Monday, August 25, 2014

Skinny Meg Challenge Week #9

Current Weight: 21.2 pounds
Weekly Loss: 0.2 pounds
Total Challenge Loss: 3 pounds
Total 8-week Macro Loss: 5.2 pounds
Weekly Low: 18.8 pounds

Ugh! I hate carbs. Or I hate how much I love them. And how they're in absolutely everything. Everywhere. This was the first weekend that I was home, that I did not have a perfect week. And I am mad at myself. The scale seems to be mad at me as well.

My Uncle Mark, from California arrived in town on Friday. Luckily, due to work and his schedule, we didn't see my family that evening. We did meet up with them on Saturday, after dinner, which was good for my protein count (I got to pick the majority of my own food) but bad for my carb-intake. My mom served cookies and wine at her house and I indulged in too much while we sat around for hours talking. Why do I love ridiculous cookies so much? I made up for the 9 carbs I was over (36 calories) by going low on my fat count. This isn't ideal, but I have read it is the best choice, every once in a while.

Sunday was even worse. It was my only day off. I was so exhausted. I had to attend a Baby Shower. Where I knew nobody buy my mom and the Mom-to-be. I tried everything to keep occupied and not enjoy the mini-cupcakes. But I gave in. Then I was coerced into joining my family for dinner at an Italian restaurant.  One I don't even like. What do you think I could possibly get there? I went with a grilled chicken breast and skipped all the carby drenched carby noodles. I thought I was so strong and was actually pretty happy with what I got. But when I got home and counted up totals. I was 23 carbs over. And 10 fats! I decided to let myself fall shorts on protein so my calories would still be in a deficit. I guess that doesn't matter.

The scale was up!

The worst part is: There is no end to the chaos in sight. Some days I will be at home and can make peerfect decisions. But other times I am at the mercy of my family. I can make the best choices I can in the moment, but skipping eating is not normal and I refuse to bring my own food to a restaurant.

This is all just part of normal life and if my weight loss stalls for a couple of weeks, oh well.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Day Four of Six

Here's a strange phenomenon I have noticed before: When scheduled for a six day work-week, day four is always the hardest. Logically, it seems like day six would be, because it's the extra day. But I have noticed this over and over again. I imagine it's all a mental game, where normally day four is alright because you know tomorrow's Friday and the weekend is almost here. But when you still have two days left to work, it's much harder to get through.

That was me yesterday.

Work was awful. Busy. Exhausting. At first I felt really bad about myself. As if I had become lazy and a few days of hard work was really wearing me out. Then I realized that we are really short staff (which isn't the real problem) but that the staff I have left to help me, are really the lazy ones. And I was not only doing the work of two people, but probably three for the last four days.

Regardless, I had to skip the gym last night. Which is pretty shocking because I haven't skipped the gym in the last few months. It helps that I don't go as often, so when it is on the schedule, it is more cemented. But my legs would not work. They were 100 pounds and I could barely get them up the stairs when I got home.

I stopped at the grocery store to buy a pre-made dinner (rotisserie chicken and cottage cheese) and then didn't move from the couch the rest of the night. Trying not to feel guilty about missing BodyPump. Because of work, I will miss Saturday's class as well.

But my body absolutely needed it. I felt much better this morning. And now I only have two more days to go... today is my Thursday. Or tomorrow is my Friday. Or something! Except my uncle flies in from California tonight. So family-time central is about to begin.

This is us at Christmas. It makes me miss my short hair. My family? Not so much!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesdays are Miracle Days

My weight was down this morning; two whole pounds. 19.4! I was so happy to see those teens again when I stepped on the scale. I even did a victory dance. Then again, I am always lower on Tuesday. You might wonder why I don't move my official weigh-in day to Tuesday. But I truly believe it would start being lower on Wednesday then. Also, it throws off my week. On the other hand, I am not averaging any more. I am so insanely consistent that one day shouldn't vary much from the next. This just all goes to show how ridiculous the scale really is.

But, like any abusive relationship, I can't tear myself away. I need the validation of all my hard work. I need those random low days to get me through the weeks without movement. I need the hope that tomorrow could be even lower!

I have done cardio the last two days. Which used to be a habit for me, but now is pretty rare. Sunday I did HIIT on the treadmill, as I have been working on. I did about 10 sprints when I started to feel really faint. I finished out my remaining five, but I did not feel well afterward. I wonder if I hadn't eaten enough before I headed to the gym. It is hard to gauge good nutrition on weekends. Other than that, I basically sat around and watched TV all day, so I didn't need a lot of energy.

Monday, I was determined to get to the gym regardless of a busy day at work. Knowing I only have to do thirty minutes should make it a little easier to get me there. It seems like such a short amount of time. I can spend longer driving home from work. But I still just wanted to sit around. Mostly, I just couldn't face the treadmill again. So I told myself I would attempt sprints on the spin bike. I wasn't exactly sure how this would work, but my goal was to keep my heart-rate above 10 calories/min and I couldn't leave until I got to that 300 calories burned mark.

Once I was on that bike again, I was ablaze with energy. I did four seated sprints (super-fast pedaling) for 20 seconds followed by 40 seconds easy spinning, increasing in incline every minute. Then four standing sprints when it got too steep to sit any longer. I took a little break and did it all again. Sixteen sprints. Then I climbed a steep hill, where I kept my heart-rate around 12 calories/min the whole time. I burned even more calories than that stupid treadmill. I will have to mix it up more often! And of course, it just flew by and I was on my way home again.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Skinny Meg Challenge Week #8

Current Weight: 21.4 pounds
Vacation Gain: 0.4 pounds
Total Challenge Loss: 2.8 pounds
Total 7 Week Macro Loss: 5 pounds

This wasn't the result I wanted. I really hoped that my weight would continue to head down all of last week and I would be lower this weigh-in than I was before I left for vacation. But that's not how it turned out. Shucks. I am not giving up though. I am definitely lower today than I was last Tuesday when I returned home (about four or five pounds!) so thing were moving in the right direction last week. If every time I take a vacation my life just stands still for two weeks, that's not the end of the world. At most, I take three vacations per year. So far, it doesn't seem like I gained a bunch of weight that won't come off. It just seems like I stalled for two weeks. I am essentially, right where I was two weeks ago. 

Anyway, moving forward. 

The bad news: I have family coming to town at the end of the week. That means my routine is going to be thrown off. Anytime people come to town, the activities revolve around eating. I am going to try to change that, and have the activities revolve around visiting and sight-seeing. I am also going to try to get out of a bunch of things! My mom is already "disappointed." On top of that, work is Cray-Z right now. We are short more than 1/3 of our staff. I am working 52 hours this week, over the course of the next six days. I am hoping that shouldn't effect my workouts. And I am trying to tell myself, being in a routine is better for me anyway. 

The good news is I am back home for the whole week, with access to my scale and real protein. 

I am going to try to add a couple quick cardio sessions to my week to see if that speeds up weight loss. As I mentioned, the idea is not to do hours of cardio. I want to preserve the carbs I do get, and therefore two 30 minute sprint sessions seems like it would be a good addition to my weight lifting. I am already doing one per week, so it would just be one additional gym trip. And 30 minutes is so easy to sneak in. I just really wish I had a treadmill at my own house, because 30 minutes is hardly worth the 20 minute trip to the gym. 

Here's my schedule for the week:
Monday - Sprints [work 8 hours]
Tuesday - BodyPump [work 8 hours]
Wednesday - Sprints [work 11 hours]
Thursday - BodyPump [work 8 hours]
Friday - Frisbee [work 8 hours]
Saturday - Rest [work 8 hours]
Sunday - BodyPump [day off]

I really really really really really want to get back to the teens this week. Like tomorrow! And I am determined to never see this 20 pound mark again!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Macros: Five Weeks In

This morning I was down a little more on the scale. Now, I am sitting just two pounds up from where I was last Friday when I left on vacation. And I am even more hopeful that I could lose a couple more pounds by tomorrow and be right back where I was. At the very least I would really like to be lower than the 21 pounds I was at my last weigh-in. If I could lose even a pound in the two weeks that include a vacation, I will be a happy girl.

Ultimately, I am very happy with macro-counting. It really seems to work for me. It took a LOT of planning at the beginning, but now I rarely have to plan anything. For the most part I look at every eating opportunity as a chance to get more protein. As long as I don't have two high-carb meals or two high-fat meals during the day, I am usually fine at the end of the day. And every night I have a snack that finishes off my day. Sometimes I need just fat and protein, so I turn to eggs or cheese. Sometimes I need protein and carbs and then cereal is my go to. Most times though, I need all three. And then a Greek yogurt mix of things is a good choice. I am not eating anything I don't want to eat (hello Quinoa!) and I am not limited from eating anything (hello processed foods!).

But it does put things into prospective. Chips is my number one craving. Lately I haven't had too many chips. It's not worth the 30 grams of carbs for a serving (15 chips). And it's hardly worth it for me to buy a whole bag if I am going to make room for a serving once a week. But honestly, I haven't craved much of anything. I am eating all the time.

It isn't something that is very maintainable while on vacation. I will have to get better at that. But sometimes I think taking a vacation from your diet is okay too. Truly, counting macros is flexible enough that you shouldn't need a cheat day, or a break. But a vacation is supposed to be a special time. I probably won't count on my birthday either! It's just like the gym, missing a day here or there won't make a difference.

The exact tracking is not something I hope to do forever. I hope to use this as a weight-loss tool and then re-adjust when I get to be where I want to be. In some ways you would say that's not a lifestyle change. Either is counting calories. I have never gotten to a point though that I can eat intuitively and not gain weight. That's the next goal. But I have learned a lot of really interesting things that will change my lifestyle.
  • Protein is so much more important than I ever realized. 
  • I eat WAY too many carbs if left to my own devices. Even if some are healthy carbs.
  • The body makes no distinction between healthy carbs and crappy-delicious carbs. Well, that's a vague statement. Obviously it does in terms of sugar and fiber, etc. But at the end of the day a carb is a carb.
  • I probably don't eat enough fat. I have many days that I have to try to get my fat higher. But your body needs fat just as much as it needs protein. It's vital for functioning. Yesterday I had to add coconut oil to my Greek Yogurt. More on that disaster later! But for so long I have looked for low-fat options and held the cheese. And all along, that was what my body needed.
  • Either the added fat or the added protein really has my metabolism revved up. 
  • And my fingernails are a lot healthier! Again, I don't know which of these would be responsible, but it's a great side effect. My hair is probably healthier too, but I am in the wear-it-up-every-day-of-summer phase right now. 
It is worth the work. If you are thinking about it. If you are wondering if would work. I would say try it. The weight isn't just falling off. I could probably lose faster if I started to run five miles and eat 1200 calories again. But I did that once. And I couldn't maintain that. For the first time in a long while I have hope again that something will work. I was stuck for so long. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Vacation Gains

I am home from vacation and as usual, so happy to be back in my bed and back to a routine. I don't go back to work until Thursday, which gives me two days to get caught up around my house and a little down time to actual relax on vacation.

Unfortunately, things didn't go great nutritionally on vacation. I was gone four whole days and I came back six pounds heavier. Too be fair, that is a comparisson of Friday morning and Monday evening, which isn't accurate because evening is always higher, and I spent Monday eating the most fattening and salt-ridden foods of the whole week. By Tuesday morning I was just up five pounds. So I guess I will call it a five pound gain. Though technically, that time of the month started Tuesday, so it's going to be hard to get a good estimate. By Wedensday morning I was only up four pounds, which makes me think the sodium is falling off. My ultimate hope is that between Friday and Friday mornings I can be up just a pound and by next Monday morning for my weigh in, I would actually be lower than when I left. Oh, if only my scale would listen to my hopes and dreams.

Here's what went wrong:
  • It is impossible to order enough protein. For instance, Dan really wanted Indian food one night. Indian has always been a good choice for us, because I am very unlikely to over-induldge. I can order a chicken dish, have a serving of rice, and half my chicken. This time though, eating the whole chicken dish only gave me like five ounces of chicken and I needed 6-8! I am not about to order two items. Place just don't let you order extra protein! For breakfast, you can get a couple eggs and sausage, but even that's not enough and then there's the pancakes and hashbrowns you have to deal with!

  • I told myself that as long as I hit my protein, I didn't have to worry about fat and carbs. I never hit that protein, even drinking protein shakes every evening (I got around 120-140, when I was aiming for 155!)
  • I definitely went over in carbs. But oddly, I found myself splurging on the most ridiculous things. Once I said, I'm going to have the sandwich at Subway, instead of the salad, since Carbs aren't an issue this weekend! And another time, I opted for the banana at breakfast, since I had unlimited carbs! These don't seem like unhealthy choices.
  • I spent way too much time driving in a car and not moving around. I only worked out once. But they had weights and I used heavier weights than I have ever used in the gym.

Here's what I did right:
  • You should see the sacrifices I DID make. I so wanted that chocolate muffin that was on the breakfast bar every morning. You know chocolate muffins, that are really cupcakes, without frosting, so you can call it breakfast... 
  • I had one bite of a fried snickers at the Iowa State Fair. Because I wanted to try it. But I didn't want to eat all of it. 
  • I bought bottles of water instead of soda at the gas stations. 
  • I worked out once.

  • I had only one drink at the wedding and one margarita later in the weekend.
  • I tracked all my calories. Mostly. Except maybe a few bites of things.


What frustrates me the most is that I did not eat 17,500 extra calories (five pounds) so I know that I didn't truly gain five pounds. But it wasn't all just "water weight" that fell off the next day. So what it is I do not know. I made so many good choices that I wonder if it is even worth it. What if I did have the fried oreos and the candy bars and the wedding cake and free drinks at the wedding and muffins and pancakes for breakfast and sodas and chips in the car... I don't believe I could have come home ten pounds heavier. Could I?

But I got back to a routine on Tuesday. I hit my macros perfectly. I took a tough BodyPump class. 

And both Jennifer (via a photo I posted on facebook) and Dan (via looking at me) told me I looked skinny and/or a lot more athletic this week. So there's that!


Thursday, August 7, 2014

On Vacation

This morning I was at a new low weight. I finally broke into the teens. In a big way. Down to 18.8 pounds! I feel like I have been doing such an amazing job. And I don't want to ruin that when I leave on vacation tomorrow. On the other hand, keeping track and trying to reach the correct macros while not at home seems incredibly daunting. It's hard enough to make everything perfect when I have a calculator, scrap paper and a food scale. I'm not going to aim for perfection. Here is my plan:

1) I must get my protein in each day. Like this weekend, I might be more lenient with my carbs and fats. Higher carb days equal lower fat days. 

I have found a great protein powder that I can mix with water. My plan is to take single serving baggies of this protein powder to mix with bottles of water every day. 

I am packing other high-protein snacks too. Protein bars, beef jerky, nuts. When Dan stops for candy bars, I'll pull out a better choice. 



2) I'm going to drink lots of water. Even if I have to pay ridiculous amounts for it. And have to stop the car every hour. 

3) In recent years, I have made myself workout on vacation. Somehow the hotels we're staying in, don't seem to have gyms. Sad face. But I have one day of "hiking" planned. Hopefully I can get one more day of workouts in too. Sprints around a lake sound fun. 

4) I'm going on vacation. I deserve a treat. I'm going to track. But I am not going to freak out. I don't want to ruin my vacation for myself or my husband. Nobody likes crazy-control-freak Karrie. Especially me!

My hope is to still be in the teens when I return. Therefore, I can gain a pound. But that's it. Then I'm back at it next Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

This Could Be You


Edited: *picture removed, to protect privacy* (edits in red)

I found a photo on a facebook group I joined of macro-counters. She listed her stats as 5'9 and 165 pounds. That's not where I am yet. But it could be. It could be you. In fact, if it is you, congratulations because you look good. Damn good. And you are my new inspiration. I never would have guessed her weight at 165. But this is my idea of the perfect body. This is what I am aspiring towards. She has hips (like me). She doesn't have a lot of weight on top (like me) and her legs are bigger than her upper body (like me).

I always thought that if I got down to 165 (or maybe 160 is the equivalent for me since I am 5'8) I still wouldn't be where I want to be. But the point is: this could be me! She obviously lifts weights. This isn't 165 pounds of fat. This is muscle. But not scary muscles. I would love to have arms like that. I would love to have those legs. And now, after staring at this picture, I really think that I could. 

I have always wondered what would happen when I got to my "goal weight". Would I be the size I want to be? Would I look toned? Would it even be enough. Because I have no idea if I will look the best at 170 or 160 or 150 or 140. I have never been in shape and 140 pounds. 

But now I see, that I don't have to be 140 to look great. I just need to work on lifting weights, tightening up all that loose skin I have, and burning off a bit of my belly fat. 

This picture has motivated me. This is achievable for me. Every morning I look at at it and say: This could be you! As long as I keep working hard. As long as I keep making tough choices. As long as I pass on four of the five desserts people tempt me with today. As long as I realize that I don't need all. the. carbs. It's not that far away. I could be there by my birthday. I could be there sooner. 

THIS COULD BE YOU!


Monday, August 4, 2014

Skinny Meg Challenge Week #6

Current Weight: 21.0 pounds
Weekly Gain: 0.4 pounds
Total Challenge Loss: 3.2 pounds
Total 4 Week Macro Loss: 5.4 pounds

This was the first stalled week I had in Macro counting. I weighed in last Monday morning at 20.6 and by Tuesday I was up to 22 pounds. Not a big deal. I know my weight fluctuates like this every day. But then it stayed around there most of the week. And it bounced between 21 and 22, but never back to the 20s. So while I am disappointed that it was up from last Monday, I guess I am lucky that its on the low side again.

This was my first NOT perfect week of Macros. We had out of town company come on Friday evening and stay with us through Sunday. This put a little bit of a wrench in my calculating and planning process. It is very hard to plan your meals when you don't know what your guest are going to want to eat. And then of course we take them to local places that perhaps don't have their nutritional facts online. Friday night they wanted to go out for tacos and margaritas. I had saved up a lot of carbs because I knew that we'd be eating out. So I thought I had enough for a margarita. I didn't know how many carbs were in a margarita. I didn't know how big the margarita would be (until I asked the bartender) and I had no idea how that would fit with the two tacos and black beans I had planned on eating. I stuck with my meal perfectly, even giving away my second side-dish, because I didn't realize it would come with two. But I should have skipped the drink. I passed on alcohol the entire month of July. But margaritas just call my name. I did some research when we got home and saw that I was over for carbs (though I just had to estimate really). I made up for it by being under for fat. Hoping that the two would balance out.

Saturday, we ate out all day. After the gym I met them for bagels. I forced myself to only eat half, because nobody has room for that many carbs at breakfast. I thought I was being so healthy at lunch by ordering a cheeseburger and skipping the bun. When I got home, I logged my 1/2 pound burger. Not being a meat eater, I had no idea what nutrients would be in a burger, just knowing I needed lots of protein. Here were the stats (without the bun): 59 protein / 0 carb / 27 fat. What!?!? That's like half my fat in one day! Tons of protein though! I should have just eaten the bun but only eaten half of it. The thing is, I didn't even feel like this is a big burger. I am so used to shoving meat in my mouth now!

By the end of the day I was over in fat but still had quite a bit of carbs left (hello, non-fat frozen yogurt store!) I felt it was a good balance to be over carbs/under fat on Friday along with the under carbs/over fat I was on Saturday. But get this: I was also way over in protein. 166 (I need 155). That has never happened.

Needless to say, I was over in calories, which ultimately is why I am up a little in weight. But I think I made good choices, while not really having any control or ability to plan my day. We also did an hour of frisbee in the park, so I burned a few calories too. Plus, I skipped on ice cream. That's will-power.

So even though the scale moved the wrong way this week, I am proving to myself that I can handle this lifestyle even in uncertain environments. I still made it to two BodyPumps this week, had an end-of summer work celebration, spent the day in Omaha with Jen for her birthday, entertained out of town guests, did some sprints on the treadmill and continued to live my regular life. I think this is something I can keep working on.

Even if it's just as slow of process!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Sprints

I thought I had written about my treadmill sprints, but I don't see that post anywhere. So let me tell you what I have been up to...

In the "old days" this is how I would run sprints on the treadmill:
Run one minute (or two) / Walk two minutes (or three). It all depended on the length I wanted to run. But in reality, that is not a sprint. You can't sprint for a minute and especially not two minutes. That's just interval training. Which is good. But not what I wanted to be doing.

Then I read this idea somewhere:
Run 20 seconds as fast as you can (a real sprint) and rest for 40 seconds. You do not have time to turn the treadmill up and down, so just jump off.

I tried this! At first I felt sill just standing there on the side for 40 seconds. At first I was hardly out of breath. But by the 5th or 10th or 15th sprint, those 40 seconds fly by and you wish you could have a little bit longer. Here's what I learned that was so awesome: my heart-rate jumps up to 10 calories burned per minute, and then 11 and then 12. And stays there. It might decrease a tiny-tiny bit, but not really. I am back to running soon enough to keep it elevated the entire time. So after 15 sprints, I have run a total of 5 minutes and burned almost 200 calories.

And then my hamstrings hurt for days.

I tried this once and loved it, but don't really have a lot of time for treadmill workouts. Then I found Macros. And I read about how they don't really suggest an hour of cardio. Instead, they are big proponents of HIIT. They suggest a quick 20 minute cardio session after weights. Or a 30 minutes session on off-weight days.

They say that's all you need. Two to three sessions per week. To blast through a little fat.

So I tried it again on Monday. I got up early and went to the gym. I walked for five minutes. I did 15 sprints (at 7.0 mph). I walked for five more minutes, then I stretched. Wham Bam! I burned 300 calories! It took almost as little time to do the workout as it did to get there and home again. I kind of loved it.

I can't wait to do it again. At a higher speed. Or maybe even try it outside. You can really see what your full-out sprint speed would be when you attempt it off of a treadmill. Maybe this weekend.


Friday, August 1, 2014

July 2014 Recap / August Goals

I feel like July 2014 was really the month I turned things around. I say that now... 
I started the month at about 24.2 pounds. Then I gained a couple of pounds over the 4th of July / Half Birthday weekend. That put me up to 26.4 pounds. 
I ended the month at 20.6 pounds. Regardless if you think about that as a 3.6 pound or 5.8 pound loss, it is still good. And about the best month I have had in a long while. 

It was just the push I needed to get myself set straight and really focused on my weight loss once again. 

During the month of July I discovered the idea of counting Macronutrients and have become an expert at it. Some days are harder than others. Some days I really just want to eat a bag of chips. Some days I am really tired of lunch meat and cottage cheese. But I have really made hard choices and stuck to my goals. 

I have made great strides in BodyPump too. I have been three times a week every week in July! Thirteen times this month! Here is where I started the month and where I finished with my weights (*per side):

Warm-Up: 5 pounds -- 7.5 pounds
Squats: 15 pounds -- 20 pounds
Chest: 7.5 pounds -- 7.5 pounds
Back: 7.5 pounds -- 10 pounds
Triceps: 5 pounds -- 7.5 pounds
Biceps: 5 pounds -- 8 pounds (half the time)
Lunges: no weight -- 7.5 pounds
Shoulders: 5 pounds -- 5 pounds

I have increased every track except shoulders and chest. And I have to admit, those we two very hard tracks this month. But that is obviously what I need to work on next. My goal was to increase something every week, so I would have expected to see four increases. But when I look at that comparison I see seven! Over-achiever!

I have decreased my cardio quite a bit during the month of July. And I am fine with that. For now I have no goals to be back in the gym 6-7 hours per week. 

Goals for August:
1. Attend 15 BodyPump classes. Increase at least four weights.
2. Continue to count Macros. 
3. Go on vacation and don't panic about counting, but don't get crazy either.
4. Lose five pounds during the month of August. Getting me down to 15 to go!