I’m alive!

Oh, hi.

I saw this BuzzFeed article that really hit home, and sort of inspired me to post, and I’ve clearly sucked at it since before my gallbladder surgery (I had it out in February), so today is as good a day as any, yes?

I was reading through the list of tips those 12 people had, and I was like, YES! Such good advice! Some of the things I’ve learned while I’ve been losing as well, and it felt worthy of sharing. Especially the part about starting slow. I have tried so many times to jump head-first into weight loss programs, and failed every single time. I know it is because I never actually changed my lifestyle, just my plans temporarily.
When I started this time, I knew I needed to introduce one thing at a time. I started with exercise. I got into that routine, got comfortable going to the gym, comfortable with the moves and with moving — then I added changes to my diet. It was frustrating because I didn’t see much difference on the scale for a long time, because I hadn’t changed my eating habits. I saw my body changing from the workouts, but the scale stayed about the same. Once I changed my diet though, I saw the weight come off.

I’m obviously still working, and there are still more changes to my diet I need to make (particularly when it comes to carbs). When my gallbladder went bad in November, I had to completely change my diet, involuntarily. I couldn’t eat much of anything, and didn’t, but what I did eat was pretty much strictly carbs. Prior to that I had done a pretty good job of cutting my carbs down, so now I’m re-addicted and am trying to teach myself how to eat correctly again. Definitely a big setback, but manageable.

The good news is, I lost about 20 pounds while on the “my stomach hurts so bad I think I’m dying” diet, and it has stayed off, even now that I am able to eat again, so, silver linings and all that!

Now that I’m completely healed, I need to get back into the full swing of things. I’ve been back in the gym, but only off and on (between crazy work deadlines and recovery, I have been slacking), I’m okay with things moving slowly, because I know I’ll get there eventually, and when I do, I’ll stay there.

Side note: I bought a plus size 0 swim suit yesterday. That is usually about a size 12. A 12!!!! That’s madness.

Back at it.

Confession time: I’ve been out of the gym pretty consistently since early November.

2014 was a bad year for me health-wise, but also a year I made major strides toward a healthier body. It was a very confusing time. A previous boss put it best in my Christmas card when she said, “I hear you’re sick. It always happens when you’re attempting to get healthy.”
I’ve had some stomach/bile duct/gallbladder problems which have made it difficult to eat, therefor difficult to fuel my body, and in turn impossible to go to the gym. The doctors have run multiple tests and thrown a handful of new meds at me, but still no answers. I’ve been able to work some protein back into my diet though, so I’m working my way back into the gym.

I work out at 24 Hour Fitness, and take advantage of the Group X classes they offer (free with membership), as having an instructor-led class keeps me from taking breaks when I want one (rather than when I NEED one), and helps push me harder than I would push myself.

I work out with Ashley at Le Stylo Rouge, and we alternate between two workout schedules, an early week and a late week (all one-hour workouts).

Early week:
Monday — Les Mills BodyCombat (video)
Tuesday — Les Mills BodyPump (video)
Wednesday — Les Mills BodyCombat or BodyAttack (video)
Thursday — Les Mills BodyPump
Saturday — Treadmill or elliptical, depending on my mood.

Late week:
Monday — Les Mills BodyPump/CXWorx (video)
Tuesday — Les Mills BodyCombat
Wednesday — Les Mills BodyPump/CXWorx (split into 30 minutes Pump, 30 minutes CXWorx)
Thursday — Les Mills BodyPump

BodyCombat is probably my favorite class to take. It’s really intense (especially right now, since my cardio stamina is completely gone) but it is really worth it, and the instructors offer plenty of modifications throughout the class, if you need a lower-impact option.

BodyPump is one I have a love/hate relationship with — I love the way it has toned some muscles I’ve never been able to see on my body before, but hate doing the class. That’s not true, I don’t mind the class as a whole, I HATE squats and lunges. My body hates them too, they make me dizzy and it’s weird. Someday I’ll be able to make it through a squat track without a break and it’ll be amazing.

BodyAttack will surprise you. Just reading the description it sounds like it is going to be a pretty tame workout, but you get into the class and HOLY COW! It is not a tame workout. I should’ve guessed something with Attack in the name wasn’t going to be as easy as it sounded. Full-on assault on the whole body. Harder for me than any of the other classes I’ve taken.

CXWorx is fun, but difficult. It is a core training workout, and as someone who spent ages 14-30 as a couch potato, that isn’t something I have much experience with. It has definitely helped improve my strength, but it is still a struggle for me.


TBC Challenge:

The Blogger Collective is challenging its members to talk about their goals in January. And mine are probably a little silly and obvious, but they’re things I need to work on and toward nonetheless, so here goes:

  1. Post more often and on a set schedule. I currently just post haphazardly — whenever I feel like it. I need to set up a schedule and actually follow it in order to keep myself accountable and this blog active.
  2. Use more pictures. This blog is not visually stimulating at all. You visit and are simply hit with a wall of words, boring. There are some posts I am planning where I know adding photos will work well, but some I’m clueless on how to do so, but I know I want to include more.
  3. Expand my connection. I’m learning as I go, but I want to expand my connections to include bloggers who I don’t know personally. I love seeing comments and interaction from those I know, but I would love to also meet some new people.
  4. Keep up my hard work. I’ve come a LONG way since I started this blog, and the journey started long before I began keeping track of it here. I have had a few setbacks, but with the support of my friends I’ve pushed through and kept at it. This is a constant, long-term goal.
  5. Try new workouts. While I’m happy with my current workout routine, it can never hurt to try new things and expand my knowledge. Last year I worked with a personal trainer and found out that wasn’t for me. I also attended a class at The Bar Method with Jess from 26 and Not Counting. It was so much fun and really challenged me. I want to try more new things like that.

Extra long post for me today! Hope you all have a great Thursday!

Oh, hey.

I’m wearing pants today that I haven’t been able to wear in YEARS. Actual years.
Once upon a time they were my favorite work pants, but then I got too fat for them and I haven’t really had a favorite pair of work pants since. It’s a terribly sad story, isn’t it?

I read something a couple of months ago that said your brain has as hard of a time losing weight as your body does and I thought that was silly because, hello, I’ve wanted to be skinnier than I was at any given time for as long as I can remember. But now I’m beginning to think the person who wrote that article might be onto something (and, you know, probably knew what they were talking about). The article talked about brain chemicals and how when your body is used to being a certain size it sort of goes into shock and digs its heels in when you try to change things. So, even though everything about me is healthier than I ever have been, my brain says, “noooooooo! I like being chubby!” That’s rude.

I seem to have hit some weird block, and it isn’t because I can’t do it physically. I think the ol’ brain and I are sabotaging my weight loss. It’s SO DUMB.
I did so well for so long, keeping the “bad” foods out of my house, or keeping things I knew I would only eat in small portions (like dark chocolate — I love it, but can’t do more than two pieces, it’s so rich). Lately though, I’ve been back to buying things I know are bad for me (hello Halloween candy, I love you miniature KitKat bars) and keeping them in my house like a dummy.

It starts a vicious cycle because I get really mad at myself when I do it, but then continue to do it anyway, then feel guilty and want to eat more to make myself feel better. Such a bad plan, and it is getting to that season where there will be so much of it just looking me in the face.

Has anyone else run into this or am I crazy? I know I can get myself back to a goal-oriented mindset and I can overcome this little setback, but it’s frustrating when I know I’m doing it to myself.

But, let’s not forget about the pants! Small victories!
I’m still in the gym on a regular basis, so even though I’ve been eating badly, I’m still working SOME of those calories off. Thank goodness!

Losing on vacation? Unheard of!

I’ve been in and out of town for the last week and a half. Three quick trips: Houston, St. Louis, and Chicago. This also means I’ve been out of the gym, and eating on the road, which can get dicey FAST. Luckily, I packed lots of protein bars and shakes and tried to make good food decisions.

Girls trips usually include a lot of alcohol, rich foods and lounging around — but these were a little different than normal.
The Chicago trip included a lot of walking (also a lot of alcohol, and rich foods only in moderation).
Houston didn’t involve a lot of eating at all — just a lot of protein bars and a couple of small meals, but did include some drinks (though, the margaritas were more giant cups of tequila than true margaritas).
St. Louis included good food and drinks, because I stayed with my aunt, and her favorite thing to do is feed people! Luckily, it was the quickest of the trips, so there wasn’t a lot of time for eating, and it was followed by the lots-of-walking Chicago trip!

I lost 4 pounds while out of town! I’m definitely no expert, but I’m learning as I go.

Here are some tips for making smart choices on vacation:

  • Bring some of your normal foods with you.
    I brought protein bars and shakes with me — this was a life saver! I brought my shaker bottle with a ziplock bag full of protein powder so I could still get a dose of protein in the morning, without having to eat a greasy, restaurant breakfast (this also saved me some money!). I also brought some protein bars that I eat on a regular basis when at home — these make for great between-meal snacks, or meal replacements in some cases. Also a great way to avoid fattening (but oh-so-delicious) airport food.
  • Choose wisely when at restaurants.
    There were many times while I was out that I could have splurged and had some food that was NOT good for me, but I tried to make good choices. By choosing smaller portions and paying attention to nutritional content I was able to keep myself from overindulging.
  • Stay active.
    I tried to be as active as possible while gone. There was a lot of time spent by the pool, but when I was in the pool, I tried to tread water as to burn a few calories. There was also a lot of walking, even when my feet were hurting SO BAD (this idiot forgot to bring good walking shoes to Chicago), I tried to push myself a little bit and get the extra walking in.

Down, down, down.

I’ve been stuck at 230 pounds for what feels like forever. I’ve been fluctuating between 230-234 for months, but couldn’t get below 230 pounds, for whatever reason.

Until this morning! This morning I was at 228.8! YEAH!

I finally broke that plane and I’m so excited I could scream. I did a little happy dance in my kitchen this morning (my scale is in my kitchen because that’s the only place with extra room and a flat surface).

I was getting really frustrated and discouraged about whether or not I was never going to break 230, but I knew I needed to just keep up what I was doing, and it would happen eventually. Slow and steady wins the race (or at least remains IN the race). I knew this wasn’t going to be something that happened over night, but it made it awfully hard to stay motivated when I didn’t see the numbers changing.

So today I’m wearing jeans I haven’t worn in quite some time, weighing less than I have in quite some time, and feeling happier than I have in at least a month!

This has provided an excellent (and needed) push to stay motivated while on vacation!

It was a run-by fruiting

“Anything that is not funny at a certain point will be funny.”
– Robin Williams
I had never read that quote until this morning, but I’d say it is probably the quote that best describes how I live my life. I can take things seriously when I need to, but most of the time I take nothing seriously. I love to laugh (hence, gigglechamp), especially at myself.
I particularly like to laugh at myself for the stupid things I do, and I do a lot of stupid things.
I was at the gym last night, and put an effervescing electrolyte tab in my water bottle (one of those Contigo bottles with a straw) then when I opened the straw, it squirted all over me. It went in my eye.
It was hilarious. I missed half of the squat track because I was trying to clean it up. And laughing. And trying to see. I felt sticky the rest of the class, because it was a strawberry lemonade electrolyte tab, and while there isn’t a lot of sugar in them, they’re still sticky.
I don’t know how I would get through a day if I took myself too seriously, and I know I definitely would not have gotten this far in my gym work without being able to laugh.
It was one of the things that I was scared about before I started working out — what if everyone is looking at me? I don’t know why I worry about that so much, but I do. I still care a little bit, but mostly I don’t care if they’re looking at me. I might do something stupid, but no doubt I’ll find it as amusing as they do, so we can just laugh at me together.
Moral of the story: Laugh at yourself. It’s fun (and when you do it at the gym, it’s healthy for your mind AND your body)!

I’m bad (at this blogging thing).

I did pretty well for the first little bit, but lately I’ve been slacking.

So, last time I spouted words at you I was complaining about not being able to lose any poundage. Today I’m down four pounds from that.

I had dinner with a couple of friends, and mentioned the no-weight-loss problem, and my BFF said, “I wonder if it is because of your PCOS?”
Truth time: I always forget I even have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Most of the symptoms are controlled by birth control meds, so it hadn’t even crossed my mind that might be the source of my problems.

I went to the doctor last Wednesday, and she agreed with my friend. Told me with my workout routine and diet I should be losing 5-10 pounds per month. I had lost 11 pounds since the last time I saw my doc (in April) but that only puts me at 3.5ish pounds per month.

Doc prescribed Metformin for my PCOS, it is a diabetes drug, and while I do not have diabetes, it is often prescribed to PCOS sufferers to help control insulin, as that is one of the things PCOS can mess with is insulin (makes your body create excess), which leads to weight gain — I think.

The meds are supposed to help with my weightloss. I started taking Advocare MNS Max C vitamins too (contain an appetite suppressant that has been amazing so far), so I think that has helped shed a few pounds as well.
I’m excited to start seeing results again, and I’m SO glad my BFF mentioned PCOS as a possibility for these problems.

I hope the weight falls off more quickly now, but I’m not expecting any miracles. Gotta keep working hard!

Training: over.

Well, officially anyway.

I am supposed to go back in on Saturday morning to meet with my trainer one last time, get measurements and all of that good stuff. She actually mentioned doing a final workout, since I was sick for a couple of our sessions. 

I can’t afford to continue with her, unfortunately ($60/hour is ridiculous, isn’t it?), but she said if she’s got an opening after my measurements on Saturday, we’ll go ahead an work out. I wish I could keep going, but won’t work for me.

She weighed me at the beginning of the training sessions (239 lbs. with clothes and shoes) and the end (240 lbs. with clothes and no shoes). I’m not even sure how that is possible! I barely ate while I was sick, and when I did it was low calorie, high protein foods. So weird.

I keep getting the, “maybe it is muscle weight” speech. But, at some point it stops being muscle-weight and should begin to fall off. It is making me very frustrated! 

I’ve got the workouts my trainer had me do written down though, and I will keep up my previous workout schedule — but with her suggestion, add two more. I was only working out four times a week before, but the workout schedule she made for me included six workouts per week. I will soon be getting only one rest day per week. Hopefully that will kick my body into gear.

Will update with my measurement results on Saturday!


But not defeated.

I’ve been absent for a solid two weeks, and it has NOT been fun. I had a migraine that started on July 3 and I didn’t get any REAL relief from until this last Wednesday (July 16)! It was the absolute worst.

It really threw a wrench into my workout and short-term weightloss goals, especially considering I had just purchased five workouts with a personal trainer.
I had a lot of rest days during the last two weeks, but I also pushed myself and had a couple of days where I worked out and probably shouldn’t have. I know I’m not going to get below 220 pounds within July, as I had hoped, but I will just push that goal out a little further and keep working.

I visited two urgent cares, my doctor’s nurse practitioner, the ER twice, and missed a ton of work! Madness.
While I was down, nothing sounded good, nothing tasted good, so I dropped a couple of pounds, but not in the right way, unfortunately.

I had my first real workout yesterday: lat pulls, ball slams, planks on the Bosu, wall sits, leg lifts with resistance.

The ball slams were the worst. For some reason I get dizzy whenever I do squats, it has been happening for a few months now, and I just can’t figure it out. The ball slams were lifting a 12-pound ball over my head and throwing it into the ground as I squatted. The trainer had me stop them because I was dizzy, but if I can get the dizziness figured out, they would be a really good addition to my workout!

It sucks when something like this comes along and tries to throw you off your schedule, but it makes overcoming it so much more satisfying. I’m hoping to get back into the full swing of things starting tonight with BodyPump (which I haven’t done in a couple weeks now, so that should be fun).

Heading to my parents’ lake place tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll get some vitamin D to help me feel better! Have a great weekend!

Learn me.

The meeting with the trainer wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. But, I also didn’t do a lot of work. It was more her assessing my current fitness level, and determining my goals.

We worked out a little bit: warmed up on the recumbent bike, stretched (she had me use the foam roller and work on my groin muscles, and holy cow it hurts today!), did some weights (leg press, calf raise machine, and some shoulder stuff), and finally some stability exercises on a ball.

I learned some things about myself. A) I’m more flexible than most people who are my age/size (I already assumed this, but she confirmed it). B) I’m 34% body fat! GROSS! I wish I knew what the percentage was before I started working out though, because I’m positive it has gone down significantly. I need to get down to the 15-20% range to be “fit” and 20-25% to be “normal” — my goal is fit. We’ll see. C) My spine is all out of whack. Even when I feel like I’m standing up straight, I’m not. When I feel like I’m pinching my shoulder blades together, I’m not pinching them hard enough, and my shoulders are still rolled forward, even when I think they’re pushed back. YIKES!

The flexibility is good, but won’t do me much good until I lose some of the flab (this is my own assessment, not something the trainer said, lol).
The body fat is no good! I’ve definitely made some progress in that area, but like I said, it is still too high.
My spine being out of whack is BAD! She suggested the rib injury could be because of the spine problems. Interesting.

I bought 5 sessions with her. We will go over my eating, a workout plan, suggest vitamins and supplements, stuff like that, so I hope she gives me good information and the workout plan is something I can continue on my own.
She said it is pretty typical that people who work with her lose about 5 pounds a week, so I’ve got my fingers crossed!