Thursday, October 22, 2015

Rough Waters

Weigh-in Wednesday!

Last Week's Weight: 168.4
Current Weight: 167.0
Change: -1.4
Total Loss: -61

Hi friends. It has been a rough few weeks, as you may have guessed from the radio silence. Honestly it's just that a combination of areas (work stress, personal stress, etc.) caught up to me... all at the same time. Vague blogging is vague, I know. But a few late nights at work meant that working out was a struggle last week. And then the last thing I wanted to do at home was cook dinner, because I've been wavering somewhere between not having an appetite (WUT) and then wanting to gorge on Chinese food (which I did on Tuesday, btw). On top of that, I've got a few big projects coming up at work in the next few weeks. When I'm as busy as I've been at work, all I want to do at home is decompress and be a zombie in front of Law & Order SVU reruns. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

All of that said, for now I need to work on catching up, slowing down, and probably taking a little extra time to sort a few things out. I don't know how consistently I'll be blogging in the meantime, but I'll be checking in when I can. I've also got the Hot Chocolate 15K rapidly approaching (T-2 weeks!), so I want to come back and update after that, if I don't post again before then.

Don't worry, I'm not giving up the good fight. I'm just making sure to take care of me :)


Friday, October 9, 2015

A Weight Watchers Experiment

So, I actually did write this post on Wednesday, but couldn't finish it until Friday if that gives you some indication of how nuts this week has been. Thus, Weigh-In Wednesday on Friday.

Weigh-in Wednesday!

Last Week's Weight: 168
Current Weight: 167.8
Change: -0.2
Total Loss: -60.2

I've been doing a little experiment the last few weeks, but first let me back up. I quit Weight Watchers last spring because at the time I was tracking both points on WW and calories on MFP. My goal had been to track on both programs to get a sense for the equivalent number of calories to my WW daily points target, so that I could quit WW and just track calories on MFP instead. And invest the WW money in my shoe collection, obviously.

What I found was surprising, which was that at 165lbs and 5'6" (which, is about 10lbs overweight for my height), I was eating about 1300 calories/day to hit my points target. That is notttt a lot of food for anyone, let alone someone who is 5'6" and still 10lbs overweight AND running a lot. Anything beyond that 1300 calories took away from my weekly 49 extra points. Anything beyond the weeklies took from my workout points. At the time, I was GAINING weight. 

I'm not a nutritionist, but I've done quite a bit of reading about diet plans, macros, weight loss, basal metabolic rate, etc. so in my unprofessional opinion and in my actual personal experience, if you train your body to only lose weight on 1300 calories a day, you will only lose weight when you eat 1300 calories a day. The macros enthusiasts will tell you that you'll wreck your metabolism by operating at such an extreme caloric deficit for so long. My BMR is significantly higher than 1300 calories a day (at the time, it was in the 1800s, I believe), so the fact that I couldn't lose weight on 1300/day was a product of the way I had taught my body to lose weight. Also, it was unsustainable because when I was eating my target calories/points, I was still hungry. For a girl who appreciates the occasional Jimmy Johns, that's no way to live. 

Enter my current Weight Watchers experiment: the goal is to increase my daily metabolic/points threshold SLOWLY, while still losing weight. What I'm saying is I want to have  my cake and eat it too and still lose weight :) Lofty!

I haven't been SUPER scientific about it, but before starting this experiment I would eat all of my daily points (28PP) and all of my weekly points (49PP), but would not dip into my workout points (activity points). Historically, I found it challenging to lose weight and eat my activity points, unless I was running 25+ miles a week. Slowly slooooowly, I've been dipping more and more into my activity points (about 40/week). 

What this means is that I've gone from eating roughly 245PP per week (28 daily, plus 49 weekly) to now eating about 280ish PP per week. Roughly. AND I'm still losing weight, despite eating about 6PP more per day, on average. Granted, weight loss is slower, but I've recorded losses in 9 of my last 12 weigh-ins, which ain't no easy feat. 

All of this to say, I feel significantly more satisfied because I'm eating more food (obviously). I am never and will never be the person who has a single square of dark chocolate and calls her sweet tooth satisfied, so this seems like a good solution for me. I'd love to be losing weight faster, but sustainable weight loss and habits are the name of the game

How was your weigh-in Wednesday? Have you ever done an diet experiment?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

October Goals

Anyone else feel like September just started yesterday? Between Labor Day, my trip to Baltimore and DC, and just general work/life craziness, I feel like this month was over and done in the blink of an eye. 

Still, there were some pretty good highlights this month. I had a successful work trip to Baltimore at the beginning of the month to attend the Blogalicious Conference on behalf of a client. I don't talk about work too much on here, but I am lucky to have a job that I really and truly love. If you're new, I work for a PR agency as a digital manager, meaning I manage the social media channels and strategy for some really amazing brands. I also get to work with bloggers on behalf of clients, which is a lot of fun. It's the perfect blend of my work passions and my real life passions, which is what keeps me going even when it can be stressful at times :)

Followed up my Baltimore trip with a quick stop in DC for a visit with one of my best friends/college roommates. Even though we barely had 24 hours together, we drank wine, ate tacos, went to a concert, went to brunch, got pedicures, and shopped around. Basically all of my favorite things to do, so I'd say we made it count.

I bought some awesome new flats. Yes, this is deserving of its own update because they are comfortable right out of the box and they make me feel like Cruella DeVille in the best way possible. (They're these, if you're curious. I may or may not have bought them in both colors.)

I ran five miles for the first time in over a year. More importantly, I didn't die while doing so (I saved that for afterwards).

I was selected as a ClassPass Ambassador! As someone who both is a blogger and works with bloggers for a living, I would never work with a brand I didn't 1000% believe in. You all know by know that I'm a believer in ClassPass and I'm ecstatic to be able to be working with them as an official ambassador to share updates, invite friends to class for free (Chicago readers, hit me up if you're interested), and even host exclusive events in Chicago!

So after that whirlwind, I suppose I should check in on the goals I set for myself last month, hmm? Here are the September Goals in review:
  1. Blog twice weekly. I'm 99% positive I did this. Some of the posts were briefer than I would've liked, but consistency was the focus of September.
  2. Drink a gallon of water a day. I'm going to say I nailed this 75% of the time. Pretty good! As I've said before, I can tell a noticeable difference when I'm well-hydrated, in my workouts and in (mostly) keeping mindless eating at bay. Now, to keep this up into October.
  3. Try 5 new ClassPass classes. 4/5 on this one. I went to Beachfit Bootcamp during my Baltimore trip, and then Body R+D (reformer pilates), PiYo, and Run/Glide45 all here in Chicago. 
  4. Work up to a 5-mile long run. #NailedIt. And faster than I thought, too!
  5. Hit my stop goal 5 days a week. I hit my step goal (12,000 steps a day) 21 out of 30 days in September. Not quiiiite my goal, but pretty darn close.
So what's next in October? Well, a shift in focus (just a little bit). I feel like keeping up with workouts, work, etc. sometimes means other things that should be priorities (mental health, keeping up with other adult responsibilities like apartment and things) get pushed aside. So, with that in mind, here are my goals for October:
  1. Hang my dang gallery wall. Guys. I am ashamed to admit I've been collecting gallery wall pieces for a whole YEAR. At this point I've accumulated at least 8 pieces. Guess how many of those pieces I've hung up? That's right. Zero. I finally (finally!) bought frames for everything, so I need to just dedicate a weekend afternoon to hanging them.
  2. Clean out my closet. While we're on the topic of apartment-related confessions, I realized recently that I have clothes hanging in my closet that haven't been worn since COLLEGE. Meaning, I have moved clothing items two times in four years, only to NOT wear them. That is valuable closet real estate that must be reclaimed.
  3. Work up to an 8-mile long run. So that's terrifying, but if I'm going to run a 15K (9.3 miles) for the Hot Chocolate race in early November, I have to make training a priority. 
  4. Try 3 new ClassPass classes. I've got my eye on two different kickboxing classes, and another attempt at a Pilates reformer class that I've heard is a good one. 
  5. Practice gratitude. I don't think I'm an ungrateful person, but I know that I'm not as mindful of daily gratitude as I could be. I've read a lot lately about how being more mindful of things you are grateful is an important exercise in self-reflection that's good for the mind for a number of reasons. I'm going to keep a list going in my phone and pick at least one thing I'm grateful for each day. Some of this may be shared here, some may be personal, but I'm going to do it. 

Your turn. What goals are you striving for this October?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Slow and Steady

Last Week's Weight: 168.2
Current Weight: 168.0
Change: -0.2
Total Loss: -60

If slow and steady wins the race, I am an Olympic gold medal winner of weight loss. 

It's been... a hell of a week. For more reasons than one. The good news is that it's halfway over. The bad news is there are still two days to go. The other good news is that it's October. New month, fresh start. Let's go.

October goals coming tomorrow.

How was your weigh-in Wednesday?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

I'm a ClassPass Ambassador!

Finally, the news I've been excited to announce for weeks: I'm a ClassPass Ambassador!

For anyone who found their way over to my corner of the internet from the ClassPass blog, welcome! I'm Carolyn. Nice to meet ya. I'm a 26-year-old Chicago girl who recently lost 60lbs (roughly the equivalent of five wiener dogs) the good old fashioned way: eating less Jimmy Johns and working my butt off. I work in social media marketing for my day job and I love it. Outside of work I like breakfast sandwiches, Law & Order SVU, whiskey cocktails, bulldogs and trivia.

If you've been following this blog for any length of time, you know that I took the plunge to join ClassPass back in mid-January (no, it wasn't a New Year's Resolution), and I haven't looked back. After an injury sidelined me from running late last summer, I replaced running with going to my office gym. I was going on a daily basis, but I was also phoning it in a lot because I was getting increasingly bored. It probably had nothing to do with the fact that I mostly went and walked on the treadmill at a high incline while watching Chopped. By January I was so sick of the same old same old gym routine, I needed to mix it up because I was losing interest (and, er, gaining weight) FAST. 

Enter: ClassPass. The crazy thing is that I was never a huge fan of group fitness. In fact, in college (at 50+ lbs heavier), I was a little embarrassed to go to group fitness classes because I was self-conscious about being the heaviest person in the room. But without running I needed an outlet, and I found it. 

Here we are, 8 months, 178 classes, so many tucks, squeezes, planks, rows, burpees and 11lbs lost later. In that time, anyone who's encountered me in real life or blog life has probably heard me preach the gospel of ClassPass. 

I love setting up my schedule for the week, knowing the vast variety of classes I have at my disposal. I love losing myself in the music while climbing up a brutal hill at FlyWheel. I love nailing a killer cardio sequence with Charleston kicks and cross punches in Brawl. I love busting out the final 50m of a row sprint at the end of a sweaty and demanding GoRow class. I love folding over in the gloriously hurts-so-good sleeping pigeon pose at CorePower Yoga. I love thinking I can't, but then bumping the treadmill up a few notches anyway at Run45 or Shred415. I love feeling constantly challenged and striving for constant improvement. I love it all.

(Except Bikram yoga. I still don't like Bikram yoga).

So you can imagine I was thrilled to found out that ClassPass has asked me and some other fabulous ladies to be their ambassadors. What that means for the blog is the same ClassPass love I've been unapologetically spewing for the last 8 months, but with the added bonus of being able to share new updates and information, and even hosting fun events in Chicago. I would love to meet fellow Chicago ClassPassers! Hope you're ready, because I definitely am.

Thanks, as always, for following along this crazy journey! Can't wait to see what's yet to come :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Working Out and Weighing In

Weigh-in Wednesday!

Last Week's Weight: 168.6
Current Weight: 168.2
Change: -0.4
Total Loss: -59.8

I'll be honest. I did not have the best week eating-wise last week. Due to getting home from my trip so late Sunday, and having plans Monday/Tuesday, I didn't manage to grocery shop until Wednesday. So, yeah. Struggle on that front. 

However, I did have a great week for working out! Here's what I did last week:
  • Monday - Arms/Core @ SWEAT on State
    • Holy arm burn batman. I am always looking for workouts that challenge my upper body and this one for sure accomplished that. My pecs/shoulders were sore for three days.
  • Tuesday - Brawl @ Barre Code
    • You guys know by now this is my favorite. This routine was tough, resulting in a seriously sweaty early morning burn. Ah, so satisfying.
  • Wednesday - Hike45 and Upper Body @ Trainology
    • Originally I planned to run on Wednesday, but I knew I'd talk myself out of it so I signed up for a class instead (that $15 cancellation fee keeps me accountable!). In all honesty this class was a struggle, but I love the individual attention from the instructors at Trainology. The teacher of this class noticed my form on shoulder work was suffering (I was still sore from Monday!), but mentioned that my rows were really strong and that I should grab two sets of weights next time so I'm working equally hard on all of the exercises. Great feedback!
  • Thursday - Barre at PureBarre
    • PureBarre isn't my favorite, but I wanted something "easier." I always think that barre will be easier than cardio until I'm knee-deep in a two-minute plank series and questioning all of my decisions. C'est la vie.
  • Friday - OFF. I needed it.
  • Saturday - OFF. Meant to run but running never happens after you eat Chipotle for lunch.
  • Sunday - 5 mile run (!!)
    • I mentioned in my September Goals that I wanted to work up to 5 miles this month, and mission accomplished. I was out of the running game for so long, that I had really started to build up running in my mind as this thing I couldn't do anymore. But after a confidence-boosting 3-miler on Labor Day weekend, I knew I had more miles in me. This run was such a good reminder of why I missed running, and now it's time for me to pull the trigger and sign up for the Hot Chocolate 15K.
Also, in looking back at my September Goals post I realized I had planned to try 5 new ClassPass classes this month and, well, I completely forgot about that. I have one left to knock out before the end of the month! Any suggestions?

AND, speaking of classes (hint hint), I know I alluded to some big news a few weeks ago but haven't been allowed to make an official announcement yet. But keep an eye on my Instagram (here), for details soon!!

How was your weigh-in Wednesday?

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Few of my Favorite Things: Snack Edition

I just realized I have done a few posts in my "favorite things" series, but I have yet to do a post dedicated to one of my favorite things of all: snacking! For a girl who loves food, I can't believe it's taken me this long.

Having been on Weight Watchers for the better part of almost three years (what?!), I've learned a thing or two about snacking within the system. Namely that all of my old snacks were filler junk and that if I want to be satisfied without blowing all of my points before dinner, I need to be strategic about my snacking. I used to eat a lot of chips/crackers/pretzels and other empty calories, but I've slowly converted myself into eating more fruits/vegetables and other nutrient-dense foods that are low in points but still satisfying. Below are some of my favorites.

1) Veggies and dip. Hold the buffalo chicken dip (at least until Super Bowl Sunday), because 9 times out of 10 I'm eating veggies with hummus. Green bell peppers, cucumbers and carrots are by far and away my favorite raw veggies. As far as hummus goes, I'm a big fan of Tribe's Everything Hummus, but if I can't find that I'll usually go for garlic. At usually ~2PP/serving, it's a great low point option. Sidenote: anyone have a good hummus recipe? I'd love to make my own. 

2) Fruit. Sometimes I feel like I'm cheating when I eat fruit, because it's a really satisfying and sweet snack for (almost always) 0PP. Bananas and apples are my staples, but I also love clementines, berries and pineapples. 

3) String cheese. Cheese is actually a big "trigger" food for me because in college I used to buy big ole' blocks of cheese and eat them over the course of just a few sittings. I actually still don't keep blocks of cheese, cheese cubes, or usually even shredded cheese at home for that reason (*sob*). But, string cheese is fair game :) Low-moisture part-skim mozzarella string cheeses are usually 1PP each (or 2 for 3PP), so these are definitely a staple for me.

4) Yogurt. Another staple that I almost always have on hand. Siggis is my very favorite yogurt brand, but they don't sell it at my usual grocery store and it is pretty pricey. Instead, I usually go for the 0% greek yogurt because it's super high in protein but lower in fat. Mixing plain greek yogurt (not vanilla) with PB2 is one of my favorite snacks, or I also like topping it with fruit and/or granola (if I have points to spare).

5) Jerky. I'm just going to come out and say it: it's impossible to eat jerky without feeling like a cowboy but I've decided I don't care. I love jerky for a high-protein snack that's actually very low in points. My usual jerky is just 2PP/serving for 12g of protein!

While these are my favorites, I also often snack on popcorn (3PP per BAG!), hard boiled eggs (2PP each), or veggie straws (3PP/serving). If you are looking for more snack inspiration, check out this great list of healthy snacks. The work snacks list has beet chips on it, which I've never heard of but am definitely interested in trying.  

Happy snacking!

What are your favorite healthy snacks?