Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Weigh In Womp Womp

Ugh. I wish I had better news. 

Last Week's Weight: 170.4
Current Weight: 170.8
Change: +0.4
Total Loss: -57.2

The scale is tormenting me. Problem is, I'm pretty sure I know exactly how to beat it: the answer lies in not eating cookies just because they're there. I got stuck between 170 and 169 for months last year, so this is not new territory for me. This specific weight is just a sticking point for me/my body, but I've busted through this plateau before, and I'm going to do it again. I know what I need to fix, eating-wise, I'm just struggling to do the damn thing. This week, I will do better. 

I am giving myself credit where credit is due, though. I've worked a lotttttt in the last 2 weeks, and I've still managed to make it to the gym 4+ times per week. On the heels of a 12 hour workday, getting to the gym before work the next morning is no small feat. ONWARD. 

My plan was to share a fun new workout circuit I came up with yesterday, I'm hoping to share it Friday! Until then, keep the cookies away from me. 

How was your weigh in Wednesday?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Using a Reward System for Success

Reward System for Success

As my friend Kate so eloquently described me last week, "you and your constant self-bribery." She was kindof joking, but mostly not. I probably "bribe" myself to do something at least a few times a week. And you're thinking: "Carolyn, you are not a child or a dog. Why do you always bribe yourself?" OH, BECAUSE IT WORKS.

Quick psychology lesson (because I am obsessed with psychology and if I ever quit my day job it would be to go back to school so I can get certified to analyze psychopaths like Clarisse in Silence of the Lambs). So, quick lesson: There is a principle in psychology called the Premack Principle. According to the Premack Principle, if doing an enjoyable behavior (say, reading a book), is contingent upon completing a less-enjoyable behavior (say, going for a run), than you are more likely to go for a run than you would be if it wasn't required in order to read. In layman's terms, self-bribery works because SCIENCE.

Here's the practical application, using an example from this weekend. I had work to do on Sunday night, when really all I wanted to do was watch 90 Day Fiance and polish my nails. Priorities, amiright? So, I told myself I had to get the work done or else I couldn't watch 90 Day Fiance or polish my nails. Of course I didn't want to get my work done, but I wanted to watch the 90 Day Fiance trainwreck enough that I got my work done so I could watch.

When it comes to eating and exercise, I think having a reward system in place is a critical element of success (for me, at least). When I'm eating poorly or blowing off workouts left and right, it's usually because I make a snap decision to eat crappy food or skip the gym, and then I feel like I become so committed to the idea of eating pizza or watching 18 more episodes of Law & Order that I can't convince myself otherwise. Here's where the bribery comes in:

When there's a "bribe" in place (if it's a good reward), it becomes a lot harder to commit to the snap decision, because the activity I don't want to do is tied to one I do. So it becomes easier to drag myself out of bed to go to the gym on a Thursday morning, because I'll be damned if I'm behind on Serial, and I don't let myself listen to the new episode on Thursday unless I'm in the gym. And it's easier to keep myself under my points for the week, if doing so means I'm allowed to go to brunch with friends on Sunday. Sticking to the reward/punishment still requires discipline, but it makes sticking to the harder stuff a bit easier. And no, unfortunately the reverse Premack Principle doesn't work (as in, giving yourself the reward first doesn't make it easier to do the hard part).

So there you have it. Me and my constant self-bribery? There's a method to my madness (sometimes).

How do you keep yourself disciplined? What are your favorite rewards?

More importantly for the fellow 90 Day Fiance fans, Danielle and Mohammad WUT IS HAPPENING?!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Better Late than Never

Fitnasty for Life

Sorry for the very much delayed #fit4fifteen weekly check-in! I wish I had a better reason for the delay, but this week has been absolutely insane both work-wise and life-wise, and the cherry on top was that I left my phone in a cab last night, so I've spent half the day trying to track it down (I did not succeed).

Anyway, I'm pledging to be a more frequent blogger next week, and to actually post this linkup in a timely fashion! Until then, I'll be using the weekend to unpack the suitcase still sitting next to my kitchen table and catch up on laundry, grocery shopping, and cleaning my apartment. Isn't adulthood great?

Hope everyone has a great weekend and is still kicking ass and taking names for #fit4fifteen. I know I'm on a quest to see the 160's next week. Check in for the linkup below!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

On Not Playing the Victim

Weigh in Wednesday! Let's get right to it, shall we?

Last Week's Weight: 170.0
Current Weight: 170.4
Change: +0.4
Total Loss: -57.6

You know what? I'm totally okay with this slight gain. Mostly because I saw a much higher number when I was still de-bloating from NYC on Monday, and also because trips are right up there with parties in terms of the hardest places to control my eating. I'm calling this week not horrific, and my quest for the 160s continues (did I mention I have two holiday parties in the next week?). 

Earlier this week, I stumbled upon the quote below. I came across this quote on Instagram on Monday morning, as I was dragging my tired carcass to the gym because I knew I wouldn't be able to make myself go after work. I really connected with how perfectly this quote encompasses the mindset needed to succeed.  And it really struck me because this quote explains the fundamental mind shift that I think I had to go through in order to make weight loss work for me this time around. 

I've dieted on and off since I was a child. As in, like 10 years old. But every diet was unsuccessful because as soon as things got tough, or I didn't want to work out, or I was sore, or life got busy, or someone put a piece of pizza in front of me, I quit. I threw in the towel and said, "Welp, I am powerless in this situation! Looks like it's not gonna happen for me this time!"

But I wasn't powerless. I was--just like in every situation where it's easy to make the right decision--still completely empowered to make the right choice. I just decided not to make the right choice.  

I'm not saying it's easy (spoiler alert: it's not), but the years I spent playing the victim in the dieting game got me nowhere. Literally nowhere. 

Weight loss is certainly a bigger mental battle than it is a physical one. It requires constantly quieting the voice in your head that wants to stop at Starbucks, or grab a cookie from the kitchen, or order takeout because cooking feels like too much effort. It requires working out when you're tired, or sore, or lazy, or would rather be doing almost anything else. But wanting to succeed, even if you REALLY REALLY REALLY want it, is worthless. 

You have to decide

How was your weight-in Wednesday?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Fit4Fifteen Checkin

Fitnasty for Life

Happy Fit4Fifteen Friday!

I'm spending a long weekend in NYC attempting to not eat ALL of the cronuts (are those even still a thing? I don't know). I apologize for the abridged post, but still wanted to keep the linkup going for the other #fit4fifteen warriors. 

Hope everyone has had a successful week after Thanksgiving! We're halfway through the #fit4fifteen battle, with still plenty of holiday parties and cookie swaps and mulled wine temptation before the end of the year. Check in and share how the challenge has been going so far. If you need support in a certain area (getting in your water, getting to the gym, hitting your daily nutrition goals, finding healthy recipes that don't suck) leave a comment because there's still almost a whole month left until 2015. We have to support each other and keep the motivation alive. Let's finish the year strong!

Have a great weekend and link up below! :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Post-Thanksgiving Weigh In

Last week I said, "I would love love love to see a weight in the 160's next week." Damnit, I was so close. SO CLOSE! Here's the damage:

Last Week's Weight: 171.2
Current Weight: 170.0
Change: -1.2
Total Loss: -58.0

On the plus side, I lost over a pound during Thanksgiving week, which is no easy feat. I realized I didn't talk about it, but I managed to stick pretty closely to the plan I set out last week, including skipping over the foods I'm not a huge fan of, and eating mindfully the rest of the day. I ate plenty of food and felt full, but definitely not sick. For someone who was the kid who ate Halloween candy until she practically puked, year after year, this is major progress. 

For perspective on what "real life" is like on Weight Watchers, here's my reality: last week my daily points dropped to 28/day. And still, I ate cookies and a giant chicken burrito and mashed potatoes and gravy and a delicious cheesey egg panini last week. I ate within my weekly 49 extra points, and only dipped 1PP into my activity points (I earned 25). I love that I can still eat these things, I just need to prepare for them and eat reasonably the rest of the time. Yes, it definitely takes thinking ahead and getting used to, but it really does work if you stick to the system.

Speaking of sticking to the system... this weekend will actually pose a bigger challenge for me that Thanksgiving. I'm headed to NYC to visit a friend, and I'm so excited! I haven't spent much time in NYC as an adult because my work trips this year have been so short, so I can't wait to spend time with my friend, see the city lit up for Christmas, and to eat ALL THE FOOD (...kidding, mostly). 

Trips are extra hard to stay on plan because all I want to do is indulge in the foods I can't get back home. So my goal is to stick to my usual vacation strategy: to eat as healthily as I can for two meals a day, and then let loose a bit for the third. I need to mentally remind myself that just because I am in a fun place, does not mean I need to eat my face off the entire time. I can still make healthy choices (egg whites instead of regular eggs, side salad instead of fries) without feeling deprived. I did pretty decently when I was in DC earlier this year, and when my best friend came to visit me in Chicago (and I was acting like a tourist with her). Here's hoping I can stick with the plan. Whether I do or don't, it's up to me!

How was your weigh-in Wednesday?

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Fit Girl's Gift Guide

First off, can you tell I have favorite color scheme? I was doing laundry a few weeks ago when I realized almost all of my favorite workout tops are variations of blue/green. What can I say? I know what I like. And I know that I like tomato. (name that movie)

Secondly, I've come across so many holiday gift guides this year... but almost all of them are filled with such expensive products! I'm honestly kind of shocked at the price points I've seen, so I built my fit girl gift guide around products at very reasonable prices. With the exception of 2 products on this list, everything is under $50!

Lastly, all of these are products I either own, own something very similar, or plan on buying myself. I wouldn't endorse a product if I didn't 100% believe in it (or believe in it enough to spend my own money on it). Happy Shopping!

Shop this post:
1. Yurbuds Ear Buds are great if you have trouble with traditional ear buds slipping out of your ears once you get sweaty. I love these!
2. These North Face Warm Pants are pricey ($85) but so so so worth it. I've run in these in sub-zero Chicago temps and my legs still managed to stay toasty. (If you're between sizes, I recommend sizing down. I wear a M).
3. I own and love this Aladdin To-Go Tumbler from Target. A cute cup is a good way to get water in throughout the day.
4. I can personally attest that Jillian Michaels' Ripped in 30 is a hell of a workout! Bonus: the only equipment required is a set of dumbbells. 
5. Old Navy's Patterned Compression Capris are my absolute favorite. They don't fall down, they aren't see-through, and the sweat-wicking material is perfect and doesn't pill. The bright and fun colors are just the cherry on top.
6. It's no secret that I'm a Fitbit fanatic. I got mine last winter and have worn it non-stop since. (Psst, if you want a band color that Fitbit doesn't carry, there are lots of Amazon sellers with some fun options).
7. I LOVE this Old Navy Racer Back tank. The color is vibrant and the material is so soft. If you're between sizes, I recommend sizing up (I wear a L). Also, it's only $9!!
8. I actually don't wear these hair ties to work out because they don't hold tight enough, but I love them for active rest days or post-gym. They come in so many fun colors and don't yank your hair or leave a kink.
9. While this is billed as a Yoga Headband, it looks like it could hold hair back for plenty of other activities as well. I love all of the prints and also the price point (just $7!).
10. A race entry! Of course, it'd probably be best to consult the person you're gifting the entry to, but a race entry is a great option for your runner friends/family members.
11. Confession: I don't own a real gym bag. I've been using an old LL Bean bag I got in college but it's high time for an upgrade. I am in love with the color, compartments, shape and functionality of this Balance Gym Bag by REI, and it's only $41.

Your turn! What are your fitness must-haves?

The post above contains Amazon affiliate links.