Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Celebrating Jen's Birthday

Last week was my dear friend, Jen's birthday. She is lucky enough to have a summer birthday, be a teacher and have summers off. I am lucky enough to be allowed to take a day off to go celebrate with her. That day was yesterday. And it was a great day! I was a bit worried going into the day. I knew that I would be celebrating and that usually means food, drinks and treats.

I started the day getting up early and heading to the gym for some sprints on the treadmill. More on that later! Then I came home and ate a bunch of protein because I didn't know how I would fit it all in throughout the day and I figured most of what I would eat out would be carbs and fats.

Lucky for me, Jen is trying to eat healthier so we made smart decisions all day. She took us to a place called Paradise Bakery. They don't have their nutrition online (come on people, get with the program) but I chose a basic mixed greens salad with loads of Chicken because it seemed closest to the Subway Double Chicken salad that I knew the details for.

It was delicious and I was full. We spent the afternoon shopping and getting pedicures. I needed someone to go shopping with me. I need someone to push me to buy things because otherwise I just figure I don't need it and end up leaving with nothing. I got some new shirts, a great blender bottle for my protein shakes, new weight lifting gloves, and a dress.

Me and Josie, comparing our pedicures... kind of!

We stopped for coffee instead of ice cream in the afternoon. But surprisingly my skinny caramel latte still had 40 grams of carbs in it. I should have passed. I would have rather had a really small scoop of ice cream for about 30 grams. Damn fat-free crap... loaded with extra carbs.

I ended the day right on my numbers! All in all a perfect day. And I think Jen had a good time!!!

I love her!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Skinny Meg Challenge Week #5

Current Weight: 20.6 pounds
Weekly Loss: 2.4 pounds
Total Challenge Loss: 3.6 pounds
Total 3-week Macro Loss: 5.8 pounds
Weekly Low: 20.2 pounds

I had a perfect week numbers wise. Including my weigh-in. I really really really want to get back to the teens. But I know it will. I just need to be patient. Change just comes so slow. Here is my four week challenge progress photos. I see none.

Almost six pounds in three weeks is a great average. Two pounds a week is actually extra fast weight loss. At this rate I'll be at my goal weight in ten weeks (October 6th). And maybe I could even lower my goal weight. This plan seems more maintainable than my 1200 calorie, 5 mile run lifestyle I tried to commit to five years ago. 

This week my goal is to add three days of cardio back in. One combat class and two sprint sessions. Plus my three body pumps, though honestly I may miss one depending on some family obligations on Sunday and a long work day on Thursday.  

I also have a birthday celebration to macro-through this afternoon. This will be a good test of what I've learned and will power and self-control. 

If I make the right decisions this week, I WILL see the teens next week!!!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Cardio Conundrum

I have heard a million times: Abs are made in the Kitchen. And I understood what they meant: eating is the most important part of weight loss. And then as I was researching Macro-counting or Flexible Dieting, I saw that most macro-lovers tend to do only weight lifting and not much cardio. At first I worried this was because most of them are bodybuilders and wondered if that was really something I should be following. So I have been hesitant to cut cardio out of my routine. And by no means to they say you have to quit cardio. They just say you can. 

But then I read something that really struck me: ask yourself how many hours you have spent in the past doing cardio, only to see no results.

Ummm.... like the last two years of my life?!?!?!?!

Look at marathon runners. They usually gain weight while training for races.
Look at how I have done 4-5 hours of cardio every week for years, and in the last year alone, I am ten pounds higher.

The moral of the story: cardio doesn't help you lose weight.

Obviously, cardio has benefits. Healthy hearts, endurance, ability to run races, play with kids, etc... But weight loss is not one of them.

There seems to be a few theories on why this is (and I am not sure which are factual):

  1. Hours of cardio actually starts burning away your lean muscle.
  2. Less lean muscle means less calorie burn throughout the day.
  3. Cardio messes with the amount and storage of the carbs your body needs and processes.
  4. Obviously you're hungrier when you workout. Though when I do a really tough workout (like Combat or running) I don't want anything to do with food.
  5. The calorie deficit you produce when doing tons of cardio often puts your body in too low of deficit, therefore it stores all the foods.
  6. It's a waste of time, if not actually hurting your progress.
They do recommend 20-30 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training two or three times per week. Mostly to keep your heart healthy and to spike your heart rate on days you aren't lifting weights. 

But here's the trickiest thing: they all lift weights. Heavy weights. And I don't know if BodyPump is good enough. 

What I do know: I don't miss the hours I spend spinning and combating. Do I love cardio? Not really. I love being productive. And I have convinced myself that spending seven to eight hours per week at the gym is the most productive I could be. But I can find other ways to be productive. If three to four hours can accomplish more than eight hours can't, then it's a win-win.

I have been doing really good at getting three BodyPumps in per week. This week I actually got four in (the schedule just worked out right.) But next week I do want to add in 30 minute sprint sessions on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It seems like a waste to go to the gym for this. Could I make myself go outside? Will I push myself hard enough? Why not go to the gym. I'd love to go in the morning, and a half-an-hour isn't impossible... thinking...

So that's where I am on cardio. So far the process seems to be working. I just have to get my mind wrapped around it. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Protein Recipes

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Pancakes:
1 cup oatmeal
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
1 cup lowfat cottage cheese
2 large eggs
9 Tbsp. Liquid Egg Whites
8 Tbsp. PB2
2 servings Mini Chocolate Chips (used later)
8 Tbsp. Chocolate PB2 (mixed for topping)

Directions: Mix first six ingredients together in blender. This will form your batter. Divide it into 4 servings. Make as pancakes. Add half a serving of mini chocolate chips to pancake after poured onto skillet. Make chocolate PB2 into a spread for the top! Makes four pancakes.

Nutrition: 366 calories / 37 protein / 35 carbs / 10 fats

Thoughts: At first I thought if I spread chocolate peanut butter on cardboard, would it taste as bad as this? But as I kept eating it, it grew on me. The pancakes were a bit rubbery. Maybe I over cooked them. I should have made them smaller and eaten two. Or tried them again as waffles. The spread idea was great.

Roasted Chickpeas
1 can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans
2 Tbsp olive oil
Spices (I chose chili powder and sea salt)

Directions: Drain, rinse and dry beans. Evenly coat with olive oil and whatever seasonings you choose. Lay flat on a cookie sheet. Roast for 25 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Makes 3 snacky servings.

Nutrition:  180 calories / 6 protein / 22 carbs / 9 fats

Thoughts: Well, I did something wrong. I burned most of these. And several ended up popping off of the cookie sheet and into the bottom of my oven, where they burned even more and made my whole house smell. For at least five days! We aired it out a bit, but it's too hot to have the windows open. Someday my house won't smell like burned chickpeas. I ate one serving, but threw the rest away. I have bad luck trying to eat chickpeas. I will stick with only enjoying them as hummus. The macros weren't even that great on this!

Protein Mashed Cauliflower:
1 head of cauliflower
1 cup low-fat Cottage Cheese
 unflavored protein powder
shredded cheese

Directions: Chopped the cauliflower into small chunks. Boil for approx. six minutes, until it is tender. Drain and dry with paper towels. Add cauliflower, protein powder, and cottage cheese to a blender/food processor. Mash! Top with shredded cheese and chives (if you have them).

Nutrition:  (for one serving, of four) 120 cals / 12 protein / 10 carbs / 4 fat

Thoughts: This was pretty disgusting. I was planning on eating two servings, that is what you see on my plate, and I just couldn't do it. First, it was a mess to make. My blender wouldn't start moving. Even though the cauliflower was soft and I have a pretty good blender. So I had to get out my immersion blender. That left them kind of lumpy. Some people might like them like that, but not me. I put them back into the regular blender to get them more pureed. A mess was made everywhere. I even have mashed cauliflower in my ring, that I can't seem to just rinse out. Finally, they tasted flavorless. And almost like paste. The flavorless protein powder kind of gave off a flour or pasty smell. I don't know if I just imagined it tasted like that because it was pasted all over me. Otherwise, it had no flavor, even with salt and cheese. I am thinking twice-baked might make them better. But I also should have tried it without the added protein. I am kind of scared to ever make this again.

Iced Cafe au Lait
8oz. brewed coffee (I use instant packets)
1 cup milk (I use 1% and sometimes almond)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Sugar Free Caramel Syrup
Lots of ice

Directions: Brew coffee. Mix all ingredients and shake well.

Nutrition:  250 cals / 33 protein / 17 carbs / 4.5 fat (with 1% milk)
175 cals / 26.5 protein / 6 carbs / 4.5 fat (almond milk)

Thoughts: This has become my go-to breakfast. It is a pretty easy way to get a lot of protein in for breakfast. It's filling. It's fast. But I don't have a picture. It's the most delicious way to use protein powder.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Delicious Things

As hoped, the scale was down this morning. Wooohooo! I saw a glorious 21.2 on that thing! Taking my total weight loss from Macro-Counting in the last 15 days to 5.2 pounds. I am hoping and praying that I could just maybe see a 19 on the scale by next Monday. But that is a really lofty goal. That would be a seven pound loss in three weeks. And as great as this eating plan seems to be, I am not sure it's quite that awesome. As long as my weight continues to stay in the lowest twenty's this week, I am sold. I am feeling good about the amount of food I am eating. And more importantly I am feeling good about the treats I am getting.

Look at this:

3/4 fuji apple
2 Tbsp almond butter (melted for 10 seconds)
1 Tbsp mini chocolate chips.

This was the best thing I have eaten in two weeks. Better than the ice cream I built in a couple of times. Better than the Reese's PB Cereal I have been eating with or without milk. Better than the restaurant food I am enjoyed in moderation.  I don't know what it was. The fact that I have only had fruit twice in the last two weeks. Or the fact that this tasted like a candied apple from the fair. Or the idea that fruit is off limits and I was having to sneak something by the radar. It was the most wonderful thing.

It doesn't have great macros: 6.5p/34c/22f. That's a lot of carbs (from the apple) and fat (from the almond butter). I could make it slightly less fatty by trying it with PB2 instead. That would change it to: 8p/35.5c/6.5f. But I wonder if it would be quite as heavenly. I might as well try it. Why don't they make low-carb apples?

Technically, I could probably increase my carbs. When I did my macros calculations I put that I only workout three times per week. One article suggested only listing weight-lifting. Others I have read have suggested counting half of each cardio workout as a additional training day. That gives you 14 more carbs. This is a long discussion for a different day. If it's working why mess with it?

Because you haven't been doing cardio. Will you even have the energy without eating extra carbs? I think so. But if I find myself getting sluggish, I might add back in some more.

I did make it to the gym last night. I had wanted to go to a Spin class, but sick calls and loads of work, kept me at the library late. Then I thought about mowing, but it was still 100 degrees at seven pm. So I sat around and tried to come up with reasons I shouldn't just be at the gym watching tv instead and never found a good one. I told myself I could go easy. And it was no revolutionary sweat-dripping workout. But I stayed for an hour and burned over 500 calories. So I would say it was worth it!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Skinny Meg Challenge Week #4

Current Weight: 23 pounds
Weekly Gain: 0.6 pounds
Total Loss: 1.4 pounds

I am not excited that my weight was up a little bit. But as I blogged about earlier, it is to be expected this week. I am actually hoping for a drop on the scale tomorrow morning. I thought about moving my weigh-in day. But that's not how these things work. So I will just keep you informed and look to have a great weigh in next Monday.

I had a pretty near-perfect week. I hit all my numbers perfectly, I worked out four times (three BodyPumps and a Combat) and felt pretty good, once I got that rash taken care of. Here are my numbers:

I am still doing the Macro thing and still liking it. It is getting quite a bit easier. I tend to eat the same foods anyway, so it doesn't take quite as much planning. I can live my regular life and then do some calculating for dinner and after dinner snacks and come out just fine. Or if I know what we're having for dinner, I can plan my day around it.

Basically, I have to have a protein shake or yogurt concoction at some point during the day. I figure I will have cottage cheese/peanut butter/chocolate milk at some point. And every snack and meal I have is focused around protein. But I am excited to try to add some new things into the rotation now that I know what I am doing.

Saturday was the first day that I was too many over my carbs number (more than five is considered "over"). It was from Watermelon though, so I don't consider that too bad of a thing. I made up with it by being slightly under on my fat. From what I have read protein is the thing you absolutely want to hit.

I am going to give it one more week. I hope to have at least a two pound drop on the scale. I really wanted to see the teens by now. If I don't see a two pound loss, I will probably adjust something. I don't know what that will be yet. It's a lot of work to count everything if I am seeing no progress. But I definitely think protein has helped something.

This week I hope to add a little more cardio back in. I did a Combat class this week and my heart-rate monitor wasn't working. What I have seen in BodyPump though, is I am burning more calories than ever. I have always averaged 350-450 for a class, this week I burned 450-550 and even one 561. This makes me think that my calorie burn is always greater, and therefore, that's what is contributing to the weight loss. It would make sense that the protein I am eating and using is revving my metabolism. I'd like to check that during a cardio work out.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Removing Spots

My spots are finally disappearing. I still seem kind of itchy. But today I am trying to go as long as possible without taking the antihistamine. I kind of wonder if I am allergic to that too, and the itching will never stop! The one and only time I have ever had a pain pill, I was neurotically itchy. And the only time I remember ever being on an antibiotic, I broke out in a whole body disaster of a rash. So needless to day, medication and me, do not get along! My body will power-through on it's own thank you very much!

My weight is slightly up though.

This could be from the steroids. I have now taken three large doses of them. They must be swimming around in my system. But from most of the research I have done, you wouldn't see side effects of this unless you had been taking them for two weeks. You might see an increase in hunger. And I can say, Tuesday (my first full day of steroids) I was actually hungry for once. But obviously, I am not letting myself eat whatever I want. I am still falling perfectly in my calorie/protein/carb/fat ratios. I imagine people who do gain weight while on steroids are actually just eating more!

On a side note: Corticosteroids is what people take for allergies, asthma, arthritis,etc. Anabolic steroids is what athletes and boby-builders take. So unfortunately, no massive muscles developing here this week.

Most likely, this weight gain is hormonal. After tracking my weight pretty strictly for several weeks, I know it goes up slightly during the week of my period. Hopefully this is all it is. It's only a pound or so. But still, I feel worried that eating peanut butter and cheese for a post dinner snack is going to backfire on me, and I will not be any closer than I was after doing all this work. 

My overall point of this post: this might have been a bad time to give this a ten day trial. After ten days, I am officially 2.4 pounds down. That's nothing to scoff at. But I am going to keep going with the Macros for at least another week. I am eager to see what my weight is like next Tuesday, when my hormones have stabilized and all the medicine I am feeding my body has worked itself out of me. 

Weekends are definitely the hardest for me. I don't have a lot of routine and one thing about Macro-counting that is important is staying on schedule. Otherwise you've run out of fat by noon and have to live on cottage cheese alone, or you have way too much fat left at bed time and are shoveling in scoops of peanut butter.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Bit Rash

For the last week I have had a rash on my body. It started slowly around my belly. And grew up my neck. By Saturday it had appeared a bit on my face, become flaky, and started itching. I couldn't sleep Saturday and Sunday nights, because it's hard to itch and sleep. By Monday, when the itch finally started bothering my working (mostly the lack of sleep) and because I was scared it would become more apparent on my face and scare the children, and because I wanted to make sure I wasn't contagious with Measles or anything else. I went to the doctor. He confirmed what I already knew:
  • I am having an allergic reaction to something.
  • There's probably no way to know what it is, even though I have racked my brain. I haven't tried any new soaps or perfumes or been in any strange environments.
  • Most likely, it will never come back.
  • I do not have the Measles or Shingles or any contagious diseases.
  • If it does come back I will need to see a dermatologist. And have allergy tests done.
The best news is he gave me a strong anti-histamine so I can stop feeling itchy all the time. He also gave me a steroid to take. I guess that stops the allergic reaction. But all I could think about was no I am going to get fat!!! I mean, isn't that what steroids do? Everyone I know who is taking a prescription steroid gets really puffy. On the other hand, as people have pointed out, this is the time I am going to get really buff!

It didn't seem to be a miracle drug however. The rash was still around this morning. I did sleep much better due to the anti-histamine, but I was itchy this afternoon as it was wearing off. It's also even more prevalent on my face today. Which makes me worried that customers are going to start noticing. It is my hope that another dose of the steroids today will kick it in the ass!

Still, even after eating at Qdoba (and fitting it into my Macros!)

I still was down two pounds this morning!! Steroids can't beat macros! Have I mentioned I am loving this?

I haven't been working out much. Part of this is because it gets even itchier when I get hot. Another part is that the challenge girls have me convinced that cardio isn't as important as weights.  So that is all I have been doing. And the final part, is who doesn't love five more free hours per week? I'll delve into that a little more later.

For now I am off to BodyPump...

Monday, July 14, 2014

Skinny Meg Challenge Week #3

Current Weight: 22.4 pounds
Weekly Loss: 4 pounds
Challenge Loss: 1.8 pounds

Four pounds makes me a believer. I don't really know what it is about counting my macros but I know it's working. I haven't lost four pounds in a week in forever. Since cutting calories drastically used to work for me. I am not saying I love it. It's nice to never be hungry. But it is a pain to think about all the time. I do wonder what the science is behind why it is working. And I can't seem to find any research. I see a lot of comparisons between people who eat Clean and people who count Macros. The idea is it is a lot more adaptable in real life. It is sustainable. And people aren't hungry, so they don't want to quit as easily. Sure, it's easier than clean eating. But it is a lot more difficult that just counting calories.

Me? I am never hungry. More like I am uncomfortably full. All. The. Time. And I still have to shove food in my mouth. That might be worse than being hungry all the time. But maybe not.

Yesterday, day seven was the first time I didn't do perfectly. I didn't sleep well. So I got up late. We went out for breakfast/lunch. I didn't like what I ordered. I had no idea how to count that. I was sick to my stomach because I couldn't imagine eating any more protein. Plus not sleeping. I took a nap. Still not hungry. Went to BodyPump. Did some grocery shopping. Finally, I was hungry. For the first time in a week. We went out to Red Robin. I never let Dan go there because everything is so high in calories. But I had a lot of them left to eat. And I could get a lot of protein in a grilled chicken sandwich. It was possible to finish up my day on track. I just couldn't eat again before bed. At least I was under on everything and not over!

My averages for the week were perfect (and the net calorie intake was a lot higher too). And had I continued to eat on Sunday, it would have been even better. I only needed a few more carbs, which I could have gotten from half a banana. But when you're not feeling perfectly, it's really hard to eat perfectly!

Still, I am a believer right now. Macros work. But why? Since I can't find any scientific proof, I am going to make up my own guess: all the protein has spiked my metabolism. That's research backed. It's supposed to do that. Plus, lowering my carbs got my body burning fat instead of carb stores. Also, yes you are allowed to eat everything in moderation, but counting calories wasn't really directing my moderation. I could eat 1700 calories of doughnuts, and everybody knows that's no good for you. With this plan, I could eat 4 doughnuts, and then I'd be out of carbs for the day, and good luck finding anything that doesn't have some carbs in it! 

Still, I never ate four dougnuts a day. But I did eat one. Often. And then I did eat something with a bun. And then I ate some chocolate. And chips. And everything else that had the carbs. So my averages used to be 200+.

I didn't do much cardio this week. That was on purpose. I did three BodyPump classes. And we played Frisbee with some friends and neighbors in the park. But here's what I noticed: my bodypump calorie burn is higher than I have ever seen it. It was 525 for an hour on Sunday. Usually I have to stay 15 minutes afterward on the spin bike to get it over 500. So, a regular class might burn 400.  That has to be my metabolism, right?

Unfortunately, it has only been a week and I am really tired of lunch meat, grilled chicken, greek yogurt and protein powder. I must find some other ways to get my protein in. I don't want to give up because my diet is so boring and monotonous. I would also love to be able to have a day where I don't use protein powder, getting all my protein from natural foods. But I haven't gotten there yet! I am thinking protein bites, which are like homemade protein bars, rolled into bite sized servings. 

I told myself I would give it ten days. Now I think I can make it through another week. I highly doubt I'll have quite as good of a week. But if I see any loss this week, I think I am converted. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Macros Day Three and Four

I won't give you a play-by-play of everything I ate the last few days, I would guess you really don't care. But here are some highlights:

- I had planned to have a rice and bean dinner on Wednesday, but by dinner time that didn't sound good at all. After doing some calculations, I realized I was able to go out for dinner. I got a grilled chicken sandwich and a half order of fries. And I even had enough carbs left for a little tiny bowl of ice cream!

- Today I had planned to have a bowl of watermelon, but when I cut it open it was over ripe. I didn't think it was worth it to eat it. But I was able to make a change late in the game. This gives me confidence in my ability to live spontaneously. 

- I went out to lunch today. Had what I usually had (Whole foods, Salad bar) and even though it was high in fat, it didn't hold me back. My day was perfect. Which makes me think I can easily eat out once per day and stay in track. 

- I'm not sure I could eat out twice in a day. So that might take a little more work. For instance: family times, vacations, a normal weekend if I let Dan decide what we're doing!

- Maybe that's the point!

- As of Thursday morning, I had list three pounds. In three days. Is that possible? And why? And would it have happened regardless?

- I asked Dan if he thought all the work was worth it, and if he thought the science behind it made sense, he encouraged me to keep it up! That's big. I have his support on this. 

- I eat all the time. I'm never hungry. I just don't get to reach for a handful of chips. Or get to have a Panera pastry while Dan and I are out shopping. He enjoyed. I watched!

- I don't eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. I kind of feel like they're a waste of carbs. I'd rather have toast. But maybe after I get the hang of it, I'll work on adding those back in. 

- But hey, I've lost 3 pounds!!!

Here were my goal and counts for the last two days:

Protein: 155 - 155 - 156
Fat: 67- 67 - 66

We'll see how things go during the weekend. I have three days off and plan to get lots of things done. I'll need to remember to plan!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Macros Day Two

Day two went a lot easier. And just as perfectly as day one. Except by day two I had planned things out better and wasn't shoving food down my throat at midnight trying to get all my nutrients.

I started the day with one of my new favorite protein smoothies. I like to call it:

Sonic Peanut Butter Fudge Shake Smoothie:
1 cup Almond Milk
1 scoop Chocolate Protein Powder
3 Tbsp. PB2 powder
1/2 scoop milk chocolate Slim Fast
5-6 ice cubes.

Seriously, this tastes like a milkshake from Sonic. The first time I made it without ice and I kept wondering why my shake was so warm (even though the milk was cold). That's how authentic it was. The Slim Fast gives it a real chocolaty flavor. I tried it without and felt like it was lacking something. I just happened to have some of that around my house (Dan wanted it when he was sick last winter!) I am thinking sugar-free pudding mix might do the same. Maybe chocolate PB powder... or chocolate almond milk. All things to try. Still, all that deliciousness for only: 35p/27c/9f/312cals!

I had made some chicken in the crock pot last night and shredded it. So I was ready this morning to add 4oz. to a Tupperware along with two servings of light mayo. I also brought along a few easy snacks for the the day, thinking I would decide what to eat on my lunch break. My chicken salad ended up being very dry. So I added half the avocado I brought along to it. Delicious. I could eat this often. 24p/11c/18f/278cals.

After adding my lunch and breakfast to my log, I made a plan for the rest of my day. I wanted to use up a left over waffle at home. And I didn't want to be stuck with all my protein and fat after dinner. So I kept plugging snacks in until I had the perfect ration. Then I wrote down times I would enjoy said snack, rather than shoving it all in at bed time.

After I had it written down, I could follow my plan to a tee!

Snack (3:30) Mixed Nuts!

Snack after work, before BodyPump (6:00) FiberOne slice of toast with PB2 spread on it.

Dinner when Dan gets home (8:30) Leftover protein waffle with drizzled caramel and a serving of low-fat coolwhip. 

More lunch meat, ranch and hummus. Things got a little tricky here. The hummus I had was a different brand than just last night, and when I arrived home the fat/carb counts were different than what I had calculated at work. That threw things for a wrench a bit.

Bedtime Snack (11:00) I was supposed to have 1 cup of lowfat cottage cheese. But when my fat/carb ratios got changed a bit with dinner, I swapped this for 1.75 servings of Beef Jerky. I had to remind myself that I needed more than one serving, less than two, and that there is something in between.

Goals vs. Final Count:
Protein: 155g - 155g
Carbs 140g - 139g
Fat 67g - 68
Calories 1794 - 1679

Almost perfect. I am a little confused why I am one carb under (4 calories) and one fat over (9 calories) and that doesn't make me at 1799 calories. I suppose it has to do with rounding? But it worries me that something is off in the log somewhere. It should work out mathematically. That's something I love about it.

Would I say it was easier? Well I planned. And I didn't go out to eat. That definitely makes it better. Dan again had frozen pizza for dinner and it didn't tempt me at all. Nor did I have to make something he would enjoy.

With careful planning though, and knowing the macros of things you can't change (like prepackaged meals) you can tweak the things you can change: more protein powder in your smoothie, less avocado in your salad, more PB on a spoon!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Macros Day One

I'm a perfectionist. So I don't do things half-assed. Or I stop doing things when I realize I am not going to do them perfectly.

Macros Day One? I nailed!

I meant to do more planning. I thought this would be my plan of attack: decide what we're having for dinner. I did that. Then work back through the day, planning lunch and then breakfast. Finally, I would be left with snacks, which I would select according to what nutrients I needed/had left.

But I ran out of time on Sunday and finally decided to just wing it. I knew I needed to aim high for protein, low for carbs and hope my fats just kind of fell into place.

If Dan and I work at the same time (about twice a week) we often get coffee together before heading our separate directions. Because I hadn't pre-planned, I went with the healthiest option I could there: Skinny Caramel Latte (14p/18c/1f/130cals).

I usually have lunch on Mondays with a friend and we had decided on going to Braeda. I printed their nutritional information and tried to pick the item with the least carbrohydrates. There were two sandwiches with lower carbs than the one I usually picked, but neither of them sounded like something I would like. I decided to go with my favorite, the French dip and just suffer it being in third place (18p/26c/9f/284cals). I always get the half-and-half with the chicken tortilla soup (no toppings) it was perfect as well (11p/14c/7f/163cals). It is served with a tiny slice of bread. Whereas I usually think it's worth the 140 calories, it wasn't worth the 19 carbs I saw it had. Remember I am only allowed 140. I passed on it altogether. And didn't miss it at all.

Not my photo... not Braeda's actual French Dip
I wasn't hungry when it was time for a break at work. So I pushed it as late as it can be (4:15) but I was tired of working and needed to have some facebook time! I grabbed mixed nuts to have on my break (6p/6c/15f/170cals). They aren't hard to eat a serving of, even when you're not hungry.

By the time I got home from work I was hungry. I had wanted to mow the lawn tonight, but I needed to run and get gas, and I could tell the thunderstorm was going to start any minute. So I decided to take a true rest day, after burning 2000+ calories in the last three days.

I had been wanting to make protein pancakes, which people had been talking about on our challenge page. Here's the recipe:

Protein Waffles:
1 cup oats
1 cup cottage cheese (lowfat)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
2 whole eggs
3 egg whites
Dash of vanilla
Bit of Cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients in a blender. Makes three waffles in my Belgium waffle maker. I had one (29p/24c/7f/275cals). I hate syrup, so I added caramel sundae topping, half a serving (1p/13c/0f/50cals). It was a bit doughy or bready, but it wasn't bad. I would have had another, but was starting to worry about my carb intake for the day.

Instead I had a large serving of chicken lunch meat (21p/4c/2f/117cals) and some ranch dressing (1p/3c/3f/45cals), as well as some hummus (3p/9c/8f/120cals). By this point, I am full. And only at 1400 calories. Most nights I would call this good and never return to my kitchen.

But I have goals!

So I sat down and calculated how many nutrients I still needed. Mostly I was short of fats and protein, but not far from my carb limit. I played around with foods for quite a while until I realized that I needed a half scoop of peanut butter (4p/4c/8f/95cals) and a Greek Yogurt concoction I like to make with PB2 and protein powder (46p/22c/4f/305cals). I usually like to add more PB2 than this, and some chocolate chips. It wasn't as good this way. And I had to force it down. I was just stuffed.

But my macros? Perfect!

Here's my goal vs how I did on day one:
Protein - 155 - 154
Carbs - 140 - 143
Fats - 67 - 63
Calories - 1794 - 1754

Remember, it's okay to be off by five in either direction. So I was a little under on fats, and a little over on carbs. I am pretty amazed that my first day went so well. Especially with no planning. It did help that Dan just ate his own dinner. I mean, he wasn't going to even try something called Protein Waffles! Well, to be fair he had a bite, but he never intended to eat a serving. It was good that I could just keep eating random things. If I had to prepare a meal, or go out to eat, I would definitely need to plan around that better.

I wonder how many days til it becomes second nature? Will I always be eating peanut butter from the jar at 11:30PM? Is that a bad thing?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Skinny Meg Challenge Week #2

Current Weight: 26.4 pounds
Weekly Gain: 2.2 pounds

I was warned this was going to happen. But I still wasn't prepared for it. I felt like I had such a good week. I felt like I kept my calories so in check and that I ate so well. I felt like I made so many good choices. So I tell myself that if I had eaten all the cookies I wanted, all the buns, all the chips, all the alcohol, then I would be four or five pounds higher.

I tell myself that there is no way my weight can really go up two pounds like that. So it's just water, or something. But it can't just always be water. When it never goes away after a few days, it has to be something else. And when after weeks of consistency it's not working, I need to try something else.

Here were my stats from this week. I rocked the 3500 calories burned challenge. Even if it meant staying at the gym 15 extra minutes on Sunday until I had reached my goal. I ate fairly well too. My goal was to eat 1800 calories. I was really close to that four of the seven days. I had two that were over that, and therefore I ate less on Sunday. But my average was still well over the 1800 mark.

Not enough to gain two pounds though!

My other goal was to work on my protein. I wanted to get it over 100 each day. I did really well on that. Although I had a couple days below 100 I still averaged 109 grams per day. I am feel good about that. 

Dab gas a theory that I am eating so much protein and lifting weights so much (three BodyPumps this week!) that I probably gained two pounds of muscle. That's not possible either. 

So here's what it comes down to: I need to eat more of the right kind of food. 

So I am going to try this macros thing all my Skinny Meg challenge pals are fond of. The bottom line: you count your protein, carbs and fats, instead of your calories. Calories are just made up of those three things, so if you eat the right amount of protein, carbs and fats, you'll get the right amount of calories. Also, even though I will be eating the same number of calories, it takes into account things like: you can't eat 1800 calories of fat and think you won't gain weight. You have to have a balanced diet. It is also not as strict as clean eating because you can eat processed foods, cookies, chips, as long as your next meal has more protein or what not. 

Here are the numbers I need to be aiming for:

155 grams Protein
140 grams Carbs
67 grams Fat
1794 calories

I had two days last week where my carbs were around that 140 point (you really want to be 5 grams off either way, but I went ten for this example.) I had three days where my fat was around that 67 point, and two days where it was even lower. I never had a day closer to the 155 grams of protein. That is by far going to be the hardest thing for me. And finding things high in protein (peanut butter, nuts, ect) that don't spike my fat.

It's going to be a learning challenge. But I am eager to see if I can get some movement on the scale. Because obviously my calorie counting isn't' working. Even after three weeks of doing fairly well I am up two to three pounds.

I don't have any other goals this week. I don't know if I will be able to work out 3500 calories if I am not eating as many carbs. I don't know if I will be able to do anything but sit at home and eat scoops of protein powder. But you know I will keep you updated!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

One Chowy Mistake

I was having a great week. 
I had perfected getting in 1800 calories. Using healthy foods. Not candy bars. 
I had passed on all donuts that Dan tried to tempt me with (three!) 
I had worked out. Lots. Even walking to dinner and back when social obligations got in my way. 

Then the holiday came. 
I got up early on my day off. 
I took two classes in the morning to get my burn rate high. 
I made smart choices at our lunch BBQ. I ate a hot dog not a burger. And therefore no cheese. I chose iced tea not lemonade, and a small dessert not one of each, that kind of thing. 

I made good choices at our evening BBQ. I skipped the bun on my burger. Ate mostly fruit on the side. And stayed busy playing, not grazing. 

drank no alcohol the whole day. That's big for me. Is that weird? I don't know when I last did that on the 4th! 

I allowed myself 2 cookies. They were worth it. 
Then I had 200-300 calories left for the day. 
I decided to have some puppy chow!
As we watched fireworks. 

Two cups seems about right. 100-200 calories per cup. I thought. 

When I got home, I looked it up. 

440 calories. 


That means I had 880 calories when I meant to have 300. 

Wow! Six hundred calories cannot be undone. Not even by two workouts. 

My scale has been up two pounds ever since. 

Man I hate that scale!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

BodyPump Progress

Yesterday I started my fourth week of consistent BodyPump attendance. That means for the last three weeks, I have made it to class twice a week. After last night, I was was done with seven classes. And I feel like things have been going well.

Every week I have made myself increase my squat track. Right now I am very interested in toning up my legs. It is shorts season after all. I have gone from 7.5 pounds on each side, to 10, to 12.5 to 15 pounds last night. I am thinking I will stay there for a couple of weeks as I work on increasing some arm muscles.

My biggest goal right now is increasing at least one track every week. And then maintaining it. And increasing it again. I feel like I can get into a stagnant pattern, where I am just going through the motions. Right now it hasn't been too hard to increase things like chest and back, because I start so small. But eventually, I will feel like I can't work anything more than I already do.

And that is false.

My goal during this Skinny Meg Challenge is to do two BodyPumps per week (I have already been doing this) and then adding heavy weights once per week. This can be along with a cardio session at the gym, or along with something at home. It can not be on the day right next to my BodyPump class. This every other day thing is the most difficult to schedule.

I am going to note where I am right now. Just as a reference to myself. By then end of the twelve week challenge, every track should have increased. Some more than others. These weights are per side of the bar. So only half of what I am actually lifting.

Warm-Up: 5 pounds
Squats: 15 pounds
Chest: 7.5 pounds
Back: 7.5 pounds
Triceps: 5 pounds
Biceps: 5 pounds
Lunges: no weight
Shoulders: 5 pounds

Tuesday is usually my increase day! And then I take another class either Thursday evening or Saturday morning. My plan for next Tuesday is to attempt to increase my triceps weight. The next week will be biceps. Perhaps week three will be adding in weights to lunges. After that, things might get difficult.

But I just need to push myself.

And the Skinny Meg Challenge is just the thing I need to push me!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Get to Class

I had a whole post planned last night on my way to the gym and then an hour later the whole plot had twisted.

 I was able to take a short lunch, get off a little early and head to spin class last night. Dan was already off of work (he gets off at 4 on Mondays) and I really wanted to head home instead. But I talked myself into going to the gym instead. It's not like we had anything fun planned. And I could sit around and talk to him later. It's still a challenge when the rest of the world isn't working out and you have to. But then I remembered my Challenge ladies. All 1499 of them. They had been posting to Instagram and Facebook all day. They were trying so hard. Some of them only get 25 minutes of workouts in. Some of them get up at 4 am to get a workout done. I just needed to stop dreading it so much and get there.

I happened to be about ten minutes early for class. Which never happens. So I convinced myself that I should just go use the Spin bike on my own. I can generally burn more calories doing it on my own than I can in class (10 calories per minute on my own, and 430 in 50 minutes of class, or 8.6 per minute!) What I forgot was: I can't entertain myself for 45 minutes. It's a great workout after Pump when I am just wanting to go 20 minutes. It's also great for ten minute circuit rotations between weight lifting. But my mind wanders and I can't make myself keep going. So I did it for twenty minutes.

And I could hardly keep my heart rate higher than the 8 calories per minute. Fail.

So next, I got on the Stair Mill. This used to be a pretty good gauge of my fitness level. But it's been so long, I have nothing to compare it to. Perhaps I should start doing it once per week to see how I improve. I did it for 20 minutes on level 5 (manual). My heart rate was in the 10 calories per minute range by the end. Still 40 minutes have gone by, and I have only burned 360 calories and I am mad at myself for skipping class, because I would be getting closer to 430 by this point in class.

I hopped on the Elliptical for the last 20 minutes. I took it pretty easy there. In total I only burned 511. I wanted to hit 600 before I went home. But I was frustrated that I couldn't get my heart rate that high.

And then I started to think: I haven't eaten enough Carbs. Remember I am working on getting my protein above 100 (and I was at 114g yesterday!!!) I have commented (at least on facebook) that if I eat a donut before I go to Combat class, I burn at least 100 more calories. It's not worth it. It's not like I am burning off the whole (260 calorie) donut. But I can really see a difference in my energy level. I feel like the same might have been true yesterday.

And I wonder if it will pass. Or eventually I will eat something high in carbs. Or if it is just the timing of my carbs. Or what...

Maybe I just need to get to class!