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?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wednesday Weigh In

Weigh-in Wednesday!
Last Week's Weight: 169.4
Current Weight: 168.6
Change: -0.8
Total Loss: -69.4

It took all day, but here's this week's weigh-in. A small drop from last week, but on the heels of five days of traveling and then spending the last three days scrounging around my kitchen because I didn't grocery shop, I'll take it. 

This week guys. I got home from my Baltimore/DC trip at 10:30pm on Sunday, and I have yet to get home before 8pm from work/post-work things any day this week. The good news is that I got my ass completely handed to me on Monday at SWEAT's Arms/Core class. Like, my shoulders still hurt this morning and I can feel it in my pecs too. 10/10 would recommend that class for arm torture. 

Haven't mapped out my workouts for the rest of the week (who am I?), so it's a little fly by the seat of my pants. The great news is that I grocery shopped tonight after work, so I'll be living on more than sad yogurt breakfast, Trader Joes frozen black bean enchiladas and corn flakes for the rest of the week :)

How was your weigh-in Wednesday?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Life Lately

TGIF, amiright? Except I'm currently on a work trip which means I'll be working most of the day tomorrow. But then I'm headed to DC for a very quick visit with my college roommate, so I'm looking forward to that after my work duties are complete! 

Since I'm short on time and long overdue on providing more substantive life updates, here are some snippits of what's been going on lately. 

  • Devouring The Devil in the White City. I've read it before and love this book because it's packed with some really fascinating Chicago history surrounding the World's Fair. It's crazy to me that such an absurd amount of effort was invested in transforming the city for the fair, even though almost none of the infrastructure is still around today. Also, if I've never mentioned it before, I'm also fascinated by serial killer stories (is that weird?), and SUPER pumped that Leo will be playing H.H. Holmes in the movie adaptation. Cannot wait for that one. (PS - add me on GoodReads to see more of what I'm reading!)

  • Loving Whitney Thore's response to Nicole Barbour's appalling "Dear Fat People" video. If you haven't watched Nicole's video, don't. It's disgusting and appalling that she finds it acceptable to say absolutely wretched things about an entire group of people. Bullying is a very real problem, but no one's response was better than Whitney's from My Big Fat Fabulous Life:
  • Testing myself by not giving into my usual work trip YOLO-eating for every meal. Yes staying on plan when you're tired/in a new city/on a weird schedule/busy/at the mercy of unfamiliar dining options/lacking willpower is tough. But I'm on a mission to prove (even if only to myself) that it's doable. Expect more on this soon.
  • Participating in a 100 squats a day challenge. Yowch.
  • Preparing for a very very very(!!!!) exciting announcement, coming soon! Hint hint: it's about one of my most favorite ways to stay active. Stay tuned for more news very soon :)
What are you up to lately?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

September Goals

It's been a crazy few weeks around these parts, as you've probably noticed based on the lack of blogging. The craziness isn't over yet, because after the long Labor Day weekend I'm only in the office Tuesday before heading to Baltimore for the Blogalicious Conference (for work!) Wednesday. I'll be there until Saturday, and then I'm doing a quick trip to DC to see my friend/college roommate, before heading back to Chicago Sunday night. Whew!

In the meantime, my August goals recap is long overdue. Here it is:
  1. Try 5 new ClassPass classes. CHECK! I went to Shred415, Kettlebell Boot Camp, Tabata Boot Camp, Iron & Oar and Hardcore. Then I've actually been to 2 new classes in September so far (PiYo and Run/Glide45), so I'm on a roll!
  2. Drink a gallon of water a day. I probably hit this goal 70% of the time. 
  3. Try 3 new recipes. 2/3 check. I tried shrimp scampi zoodles and turkey sausage bolognese spoodles (sweet potato noodles), but need to get a little more adventurous :)
  4. Track every single thing. With the loss of my phone, no check. I tracked probably 90% of the month minus the lost phone time.
  5. Hit my step goal 5 days a week. My camping trip actually killed my Fitbit early in August, so I lost sight of this goal really early on. Once I got my replacement Fitbit though, I'm back at it and aiming for 12K a day.
I owe longer recap and have many many workout recaps I would like to write... like one comparing SoulCycle and FlyWheel (this one is coming for sure). I have so many post ideas floating around in my head, but with visitors three of the last four weekends, I have been struggling to find the time and energy to blog. I do want to get better about this, though! Hence, September goals:
  1. Blog twice weekly. Hold me to it!
  2. Drink a gallon of water a day. I do feel so much better when I'm extremely well-hydrated, especially given how often I'm working out (and how humid Chicago has been lately!). 
  3. Try 5 new ClassPass classes. Originally I was only going to shoot for 3 new ones this month, but I've already crossed 2 new ones off the list. Go big or go home. Plus, I'm hoping to take advantage of new classes using my ClassPass Flex in Baltimore.
  4. Work up to a 5-mile long run. Did I mention I'm going to start running again? I'm going to start running again! This deserves a post in it's own right, but I went on my first 5K run in oh... probably a year over the weekend. Spoiler alert: ClassPass has actually helped me stay in much better running shape than I had expected. 
  5. Hit my stop goal 5 days a week. Yep, let's try this one again.
More to come, but I'll leave you with one of my latest favorite quotes:

What goals are you working for this September?