Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My new goals, and my latest successes

This has been an incredible week. I've really been motivated, and I've been absolutely successful at meeting my nutrition goals. My Sparkpeople Nutrition Tracker helps me track my calories, and I've been sticking with the program. I've been working out regularly, and have started a 10 minute fitness challenge. Not for during the week, really, because I have no real trouble getting to the gym anymore (except when my daughter's not in school, but that's another blog post entirely) and I work my ass off in those classes. The 10 minute fitness challenge is for the weekends, because I tend to sit on my butt all weekend in front of the computer. So my goal is to consistently get a minimum of 10 minutes of activity a day... no exceptions. Even on the weekends!

Saturday was fantastic. My whole family got up and went out in the street to play! The girls rode their scooters, my husband bought a new skateboard, and I walked the dog! It was just plain fun.

I ate well (which is a major accomplishment) and did so without denial. I even pigged out on grilled ribs.

Last night was a real dietary accomplishment. My family adores Old El Paso enchiladas. You can get a dinner kit, and they eat the heck out of them. Problem is... they're TERRIBLE. 1 serving is almost 400 calories, and that's without all the extras I like, sour cream, extra cheese, etc.

Well, I got to looking, and realized a LOT of the calorie oomph is from the flour tortillas. If I dump those... that cuts the count in HALF.

Holy cow.

So I made up a recipe here on sparkrecipes (here, if you're interested) and realized that with this, a serving is under 200 calories! That INCLUDES my cheese! This also means I can add other toppings like sour cream and olives guilt-free.

To top it all off, the real icing on the cake, today I weighed in... and I've lost THREE POUNDS. I've gone from 196.4 to 193.6. That is phenomenal! I'm so proud of myself, especially after my recent 8 lb setback. I hit 190, then ballooned back up to 198 because I got lazy. I'm so proud of myself. The best part of all of this is I'm making a lifestyle change. I'm changing how I think of food. Yesterday I got a vanilla coke from the fridge for my daily caffeine fix. I drank half of the can, and just plain decided I wanted water more. IT didn't taste right, and I was craving water. Today, I did it again.. only this time, I grabbed the coke, wrinkled my nose at it, and put it BACK in the fridge... I've been drinking water since.

I can't believe it. It's really, truly happening.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Great abs are made in the kitchen... not in the gym

I just heard this ancient nugget of wisdom, and while the attribution for the original quote ranges widely (up to and including Arnold Schwarzenneger) the point behind it is simple.

Doing 1,000 crunches won't result in washboard abs.

What I think is a better quote is that "Great abs are made in the gym, but revealed in the kitchen."

What does this mean, exactly?

One big myth you'll hear a lot of overweight wannabe exercisers state is that they want to target X body part, or lose weight there. Back at the beginning of the year, I watched two ladies with very large backsides and thighs do the same thing for the two weeks they were there. Walk on the treadmill, then get on the thigh machines.

Day after day.

It was clear that they wanted to lose weight in their thighs.

Thing is, exercise doesn't work like that. Oh, you can tone your arms, or crunch your way to washboard abs... but you're not going to lose weight by doing planks.

You have to eat right! My trainer at the gym tells us often: You can't out-exercise a bad diet.

See, I'm one of those lucky people who carries most of her weight in her abdominal area. Heck, look at the title of my blog!

What the "great abs are made in the kitchen" means is that you have to eat right, because when you gain weight, you'll gain it wherever you're genetically predisposed to do. Right now, when I tighten my abs, I can FEEL the strength. I've been working on them hard, for five months. I HAVE washboard abs.

They're just hidden under 30 lbs of eeew.

So what I have to do is lose weight... I can't lose weight in targeted areas, I have to lose weight ALL OVER. By eating less than I burn, regularly exercising, I can lose that weight, and eventually, my gut will go. I'll show off the washboard abs I can FEEL under all that fat. My genetics tell me that my stress and my overeating puts weight there.

My habits in the kitchen will defeat it. I can do more crunches than anyone I know... but I won't be able to see them until my eating habits are caught up.

So let's spread the word:

Great abs are made in the gym, but REVEALED in the kitchen!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tai Chi and Trying to Recover

So this week put me face-to-face with my nemesis: School breaks. See, my routine during the week is to drop my kiddo off at school, then head straight to the gym, where I work out for 1-2 hours, depending on what classes are available.

On weekends, and when my daughter is out of school, I find it very difficult to get up in the morning. See, I work from home, and pretty much crawl out of bed when I like, and hit the computer. I'm not a morning person, and tend to not go to the gym if I don't go first thing. There's always something else going on to distract me.

So my daughter had three days off this week. So that meant I didn't go to the gym for three days this week. I'm already planning for the summer, though; I've made a friend at the gym, and I've already told her that when summer gets here, she's getting my number, and she's to text and nag me to come to class with her.

This SUCKS. I'm already gaining weight from not tracking my caloric intake (I've been good today, actually tracking my food, but I've been BAAD for several weeks, and gained back almost 9 lbs.) The stress level in this house has been catastrophic lately, too. My husband has been very sick. He ended up in the ER yesterday thanks to a nasty seizure last night. He slipped a disc, fractured his foot, and dislocated his jaw a bit. He's been sick almost constantly for weeks, and my stress level has just been through the roof. I think that's part of why I gained weight; I snack when I'm stressed. I'm trying to be more mindful, and have made sure to stock HEALTHY snacks.

Now, in more fun news: My daughter LOVES Tai Chi. After watching Kung Fu Panda 2, she wanted to try Tai Chi, and since I have a Tai Chi video, I put it on for her, and we did Tai Chi for 20 minutes while supper was getting ready. She loved it (she's 6) and it was good for me, too. I think we're going to start doing it more often, because she was so relaxed. She's a bit hyperactive, so anything that calms her down is good. I think Tai Chi would be good for her, too, because it gives her an awareness of what her body is doing, where it is, and how to make it do what she wants. She needs better balance, too. She's starting soccer this weekend, so I think being able to follow instructions and focus on her body will be extra good practice for soccer.

Tomorrow it's back to the gym, and I'm going to bust my butt to make up for the effort I've wasted this week.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Working out sucks when you're a mom

And not for the reasons you think.

It's the little known horror of the aerobics class. Jumping jacks are your bane. And if you're smiling or nodding, you already know what I'm about to talk about.

Let's start with this morning. It started out as many of my mornings do; dragging out of bed some 30 minute after the alarm went off (I know, I know, I'm working on that. My snooze button gets overused.) I took the kid to school, and raced to the gym to catch the first class of the morning. It's a boot camp class, one of those "who the heck KNOWS what's coming next" sorts of things. We ran, we lunged, we generally grunted and groaned.

Then, the instructor told us WE would pick the next set of exercises. We stood in a circle, and took turns leading the group (about 6) in an exercise. Squats. Burpees. Windmills. Then... my bane of banes. Jumping jacks.

Not just a few, either. FIFTY jumping jacks.

Now, I'm hardly a newbie in the fitness world; on the technical side of things, jumping jacks aren't difficult. I have the physical capability of.

No, my friend, my problem with jumping jacks is Mom's Bane. My bladder.

Oh yes. I peed ALL OVER myself. This was, sadly enough, only 30 minutes into this hour long class. I usually wear protection, but this time I'd forgotten, and wasn't too worried about it since we usually do weight training in this class on Thursdays.

Fate has a funny way of treating you. I was thankful I'd worn a long t-shirt instead of my usual -torso-hugging workout shirt. It hid the worst of it, but I was about to die of embarrassment. This was a mixed class, with guys and girls. The girls know... and one friend shared my horror with sympathetic frowns when I told her.

I decided to finish, but then I intended to go home and change out my wet pants for something less... toddler-accident-ish.

But you know something? After the class, I was ready to flee in shame, and I realized something.

No one cared. No one stared, commented, nor looked. The only one who knew was a classmate who has the same problem. So instead of skipping out on my next class, an hour-long weight class, I said screw it... I'm staying.

So I did. And I even told the instructor, and she was proud of me for sticking with it. The other ladies in that class (all the guys chickened out, they think that our 5 and 7 lb weights are girly) sympathized and told me in conspiratorial tones they had the same problem.

So I finished my class, and my biceps are screaming. I could have run home, but I didn't.

So what if they had noticed. No one cares. Everyone's generally polite enough that even if they did notice, they're certainly not going to say anything. So if you worry about people laughing at your thighs, or looking like a dummy in Zumba or not knowing what to do in that spinning class... remember me. Remember my urine-soaked panties and gigantic wet spot, and know that if I can get through an hour and a half of gym class with that, you can manage to look a little silly.

Besides, all of us started somewhere. Five months ago, I was the newbie in the class. I was the one standing in the back, embarrassed by my flopping belly and jiggling thighs.

And I'm already looking, and feeling great. And when a newbie comes in class with that deer-in-headlights look, I smile, introduce myself, and tell her that she's going to love it.