Fitness Update – A Recap of April 2014

So as I mentioned the other day I have started working out on my lunch break everyday with my friend Jane from work. I started this journey on April 7th. My goal when I started was to work out 5 days a week, Monday through Friday. Out of 18 days, I worked out 16 – the two days I didn’t work out consisted of a holiday (Good Friday) and a day when I spent the morning at the doctor’s office and didn’t take a lunch break. All in all, I’d say I met my goal… and I’m quite proud of myself!

So, how’d I do you ask?

April Total


April Miles

Here’s how it broke out:

April Breakdown


I have a graph I’ll get to show you next month (when there’s a month to compare it to) that will hopefully show the total time spent working out increasing (or at least staying the same) but my average mph decreasing in each activity. We shall see!!! On Tuesday I got on the elliptical for the first time in almost 6 years. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure I could finish 30 minutes. I tried to set a pace of 100 strides per minute but every time I looked down, I was going faster than that. So, I decided to stop trying to force it and just let it happen organically. Turns out, I averaged about 120 strides per minute when I just let it come naturally – and I went much farther in less time than I do on the treadmill. I was also more sore the next day – not painfully so, just noticeably so. To me, there’s no question that the elliptical works you harder than the treadmill, even if you maintain the same pace. How am I feeling overall you ask? Awesome! A tad tired, but awesome. Mostly, I’m tired because I’m getting less sleep than I normally would (~7 hours as opposed to 8-9 hours per night). However, I fall asleep faster and I sleep sounder than I did before. I’m also more energized and motivated to work out. For now, I’m loving this new lifestyle!

take pride in how far you have come
Found via Pinterest from this original source.

I’ve been thinking about what my goal should be in May and I think it’s going to be this: I want to bike for 30 minutes each weekend in addition to spending my 5 days (M-F) in the gym. So… there are 5 Saturdays in May which means I should add an additional 2.5 hours of exercise time this month. I’ll let you know how it goes!!

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Fitness Update

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So I told you the story of my current status of ‘morbidly obese’ and how I went from a 16-year competitive swimmer to the life I have now. If you didn’t read that, you can read it here.  I’ve also written several other articles about my weight here, here, and here.

If you can’t tell – my weight loss (or lack thereof) is a bit of a constant in my life and has been for several years. The first post I wrote was back in 2011!! Yep – I’ve been struggling with this for many, many years, at least the last 3 of those while writing this blog. The “good” news is that I’m still wearing the same size clothes I was three years ago – at least I haven’t gained anything.

Anywho, I have this friend at work named Jane who started working out regularly at the beginning of the year (she’s one of those rare people who started a New Year’s resolution and has stuck with it!). She’s been walking/jogging a few days/nights per week and is seeing great results. She was not nearly as heavy as I am to begin with and she’s lost 25lbs in 3 months. Super impressive! I finally decided I wanted to join her and, nice woman that she is, she said yes. So, Monday-Friday we head off to 24 Hour Fitness on our lunch break to get sweaty. As I’m writing this, I’ve done 11 workouts so far… I’d be at 12 but had to miss one because I had a doctors appointment. I realize 11 workouts probably isn’t all that impressive but for me, it’s huge. Since I’m A) morbidly obese and B) have a really bad knee and back I’m taking things slow. Right now, my workout looks like this:

  • Monday: walk on treadmill 30 mins
  • Tuesday: walk on treadmill 30 mins
  • Wednesday: upper body workout with free-weights
  • Thursday: walk on treadmill 30 mins
  • Friday: alternate between long swim workout and 1 hour session with personal trainer

Now, I know walking might not seem like much of a workout, but I’m sweating my arse off I promise you. I may be walking at a slow-ish pace (between 3.0 & 3.3) but I’m walking at an incline as well. Today though, I hopped on the treadmill and I felt like I was going slow. I’m definitely feeling it in my legs and the time flew by! So, I decided to crank up my workout just a tad. Here’s what I did:

minute to minute


To date, I’ve lost 4lbs. Not a great loss but since I’m aiming for 1lb/week I think I’m doing great. I did gain a pound the first week but I was retaining water like crazy – my feet were swollen up like blowfish and everything! I talked to my personal trainer and she thinks that was my “weight gain.”

weight loss graph

How about you? What are your current fitness goals??

So some things have changed since we last talked…

move

We moved.

Old house: owned, 40 years old, major renovations needed, 2 stories, 2500sqft, enormous corner lot, 45 minute commute (for me)

New house: rental, less than 5 years old, no repairs needed, 1 story, 1100sqft, itty bitty postage stamp lot, 1.5hr commute (for  me)

What I’m loving: NO MORE REPAIRS!  One story.

What I’m tolerating: 1100sqft.  1.5 hr commute.

She sleeps in the sweetest positions.

Abbie sleeps in the sweetest positions.

How can you not fall in love with this??

How can you not fall in love with this??

The day she came home.

The day she came home.

Aurora and Widgit... also known as sweet n sassy.

Aurora and Widgit… also known as sweet n sassy.

We have a new addition.

Her name is Abbie and I am head over heels.

It was NOT an easy transition.  The dog (Lita) adjusted fine other than giving me the “another one?!?!” look when we brought Abbie home.  Aurora (our chubby longhaired Maine Coon mix) was fine within a day and immediately tried to start bathing Abbie.  Widgit (our white/tabby problem child) was an absolute nightmare.  She hissed and growled and became abusive (to the cats, to us, and to the house) and it lasted for weeks.  Things have *mostly* calmed down now.

vegan

Hubby and I did a two week soy-free, grain-free vegan detox at the beginning of the year.  I actually enjoyed it so much that I’m trying to maintain it.  I’m doing what I refer to as the 80/20 plan meaning that 80% of the time I’m a soy-free, grain-free vegan and 20% of the time (or 4 meals a week) I can eat something I normally wouldn’t (like fish or quinoa).  I keep getting on the wagon and then falling off and then getting back on again but I’ll tell you this – I absolutely 100% feel better when I’m ON the wagon.  (If you’re wondering why we’re soy-free, you can read more about that here.)

What major changes have happened in your life in the last 6 months?  I’d love to hear about them.

Daily Mini-Cleanse Fruit Challenge

apple_logo_rainbow_fruit
     Source

I’m not much of a fruit eater.  I loooove veggies, and don’t get me wrong, I like fruit, but if I have my choice, I’ll choose the veggies every time.  I think this is because I’m more of a savory rather than sweet person.  I’d choose chips and queso over brownies any day of the week.  Anyhow, several years ago I read this book called The Raw Food Detox Diet  and while I don’t necessarily agree 100% with everything she has to say, I really thought her section about eating fruit by itself in the morning was really interesting.  Here’s the basic idea of her book… above and beyond eating good-for-you foods (i.e. no processed foods) the key to staying skinny is optimizing your digestive tract.  What this means is that your body either needs to use it or lose it as quickly as possible.  Therefore, according to Rose (that’s the author of the book) the way you pair your foods matters.  And, when it comes to fruit, it should be eaten ALONE! and on an empty stomach.  Why you ask?  Because it takes your body only 30-45 minutes to process a piece of fruit (depending what kind it is) and if you pair that with something else that takes longer to digest (which is basically everything else) then the longer-digesting items will basically rot in your digestive tract because of the quick-digestion of the fruit.  Does that make any sense?  I’m not sure I explained that clearly but nonetheless, that’s the idea.  So, her rule of thumb is this… eat fruit every morning for breakfast with nothing else.  Then, wait 45 minutes before you eat something that isn’t a piece of fruit.

I’ve always struggeled with finding healthy breakfast options.  I don’t like most breakfast meats like bacon or sausage (granted, I’m not sure I’d call them ‘healthy’) or eggs.  I cannot stand the consistency of oatmeal (gag!).  Many times that left me with not-so-healthy options or nothing at all.  In high school, I ate a corndog and drank a SlimFast every morning.  No joke.  Well, that was one thing when I was in my teens and training in competitive swimming for hours every day but now that I’m nearly 30, not so much.  So, I decided to take on a fruit challenge.

The plan?  Eat at least 3 pieces of fruit for breakfast every day for 6 weeks (they say it takes 6 weeks to form a habit).

Well, it’s been 8 weeks and I’m happy to report that this challenge has been a success!  I now crave fruit every morning and it’s become second nature to purchase 21+ pieces of fruit each week at the grocery store.  I’m not going to lie, the first week sucked.  After four days I was like ‘if I never see another piece of fruit ever again I’ll be fine!’ So, on days 5-7 I didn’t eat my fruit and you know what?  I felt like crap!  I mean seriously, I felt bloated, heavy and awful.  So, on day 8 it was back to the fruit challenge and I’ve managed to keep it up… even through vacation and everything!  Whoo hoo!

A regular work day for me has me getting to my cubicle at 8:30am.  I set down my bags, turn on my computer, and head to the kitchen to cut up my fruit.  Then I come back with a plate looking like this…

photo-edited

Then, I proceed to nibble on it for about the next 2-3 hours.  Sometimes, it takes longer, sometimes shorter.  It really depends on the fruit choices of the day.

Here’s what I’ve noticed:

  1. Without being gross let’s just say that when you change what goes in your body, it drastically changes what comes out of your body.  In my case, this has been a welcome change that I wasn’t eve really aware that I needed
  2. Because I graze for several hours, I’m not hungry for lunch until at least noon, sometimes much later.  Before, I was normally starving by about 10:30 or even earlier.
  3. I crave fruit!!!  This statement still sounds completely crazy to me but it’s true.  I want it.  I need it.  Fruit is my friend!
  4. The lack of thought that has to go in to my breakfast meal plan is a huge relief.  I know it’s going to be fruit.  I don’t have to stress when we go out of town to visit friends and family and wonder “what if they’re having bacon and eggs for breakfast???”  I can just bring a mixed bag of fruit with me and I’m good to go.
  5. I feel way less bloated than I did before.
  6. I drink less water but feel more hydrated.  I’m getting lots of natural fruit juice from the fruits so I’m not downing 4 bottles of water at work anymore (it’s closer to 2 now).
  7. My hypoglycemia has been under better control.  There’ve been less dips (and therefore shakes & gitters) than ever before.

I know there are some people out there freaking out about the sugar and carbohydrates in fruit but here’s my take on it:  3 pieces of fruit is lower in calories, carbs, and basically every bad thing than any other breakfast option I was eating before hand plus it’s DEFINITELY higher in antioxidants and probably fiber as well as various other vitamins.  (If you want more info on this particular topic, I like this article here.)

If you’re wondering, no I haven’t lost any weight by making this change.  I have gained any either though and my body feels soooo much better.

My fruit staples:

  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon
  • Jazz apples
  • Oranges
  • Clementines (Cuties)
  • Red Grapefruit
  • Bananas
  • Kiwi
  • Strawberries

So, am I going to continue doing fruit for breakfast?  Yep, I most certainly am!  Also, now that this challenge has been completed I’ve started a new one which I’ll tell you about soon!

Foods You Should Eat Everyday Challenge – Day 7

If you didn’t catch my initial post with the list of the foods you should eat every day you can click here

YAY!  This challenge is over.  I mean, ahem… cough cough…

Ok, let’s be real.  The challenge wasn’t that bad.  And I feel good.  And my insides seem pretty happy (after the first 36 hours or so)

However, I kind of felt bored.  I got tired of eating the same things every day (with the exception of dinner).  I also missed my soup.  If you read my blog, you know that I have a small soup problem.  I love soup. 

So, I think that I will focus on trying to incorporate more of these foods into my daily diet, but I can definitely say that there’s no way that I could maintain this meal plan long term.  It would work great for someone who doesn’t need a lot of variety though. 

What do you think?  Could you follow this?

Also – do you find that it’s sooooo much harder to follow your diet on a weekend?  I certainly do. 

I’m still finding out that my original meal plan was just waaaay too much food.  As you’ll see below, there’s a lot that’s not getting eaten every day. 

spaghetti squash

Below is my original meal plan.  I’ve scratched through some things so that I can show you what I didn’t eat on day 7.

Day 7 Meal Plan:

BREAKFAST:
Smoothie with 1c frozen blueberries, 1 T milled flax seeds, half of a banana and 1 carton of greek yogurt.
or
Eggs: Easy Bake Strata (recipe to come) (note: quiche/strata is about the only way I’ll eat eggs)

SNACK 1:
Apple (one very small jazz apple)
Green tea
Carrots (about 10 baby carrots)
Handful of nuts (about ¼ cup)

LUNCH:
Sweet potatoes sautéed in olive oil with garlic and onions (recipe to come)
Salmon croquette (recipe to come)
Gluten-Free Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake (recipe to come)
Spinach salad w/ tomatoes, bell peppers, and mushrooms (I added a few green and black olives as well as some parmesan Italian dressing)

SNACK 2:
Orange
Edamame
Green tea
Nature valley oat bar

DINNER:
Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin (recipe to come)
*note: I also made a roast for my husband but I did not partake as I’m not much of a beef eater
Large glass milk

DESSERT:
Cinnamon dark hot chocolate

Foods You Should Eat Everyday Challenge – Day 6

If you didn’t catch my initial post with the list of the foods you should eat every day you can click here

Gotta say, I love spaghetti squash and once this challenge is complete I’ll have had two different spaghetti squash recipes this week but I was super excited to get to eat actual pasta.  It was whole wheat but still… it’s pasta.  🙂  I also had amazing success with my last Olive Garden copy cat recipe so I was super excited to try this one out.  You’ll have to come back in a few days to hear how it went!  (I’ll be providing every recipe that I used this week over the next few days). 

I’m still finding out that my original meal plan was just waaaay too much food.  As you’ll see below, there’s a lot that’s not getting eaten every day. 

carrots

Below is my original meal plan.  I’ve scratched through some things so that I can show you what I didn’t eat on day 6.

Day 6 Meal Plan:

BREAKFAST:
Smoothie with 1c frozen blueberries, 1 T milled flax seeds, half of a banana and 1 carton of greek yogurt.
or

Eggs: Easy Bake Strata (recipe to come) (note: quiche/strata is about the only way I’ll eat eggs)

SNACK 1:
Apple (one very small jazz apple)
Green tea

Carrots (about 10 baby carrots)
Handful of nuts (about ¼ cup
)

LUNCH:
Sweet potatoes sautéed in olive oil with garlic and onions (recipe to come)
Gluten-Free Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake (recipe to come)
Salmon croquette (recipe to come)
Spinach salad w/ tomatoes, bell peppers, and mushrooms (I added a few green and black olives as well as some parmesan Italian dressing)

SNACK 2:
Orange – I even ate TWO today!
Edamame
Green tea
Nature valley oat bar

DINNER:
The Olive Garden’s Capellini Primavera (recipe to come)
Large glass milk

DESSERT:
Cinnamon dark hot chocolate

Foods You Should Eat Everyday Challenge – Day 5

If you didn’t catch my initial post with the list of the foods you should eat every day you can click here

For the first time in a long time I’ve found myself craving fruit.  I’m not really much of a sweets person unless it’s ice cream.  If you gave me a choice between a salad or a brownie, I’d choose the salad 9.9 times out of 10.  Sweets just aren’t my thing.  So, I don’t eat much fruit.  However, being on this challenge and eating either an orange or an apple every day, I find that I’m enjoying them more than I thought I would.  It’s not that I don’t like fruit, I’d just rather have carrot sticks. 

I’m still finding out that my original meal plan was just waaaay too much food.  As you’ll see below, there’s a lot that’s not getting eaten every day. 

broccoli

Below is my original meal plan.  I’ve scratched through some things so that I can show you what I didn’t eat on day 5.

Day 5 Meal Plan:

BREAKFAST:
Smoothie with 1c frozen blueberries, 1 T milled flax seeds, half of a banana and 1 carton of greek yogurt.
or

Eggs: Easy Bake Strata (recipe to come) (note: quiche/strata is about the only way I’ll eat eggs)

SNACK 1:
Apple (one very small jazz apple)
Green tea
Carrots (about 10 baby carrots)
Handful of nuts (about ¼ cup)

LUNCH:
Sweet potatoes sautéed in olive oil with garlic and onions (recipe to come)
Salmon croquette (recipe to come)
Spinach salad w/ tomatoes, bell peppers, and mushrooms (I added a few green and black olives as well as some parmesan Italian dressing)

SNACK 2:
Orange
Edamame
Green tea
Nature valley oat bar

DINNER:
Creamy Chicken and Pasta Bake (recipe to come)
Large glass milk

DESSERT:
Cinnamon dark hot chocolate

Foods You Should Eat Everyday Challenge – Day 4

Well I’m baaaaaaaaaack! 

Sorry for the delay but as I previously mentioned I went down for the count with bronchitis as well as pink eye in BOTH eyes.  It’s not been just a barrel of laughs around here unfortunately. 

However, I’m on the mend!  Yippee!

If you didn’t catch my initial post with the list of the foods you should eat every day you can click here

I’m still finding out that my original meal plan was just waaaay too much food.  As you’ll see below, there’s a lot that’s not getting eaten every day. 

As I mentioned on day 3, I was starting to get cravings for things like cheese.  In a way, I’m glad that I got sick because I got to take a break from the challenge!  Kind of sad I know.  I have definitely realized that if I’m going to eat healthier I have to make gradual changes… not try to change the world in 24 hours. 

black-beans-just-cooked

Below is my original meal plan.  I’ve scratched through some things so that I can show you what I didn’t eat on day 4.

Day 4 Meal Plan:

BREAKFAST:
Smoothie with 1c frozen blueberries, 1 T milled flax seeds, half of a banana and 1 carton of greek yogurt.
or

Eggs: Easy Bake Strata (recipe to come) (note: quiche/strata is about the only way I’ll eat eggs)

SNACK 1:
Apple (one very small jazz apple)
Green tea
Carrots (about 10 baby carrots)
Handful of nuts (about ¼ cup)

LUNCH:
Sweet potatoes sautéed in olive oil with garlic and onions (recipe to come)
Salmon croquette (recipe to come)
Spinach salad w/ tomatoes, bell peppers, and mushrooms (I added a few green and black olives as well as some parmesan Italian dressing)

SNACK 2:
Orange
Edamame
Green tea
Nature valley oat bar

DINNER:
Chili-Cheese Black Bean Enchiladas (recipe to come)
Large glass milk

DESSERT:
Cinnamon dark hot chocolate

Foods You Should Eat Everyday Challenge – Day 3

If you didn’t catch my initial post with the list of the foods you should eat every day you can click here

I mentioned yesterday that on Day 1 of this challenge my tummy wasn’t really agreeing with me very much.  That seems to have completely passed at this point and now I’m feeling pretty darn good!  I also mentioned yesterday that I had a friend coming over for dinner last night and I am happy to admit that she LOVED what I made for dinner.  Yippee!  I should confess, however, that I snuck in some additional items with dinner that weren’t on my original mean plan for the night.  I’m blaming that on entertaining a guest.  Lol. 

I’m still finding out that my original meal plan was just waaaay too much food.  As you’ll see below, there’s a lot that’s not getting eaten every day. 

I am starting to get cravings for things at this point – mostly cheese.  I love cheese.  Even though my dinners have cheese in them there’s no cheese in my lunches and I’m missing it. 

Below is my original meal plan.  I’ve scratched through some things so that I can show you what I didn’t eat on Wednesday.

Quinoa

Quinoa

Day 3 Meal Plan:

BREAKFAST:
Smoothie with 1c frozen blueberries, 1 T milled flax seeds, half of a banana and 1 carton of greek yogurt.
or

Eggs: Easy Bake Strata (recipe to come) (note: quiche/strata is about the only way I’ll eat eggs)

SNACK 1:
Apple (one very small jazz apple)
Green tea

Carrots (about 10 baby carrots)
Handful of nuts (about ¼ cup)

LUNCH:
Sweet potatoes sautéed in olive oil with garlic and onions (recipe to come)
Salmon croquette (recipe to come)
Spinach salad w/ tomatoes, bell peppers, and mushrooms (I added a few green and black olives as well as some parmesan Italian dressing)

SNACK 2:
Orange
Edamame
Green tea
Nature valley oat bar

DINNER:
Simple Baked Chicken (chicken breast marinated in Italian dressing and baked)
Fresh Caprese Quinoa Salad (recipe to come)
One piece frozen Texas Toast garlic bread
Approximately a half cup of chocolate ice cream
Large glass milk

DESSERT:
Cinnamon dark hot chocolate

Foods You Should Eat Everyday Challenge – Day 2

If you didn’t catch my initial post with the list of the foods you should eat every day you can click here.   

Well in the spirit of full confession I have to tell you that after Day 1 of the challenge I felt so bloated I was literally uncomfortable.  In addition, I had the worst flatulence I’ve had in years.  I’m sure that’s TMI (too much info) (sorry mom) but it’s honest. 

I think the reason for both of these conditions was just the enormous increase in vegetables and fiber that entered my body yesterday.  I definitely am not nearly as bloated or as gassy today.  So, my recommendation at this point would be that if you’re planning on attempting this food challenge, you should conquer one meal a day each week.  For example, change your breakfast on week 1, and then your breakfast and lunch on week two… and so on and so forth.  It should be less of a shock to your body that way. 

Oh – and I meant to show you this photo yesterday.  This is what my cart looked like at the grocery store this weekend after going through just the produce section.  No wonder my body is freaking out. 

produce-edited

Below is my original meal plan.  I’ve scratched through some things so that I can show you what I didn’t eat on Tuesday.

Day 2 Meal Plan:

BREAKFAST:
Smoothie with 1c frozen blueberries, 1 T milled flax seeds, half of a banana and 1 carton of greek yogurt.
or
Eggs: Easy Bake Strata (recipe to come) (note: quiche/strata is about the only way I’ll eat eggs)

SNACK 1:
Apple (one very small jazz apple)
Green tea
Carrots (about 10 baby carrots)
Handful of nuts (about ¼ cup)

LUNCH:
Sweet potatoes sautéed in olive oil with garlic and onions (recipe to come)
Salmon croquette (recipe to come)
Spinach salad w/ tomatoes, bell peppers, and mushrooms (I added a few green and black olives as well as some parmesan Italian dressing)

SNACK 2:
Orange
Edamame
Green tea
Nature valley oat bar

DINNER:
Bell Peppers With Quinoa (recipe to come)
Large glass milk

DESSERT:
Cinnamon dark hot chocolate

Yet again we ended up eating a really late dinner last night.  I’ve gotten out of the habit of truly cooking on a weeknight (I don’t consider opening a can of green beans ‘cooking’). 

Tonight should be really interesting since I’m having a friend over for dinner and she’ll be eating the same thing that we are which is a recipe I’ve never tried before.  I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow!