Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Weigh In Check In

Pretty Strong Medicine

Last Week's Weight: 172.0
Current Weight: 172.2
Change: +.2
Total Loss: -55.8

A really quick check-in because, LOL, when I mentioned last week that my body gets comfortable in the 172-177 range, I actually wasn't kidding. Hilariously, I did see a number in the 160's over the weekend (...after I ate a burger and cheese fries?!?!), which is now just a fleeting memory. I typically try to eat all my weekly extra points (49PP), but leave my workout points/APs mostly untouched. Due to the holiday weekend and the aforementioned fast food splurge (oh my god Shake Shack is so good though), I dipped about 20 points into my 50APs, which I have learned generally stalls my progress unless I'm running a lottttt. 

I'm not letting this week's stagnant weigh-in get me down, though. I'll be reigning in my eating habits a little better this week and keeping up the good fight!

How was your weigh-in Wednesday?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Planning To Succeed

I had a lightbulb moment about this whole weight loss thing while grocery shopping earlier this week. So much of the struggle surrounding weight loss is about changing your mindset-- far more than about changing physical habits.

The cookie aisle is right at the front of my grocery store, meaning you have to go through the cookie/chip aisle as you enter. It was Monday night around 7:30pm and I had just worked out and I hadn't eaten dinner yet. Naturally, I found myself staring a box of soft-baked chocolate chip cookies.

Cue my mental dialogue:

"I don't have any sweets in the apartment, so I should buy some. Just for after dinner."

"Remember the last time you made that mistake and bought the tri-colored wafer cookies and then ate THE WHOLE THING in 3 days?"

"Yeah, but I can be good this time! I will stick to a serving!"

"Oh, so you will practice moderation exactly the way you haven't for the last 26 years of your life."

I didn't buy the cookies. 

And it's not because I didn't want them. And it's certainly not because I have super-human willpower of steel. Quite the opposite, in fact, which is why I couldn't buy them. Ideally I would be able to buy the cookies, eat just an actual serving size, and be satisfied. But I know I struggle to do that. Had I bought the cookies, I can almost guarantee you they'd already be gone. So, instead of buying them and putting myself on a plan to fail, I bypassed them and put myself in a position to succeed. 

Weight loss is about making those [hard] little decisions over and over again. Every time I grocery shop. Every time I want to skip a workout. Every time I go out to eat. And this is not to say that I never buy the cookies (spoiler alert: the reason I have learned this lesson is because I have made the wrong choice many times). But, this is to say I try to make planning for success my habit, rather than my exception. 

I can sometimes be a bit of a control freak, so I HATE to ever be put in a situation where I throw my arms up and say "WELP. I guess it just isn't going to work out for me this time." The reason why I got to 228lbs in the first place was because I did that with eating all the time. I did that with working out all the time. And, shockingly, I continued to gain weight because I kept telling myself that all the external factors were preventing me from losing weight. WRONG! I was preventing me from losing weight. At first, that's a really humbling (and sucky) mental shift to accept. But, in time it actually becomes very empowering to recognize that you are in the driver's seat and success or failure is no one else's fault but your own. And, real talk: this holds true for more than just weight loss.

Hence, one of my favorite quotes:

Happy long weekend!

Have any weight loss lightbulb moments lately? 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Post-Birthday Weigh In

Pretty Strong Medicine

Last Week's Weight: 174.4
Current Weight: 172.0
Change: -2.4
Total Loss: -56

Losing weight after my birthday weekend got me feelin' like:

This on the heels of a weekend full of tacos (six, to be exact), a breakfast burrito, Ann Sathers cinnamon rolls (no shame), a Glazed & Infused donut, some chicken nachos and a few margaritas. However, outside of that indulgent eating was a lot of salad-eating and some serious workouts totaling over 60 activity points. I just need to keep reminding myself of that every damn time I pass a candy bowl in the office and have to say no. Being good *most* of the time means I am allowed to have treats *some* of the time. Balance!

Now, the real challenge begins. After 2.5 years at this weight loss game, I've learned that my body is VERY comfortable in the 172-177 range. Which means I'm going to have to really stick to my guns if I want to keep on trucking into the 160s. This week's agenda (thankfully) includes less dining out and a whole lot of sweating at Sproing, FlyWheel, and Barre Code.

Bring it on.

How was your weigh-in Wednesday?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Chicago Taco Crawl

Hola amigos! Let's talk tacos.

As I mentioned last week, my plans for my birthday weekend included a taco crawl with friends. And, in the interest of sharing my newfound taco crawl wisdom with the masses, I thought I'd give a rundown of how it went!

Chicago has about 3892 taco places, and endless lists of actually serve the best tacos. I knew where I wanted the crawl to started based on my own *~*scientific research*~*, so I started with that, read way too many of the "best of" lists, and then planned the crawl around places that were all located fairly near to each other. So, while the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago is known for having some of the best taco places in the city, we didn't make it that far from our starting point (but I definitely would do a Pilsen-only taco crawl in the future, though). On with the show!

First stop? Big Star, taco mecca of Chicago and located in the Wicker Park neighborhood. Big Star is known for its large patio, long lines, hipster crowd, and, of course, the phenomenal tacos and margaritas. Knowing we had a group of ~15, we planned Big Star as the first stop so that we could arrive soon after it opened and hopefully grab a table for the group. Big Star opens at 11:30am on Saturdays, so we got there at noon and were seated around 12:35ish. 

We ordered a few pitchers while waiting for the table and the rest of the group to arrive. Their margs are good and pretty traditional, but also very(!) strong. By the time we sat, we were more than ready to chow down. Since I hadn't eaten breakfast, I started with my two Big Star favorites: pescado (fish) and al pastor (pork), hold the cilantro pro favor.

Definitely some of the best fish tacos in the city.

Two tacos (... and multiple pitchers between the group) later and we were ready for our next stop, conveniently just a 10 minute walk away.

I'd heard and read rave reviews about stop #2, Antique Taco, so I was more than ready to experience the hype for myself. Antique Taco is known for its unique twists on standard favorites, as well as their Instagram-worthy mason jar margaritas. Spoiler alert: neither disappointed. 

Antique Taco requires ordering at the counter, and then sitting at the table while you wait for the food to be delivered. Fortunately, the system works pretty well to ensure that everyone has a seat once they order, and even more fortunately we were able to snag a huge table that fit most of the group. Knowing that we were still at the beginning of our taco pilgrimage, my friend and I opted to split an order of two shrimp tacos and OH MY GOD THEY WERE SO GOOD. The shrimp tacos featured deliciously-marinaded shrimp, some type of cauliflower slaw, and a crispy salty topping of crumbled kale chips. These might be the best tacos I've ever eaten in my life (and clearly I've eaten a lot of tacos). Post-crawl, my friends and I decided that Antique Taco is definitely a spot we will visit to enjoy much more of the menu. And, their seasonal fresh strawberry ginger margarita was another standout of the day. Highly recommend. So while we could've camped out there for the rest of the afternoon, we still had four more stops to go!

Me and my bff, Andy Cohen.
As we rallied the troops outside of Antique Taco, we had a little brush with fame. My BFF Andy Cohen has a show in town this weekend and when he heard it was my birthday he just HAD to have a picture with me (just kidding, I might have accosted him like a fangirl while he was trying to be incognito and wait for his uber. Sorry Andy. Thanks for being a good sport. You're just as handsome in person as I hoped). 

Stop #3 was to a lesser-known spot called Takito Kitchen, about a 15 minute walk from Antique Taco (told you this route was convenient). Upon our arrival, we were bummed to learn that the kitchen was actually closed from 3-5pm to prep for dinner (we showed up around 3:45). So I can't speak to taco quality, but their Paloma (grapefruit tequila cocktail) was on point. Unfortunately our server seemed 0% excited to serve our table (and truthfully, we were a well-behaved large group and the only table in the restaurant), but I might give them a second chance to experience the tacos next time. However it was on with the taco crawl show to the next stop!

Another 10 minutes of walking down Division and we found ourselves at Stop #4, the famed La Pasadita. Aside from the authentic and delicious tacos, La Pasadita is probably most known for (formerly) having three separate taco shops on the same corner (!?!?). They're down to only one now, but the taco hype doesn't lie. By far our most authentic stop on the crawl, La Pasadita's menu is quite small, but what they do, they do well. Because we had ground to make up after missing out on tacos at the last stop, I re-fueled with a carne asada taco and a pollo taco (sans cilantro). My tacos were simple and tasty, but admittedly I was jealous of my friend's barbacoa tostada, piled high with tender marinated meat, guacamole, and sour cream. It was at this point that much of the group was getting to the point of uncomfortable fullness, but we had one final stop on our crawl, so onward we went.

A 15-minute bus ride down Division, followed by a 5 minute walk led us to our final taco crawl stop, located in Chicago's Gold Coast: Velvet Taco. Anyone I'd talked to about tour taco tour had raved about Velvet Taco's buffalo chicken, so naturally that's what I ordered. Unfortunately I failed to read that the taco included blue cheese (rookie mistake), but aside from that, the taco was delicious. The menu also contained a number of other non-traditional tacos like rotisserie chicken and falafel (and is conveniently located within walking distance of my office), so I will most certainly be back to try out more of their offerings.

Overall, the taco crawl was a great success and a muy fabuloso way to spend a birthday afternoon! My only minor regret is that we couldn't test Takito's tacos, but I think our stomachs were happy to have the brief reprieve anyway. Based on the variety of offerings, quality of tacos and plentify beverage options, I'd highly recommend this route for other Chicago taco crawlers. Olé!

Have you ever planned a food crawl? Where should I venture for tacos next time? Is there such thing as too many tacos? (Even after the tour, I don't think there is).

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It's My Party and I'll Weigh In If I Want To

Pretty Strong Medicine

Last Week's Weight: 177.2
Current Weight: 174.4
Change: -2.8
Total Loss: -53.6

The song in today's blog post title has been stuck in my head all morning, so this is what you get. I actually don't even know when I last heard that song, but it IS my birthday this weekend, so maybe that's the reason for the festive earworm.

Heart-eye emoji.
ANYWAY, I am exceedingly pleased to report a loss after a week of eating that included all of the following: coffee cake, a freaking cupcake contest, beer, Jimmy Johns (still my one true love), and even delicious Mexican for dinner last night. Which, I list out in order to prove the point (mostly to myself) that being ON TRACK on Weight Watchers doesn't mean I have to give up all that is good. Instead, I just did this crazy thing called, oh, controlling myself when I WASN'T eating those things in order to "save up" for the more indulgent meals. I made 7PP salads for lunch all last week, and actually stayed within my daily points (29) during the week, which left me some room to indulge a bit on the weekend. AND IT WORKED! (remember this feeling, self). 

Work motivates us to work out with sticker calendars
and the potential to win prizes because BRIBERY WORKS.
On the workout front, my gym regimen has been pretty intense lately. ClassPass is addicting! Every weekend I sit and plot out my following week and get excited about the variety of classes to choose from. Then, because I'm boring, I sign up for the same five over and over again :) Well, I think my aggressive schedule caught up to me because I definitely took two unplanned rest days since Sunday, but my muscles are very sore, so it was clearly much needed. And, I'm pretty sure this means I'm going to wake up tomorrow with abs and Jillian Michaels guns, so I'll keep you posted.

So, what else is going on? Oh, I impluse bought a couch the other day! I've never bought a couch before (all of my adult life couches have been hand-me-downs), so this was a pretty monumental purchase that I made at 11pm on a Friday night (living the dream). Thankfully the couch is on back-order so I have six weeks to figure out how to get my 5-ton sleeper couch out of my third-floor walkup apartment. I'll probably offer it for free on Craigslist if someone can move it themselves because there's no way that plan will backfire.
Finally, my 26th birthday is upon me. I honestly can't think of a better way to ring it in than by waiting for the very last minute to sign up for my own health insurance because #ThanksObama (just kidding, I am grateful both Obama and my parents let me stay on their insurance for this long). But, I suppose I will try to top that thrill by spending this weekend orchestrating a Taco Crawl around Chicago with all my friends. You'll be able to find me because I'll be the one wearing this t-shirt:

Hasta la vista!

How was your weigh-in Wednesday? Got any couch removal solutions that are better than my idea?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Weekend in Review

A lot of times my weekend strategy is to make no plans so I can laze around, recover from the week, and do whatever I want. Well, the (FINALLY) springtime weather and plenty of things to do got the best of me because I had a packed weekend and it was great!

On Saturday a few work friends and I went to go investigate the Soul Cycle hype for ourselves. I've seen so many bloggers and IGers praising the church of Soul Cycle that I was really curious to see what it was all about. Armed with a promo code for a free Soul Cycle class, we signed up for the 8:30am Saturday class (aggressive on a Saturday morning? yep. But literally almost every other weekend class was sold out). 

So Soul Cycle -- I'll save more details for a full review, but the gist is that I enjoyed the class but didn't LOVE the overall experience (crowded studio, price, vibe). Regardless, it was a really great workout to kickoff the weekend, and a great pre-cursor for brunch with friends :) After, we did a quick pit stop at the inaugural weekend of the Green City Farmer's Market, and then I snagged a Divvy bike to ride home and shower.

Next on my agenda was a haircut and and highlights, both of which were much-anticipated. The huge bummer is that it took nearly 5 hours (FIVE HOURS) because I am cheap and I go to a hair school nearby. Usually they do a really good job, but this time I left with barely-there highlights and a blowout that made me look like head of the PTA. Enjoy this photo of my post-haircut reaction:

Angry head of PTA.
After the haircut I headed out for deep dish with some college friends in town (worth it), and then headed home and watched like four episodes of Married at First Sight like the party animal I am. PS Uh, if you watch that show can we talk about it because WHAT?

Sunday involved starting the yoga with 90-minutes of Birkam yoga and realizing about 10 minutes in that I don't really like Bikram yoga which made the next 80 minutes fun. If you haven't done Bikram, it's a type of yoga performed in a 105 degree room that involves 26 poses with some breathing exercises for added fun. I can only do about 3 poses correctly (one of which is laying on my back motionless), I've usually broken into a full sweat before the end of the warm up breaths, and I always get to a point where my face is sweating so much that when my head is hanging down the sweat drips up my nose and it feels like I'm being waterboarded. It feels good afterwards but seriously. So sweaty.

After yoga I grocery-shopping for the first time in two weeks after realizing that the only items in my fridge were wine, mustard, eggs and a lemon (that is not an exaggeration). Went home to shower up for a mid-afternoon coffee date, which involved styling my hair so as to not look like the wife of a southern senator.

Post date (thanks mostly to the magic of coffee) I forced myself to do laundry (accomplishment) AND put it away (bigger accomplishment). I finished catching up on Married at First Sight while I food-prepped lunches for the week, packed my bag for the gym this morning and called it a night. 

Whew! How was your weekend? Ever had a bad hair experience? How'd you fix it?