  I've also been kind of lax on my eating plan.  I have been keeping a running calorie total in my head, but I've been eating out and eating some junk food.  That has got to stop.

So here's the plan.  I'm going to stick to proteins, vegetables and fruits and eat only "real" food, no manufactured junk (I'm talking about you Easter Basket Cakes).  I'll eat several small meals a day to keep my metabolism working all day.  As far as exercise, I plan to work out 6 days a week.  My goal is to do about 5 hours total per week.

I want to see what I am really capable of when I stick to a healthy food and exercise plan for 30 days without any cheating.  Who's with me?

4.02.2011

Weigh-In: Week 13

After my gain last week, I cracked down this week.  It seems like every week I either do really great on the eating part and slack on the exercise or get in a ton of exercise and eat poorly.  This week, I really focused on making sure I was on the right track with both.  My goal for next week is to hit 20 pounds lost, so I'll have to carry this momentum into next week!

How did your week go?

Beginning Weight: 271
Week 13 Weight: 268

Week 13 Weight Loss: 3 pounds

Total Weight Loss: 18.2 pounds

4.01.2011

Just the Facts: Month 3

I feel great about this month.  I'm continuing to plug along.  It seems like the weight is coming off so slowly, but the time has really been flying by.  It's so exciting to see these inches coming off.  Today I pulled out a bunch of old clothes.  I even found some Size 22 jeans that fit, and they still had the tags on them!  I don't know what was up with that.  I must have bought them a while ago thinking they would fit, but they didn't.  Well, now I can wear them!  Yay!  All of my Size 24 stuff is falling off of me.  I LOVE that!  I am pretty close to fitting into some Size 20 stuff.  Can't wait!

Measurements:
Neck:              16         (No change)
Left Arm:         19         (LOST 1 inch)
Right Arm:       19         (LOST 1 1/2 inches)
Bust:                47 1/2   (LOST 1 1/2 inches)
Upper Waist:   44         (LOST 1 3/4 inches)
Lower Waist:   51 1/2   (No change)
Hips:                49 1/2   (LOST1/2 inch)
Left Thigh:        31 1/2   (LOST 1 inch)
Right Thigh:      31 3/4   (No change)
Left Calf:          17         (LOST 1/2 inch)
Right Calf:        18         (No change)

Month 3 Total Inch Loss:  7 3/4 inches

Total Inch Loss To Date:  21 inches

3.28.2011

Body Image

It’s hard to see yourself for who you really are. I just read a post on Lisa Eirene’s blog, 110 Pounds and Counting, about Body Dysmorphic Disorder. She talks about how even after losing over 100 pounds and maintaining it for over 2 years, she still has moments where she looks in the mirror and thinks she doesn’t look good. Our brain can definitely play tricks with us. For years, I looked in the mirror and denied the changes that were happening with my body as I gained weight. I started packing on the pounds when I was about 10 years old. In middle school, I was the chubby girl. By high school, I weighed around 215. I actually lost the Freshman 15 in college and got below 200 for the first time in years. When I came home from college after my freshman year and moved out on my own, that’s when I really started my upward spiral. Over the course of about 5 years, I gained almost 100 pounds. A combination of eating out for pretty much every single meal, a roaring junk food habit, and becoming self-employed and, thus, glued to my computer really took its toll on my weight.


However, even after gaining that much weight, I never looked in the mirror and thought, “Oh, my gosh. I have gained a ton of weight.” I still felt like I looked okay. Yeah, in my head, I knew I was fat. I just didn’t see it. Even today, I look in the mirror and don’t feel like I look like someone who is 270 pounds. My little fantasy world always comes crashing down when I see a picture of myself.

I was visiting my mom a couple of weeks ago and she was making a picture collage for my 5-year-old niece. I was absolutely horrified at some of the photos of me. I looked like a swelled-up balloon ready to pop. The worst were the ones where my mom would say, “Oh, here’s a good one of you, Lisa.” I couldn’t help but think, “If that’s a good one of me, why do I look so terrible?”

I can’t wait to see some lower numbers on the scale and start noticing some real changes in how I look, but I also am trying to focus on accepting myself for who I am. I realize that I am not my ideal self right now, but I am who I am. Whether I can see it or not when I look in the mirror, this is me.

3.26.2011

Weigh-In: Week 12

Well, I guess I haven't said good-bye to the 270s for good quite yet.  I had a gain this week, but I'm not stressing about it.  I struggled this week.  I still have this reward mentality that I am fighting to break myself of.  My brain thinks, Oh, you did so good last week.  You can ease up and be bad for one day this week.  Then that day stretches into most of the week.  Before you know it, it's time for another weigh-in.  Obviously, that's not how it should work.  I'm still getting the hang of this whole healthy lifestyle thing, but I know I will get there this time.  I am NOT giving up.  It's a new week.  There's always time to change, and that's what this week will be about...getting back to exercising and eating healthy food!

How did your week go?

Beginning Weight: 269.6
Week 12 Weight: 271.0

Week 12 Weight Loss: 1.4 pound GAIN

Total Weight Loss: 15.2 pounds

3.22.2011

Workouts When You Have Over 100 Pounds to Lose

A couple of days ago, I posted info on how to determine your BMI.  My current BMI is 43.4.  To meet my goal weight of 155, I need to lose another 114 pounds on top of the 17 pounds I have lost already.  I know the only way to do that is with a combination of healthy eating and exercise.  The past couple of weeks, I have really been focusing on moving more.  I had literally gone days in the past moving only enough to get from my bed to the recliner where I do most of my work (hence the extra 130 pounds I've been carrying around). 

When I started working out recently, I realized that I really have no muscle tone whatsoever.  Each and every work-out so far has been a reminder of how sedentary my lifestyle has been.  But I feel myself getting stronger every day.  It feels great.

Here's my problem:  I don't really know how to work out.  I have been walking and riding my exercise bike.  I also just started the first DVD of the Power 90 program (which I am loving, by the way), but I do have to modify some of the moves.  I would love to mix up my work-outs, but I have not been able to find much information on good workouts for extra-large exercisers like myself.  There really needs to be more info out there about that! 

I need something that's low impact but helps to build muscle and endurance.  Does anyone have any tips?

3.20.2011

BMI

If you're looking to lose a few pounds but are not sure where to set your goal weight, your BMI is a good place to start.  BMI stands for Body Mass Index and takes your height into account when determining a healthy weight.

A healthy BMI is 18.5 to 25.  Anything over 25 is considered overweight, and anything over 30 is obese.

Calculate your own BMI here.

At 5'6 and 269 pounds currently, my BMI is 43.4.  Yikes!

To get into the "normal" range, I need to get below 155 pounds.  I've lost about 17 pounds so far and have 114 pounds to go. 

Wow.  That's a hard number to look at.  Just knowing that I was more than 130 pounds overweight makes me think, How did this happen?  I know there's no use dwelling on the past.  I need to continue to move forward and take it one day at a time.

Have you calculated your BMI yet?

3.19.2011

Weigh-In: Week 11

Oh, my gosh!  I am SO SO excited right now.  My hard work really paid off this week.  I am officially out of the 270s!!  I worked out every single day this week, and my muscles have been begging for mercy.  But I'm not showing them any mercy because I am going to hit it hard this week, too (after a quick recovery break today).  I have been riding my exercise bike, walking, and started the Sculpt 1-2 DVD of Power 90.

How did everyone else's week go?

Beginning Weight: 273.4
Week 11 Weight: 269.6

Week 11 Weight Loss:  3.8 pounds

Total Weight Loss: 16.6 pounds

3.16.2011

Recap

I have been cooking lots and lots this week!  I have a couple of recipes I need to share with you guys soon, but I have been SO busy.  I promise I will post them ASAP.  Here's a quick recap of the week so far.

Food:  Yummy (and healthy)!
Exercise:  Every day so far!
Legs: Extremely sore!
Arms: Ridiculously sore!
Weight: Hopefully lower (check back on Saturday)!

3.12.2011

Weigh-In: Week 10

I didn't see a huge loss on the scale this week, but I consider this week a victory.  It's usually right around this time that I give up and revert back to my old habits.  I usually make diet and exercise so strictly regimented that I just can't keep going after 2 1/2 months.  This time is different.  I actually feel more committed than ever right now.  I'm already geared up for next week!  I just had to get it through my head that this is going to be a marathon and not a sprint.  Even if it takes two years for me to get to my goal weight, that's okay.  The two years are going to pass whether I'm working toward a better me or not.  I might as well make the best of them.  :)  I hope everyone else is having a great week, too!!

Beginning Weight: 274.4
Week 10 Weight: 273.4

Week 10 Weight Loss: 1 pound

Total Weight Loss: 12.8 pounds

3.10.2011

In It To Win It

Last night, I realized something.  I am really doing this.  I am really losing weight, and I actually feel like I CAN do this.  I know it sounds like it's not a big deal...but to me, it's a big deal.  I have failed so many times trying to lose weight and usually end up even bigger than I was before I started.  But not this time.

I feel like I have a completely different mindset this time.  I feel like the food I am eating is healthy but also something I will be happy with even after losing the weight.  No cottage cheese and Egg Beaters for me.  Too diety (if that's a word).

One thing I always, always, always struggle with when trying to lose weight is sugar.  I LOVE sugar!  I can down an entire bag of Oreos and a half-gallon of ice cream in one night.  Sad, but true.  I decided in January when I first started eating healthier, I would have to pretty much cut sugary desserts out for now.  I just can't be trusted with them.

The great news is that after fighting sugar cravings for over a month, they have almost completely disappeared.  No more laying awake at night fantasizing about baking (and eating) a huge batch of chocolate chip cookies all by myself. 

I know I haven't conquered all my demons, and I know I'll be put in situations that will tempt me and test me.  But now I feel like I can control myself.  Let me tell you...that is a GREAT feeling!

3.07.2011

Month 2 Progress Picture

I decided to take a new picture to see if I could see any difference now that I am almost 12 pounds down.  I know the difference is not huge, but it's definitely there.

The picture on the left is January 1.  The picture on the right is March 1.  Seeing these pics makes me want to work even harder this month.

3.05.2011

Weigh-In: Week 9

I feel like I did a lot of telling myself "No" this week.  I busted my butt for this number, and I'm satisfied with it.  However, yesterday a few little demons started to rise up on me.  I sat here trying to talk myself into giving up, that this mountain is too big and that I will never be able to climb it. 

Some days I feel like I can do anything, and then there are days like yesterday where I feel like I'll never be able to meet my goals, so why even keep trying.  This time, though, I put my foot down.  Instead of giving in, I just told myself, "There will be days like this.  Just get through them and keep going."  And that's what I did.  I just kept going and got a decent loss on the scale this morning! 

How did everyone else's week go?

Beginning Weight: 276.4
Week 9 Weight: 274.4

Week 9 Weight Loss: 2 pounds

Total Weight Loss:  11.8 pounds

The first 10 pounds are officially gone FOR GOOD!!!

3.02.2011

Recipe: Spicy Southwestern Chicken Soup


For me, soup is a staple in a healthy diet.  I eat soup for lunch almost every single day.  It's easy to throw together, tastes great, and is a simple way to eat more veggies.  This spicy chicken soup is one of my favorites.  The chicken, black beans, and corn create a perfect balance of protein, fiber, and healthy carbs.  I make this soup anytime I'm feeling low, and it always brightens me up.

FREEZER FRIENDLY:  This soup freezes beautifully.  Divide the soup into individual freezer-safe bowls and pop it in the freezer for a quick meal anytime.  Defrost overnight in the fridge or 4-5 minutes in the microwave.  Then just heat and eat.

Spicy Southwestern Chicken Soup

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
4 cups chicken broth (32 ounces)
1 1/2 cups Quick Salsa
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can seasoned black beans, drained
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce (Recommended: Hunt's)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Juice of half a lime

Combine everything in a large soup pan and simmer 20-30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Yield: 6 servings

Approximate Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 217
Fat: 7.6 grams
Saturated Fat: 2.1 grams
Protein: 18 grams
Carbohydrates: 21.9 grams
Fiber: 4.6 grams