Whole 30 Week 4 and Workouts

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A few nights ago I dreamt of a cupcake. I was holding it, looking it up and down, assessing every inch of its deliciousness. It was not your conventional store bought cupcake, oh no. It was a perfectly baked, moist, treat. The flavor was simple, a vanilla cake with what I can only imagine to be cream cheese frosting. My eyes devoured it while my mind started to express the guilt I would feel for eating it, for breaking the Whole 30 rules. I took that first bite and the sugary goodness melted over me like being hit with a ray of sunshine on a summer day. Then I woke up.

A couple of nights later it happened again. This time not with a cupcake, but with alcohol. Whiskey to be precise. A beautiful cocktail in a stemmed glass. I swirled the liquid around, bringing my nose right to the top and smelling all it had to offer. The moral and mental battle raged on again before ultimately the first sip was taken. The warm liquid moved down through my body warming me up from the inside out. I felt calm, relaxed, and happy. Then I woke up.

Now I am not one to dream about food, especially foods I almost never partake in. Maybe once or twice a year I indulge in a cupcake or a whiskey cocktail, but neither are high on my can’t live without list. Which made it that much more interesting to see these treats pop up into my sub concise. My best guess for interpretation is after 28 days of nothing but pure obedience to the rules, my mind feels it is either tired of being so strict or maybe it feels it deserves a reward. Either way I am on the home stretch with 28 days complete and 3 more to go. Right now I am still debating if I want to continue on after the 31 days or start the re-introduction of foods instead. Most likely I will just keep going until something so amazing and tempting comes across my plate I can’t say no.

This week I had the pleasure of actually going to see Melissa Hartwig, the founder of the Whole 30 speak at a book signing. It couldn’t have been better timing since starting the program I have become slightly infatuated with her. It was on Thursday night up in Marin County, a pretty short 25 minute drive from my house over the Golden Gate Bridge. Ideally I would have had a partner in crime to go with me, but it wasn’t in the cards so a solo adventure it became.

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One of my favorite pastimes is seeing authors speak. I love to hear them describe their work, their passion. Hearing them describe how they came about the eloquent words they spent hours typing. I love the questions the audience asks and seeing how quickly they are able to gather their thoughts to respond back. (Which from personal experience is a pretty nerve racking endeavor.) I ended up being more then pleasantly surprised with Melissa, I was flat out impressed. She was fluid with her thoughts, personable with a happy demeanor, smart, candid, and relatable. After almost an hour of talking and Q&A I waited inline for longer then I should have to get my book signed by her and the other author at the event, Danielle Walker from Against the Grain. What ended up being my huge disappointment of the evening? Asking the stranger behind me to take a photo of us. Is it that hard to get someones whole head in a shot? It was a smart phone, not a complex point and shoot. Oh well, if that was my biggest annoyance of the week it was a good week.

Here is to the last 3 days, hopefully the food dreams will start to calm down. Its making it hard to stay on track!

Workouts:

Sunday: 60 Minute Barre Class at The Dailey Method

Monday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok

Tuesday: 60 minute Barre Class at The Dailey Method, 30 minute strength training at gym

Wednesday: 65 minute Spinning Class at Body Rok, 20 minutes of  strength training at gym. Technically class was only 45 minutes but I stayed on the bike a bit longer

Thursday: 60 minute Burn Class (mix of weights, cardio, and pilates board)

Friday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok. I was looking forward to this class all week! Not only was it taught by my favorite instructor in SF, but it was also an 80’s themed ride!

Saturday: 46 minute 7.10 mile run

Whole 30 Week 3 and Workouts

 

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Wow, I cant believe I am 21 days into my Whole 30. This week was pretty much on cruise control, thank god! Since I was home from traveling I was able to cook  and prep most of my meals, which makes a huge difference. Typically I like to do most of my meal prep for the week on Sundays. It is a life saver to make a big dish so I have something to eat for lunch throughout the week. This past weekend I ended up having lots of time with friends, so my Sunday routine was thrown off. This meant I had to do more cooking at home after work when all I wanted to do was sit and un wind. My other saving grace this week was Whole Foods Hot Bar. It has saved me when I didn’t get my usual veggies roasted and I needed to grab some quick to add to a salad. My only complaint with Whole Foods is they use a lot of Canola Oil in their food, which technically is complaint in the Whole 30, but not encouraged. Oh well, a girl has to make sacrifices and for me that was it.

So what should I be feeling 21 days in? In reading the Whole 30 guidelines by this time I should be in the stage they call Tiger Blood. What is Tiger Blood you ask? Well according to their website it was a phrase they took from the actor Charlie Sheen (which who knows what he was using it for) and then attached their own definition to it. Essentially Tiger Blood is the part of the program where you are passed the biggest hurdles, i.e. the cravings and “hangover” part. From the website, “Your energy is through the roof, you’ve kicked the cravings, you’re experimenting with new, delicious food, and you’ve finally got the time to notice that your clothes fit better, your workouts are stronger, and you are generally more awesome.”

For myself it is not this dramatic transformation I anticipated. However there are definitely some noticeable differences. I would say if you are not looking for them, it could be easy to miss. Let’s start with the more noticeable ones. First my carvings for non Whole 30 Foods is pretty low or non-existent. I dont have any urge right now for anything processed, sugary, bread/grain like, or even alcohol. Which if you know me a glass of wine, bread, and cheese plate are my 3 essentials if I would be trapped on a desert island.  I was also really nervous about not drinking for a month due to the social impact. Instead I have been trying to spend more time with friends outside of happy hour. This has lead to many a coffee, breakfast, or workout class dates. It is a friendly reminder are friends love us regardless of what we put in our mouths.

Next and probably the most impactful is I am sleeping sooooooooo much more soundly. If you can relate, there is nothing worse then waking up all throughout the night. You wake up feeling almost as bad as if you had gone to bed at 2:00am. So to be able to get a full nights sleep night after night is incredible. Just to be fair though, we also did just buy a new King Bed around the same time this started, so that may have something to do with it as well.

My pants are fitting better. This was something I noticed after the first round I did of Whole 30 back in December and was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to continue the program. After years of practically starving myself I just can’t ever go back to that place. So it is nice to feel like I am not depriving myself of any food and I am still able to see an impact. I have also had some other things I started around December 1st that could be attributing, but regardless of what it is I will take it.  I am not sure what this equates to weight wise as we are not allowed to weigh ourselves on the program, which is fine by me as I broke up with my scale over a year and a half ago and have never looked back!

Lastly and the least noticeable is my energy. I wear a fit bit everyday and track my steps. Since starting the Whole 30 I have noticed without even trying I have added an extra 2-4k steps a day. This is huge if you really think about it as it is an extra 1-2 miles a day. Without trying my body has just wanted to move more. I have also found I have energy to do more “life” stuff like go through my closet, pay bills, cook, get together with friends, etc.  If I had not been paying really close attention to this one I may have completely over looked it.

To summarize, I may not be Tiger Blood yet, but I am seeing the Eye of the Tiger for sure.  One week left to go, although I am not going to lie, I might just keep this party going as long as I can. It feels good to feel good, you know?

Workouts:

Sunday: 60 Minute Barre Class at the Bar Method

Monday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok

Tuesday: 50 minute Barre Class at Mint Studio, 26 minute 4.15 mile run

Wednesday: 50 minute Spinning Class at Core 40

Thursday: 60 minute training session with personal trainer. Lots of legs and arms! Could hardly walk the next day

Friday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok

Saturday: 33 minute 5.15 mile run, 60 minute Barre Class at Pop Physique

Whole 30 Week 2 and Workouts

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Just last week I sat perched in one of my favorite neighborhood coffee shops writing my first Whole30 post feeling inspired. As I sipped on my decaf coffee with my Whole30 approved nutpod creamer, now a staple in my oversized purse, I felt confident, in control, and motivated. Sure I had been ravenous with hunger all week and yes I had been snacking way too much, but I was eating whole nourishing foods, most of which was prepared by my own two hands. I looked forward to the days ahead where if history repeated itself I would be feeling amazing and questioning why I ever ate any other way. As I write today, feeling annoyed and slightly discouraged,  I can’t help but think what a difference a week can make.

What happened in a week you might ask? Two words, Orlando Flordia. Yep, I had my first work trip of the year. Now managing eating healthy while traveling is nothing new to me. Years ago I embraced being “that girl” who had almost an entire carry on bag with homemade meals and snacks to last me through a good chunk of my trip. I am also quite skillful at researching what is around my hotels and typically have my workouts and grocery store lined up in order to prep for the week. Going into this trip I found one of my favorite barre studios along with a Whole Foods half a mile from the Hotel. As I boarded my plane on Monday, bag full of food in hand, I thought this week was going to be a breeze!

The first day was just that, a breeze. I had my  pre-made snacks and found an awesome all veggie salad at the airport from one of my favorite restaurants in the city Plant Organic Cafe.  I dressed the salad with my carry on sized coconut aminos, saving some calories from the high caloric dressing included with the salad. Upon arriving to the hotel I un-packed and headed over to Whole Foods. I walked up and down the islets at the hot food bar reading every items ingredients thoroughly as if I was going to be tested on it later. As I passed by each delicious looking veggie or meat dish I found there was either soy, dairy, or sugar hiding in it. I gradually became more and more annoyed with the fewer and fewer options I had to eat. Must we cook everything in soy or add sugar!  But at last I found some good options and went back to my hotel room to eat, watch Netflix, and prepare for the couple of long days ahead of me.

Day 2 started fine. I brought breakfast and lunch with me, a combo of groceries from Whole Foods and snacks I had brought with me. Later that evening my team wanted to go out to dinner. I of course wanted to be a good sport and spend time with them, regardless of my dietary needs. I was determined to make it work! At the restaurant I did my do diligence. I asked for the gluten free menu and after reading it thoroughly landed on the chicken lettuce cups with cashew cheese and a couple of sides of steamed veggies. As soon as the waiter laid down the beautiful plate in front of me I took one look at the chicken and knew there was some sort of sauce on it which would not be compliant. I had to be “that girl” and send it back t to be replaced with plain grilled chicken. I left the restaurant feeling proud of myself, I had navigated through my first dining experience out.

Later that evening as I laid in bed my stomach started to feel off. I decided to go online and look at the menu again just to make sure. Apparently the regular menu had more details then the gluten free and right there with the cashew cheese it said peanuts and soy sauce. Um not ok! What if someone who was gluten free also had a peanut allergy, it would have been nice for them to include that information in the regular menu.  Immediately my heart sank. The Whole 30 rules are very strict. You break a rule you start over, no matter what.

I sat there contemplating and debating back and forth on whether I follow the rules or carry on. Starting over meant the last 10 days would have been wasted. The sauce was on the side and I hardly used it, but rules are rules. However this was not a personal slip or from a lack of trying or lack of willpower. I was annoyed, but finally I decided I would just march on as if nothing had happened. I needed to feel motivated to keep going and giving up the last 10 days was not going to do it. Plus I figured at day 30 I could just add one more day. Then after that day, I will add on one more, and so on until hopefully I could make up the extra 10 days.

The rest of the trip and week ended up being smooth, as I just stuck to the meal prep I had. However I started to feel bored with what I was eating and frustrated in how every restaurant prepared food. As the week started to come to a close my emotions started to take a tole. I was now 13 days into the program and not feeling the amazingness I felt by this time on the last go around. Maybe it was the slip up I had, maybe it was the 3 hour time change with the trip, maybe it was the serious sleep deprivation, either way I was not feeling the ease of motivation to continue. Luckily I am pretty determined so once I set my mind to something I will see it through. Although it does make it a hell of a lot easier when you feel like you are getting something out of it. Oh well, now I am just hoping with this next week the tides will change and my body will become the amazing temple I know it can be.

Workouts:

Sunday: Rest Day

Monday: 55 minute spinning class at Uforia Studio.

Tuesday: 40 minute 6 mile Run. Plus LOTS of extra walking today

Wednesday: 60 minute Pure Barre Class. 1 mile run. 20 minute heavy weight set.

Thursday: 60 minute Pure Barre Class. Was going to run, but woke up with my legs extremely tired after walking 13+miles the day before on top of my workout. I am trying to do a better job of listening to my body.

Friday: 55 minute spinning class at Lavation. This studio is not my favorite, but is only a half mile from my house. Proximity just wins sometimes.

Saturday: 60 minute Burn Class. Burn is a mix of cardio ( burpees, mountain climbers, sprints, etc.) plus weights, and a pilates board with bands. Great full body workout

Whole 30 Week 1 and Workouts

 

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I am officially 7 days complete into my January Whole 30 and so far so good! Luckily I came from a pretty good jumping off point. Having already completed 16 days  of the Whole 30 in December and holding onto most of the principles the rest of the month has made this transition a lot easier. In general the majority of the food I already consumed was in the fruit or veggie family, but I have never been a big meat eater. In December the hardest transition was stopping my morning greek yogurt or overnight oats, obsessed, and having to add in more protein. I get very easily confused for a vegetarian, but in reality I just never never been one to crave meat. It feels quite bizarre to now be eating chicken for breakfast.

Now let’s get real for a moment. Although I have been 100% compliment in terms of the food you are allowed to eat, I do need to improve upon some of the core principles. For instance I love to snack and have been a grazer the last five years. This has made it very challenging for me to adhere to the 3 meal a day rule with only having snacks if you are truly hungry. I also have a fruit problem and pop grapes like candy. This goes against the whole “Slaying your sugar dragon.” I have also just been plain ravenous this week. Maybe it is due to workouts, hormones, or what have you. Either way I would like to get a normal appetite again.

If this whole 30 goes like the last one did it was around day 9-10 my appetite started to get suppressed, I had more sustained energy, and was not reaching for food to help get me through the day.  It usually takes about 10-14 days once you get sugar out of your system for your body to start using fat to run off of instead, which then helps in aiding weight loss. On a positive note my sleep has dramatically improved over the last 4 nights. I always struggle with sound sleeping, so having had 4 nights of rest makes me feel like a whole new person!

I thought for the month of Jan as I am going to be talking a lot about my food why not add my exercise routine in as well. Since it is a huge component to the overall picture. Below is what I did this past week. On a side note I also walk a TON, which I didn’t include as I just count is as a part of my daily life. Most days I walk an extra 2-5 miles outside of just my usual moving around. This is why I love having a dog, they force you to move. I wear a fitbit and walk a minimum of 10k steps a day for reference. On average I am in the 14k-16k range a day.

Workouts:

Sunday: New Years Day Special 90 minute barre class at one of my favorite studios Mint!

Monday: 50 minute spinning class. First time trying Flywheel in the city. As you know from previous posts I am obsessed with this place and overtime I go to New York it is on my hit list. I was a little underwhelmed with the SF class.

Tuesday: 60 Minute Barre Fight Class at Salt. A mix of Barre and Kick Boxing. 30 minute weight training set at my work gym.

Wednesday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok

Thursday: 60 minute strength training session with my awesome personal trainer.My favorites moves of the day were the trap bar deadlift and the landmine

Friday: 50 minute spinning class at Body Rok

Saturday: 40 minute sculpt class on reformer machine. 50 minute spin class. Both at Body Rok

 

 

 

New Year, New Goals

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Last week I got on the subject of New Years Resolutions with a friend. He, like many other people, is in the camp that resolutions are silly and it makes no sense to use only one time a year to set a goal or make changes to one’s life. His mindset is if you want to do something you should just do it, there is no reason to wait. I of course agreed with this point of view, but also challenged my view on how there is something refreshing about starting a New Year with a set of new possibilities. A cleanse  from where life was and where you want it to go.

I have never been one to set a resolution per say. I feel stating large goals like I want to lose weight, are arbitrary and can set you up to fail. I on the other hand am all about starting a new year with new goals. I try to make my goals SMART; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time oriented (And yes this is just one of many signs I have worked a lot of years in a corporate office.)

For example. If 6 years ago I had just said to myself I am going to lose weight, I may have stopped at just 10lbs or 15lbs. However if I had also said, I am going to lose 70lbs than I may have set myself up to fail as it was such a huge hill to climb. Instead I set an attainable goal. I am going to lose 20lbs. Once I hit that goal, I set a new one. I am going to lose another 20lbs. This continued until I no longer needed to lose weight. Then I set new and different goals for myself. I am going to kick drinking diet soda, which I used as a big crutch during weight loss. What I liked about this method is it set me up to succeed and kept me on track. Every year my goals tend to be pretty similar. I usually have one related to my body or health, one related to work, and another centered around a hobby or interest like reading, cooking, or something artistic.

This year I decided to set just January goals to start. I felt like a month was a good jumping off point as it would be enough time to get me on track, felt attainable, and would set me up to succeed. Also since habits usually form after 21 days it would hopefully keep going into the rest of the year. Most of my goals tie back into one another. I think this will also help keep me motivated.

  1. Complete a Whole 30: I tend to eat pretty healthy already, but have always had a love of carbs, it takes all of my self restraint to say no to a cheese and bread plate. I have also never been a huge meat eater, which since I am trying to build more muscle I need to make sure I am upping my protein. After Thanksgiving with all of the indulgences I decided to do a whole 30 for as much time as I could before heading home for Christmas. This ended up being about 15-16 days on the strict program. I ended up feeling amazing! I have been pretty much eating this way since December 1st, but have definitely not been strict. So I decided I may as well get back on track for Jan with the whole program. Plus it then goes into another goal of mine which is to try and cook more new  and different recipes.
  2. Embrace Minimalism: I grew up loving stuff. I was raised on going to garage sales, thrift stores, and flea markets. I loved the hunt, finding something someone’s no longer found value in, and creating a story to tie back to it. I have always been able to look at possessions and tie them back to memories. Whether it was a gift from a dear friend, a treasure I found on a trip, or just a great deal while shopping. I learned to equate stuff to memories, which in turn has always made it hard for me to part with belongings. Having lived with a minimalist for 5 years now, I have become much better at learning to part with items and also just not buying them in the first place. However for the month of Jan my goal is to not bring any none necessities into my home. Tied to this is also parting ways with items which no longer serve a purpose. Two days into the new year and I have already posted 3 ads on Craigslist to sell furniture along with getting rid of 4 bags of clothes. Off to a good start!
  3. Spend Less: For me the holidays got a little crazy with spending this year. Not only was it all of the gift giving for others,  but  a strong desire for stuff for myself. Not to mention my ass got kicked by a lot of unexpected expenses/bills. Thus for January I am going to be very aware of my spending habits. This ties back nicely to my two goals above. If I am not drinking  and eating out as often (Thank you Whole 30) and I am not bringing none necessities into my home it should help me pair down expenses. It will also help me think outside of the box on ways to hang out with friends and be social. Instead of the typical happy hour and dinner with friends I am going to try to plan a hike and do a homemade brunch with my girlfriends.
  4. Nurture my Home: Lastly all of these goals will lead to me spending more time at home. I want to clean, organize, and spend time loving my place. Nothing beats quality time reading, cooking, writing, and entertaining more in the space I love so dearly.

I am curious to know how others feel about New Year Resolutions and what goals you are setting for yourself? Either way, Happy New Year and hope everyone is kicking some 2017 butt already.

 

A 70lbs Weight Loss Through Pictures

As you all know I started my weight loss journey 5 years ago today with a New Years resolution to lose 20lbs. At the time I never would have imagined this resolution would end up resulting in losing a total  of 70lbs and changing my life in ways words could never explain.  When I look back now at each phase of my weight loss I can remember all of the numerous feelings I went through at every stage and milestone I passed. To this day I am in awe of the dedication, perseverance,  and commitment I had.  With today being my 5 year anniversary from starting the new me, I figured there is no better day to share the journey I went through then today.

Starting Weight

I have pretty much been un-happy with my body since I can remember. In elementary school I recall stepping on the scale with my friends and not understanding why the number I saw below me was so much higher then everyone else’s. Mine was 3 digits, while their’s was just 2. I remember asking myself why did this happen to me? Why was I different then all of my friends? Couldn’t I just be the same? I never quite understood how your body weight worked. I always just assumed being slightly bigger was my destiny, it was in my DNA, and there was nothing I could do about it. I dreamed about being thinner. I would watch movies and idealize the tall slender girls. I would lay in bed fantasizing what it would be like to be one of them. Maybe one day my body would change and I could be like them, I could be like my friends.

As I grew older I went through various stages with my weight. I would lose 10lbs over a few months followed by gaining 15lbs back. This cycle would continue year after year resulting in a net weight gain every year.  After college my body finally found a weight it decided to stay at. This was the weight I would be for the next 5 years. I was in my early to mid twenties and accepted this was where my body wanted to be at. I had a great job, fantastic family & friends, so maybe we just cant have it all. Then on a New Years Eve night 5 years ago I laid in bed crying because I felt too large to go out with friends. It was at that moment that I decided to make a change. Screw what I thought was my destiny. I would make a new body for myself.

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At 15 Lbs Lost

My original goal was to lose 20lbs. The first 15 lbs came off fast, in less then 6 weeks. I was eating 1,200 calories a day and working out 3 times a week. When I hit the first 15lb loss I remember feeling this sense of  amazement with myself. For the first time in my life I felt in control of my body and empowered. Waking up every morning was like Christmas Day. I was so excited to get on the scale to see the progress I was making. The lower the number got, the more it drove me to continue. I felt confident, motivated, and was dedicated to continuing to lose weight.

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At 30 Lbs Lost

When I hit 30lbs down my parents came to visit. I remember picking them up at the airport and my mom looked right at me and then continued to look around for her daughter. When she finally recognized it was me her mouth dropped and she ran to give me a big hug. I felt this pride in myself I had never had before. It made the feeling even better when I saw how proud my parents were of me. It had been 3 months since I had started. At this point I was eating the same amount of calories, which to be honest left a lot of days going to bed still feeling hungry. However that slight hunger was worth what I would get out of it, weight loss. I upped the amount of time I was working out to 4-5 days a week. If I worked out more then the weight would come off just that much faster.

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At 40 Lbs Lost

I went back home to Colorado for the first time. I was so excited to see all of my friends from growing up and college. I was proud of my body for the first time in my life and wanted everyone to see the hard work I was doing. I loved the positive feedback and support I received from everyone, but it was really what I felt for myself that was the most empowering. I had been working hard for 5 months. I was now addicted to fitness. Working out slowly increased to 6-7 days a week. I loved the feeling I had when I was moving. I would lay in bed at night with excitement to wake up and go running the next morning. I wanted to be in constant movement.

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At 50 Lbs Lost

I started to feel like a whole new person. I had never dreamed I would lose 50lbs! It felt so good! I was becoming the girl I had laid in bed at night dreaming of becoming one day. I was confident and secure in ways I had never been before. I was ready to take on the world.

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At 55 Lbs Lost

Feeling like I was a sexy bad ass at 50 lbs down, only meant I felt even more so at 55lbs. The smaller I got the longer it took the weight to come off. However just 5lbs started to make a big difference on my frame. It was at this weight I met the love of my life. For the first time I felt in love with myself, which meant I was open to loving someone else. At this point I was still working out everyday, but had slowly starting to increase my calories. It was really hard for me to start eating more. When you get used to being very restrictive with your food, you start to feel a loss of control when you allow yourself to indulge and enjoy more.

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At 60 Lbs Lost

I was not intending to lose more weight, but the healthier I became the more I obsessed with having a healthy lifestyle. I cut out all splendia and diet soda, which had been a crutch for me in weight loss. I gave up a lot of processed food and really focused on making sure all of my meals were with whole and real foods. As I made these changes the weight continued to melt away. It was slow now, a 1lb-2lbs a month vs the 10lbs a month when I started. However at this point it was not as much about losing the weight as it was about giving my body the right fuel.

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At 70 Lbs Lost

I never would have dreamed I would have dropped 70lbs. With every pound I dropped the sexier and more confident I felt. For the first time in my life people called me skinny and tiny. The lower the number got on the scale, the more accomplished I felt. I was in love with my new body, something I never dreamed would be possible.

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The last few years I have relatively maintained my weight. There was a time where I got too skinny, yes below the 70lbs weight loss, and there are times like currently where I am a few lbs heavier then I would like to be. However at the end of the day I have been the same pant/dress size for the last 4 years, which to me equals success. Weight loss is not easy and maintenance is even harder, but for anyone who is looking to make a change I hope my story can help motivate, inspire, and prove that you can control your own destiny. You are stronger then you know you are and your body is capable of anything. So if today is the first day of a new healthier you, believe in yourself. You can do it!

Balance, Learning to Bring it to Life

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Balance. Such a simple word, yet a word with so much meaning behind it. What is it to have balance? To live life not in extremes, but in steadiness. Why do some of us struggle to live a balanced life? We all have areas in our life where we find maintaining an equilibrium is hard. For some of us it is with work, where we find ourselves always connected. It is Saturday morning, the first day off from a long work week. You tell yourself you are going to log into work just for a minute to check e-mail really quick, 2 hours later you are still at it. For other’s it may be spending money. The newest tech gadget has launched. You did just buy something similar 6 months ago, but you want the latest and greatest.  Even though you may not have the  money to buy it, you somehow find a way to justify the purchase. For some it is balancing a healthy life with exercise and eating. You find when you are committed to a diet you are on track. You workout everyday, eat right, you have control. Then you miss a day, then another, next thing you know it has been weeks and you are eating everything you want, regardless of your original goal.

Why is balance so hard to not only have but to maintain? Over the last year I have been trying to learn how to balance my healthy lifestyle more. For those of you who know me well it is no surprise to know I have been extreme over the last few years with health and fitness. Actually let’s be more accurate with that statement, obsessed. It was all encompassing in my mind, body, and soul.

From the moment I woke up in the morning it was all about my workout, which was always pre-scheduled the night/week before. There was no deviation from the plan. If this meant getting up at 5:00am on a Saturday morning in order to fit it in, then that is what would happen. I could not miss a day of working out. If I could not workout first thing in the morning then it would be all I would think about during the day. When was I going to get it in? I would not be able to enjoy time with friends or loved ones. I was only thinking about my workout. I needed it, had to get it over with. In  my mind a missed day meant my body would drastically change, fall apart.

After my workout, came food. I fixated on calories, a tool I could not have done my weight loss without, but was it really needed with maintenance? Time spent with friends at restaurants lead me down a dark path of stress. What would I eat? I would not know how foods were prepared and thus the calorie intake. This then lead to me over exercising during the day to be able to preemptively  counteract any food sabotage. A 5 mile run followed by an hour spinning class might just be enough to allow me to enjoy a night out.

Next all of my freetime was spent reading books on food, diet, and nutrition. What were the new diets out there I could try? Maybe I needed to be gluten free or paleo. If I ate a certain way would I feel even better? What knowledge could I gain from others? Learning every last detail I could made me feel empowered, in control.

Now is the part in the story where I am suppossed to come and say through lot’s of hard work I have now found the balance. I no longer obsess about food, working out, and health. I go out to eat with friends and never once worry about the calories because I am listening to my body. I wake up on Saturday morning and decide to skip the gym to spend time with my boyfriend instead. I have found the secret to live a life perfectly balanced.

Well sorry folks, I am still working on it. Like most, finding balance is hard. For me I honestly did not attempt to find balance until I got a wake up call over a year ago on how my intensity was hurting my relationships with the ones I loved. I have also hit a point where my body is tired and it just can’t do what I forced it to do for so many years. Through this I can say I have become way more balanced. I still workout everyday, a schedule pre-planned the week before. I have learned to except there will be days where a long hike or just a barre class is good enough. Although I do have to fight the demons in my head pushing me to work my body more. I still constantly think about the food I eat, but again try to remind myself a glass of wine and a cheese plate with a friend will bring me more pleasure then roasted vegetables at home in my sweat pants. Why work so hard on a body if you are not able to enjoy it? Some days I listen to my own advice, other days I dont.

I love working out and eating healthy. It is now part of my DNA. It brings me joy, self esteem, self love, energy, and overall happiness. However so does being social, resting, relaxation, food, and alcohol. In order to truly be the person I want to be it is continuing to learn how to balance between the two. So for anyone else out there who is struggling with balance, you are not alone. All I can say is keep working on finding that perfect point right in between. Changing behavior and routine is hard, even scary. But just getting a glimpse on how a balanced life can be is all the encouragement I need to keep going.

 

Reflection After A Week Abroad

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With every new year I always set our goals for myself. I like setting a new year with a new purpose, something to strive for. I find I am one who thrives off of pushing myself. Testing my limits. I am also a believer goals dont wait till just the new year. I will make them throughout the year when I feel like I need a change, motivation, or a purpose. These goals can sometimes be big like getting promoted at work or they can be small like reading a new book a month. Sometimes I achieve my goals, other times I start off strong and then like most start to fall off over a few months. However the one commonality my goals have is I set an intention for what I need in that specific moment in time. Even if I only end up reading 3 new books and then stopping for a few months, I look at it as 3 more books then I might have read had I not made the intention. I dont beat myself up, I move on and set my next goal.

One of the goals I am most proud of achieving in my life is my weight loss. Over four and a half years ago I set out to lose 20lbs. That 20lbs ended up becoming 70lbs. The weight loss part was easy. Once I saw the benefits of my hard start to pay off I became a machine focused on one sole purpose, to become the best version of myself possible. What I didn’t know when I started this simple goal is it would change me forever, in ways I would never imagine. Mostly the change would be good, however like anything there is always a downside as well.

What I never considered is my weight would become an obsession. I guess to be fair I shouldn’t say just my weight, but all aspects of health and fitness. How many miles I could run, how fast I could run them, eating “clean”, practicing constant self restraint, etc. One might think it all stems back into just how I look, but in reality to become so obsessed with a new way of life you have to get a lot more out of it then just aesthetics. For me it is that self worth I would get, the high from feeling good and having more energy. Knowing I could run farther and faster then I did the day before, not being scared to try something active and new, the way I feel after a day of eating healthy. It is all with the sole purpose of finding the best version of me.

Going into this new year I decided to make a new goal for myself. How do I bring down the intensity, learn to find balance, and bring back more of the care free girl I was prior to knowing just how many calories was in everything I consumed. The goal I set out was simple, however the execution is a lot harder then one might think. To most I probably seem the same, just as intense as always.In reality though I have slowly started to make what I consider huge strides for myself.

Although I could spend days writing about the progress I have made, I dont think it would be enjoyable for anyone to read. Lets just say it has taken me months, years really, to get to the place I am at today. What no one tells you when you go to lose weight and keep it off is the mental struggle you will have. For some it is the constant weight loss and re-gain and the feelings associated with that struggle, for others like myself it is learning how to live a normal life without the fear of becoming the old version of yourself.

I am a big believer you have to work hard for what you want in life. No one gets ahead at work without putting in the effort, but that does not mean you have to kill yourself with long days, working every weekend, and never saying no. The same is true for being healthy and fit. I for one have always been able to maintain balance when it comes to certain areas in my life like work and finances for example, two ares I know a lot of people struggle with. If I can balance out here why cant I with food and fitness? My journey is constantly evolving, changing, and I am always learning. Having just spent 10 days on vacation in Greece I am proud of the balance I was able to achieve. To feel a greater sense of freedom mentally is exhilarating. For me it is all just a start to what I hope will be the new version of the old me. The blending of two extremes into what can hopefully be a new and better way of life.

New Year, New Resolution

Image-1It was 4 years ago today I made a change which would end up impacting my life in more ways then I could ever have imagined. It was not a decision I made overnight. I had tried to lose weight here and there, but it took years for me to finally feel ready and committed to make a permanent change. I was 27 at the time and had lived my entire life being unhappy in my own body. A sad, but honest statement.  Once I commit to something I am always fully dedicated, but I am also a believer you need to setup goals that are achievable. I mean no one would expect you to run a marathon after only one week of training, so I looked at weight loss the same way. My New Year’s resolution was to lose just 20 lbs.

I can remember this New Year’s Day so vividly, even though it was 4 years ago. I guess that is how it goes though. When something really memorable happens, you remember the day better. I woke up feeling motivated and ready. I could do this! First thing was first, I had to find out how much I weighed so I knew the weight I needed to achieve. This was probably one of the scariest experiences I can remember with myself. Facing reality and letting go of denial.  I was home for the holidays visiting my parents for Christmas and went up to their bathroom to step onto the scale. I stepped my right foot, then my left. I waited in anticipation as the number calculated. Then it appeared, 185lbs. I could not believe what I saw. However instead of letting this spin me into a dark depressed place, I used it as fuel for my fire. I could get to 165 lbs. I WOULD get to 165lbs.

I don’t remember exactly on how I found My Fitness Pal, but I did. I entered my weight, and my goal. It told me I needed to eat 1,200 calories a day to lose 2 lbs a week. Ok, I could do that. I went to lunch with my best friend Kristen that day. I had to look up the menu of the restaurant before I left to start looking up calories in order to know what I could eat. Wow, a lot of what I typically ate was REALLY high in calories. I had no idea. This was going to be a change for sure I remember thinking. I finally decided on soup as a good lower calorie option. I ended up ordering the French Onion soup with a side of fruit instead of my usual bread.

Kristen and I had been friends since growing up and she was already very avid about health and fitness. It was easy to talk to her about my new plan. She was very supportive and said she would encourage me every step of the way. Throughout the last 4 years Kristen has been my strength, my crutch, and my confidant to get me through the tough days. I suggest anyone starting a big change find someone who can be your support. It is not easy making big changes and you need someone who you can talk to that understands what you are going through. Kristen has almost been like a sponsor at times. When I feel like I can just not live another healthy day or when I want to give up I reach out to her. She knows how to calm the storm per say.

That night my parents and I had dinner together before I left to come home to San Francisco. I ordered half a french dip sandwich with a side salad. I felt satisfied and still a little hungry. A feeling I would learn to soon become very familiar with over the next few months. I remember how supportive my parents were about my new goal. I mean they had been the ones to encourage me and give me the honest truth when no one else would. I have to say I could never have done it without their push, love, and support. Once I had bordered the plane I looked out the window and could feel a change in me.  This time would be different.

So why am I telling this story today. Well I want to remind other’s that New Year’s Resolutions do not always have to be goals that we make and never fulfill. I am proof that you can make a goal, stick to it, and actually make a change. There is nothing wrong with starting with a small goal and working your way up. When I decided to lose 20 lbs I had no idea I would actually end up losing 70 lbs. If I had started with a goal to lose 70 lbs it might have been to daunting and I could have easily gotten discouraged and given up. Setting a smaller goal and meeting it drove me to keep going. After I met one goal I would set a new one. Once I met that one I would be so encouraged I would set another one. Next thing I knew I had lost 70 lbs. I do the same thing now. For example I will set a goal at the gym to just run 5 miles. Next thing I know I have ran 8 or 10. However if I told myself I was going to run 10 miles that morning I might have talked myself out of going.

Changing yourself is hard. When you make a big change you have to know you can never go back to where you were. I can never eat or be lazy like I did before I lost the weight. However now knowing what I know, there is no way I would want to go back there. Health and Fitness is about so much more then how you look. If that is all it was then it would be hard for most people to keep at it. Being healthy is about feeling good, having energy to do the things you love, and making the times you indulge that much better.  Deciding to make a change is the first step. Once that is done you just have to just trust what you will getting from the change will end up being so much better then what you are giving up. Trust me on that 🙂

Breaking Up With My Scale

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For most of my life I had no relationship with the bathroom scale. I never monitored my weight, I had no desire to. Although I have always dealt with body issues and weight problems, I never could bring myself to step onto the scale and face the reality check that awaited me. Even at my heaviest weight when I decided for the first time I needed to make a change, I could not bring myself to look at the number. Like a coward I made my mother look at the scale for me on the first day of my first attempt at losing weight 9 years ago. For the next 5 months I dedicated my days to working out and was convinced that was all I needed to do in order to lose weight. Why did I need to know what that number was? I worked out 5 days a week, but proceeded to lose very little. Of course it is hard to track progress without some sort of tool so if I was not going to step onto the scale I would have to go by my pant size. After continuing to stay about the same size months in I just accepted this higher weight was my destiny and that I had no control over my body.  I would have to learn how to accept and love the larger me.

Fast forward to over 4 years later and here I was, 26 years old and still feeling a hatred for my body. I would have weekends where it was hard to get out of bed and face the world.  Putting pants on made me sad and depressed. Going out with friends left me feeling low because I was not nearly as thin as they were. I hated feeling like I could be happier, but feeling powerless to get there.  It was then on New Year’s Eve 2010 I made a decision. For the first time in over 15 years I stepped onto the scale and decided I could in fact make a change.

For the next 6 months the scale became my best friend. I would exercise, eat well, and the next morning I would wake up so excited to see what my new friend had to say to me. It was like Christmas, I could sometimes hardly sleep in anticipation of seeing what my hard work would pay off to be.

Once I hit weight maintenance my relationship with the scale started to change again. It became more of a love/hate relationship.  Some days it would reward me, while other days I felt punished. After a weekend celebrating out with friends I would cringe on Monday morning to step onto the scale. Was I going to see a number I liked or one I hated? It took me a while to be able to learn my body and become in tune with my weight. I would fluctuate 5 lbs any given month, but for 2 years I stayed within my designated range. I started to accept my friend for what it was, matter of fact.  Some days it would make me feel good other days discouraged, but overall I worked to not let it control me.  It gave me information and it was my job to interrupt it for myself.

About 5 months ago the scale and I started to have a fight. The number on it started to slowly inch up. Why would my friend start to betray me? Nothing had really changed. My eating habits and workout routines were the same, maybe a little more weight training. Could it be muscle? Was it something else? Why would one day my body no longer do what it has been doing for years?  My pants all still fit about the same, so why would my weight be up so much?

This has been my new struggle as of late. For the first time in 4 years I feel I have no control over my body. When you spend so much time learning what your body is telling you and how to make it feel good, how do you handle it when your body revolts?

First I need to trust that I am doing everything right. I am working out daily and eating healthy, so why does a number matter? For the first time in 4 years I have decided I need to take a break from what once was my friend and confidant, the scale. Let me say this so far has not been easy. I continue to try, but yet my friend finds its way back into my life every so often.  I guess these things take time. A date with my scale once every couple weeks is far better than my once daily check in. With time maybe I will learn to get rid of my co-dependent friend. Until then I will have to learn that a number is just that a number.