A Healthy Transformation

A blog about diet, exercise, and health

Dad August 23, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — fitnessie @ 2:18 am

Monday morning, I got a call from my mom letting me know that my Dad had passed away the night before.

I hadn’t seen him since I was 19. I had moved to Arizona, and he and my mom came to help me “settle in.” Mentally he was gone by then. I remember getting dinner with he, my mom, and Drew, and feeling embarrassed by how crazy he sounded.  Something about cell phones. This is probably the last memory I have of seeing my father.

My father was an addict, but I didn’t know that growing up.  And while there were signs, I didn’t know the extent of it until one day during Christmas break of my first year of college, when my Mom burst into my room in the middle of the night.  She had to tell me then, tell me everything, because he was out of his mind, threatening her with violence, threatening to check out of the rehab he was in and come home.

Rehab didn’t stick. Whatever drug he was doing left him paranoid, out of his mind.  But I didn’t see most of that; I was away at college, and then away in Arizona. My mother finally left him shortly after I moved to Arizona.

He’d tried to contact me after that, but I didn’t trust him. He tried to pretend as though nothing happened, and I finally confronted him after he tried to blame the split on my mother.  He gave me a bitter apology, and after that, his contact became sporadic.  For years, I had nightmares about him finding me. He’d been physically intimidating with my mother, threatening her, and I knew about his temper.

Every six months or a year, he’d still try to contact me.  We would text, and I would usually respond.  Until he started pressuring me to see him. I’d always say I didn’t feel ready yet, because I didn’t. Because I was still afraid, and I didn’t know if he was still using, and he never really apologized or acknowledged what had happened.

In June, he sent me a facebook friend request with a short message: post more baby pictures.  I didn’t know he was sick then, but he knew. He had lung cancer, and he’d stopped treatment after it spread.  He knew he was sick, dying, but he didn’t tell me.  I ignored the friend request. It sat in my inbox, popping up occasionally on my fb feed.  He never sent any other messages.

I don’t know why. I don’t know why he chose to keep this to himself.  To not give me a chance to say goodbye, to have closure, for him to meet Eleanor. Maybe if I didn’t want to see him when he was healthy, he didn’t want me to see him just because he was sick. Maybe he was trying not to manipulate me into seeing him. Maybe he was being prideful and hurt. I’ll probably never really know why, and now I’ll never have that closure.

In a weird way, those messages that gave me anxiety were also reassurances that he was alive, and that, even if for only the times when he sent them, he was probably sober.  And that he still cared about me despite everything.  Just as they were upsetting, or made me angry, they were also comforting.

His death has made me reflect more on who he was, and as a result, who I am.  During my childhood, he wasn’t using.  He was involved. He was, by all accounts, a good dad.

I don’t have a great memory.  Lots of moments from my past are fuzzy, and sometimes it seems like the bad is always easier to remember, because it stands out.  Even before, when he was sober, he still had a temper.  He would explode over small things. One time in high school, I spilled a container of guacamole on the steps before a party. He screamed and cursed at me, red faced, in front of my friends. I ran to my room, crying, hands covered in spilled dip, humiliated and ashamed.  My friends didn’t know what to say.

I’ve spent a long time in my adult life having written him off, thinking I had mourned him a long time ago because, in many ways, he was no longer the same man he was when I was growing up. But these past few days I’ve thought a lot about the person I am now, and the memories I have of him.  For a long time, the fourth of July was a difficult holiday for me because of all the good memories I had with him. We’d buy the fireworks weeks in advance, travelling over the border to Pennsylvania or New York. It felt secret and dangerous and fun to pick out the giant packs, to try a new firework in the hopes that each year it would top the last.  He’d let me set them off, hold bottle rockets in my hands.  We’d light them and run, and my Mom would either hide inside or sit, perched, worried.

He would drive me around in his S.S. Monte Carlo, burning rubber, playing the Doors or Queen.  Sometimes we would go through the car wash and pretend a monster was eating the car.  Sometimes we’d take the T-tops off.

When I was very little, he’d take me to the Staten Island Zoo, and he’d hold me up over the alligator cage, perched up on the edge, holding me safe, but sometimes feigning letting me go.

He took me on my first roller coasters, at Hershey Park.  The Cyclone and the Super Duper Looper. We rode the Cyclone twice and the Looper three times. I was proud of myself for being so brave, for riding a big girl ride even though I was young, for not being afraid.

My Mom was always caring, loving, safe, kind. She was stable, there for me.  She was my yang, my light. But my father taught me how to have fun. To be adventurous. He’s the reason I’m not afraid of rides, he’s the reason why I tried sky diving and wasn’t afraid to move across the country. He’s why I could get tattoos and piercings and take risks and scuba dive and go on adventures.  He was my yin, and between the two, they balanced me.  They probably balanced each other.

Towards the end of their relationship, both their personalities magnified.  When intensified, my Mom was over-bearing and anxious, my father, destructive and abusive.  When my Mom finally left, she regained some of the balance within herself.  I don’t know if my father ever did.

I spent so many years feeling like the father I knew had died, but a part of me had always hoped for some sort of closure.  A part of his death still doesn’t feel real, that somehow he didn’t really go without saying goodbye.  Having to truly mourn him has made me reflect and appreciate some of the better times, and for what he was able to give me.  Despite everything else, I was lucky to have a dad like him growing up.  I’m thankful for the darkness, the balance, the fun he gave me.  I love my adventurous side, and I hope that’s something I can pass on to Eleanor.  I’m excited to take her on her first roller coaster in a few years.

Rest in peace, Dad.  When I think of you, I’ll try to remember all of you.

Advertisements
 

Mombod: The Struggle is Real July 2, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — fitnessie @ 10:21 pm

So I haven’t updated this in a while, but lately I’ve really missed having a place to talk about all this ish.

17 months and 2 days ago, I gave birth to a super adorable, sweet, amazing little girl who is the absolute best.   Here’s photographic proof of how amazing she is:

20180625_143039-e1530568727339.jpg

The face Eleanor makes when I don’t immediately put her on the swings when we get to the park.

Before getting pregnant, I used to fantasize about having a big ol’ preggo belly.  I couldn’t wait to have a tummy to rub all the time while I glowed like a pregnant goddess.

I have to imagine that I’m not the only one to find my idyllic goddess pregnancy fantasy turn out to be a lot more like heartburn, weight gain, swollen feet, and more weight gain.   I had this annoying if I don’t eat I feel nauseous thing, and by the end of the first trimester, I had gained the recommended weight gain for the entire pregnancy.

Miss Eleanor arrived a week late, and by that time, I had gained about 90lbs, clocking in at 256lbs at my heaviest.  Two weeks after giving birth, I weighed in at 238lbs.  Nursing was a struggle, and anyone who says that the weight will fly off while nursing deserves the angriest mom evil eye I can muster.  It doesn’t. Nothing flies off.  N-o-t-h-i-n-g.  It’s only been through blood, sweat, tears, that I weigh 199lbs now (and yes, that one pound is fucking important, ask anyone who has ever lost weight).

I don’t recognize my body.  Facebook reminds me daily with “On This Day” of what I used to look like (thanks Facebook), and it’s been difficult for me to come to terms with this new “me.”  I’m continuing to exercise and “diet”*, especially because I’d like to be in a healthier place before we try for baby 2.  But I’ve also got some mad respect for my body right now.

First of all, it birthed another human being and then fed it for 9 months. That alone is pretty amazing. But now that I’m working out again, I am ridiculously impressed with the things I can still do.  For instance, I can sustain a 5mph+ run for 2 miles.  Yeah, that’s slower than what I used to do, but I’ve got 50 extra pounds strapped to me. I don’t know if I could have done that before with 50 pounds strapped to my body.

The same goes for climbing.  Sure, I can only climb 5.8s, and I can’t do underhang walls clean, but I think it’s kind of incredible that I can climb anything.

20180701_192355

Good job, body.

So, sure, my body is a work in progress. And I don’t feel as sexy as I used to, and I have to buy a bunch of new clothing, and I don’t always love what I see in the mirror.

But at the same time, damn body. Thanks for everything you do. I’m trying hard to treat you better. I promise to be kinder to you while you house baby 2.

*Diet rant: “it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.” I hear this and other anti-diet stuff a LOT, and I sort of hate it with a fiery passion, and not just because it is preachy tripe that seems designed to just make people feel bad. Yeah, yeah, it’s true: eating “healthfully” is a lifestyle choice. But the truth is, you can eat “healthfully” and not lose any weight**. So, if your goal is to lose weight, you have to, in some way, shape, or form, restrict your caloric intake, which is obviously not how you should eat forever. There are lots of ways (aka diets) to do this–high fat, high protein, paleo, keto, south beach, Atkins, low fat, whole foods, macros, bla bla bla bla. And some are more “healthy” than others (if you think eating processed foods is unhealthy).   Personally, I prefer to eat low carb, high protein, and moderate fats, while eating whole unprocessed foods as much as possible.  I have trouble with portion control, so I prefer to cut carbs and sugars, which can have a lot of empty calories.  Yes, this is a diet, because I still have to monitor my caloric intake while doing it.  No, it is not THE diet.  If you end up restricting calories, and your goal is weight loss, ANY diet will work.  Just find whatever works best for you.  If you want to read more about this, with science and stuff, check here: The Best Fat Loss Article on the Motherfucking Internet

**Weight loss rant: No one can or should tell you what to do with your body, provided you aren’t intentionally causing self harm.  Do what feels right and good for your body, and fuck anyone who tries to tell you to do or feel something that you don’t.  Yes, body positivity movement, I’m looking at you.

Mommy Musings:

I’m super excited about Octonauts, which I would have loved if I were a kid. As far as I can tell so far, the basic premise is a bunch of weird land mammals live underwater and go on adventures to rescue ocean animals.  Also, the Creature Report song will DEFINITELY get stuck in your head.

My favorite character is Professor Inkling Octopus because he is the stuff of nightmares:

300px-Inkling

However, husbando said his favorite character is Kwazii Kitten because he has definitely seen some shit:

kwazii

 

Reboot January 25, 2016

Filed under: Diet,Exercise,General health — fitnessie @ 6:37 pm

I just spent some time scrolling through this blog in disbelief.

It’s like reading about someone else. These past few years in New Jersey have brought so much change to my life. Some of it has been amazing. I moved across the country with my best friend and love of my life. We got engaged, then married. We bought a house together.  I got my MA, then a job teaching high school English.  In a lot of ways, my life has moved forward.

But health-wise, I have regressed. Moving to New Jersey was a difficult upheaval. I loved my life in Tucson, and I had settled into some (very healthy) habits.  But the garden state brought winters, depression, diners, pizza, and malaise.  While I was getting my MA, I was at least able to maintain a workout schedule. I love teaching, but it does not leave me with much time or energy for personal improvement.  I come home exhausted, starving, depressed, sapped.  My nights have been primarily Netflix and takeout.  A year and a half wiped clean my healthy habits of 5+ years.

 

worlds smallest violin

Thus concludes my solo on the world’s smallest violin

Once habits are formed, they are hard to break.  So I scrolled through this blog, looking for my old healthy habits to re-emerge, re-inspire.  And this is what I came up with.

Goals

  1. To have goals again.

This one may seem a little silly, but one of the things I liked the most about health and fitness was setting challenges for myself to strive for.  I push myself harder when I’ve got a pre-set standard I’m trying to achieve. So I’ve decided to re-start monthly challenges.  This month, I started off with the goal of exercising 6 days a week.  Here’s what I roughly worked out my schedule to be:

  • Monday: Gym class (cardio)
  • Tuesday: Off
  • Wednesday: Yoga
  • Thursday: Run 3 miles
  • Friday: Gym class x 2 (cardio + strength)
  • Saturday: Climb
  • Sunday: Run 3 miles

I can say upfront that I have not achieved this goal.  Last week, I missed two workout days.  This week, I’m counting my two 3-hour shoveling sessions as replacements for my Saturday and Sunday workout.  But with all that said, I have worked out more this month than probably the past six months combined, and I plan on finishing out the month strong.  I’m not sure what to do next month (suggestions?)–I might keep this schedule one more month, but combine it with my next goal, which is:

2. To eat healthier

This is a little more complicated.  When I started to lose weight, eating paleo was all the rage.  It was easy to stick to this with friends on board and support communities.  However, “paleo” has taken a lot of flack, and now “intuitive eating” is in.

I hate intuitive eating. I tried it, I swear.  Listen to what your body is telling you, they say! Eat “mindfully.”  Pay attention to your cravings.  Well, here’s what my body has to say:

Fast Food

Nom nom nom nom nom 

The word “intuition” means having the ability to understand or know something without any direct evidence or reasoning.  And maybe this works for some people. But I thrive on logic, evidence, and reasoning.  I don’t know why my internal food clock always says it’s time for chocolate, but it does. And thankfully, my logical reasoning brain can tell me that eating Phish Food for dinner isn’t a healthy choice.

So I don’t care that “paleo” is out.  I’m going to switch back to a “modified paleo diet,” which basically means a lot of lean meat and protein, healthy fat, and vegetables.  This is the cornerstone of every healthy diet ever.  If you’d like to read more about what this diet will entail, here’s a whole blog entry detailing what kind of food I’ll be eating.

3. To forgive myself

Nothing is harder than facing the reality of the situation. I’ve gained a lot of weight–around 20 lbs–and am in much worse shape than I used to be.  I feel less confident in my body, my clothes fit tightly (if at all), and I can no longer do the same activities that I used to do. I can’t run as fast. I can’t climb as well. I can’t do pull-ups.  I’m lucky if I can eke out 10 push-ups. I get aches and pains.  I feel old.  I’m less confident.

Forgiveness is an important first step.  I’m an emotional eater, and when I feel badly about myself I binge eat. I become sedentary.  When it’s hard to watch myself in the gym mirrors because I look chubby, when I can’t lift the same weights I used to, when I’m not as flexible as I once was, it’s easier to just sit at home and ignore it.

I need to forgive myself and accept the situation.  I’m not as fit, and that’s OK.  I need to accept that and move on.  This is much easier said than done, but it’s important to get out there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2005 Vanessa

DSCN1693

2010 Vanessa

Snapshot_20160125_15

2016 Vanessa

 

Fitness is a journey.  I’ve come a long when from when I started, and I’ve had some setbacks. But I think writing this entry, acknowledging the situation, and trying to retake control of myself are important first steps.  I’ll try to update this semi-regularly with progress, successes, failures, recipes, and challenges.

 

A Rant March 4, 2014

Filed under: Diet,Exercise,General health — fitnessie @ 6:17 am

Maybe a rant isn’t the friendliest way to start off my paleo month, but winter in NJ hasn’t really left me feeling friendly.  So before I record my measurements/weight, I need to get a few things off my chest.

A disclaimer: I don’t mean to overgeneralize, even though I often sound like I am. Please forgive me for when I make sweeping statements to “you” about “women.”  I’m speaking from experience and disclaimering every few lines gets tiresome.

Can we please, please, please, stop telling women how they should look?  Everywhere I turn on the internet, women (and I’m sure men, too, but I’m talking about personal experience here) have it crammed down their throats that they need to look a CERTAIN way.  Be thinner. No, wait, don’t be thinner, be strong. No, don’t be strong, that’s gross– be curvy. Real women have curves.

And the realest woman award goes to... Circle!

And the realest woman award goes to… Circle!

I think the message is clear. YOU, i.e. how you look right now– that’s not good. Fix it.

Women (on my FB feed) are often times the worst perpetrators of this, so I am going to say something that I think needs to be said:  Putting down other women for how they look is not a healthy way to feel better about yourself.  Making fun of Miley Cyrus, saying that obviously gorgeous models are “fat,” or slamming skinny for not being “womanly” enough are not going to make you feel any better about your own body. We’re all guilty of this, and we all know it’s true.  So let’s try to stop– or at least be conscious of it when we do it.

One day, I will have the confidence to twerk in white pants.

One day, I will have the confidence to twerk in white pants.

The only thing worse than this is when women put down themselves.  We’re taught to hate ourselves, so we all do sometimes– I do, my mom does, my best friend does– because we’ve all internalized this message. WE ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH. No. Matter. What.  Pick up a picture of yourself from when you now (in retrospect) can say you looked good. Now think about how you felt at the time. Did you feel like you looked good? Be honest with yourself–I’ll bet that if you think about it, you probably still weren’t happy with how you looked then.  But you did look good then and you look good now.

Two real life stories that help illustrate my point:

A few months ago, I signed up for 10 training sessions at Crunch gym.  This is a gym that is plastered with “No Judgements!” wall decals, seemingly subscribing to the “love yourself” fad.  I wanted these sessions to just be check-ups–make sure I’m eating healthy, make sure I’m exercising.  The trainer sat me down and asked me how much weight I wanted to lose. And the answer was none. I honestly didn’t want to lose any weight.  I wanted accountability to help me stay on track with my own goals–which involved working out and eating better.  Losing weight could happen, it could not happen, but that wasn’t my main objective–I just knew I was happier when I was doing those two things.

His response? Let’s measure your body fat percentage. Oh look–it says you’ve got too much fat. Count your calories. Eat 1200 calories a day. (The conversation that roughly followed: “Can’t I just eat healthy foods? I really don’t like counting calories.” “No.”)

Except when we are totally going to judge you, fatty mcfatpants

Except when we are totally going to judge you, fatty mcfatpants

I promptly asked to be reassigned to a different trainer, with whom I had a much better experience. But the message was clear–you are not good enough.

Second story:

At the peak of my fitness a few years ago, I dated a boy I’m going to call Howser.  At the time, I weighed my lightest–around 135-140lb–and was incredibly active. After a month or two of seeing each other, I asked him about being exclusive/more serious. His response? I wasn’t the “full package” because (I am being 100% serious here) my chest was too small.  He literally said this to me.

Spoiler: the package is full of boobs.

Spoiler: the package is full of boobs.

Now clearly he had some issues that went beyond my body.  But with that said, that was one of the only times that a (grown) man ever said something that derogatory about my body to me–and it was during a time in my life when I was thinner and in better shape than I had ever been before.

The moral of these stories is that if I try to please others, I will never be good enough.  Women spend so much energy trying to look good for other people, that it becomes difficult to even discern what looking “good” means to ourselves.  Sometimes I feel bloated and disgusting and sometimes I feel sexy and beautiful.  But do I *actually* look different at these times? Probably not.

I’ve struggled with weight and body image for most of my life. I was tortured as an overweight child, and as a result, I was self conscious about my body through adolescence into adulthood.  By the time I was 24, I had gained a lot of weight and was generally unhappy, so I made some life changes.  I didn’t magically feel great overnight.  But being healthy and fit helped me feel good about myself, because I could feel good about doing something for myself.  I choose to be healthy because of how it makes me feel–not because I want other people to think I’m attractive/strong/thin/amazing.

If opinions are like assholes, then women are constantly covered in shit.  Coming to terms with myself has meant coming to terms with the fact that no matter what I look like, some people won’t find me attractive–and that’s OK. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about conforming to someone else’s standard of beauty.  It’s about feeling good about myself and what I choose to do with my body.

I decided to do this rant at the start of my paleo month because a) it had been on my mind and b) I really didn’t feel like doing before/after photos, measurements, etc., because this month isn’t just about my body. I’ve been in a mental rut lately, so one of my main goals this month is to feel good–have more energy, be happier–not lose weight/inches.  Don’t get me wrong; I wouldn’t mind losing weight because I think it would help my run times for the half marathon I’m training for–but that’s not really what this is about.  I started a few days ago, and have already dropped a couple of pounds (which is normal for me whenever I drastically change my diet).  But my readers will just have to understand that (while it’s OK for me to want to improve myself physically), this month, it’s more about me mentally.

My before picture.

My before picture.

 

March Madness: Going Paleo February 24, 2014

Filed under: Diet,Exercise,General health — fitnessie @ 9:30 pm

Recently, I just haven’t been feeling good.

I wouldn’t say I’m completely out of shape. I’m training for a half marathon, so I’m running 3-5 times a week, and I go indoor rock climbing 2-3 three times a week.  On paper, that looks like I’m living a pretty healthy, active lifestyle.

But winter has taken a toll on my mental health. Waking up before noon is a struggle, I lack motivation, and consequently my diet has gone to hell.  I still don’t eat fast food often, but I do eat my fair share of comfort food, with dark chocolate and sweet potato fries forming their own level on my food pyramid.

Secret Ingredient: Crack Cocaine

Secret Ingredient: Crack Cocaine

This summer, I’m turning the big 3-0.  I just got engaged and I’m finishing my last semester of graduate school– I’ve got a lot to look forward to. But I’m still overwhelmingly just feeling– well, blah.  And blah births blah. It’s a neverending blah-cycle of destruction.

Well, it’s time to break the cycle.  I think a good first step for me is diet. Eating comfort food is a quick fix for a bad mood, but in the end it leaves me feeling bloated, cranky, and tired.  So, for the month of March, I’m going paleo.

The paleo diet is a little controversial and definitely a lot culty (sorry crossfitters).  So let me come right out and say this upfront: the concept of the paleo diet (let’s eat what cavemen ate because they were totally healthy!) is dumb. It’s based on flawed logic that presumes that diet (which actually wildly varied for our ancestors depending on their region) is the reason that our prehistoric brethren didn’t have cancer, diabetes, or other modern day health concerns– completely ignoring the fact that they were all dead by age 35, well before most people get those diseases anyway.

Why does the diet need this stupid concept anyway? Eating isn’t religion. Eating doesn’t need a theoretical belief system to make it right.  And I’m pretty sure cavemen didn’t have protein powder.  I want this to be clear because I don’t think eating paleo is the only way to eat healthy, and I don’t strictly adhere to all the paleo rules.  Generally, the paleo diet just advocates what all healthy diets advocate: eat a lot of lean meat, fruits, and vegetables.  This is the cornerstone of every “eat healthy” diet.  So why say I’m going paleo at all?

Partly, it’s just for ease of communication.  But I do think that many of the paleo principles are a good fit for me. I hate portion control and counting calories; for me, it’s not sustainable. I also don’t like the way eating a lot of processed/grainy foods makes me feel, even when I do manage to consume them only moderately. In the past, when I’ve done a modified paleo diet, I’ve felt great– in fact, before I moved to New Jersey (the land of 24 hour diners and delicious pizza), my everyday diet was more or less paleo.  I got sick less, was happier, had more energy, and just generally felt better about myself.  Diet was just one component of why I felt good, but in the dark days of winter in New Jersey, I can at least control that part of my life.

So, what does “modified” paleo mean? Well, it means something different for everyone– that’s the beauty of modifying a diet. I’m going to try to stick to most of the basic paleo diet rules, but with a few key exceptions:

  • Dairy.  I’m not a big milk fan– I voluntarily buy coconut or almond milk at home anyway– but if I’m at work and I get a coffee, I’m putting some 2% milk in it.  They don’t have sugar-free alternatives, and honestly, 1/4 c of 2% milk isn’t going to ruin my diet, but it will definitely make my coffee more enjoyable.  I’m also going to still eat Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and goat cheese.  These are all relatively healthy forms of dairy that pack a lot of protein, and since I don’t have a lactose intolerance, I don’t see the sense in excluding them from the diet.
  • Sweet potatoes. I don’t eat these too often, but including a small sweet potato in my diet a few days a week (especially since I’m half marathon training) is a healthy way to satisfy my inevitable carb cravings.
  • Fruit.  Usually, fruit is a big part of the paleo diet, but this is one food group that I will probably restrict more than the diet recommends.  I try to stick to low glycemic fruits, like berries and cantaloupe, although I will eat bananas when having smoothies or paleo pancakes.
  • Protein powder/bars. While highly processed food is usually a no-go, I will still use whey protein for my smoothies and Think Thin bars for a quick, sugarless, gluten-free protein-filled snack. I could shell out more $$ for official paleo protein/bars (just like the cavemen used to), but this doesn’t seem worth it.
  • Alcohol. Bottoms up! I don’t drink often, but if I feel like, I’m drinking.  I’ll try to stay away from sugary mixed drinks, but since my poison is usually diet coke and vodka (ew, right?), I should be fine.
  • Off days.  Once a week, I go on a long run– currently, it’s 7 miles, but it ticks up weekly for training.  On this day, I will not eat paleo. This doesn’t mean I’m going to McDonalds– but it does mean that if I want brown rice sushi, whole wheat pizza, sweet potato fries, or froyo, I’m going to eat it.

Will this make me lose weight? Maybe. Before I moved, my weight ranged from 140-145lbs. Here, my weight ranges from 145-150lbs.  I wouldn’t mind ditching the extra NJ weight, but if I don’t, I won’t be crestfallen. Health is more than weight– if I feel better, have more energy, improve my run times, and am less cranky, I am 100% fine with staying in this weight range– although I suspect that I’ll probably lose a little weight over the course of the month, especially when I first make the switch.  My goal is to blog my progress throughout the month. Because people absolutely love before and after statistics, I’ll document measurements/weight & maybe some photos, but keep in mind that I’m not necessarily doing this to see any sort of drastic physical changes. I’ll also document my running progress, mood, and daily diet for the month of March.

Cats: A Healthy Paleo Snack

Cats: A Healthy Paleo Snack

 

 

A Healthy Revival! March 31, 2013

Filed under: Diet,Exercise,General health — fitnessie @ 5:06 pm

After years of neglect, I think it’s nigh time that I revive my health blog!  My healthy escapades didn’t end (and if you read my last blog post, even though I never posted my results, I’m pretty sure I did stick to my fitness challenge), but somewhere along the way my blogging waned.  Recently I’ve reminisced about the good ol’ blogging days, which always helped me stay motivated and focused, and so I thought… well, why not start up the blog again!  What better time than now!  Then I let two months pass.

But now I’m here and that’s what counts!  So what’s been up in my “fit” life?

Well, for the most part, a sad lack of focus on health and fitness.  After moving from Tucson (with an amazing rock climbing gym, Bikram studio and YMCA) to NJ (with… well, none of those things, plus a lot less free time) my healthy lifestyle took a nosedive.  I’d workout a few times a week, and sort of think about eating healthy while chowing down on delicious east coast pizza.

I noticed, though, that it wasn’t just my healthy lifestyle that had bit the dust.  Even though I may have not looked too different, I felt different.  I gained about 5lbs, lost almost most of my muscle, and just felt unattractive (in a way that no amount of supportive-boyfriend-compliments could help).  So last month, I decided to stop making excuses and start to change my lifestyle.

One of my biggest challenges is time.  Driving to/from the gym adds a precious extra twenty minutes to my workout that I could spend… well, working out.  And during the week, I’m pretty limited in my free time.  I also HATE getting up early to workout, in a it-makes-me-feel-like-hurling kind of way– especially if I try to do cardio.  So that’s why I opted for a home exercise plan.  After reading lots of reviews, I decided to go with:

p90x-article

Now, if you want, you can order the DVDs from their websitefor about $120.  I definitely DO NOT condone downloading these for free on a torrent site, and I DEFINITELY paid full price for them.  In all honesty, if you’re not sailing the seven seas of the internet like a pirate, $120 isn’t really too bad in comparison to the cost of a gym membership.

In addition, you’ll need some equipment, most of which I already had:

DSCN5836A pull-up bar

DSCN5831A yoga mat and a range of hand weights

As of this weekend I’ve survived my first month!  While I did take before pictures, I’ll only reveal those if there’s a notable difference at the end of the 3 month program.  However, this month I did drop about 2 lbs and a total of 3 3/4 inches (plus I gained a 1/4 inch on my flexed biceps)!  I also can officially do 4-5 pull-ups again, back to the same number I was at when I moved here six months ago!

The pros:

  • Variety!  There’s a different workout everyday for the first three weeks: three strength, two cardio, and one yoga.  If it’s nice out, I’ll sub out a cardio workout for a 5.25 mile run around the park.  Next month, I’ll be switching out two of the strength videos for two new ones.  Beach body calls this “muscle confusion.”  I call this not getting bored with the same stupid video over and over and over again.  Either way, it works well.
  • Results!  I can do pull-ups again.  I can see my upper abs.  I feel stronger.  I can run faster.  Yes, I have to push myself, and no, the workouts aren’t easy, but I consider those to be pros because otherwise, I’d just be bored.
  • Convenience!  I love that I can do this workout on my own time, at home.  I can’t blame class time available or traffic for not doing my workout, and I have complete control over my schedule.  Yes, the workouts are time consuming (six days a week for 1-1.5 hours a day), but because I know and can plan my schedule around this (and not have to add on any travel time) it totally works.

The cons:

  • Space!  I live in an apartment in NJ.  It’s not super small, but it’s not super large either.  Having to move my coffee table every time I want to work out definitely gets old.  So does having a limited amount of space for a few of the workouts.  For instance, core synergistics has me rolling all over the floor, which inevitably results in me covered in cat hair and bumping into the couch.
  • The diet!  I started this thinking I’d follow the diet, and I did for three whole weeks.  Not only did I not lose a pound, but I also felt like it promoted unhealthy binging during a once a week “cheat” I’d grant myself.  I found that, in trying to cram in the amount of protein the diet prescribed, I’d actually be eating more than I wanted– and instead of eating one square of dark chocolate or a cup of froyo when I craved it, I’d binge out once a week on a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and a bag of chocolate chips.  This week, I’ve dropped the diet and just practiced healthy, mindful eating, and I’ve lost almost 2lbs.  I’d say the diet is definitely more geared towards dudes who want to “beef up.”
  • The cheese!   Specifically, Tony Horton’s incredibly cheesy lines during the workouts.  Usually, I don’t mind it– it’s ridiculous and terrible, but laughing at him can sometimes help me work through the pain.  But when he quotes Forest Gump during yoga– in the stupid voice and all– it kind of kills it for me.

The program is three months long, so I’ll be posting my progress over the next two months!  I also talked a friend into doing it along with me, so if you’re interested in the male perspective on these workout videos (which, in my opinion, are geared towards men), I’ll report on how he progresses as well!

DSCN5824Olive asleep on my P90x worksheets… maybe she’s dreaming of Tony Horton!

 

My August Fitness Challenge! July 30, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — fitnessie @ 9:37 pm

After a month of vacation, restaurants, and pampering, I think I’m more than ready to get back to a healthy lifestyle.  So it’s time for an:

August Fitness Challenge!

I’ve decided to design a challenge for myself based on what I want to improve, mainly strength, muscle tone, and weight.  So, here are my rules:

  • I will do 100 pushups, situps, squats, and calf raises everyday!  The pushups will probably be the roughest, and I know I might have to kneel for my last couple sets at first.  I also will vary the activity– so i might do a mix of crunches, leg raises, and Pilates for the situp portion, for instance.
  • I will run 3 miles everyday!   This is pretty self explanatory.  It can be on a treadmill or outdoors.  I won’t have any particular speed goals in mind other than keeping up the run at at least 6mph (which is pretty slow for me at this point).

The new sneakers my Mom got me for my birthday will be put to good use!

  • I will eat a gluten free and sugar free diet.  This one seems the easiest but will probably be what I struggle with the most.

What challenge would be complete without before and after data?  So here are some measurements and unflattering photos to kick off the month:

Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

Weight:  143.6lbs

Shoulders:  40″

Right arm:  11 1/4″  (Flexed 11 3/4″)

Left arm:  11″ (Flexed 11 1/2″)

Chest:  34 1/4″

Waist (two fingers above bellybutton):  31″

Hips (at widest spot):  39 3/4″

Right and left Thigh:  22 3/4″

Right calf:  14 1/4″

Left calf:  14 1/2″

The fine print:  Month begins July 30th and ends August 30th.  I am allowed four "cheats" during this time frame, 1 a week, for each activity.
These activities will be in addition to my normal workout routine, and I will still be climbing, doing yoga, and taking YMCA classes throughout 
the month.
No kittens were harmed or measured during the creation of this challenge.