Tag Archives: weight loss

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…).

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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

MyFitnessPal Review

As I mentioned this week, one of the iPhone apps that been super helpful in terms of weight loss/accountability is the MyFitnessPal app (if you don’t have a smart phone, you can access all features in the website instead).

In case you’re wondering, MFP (can I just call it that for the rest of the review?) is 100% free.  There’s not even a free vs paid version, so you get all the features for free.

Diptic

I’ve been using it for about a month and a half now.  Just like everyone else, I HATE counting calories (who likes doing that?), and MFP is basically counting calories, but without you actually doing the brunt of the work.

To set it up, you input how aggressive do you want this weight loss thing to be (1/2lb a week?  2lbs a week?) and from there it’ll give you the goal calorie per day, which you can adjust it if you’d like.  For example, my net calorie goal is 1,400/day in order to lose 1lb a week, but I changed it to 1,300, so it gives me a bit of leeway for weekends (which is when I’m not so good about eating the right things).  That way, if I can keep it around 1,300 five days a week, I have an extra 500 calories I can splurge on during the weekend (not that I actually try to eat those extra calories, but eating out quickly adds them up).  I’ll admit that most weekend I go way beyond those extra 500 calories…  (But this allows me to have the occasional day not worrying too much about it.)

The really cool part of the app?  Once you’re done logging for the day, you click on “complete this entry” and it will tell you “if you ate every day like you eat today, you’ll weigh XXX in 5 weeks” – on good days that number is encouraging, on bad days it’ll show a weight gain and it really makes you want to be better!

It has a HUGE food database (even recipes from Cooking Light, a cookbook we use a lot, is there), and on the odd chance that it doesn’t have what you want, you can manually input it and have it saved to use it again.  On that note, if you tend to eat repeat meals, you can save them as a meal, and add later with one click, and another really cool feature is that you can scan barcodes and it will add that to your calorie count (I tested with both Brazilian and Filipino manufactured things, and it worked!).  Once you add an item once, it’ll be saved on your “recent” for quick access as well.

You can keep track of weight and measurements.  You can keep track of exercise and water consumed.  And it also gives you a breakdown of fat/carbs/protein intake, if you’re keeping tabs on that.  (It gives you a standard percentage setting for those, but if you go to the website you can change the percentages if you want to do a low-fat or high-protein diet, etc.)

The one thing I DON’T like?  If I input, say, 100 calories burned from exercise, it then ups my food allowance by another 100 calories.  There’s no way to change that, and I know I can manually calculate the difference, but it becomes too much work, so I never input exercise (except for the one screen above as an example).  I don’t like eating my calories burned!  I want them both to work towards weight loss, plus, we all know calories burned during exercise is not an exact science.  And what if I was doing long runs, where I would easily burn 2000 calories in one run, do I just eat all of them back (of course not!).  (And yes, I checked, if I input 2000 calories worth of exercise, it ups my food allowance by another 2000…  Ugh.)

This is also one of the reasons I haven’t worn my fitbit in a while – I linked it to MFP and then it overestimated my calories burned by a LOT, and I kept getting extra calories to consume.

Despite the drawbacks, I love the app and have been using it faithfully.  I definitely recommend if you want a quick easy way of keeping track of what you eat, specially if like my you are trying to lose weight (or even to maintain it).

Have you tried My Fitness Pal?  Have you tried another similar app?  What are the good/bad you have noticed?

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Filed under Reviews

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