Category Archives: Diet

So what AM I doing wrong?

I mentioned yesterday how my weight, measurements and all that good stuff have been stuck for the last couple of months, and here I am still 16lbs above what I was when I crossed the finish line of those marathons (which were so long ago, that I’m starting to doubt that I ever actually ran that far…).

I’m not dumb, and I know there are two culprits for not losing more weight:

1) I’ve been really really relaxed about keeping track of my calories on the MyFitnessPal app

I’ve been eating healthy at home, keeping track of my portions as I did when I was inputting everything in and all that good stuff, but when I do go out to eat, I don’t always make the right choice.  And counting calories gets really really boring really really fast, specially on trips (where all bets are off, but I do like it that way:  I go to another country to experience the culture, and that includes the food, but I usually walk around enough to somewhat compensate for the damage). 

Let’s face it, it’s not the trips that are making me fat, it’s getting lazy about writing every single thing down I eat to make sure I’m not eating too many calories (or most importantly, when I eat out, because at home I’m actually pretty good about the whole thing, since, you know, I have healthy meals cooked for me, and I don’t have to lift a finger and all that…).

At least I’m not gaining, something I wish I could have said last year…

2) Lack of cardio.

Since leaving Muay Thai, I haven’t been getting any cardio in.  At all.  And I know people lose weight all over the world by doing weights only, but obviously that doesn’t work for me.  What good is it that my muscles have amazing definition if I have a thick layer of fat covering them up and no one can’t tell?  I may be healthier and stronger, but damn it, I want to look good too!  (And anyone that says otherwise, is lying.)

So instead of going from a leg to an arm workout, skipping rest completely, as I was doing, I now have been taking 30 second rests in between each set; except instead of resting, I’ve been jumping. Literally.  It looks totally awkward to jump around without a jump rope, but I usually have the gym to myself, so why do I care? I jump slowly, I jump fast, I jump twisting my legs around, I jump forward and back, I crisscross my legs, whatever, I keep changing it each time. 

(And FYI, Footloose came up on my playlist, and oh, man, I forgot how freaking perfect that is for things like jumping!  Seriously, play it, and don’t tell me it doesn’t make you want to jump around too?  Or am I just outdating myself?  Can I call it a classic and leave it at that?)

So anyway, jumping for 30 seconds at a time might seem like nothing, but I’m getting at least a good 12-15 minutes of pure jumping when it’s all said and done. Plus, it keeps my heart rate up when I do my weights.

And because I haven’t forgotten what brought me to this blog in the first place, now after the gym I’ve started doing this:

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I know, I know, I know.

Half a mile is nothing.

NOTHING.

But it’s still better than nothing, no? And with all my injuries this year (stupid foot, stupid hip!), I want to take it very very very slow.  Half a mile for a couple of weeks, 3 times a week, then increase it by a quarter of a mile, and so on.  I’m actually seriously considering capping it all at 3 miles for my time in Manila…  It looks like I rather jump out of the window than do more than that on the treadmill, and I have to stop beating myself up about it.  I can pick up long-distance running again when I get back to DC in a year (OMG, a year from now! Yay!).

But, take notice that my slow-ass can run slightly faster when it’s only going for a half a mile (and that’s after killing myself at the gym, thankyouverymuch).  So all of this might actually help me get a little faster, since I’ll be increasing my distance very very veeeery slowly.  And I’m also using the Five Fingers in the meantime since it looks like I’m finally doing low mileage enough to get my feet used to it (and since my feet are troublesome, I think it’s worth giving it a try).

Wish me luck.  And next time you’re struggling to get those double digits mileage in, remember the chick over this side of the world, who is struggling to get a lame half a mile in.  And feel instantly better about yourself!  (I mean, we have to look at the good side about this, right?  And if it is I make other people feel like rockstars by comparison, so be it!)

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Filed under Diet, Treadmill Run, Weightlifting, Workout

Weight Loss Plateau

I bet if you’ve been looking at my recent pictures, I’m not telling you anything new – anyone can see I haven’t lost any weight, since I last wrote about it in March. 

And yet, I’ve been hitting the gym consistently, 3 times a week.  Even though I stopped going to Muay Thai a month and a half ago, I’m still dropping a good 1 to 1.5 hour sweat on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, moving things around so I still get the three workouts in, even if I go on a trip.

The weightlifting?  It’s making me strong!  I can see how much I’m improving from week to week (I can now deadlift holding 35lb dumbbells on each hand, for 4 sets of 12 reps,  and am thinking of increasing it if my grip can hold it – which for me is a big deal).  I can also see how my calves are getting their muscle tone back and how things feel tighter to the touch, even if outwards, they are still (very) jiggly.

But the weight?  Same.  Stuck.  No change.  “Oh, but it could be measurements?” you say?  Nope.  Stuck there too.  My fat legs are just as fat as they were 3 months ago.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s the picture I took back in March…

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Here’s the one taken after yesterday’s workout, I even put the same shirt on for proper comparison (though I can tell the gray shorts are not doing me any favors…).

Diptic

On the side view, you can *kinda* tell that maybe my legs are in better shape, and maybe my it-looks-like-I’m-constantly-3-months-pregnant-stomach-pooch is slightly diminished.  (My hips are actually looking wider, but can I blame that on the gray vs black shorts, pretty please?  The measurements have not changed.  Plus, it’s that time of the month and all.)

So what I’m doing to change and actually see some change?  I’ll talk about it tomorrow.  (No worries, I won’t be breaking any grounds with amazing ideas or anything.)

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Filed under Diet, Weightlifting, Workout

Body image

After being in Manila for almost a year, I can finally say I’m starting to feel more comfortable with my body.

Please do not confuse “more comfortable” with “comfortable” – I’m not there yet, but hopefully all the hard work I’ve been putting in will get me there.

After my marathon/wedding/move to Manila, I quickly put on 20 pounds.  (In less than a year!!!)  If you’ve been following along, you know I had a hard time getting back into a fitness routine.  I tried running again, but it didn’t stick due to lack of company (I really hate running alone), then tried weightlifting, and though I completed the whole stage one of the book, flew off to Cebu, and kind of never did it again – sadly, it seems like 5 days away relaxing by the beach and pool was enough to kill the little routine I had built.

I even went to the doctor and got a guided diet – but not only the diet made me eat too much (I still didn’t have a routine then, and was skipping meals more often than not), it was also very restrictive.  I eat healthy most days, but when you can never stray and you don’t want to completely kill your social life, it’s hard to stick with it.  And after trying it for 2 weeks and every day coming up short of the amount I was supposed to eat, I gave up.  My follow up appointment was then canceled by them at the last minute, and I just didn’t bother making a new one.

Excuses aside, it’s obvious that I also had a big problem since arriving in Manila:  lack of commitment.

It wasn’t long until those 20 extra pounds got new friends to hang out with them, and I was at my highest weight to date, carrying an extra 28 pounds then when I crossed the finish line at the Chicago Marathon.

The one thing that changed all of that and put a stop to the weight gain?  Having a new gym opening up half a block from me, and signing up in early December for the only class they had in the morning:  Muay Thai.

And aside from travel or sickness, I haven’t missed one day.  Three times a week, I’m there!

The one thing that kept me coming back (and still makes me go), was that at first, I was the only one in class.  I had the instructor’s number, he had mine.  If I wasn’t going to show up, I had to text him to let him know.  I need to have a pretty good reason to be missing, right? 

Now, the class has more people, but I still feel like I have to text him if I’m not coming.  Some days I’m tired and lazy and sooooo don’t feel like going, but I drag myself out there and do the class anyway (I can’t really text him and say “not coming because I’m lazy” can I?).  And you know what they say, save for actual injuries, you never regret a workout!

It kicks my ass, it’s not all punching and kicking, but squats, push ups, jump rope, abs…  I like how at the end of the class we do 250-400 sit ups of different types.  And that I had to take breaks at first, and now I can go trough each routine without pausing (unless a 9lbs medicine ball is involved, then I’m all weak again!).  I like that despite going there for 3 months (save for trips), it still kicks my ass every.single.time.  And sometimes, I even do a quick circuit training workout after I’m done with class, on days I’m feeling extra-ambitious.

The other thing that helped?  My parents spent a month with us, and we had breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday.  Remember how I was lacking a routine and had a hard time not skipping meals? 

Having them here made me eat all my meals.  And even though we traveled, and even though there were lots of unhealthy food on that mix, even though I missed working out because we were gone for 2 weeks, by the time they left I had already dropped 4 pounds.  Without even trying!  I was just eating all my meals, instead of skipping it.

So it was easy enough to just keep eating 3 meals a day, with the occasional snack, instead of skipping meals all of the time.  We also started eating more meals at home, and only going out for dinner once or twice a week (you can control your food intake a lot more when you know what the ingredients are!).

I also downloaded the MyFitnessPal app on my iPhone, and though I hate counting calories, this makes it so freaking easy that I have no problems inputting everything in (I’ll do a more in depth review of it).

Now, 11 months after arriving in Manila, I’m still weighing a ton more than I did 1.5 years ago, but I’m at 16 pounds above what I was when I crossed that marathon finish line.  Yep, I dropped 12 pounds in the last 2.5 months. 

But weight aside, my body is starting to look fit again – still fat, mind you, there are no miracles here – but all those 1.5 hours 3 times a week at the gym?  My legs have less cellulite, my arms have less jiggle, my “it looks like I’m carrying a small baby” stomach pooch is slowly shrinking…  And the body part that shows muscle definition for me first, my calves, are slowly starting to resemble their old self: when I move it, I see muscle lines.

And slowly, very slowly, I’m getting back to who I used to be…

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Let’s hope I can post more encouraging pictures in a month or so, but here it is, for the record, what I look like now:  far from thin, far from perfect, but better than I did 3 months ago.  And right now?  That’s all that matters.

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Filed under Diet, Fitness, Muay Thai, Weightlifting

And the diet…

I knew that meeting up with a endocrinologist and a dietitian would not be fun.  But after gaining 20lbs and continuing to pack on the weight despite my best efforts, I needed to see if there was anything to be done, or more specifically, anything wrong with me.  Sure, I am no longer running long distances, but I also don’t think that the only way I should be able to maintain my weight is by having to run long distances, no?  That is certainly not normal!

The endocrinologist at first thought I might have diabetes (are you always thirsty?  Yes!  Do you wake up to pee in the middle of the night?  YES!), but despite my love for sugary stuff, I don’t eat that much sugar, or that often, I have no family history, I’m not living a sedentary lifestyle, so it was not what I wanted to hear.

The good news?  My blood tests showed that I have no diabetes at all.  The bad news?  My cholesterol is slightly on the high side.  The worst news?  The blood tests showed NOTHING wrong with me, and even though my thyroid is a bit on the slow side (duh, I know I have a sucky metabolism), it still within the “normal” range.  So no special thyroid meds for me to speed things up!

The meeting with the dietitian?  I heard a lot of what I already knew:  I don’t eat nearly enough protein, and currently I’m not eating nearly enough overall which is probably what is causing the weight gain.  The lack of a routine since quitting work makes it hard – I often skip breakfast, lunch, or both.  A big no-no, as I already knew.  True, when I go out to eat I might not always make the healthiest choices, but we have been eating healthy home cooked meals for a while now, so the eating out is not often.

I got a 1500 calorie plan made for me.  I officially started yesterday and I’m having a really hard time with it – not because of how it restricts me (though I hate that I can only have 3 very small servings of fruit a day), but because it makes me eat too damn much, too often.  Something I’m certainly not used to!  Today I was able to fit lunch in, but my breakfast, am snack and pm snack haven’t happened yet.  Now I’m feeling really sick (one hour after lunch I started feeling queasy,  2 hours later I threw up 7 times in a row.  Gross!), so looks like today I’m not going to eat enough today at all (but understandably so).

Enough rambling!  Here is the plan, with the allowed portions:

BREAKFAST
Fresh Fruit = 1
Protein = 1
Rice = 1
Fat = 1

AM SNACK
Rice = 1
Fat = 1
Skim Milk = 1 cup

LUNCH
Vegetable A = as desired
Vegetable B = 1
Protein = 2
Rice = 2
Fat = 2
Fresh Fruit = 1

PM SNACK
Rice = 1
Fat = 1

DINNER
Veggie A = as desired
Vegetable B = 1
Protein = 2
Rice = 1
Fat = 1
Fresh Fruit = 1

Where one portion of PROTEIN should equal to about 68 calories, and it’s the usual:  beef, pork, eggs (all three allowed only one serving a week, thanks to the stupid cholesterol), chicken, seafood, fish, cheese, beans and peanuts.

Where RICE basically means carbs, equivalent to 100 calories per portion, and including bread, corn, cereal, oatmeal.

Where FAT is your usual suspects at 45 calories per portion, for olive oil, margarine, butter, peanut butter, avocado, and other nuts.

FRUIT is equivalent to 40 calories/portion, which annoys the crap out of me because there’s no fruit I can eat in its entirety that only has 40 calories (I love love love love love love love love fruit.  No, really, I do.  So this will not be a fun restriction).

VEGGIE A is your spinach, lettuce, cucumber, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, tomato, eggplant, etc.

VEGGIE B is equivalent to 16 calories, and it’s basically a 1/2 cup of carrot, mushrooms, lima beans.  I don’t get this part – I never met anyone that got fat by eating carrots and mushrooms.  Luckily for me, jackfruit is also thrown in this mix, so I can get my extra serving of fruits this way (score!).

Let’s hope tomorrow my stomach is back to normal and I can try this again (needless to say my 3 miles a day go is not happening this week so far).  I’m still recuperating from the cold I caught in Korea, still lacking enough sleep (not sure what’s going on there) and now this queasy stomach.  Ugh. 

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Filed under Diet