Archive | March, 2010

Two firsts and one second

31 Mar

I am so behind this morning — I turned off my alarm at 5:00 and got up when my husband’s alarm went off at 6:15. I was sleepy and didn’t feel like doing my pre-Meal 1 cardio but after a few short speeches to myself (beginning with “lazy” and ending with “now!”) I downed a scoop of No Explode, quickly made some lunch for Greg, and was out the door. I did 20 minutes on the treadmill and 25 minutes on the Elliptical/stair-stepper hybrid machine (I have no idea what it’s really called but it kicks butt!).

I chose not to run or walk today because I got my first “injury” a few days ago. Although I had hoped it would go away, it has continued to nag me. Between my friend Lauren, Greg, and WebMD, we have diagnosed it as tendinitis near my left ankle. It starts to really hurt when I walk around a lot so I’m trying to rest it as much as possible (but that doesn’t mean I won’t go to the gym!).

I experienced another first yesterday — a healthy cooking class put on by a local woman that runs a small catering company. She knows a lot about the nutritional benefits of different types of foods and made us four different dishes, including naan bread (an Indian flat bread made with yogurt) topped with caramelized onions and Gorgonzola cheese.  We also learned about the benefits of turmeric (it causes cancer sells to “commit suicide”) and asparagus, which apparently we should all be feeding to our husbands in large quantities on a regular basis (I’ll let you Google that one if you don’t know what I’m talking about).

Anyway, it was a really fun thing to do and although I’m on the diet, I tasted everything she made, including a sweet potato dish with oats and raisins. It’s important to be able to do things like that when dieting and not freak out over it. I weighed in today at 146 lbs., which is 2 lbs down from my last progress picture on March 15.

I am working on a second website that I’ll talk about more in later posts — still hashing out all the details. The idea was formed after cleaning out my closet and realizing I have a boat load of designer jeans I can’t wear anymore, and some that I’ve bought and either never worn or only worn a few times. I know this happens to many women because our bodies are changing all the time (going on and off diets, getting pregnant, etc.) and I wanted to create a place where we can buy and sell our jeans for less. Sort of like a jean swap without the hassle of an auction site. Like I said, there is a lot to be done still, but I’m excited about getting it up and going.

Steph

*Watch me do it*

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A short post of random thoughts

29 Mar
  • Today would technically be another progress picture day but next Sunday (April 4) is the official end of my 12-Week diet so I’m going to wait to post pictures on April 5. Greg turned to me in the car yesterday and said, “You actually did it!”. We were laughing because when I told him in the beginning about my diet, he was supportive but admits he was also a little skeptical. I said to him at the time, “Just watch me do it”. Finally, I have discovered how to use my stubbornness in a good way!
  • I love being in the gym now and seeing more cuts come in. I had so much fun working out yesterday. Despite cutting my carbs, I was throwing around more weight yesterday than I have in a while and in some cases ever! I was pumped and full of energy.
  • I ate coconut oil for the first time this morning. I added 1 TBSP to my oats. It made it nice and creamy. I’ve still got more research to do on it, but from the research and testimonials I’ve read so far, I felt like I was missing out by not eating it. I probably won’t have anymore this week, but after April 4, I’ll figure out a good proportion to add into my diet.
  • I am going to buy a new bikini today,and I’m excited to go try some on at Victoria’s Secret. (My sister told me about a great style that doesn’t cut into your hips called Tanga.) I tried some suits on at Target the other day and most were flattering on the top but the bottoms weren’t great. That was part of my motivation for targeting my glutes and building more muscle there. I know I can tighten it up, I just have to work hard at it and focus more on that area.
  • I realized that energy supplements are so helpful on a low carb/low calorie diet.  I take No Explode daily now and I am having much better workouts. Sort of a “duh” moment.
  • I have started to compile a bunch of statistics from my diet and training journal.  At the end of my diet, I will post an article called “A 12-Week Diet By the Numbers”. It will be a quantitative look at the amounts of different foods eaten, time spent in the gym, money spent on supplements, etc. over the 12-week period. I love stuff like that and I thought it would be a fun thing to share.

Steph

*Watch me do it*

Is it really the LAST WEEK?!

27 Mar

Today wraps up Week 11 on my 12-Week Diet. I can’t believe it — only one more week left. 11’s not a very big number, but it sure has seemed like a long road at some points. But, I also found that getting the initial momentum going was my biggest challenge, and once I passed that “hump”, it has gotten easier to keep it up. If I find myself regressing, I look at my inspiration picture (taped conspicuously to my kitchen cabinets), go to the bodybuilding forums, read my Muscle & Fitness, or talk to other people that love nutrition and fitness. A great workout or a new clean recipe also helps. This whole thing has been a learning experience, and one thing I’ve learned is that the motivation is out there waiting for you to grab it!

There’s been a lot of question about what I’m going to do after the 12 weeks is up. It’s a big question, and one that I’ve thought about a lot. Actually, I’ve been thinking about it even before I started the diet.

There were a two primary reasons I did this diet:

(1) I was sick of whining all the time, wishing I looked a certain way. The worst part was that I knew I could look the way I wanted, but never acted on it. I felt like a “poser” and I hated that.

(2) I wanted to do something that would launch me into a good, clean eating lifestyle that was consistent. To replace bad habits with good ones, you have to practice the good habits over and over again. I believed the diet would start that process of conditioning my self-discipline.

So following Week 12, I will set more short-term goals and longer-term goals for myself and continue to reach them and write about them. I’ll still post progress pictures because I plan on building more muscle, getting leaner and more toned.  There’s no secret Greg and I want to have kids soon, and I am determined — and I mean d.e.t.e.r.m.i.n.e.d — to be the fittest mom on the planet! So, yeah, I’ll give myself a little more leeway in my food choices as I practice more of a maintenance diet, but I am not going back to pre-January 10, 2010. I’m just having too much fun now to ever go back.

Steph

*Watch me do it*

P.S. – I added another picture from February 1, 2010 that I found. I was standing outside in the backyard in 30 degree weather in the snow with pants and a sports bra. Brrrr!

Targeting those glutes

25 Mar

Since splitting my legs over two days (hamstrings on Wednesdays and quads/calves on Thursdays), my lower-body workouts have improved dramatically. I do more exercises and I train harder, which was exactly what I was going for since my legs have always been a “problem” area for me. From my hips to my calves, I carry extra fat. Because my upper body has always been relatively “thin” (and that means everywhere, unfortunately), sometimes I feel like my upper body and my lower body were not meant to go together!

The diet has definitely helped the muscle I’ve built in my quads and hamstrings come through more than ever , and I’m so excited to see that squats really do pay off! However, I still feel like I have a long way to go to really get the legs and butt I want. We all know that targeting a certain area for fat loss is futile, so other than eating clean and being consistent, I was stumped about what else I could do.

________

Enter Greg. He suggested that I target my glutes specifically, which is something I’ve never done before. Of course most leg exercises hit the glutes, but that muscle group has never really been a focal point for me. His point was that it would help me to build more muscle there and as a result become more shapely and toned.

So today for the first time, I did the standing glute machine (the one where you push back a weighted bar one leg at a time). I can already feel it, so I’m excited to continue to add more glute-specific exercises into my training. It’s possible I will go to a 5-day split in a few weeks and include a day of just abs and glutes.

The diet was great today – low carb and spot on.  I took NO EXPLODE before the gym tonight to give me some energy and it worked. I had a great workout.

It’s technically rest day tomorrow but I might sneak in some early AM cardio. Got to end the diet on a high note so I can keep the momentum going for the NEXT goal!

Steph

*Watch me do it*

Cardio overload

23 Mar

Today is my “all cardio” day (along with Saturdays), so I went in tonight for another hour of cardio. I did sprints this morning so my plan was to take it a little easier tonight and walk most of the time, varying the incline. But I got a good song going on my Ipod, saw someone pounding it out on the treadmill down the row, and I wanted to do the same. So I upped the speed and started to run. Within a few minutes, I increased the incline and and started to run uphill.

Two miles in, I was feeling great, but I also started to get really hot. I always get blotchy and a little red when I run, but I could feel my temperature rising fast. But I kept going because I was determined to get to 3 miles. With only a few minutes left to meet my goal, I suddenly started to feel  weird and shaky and I thought I was going to pass out. I totally over did it! I made it across the gym into the locker room feeling like I was going to faint any second, but after about 5 minutes of splashing cold water on my neck and arms, I finally felt normal. I decided that another 30 minutes wasn’t worth it, and headed home.

It’s a beautiful evening with a cool breeze so I took Maddie out for a walk around the neighborhood. That’s probably more along the lines of what I should have done in the first place. Guess I’m going to have to listen to myself better, especially now that I’ve cut back on the carbs (and calories). Speaking of, I’m so hungry tonight! Reducing my carbs and doing all this cardio has made me ravenous! I’m looking forward to my casein protein in a few minutes. I think I’ll mix it with a little low-fat kefir for a yummy dessert.

Steph

*Watch me do it*

12 Days Left and Reducing Carbs

22 Mar

The common line of thinking among the bodybuilding community is that carbs (complex carbs in particular) are absolutely necessary to spare protein and prevent the breakdown of muscle. There’s strong science behind that theory and I agree with it. When fat loss is the goal, however, reducing carbs is a must.

I’ve had a pretty low carb diet over the last 10 weeks, at around 100g or less per day. (For perspective, ½ c. of uncooked oatmeal has 24g carbs; a large apple has about 31g.) Now that I’m in the last two weeks of my diet, I was toying with eliminating carbs altogether to reach a ketosis state for more fat burn.

I’ve been reading lately about The Primal Blueprint, a diet created by Mark Sisson. Like the Paleo Diet, it’s primary purpose is to “eat like our ancestors ate”, which means consuming lots of meat and vegetables, but no grains and very little dairy. (While similar, the diets have some significant differences, mostly related to the suggested type and quantity of fats.) It’s a pretty fascinating read, although I don’t know if I buy into the fact that humans haven’t adapted in 10,000 years to the foods we’ve created. But, some people are getting great results from it, and I think it is yet another good argument that diets consisting of a high amount of protein, good fats, lots of veggies, no white sugar and low carbohydrates keep you slim and trim.

After reading more about the carb issue, however, I’ve decided to reduce my carbs to around 50g per day, but not to 0g. I’ll do this by taking out all complex carbs but my oats in Meal 1. The main reason I’m not eliminating carbs altogether is that I want to avoid feeling deflated and weak. This morning I read a study that suggested that people on a high protein, no carb diet (but one that also includes a relatively high level of fats) regained lost strength and energy after about two weeks. Still, the “no-carb fog” is a state I’d like to avoid at this point, however short term it may be. Plus, I don’t think ditching a bodybuilding diet at this point is a good idea. But giving it a few tweaks can’t hurt.

It’ll be an experiment to see what further carb reduction can do for me over the next few weeks. For some perspective, my hips measure 37” today, and to get the look I’m going for, I think they will have to be 36” or smaller. Losing one inch in a few weeks is a tall order (it is equivalent to a whole pants size). But the fun is in seeing where I end up. April 4 is very close!

Steph

*Watch me do it*

Put a cork in it, Steph

20 Mar

Last night, Greg and I had our regular Friday night “date night” at home instead of going out to a restaurant. I got some pretty flowers from the grocery store, put out some appetizers and made dinner, and we watched Up in The Air with George Clooney. We had a great night relaxing together; I love spending time with my husband.

There was just one tiny problem: the wine. I got a great Shiraz-Merlot blend and was fully enjoying myself, until…I got the urge to eat. And I’m not talking carrot sticks and celery here. I’m talking everything BAD BAD BAD!  Wine makes me forget everything I’ve taught myself and turns me into a bottomless pit. Down the hatch everything goes from cheese tortellinis to chocolate chip cookies. I’m too embarrassed to say what else.

Chalk up last night as the king of all cheat nights. Wow.

I know better, but for whatever reason, I haven’t been serious enough to cut wine out of my diet altogether. But the fact is, I would have had just as much fun with Greg last night without it, and not had a stomach ache this morning.  Plus, I’m in the last two weeks of my diet, and blowing it now is completely out of the question. Boy, is it amazing how self-disciplined you have to be to really get the body you want! I have to face it — wine is my diet enemy.

Although I felt bloated and gross this morning, I ran off as much of last night as I could at the gym, then headed to Nordstrom’s. I spent way too much money but came home with a new pair of jeans (size 29!) and three tops (all purple — I can’t help it, it’s my favorite color). Nordstrom’s has, without a doubt, the most BRUTAL dressing room lighting of any department store I’ve ever been in. It used to upset me so badly, it would put me in a bad mood all day. But today it motivated the hell out of me! I’m sure the king of all cheat nights last night might have had something to do with it too. But the fact is, I still have a lot of areas to tighten up and I know it will take a lot longer than 2 weeks to do it. So, while the new, smaller clothes are AWESOME, the motivation I got from that dressing room was well worth the long drive to South Park Mall.

Tonight we are meeting friends at one of our favorite restaurants, Mickey & Mooch. Since I already cheated, I’m going to stick to my diet and have chicken and green beans (they have the best marinaded chicken breast) and a small salad. No vino for me tonight!

Steph

*Watch me do it*