Friday, November 28, 2014

Back on Track

Fitnasty for Life

I hope everyone (all of my American readers, at least!) had a very Happy Thanksgiving! I spent the day in the suburbs with my college roommate's family and had a great time. I have to admit, it's a tiny bit bittersweet to be away from my own family for Thanksgiving (it's only the second time I've been away from them for the holiday), but spending time with my friend's family was about as close to my own as could be. And, of course, the food was amazing :)

The hardest part about the holidays, diet-wise, is getting back on track once they're over. Especially with Thanksgiving on a Thursday, it can be so easy to wake up and eat leftovers on Friday, order a pizza on Friday night, and then chuck healthy habits out the window for the rest of the weekend because, damnit, there's pumpkin pie to eat. Not this year!

When I food prepped early this week, even though I only had 2.5 work days, I prepped for an entire week to take away my excuses to eat like crap post-Thanksgiving. I have 2 prepped turkey sausage, rice and veggie meals in my fridge, and supplies for another serving or two of my my sweet potato egg hash. I know I'm the queen of excuses, so I counteract that by having healthy (and delicious!) meals on hand and ready to go. 

Another thing I'm working on is filling my fridge with snackable fruits and veggies like apples and carrot sticks. Snacking has always been a downfall of mine, so I'm working on re-wiring my brain to want healthier snacks. If I'm hungry but don't want carrot sticks and hummus or an apple, well, that doesn't mean I get chips (and I can't have them anyway because j don't keep them in my apartment!). That's not to say I've stopped craving chips/starchy snacks, but it's a step in the right direction. I realize I'm not a shining beacon of health, but if I could give just one game-changing good tip, it would be this: if you don't want to eat it, DON'T keep it around. If you say no in the store, you only have to say no once. If you bring it home, you have to say no every time you see the food in your pantry. 

Hopefully all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family! If you're joining me in the quest to get #fit4fifteen, hopefully you're also returning to healthy habits after a food-filled Thabksgiving. 

How do you get back on track after a holiday?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Celebrating Thanksgiving Without Ditching Your Diet

Last Week's Weight: 173.6
Current Weight: 171.2
Change: -2.4
Total Loss: -56.8

Yeehaw! I'm back on track, just in time for the most gluttonous holiday of the year. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see a weight in the 160's next week, so that it's my challenge to myself.

This year, I'll be spending Thanksgiving with my college roommate and her family in the suburbs. I'll also be (GASP) sticking to Weight Watchers throughout the day. I'll be honest, I struggle with food in party/social situations, especially if I give myself permission to eat without parameters. I suck at intuitive eating because I love the taste of food and portion control is still a very real struggle for me. So, I need rules and structure in order to not go off the rails. Here's my plan and some tips I use to keep myself (mostly) locked up:
  • Track everything. WW has built-in flexibility so I can indulge a bit without throwing an entire week out the window. Tomorrow, I will be tracking my food to the best of my abilities. The more I indulge tomorrow, the less wiggle room I have for free points the rest of the week. 
  • Eat selectively and in small portions. Call me unamerican, but I don't like pumpkin pie, stuffing, or sweet potato casserole (SIDEBAR: I just re-read last year's Thanksgiving post and multiple people commented about squash as a side dish. I must look into this.) Anyway, I won't be "wasting" points on those foods, or any foods I don't LOVE. Instead, I'll plan to limit/avoid foods I don't love, so I can really enjoy my favorites (mashed potatoes! green bean casserole! dark meat turkey!)
  • Drink lots of water. I'm prone to sausage fingers when I overload on sodium, and staying hydrated helps. Also, dehydration is also sometimes mistaken for hunger, so this is my effort to counteract that.
  • Mindful eating the rest of the day. When I know I have a big meal coming up, I try not to use that as permission to throw the whole day away. I'll have a small and low-points breakfast, like I normally do, to save my points for the main event. It helps that I won't be at home where my mom makes her famous sticky buns!  
  • Just say no (to leftovers). Because I'm not celebrating at home, there won't be leftovers around to tempt me. If you are hosting, try to send guests away with most of the leftovers. Or, if the host asks you to take some, you can always politely decline. Out of sight, out of mind.
Having celebrated holidays both on plan (like the above) or with looser rules, having concrete limits in place is really important and helpful for me to stay in check, both on holidays and in the days after. 

Also, I learned this morning that my office gym is open as usual tomorrow! I was originally going to aim for an at-home workout, but now I know I'll be hitting the gym before I head out to the suburbs to see my friend's family. 

Lastly, I'll still be hosting Friday's #fit4fifteen linkup this week! Thanksgiving is just ONE DAY out of 365, so if you'll be back on track on Friday, join the linkup for some added accountability :)

Happy Thanksgiving friends!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekly Workouts

It's Thanksgiving week. HOLY HECK how did that happen. I seriously feel like we rang in 2014 a month ago. Probably because we skipped summer in Chicago and barreled directly back into Winter mode. Woof.

ANYWAY with Thanksgiving on the horizon, I'll be focusing on nailing my workouts so I can indulge as guilt-free as possible on Thursday. I love the quote above because it helps me keep my excuses in perspective. As I've discussed before, I am the QUEEN of excuses, and if I let myself, I would blow off every workout. Everybody is busy, it's about making time and being committed. For example, if I don't go to the gym before work, there's a 50/50 chance I'll make it after work because I'm tired/hangry/worked late/want to watch 19 Kids and Counting. So, I wake up early and just get 'er done. I don't like waking up at 6am, but that's what I need to do.

Here's my game plan for the week:

45 minutes dreadmill hills (3.7-4.0 speed, 10.0-15.0 incline)
<This would normally be arms day but my bus was running late so I had to modify>

15 minutes dreadmill sprints  (:20 on, :40 straddle belt, start at 8.1 and bump .1 every minute to end at 9.5)
40 minutes Arms/Chest (

Sprints are :20 on, :40 straddle belt, starting at 8.1 and bump .1 every minute to end at 9.5. For the strength portion, I mix it up based on how I feel but it usually includes the reverse fly machine, the pec press machine (no idea what it's actually called), free weight bicep curls, overhead triceps extensions, shoulder presses, triceps dips, upright row, plank, and godawful push-ups. 

15 minutes dreadmill sprints 
45 minutes Legs

Sprints are the same as above. For the strength portion, I don't modify this and almost always do the exact same workout: 4x15 each of hip abductor, hip adductor, leg press regular stance, leg press machine calf raises, leg press narrow stance, quad curl machine, and the following all with 10-15lb dumbbells on my shoulders: squats (4x15), alternating curtsy lunges (8x15 which ends up 4x15 each leg), pliĆ© squats (my actual favorite, also 4x15).

45 minutes Sworkit at home (it's an app that generates no-equipment-needed circuits)

REST or 45 minutes Sworkit at home

REST or 45 minutes Sworkit at home


Writing it all out makes it feel like my workouts are more involved that I previously thought. They're not really, I just wanted to give a holistic picture of what I'm doing on a weekly basis. Basically I always aim for at LEAST 30 minutes of exercise every weekday, with alternating strength workouts. Also, this week is modified because I won't have access to my office's gym on Thursday/Friday. 

Alright friends, how are you staying #fit4fifteen this week?!

Also, I'm always interested in what other people's workouts look like: share yours!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Not a Motivational Speech

Fitnasty for Life

It #fit4fifteen week two! I was supposed to be off today, sitting on the couch and binge watching intervention. Alas, i am en route to the gym and then office as I write this. So it goes. 

Can't even contain my gym excitement this morning.
This week I want to talk about motivation. In chronicling the struggles of the perpetually lazy (that's me!), I've learned a thing or two about getting motivated to work out. Namely that motivation is not some magical fairy dust that helps you arise at half past five every morning to go to the gym.  Motivation gets you to work out when you want to work out. Discipline is what gets you there when you don't. You can't buy discipline at the health food store, or on a DVD, or with a FitBit or a fancy heart rate monitor or on a website. Those are all tools (helpful tools!), but ALL of those still require discipline.

To be completely honest, I don't LOVE working out. Blah blah blah, endorphins blah. In reality I almost never want to go to the gym. Yet, I wake up and go to the gym 4-5 mornings a week. And even on my way to the gym, I still tell myself that I can have a slacker workout if I want to (spoiler alert: almost always once I'm actually there, I get in the mood to bust my butt). If I only went when I was motivated, I wouldn't go. The only thing I'm motivated to do in the mornings is curl deeper into my blanket burrito and hit snooze. 

Sprints are a good way to die on a treadmill in 15 min or less.
15 minutes of :20 on, :40 off (straddle the belt).
Start at 8.0 and bump it .1 after each sprint.
Sensing a trend here? So here's my weight loss epiphany of the day: I don't lose weight because I'm motivated to lose weight, because the instant that motivation evaporates, it's game over: I'm making unhealthy choices again. I lose weight because I am disciplined to go to the gym in the morning when I really (really REALLY) don't want to. I'm obviously not perfect-- being disciplined is a very constant struggle that I face every single day. Two years after making a change in my life, and it really still is a daily battle.

Two years ago versus yesterday (it's a known fact that I do not dress this nicely for work on Fridays)
Ultimately, the mind shift (and what helps me stay disciplined) comes from knowing that I don't get to talk myself out of healthy choices and still get the results I want. I cannot validate my laziness/desire to eat crap, and still expect to change. Maybe that seems like a DUH statement, or maybe it doesn't, I don't know. I spent so many years honestly believing that WANTING to be thinner and fitter would get me there. It never did. 

So, if you're feeling motivated, that's great! Use that motivation! But remember that motivation is only a small part of the battle, and discipline is a much more powerful force. 

Happy #fit4fifteen Friday Fitnasty friends!

What do you think: are you successful because you're motivated or disciplined?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Just the Facts

Fact: not every weigh in is going to be a good weigh-in. Sadly. 

Other sad facts:
- pinning workouts doesn't count as actually working out
- really really REALLY REALLY wanting to lose weight doesn't help you lose weight
- pizza has calories (lots of them)
- so do cupcakes
- I gained a pound this week

Last Week's Weight: 172.6
Current Weight: 173.6
Change: +1.0
Total Loss: -54.4

So one of thing I've noticed during this weight loss journey (and in life, really) is that there are a lot of people who take personal credit for a loss, no matter how small, and minimize a gain by blaming it on external factors ("it's my period," "I'm probably just bloated," "it's only up .4 which is basically staying the same."). I try really really hard not to do this, because I staunchly avoid playing the victim of things that are actually in my control. There's your daily dose of psychology (did I mention I love psychology?)

The fact is, there are internal AND external factors at play for every loss and gain. For me this is week, I actually saw a much lower number on the scale on Sunday. So did I gain 3lbs since Sunday? Technically, yes. But did I do some things right this week? Yeah. Did I also do some things wrong this week? Definitely yes. I did the ultimate sin of grocery shopping while hungry and then stood in my kitchen eating jerky while trying to decide what to make for dinner last night. It happens. Also I really love jerky. 

What I have learned is that being pissed about an unexpected weigh in doesn't change the facts. Being pissed and then eating bad food to console yourself because "it doesn't matter anyway" definitely doesn't change the facts. (Tried that one. Many times.)

Here's what I'm doing about it: I'm not going to grocery shop while hungry again (rookie mistake). I'm going to make smarter food choices. Then I'm going to keep making smarter food choices. No magic, no desperate methods, no fasts, no cleanses-- just consistency and discipline. And hopefully next week the payoff will be on the scale.

How was your weigh in Wednesday?

Friday, November 14, 2014

#Fit4Fifteen Friday

It's #fit4fifteen Friday!

Fitnasty for Life

I was so glad to hear that other people were interested in committing to #fit4fifteen right along with me. If this is the first you're hearing of #fit4fifteen, it's an outlet/support group and weekly linkup for other people who are looking to commit (or re-commit!) to their health and fitness goals before the end of the year. In the face of pecan pie, mulled wine, pumpkin spice coffee, christmas cookies, holiday ham, egg nog and all the other gluttony that comes with the holiday season, we're making a pact to conquer the holiday season, and to enter 2015 even healthier/stronger/fitter than we are right now.

If there's anything I've learned from two years of trial and error in my own weight loss journey, it's that there's never a good time to get healthy. Or, more optimistically, any time is a good time to get started if you are really and truly committed.

It was two years ago today that I was tired of saying "my diet starts Monday" and then throwing in the towel by Wednesday. I was sick of seeing higher and higher numbers on the scale. I didn't want to size up because "my pants shrunk in the dryer." And so, two weeks before Thanksgiving, I fully committed to Weight Watchers. I tracked every bite I ate throughout Thanksgiving and Christmas, and lost 12lbs between November 14th and January 1st. It wasn't easy, but it was 100% worth it. 

L: Dec. 2012, already 10lbs down and shopping for a NYE dress.
R: Yesterday, 172lbs.
And now here we are, on the exact same day, two years later. Last week I recognized that I was heading in the wrong direction, and that if I didn't correct it now, I would end 2014 heavier than I started it. I refuse to surrender myself to gaining weight over the holidays. It's my choice whether I gain weight in before 2015, or whether I lose it.  

There are 47 days until 2015 that are going to pass by, regardless of what I do. Whether I use those 47 days to get closer to my goals or to get farther away from them, the decision is mine.

Share your motivation and your plan to get #fit4fifteen, and then help support others who are committing too! Use the #fit4fifteen hashtag on Instagram and see how other people are staying committed to their goals through the holidays!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

One Week

Weigh In Wednesday

First of all, HOLY SMOKES, thanks so much for all the comments and support after Monday's guest-blogging and Instagram takeover for Operation Skinny Jeans. Gaining weight is a hard topic to write about, but it becomes a lot easier when other can sympathize. I truly appreciate every comment, and I'm still working on replying to everyone. I'll get there, promise!

Secondly, due to popular demand, I'll be making #fit4fifteen into a linkup on Fridays through the end of the year. #Fit4fifteen is a pledge that you are getting healthy before the New Year, and not waiting for an arbitrary date to make a resolution (can you tell I think resolutions are BS?). 

Want to participate in #fit4fifteen? Use the hashtag on Instagram to tag the pics of the healthy choices you're making: picking water instead of pop (yes, I say pop, Midwest represent!), going for a walk during lunch, making something healthy for dinner, walking past the candy bowl, do not pass go, do not collect 3 fun size snickers. Stuff like that. Also, I'd love to hear about your successes and struggles! With a bunch of people expressing interest, we can hold each other accountable. I'll be updating this post with the proper #fit4fifteen button tonight or tomorrow, and then posting the linkup on Friday morning, so share the link to your post then. 

Fitnasty for Life

THIRDLY, today marks one week (plus one day) of being back on Weight Watchers and HECK YEAH I am excited about the results. I'll post a disclaimer which is that yes, I am eating healthily, no, I'm not starving myself (I don't have the willpower even if I wanted to), and yes I realize this is a high weight loss. In the past week I still had pizza (in moderation), buffalo wings, beer, a cupcake, and loaded baked potato soup. You DON'T have to eat meager portions or rabbit food to lose weight, I promise. You DO have to be honest with yourself and track and plan for your indulgences. I didn't take a magic weight loss pill, I planned and tracked my food every day. And yes, I ate every single one of my 49 extra weekly points (you're supposed to!)

And now, the results:

Last Week's Weight: 176.4
Current Weight: 172.6
Change: -3.8
Total Loss: -55.4

If I'm being brutally honest, I weighed in at 179.8 last Sunday, which means I've lost over 7lbs since then. Sooooo I guess giving up bottomless servings of trail mix has been helpful. 

As I mentioned last week, my goal is to hit 165 before the New Year. My aggressive goal is to match my lowest adult weight, 162.2, before then. That would mean I have 10lbs to lose in exactly 7 weeks. It's doable (and healthily and naturally doable-- no juice cleanses for this girl). But that one will totally depend on how much I can lock it up over the holidays. 

I've blabbered on far too long. Your turn! How was your weigh in this week?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Guest Blogging for OSJ

Hello friends! I have a little bit of an announcement today-- I'm guest-blogging for the fabulous Jess from Operation Skinny Jeans. I'm also doing an Instagram takeover of her account, @operationskinnyjeans. Check it out!

Operation Skinny Jeans

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Struggle Is Real

When you hear stories of someone who lost a large amount of weight and then gained a lot of it back, there are a few natural reactions: the horror of how could they possibly not realize what was happening? The smugness of "that will never happen to me." I'll admit I've had both of those thoughts... and then it did happen to me.

I ate a big freaking slice of humble pie when I weighed in at nearly 180lbs last week. Seven months earlier I had been my strongest, fastest, slimmest adult self, and here I was having gained back nearly 20lbs. It's embarrassing. It's defeating. It sucks.

How had this happened? The exact same way I got to 228lbs in the first place. By letting myself order hash browns, when I really should've gotten fruit. By treating myself with takeout because I was too tired to cook. By buying a frozen pizza on the weekend, and then eating the whole thing in one setting. By eating a bagel on bagel Fridays at work, and then grabbing a munchkin or two on my way out of the kitchen. 

It's not that I don't know better, because I do. It's not that I'm not working out, because I am. But I stopped caring about my eating habits like I should, and I stopped forcing myself to make the right choice when it wasn't easy. I gave in too many times. I lost the discipline that got me down to the low 160's, and it's really hard to acknowledge that. But I have to if I want to dig myself out of this hole.

Grace at From Fatty To is one of my favorite bloggers, because she's a fellow Weight Watcher, and because she's always honest about her successes and her struggles. She also posted the other day about the exact same reality I'm facing: gaining it back.  I totally appreciate and completely sympathize with her thoughts, because this is the way I had to teach myself to think when I started this process in the first place: 
"I have to learn to balance. I can’t won’t give up my social outings, but I also       [r e f u s e] to let my social life take pertinence over my physical and mental health."
Yes, we're about to enter the holiday season and it's the hardest time of year to be healthy. But this is also the same week I started my journey two years ago. If I don't start now, I will enter 2015 even heavier than I am now. Instead, I'm joining Grace on her pledge to get fit, right now, for 2015. As I said, my goal is to get to 165 before NYE. I won't end this year heavier than I started it, and the choice is mine.

If you were feeling alone, or ashamed, or defeated, or unaccountable, you don't have to be any of those things. If other people are interested (leave a comment!), I will host a Friday linkup to help everyone stay on track through the end of the year. If you want to talk about the pledge, use #fit4fifteen on Instagram/Twitter.

I will get fit for '15. Will you?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Day Late and a Dollar Short

In an effort to take bake the reins of accountability, I'm bringing back the weekly weigh-ins. I'll be weighing in on Wednesdays again because a) I am a creature of habit, b) that's my start of my "week" on WW, and c) Weigh-In Monday just doesn't have the same ring to it. And obviously d) there's a linkup that I totally dropped the ball on yesterday.

I can't present to you last week's weight because I was really busy not caring about anything I ate and devouring a 24-serving bag of trail mix in less than two weeks (it was obviously really good trail mix). 

Without further ado (yes, ado is correct, not adieu, and you can take that to the BANK):

Current Weight: 176.4

I'll be honest and say that this is NOT the highest number I've seen on the scale lately. In fact, there was a 3-digit number that ended in a 9 the other day and I was far from a happy camper about it, even though I have no one to blame but myself.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that it's hard to reform 25 years of poor eating habits in a way that is maintainable for the foreseeable future. It's hard to re-teach yourself portion control and hunger cues and saying no thank you every time you walk past 14 bowls of candy in your office (truth). I have more to say about this, coming soon. But for now, all I can do is return to the basics that helped me lost 65lbs in the first place... some of which I now need to re-lose. 

My mission? 165 by NYE or bust. Time to get fit for '15!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Facing the Music

It's time for a fresh start after this whirlwind October.

I buckled down on my eating habits a few months ago to fit into a snug bridesmaid dress for my best friend's wedding. I was being fairly regimented with both my eating and my workouts, and thankfully was able to drop a few pounds and feel comfortable in the dress. The wedding was absolutely stunning, and I couldn't be happier to have stood next to my best friend as she said "I do" to her husband. 

Not too shabby for doing my own hair and makeup!
I am slightly addicted to fake lashes.
Bachelorette Party shenanigans. 
Cool kids bring their little brother as their wedding date.

The busy busy wedding week was followed by a last minute one-day trip to NYC for work, and the week that followed was a mess of trying to catch up on work and sleep. I did manage to sneak in much-needed and long overdue hair chop. FAREWELL 7" of hair that often looked like a lion's mane. 

The moral of the story is that it's been a pretty chaotic month. Also, that I totally fell off the wagon after the wedding and it's involved more than one frozen pizza. And a candy binge at work on Friday (right AFTER I went to the gym. WHY SELF?). I've been tracking, but I haven't been fully tracking honestly. I'll track all day and then gorge on an unhealthy dinner and not write it down (the shame! the accountability!). 

Starting Tuesday, I'm re-starting Weight Watchers. I don't think I'll stay on it forever, but I do know that I need a firm kick in the right direction, because right now I'm going in the WRONG direction. I'm about 16lbs higher than my lowest weight... and it sucks. Plain and simple I've gotten too lax on my eating, and I still haven't been regularly running. I've bought groceries that I know I shouldn't keep in the apartment because I'm bad at portion control. But I know I'm doing these things wrong, and I know I need to make a change. 

It's time to face the music and get back to the plan that I know works for me. Cheers to starting fresh for November, and finishing out 2014 strong!