Monday, July 30, 2012

My first podcast!

A while back, I was invited by Heather from Half Size Me for an interview about my experience with weight-loss. Well, I'm excited to say that the podcast is now up, so have a listen when you can!

Thanks again for the opportunity, Heather; I really enjoyed our discussion!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Hows and Whats: No S and BodyPump at home!

Well, if you've read this blog with any sort of consistency, you've probably gathered that I have a bit of diet and exercise ADD. I can't let it bother me too much though, because I'm still in the ongoing phase of figuring out what works best for me, with regards to eating, working out and managing my weight. That said, let's see what I've been up to this month, shall we?

How I'm currently eating:

The No S Diet. I know, sounds like a fad, right? Those were my thoughts initially, until I scrolled through the website and saw how unbelievably simple it was: No Snacks, No Seconds and No Sweets, except on days that start with S. Three meals a day, five days a week. You can also make exception days as needed, for holidays and special occasions, so no need to ever feel guilty. And "No Sweets" is not to be confused with "No Sugar." It's not quite that strict, it's just a way of keeping consumption of Twinkies and the like down to a minimum.

I actually tried No S a while back, sometime in February/March and initially had good results. But once the numbers on the scale stopped moving, I panicked, stopped watching my diet altogether (this was around the same time we bought our house and moved), and eventually went back to what was familiar (calorie counting).

As you'll probably remember from my last post, I jumped on the SparkPeople wagon as part of returning to calorie counting. Well, once again, the numbers started to make me anxious, I would overeat, then overexercise and/or skip meals to try and keep my calories balanced. This was not fun, at all.

So far, No-S has made the most sense and has required the least amount of work and stress. I don't do well with Intuitive Eating; it sounds great on paper, but once I put it into practice, I find myself snacking more, thinking about food constantly and justifying not-so-healthy foods more often than I normally would. With No S, I have just the right amount of discipline and don't have to stress as much about indulging on the weekends, which is when I tend to crave treats anyway. It allows me to work with my desire to indulge, instead of constantly working against it.

I re-started No S at the beginning of this month, and so far, I'm doing well. And to prevent a relapse like last time, I'm reminding myself to have much more patience. The weight will come off slower than it would otherwise with excessive precise restriction, but I'll be more likely to keep the loss off.

It's been quite a relief; this is the closest I've felt to being a "normal" eater. I'm still eating healthy, balanced meals during the week and with each "free" weekend, I'm enjoying treats, but noticing I can be satisfied with less and less, as each weekend goes by. Some things just aren't as appealing as they once were, which leaves more room for better quality meals and desserts. But if I happen to cave into a slice of grocery-store birthday cake, it's still no big whoop.

I know it probably just sounds like another one of my phases, but I'm continuing to give it a genuine effort, as I'd like to finally settle into a way of eating that helps me achieve weight-loss (without hating myself) and can be maintained for the rest of my life.

I'm still using SparkPeople for support and to track my days of sticking with No-S. There's even a No-S Spark Team for additional discussion and encouragement.

If it's something you think you might be interested in, just reading the information on the website should be enough. I borrowed the book from the library and while it was a good read, it just went into more detail about the developing history of the snack industry (how we got fatter as they got richer), the effects of excessive sugar on the body (which, we can agree isn't good for anyone), and how seconds jack up our portion control and mess with our hunger/fullness cues. There's also a discussion board on the website, should you have any additional questions.

SO. That's where I'm at with eating. And it feels pretty damn good. But what makes me feel even better?

What I'm Currently Loving:

Les Mills Pump at-home workout system. Oh. My. God. In a word, obsessed. I tried a BodyPump class in-person ages ago and loved it, but the class schedule never worked for me, so it remained unrequited love... Until now!

When I heard there would be a BodyPump at-home system, I was skeptical. Will it be as challenging as the class? How broke will it make me? Will I get sick of it?

So far, YES, it is as challenging as the class! And as with any weight-training workout, you just need to continue to add weight to your bar to increase your fitness level. Great instructors with near-perfect cueing and the beat-driven music makes it easier to keep your reps consistent. Most challenging tracks for me so far? During the Pump & Shred disc, the lunges are pretty rough, as is the chest track. After doing what feels like a million chest presses, Joel makes you jump to the floor and bust out push-ups; ultimate muscle burnout!

Next, the cost. Always an area of concern, especially when considering big packaged deals from Beachbody. Luckily, you can try it for a trial period at a discounted price. Since I already own the smaller type of barbell that's used in the workouts, I just needed the DVDs, so off to eBay I went. I would definitely look into eBay as an option first and do some comparison shopping for the barbell; you might be able to save quite a bit of cash. It ended up being more than I usually spend on workout DVDs (I think my eBay deal came out to about $20/disc), but I was in a fitness rut and desperate to try something new that I could actually grow to love. And I definitely love it something fierce!

I've been doing 3-4 of the DVDs for about 3 weeks now and haven't gotten sick of it at all. I just love the pace and the challenge so much that I have to force myself to take rest or cross-training days! So far, my favorite disc is Pump & Shred. It's 45 minutes and leaves my muscles shaking and dripping with sweat every time. Pump & Burn is my next favorite, as it's about 30 minutes long and perfect for mornings where I'm short on time, but still want a challenge.

Results so far? I'm down almost 3% body fat! And I was able to increase my weight load this morning, so I know I'm getting stronger, which is awesome. My upper body is finally making progress! I can't say enough about how great I think this system is; to find something that gives awesome results AND is actually kinda fun is, well, pretty damn rare for me.

I'd like to do more of a detailed review, but a) I haven't tried all of the discs yet and b) Fit Bottomed Girls already did a pretty good job of hashing out the details.

All in all, I can say that July is shaping up to be one of the better months I've experienced in a while, in terms of eating habits and exercise. I'm much more at ease with food, thanks to No S and my body is loving the Pump workouts. Feeling both lean and strong at the same time is the ultimate confidence boost.

I plan to check in again within the next few weeks to follow up on my progress, both with No S and Pump. I also have the Insanity Workout System on order (thanks again, eBay!), so I'm looking forward to sharing that experience as well.

Hope everyone's summer is going well!