Sunday, July 31, 2011

How far along am I ?

It's past 2:00 a.m. and I am on my third load of laundry since ESC went to bed. I stopped staying up later than him months ago, choosing to go to retire with him or before. Tonight was a little different. For some reason, I just wanted to get some laundry done.

I guess this means that my energy levels were pretty high, which is a great thing after 3 months of consistent exercise and losing 18lbs.

Things are going well with my weekly column, though my pay was slashed by 20% after my very first month. Well the truth is all of us weekly contributors to the mag were offered the chance to keep 100 percent but with frequency reduced to every other week. I opted to keep my weekly status and take the cut that way.

I have been lagging in posting to our food blog. My hands have been hurting badly due to overuse and so I have had to limit my time on the computer and give priority to paid work. The biggest irony is that my work happens on the computer and on the smartphone, since I am now earning a very modest income as a working writer and a part time social media consultant. Furthermore, working from home means that my interaction with the outside world happens via these very devices that cause tremendous stress to my poor hands.

So funny enough, I have been finding housework very therapeutic. Washing dishes and tidying the kitchen is a much welcomed break, as is doing the laundry and folding clothes. Chopping can be a little hard sometimes but I do eat the majority of my meals at home so I have to cook to eat. Somedays I hurt so much that I just have to strike to get some relief. Even holding the TV remote can be too much on those days.

Tweaking my diet
I am changing up my diet again this week. I have been stalled for 21 days (July 30) so I decided to get drastic this week and clean up all processed foods from my diet. I had gotten used to using low-carb products as a crutch, esp when away from home but it has not served my purpose well. I also find that I cannot seem to lose weight eating cheese anymore so I just have to refrain until I am closer to goal. I will re-introduce cheese later on and see how my body responds to it. In the meantime, no dairy this week. Next week I will add organic Greek yoghurt as well as berries, cherries, melon and nuts- hopefully 2-3 days apart to see how my body responds. After that, I will add pulses including chickpeas, lentils and so on perhaps once per week. Once I figure how those work for me, I will add whole grains in the form of oatmeal and buckwheat once per week. I am gearing up for oatmeal by September. I miss oatmeal so much!

This whole "low carb" concept is not a "no carb" one. Some people just do better with less starchy carbs period- whole or not. No one does well with sugars and refined carbs so those will always be avoided but the whole idea is for me to find out what foods work with my body and those that do not. I will also find out what foods and in what quantity and frequency I can eat and lose weight or maintain weight, which is critical for long-term weight management. I had gotten to a point where I simply couldn't stop myself with certain trigger foods.

Too often we go on drastic fad diets replacing meals with shakes or pre-packaged meals but of course the weight comes piling back after we return to our "regular" diets because we haven't learnt how to feed ourselves to get those results. I know how to eat well and cook whole foods. I just need to learn the numbers, combination and frequency, since I have tended to over-feed on healthy carbs in the past. So with this approach, as I lose weight, I will be eating the very same foods that I will eat at goal weight.

Veggie Lover
Since going low carb, I have a new appreciation of vegetables and I have probably eaten more in my low carb days than all the days of my life combined. I now see salad as a filling, tasty and healthy alternative and can eat an entree salad as a whole meal without bread. That lesson alone will undoubtedly help me to maintain my goal weight when I reach it because I can easily have salad for dinner everyday with the odd dinner party thrown in. Essentially, I am learning balance. Funny enough that is the point of this mission- to bring my mind, body and spirit into balance.

Water & supplements
I am also drinking LOTS of water and guzzling loose leaf green tea. In fact, I am supplementing very well with high quality supplements that restore nutrients that would be lacking when one is losing weight.

I've been moving it!
I am also up to working out 5x per week. I worked my way up from 3 days and sometimes even have 2 workouts per day. Do not be alarmed. I live in a one bedroom apartment and most days I never have to go through my front door. I need all the movement I can muster. See one of the reasons I packed on the weight in the first place? I force myself to go to the gym, which most days is the only way I would see anyone for longer than the 30mins a day I see ESC. Major kudos to me... I am lifting the heighest ever free weights and working my upper body like never before. My body is already re-shaping.

I have a fitness buddy
She is all the way in CT, USA but I am happy for her. We are the same age and are on the same diet so that helps. This is the very first tme I have had a fitness buddy and she and I have been trying to lose the same pounds for a while. We challenge each other that this is our year to get it right.

I made a vision board
You know me by now. I am always writing down my goals and expressing my intention to the universe. This time I went a step further and put them into pictures and placed the collage above my desk.

Paying it forward
I have inspired my hubby to finally go for the six pack. After the miscarriage, he resumed working out regularly at home while I was packing on the pounds, hoping to inspire me to get going again. It took an inner thigh blister to get me going and since then, I have been inspired and focused on hitting my dream fitness goals once and for all. I have showed him the pics of what I am aiming for and we have discussed it (he's fine with a hellfire buff and fit wife). I have shared everything I have learned about nutrition and supplements and have even put him on a regimen. He has never looked better. Chefs generally look older and haggard due to their hours but he is looking mighty fine if I may say so myself and he feels so stoked that he too is aiming for his perfect beach body (which he hasn't had since his college days). We might as well strike while the iron is hot. Later on we will ensure it stays hot.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A strong mind starts with a fit body

I saw that sign in the gym last night and was so struck by it that I had to take a pic and share with my fitness buddy. Yes, for the first time ever, I have one of those, and I think that is just one of the reasons why this time will be different.

So I am down 18.7lbs altogether. Not much since my 15lb loss recorded in my previous post, but I was lifting heavier last month as part of an extreme 3 month fitness routine that promotes muscle gain and fat loss. The second phase, which requires heavy lifting for 6-8 reps is an intense muscle and strength building phase. Many people actually report weight gain during this phase so I should be happy that I lost a total of 6.6lbs during those 30days. I had to rest my hands for a while because of the carpal tunnel, so I did cardio, kickboxing and increased daily activity and delayed Phase 3 until yesterday. Yesterday I worked out for 2 hours, which felt really good. I am rebuilding my stamina. I remember when I used to have 2hr sessions every gym day.

So now Phase 3 is the Lean Phase, where I will be increasing reps to 10-12 and doing combo free weight exercises which promote engaging the core for stability. This is the phase where people see their best results during the 90-day routine.

After completing this CLX routine, I am thinking of doing 30 days of Slim in 6 and doing another rond of CLX. I have heard that many people get maximum results when they break with a lower intensity programme like Si6 and then resume a secound round of CLX.

Well enough of the workout geek talk and back to the heart stuff.

The darn scale
I have been struggling mentally with not seeing the scale budge over the last 2-3 weeks. It is not easy to be working hard and eating on plan and then the scale suddenly stops moving. I know technically why (I just explained it above) but that still doest seem to stop the feelings of frustration.

Mirrors and photos
I am also having a very tough time with other people's photos of me. You know the kind that immortalize you in your very worst light? Well imagine how much worse when they are added to shared via social networking. I have been depressed 2 times over the past 2-3 weeks with a friend's snapshot that includes me. I seem to look much worse sitting down than standing up. This friend is very proud of my efforts and extremely supportive and I know she thinks I have come a far way and wants to celebrate, but all I see when I view those pics is just how far I still have to go. ESC has been trying to coach me to appreciate how far I have come and focus on the victory instead of being overwhelmed by the distance ahead. Easier said than done. I think this is why many obese people just never complete their weight loss journey- it just seems like an uphill battle that has no end in sight.

I also despise the mirrors at the gym and in elevators. I must have been blind while I was getting fat but suddenly my vision is clearer and all I can see are the faults. I honestly think I am struggling with body dysmorphia.

I am much bigger than I have ever been in my life and I am just not comfortable with being mediocre anymore where my health and fitness are concerned. I am still on a mission to lose another 55lbs and am dead set on getting there.

I realize that I have a much smaller image of myself mentally (since I was never fat until 5 years ago) and I have a hard time accepting what really is.

Hormonal drama
I also have to be kind to myself and cut myself some slack for all that I went through over the past six months. My pregnancy and miscarriage threw my hormones even further out of whack and I am still trying to re-balance. I have also read where lots of women put on a lot of weight in a very short time after a miscarriage. I do not have to wonder why.

I am resetting a lot of habits and lifetstyle activities that will help me to maintain my losses for a lifetime. I can now say "no" to sweets. Also very surprising, I can have a tiny amount of something. I have truly come a far way.

Pressing on
Even though I have not seen the scale move, I am still moving. My body may be a little confused and think "she is going to stop soon as usual" but not so! I am more determined than ever to bring my body into balance! I just feel like my entire life depends on it and I will not stop until I accomplish all my goals!

I am off to work out with ESC now!
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