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Monday, June 13, 2011

911! I Think My Trainer Is Trying To Kill Me…

This is what I think to myself every time I'm working out.  Really, I do.

Just kidding... sort of.

Let's see, Mondays and Wednesdays consists of cardio/strength training (variations of planks, hill runs, Hindu push ups and more). Tuesdays/Thursdays are kickboxing.

What once would have been considered my entire workout is now my warm-up. GAH!

In two weeks, I developed a hate/hate relationship with sprawls (and it didn't take very long). Although, it seems to be getting easier, I don't see how throwing your body, touching your hip to the ground and jumping up could ever be something I enjoy.

I never would have imagined me doing jabs, hooks, the Ali shuffle, front kicks, side kicks and definitely not combos. Tuesday during kickboxing during class I didn't follow the proper technique and during a jab-hook-side kick combo, I got a little too excited and twisted my neck (this, I could imagine). The pain was something I had never felt before. There was an immediate shot through my neck down to my back and after an attempt to continue, I realized my neck was STUCK. I went to the back of the room and tried to move it, but every attempt resulted in a sharp noise piercing into my ear. I wanted to cry, not out of pain or embarrassment (well, maybe a little), but mostly out of fear.

Dear, God, what had I done to myself?

Immediately, my mind shot back to when I was 6 or 7 and reading a newspaper article on a girl who had killed herself by flipping her hair.  I know I was a weird kid. I read a lot. I also hate cats because of Toxoplasma gondii. Sue me for being impressionable.

Anyway, after 5 minutes I could move. It was hard to get back into the last 10 minutes, but if I have learned something through this whole process it's to KNOW YOUR LIMITS. Obviously, I was OK. However, it is really important to pay attention to technique. The hardest part is discerning between when to stop and when to give a little more. If you think you're going to throw up, give a little more. If you think you hurt your knee, slow down. You just never want to walk away from a workout thinking "I could have done a little more". Don't use exhaustion or difficulty as an excuse. Puuuuush.

David 'Vava' Littlewood (find him on facebook and tell him I sent you!) is my kickboxing instructor. Dude competed for the world title about a week ago. Long story short, Vava is legit. I have never sweated or done so much in one session as I did in my Thursday class (I definitely need a sweat band for this class). I left class tired and feeling great. He explained every move, provided alternatives and encouraged us.

I can literally feel myself getting stronger. My push ups are getting firmer and quicker. My hill runs are getting faster, steadier and more frequent. I even finished Wednesday strength training intervals first. Sexy Back Boot Camp is really opening me up to different exercises and pushing my idea of what is enough exercising. I am realizing  how strong I can be, and I love it.

I really love it.

Time for me to be real with you. For a while now, I  was only guessing at my weight and wasn't positive of where I stood. Well, everyone had to weigh-in before boot camp started, and I really didn't anticipate those results. I had gained back eight lbs of my weight loss. EIGHT. I weighed in at 216.4 lbs.

Surprisingly, I didn't get angry or upset. I just took it in. What can you do? Well, you can fight back. That's what you can do.
Boy do I fight.

As of now, I am back down to 211.2 CRAZY. Some of the loss is water weight, but I can feel the difference in my clothes.  That's where it counts. You shouldn't be obsessed with weighing yourself and critiquing every pound you put on or off.  Naturally (and not so naturally), your weight is going to fluctuate, so if you weigh two lbs more than yesterday, WHATEV. You have to learn to brush it off.

I feel great. I have so much energy I can hardly sleep. This is the best I have ever felt. This is what counts. I am buying exercise clothes size L instead of 2XL. I am running. I am  boxing. I am healthy.

I read a friend's facebook status "Whenever people compliment me on my weight loss I feel worse when I gain a lb." She had a 50lb weight loss and looked amazing, but felt bad about her 1lb gain. You have to get into the best mindset for this, the right motivations and most of all, be realistic. This is a journey and a lifestyle, so before, and after you reach your goal weight, there is still a life to be lived.

Do not OBSESS. 

Weight gain is possible even in the healthiest of lifestyles. If you're stressed, have a lack of sleep, are taking certain medications, are going through menopause and have certain medical conditions, you can gain weight.

We aren't perfect, so quit expecting yourself to be.

So, let's get back to running. I plan on running the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k in September. If you haven't run in a while, start off slow. The worst thing you can do is jump into this. You'll hate it and/or injure yourself and never want to run again. Try taking a brisk 5-minute warm-up walk. Then, alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Do these three times this week!

Current weight: 211.2 lbs
Workout song: Firework- Katy Perry

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Don't Stop Believin'

Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on and on and on

Journey's Don't Stop Believin' is one of my favorite songs. The beauty of the first verse is either or both people are trying to escape something, on a train to somewhere fast and far. I am not running from anything, but I am running for something. I am done with "living in the background of my own life". I am ready to take on life and see what's in store for me. This song was the theme to undergrad. Every time I hear it, I can't help but remember all the good times. So, I believe it's time to make this the theme song of my life. Only remembering good times, never giving up.

 What is  your theme song for life?

I know that this is something I've mentioned before, but it is something worth mentioning again [and again and again]. BODY IMAGE. Many of us struggle with it and if you don't, consider yourself blessed and never stray from that.

I think back on all the conversations I've had with people and how they see themselves. Two girls bringing me to tears telling me all the "diets" they have tried because they thought they were fat (and they aren't). One diet even scared me, the 2-4-6-8. I can only imagine that it's hard to restrict yourself to 200, 300, even 400 calories a day. Drastic weight loss, but only with high health risks.

I have a friend who is a beautiful 155 lbs (a size 6/8 down from a 10/12 in high school). She changed her diet and transformed. I look at her body and it is so strong and she is such a beautiful person, inside and out. Yet, she has a wish list of things she wishes she could change about herself.

I even know somebody who hasn't worn shorts in YEARS, ashamed of how her legs look.

I am horrible at this. I am constantly comparing myself. I wish I were smarter, he goes to such a great school and does so much. I wish I were prettier, she doesn't even wear make-up! I wish I were thinner, she's so toned. I wish I were faster and so on... Of course, I keep this all inside, never telling anyone or giving anyone the chance to "counsel" me on this. Well, I'm done with that.

Can I just say that I love Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Osbourne, really I am a fan! I love that they inspire women with their weight loss journey's and look SO great. But, they're also celebrities with endorsements, personal trainers, chefs and money to burn.  I am broke, between my bills and student loans, I don’t really have that kind of cash to dish. So what does an average person do??

Well, I have taken up a hobby of blogging, not just writing, but reading as well. Many of the blogs I have read deal with lap bands and such, which if that's what you need, go for it! However, I want this to be natural and am looking for something so much more than weight loss. I am looking for a lifestyle.

So this blog in particular really speaks to me.  Her starting weight was 208 and now weighs 134 lbs. She is adventurous, real and a bad ass. She runs half marathons and is awesome.

Her latest blog "Body Image and a Reality Check", is one I think everyone should read.

"Yes! A thousand times yes, she is photoshopped! She is photoshopped to within an inch of her life! No one looks like that! Even THAT MODEL doesn't look like that! Do not compare yourself to these images because you will never attain that look! You will only be disappointed when you can never live up to an impossible beauty standard! None of these women look like what you see in magazines and on the internet! It's a false reality used to make you feel bad about yourself and buy their products!"

Learning to appreciate your body for what it can do, compared to what it looks like is SO important. I will never be a super model. But man, I am a bad ass. I get through these workouts giving it my all. I will only get better and stronger. You don't start out the best, but you always get better, if you work at it.

We are such complicated things. The intricacies of how we were created and work amaze me. We must continuously love our selves. LOVE YOUR BODY. Losing weight is for your health and life extension. Don't think "if I lose weight I will get a boyfriend or I just really want a nose job" because this, my friends, will hold you back.

It takes gumption and my aunt always says "it takes one step at a time to get to the top of the stairs". As a part of boot camp, Kri, my trainer only wants to see POSITIVE facebook statuses.  I challenge you to do the same.

Make a list of all the things your body does and read this list often.

My body can:
Read (a lot)
Appreciate music
Hug my mom and dad
Praise God
Play and swim with my younger siblings
Watch Movies
Tell jokes
Make people laugh
Give a speech
Ride a camel (lol)
Do push ups!
And so much more…

I think about all the people I admire and respect. My parents, family, friends and historical heroes, and I realize that the way they look really has little affect of how I see them. So why should my appearance diminish the way I see myself??

Count your blessings, not your blemishes. I hardly ever used the fitness center at school (for free), because I was ashamed of how I looked. But now, I workout in front of some pretty fit people and the only one I am worried about is ME. This is about ME. This is about YOU. Not them. You NEED to understand that.

Think of all the time you have wasted thinking badly about yourself. All the energy you have put into criticizing yourself. What could you have done in that time? I could have run miiiles. I could have painted a few master pieces or even read a few books. A healthy lifestyle includes a positive attitude, which means a healthy and happy body image. Start with setting realistic goals. I had a friend (who has over 150 lbs to lose) say she wanted to be 120 lbs. While, that may be doable, we need to focus on our now goals. Right now I'm on the road to 180. After 180, we'll see.

So instead of being disappointed that you don't look a certain way, I want you to reframe it: The next time you find yourself saying negative things about your body because of what it looks like, I want you to see all the ways your body is amazing - think of all the things it does for you in a single day: it keeps your heart beating and keeps you alive, it gets you around from place to place, it walks, it drives, it bends, reaches, grabs, writes, sews, paints, draws, plays instruments, runs, bikes, swims, jumps -  it picks up and holds your kids & your loved ones. Your body is a truly amazing thing - a functional work of art.

The reality is, I will never look like a model. Setting a goal to look like one will only leave me disappointed. It will diminish all the work that I am doing. So, I am reframing my thought. Remember, you can't weigh your self-esteem.

Workout song: Journey, Don't Stop Believin'
 119 BPM, best for a 13:06 mile run

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day 2

Dayyyyum. Now, I have been working out for about 6 months, so honestly, I didn't think boot camp would hurt this much. But, dayyyum, I feel it in my sleep. It's not that the workouts are all that difficult but these are exercises I don't do regularly. They are working muscles in a way that I haven't. Therefore, my body is SORE and it's only the 2nd day!! At this moment, I don't even want to imagine having to sit by the end of the week, because it's taking a little will power as it is.

But if I'm honest, I have to admit…I love this feeling. This soreness is a constant reminder that I must be doing something right. Right? I guess we'll see in 6 weeks.

My day consist of waking up at 415 am.
I have a protein booster and an apple.
I get to the gym.
Run three laps around the building.
Core training.
Cool down.
Go home.
7am Breakfast. Plain oatmeal with cinnamon and bananas.
Snack. Fat Free Yogurt
Lunch. Salad (Ice berg lettuce, light feta cheese, almonds, celery, turkey, light vinaigrette).
Research and such.
530 pm. Dinner. Grilled Chicken breast, broccoli, brown rice.
Whatever else I need to do.
Get to bed by 1030 pm.

I hope that you're enjoying the new recipes tab! Check it out, I'll be adding a new recipe every week.

We all know by now that working out is only half the process. You can work your butt off, but your butt won't go anywhere if you don't eat what you're supposed to. So  I've also been thinking about metabolism. I need to find foods that will boost it and nourish me. Well, it turns out that some of my favorite foods are FOODS THAT BOOST YOUR METABOLISM. Check these out. See which ones you intake and which ones you could easily add. Making sure you get the proper nutrients and vitamins can do wonders for your weight loss/maintenance and overall health.

Almonds’ essential fatty acids help raise your body’s metabolism. These healthy nuts are loaded with lots of essential nutrients. It is the best natural fat burning food. Therefore it is used for losing weight naturally as it has good fiber content. In addition to this, more fiber content helps in proper digestion as well as increases energy level. There are also some studies that say it benefits brain development and just don’t overdo it because they’re also very high in calories.

This is a low-calorie snack, high in fiber, which your body must burn calories to break down. Apples are one of the richest sources of flavonoids (helping in the prevention of heart disease and stroke). Apples are also a good source of many vitamins - especially vitamin C. Actually, eating 100 grams of apple everyday gets you about 1,500 milligrams worth of anti-oxidant properties. Plus, since apples help you stay full for longer, you’ll eat less.

Low in fat and packed with protein, beans keep you full for long durations, and your body must burn extra calories in order to process this fiber-rich food. The harder your body has to work to digest those calories, the less of them will be absorbed. The difference between a spoonful of sugar and a spoonful of beans is startling. In fact, if you'd like to reduce your calorie "price" by 10%, add an extra 14 grams of fiber. This means that if you eat 2,000 calories per day, and add 28 grams of fiber to your meals, those calories will only "count" as 1600. Cool!

Broccoli contains a highly effective metabolism-boosting team of nutrients: calcium and vitamin C. Calcium acts as a metabolic trigger, while vitamin C helps your body absorb more calcium.  Broccoli is not only beneficial to your metabolism but it aids your nervous system, blood pressure, bone health, repairs sun damage, your immune system,  prevents cancer, prevents age-related macular and cataracts (vision) and fights against heart disease!

A little bit of cinnamon can go a long way. Add some zing to your daily cup of tea with this tasty spice to help your body metabolize sugars more effectively and maintain steadier blood sugar levels. Cinnamon can also help  lower your cholesterol.

Coffee has caffeine, which does give you a boost. Just make sure that you don’t exceed 2 or 3 cups a day, or you risk a host of side effects, including irritability and jitters.

Curry increases the amount of calories your body burns and speeds up your metabolism.  Turmeric, often the main ingredient in curry that gives it the yellow or orange color, was said by medicinal herbalists to be a strong anti-inflammatory which cleans and restores the liver. As a result of its anti-inflammatory qualities, it is also helpful in treating arthritis.

This diet super fruit lowers the insulin levels in your body that trigger your system to store fat. Plus, it is rich in fiber, and your body must burn extra calories in order to break it down.

Green Tea is the main source of epigallocatechin gallate, known better as EGCG. This healthy catechin speeds up your brain and nervous system, causing your body to burn more calories.

The capcaisin found in jalapeno causes your body to burn extra calories for hours after you ingest them, speeding up both your heart rate and metabolism.

Because your body takes a long time to break down the fat-soluble fiber in oatmeal, this healthy food lowers your body’s insulin level and speeds up your metabolism as a result. Over 40 studies show that eating oatmeal may help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. According to Quaker, all it takes is 3/4 cup of oatmeal each day to help lower cholesterol. The soluble fiber in oats helps remove LDL or "bad" cholesterol, while maintaining the good cholesterol that your body needs.

One cup of spinach has nearly 20% of the RDA of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating. In addition to speeding up your metabolism, it’s a great source of antioxidants, magnesium, potassium, iron and vitamin C.

This protein-rich meat builds lean muscle tissue, which causes your body to burn extra calories and raises your metabolism.

The high levels of protein present in natural yogurt require a lot of energy to be processed. Plus, the pro-biotic cultures found in yogurt help regulate your digestive tract. Yogurt's got power-boosting protein and bone-building calcium. It can also help you lose weight and fend off a cold.  A cup of yogurt a day can help you recover faster after a workout.