Friday, October 26, 2012

Thought of the Day

I saw this the other day and have been thinking about it a lot today. I did a little math of my own and not including my sleeping hours, a 1 hour workout takes up only 6% of my waking hours. That gives me 94% of the day (14 hours) to do everything else I need to get done before I go to bed. To think that I use to give myself the "I'm too busy" excuse all the time as a reason not to work out. Honestly, I'll probably spend more time writing, reading, rewriting, and posting this blog.
I have had to change a few things to make my time at the gym more convenient. After all, change was what I needed.
The biggest change? My sleeping schedule. I wake up earlier than I use to. I use to sleep in to 7:30 each day, 8:00 on a good day. I now wake up no later than 6:00. I go to sleep a little bit earlier than I use to. It's a big deal if I stay up past 10 anymore. And you know what? I love the affect it's had on me. I never feel the need to take a nap during the middle of the day (like I use to). I hit the gym first thing in the morning after my daughter goes to school. I get it done and over with. I'm back home and out of the shower before some people are waking up for the day. I love it. First thing in the morning and I already feel like I've accomplished something for the day. It took me a while to get into the new routine. But now, I find that I just wake up on my own. Where as before I relied on my alarm and a back up alarm to get me out of bed in the morning. This change and led to other changes. Better changes.
I've begun planning things better. I've gotten a little more organized. If I plan my meals out in advance, it makes the days go easier. I go shopping and get everything I need in advance. Then I just follow the plan. There is no last minute rush and panic on what to make for dinner. I already know. That saves a lot of time in my day right there. It's insane how much time I use to spend worrying about what to make for dinner, rushing to the store to get the stuff (if we didn't have everything on hand), and coming home and throwing it together. (Before I started eating healthier, ordering take out happened a lot because of this). Then, I'd have to rush to make sure the kids ate, were bathed, and off to bed by a decent hour. Then after all of that rushing, I'd have all of the clean up to do after. Blah. It was exhausting. Not to mention, the extra money spent that way.
Now, I go in there and have dinner ready by 5:30/6:00. Yea, sometimes I may change my mind and move days around but I still have everything I need and can get it cooked on time. We eat and I clean up the kitchen while the kids play for a while. Then it's bath times, story time, and bedtime for them. Then I get a bit of time to myself without any cleaning left to do. Yea, that's right.. FREE TIME! I actually get guilt-free FREE TIME! I'm looking for my next book to read because I do have all of this extra free time.
Another thing I've planned is my cleaning schedule. There are the things that need done every day and then things that need to be done just here and there. And having that system has helped me keep the house nice and clean. These things can no longer be affected by my gym time. Because I have them under control.
Once I decided that going to the gym wasn't something to find time for but a priority, I found ways to make the time. Just like the many other things I work around during the week (swim class, dance class, Dr. apts, etc) it's just another part of my daily routine. And it's true what they say, after a while, it just becomes second nature. A habit.
Anyway, when I saw that post earlier this week, it made me think of all of the excuses I use to make for myself and how I was hurting myself and failing myself by doing so. To think that I could already be at goal if I would have just realized this all years ago. But this journey is all about changing and growing as a person (while shrinking), right? At least I'm learning my lessons now. And I get onto myself a lot about not doing this all sooner. But, I know that I wasn't ready then for all of those added changes. I'm glad that I can handle them all now. I feel better physically and mentally.

Tomorrow is pancake day and this is the recipe I will be trying: Snickerdoodle Pancakes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Happy 100th to me!

Yes, that's right! Today marks my 100th day of eating better and exercising! I definitely feel like doing some dancing. I can't believe it's already been 100 days. It really doesn't seem like it was that long ago. Today is also special because it marks the 100th day that my mom has been making healthier choices as well. We started this thing together and I'm very proud of her for keeping it up and sticking it out with me. We've almost hit 1/3 of a year of healthier lifestyles together. She's been the most important person to me in this journey. I don't know if I would be doing so well if it weren't for her.

Why is 100 so special to me? Considering the journey still ahead of me, why am I so happy about 100? No idea. But it feels like an accomplishment and I'm going to relish in it! 100 days from today was not a good day for me. I hated myself. Couldn't stand the look of myself and was very depressed with the person I had let myself become. In a desperate attempt to change things, I joined MFP. As I was logging in my information on MFP, setting my goals, taking before pictures, weighing and measuring myself, I was so sick of myself and disgusted in everything about me. That day I began watching everything I ate, trying to exercise (a very pitiful attempt), and just full of self-loathing. I decided that I had to do it this time. I had to succeed. What type of mother would I become if I continued to hate myself so much? I didn't want to find out. I wanted to be the good role model and good mother I know I can be. Show my children the way to live instead of just telling them what to do. "No, don't eat that, it's bad for you" and then not eat it myself. "Let's go outside and play!" and then actually play with them instead of watching them have fun.
It was a depressing start, that's for sure. I criticized everything I did and was very mean to myself. There was always that voice talking in my head with nasty hateful things to say. I was my worst enemy. I was afraid that if I didn't make changes, I wouldn't be able to hide my depression anymore. That it would really start to affect my day-to-day life. Of course, this made me hate myself more.
I started looking at all of the success stories on MFP. Reading their stories and hearing about their journeys were refreshing. I wasn't alone! I didn't have to fail!
First thing was first. I finally decided that it was time to forgive myself for being so fat and be proud of myself for making the right choice to get back on track. I wasn't going to put myself down anymore. In fact, I was going to be encouraging to myself. After that, things began to improve. I started finding new ways to cook things I enjoy and realized that calories and eating didn't have to be my enemy. I didn't have to hate food in order to lose weight. (What a relief, right?). I can still eat, feel satisfied, and lose weight! I didn't have to go to bed hungry or hate the food I was eating. Yes, food is fuel. But I want tasty fuel!
I began to push myself harder in the gym. I set mini goals to accomplish: 15 minutes of straight cardio today, 20 minutes tomorrow. Next thing I know, I was on the elliptical for an hour and could breathe just fine afterwards!  I started out unable to lift 30 pounds of weight. Next thing I know, that 130 pound weight seemed light. I was improving! Slowly but surely! Then it started to show. Those pants that were too tight were falling down. Once I started seeing changes and improvements, I was hooked! If this is what it feels like to get healthy, I'm on board!
It's still trial and error for me. I try things at the gym, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. I've changed my daily calorie goals a few times. Right now I eat 1370 calories a day. On days I workout, I eat back most of those exercise calories. Where before, the thought of eating my exercise calories was terrifying. I'm just trying to find that perfect fit for me. Something that will keep me going long term and keep the results coming. I'm still not there yet but I'm starting to understand my body better and learning what to do for it.
Most importantly. I love myself again. I take pictures of myself just for the hell of it now!
I've also begun to care about the way I look again. I've been using green tea facial cleanser and daily moisturizer with SPF. I put on make up again. I've tried some fun things with my hair. It no longer seems like a waste of time to put in effort in how I look. I'm not a lost cause!
I guess 100 days seems like such an accomplishment because a lot of growth has happened (and shrinking) over the last few months. I know I'm only half way there. But I feel more confident than ever that I will succeed. It's almost second nature now.
Okay, so I know you're wondering. What treat did I have for my 100th day celebration? Pure awesomeness. Using half of the recommended honey, I made these for the kids a few days ago, Peanut Butter Crispy Treats. I left the white chocolate off of mine and enjoyed one as well. They've been in the freezer.
Today, I thought about how good it would be with some chocolate. So, I used some mini dark chocolate chips and melted them in the microwave. Then I covered the treat in the chocolaty goodiness. It tasted almost like mix of a Reese Cup and a Nutter Butter. So good! Low in sugar and calories but very satisfying. Sorry about the bite mark in the picture. I took a bite and thought, I need to take a picture and share this!!
Today was also a good day at the gym. I ran 2.43 miles in 30 minutes. I want to get that to 3.3 miles in 30 minutes. So, I'm not there but I'm not that far off either. I did some good lifting and felt like I got a good burn in today.
One last picture before I run off to do my fun Wednesday activities.

Does this sum it up or what??

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Triathlon? Why not!

I have a new goal to add to my list! I'm very excited about it. My very first ever Triathlon! The triathlon will include a 3.3 mile run, 1/2 mile swim, and a 12 mile bike. I have ALWAYS wanted to do one. In fact, as far as bucket list goes, it was under the, "Do Before Turning 30" category.
My sister-in-law was talking about doing a triathlon that will be going on in her area next year. She was wanting to see if there was anyone who wanted to join her. I thought it was awesome for her and instantly wished there was a way I could do one. But then it hit me. Why can't I? I've been kicking butt in the gym lately. I'm in way better shape than I was a couple of months ago. If I set my sights on doing a triathlon next year, what's to stop me? Nothing. So, after speaking it over with the husband, we decided it'd be a fun reason to go down there and visit. My SIL and I are now discussing our training schedules and getting the ball rolling. This is happening.
I changed my gym routine around today to involve time on the treadmill running. I ran the whole way but I need to cut a good 9 minutes off of my running time. Discouraging? Not at all. 3 months ago, I couldn't have ran 3 minutes straight, let alone 3 miles! I'll have more than 3 months to train my body to adjust to the new speed. The biking will be pretty easy for me. The real challenge will be the swimming. I'm a decent swimmer but I don't have any real method for doing it. I just get in the water and move my body in a way that gets me across the water without going under. Fortunately for me, my husband is a fish. This dude use to teach children how to swim and has taught many grown men how to swim. He makes it look easy! He has offered to be my personal coach in swimming as soon as he gets back home. So, with him on my side, I have no fears about getting the swimming challenge conquered before the big date next year. Just a warning: you will probably be reading a lot about my triathlon training over the next year.
This has even bumped up my confidence to do a 5k run coming up next month right here where I live. First one ever! It's amazing how one decision can lead to so many other healthy and awesome decisions. Confidence is contagious if you let it be. Even more exciting is the thought that I should be at my goal weight this time next year. I'll be kicking butt in a triathlon and looking good doing it!

These are my kettlebells. Aren't they pretty? Well, they are no longer sitting in my closet to look pretty. I've been finding good ways to use them at home.
Last weekend, I tried that youtube video with the kettlebell exercises. It's a pretty good workout. You definitely feel it! I'm not a fan of all of the workouts in the video. Especially the one where you have to pass it through your legs. I'm just too clumsy for that. Almost broke a toe once or twice. The squats were really great with them! I felt it so much more than when I do regular squats. Overall, I'm glad I tried it out. I'll be researching more ways to use them and they can be my "go-to workout" when the weekends are around and I feel like I need to workout but can't go to the gym.

I've been enjoying baked oatmeal for breakfast this week. I used the Blueberry Banana Recipe a week ago and really enjoyed it. This time, I decided to use strawberries and apples (my two favorite fruits). I only use half of the honey the recipe calls for because the fruit is sweet enough to me. Turned out really yummy!! I wrapped each serving up in wax paper and put them in the freezer. Pop them in the microwave in the morning and breakfast is ready.
Here's what it looked like when I first started throwing it together:

And here's the finished product:
Just as the recipe says, I cut it into 6 servings.  It's perfect to have before I go to the gym for my morning workout. It's filling but not TOO filling. And I think it's better than regular oatmeal, it's not as mooshy as a bowl of oatmeal.

And one last pic before I call it a night. Remember that dress I mentioned last post? The one I bought too small as a goal to work for? Well, here it is! If that doesn't make you want to lose weight, nothing will! ;)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pancake Day

When I first started changing my eating habits, I banned all foods that I use to love (because they were all bad and should never ever be eaten again, right?). I was doing pretty good eating new things like oatmeal and eggs for breakfast. Two foods I use to hate. My taste buds were slowly adjusting and I could stomach things I use to turn my nose up to months ago. Except onions. I will never be able to enjoy onions.
Well, one day my daughter asked (more like begged) me to make her some pancakes. I thought about it and agreed that I would make some that Saturday. I began looking for some recipes that would be low calorie and low sugar and as healthy as possible, so that I could enjoy them too. I was very surprised at the many options out there. This is when my addiction to the site was born. I began by making the banana nut pancakes on her site. They turned out really good. The kids were happy and so was I. I decided that pancakes once a week would be nice. Pancake Saturday (sorry I don't have a cooler fun name for it) was set. I've tried several of the recipes on the site and have enjoyed them all. It was through this site that I was introduced to another site.  My new obsession:
I decided to make the brownie batter pancakes she has on there. They look so delicious and were just haunting my dreams. I must say, I'm very pleased with the results. I didn't have spelt flour, so I used whole wheat. She recommends using less sugar if you are using syrup. So that's what I did, I put less sugar in the recipe and enjoyed them with some syrup drizzled on top and some fat free cool whip. It tasted like a dessert. Paired it with some turkey sausage and I was very happy at breakfast time this morning. The kids LOVED them as well. Now that this day has passed, I will look through the many recipes both sites have for pancakes and plan what lovely creation I will have next Saturday.

While I was in the baking mood, I decided that I would make my mom some chocolate chip bread. She is going out of town and wanted to know if I would make her some mini loaves to take with her. I saved a few slices for myself. I started off using this recipe exact I now leave the banana out and just use a full cup of applesauce. Also, I use whole wheat flour because it's what I have in the house and I prefer the taste now.
They turned out  good and I plan on having one tomorrow with some coffee for breakfast. It's been a sweet weekend. ;)
I would just like to say, homemade applesauce is the best. I use it for EVERYTHING! Both the pancakes and the bread have some applesauce in them. Much healthier than adding oil and sugar but still tastes great!

I typically don't work out on Saturdays anymore. I use to work out every single day. It led to me being sore and tired at the end of the week. When my gym hours changed (Mon-Fri) I decided that would be a good way to ease up on my weekends. Saturdays are relaxing. The kids and I are usually running around doing some sort of activity but it's enjoyable. Sundays are when I have my weekly weigh-in. That tends to motivate me to do a little something at home. Usually it's some time doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred or a walk around the neighborhood. I'm trying to learn of some effective exercises to do with kettlebells. I received a set for my birthday this year and haven't had a chance to use them as much as I would like. I found this youtube workout video that is 30 minutes of kettlebell work outs. I'm going to try it out tomorrow. Hoping it's a good one.
I'm on the waiting list for a program offered at my gym which will provide me with a fitness trainer. I'm eager for them to get to me on the list and call me. I can't wait to start this program and create a workout designed for me by someone who knows a little bit more about the subject than I do.
I bought a motivator dress today. It was at a yardsale (never been worn.. still had the tags) and for only $3.00. It's too small for me now. I can't even get the zipper half way up. I will be leaving it at the front of my closet, so that I can see it each day. It'll be that extra push to keep working hard. I can't wait until the day comes that I can wear it!

Friday, October 19, 2012

My Healthy "To-Do" List

I LOVE "to-do" lists. I'm a list maniac. Just take a look at my day planner, it's full of them. I wake up in the morning with all the thoughts in my head of things I'd like to do and can't wait to sit down with my breakfast, day planner, and pen. I slowly make my list of all the things I'd like to do. The best part is when I take my red pen and slowly mark those things off as the day progresses. Even on my laid back days, I feel the need to write myself a list. My obsession with lists is a bit weird, but the people in my life have come to accept that about me.
So, it's no surprise that when I started MFP (myfitnesspal) and it helped me create little goals, that I was super happy. Yay! Goals! As I started setting my weight goal, exercise goals, and daily eating goals, I didn't quite feel like it was enough. I needed more things to look forward to. I needed more things to scratch off my "healthy to-do list." I needed more short term goals to keep me satisfied until I could reach those awesome big goals. That's when I sat down with my pen and started writing out a list of things I'd like to happen. Some of them were scale related and others were non scale victories that I craved desperately. I made sure to have a wide variety of goals, so that even on those bad weeks, there was a chance for a small accomplishment, a little victory to push me. The feeling of scratching off a goal that once seemed so hard to reach is so powerful. I highly recommend making out small goals, medium goals, and large goals for yourself.
Here are some of the goals that I have met and still have to look forward to:

*Lose 15 pounds
*Reach a 10% weight loss
*Be able to run a mile again
*Do a REAL push up
*Hold Plank position for a full minute
*Do a pull up unassisted
*Have a normal sized towel fit around me with no gap
*Fit back into wedding ring (by far the most special victory for me)
*Lose 40lbs before husband gets back home
*Go down a clothing size
*Fit into single digit pants again
*Wear a medium

I have many other goals, some silly, some really big, and others just plain awesome. I know that eventually, I'm going to be able to scratch them all off (even that darned pull-up one that I'm not sure why I even put on there.. ugh, hate pull ups!). I have little rewards that I give myself for doing well. When I started going down clothing sizes, I rewarded myself with some new clothes. My mom and I plan on having a girl's getaway when we both reach our final goals. And I have other rewards planned for my remaining goals. Some small, some bigger. I hit the 40lb goal a bit early, so I'm changing to to 50lbs. Bit of a stretch but I'm optimistic.

Now that I'm starting to scratch off more and more goals, I'm putting more focus and emphasis into what I'm eating. I've been slowly changing my eating goals over the last month. I'd like to say I eat 100% healthy, unprocessed, clean, and balanced foods everyday. But that just doesn't happen. I do try my best. I make the healthier choices and watch how much I intake but I still have a lot to work on when it comes to food. I still have a lot to learn.
This isn't something I've been able to change over night. I battle with it all. Sugar, salt, etc. I try to focus on one area and when I feel confident enough, I battle another. One area that I know I will need to focus more on eventually is my carb intake. For now, it fits in my macro goals on MFP but I know that I would see better results if I dropped my carbs some more. I'm not ready to do this yet. I choose hearty whole wheat choices, veggies, and fruits as the carbs I intake and will keep them until I absolutely have to make that change.
Sodium has been my big one that I've been working on currently. I was blown away when I realized how much sodium I was ingesting each day and didn't realize it. Most of my focus is on keeping my sodium down at the moment. This is easier by just making most stuff at home and using fresh ingredients. Not always easy to do when you have 200 other things to do during the day. But I've been working on planning ahead and making changes one at a time. Planning my meals out in advance and doing the prep work the night before has helped me make progress.
I do enjoy a treat everyday. When I first started, I avoided it all. I had such a strict, bland, and unsatisfying diet. It made me cranky and I hated every bit of it. I felt like I was on a diet and just waiting for it to end. Not what I wanted. I'm going for lifestyle change. So, I decided that as long as I stick to my calorie and macro goals and I practice self control, I will have myself a treat. I make sure the treat is under 200 calories. I use lighter versions and make it instead of getting it from somewhere else (helps me control the portion and know the nutritional information).
Today's treat was a "smore." I used a reduced fat graham cracker, sugar free chocolate pudding, and reduced fat cool whip. It was so yummy and satisfying.

 Dinner was spaghetti. Spaghetti is one of my favorites. Of course, I've had to change the recipe up a bit to make it healthier and fit into my goals. But that's okay, I still get my spaghetti. I'm learning that I can still eat the food I love and lose weight. Moderation and ingredients are key!
I was hungry today, so I threw in extra veggies to give it more volume. 2 cups of mushrooms and 1 cup of sliced zucchini gave it that extra volume. Cooked it with some ground pork and enjoyed it with some low sodium organic spaghetti sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top of whole wheat spaghetti noodles. Filling and low calorie.
                                                                 Finished product:
Well, tomorrow is a rest day (day away from the gym). It's also Pancake Saturday. I'm trying a new recipe I found:
I've been looking forward to tomorrow all week so that I can try these babies out! I'll let you know how it goes. :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

First Blog!

So, I decided it was about time for me to get in on this Blogging thing. I think that my friends are getting a little tired/bored with all of my recent topics of conversation and Facebook posts. As most of my them belong in the same 3 categories: Weight Loss, Food, and Exercise.
By creating this blog, I can now post ALL I want to about things in these categories and not worry about people thinking, "Oh great! There she goes again."
I've found that by being open about my weight loss journey and sharing things, I do better. Having the audience, accountability, and support has been amazing! This is why I'm so obsessed with It has really changed my life.
I guess a proper 1st Blog would provide an introduction of sorts.
My name is Amanda. I'm overweight! Yes, that is said with a bit of excitement. Because not too long ago, I was very obese. And sometime here in the future, I will be normal weight.
I wasn't aware of just how obese I was until I started having hospital visit after hospital visit for one problem and then another. This past summer while at one of my many hospital visits this year has offered, I stepped on their scale. This was the first time I had stepped on a scale in months. I saw a number pop up that I couldn't believe... I was over 200lbs! When did that happen? I was completely disgusted with myself. I knew I was fat but just didn't really realize how fat I had gotten. I was already at a point where I avoided being in pictures or wearing nice clothes. I tried to hide my fat (even from myself). But there was no hiding that number that I saw. It was stuck in my head. I started making small changes and saw small changes.
It wasn't until July 17, 2012 that I was introduced to My Fitness Pal. This was the day that I began making REAL changes. I decided I was done drinking soda. I also decided on a daily calorie goal and was set on keeping to it. I began measuring and logging everything I ate or drank. The first week was tough but when I made it through and saw weight loss (6 lbs the first week), I had this surge of motivation. I began adding in exercise. It was very slow at first. It takes some time to go from sedentary to active. But I didn't give up. I went and pushed myself a little bit more each day. 3 months later, I'm still very dedicated to logging everything I intake and all of the calories I burn through exercise. I have a workout routine that I follow and actually look forward to every morning. I'm down 40 pounds now. I still have a lot to lose and feel like I am only getting started. After I finish losing the weight, I'm going to focus on building lean muscle and staying fit. This isn't just a quick diet to lose weight but a lifestyle change for me. One that has been a long time coming.
One thing that has changed the most is my relationship with food and my kitchen. I use to LOATHE cooking. I'd go in there and do what I could to make it quick and get it over with. This resulted in a lot of processed foods and pre-made meals. And of course it didn't taste good, so I developed an unhealthy preference to take out or fast food.
Not anymore. I am always looking for new recipes and make sure to work at least one new recipe in each week. I prefer homemade food now. I've learned recipes to things I would never have thought to make homemade before, such as applesauce. Now it's one of my favorite and most used recipes. I'm not a great cook but I'm much better than I use to be. It's funny to think that the thing that got me in the most trouble with weight (food) is also what is helping the most to lose the weight.
When I first started losing weight, I was depriving myself of anything and everything I use to enjoy eating. That was miserable. I love food. I enjoy it and the depriving I was doing was only setting myself up for failure. I've now learned to change things around and make healthier, lighter versions of the foods I love. Which I have been able to do thanks to a wonderful site: Her recipes have helped me GREATLY!
Eating things I enjoy with healthy twists helps keep me satisfied and prevents me from splurging or binging later on. I use to be a binger. BIG TIME! I could stuff my face with ridiculous amounts of terrible foods and never feel full. But as my relationship with food has changed, I know I can stick to my goals and enjoy food at the same time with moderation and smart choices.
I still have a lot to learn with food and fitness. I still have inner battles that I fight everyday. But I'm making improvements each day and sticking to my goal.
And I think that's a good amount of info to take in for a 1st blog!
Thanks for joining me on this journey. Now be prepared for blogs about food, weight loss, and exercise! I'll be sharing the recipes I try, the workouts I've been experimenting with, and anything else there is to share. :)