Archive | January, 2010

Snowed In

30 Jan

A wintry mix left 4 inches of snow and sleet on the ground last night, which meant that everything — including the gym — shut down today. It is days like these where being successful means being resourceful because, afterall, just because it snows doesn’t mean I automatically get a pass! It is my day to do an hour of cardio, no lifting. So, instead of my usual treadmill-elliptical workout, I did my Biggest Loser cardio DVD and my Fat Burning Yoga DVD (one after the other). Mission accomplished. I moved, I burned calories, and even though I would have much rather gone to the gym, I figured out how to get my workout in without it.

Hopefully the gym will open back up tomorrow; Ihave chest and shoulders to do, plus 30 minutes of cardio. If not, though, I’ll do the best I can here with my 5 lb. weights. Not the best situation, but at least I’ll be doing something.

Today is also one of those snuggle up on the couch and eat junk food days. I can snuggle up on the couch (and have!), but I’m certainly not eating any junk food! I’ll eat my protein and veggies and sip on chai tea.  And I’ll keep on towards my goal. In fact, today marks a quarter of the way through my diet. Tomorrow, I will start on my 4th week, which is truly exciting, because from week 4 – 6, I should really start to see some dramatic results. Already, my mid-section is much tighter, no doubt benefitting from my diet and my daily ab workouts. I do crunches, obliques, and lower abnominals every morning right after I wake up. I am also starting to incorporate weighted crunches (using the cable machine and a rope attachment) on Saturdays and Tuesdays, or the days I do not lift and just do one hour of cardio.

Two more days until my next progress picture!

Until next time

Steph

Watch Me Do It!

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Blindsided

29 Jan

I flew out to Arizona yesterday morning expecting to sit in staff meetings all day. Instead I got fired. After 7 years at the company, I got a severance and a lame excuse.

There is nothing like being blindsided, and your emotions run wild. I was on the other side of the country with no husband, no safe home, and no family. And my boss had just axed me. Pretty tough circumstances. One minute I was completely overwhelmed with sadness, the next minute I was fuming. When I remembered I was free of my crazy company, I even felt moments of excitement. (I had been unhappy for a long time, but had been biding my time until I got my CPA.)

Needless to say I was on an emotional roller coaster ride.

What does this have to do with my short term dieting goal (the focus of this blog)? A lot. It is a prime example of how life isn’t always perfect, no matter how great your plans are. Sometimes you are just completely blindsided. I didn’t see this coming and it turned my world upside down.

In these instances, it is very difficult to keep a regular routine– and even more so 2,000 miles away from home. I was running on pure adrenaline.  I made new plans to get on a red eye flight that night so I could get home early,  but that meant staying awake until midnight, flying to Detroit, then flying to Charlotte.

I had gotten up at 4:30 am yesterday to make it to the gym before my flight to AZ. I did quads and 30 minutes of cardio. So I had gotten off to a great start. I obviously had no idea that 12 hours later I would be jobless.  After I met with my boss and got laid off, I met up with another analyst (also laid off) and we ate dinner.  I had a Caesar salad  and a glass of wine, along with some chips and salsa. So I cheated a bit, although at least there was lots of protein on the salad (it was loaded with chicken). My worst “cheat” was a Jack In the Box milkshake following dinner.  Old habits die hard, especially when faced with a night alone in airports  reeling from the shock of being let go from your job.

The milkshake made me feel better for a few seconds, but I can honestly say it wasn’t worth it. I should have chosen to stop at the grocery store and pick up my new favorite drink, Fuze. It has just 10 calories and is wonderfully good!  I would have been just as happy with that. My point is that, when you are blindsided by life, it is hard to remember why you are on the diet in the first place. It is easy for you to let your diet to fall to a low priority pretty quickly.

As much as you can, however,  you should continue try to make your diet (and any other health goals) a high priority. The diet is the one thing that will keep you going, keep you feeling great– and, not to mention, keep you looking great. Remember, “Mr. Easy” will be louder than ever when you are down.  If  you happen to listen to him under a situation of stress, don’t dwell on it. Just get back on track ASAP.

Today I got home, had some oatmeal and crashed in bed. I woke up this afternoon and had some chicken and green beans. Friday has been my predetermined day for a “cheat” meal. I will have to chalk up the milkshake and the tortilla chips last night as my cheat for the week. Hopefully it will not set me back too much, and I don’t think it will. I am even more excited now to continue down this path because it is a good, healthy thing that makes me feel strong.

Onward and upward!

Til next time…

Steph

Watch Me Do It!

Travel Challenge

27 Jan

Yesterday I wrote about the challenges of diet and training that can present themselves. My first real challenge during this process is a two-day trip to Phoenix tomorrow. First, I want to make sure I get my training in tomorrow (quads + cardio). Second, I want to make sure I stick to my diet. This is no small feat considering I will be flying, picking people up at the airport, going into the office, staying at a hotel, taking a red eye flight back home, and generally just being well off my regular schedule.

So how do I make it work? Lots of organization!

Tomorrow morning my alarm will go off at 4:30am (my husband will love me for that!). I will be at the gym exactly when it opens at 5:00 am and will be there for an hour getting my workout in. I will come back, shower quickly, and be out the door to catch my flight. I just hope everything goes smoothly because I sure wouldn’t want to tell my boss I missed my flight because I went to the gym! (He might not see the dedication in that…)

As for my meals, I have prepared myself with a list of food that I need for the day, which includes protein bars, pre-cooked, pre-cut chicken, easy-to-eat veggies (i.e., cut green beans), packets of oatmeal, and protein powder. I have also thought about when I will eat. These lists and schedules go right into my Outlook calendar so I can see them on my Iphone.

So, as an example, tomorrow I will follow the following schedule:

5am EST – gym

6:30am EST – home (Meal #1 – oatmeal + 4 egg whites)

7am EST – leave for airport

9:30am EST – plane takes off (Meal #2 – protein bar)

12:30pm EST – in the air (Meal #3 – cut chicken and cut green beans)

2:30pm (12:30pm MST) – arrive in Phoenix

1:30pm MST – (Meal #4 – protein shake)

Following meeting with boss – eat a protein and veggies (possibly going out to dinner, will have to play by ear)

Of course I doubt this will go perfectly. Who knows how long security will take at the airport. Who knows if my plane will take off in time. All kinds of things could go off schedule.  But I will try as much as I can to eat every 3 hours and just do my best. There are three main rules for traveling as far as I am concerned that are a must: #1. Eat protein at every meal, #2. Take a water bottle and carry it everywhere, #3. Do NOT eat junk (if you are organized, there is no reason this should happen). The rest will work itself out.

I will write an update tomorrow evening in Phoenix about how it all went. Today, my goal is to pack and get organized so I can be prepared to get to the gym tomorrow morning (this also means thinking about what I’m going to do at the gym so I can stick to one hour only). Friday is my day off from training, which makes life a little easier.

Until tomorrow…

Steph

Watch me do it!

Chugging along

26 Jan

A “short term” goal (mine is 12 weeks) can seem to take forever sometimes, especially in my case, where my job isn’t the most exciting on a daily basis. I work from home as an analyst for an independent research firm. I’ve done it for 7 years now. So while I’m good at what I do and I like what I do, the fact is that I sit here all day looking through SEC filings and spreadsheets. A lot of people would love to work from home and there are definitely perks, especially when dieting. But when it’s just me and the dogs all day long with little outside stimulation, my mind wanders and inevitably falls to my diet. Thinking about it so much can result in feeling like it is taking forever to see results. In reality, it is not forever and in 3 months I will have a completely different body! I try the best I can to think about other things (studying for my next CPA exam, for one) as much as possible to take the attention off of my diet.

On a slightly different note, as I sit here writing this from home, I realize that most people do not work from home.  Fitting in 5-6 meals a day if you work from an office or are on the road a lot is obviously more challenging than if you work from home.  But it is not impossible. It takes a little more organization, that’s all. It requires that you invest in a lot of Tupperware and spend about 3-4 hours on Sunday cooking meals for the week. Protein shakes come in handy as well (you can quickly get one down before a meeting). You also learn to cut up your chicken into bite sized pieces so you can eat it like a snack quickly at your cube or in the car (forget forks and knives).

I always think about a female pilot that I read about in one of my fitness magazines when I am faced with a “diet” or “training” challenge. Can you imagine trying to be on a diet (much less train appropriately) when you fly for a commercial airline and have a crazy schedule? But she did it and she even competes–and wins! With dedication and action, you can find the power to achieve what you want. I can’t emphasize enough that a successful person is also an organized person. You cannot successfully diet “on the fly” (pun intended) and reach your goal.

So the moral is to not spend too much time thinking about your diet, but spend enough time preparing yourself for it so that you are successful. Its difficult to do either of these things consistently and even more difficult to do both together. We are only human after all. Although when I meet my goal, I just might feel super-human. At least for a while anyway.

Til next time…

Steph

Watch me do it!

The power of willpower

25 Jan

Last night, we went down to my parents’ house to watch the last games of the Playoffs and to eat dinner. If you are looking for any kind of delicious snack, meal or dessert you can imagine, my mom will have it. She had potato chips, pretzels, caramel popcorn, and peanuts out when we got there. For dinner, she had baked ziti and garlic toast that made the house smell wonderful. For dessert, she brought out brownies, three different types of cookies, and ice cream to the livingroom.

What did I eat? Plain chicken breasts and cut green beans. Was it fun eating my dull meal? Not really, but it wasn’t awful either. But when we left, I felt great. Because I was still on my diet, I wasn’t bloated, and I had no guilt. And when you realize that you are not any less happy for not eating things that do not help you build a better body, it makes the experience even better. I had a great time hanging out with my family and although it sure did look and smell wonderful, had I stuffed myself with all of those  things, I’m certain it wouldn’t have made those few hours any better. (I know because I’ve done it plenty of times before.)

I have a goal, but more than that, I am becoming a new person. Willpower makes me powerful. Feeling powerful in your body and feeling in control of your body is an amazing thing. It really is kind of cool! I hope to teach my kids that. It is one of the reasons I decided to make a goal and live as the kind of person that I feel that I am inside.

As a side note, I am starting to feel a little “emptier” now that my metabolism is revving up. It’s not a hungry feeling, per se, but just different from a feeling you get when your diet consists of more carbs and sugars. Today is Day 16 of my diet (of 80), so while I’m still very much in the beginning, this is good — it means that I am on the right track.

I’m looking forward to the gym tonight — it is arm day, plus 30 minutes of cardio. Yesterday I did chest and shoulders and ran 3 miles. The gym is one of my most favorite parts of the day.

Until next time…

Steph

Watch me do it!

The scale is broken!

24 Jan

The scale is broken! How many times have you felt that before?! But today it happened to me and it wasn’t a joke! I was so ready for my next weigh in and I get on the scale and it said 153. That can’t be! Then I get on again and it said 158. Hmmm…Again, 154.5. So after moving the scale around the bathroom and trying it 10+ times and getting 10+ different readings, I KNEW that the scale was broken! I immediately went online, read some reviews, and bought the Health O Meter HDL820-18 Digital Scale ($25) from Amazon.com.

I will get my new (and hopefully properly working) scale on Wednesday and weigh in again on Thursday morning (today is Sunday).

So today was a great lesson in experiencing ups and downs, especially during this first phase of dieting down. I really wanted to go “Office Space” on that scale and beat it into a million pieces! But nothing goes smoothly all the time and I take solace in the fact that I know I’m doing the right thing, I’ve been following my diet spot on and I’ve been a beast in the gym! It will happen, I just have to be patient. My pants are fitting much better and I can already see progress in the mirror.

One note slightly off topic — since I am eating a pretty strict, somewhat dull, diet, I find that great pieces of protein can really make my day. It is worth buying super fresh fish if you can find a local person that sells it. Through a friend, I found a guy that sells all kinds of fresh seafood and sells it on Saturdays about 10 minutes from my house. The salmon literally melts in your mouth. Yum! Totally worth the extra effort too seek it out. Taking the time to buy fresh green beans (vs. frozen) and buying fresh eggs also makes my meals much tastier. I am lucky to live down the street from a farm, but you can find them at your local Farmer’s Market too.

Til next time…

Steph

Watch me do it!

Weighing In

23 Jan

Weighing in  gives you a good gauge on how you are coming along. I suggest doing it about once every 7-10 days.  The mirror is a better indicator because really that’s ultimately what we are getting at here — the “look” we want — but especially at the beginning of the process when you aren’t seeing huge results yet, the scale is necessary to make sure you are on the right track.

Tomorrow is my second weigh-in (technically it should be my third, but I just couldn’t get myself on the scale at the beginning of my diet). At my first weigh in a week ago, I weighed about 153. I will be on track if I have lost at least 2 lbs. I’ve stuck to my diet very well this week and I’ve seen myself tighten up a bit, so I think I am on track. By chance I do not weigh less, I will know that I need to change up my diet and/or training program. This is probably more important about 8 weeks in, however, as I am more likely to plateau at that point.

Good news — by Wednesday next week, I will be half way through “the hump”. This is the period where you work very hard, but do not see amazing results yet. It is sort of like climbing the mountain before you stand at the top and see the view. Once over “the hump” (at about 5 weeks), the results really start to kick in. It will be here in no time, around mid-February.

I’ll post an update tomorrow after my weigh in.

Good night!

Steph

*Watch Me Do It*