Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 2014 Recap

First, let me just point something out: I blogged only 10 times in September. I didn't do much better in August, only 11. Back in July, I blogged 16 times. You know what else happened in July? I actually lost weight. Who can say which came first, the chicken or the egg. But months that I do the best I blog more, should convince me to blog more! Something about holding myself accountable. So that's my number one goal for October: 15+ blog posts!

As September is wrapping up, let's see how I did on some goals:
1. Attend 12 BodyPump sessions. Fail! I made it 11 times. I don't know how I missed this one, I was certain that I went three times per week. But looking back, I see that I skipped my anniversary weekend, and then I missed a Thursday early in the month. (I think my friend Amy was in town and we went to dinner.) Shucks. I really thought I was going to at least make this one. Increase shoulders, biceps to 100% of the time, and lunges. Here are my BodyPump improvements for the month of September. Don't get too excited!
Warm-Up: 7.5 pounds -- 7.5 pounds
Squats: 20 pounds -- 20 pounds
Chest: 10 pounds -- 10 pounds
Back: 10 pounds -- 10 pounds
Triceps: 7.5 pounds -- 7.5 pounds
Biceps: 7.5 pounds (3/4 of the time)  -- 7.5 pounds (all of the time)
Lunges: 7.5 pounds -- 10 pounds
Shoulders: 5 pounds -- 7.5 ( a few times)
I did increase my biceps to 7.5 all the time. That just happened last Saturday and then again tonight. I have been using more weight for lunges and I can finally see an improvement in that area. like I don't want to kill myself while doing them. This is really the only time I have ever felt like this, in all my BodyPumping years. So maybe I have perfected some sort of form. Ir my legs aren't tired from doing mindless cardio. I have tried to increase my shoulder-bar but it just doesn't work. Then I realized, I should be increasing the free-weight portion at the beginning, not the over-head portion at the end. Duh! But I just thought of that, so I haven't tried it.
2. Do 8 Cardio Sprint sessions this month. Fail. I did six cardio sessions this month. And that includes mowing and walking. I only did three Sprint sessions. This must improve. I have given myself a pass from cardio. But not all together!
3. Two weeks of Macros. If I don't notice a downward slope, switch it up to calorie counting for the rest of the month. So I did the two weeks. It did work. I hate that it works. It's tough. But it did. So I have kept it up for the rest of the month. And plan to keep keeping it up.
4. Lose six pounds during the month of September. Getting me to the 15 pound mark. WHAT? I was about two pounds lower than where I started (19 pounds). Two pounds is the right direction though.

And my hopes and aspirations for October:
1. Blog 15 or more times. Better blogging equals better results.
2. Twelve BodyPump classes. Work on increasing Shoulders.
3. Eight Cardio Sprint sessions. Boy this is starting to sound similar.
4. Follow the SkinnyMeg October Challenges.
5. Lose five pounds, getting me under the 15 pound range and actually see a 14!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Random Weigh In

I got into the challenge! And it officially starts on Oct. 1st. So I will have to do an official weigh in then. And measurements. I haven't done those in a while, so that could be interesting. But it's Monday and that's my normal weigh in day, and my weight is down. So I had to report it to someone!!!

Last Week's Weight: 20.4
Today's Weight: 19.2 pounds
Loss: 1.2 pounds!

I really got back on track this week. Monday was a free-for-all; it was our anniversary. And we had decadent food to celebrate. But on Tuesday morning I woke up and calculated and tracked and counted and made sure to hit those numbers. I got back to the gym this week. I did three BodyPumps plus one day of sprints. I was on or under my carbs and fats every day. I hit my protein every day but once (and that was due to family time and a lack of protein in the world, I mean being served.)

I am happy with this number. I am not going to be where I wanted to be by the end of September (15 pounds) but I am working on it. At least I am lower than the beginning of September. Being part of this new challenge has really motivated me to get back on track. I love being held accountable. Even by strangers. I really like having a forum of people with similar interests that I can talk to and share ideas. I feel very alone in my real world. Nobody I see (on a daily basis) cares about eating healthy. Nobody works out like I do. Nobody passes up every. damn. cupcake. on the breakroom table. Day in and Day out. Some people are lucky enough not to have to. Others don't care. So it's great motivation to see that I am not the only person out there struggling to make smart choices, but still hitting the gym over and over.

Here's my workout plan for the week:
Monday - Mowing
Tuesday - BodyPump
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - BodyPump
Friday - Sprints
Saturday - Rest (working)
Sunday - BodyPump

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Next Skinny Meg Challenge

Skinny Meg has decided to hold another challenge. This one would be shorter, just the month of October. It would also have less members (no where near the 1500 in the last group). This makes us more accountable plus give us more personal attention. But this one has more rules. You have to weigh in and measure every week. Plus you have to participate in challenges every week. I love it! And, since it's harder to get in, We had our first challenge just to qualify. 

All weekend we had to track our food, hit our calories, and workout. It definitely motivated me. The idea that someone would be looking at my food log and had expectations kept me on track all weekend. 

Friday, I wasn't expecting to workout, but mid-day she issued the challenge expectations. Dan and I had planned on going to dinner and then for coffee. But I knew if I got home at 10 pm I never would work out. So I talked Dan into doing a 30-40 minute walk after dinner. And since he got coffee anyway, he didn't mind. 

Saturday I was up early for BodyPump class. 

And was busy the rest of the day with social obligations. We joined Sammie and my friend Jennifer at a pumpkin patch where we had fun for over three hours. Including caramel apple fun. 

We had plans in the evening for waffles at my mom's, followed by a football party. I had to save a lot of carbs for those activities. And even though I stayed under my calories, I did not meet my protein requirement. When bacon is the only protein you're offered, it's hard to eat 40-50 grams. 

Sunday, the challenge got me to the gym for 30 minutes of sprints on the treadmill. My right hip has hurt since the last time I ran. And it has hurt a lot since I got done today. I just don't know how to stretch my hip right. 

I also wanted to try out the squat machine (leg press?) machine in the weight room. I'm having trouble getting enough weight on my squat bar during BodyPump. I can barely lift the 40 pounds I've been doing. And it's giving my back/spine some issues. I want to be able to work my legs more without sacrificing my back. So I did the press at 175 pounds, 10 x 3. I might try to add this? Or just do the weight room once per week. 

Here's what I had to turn in tonight to be eligible for the SkinnyMeg Challenge. 

This has been great motivation so far. I just hope I get in!!! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Transformation Tuesday

Here are my twelve-week transformation photos I submitted for my challenge:

Top: June 30th, 2014... Bottom: September 23rd, 2014
Here is what I notice:
  • My tummy is smaller. In terms of sticking out. It doesn't. As much.
  • My boobs don't either. Sad
  • My booty is definitely perkier.
  • I think I even see a front quad sticking out the front now. This doesn't help my pants fit better.
  • Everything else is the same.
I was really hoping to see a bit more progress in twelve weeks. I am not sure why. It's not like I lost tons of weight. But I have been lifting a lot of weights. I have attended a lot of Body Pump classes (30 to be exact) in the last 12 weeks. Plus I used weights twice. That's over 2.5 times a week on average. That's awesome. I have definitely gotten stronger. 

On the other hand, that booty is only going to get perkier. That tummy is only going to get smaller. And eventually those arms will start toning up. Twelve weeks from now (Thanksgiving) I will take some more pictures and we'll see how it's going. An inch here and there is still an inch.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Skinny Meg Challenge Finale

Starting Challenge Weight: 24.2 pounds
Ending Challenge Weight: 20.4 pounds
Lowest Challenge Weight: 18.6 pounds

My numbers are a bit skewed today because I have had a weekend of improper eating. We celebrated our anniversary all weekend and I gave myself a vacation from counting and caring. I'm not saying I went all out crazy, we went to one of my favorite Nacho restaurants and I got a cheeseburger and enjoyed a few of Dan's nachos. So i have learned something from this. I had pancakes but stuck with low-carb sugar. Life is all about balance.

Still, a twelve week challenge and I only lose 4 pounds. Maybe 6 on a good day once last week. That is slow. And I feel like this is a lot of work. But is it more work than limiting my calories? Is it more work that cardioing it up every day? Is it more work that doing nothing and being unhappy? Probably not.

I am going to have Dan take some progress pictures of me tonight. A lot of Macro counters claim it takes a month or so before the scale really starts moving. They say pictures are where you'll see the difference. I can't tell by looking at myself, but I have a lot of hope that I will see something great when I compare the photos.

So what now? Well a count down to my birthday of course. Fall is here. My favorite time of the year. And then the holidays are upon us. Last year around Thanksgiving, I was my lowest weight in a long time (just 3 pounds from goal). Oh how I would LOVE to go into the holiday season at three pounds this year!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

More Protein Recipes

Protein French Toast: 
2 pieces of bread
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup liquid egg whites
1/2 scoop protein powder
1 tsp of cinnamon

Directions: Mix liquid ingredients, soak bread. You know, french toast style. Put on griddle or frying pan.

Nutrition: (for one slice): 152 calories / 14 protein / 29 carbs / 2 fat

Thoughts: I had a hankering for French Toast and this did not disappoint. I used a pretty dense bread, so I only got to have one slice. But I have recently found a lower carb bread, so I would be able to have the whole recipe, for about the same carbs, but double the protein. Which would have made it a lot better, macros wise. As it was though, it was delicious and probably the best protein recipe I have tried yet. Because I didn't try to make the bread protein-packed, just the coating!

Parmesan Encrusted Chicken Tenders:
1 pound of chicken tenders
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup of Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt/pepper/rosemary to taste

Directions: Coat each chicken tender evenly in flour, then whisked eggs, then bread crumb/grated Parmesan/spices mixture. This creates the coating of your chicken fingers. Bake in a 375 oven for 20-30 minutes on a cookie rack placed on top of a cookie sheet.

Nutrition: (for one serving): 250 calories / 33 protein / 16 carbs / 5 fat

Thoughts: I don't think I have ever done anything where I dredge something in flour to create a coating. It was disgusting. I don't love to touch raw meat. But it was not difficult. I didn't end up using all the eggs, flour or bread crumbs, so I estimated: 1/3 cup flour, 1.5 eggs and 3/4 bread crumbs when I was doing my calculations. But you have to start with enough to actually get it coated. It turned out easy and it was delicious. I served it with some basic ranch dipping sauce, but honey mustard would have been good, and maybe lower-fat. I made these because Dan saw something like it at Whole Foods and claimed he would eat chicken if it was like this. His response: Best Chicken you've ever made. Until I reminded him he said that about another dish and then he changed this to second best chicken... I will make these again. I am so tired of just plain chicken! I might use a zippier cheese. Dubliner most likely.

Protein Banana Muffins:
I made these muffins. I ate one. It wasn't very good. The rest went to waste. I won't make them again. So I won't waste your time reading about them.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Skinny Meg Challenge Week #12

Current Weight: 19.2 pounds
Weekly Change: -3.0 pounds
Total Challenge Loss: 5 pounds
Total 12-week Macros Loss: 7.4 pounds
Weekly Low (Sunday): 18.8 pounds

I had a good week. I did not have a perfect week. Which almost makes it an even better week. I had a few days that things did not work out. One day I had too much fat: when I miscalculated a restaurant's online info, and then another day I had too many carbs: when I enjoyed popcorn at a baseball game. However, I let those sort of average out at the end of the week. The big one though, I didn't reach my protein on several occasions. On average I was 20 grams off per day this week. But I never went over on my calories for the day. I just quit eating. Because sometimes at 11:00 a night, I can't force down a protein shake. The result make me hopeful that maybe I don't need to be quite as exact with my numbers. Maybe I don't need to get my protein quite as high. Maybe I just need to keep my fat and carbs in check. Which is difficult enough...

This week I did three BodyPump classes. I even tried to go hard on Thursday night and keep it up on Saturday morning. I did one cardio session, which was tough and left me sore for days. I meant to get one more done, but some how that has become harder than expected.

Sunday morning I woke up and finally hit my pre-vacation weight. It took 30-some days to get it off. I was derailed slightly during the month of August. But I am seeing that it is off and I am on my way down again. It gives me a lot of hope.

I am feeling pretty good about this week. I have a few days off of work that I am really looking forward to. Dan and I are celebrating our 2nd anniversary this weekend. I imagine I will have an imperfect day or two this weekend and I am going to be okay with that. I want to be able to celebrate. I just hope it doesn't set me back for 30 days. Here's my plan for the week:

Monday - Cardio Sprints
Tuesday - BodyPump
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - BodyPump and Cardio Sprints
Friday - Nature Walk (day off)
Saturday - BodyPump
Sunday - Rest

My original goal for September was to count Macros for two weeks to see if it really works, or if I should just return to calories. I think it's working. But like I said above, I might try another week where I don't force myself to meet those numbers. As long as I am under the carbs, right around the fats and high on protein I might be able to see some changes. Not making myself eat protein I can't stand will make it easier to maintain. And I am still limited to 140 carbs, so I can't just eat doughnuts all day!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pain in the...Hips

My week is going well. I've just been doing this:

And a little bit of this:

And mostly this:

But most importantly this:

I have had two perfect days on the Macros front. I have seen a slight downward movement on the scale and seeing as it's that time of the month, moving downward is more than expected. Really hoping for a couple of pounds gone come Monday when all the hormones start balancing out. Of course that will require me to have a perfect week and weekend. 

Monday I ran sprints on the treadmill. I got off of work at 5:00. I got home by 5:30. I took an hour nap, had a snack, hit the gym at 7:30 and could still meet Dan at Chipotle when he got off work at 8:00. I love quick gym trips. I did the 20 second run - 40 second wait thing again. I haven't done it for a couple of weeks (August 17th to be exact) and my hamstrings could feel it. But even stranger, my hips hurt a lot the next day. I am hoping that's the fat melting from them. Lord knows they need it. Does one have hip muscles? It wasn't like I pulled or broke something. It was like a muscle hurt. One that has never worked before. They're better today, though my hamstring are still on fire.

Tuesday I hit BodyPump and worked hard, but need to be encouraged to increase. I need to remember that it's okay if I can't do every rep. The teacher's at the Racquet Club are much too lenient. They never encourage you to increase. They often mention the difficulty of the upcoming track. They sometimes even say to go lighter than usual. I wish my BodyPump buddy would return to the gym. I could pay her to make me increase. Come to think of it, maybe I should be rewarding myself...or punishing myself. If I increase my shoulder track three times in a row I can buy new shoes?!? That seems pretty excessive. I really just want more carbs. I can have three nachos?!?!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Skinny Meg Challenge Week #11

Current Weight: 22.2 pounds
Weekly Change: +0.4 pounds
Total Challenge Loss: 2 pounds
Total 10-Week Macros Loss: 4.4 pounds

Here's the thing about having a blog. You still have to show up each week and say how much of a failure you are. Again, 0.4 pounds is hardly anything, so it's not really a gain. But it isn't a loss. And little gains after little gains equal big gains. I was hoping for a good loss this week. But I wasn't as consistent as I should have been. This was a crazy week. But aren't they all. Social obligations always get in the way, but I don't want to live a life without social obligations. I don't want to skip dinners with friends and work gatherings. Even if it means being at my goal weight. I would rather live life fully. I just need to find a way of living life fully that allows me to lose weight too. I guess that's the catch 22!

Here was my week. I start out perfectly. I hit everything the first three days. Then I had dinner with a friend who I only see three times a year. And she got to pick the place. I was as accurate as I could be, but I had to look some things up when I got home. I went over on protein for the first time in forever, and fell short on fat, but I thought that was alright since my carbs were over too. Friday I went out for dinner again and was feeling really crummy about all the protein I had to get. While everyone else is eating fries I have to order cottage cheese. And a sandwich I don't even want. I ended up eating someone's left over nachos and went way over in fat and carbs. But at least I hit the protein. Saturday we had a work picnic. I did well all day, but it's so hard to gauge what's in other peoples food. But it definitely wasn't protein. After we got home from the festivities, the last thing I wanted was 60 grams of liquid protein. So I just went to bed. By Sunday I had kind of given up. But by dinner I pulled it back together and ended the day alright, just not perfect. My weekly average shows too little working out, and not enough protein. That apparently equals no loss.

I have to get my act together this week. It's too hard to do all this planning for three days just to throw it away later in the week.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

August 2014 Recap / September Goals

August 2014 was much more of a standstill than July had been and therefore a little disappointing. I started the month at 20.6 pounds and I ended at 21.8 pounds. A little over a pound gained. Though I can gain and lose a pound in an hour, so I don't really see this as an increase. Just not the five pound decrease I had wanted. Here were my goals for August:

1. Attend 15 BodyPump classes. Increase at least four weights.This was a really tough goal. I must have been really excited. Fifteen classes in a month is every other day... and I was going on vacation for a week! I made it 11 times. And The gym closed down my classroom the last week of the month, so I missed three sessions. I could have done weights in the grown-up weight room, but I didn't. Eleven sessions in a month (plus a vacation) is good. I am proud of that.
2. Continue to count Macros. I did. Though I didn't hit them every time. I didn't have any perfect weeks, and that is why I didn't lose anything. Perfect week = perfect loss. I am glad that I just maintained instead of randomly gaining two pounds each week that wasn't perfect.
3. Go on vacation and don't panic about counting, but don't get crazy either. Sucess. I tracked. I tried to eat protein whenever possible. But I went to a hippy wedding and the served no meat. Plus, it's really hard to get enough protein eating fast food. Even though I brought protein powder and drank it every day. And ate cottage cheese as my side. But I lost all my vacation gain, within a few days. And I didn't drive everyone crazy trying to eat weird things. So this was a win.
4. Lose five pounds during the month of August. Getting me down to 15 to go! Nope.

You know how I love it when a new month falls on a Monday. I am super motivated to get back to business. As I stated yesterday, I am going to commit to hitting my macros perfectly for the next two weeks. If I am not back to the 18s where I was just a short time ago, then I might take a little time off. But I do believe if I hit them dead on for the next two weeks, I can be back there. Which is just the kind of reward I need for all the counting and sacrificing and hard work. 

I am also headed back to BodyPump tonight. I know I am going to be sore after taking a week off. And I don't want to injure myself. I had a lot of back pain after I got back from vacation (too much sitting) and have been worried about increasing my squat weight. So though I didn't make as many gains as I had hoped, I am still headed in the right direction. The following is a June - July - August comparison:

Warm-Up: 5 pounds -- 7.5 pounds -- 7.5 pounds
Squats: 15 pounds -- 20 pounds -- 20 pounds
Chest: 7.5 pounds -- 7.5 pounds -- 10 pounds
Back: 7.5 pounds -- 10 pounds -- 10 pounds
Triceps: 5 pounds -- 7.5 pounds -- 7.5 pounds
Biceps: 5 pounds -- 8 pounds (half the time) -- 7.5 pounds (3/4 of the time)
Lunges: no weight -- 7.5 pounds -- 7.5 pounds
Shoulders: 5 pounds -- 5 pounds -- 5 pounds

Here are my goals for September:
1. Attend 12 BodyPump sessions. This seems more attainable. And it's one more than I was able to make it to this month. Increase shoulders, biceps to 100% of the time, and lunges.
2. Do 8 Cardio Sprint sessions this month.
3. Two weeks of Macros. If I don't notice a downward slope, switch it up to calorie counting for the rest of the month.
4. Lose six pounds during the month of September. Getting me to the 15 pound mark. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Skinny Meg Challenge Week #10

Current Weight: 21.8 pounds
Weekly Change: +0.6 pounds
Total Challenge Loss: 2.4 pounds
Total 9-week Macros Loss: 4.8 pounds

I am definitely at a stand still. And I know why. I have not been hitting my macros perfectly. My week has been CRAZY. And I am using that as an excuse. I don't mean to, but there is just no way to plan my nutrients for the day when my family won't even tell me the eating plan until ten minutes before it's time to leave for the restaurant. So I spend a lot of time trying to save my carbs and fats for the end of the day. But it doesn't always work out like that. Because Lunch. Sometimes they want to have lunch. And surprise! There they are at your library. Plus, work has been absolutely draining this week. I really try to not let work be an excuse. But I can't even explain how exhausting it was this week. I didn't get two days off until the library was closed for Sunday and Monday for the holiday.

Finally, get this: on Monday, the gym announces that they are refinishing the studio floor and BodyPump is cancelled for the week. What?!? You think this would have given me an opportunity to do free weights or some cardio. But I did nothing. Nothing! Being already exhausted and busy with family did not leave any time for gym time. Now I am scared to go back tomorrow.

I will say: I am getting really tired of protein. Let's say I get home from dinner with my family and I still need 60 grams of protein. Yet, I am full. And the idea of drinking two protein shakes disgusts me. And ordering cottage cheese for my side-dish at every restaurant is getting old. And I just miss nachos. I can't fit that crap into my macros like I can my calories. And you can't save up for a big meal out (like the day before). BUT... that's the point. I can't lose weight eating nachos. And saving up calories. And not eating enough protein.

I know this can work. I just haven't been focused the last few weeks. I don't think I had a perfect week at all in August. Vacation took over two weeks. And family took over another one. And somewhere I lost a week of August! So I am making myself devote to two more weeks of solid Macros counting. I need to make some good progress. Otherwise, I am thinking about going back to calorie counting. Only because I need a mental break. Some people allow a "cheat day" where they don't count. I don't really like that idea. The whole point is that you can eat what you want, you just have to adjust around it. Except nachos. I can't find a way to adjust around that, I would just be eating pure protein powder the rest of the day. Anyway, I have told myself that I can re-evaluate after two more solid weeks. It is definitely too much work to be stalled this long. But I am honest with myself that I haven't been spot on, and it does work when I am actually doing it right.

I also need to get back to my workouts. Weights for sure. But also I need to do cardio at least once and hopefully twice a week. Just to burn a bit more calories, but without wearing myself out (and needing to eat more carbs.)