Figure out what sucks, then don’t do that

So if you look at the counter on the home page of my blog, you might initially think … success !!  I went from 13.5 pounds to lose, to 10.0 pounds to lose in just one post.  However if you notice, it’s been over 6 weeks since I last posted an entry.  The reality looks a little more like this:

13.5 pounds to go
17.5 pounds to go
18.0 pounds to go
16.0 pounds to go
14.0 pounds to go
12.0 pounds to go

11.0 pounds to go

And now here I stand, just 10 pounds to go.  That number is as of this morning; although my official weigh in day is Friday, I do weigh myself every day.

Okay okay, so I let the holidays get away from me a bit.  I guess I could still consider it success, as I am NOW going in the right direction … right ?!?!

Time to lose those famous “last 10 pounds”.  Yikes !!

In all honesty though, I’ve been doing pretty good.  I’ve been counting my calories like a good little girl, and getting better at exercising on a semi-regular basis.  My diet may not be perfect, but it’s working so that’s what counts, IMO.  I’ve limited myself to 1600 calories a day on the days that I count, which is not every day.  If I have plans on a given night, I do not count calories.  However I still try and eat well for most of the day, allowing myself to indulge for just that one meal or event.  These typically happen at least once a weekend, or sometimes all weekend long, if I’m lucky ;)

A dietician or nutritionist would likely cringe if they saw my food log.  Of those 1600 calories, typically 1200 or so are accounted for by the food I eat, and I save a couple of hundred calories a night for alcohol.  To put things in a glass-half-full perspective, it’s better than eating 1600 calories in addition to several hundred calories of booze.  How’s that for warped logic ???

I will pass along one of the new recipes I tried in the past month or so, taken from a recipe book from famed chef Rocco DiSpirito.  In it, he takes the comfort foods we all know and love and recreates them in healthy, calorie controlled ways.  I use this book often and have not been disappointed yet.  This particular recipe is one of my favourites; it’s called Chicken-Fried Steak with Sausage Gravy.  Steak, sausage, gravy ???  How can you possibly go wrong.

My new exercise is a Stability Ball Push Up to Pike.  Not easy in any way, shape or form, and in all honesty I can only eke out a few of these at a time, however it’s a great exercise that works nearly every body part at once.  Win-win if you ask me :)

Intuitive eating my ass !!

I bought a book a few years back called “Intuitive Eating”.  I could probably make a small fortune selling all the books, magazines and other assorted diet and exercise related paraphernalia that I’ve purchased over the years.  Many have gone by the wayside; only a select few remain in my possession collecting dust in the cabinet in my den.

I guess what I was attempting to accomplish when I started this blog was in essence a method of intuitive eating.  The concept is a basic one … “eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full”.  Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it ??

However as I discovered just a few shorts weeks in to my journey, my complex little brain just didn’t quite grasp it.

I purchased the book because it’s exactly what I want from life.  Well, at least my life in regards to my health and well being.  It claims to teach you how to have a healthy relationship with food and to not measure your worth as a person because you ate food that is “bad” or “fattening”.  It claims to help you distinguish between physical and emotional feelings, and gain a sense of body wisdom.   It claims to assist you in making peace with food so that you no longer have constant “food worry” thoughts.

Anyone who has followed either of my blogs will find these phrases all too familiar, as these are all concepts I have struggled with my entire adult life.

Perhaps it’s my Italian background and our love for fine foods in large quantities.  I come from a very large family, and as with most people I know, whenever we get together for a special occasion the gathering is centered around food.  Isn’t that why so many people complain how difficult it is to stick to a healthy diet this time of year?  I’ve been to more parties, gatherings, and dinners than I can count in the past month or so, and each one had an abundance of food and drink, of which I joyfully and heartily partook.

That being said, since I went back to a more structured system of diet and exercise a week ago, I have had much more success than I did with my former method.  I lost 2 pounds this week, but more importantly I feel a million times better.  I hit the weights 3 times last week, and each time with a formulated plan as to the routine prior to hitting the gym.  This is what I do with all of my clients, so I’m not sure why I thought winging it would magically work for me.

I also went back to counting calories, and although I wasn’t perfect, I believe just creating an awareness makes me feel more accountable, and that brings me success.  Losing any amount of weight just one week before Christmas is, in my eyes, a major accomplishment.  Go me :)

As promised in week one, I managed to incorporate one new killer exercise into my routine, and I discovered a simple and delicious new recipe as well.

The exercise is called the BOSU Bulgarian Lunge Hop and can be viewed on my EOTW tab, and I absolutely love it, even if my quads hated it at the time.  You’ll also find a link to a recipe for Bacon Barely Risotto on the Recipes tab.  You really can’t go wrong with any recipe that includes bacon can you?

In all fairness, I never really gave the Intuitive Eating read a chance, and if I remember correctly I don’t even think I finished the book.  Perhaps it’s time to dust if off and give it another go.  What have I got to lose, other than the obvious ??

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

This Keep-It-Simple-Stupid system of weight loss isn’t really working according to plan.  Guess I’m dumber than I thought :(  I’m back to square one as of my last weigh in … actually I’m up 1/2 a pound from when I started my journey just a few short weeks ago.

Now of course I can blame the season for my countless over indulgences, and admittedly they have contributed somewhat to my new-found holiday bulge.  But that would be an excuse.  Actually, I’m using the holidays as an excuse to eat just about everything in site.  And in addition to that, being the all-or-nothing person that I am, my workouts have taken a backseat as well.  No point in exercising when my diet is out of control right ??  I believe that’s what’s referred to as backwards thinking.

So in light of my recent failure, I’ve decided to come up with a new plan of attack.  For a brief period in the past few days, I considered going at it hard core.  With the countless diet schemes out there promising quick and dirty results NOW, surely I’d find one that could work for me ?!?!  And after talking to a member at work I also considered taking some supplements; she told me about a product that helps to relieve stress and therefore the swollen belly and added weight gain that often accompanies stressful periods.  But thankfully the voice of reason stepped in to save the day.

While I do believe stress is a contributor to weight gain, and I am feeling a good amount of stress in my life right now, I also believe that popping a pill to help relieve it is also backwards thinking.  Remember, this journey is not just about weight loss but about feeling better about myself overall and becoming the best I can be, and masking my stress with a pill is not the proper route to take.  If I stop taking the pills will my stress magically disappear ??  No.  And while my recent weight gain does contribute to my stress levels, I know deep down that I can fix that with a simple amount of effort in the diet and exercise departments.  And yes, exercise really does produce endorphins that make you feel good :)

So, I put aside the fleeting thoughts of magic pills and fad diets, while at the same time designing a plan that I know works for me.  While I long for the day when I don’t have to count and obsess about every morsel that passes my lips, for some reason that just doesn’t seem to work for me, or at least not now.  Hopefully one day I will get to that point, but until then I need a better plan of attack, albeit a simple one.

I’m going back to counting calories, and I really, really need to get back into a regular routine of working out.  Being the anal retentive person that I am, I have kept records of calories consumed and exercises performed for the past several years, including back when I had lost close to 30 pounds a few years ago.  It took me about 6 months to lose 30 pounds, and I didn’t have to starve myself to do it.  I simply needed to have an awareness of what I was consuming (and burning) and I needed to be consistent about my efforts.  Not perfect, but consistent.

And no excuses folks, I’m starting my new plan TODAY, not January 1st.  Being overweight really does affect my psyche and my well-being, and if I wait until the New Year and gain even more … well let’s just say that would not be a good thing :(

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back …

This journey of mine is indeed an arduous one.

I had planned to write an entry in my blog weekly, but the Grey Cup and it’s corresponding festivities got in the way of blogging last week.  But a fun time was had by all :)

In the week prior my weight remained stable, and this past week I went up one pound.  Again … not complaining, as I had a couple of very indulgent weekends and my exercise habits were not quite up to par.

I find when I’m pressed for time for a workout and I only have a half hour or so to spare, more often than not I jump on the treadmill and go for a quick run.  Not only does all my training (as in my education to become a personal trainer) tell me this is the improper choice, but my personal life experiences force me to acquiesce.

I would gain much more (and you all know what I mean by gain here .. right ?!?!), if I spent that time in the weight room rather than expending my all my energy performing a quickie cardio routine.  But running is what I love to do, and it’s easy for me, so that’s often where I find myself.

In a perfect world I’d have enough time for both daily, but I digress.

I did manage a few weight training workouts, and my Exercise of the Week is a killer.  If anyone asked me, or any of my sisters for that matter, what our problem area was, I’m quite certain we’d all reply with a very resounding LEGS !!!  And because of this I love working my legs more than any other body part.

When I tried this exercise for the first time, a few expletives made their way out of my mouth throughout the routine, and my few lucky clients that I’ve tried this on can vouch the same.  It’s called a Standing Box Jump, and you’ll find it around the 4:57 mark in the video on the EOTW page.  This type of exercise is called Plyometrics, and it’s one of my favourite styles of training, both for myself and clients who can manage, although because of the impact on the body, it’s definitely not for everyone.

My newest kitchen creation was a Chickpea and Couscous Stew.  I got it from the 2013 Longo’s calendar which has yet to be posted online, so I’ve found a similar version that you can find under the recipes tab.  I have never actually had couscous, and while the recipe was good, I doubt I will make it again.  Being single and working crazy hours, I tend to make food in batches so I can manage for a few days on one dish.  While this one was good on day one, I did not enjoy the leftovers all that much.  But I do love chickpeas and butternut squash, so if you do too give it a shot.

With the holidays fast approaching and my social calendar filling up quickly, efforts to eat healthy and get in exercise becomes more and more challenging, but as suggested I will do as best as I can and not think about it … or at least that’s the plan ;-)

Slow and steady wins the race

I am 2 weeks into my metamorphosis, and down just another 1/2 pound this week.  Considering last weekend’s getaway (aka my 2 day eating and drinking free-for-all), I’m actually pleased with any weight loss at all.  If I can enjoy that type of weekend and still see positive results, that totally works for me :)

And unlike the Tina of old, I didn’t have to starve myself or run myself ragged with insane bouts of cardio and weight training to make up for it.  My week continued as planned; no calorie counting and not a second thought to what I was eating or drinking.  I managed to weight train 3 times and got in 4 cardio workouts as well.

This I can live with !!

More importantly than the number on the scale however, I really am starting to feel better about myself.  Just two short weeks ago when I decided to start this blog I was feeling gross and fat and bloated.  I’m certainly not anywhere near where I want to be, but those icky feelings have almost completely disappeared.  I’m feeling more confident and a little bit happier with what I see in the mirror … but just a little.  I still have a long way to go.

I suppose I’m most especially proud that I was able to accomplish any results in a highly stressful week.  As I mentioned previously I am very much an emotional eater, and this week my mental state was a virtual train wreck.  If I can find success at this point in my life, there may be hope for me yet.

My Exercise of the Week was the Glute/Ham Raise, which you can view on the EOTW page.  I had done a poor man’s version of this with my clients previously, but my gym finally got the machine for it a couple of weeks ago and I was ecstatic.  I managed 2 sets of 12 reps, but on my 3rd set could only eke out 7 reps when my hamstrings reach complete failure.  What a great feeling :)  Take that cellulite !!!

My newest culinary concoction was Basil Shrimp with Feta and Orzo.  This recipe is what I like to refer to as a triple threat … simple, healthy and delicious.  Feta cheese is a favourite of mine, as is seafood, and the flavours in this recipe are magnificent.  If you don’t know, orzo is a type of pasta; although it looks very much like a large grain of rice.  Did I mention I don’t believe in cutting carbs ??

Pasta, rice, bread … bring it on baby :)

Mind over muffins :)

So week one is under my ever-so-slightly smaller belt … and I’ve lost 1 1/2 pounds :)

Not a monumental amount of weight by any means but it’s a start.  It should be noted that even though I will update my blog over the weekend, my weekly weigh in occurs on Fridays.  I really try and avoid the scale on the Monday after my mostly indulgent weekends.

The week was really good though and I feel very happy that I was able to achieve success in the manner that I did.  I didn’t count one single calorie, which is a pretty significant accomplishment for me.  I didn’t eat “diet” foods or put a heck of a lot of thought into what I ate.  I consumed wholesome, home cooked meals for the most part, but was careful not to eat junk or eat mindlessly just because it was there.  I have always been an emotional eater … I eat when I’m stressed, angry, sad, or sometimes when I’m just plain bored.  It’s likely that in order for me to achieve success I will need to eliminate this style of feeding frenzy from my lifestyle for good.

My new recipe was a Beef and Rapini Stir-Fry, and it was delicious !!!  For those of you that have not yet acquired a taste for rapini (or broccoli rabe in layman’s’ terms), I recommend you try this recipe.  The bitter taste that many complain about when referring to rapini is gone, and instead you are greeted with a wonderful blend of flavours that combine perfectly together.  I used a really good cut of steak and was sure to prepare it rare, as it should be, and I also added a couple of julienned red peppers to the mix.  Normally I would pour a stir fry over some steamed brown rice but I found this one quite satisfying all on it’s own.  You can find a link to this recipe on my Recipes page above :)

As for my workouts, I felt really good about them and finally feel that I got back on track this week.  I did 2 weight training workouts plus an Interval Class (that coincidentally I teach), and I completed 4 runs this week.  Admittedly, sometimes I had to drag my ass, but I always felt better when the workouts were completed.

My Exercise of the Week, which you can find by clicking the EOTW page above, was a Coffin Sit Up.  I pulled this one out of my bag of tricks for a client I trained on Halloween.  We also performed Guillotine Presses, just in keeping with the theme of course ;-)  Even though I sampled this before using it with my client, I had not actually performed full sets in a workout until this week.  I did 3 sets of 20 and it is killer !!  I made it even tougher than what you will see here by never having my hands leave the floor.  The point of the exercise is to lie perfectly flat and perform a sit up with your legs (and in my case hands) never leaving the ground.  You are using nothing but core to move your body – woot woot.

Now there’s a good chance that I undid all my efforts this weekend, as I went away for 2 days and ate and drank to my heart’s content.  However that’s really the whole point of this quest.  I had a weekend spa getaway with my sisters, and did NOT want to concern myself with diet and/or watching what I ate or drank.  I should be able to enjoy these events guilt free, and then simply get back to my routine after the fact.

And that I did my friends, that I did :)

Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow ye diet

Today I begin a journey …

Wait a minute, that’s not entirely true.  I’m writing this on Sunday night and don’t really plan on starting until tomorrow.  Let’s try that again.

Tomorrow I begin a journey … :)

Now initially this may seem like a weight loss journey.  Especially since I have a “pounds to go” countdown on my home page.  However it’s not JUST a weight loss journey.  It’s a journey to be and feel the best I can be.  For me personally, weight loss has something to do with it, but it’s not just about the number on the scale.

I’ve gained about 15 pounds in the past year or so, oddly right about the time I started working at a gym.  But like any other job, at the end of the day and especially after being at work for 12-14 hours at a time, the last thing on my mind is staying there any longer to get in a workout.

And truth be told I’ve been eating like crap as well.

So when I say one full year to a new and improved me, feeling good about myself physically is just a small part of it.  But it’s a big part too.  I don’t feel good when I’m overweight, and I don’t have confidence in the product I’m trying to deliver to my clients, so weight loss is a big part of my journey.  More specifically I want to be fit again.

Naturally part of this plan is to incorporate more exercise into my life as well as improve my diet.  The last time I lost a considerable amount of weight (35 to be exact), I may have gone a little overboard.  I was in the gym 5-6 days a week for 90 minutes at a time.  My diet was pretty strict, although I have always allowed myself indulgences and always subscribed to the theory “everything in moderation”.  But I’ve never been able to be successful at weight loss or even weight maintenance for that matter without counting calories and keeping track of every morsel that passed my lips, even on the cheat days.

The new plan is to lose the weight, get fit, but not obsess about it.  I plan to workout on 3-5 days per week for an hour or less, eat what I want when I want, but just be fully aware that I’m eating because I’m hungry and need to fuel my body rather than mindlessly noshing just because it’s there.  More importantly, I won’t beat myself up if I break these rules.

In my blog each week I will review the workouts that I did and update my progress in terms of pounds lost.  I’m going to try one new exercise each week and post it here as well.  You’ll find that in the EOTW (Exercise of the Week ) page.

I’m also going to attempt to cook more quality home cooked meals, and attempt one new recipe each week, which I will also post here.  It’s not that I don’t cook home cooked meals now.  I do.  Almost every night.  But being single sometimes those meals are not the most creative cuisine out there.  I simply want to refine my culinary skills and enjoy the food I eat.  But I should warn you, these will not be diet recipes but whatever the hell turns my fancy and looks yummy :)

Everything in moderation right ??