Monday, November 30, 2009

A few more things...

As if my last post wasn't long enough, I still managed to leave out a couple of things...

-RE: The Cheat Your Way Thin program... No, I did NOT pay $97 or whatever it says on the site... Because I was already on Joel's mailing list, I paid a fraction of that, thanks to some special limited-time-only sale price. And I did get just the basic program, none of the "upgrades." It all just seemed unnecessary.

That said, should you like to get on the mailing list (not just for special offer alerts on the program, but for *free* general fitness/food tips), I would suggest going to his main blog site, Body Transformation Insider first. From there, just sign up for the "Fat Loss Secrets Exposed" thing and that will add you to the list (that's the only way I've figured it out).

Otherwise, you can visit the contact section of the site for his Twitter/Facebook info.

-I discovered Emerald's Cocoa Roasted Almonds this weekend. OMG. I know they've been out for a while, but I forgot about them until our trip to Sam's Club this weekend. Perfect almond option, in my opinion. So far, I've exerted some major self-control and haven't finished off the whole tub in 2 days. Definitely one of those proceed-with-extreme-caution kind of snacks, but worth a try if you're looking for a healthier sweet treat alternative.

Phew. Ok. I think I can shut up for a few days now.

Obligatory Survival Post

Well, the interwebs have been flooded the past few days with blog updates, tweets and articles all about Thanksgiving and post-Thanksgiving eating and recovery. That said, I guess I might as well add to the pile. I wasn't going to at first because of the low points I experienced, but I've made some awesome progress the past few days, so I felt the need to share.

But first, let us back up to Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Oh man. I had just started that time of the month and I was just plain HUNGRY. Insatiable. Well, between PMS cravings and the bottomless pit that was my stomach, Thanksgiving Eve did indeed turn into an all-out junk fest. And I will be honest, knowing that the next day was Thanksgiving, I totally used that as an excuse to overeat. It was a bad move in retrospect, but one positive that came out of it all was that I wasn't guilt-ridden. I just didn't care. No, I shouldn't have ate all of that crap mindlessly and with complete abandon, but the fact that I didn't completely hate myself afterward was kind of a big deal. I'd like to think of it as major progress, with regards to my binging issue.

Thanksgiving Day: Yeah, I felt kinda crappy, but I did some cycling, Tae Bo and weight training anyway. Felt better and was still excited for the big meal. Even though I was still digesting Wednesday's nonsense, my goal was to keep a positive attitude and enjoy the next round of mucho food.

And I did. Everything was delicious and rich. But leftovers later that evening proved to be a mistake. That night, I really packed it in to the point where I felt kinda miserable.

Even though I felt like crap, I was determined not to hate myself and start entering that cycle where I beat myself up, both mentally & physically. At the same time though, I needed to regain focus and control. That's where Cheat Your Way Thin comes in.

Yes, it sounds like a total fad diet. Yes, the information page gives off kind of a cheesy, questionable vibe. Yes, it costs money and therefore poses a risk factor.

So why the hell did I pay for this program? Well, I had been signed up on Joel Marion's (the program's creator) mailing list for about a month or so already, so I had grown familiar with who he was and some of his general fitness/food tips. I think I originally came across him through another personal trainer blog I follow...

ANYWHO. In the newsletters, Joel spoke more and more about his program and I was intrigued. When I found out it cost money, I told myself "No way." I'm not sure what caused me to change my mind that Thanksgiving Day... Perhaps it was desperation... All I know is that the more I read and the more I heard about the program on other personal trainer blogs that I do indeed trust and respect, the more convinced I became. I made a few clicks, paid and downloaded the program materials.

Since I paid for this, I'm not going to go into every last little detail, but so far, I'm soooo pleased. The program is basically built around carb-cycling with a "cheat" day worked into every week. There are of course specific guidelines to keep you from screwing yourself over and making bad decisions (i.e., binging), but not so many that it's not feasible. And the big selling point for me was that Joel created a special Holiday calendar where he basically maps out your whole first month on the plan, starting with Thanksgiving, which is indeed the first "cheat" day. He works in the rest of the month's "cheat" days around other upcoming holidays and potential holiday parties and it's just awesome. Talk about a ton of pressure and anxiety being lifted from my chest almost instantly.

As I read through more of the program material, I discovered that YES!, there is indeed a maintenance phase. After I jumped into buying the program, I worried that maybe there wasn't a maintenance phase and that doing this program would defeat the purpose of making lifestyle changes for the past 2.5 years. But Joel did not disappoint; he breaks everything down to the point where it's basically fool-proof and sustainable for a long period of time (i.e., the rest of your life).

When I finished reading everything, I said to myself, "yes, I can do this." And it all makes sense, really. Perhaps I could have developed a similar approach on my own, but I simply hadn't read the right combination of research to figure it out. (And Joel does indeed do his research; a lot of the science-type stuff he writes about matches up with a lot of articles/books I've read about certain hormones, how they impact your weight and how they're impacted by certain combinations of food and exercise.)

Bottom line: I feel pretty damn great today. Still eating healthy and still tracking what I eat on the Daily Plate, but moving away from tracking Weight Watchers points on top of that. I'm slowly breaking away from OCD-like food tracking methods that were making me insane. This weekend I noticed, probably for the first time ever, that I am indeed capable of making good food choices on my own, without chanting in my head "I'm on Weight Watchers, I must watch my weight, I must stay in control, etc."

I'm not sure if that made sense, but essentially, it's the closest to weight-loss maintenance that I think I've ever been. I was eating for fuel, I was enjoying what I ate and I had subconsciously picked the right combination of foods to make sure it was all balanced and beneficial to my health. And I wasn't freaking out about points or calories the whole time. I wasn't freaking out about anything. I felt, dare I say it, normal.

Moving on- I'm down to 155.8 today, over two pounds less than I was pre-Thanksgiving. Between PMS bloat and binging bloat, I totally saw the 170s on Friday. Yes, I know I didn't actually gain that much in such a short period of time, but it feels soooo good to be back to my "happy" range.

I'm TOTALLY ranting here, I'm sorry. I just feel so much better and so much more optimistic than I have in a really long time. I don't want to be cheesy and say "And I owe it all to Cheat Your Way Thin!", but I'd be lying if I said it hasn't helped put a lot of things into perspective. Just goes to show you that it is possible to become burned out on a certain tried-and-trusted routine, and that it's ok to poke around and find something new to give you a boost and a better chance at success. I'm feeling empowered and much more sure of myself than I have in a long time. (And no, I didn't get paid or receive any free swag for plugging CYWT.)

I'm NOT saying "Oh go out and buy this program because it's only been a few days and I feel awesome and you will too!" Who knows what kind of results I'll have after the first month? (I'll update here, of course.)

I guess I just felt compelled to share my recovery plan and how good it feels to finally give myself credit for how strong I've become. The past few months have seen waaay too much self-hatred and guilt, so it's been awesome to have some moments of clarity the past few days. I will NOT regain 90+ pounds (in a week, in a month or ever) and I WILL live a happy, healthy and balanced life. No freaking out required.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Since my updates here are slowing down these days, I thought I'd finally link you all to my Twitter page.

I don't tweet often, but there are some updates/links I slap on there occasionally that I don't necessarily remember (or have time) to post on the ol' blog as well.

Can't I just sleep through this week?

Just a quick run-down:

-Didn't do a weigh-in post last Friday because, gasp, I gained. I let Doug's birthday turn into a birthday celebration weekend. So essentially, I took someone else's birthday, not even my own (a single day, I might add) and used it as an excuse to binge 3 days in a row. I've moved on since then, thankfully.

-Getting better at forgiving myself when I slip up. But it would be nice not to slip-up in the first place. Or at least not as often as I have been lately.

I have to be blunt: Weight-loss maintenance, for me, sucks ass. I've been having a hard time for weeks now. And you know why? Because I'm a hypocrite. I've blogged and told people in person that the key to losing weight and keeping it off is to make a lifestyle change (with regards to your eating habits) and that you can have good food in moderation and blah, blah, blah.

Well, I'm a hypocrite because despite my weight loss, I still haven't let go of that "all or nothing" mentality. Perhaps over a decade of yo-yo dieting is to blame, but I'll be damned if I can practice what I preach these days. Sure, in the past, I have practiced moderation (LOADS of times!) and made it home from a party or a wedding or a holiday dinner without having totally pigged out, still enjoyed myself and actually proud of my food/drink choices.

Lately (well, probably the past few months, really), I've lost that ability to moderate. It really has just been binge, workout more, eat clean, rinse, repeat. "They" say it's better to lose weight at a slower pace because you're more likely to keep it off. It took me 2.5 years to lose 90 pounds. So, in theory, I should be golden, right? Well, I also spent 2.5 years in "must lose weight!" mode, so to tell myself to stop losing and maintain and just continue to keep things healthy... Well... it's just proving to be a challenge.

I know I can't expect to make the maintenance phase my bitch immediately, so I'll cut myself some slack. But it's still tough. Right now, I'm stuck between not trying to lose, but trying not to gain. And trying to find that particular point of balance is just plain hard.

-I need to stop weighing myself everyday. I was able to justify it before, but I think that's one habit that needs to stop pronto, especially if I expect to succeed in maintenance.

-I really am done with all of the posts/articles out there FREAKING OUT over Thanksgiving dinner. All of the healthy alternative recipes for stuffing and pumpkin pie; all of the "stay slim!" strategies to practice before/after the meal... My god. It's one meal. One day. I've managed to lose over Thanksgiving in the past while still getting my pig-out on, so I really wish people would just shut up about it all ready. I really enjoyed David Kirchoff's take on Thanksgiving. It's probably one of the few pieces (of the dozens) I've read over the past couple of weeks that I really identified with when it comes to all of this Thanksgiving madness.

Yes, others can choose to approach the holiday however they please. I'm just choosing not to freak out or make crust-less sugar-free pumpkin pie mini-bites. I'm also not hosting/making the meal, so yes, I totally have it easy and don't have the same responsibility that others may have. If I did, then yeah, I'd probably be making mashed butternut squash, low-fat gravy and high-fiber rolls too.

-Got my heart rate monitor back (the one that shows calories burned). It was nice taking a break from it at first, but eventually I was starting to grow weary of estimating how much I was burning, so it's nice to have it again. Biggest disappointment since getting it back? Tae Bo Ultimate Boot Camp. Did this for an hour and barely burned 250 calories. BUT, it is more about strength and resistance training (a.k.a. not good sources of instant mega calorie burn), so I can't badmouth it too much. And using it with the Billy Bands is tough, so I will force myself to do it in the future. I'm always lacking in the world of strength & resistance training.

Looking forward to trying Fat Blaster set. Since those are supposed to be more cardio-based, I hope the calorie burn is decent. I really want something that will push me and burn a good chunk of calories on mornings I can't make it to the gym.

-I think that's about it. Basically, I've been losing and gaining, keeping up with my workouts and just trying to keep sane and have a better attitude about myself. Oh, and eating chocolate. Ugh. And I was reminded by the sudden cramping in my uterus this morning that I will have a lovely menstrual cycle to deal with this week as well. So between cramps, sweet cravings, Taco Bell bringing back my beloved Cheesy Gordita Crunch and Turkey Day, it will be interesting to see where I end up in a few days, haha.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Weigh-In Day.

Today's weight: 151.8. A gain of 0.8 pounds. Since last week showed me a loss of 5.8 pounds, a gain was expected. But... I must be honest... After having my first perfect week in several weeks (no binging, consistent exercise, TONS of fruit & veggies), seeing a gain was a tad bit irritating. I was hoping I would've at least stayed the same. Oh well. It is what it is.

I took the day off from work today. Slept in a little and then did levels 2 & 3 of the 30 Day Shred DVD back to back, followed by a weight routine with bench presses (30 pounds) and deadlifts (50 pounds). I'm starting to dig deadlifts now that I increased the weight. I can feel my abs, legs, arms and chest all working all at once. It's really easy to talk myself out of lifting, but once I actually do it, I start to enjoy it because I'm more in tune with my muscles and can literally feel myself getting stronger. Feels pretty bad-ass.

That's about it, really. Not much else to report. Hopefully I'll have a more exciting post next week. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stairs and sanity.

Well, a meeting at work got canceled this afternoon, so I finally have a proper moment to catch up on some things.

RECIPES! Got some new ones for ya. First one is a casserole dish from one of my favorite sites, Eat Better America. It's called Healthified Chicken Tortilla Casserole. It was awesome! I made my own version based on slightly different ingredients I had (i.e., greek yogurt instead of sour cream, almond milk instead of fat-free milk, etc.) and made 6 servings instead of 8.

Next is one I haven't actually tried yet, but it sounds good: Broccoli Tofu Bake. Again, I'm going to do my own version based on stuff I have. Main thing is I'm adding cheese. It just seems wrong to me to have a broccoli "bake" without melted cheese, heh. Looking forward to making it for dinner tonight!

Had a good workout at the gym this morning. I tried taking a stab at this StairMaster/StepMill interval workout for the second time and I just couldn't hack it. In fact, I crapped out after 20 minutes and I wasn't even doing the same levels that were listed. Once you get to level 8 on the machine I use at the gym, you're pumping pretty fast. Anything at level 9 or above is moving into jogging/running territory at that point. Up moving stairs. Buh. Yes, I'm a sadist, haha.

Last time I tried it, I stuck through the whole 40 minutes, but of course at much lower levels. Even by lowering the levels again this morning, I was just not cutting it. Oh well. New goal to work toward! And, I actually found another workout from the same site that has a beginner's version (scroll down a bit to see it). I think that's a much better level for me to start.

After having my ass handed to me 20 minutes in, I filled the rest of my time with a quick mile run, the elliptical and a few minutes of cool-down on the bike. Definitely left as Sweaty McSweaty Pants. Felt good.

Eating this week has still been going good; I made it through the weekend without binging! It's been a loooong time. Or it's felt like a long time, anyway. Just feeling a bit more empowered this week, overall. We're celebrating Doug's 30th birthday this weekend, so I hope this trend of control will carry over into next week. I definitely plan on indulging, but I don't plan on feeling bloated, guilty and depressed in the days that follow. I just can't perpetuate that cycle anymore. It's too draining.

Gotta get back to work. And new Biggest Loser tonight! Hope everyone is having a great week.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Weigh-in Day.

Today's weight: 151. A loss of 5.8 pounds. Now, don't get me wrong; this is totally cool and all, but my weight has fluctuated like crazy the past few weeks, so it's hard to believe that this number will last. Let's take a look at some previous weigh-ins, shall we?

-10/30/09: 156.8
-10/23/09: 157.4
-10/16/09: 153.8
-10/9/09: 152.4
-10/2/09: 156.6

Insane. But, it also kinda makes sense. Those past weeks included a few extreme binge days, followed by extreme workout days, so my body didn't know what the hell to do. I really don't want to repeat a cycle like that again. Weekends are always a battle for me, so all I want to achieve over the next few days is balance. And, with the exception of Halloween, I managed to achieve some pretty damn good balance this week. I've been eating just the right amount of food (and enjoying it!) and I've been keeping my workouts in check by not overdoing it and being more aware of certain cues (muscle soreness, feelings of sluggishness versus feeling energized, etc.).

One thing that has probably helped is not having my regular heart rate monitor that tells me how many calories I burn. I had to send it away to be serviced this week, so I've had to go back to doing estimates on calories burned during workouts. Not my preferred method, obviously, but it has taken some of the underlying pressure off. It's allowed me to just be more in tune with my heart rate and breathing patterns on my own, instead of a monitor telling me where I'm at. I think it just forced me to work out smarter, as opposed to just doing whatever it takes to burn 700 calories at a time.

ANYWHO, in more exciting news, I can now fit comfortably into some size 7/8 jeans I bought a couple of months ago. I think I was more excited about that than seeing 151 on the scale. And a size 7/8 is pretty much where I wanted to end up anyway. Hooray!

Although I'm trying to move away from the numbers game, I can't help but point out that today's weight puts me at 97 pounds lost. Three pounds away from that elusive 100 pound mark. Sigh. I'm just going to take things one pound (and one day) at a time. I think changing up my fitness routine and being more aware of my diet this week really helped to move me in a new direction where I might possibly reach 148 without having to kill myself with stress.

Overall though, 3 pounds isn't going to change the way I look at this point and since I'm finally coming around and sort of loving the way I look now (especially in these jeans), I'm more concerned with just being happy with myself and feeling good.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Yesterday, I was feeling a bit nostalgic since it had been one year since Obama's historic election. It didn't feel that long ago, as the year has basically flown by for me (and probably for some of you too). Anywho, it led me to look over my old LiveJournal entries and look back at where I was on my weight-loss journey, a year ago, on November 4, 2008.

I was still in the 200s. I was just starting to jog, 10 minutes at a time. Today, I'm about 54 pounds lighter. And I run. And even though I don't really like to, I can run up to an hour, non-stop. If you told me I would be able to do that 2 and a half years ago, I would've laughed in your face, right before shoving multiple handfuls of peanut M&Ms in my mouth.

It just reminded me that a) it's important to log your progress during a weight-loss journey and b) it's even more important to go back every once in a while and see how far you've come. A lot of us make progress every day, but sometimes we get so caught up in our routines (*cough* raises hand), that we completely forget about said progress and miss out on opportunities for emotional and psychological growth and stability.

In other news, I've been doing pretty good this week. I totally blew it on Halloween, but my weigh-ins over the past few days have shown that I've more than recovered. I've been keeping up with exercise, but have been trying to scale things back a bit to help ease me out of that workout maniac phase that I've been going through the past couple of months.

I've been making it a goal to incorporate yoga 2x a week and I'm starting to fall in love with it. I've just been using the Biggest Loser Weight-Loss Yoga DVD, but it's been great since I'm a beginner. I had done level one sporadically over the past year, but I've FINALLY added on level 2 and I like learning the new moves. It's tough, but I like testing my muscles while also improving my balance, breathing and flexibility. Without sounding too hippy-ish, I think yoga is helping me work on some other issues in my life, such as...

...Compulsive overeating. Yes, that's more or less why I've been in a funk recently. It's come back to haunt me. Compulsive overeating started in my childhood and stayed with me until I was in my 20s and tipping the scales at 248 pounds. Once I started losing weight, I thought I had conquered it almost completely. I figured since binges only happened once in a while, I no longer had to identify overeating as a problem.

The thing is, just because it doesn't happen everyday (or week or month), doesn't mean it's not still a problem. And of course, I've been in complete denial for about the past month. I've finally 'fessed up to myself and just acknowledging that it's still an issue for me has helped quite a bit. Now, I'm moving on to resources, both online and in book form. At first, I felt silly (and admittedly, a bit weak) having to rely on external resources to help me achieve internal happiness and peace with myself, but I've come to realize that I shouldn't feel ashamed at all. Reading about other people's experiences and internalizing their advice has lifted so much grief off of my chest; it's been great.

But, as with anything else, baby steps. Post-goal life has turned out to be more emotionally demanding than I had expected, but if I was strong and determined enough to lose the weight, I can sure as hell put forth the same strength and dedication in maintaining the loss and working through these remaining issues. I just need to learn to forgive myself and be patient with myself this time, instead of the numbers on the scale each week.

It's been a pretty good week so far. And today is shaping up to be nice as well; I forced myself to take a day off from the gym (first day off from working out since October 9), I'm leaving work early, gonna enjoy the nice weather by walking (not sprinting) to the post-office and then heading to my mom's for a grilled salmon dinner. I'm looking forward to the walk because it's surprisingly warm today. I can't remember the last time I walked somewhere, just for the sake of enjoying the outdoors and as a means of transportation. The goal is not to sweat and freak out over what level my heart rate is at, but rather just enjoy the outdoors whilst simultaneously getting an errand done.