Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A little bit of "YIKES!" "GRRR!" and "YAY!"

Let's start with the "YAY!"
The husband is home! Late on Monday night, my dear hubby returned. I can't even begin to describe how happy we are in this house. I felt all of that extra stress and frustration (that I didn't even realize I was carrying around) evaporate from my body. It's been AH-MAZING. :)
Last night, I needed to make a quick run to the store to grab one thing. I was able to go do that without the kids! Yes, I made a quick run to the store and it was actually quick. I didn't have to bundle the youngins' up (because it is freaking cold out there), get them buckled up in the car, take them out of the car, go inside, battle the "Mom, can we buy this?" or "MOM! Sissy hit me!" phrases over and over, and then go through it all over again as it was time to leave, get back in the car, and go home. Nope, I just walked in, grabbed what I needed, and left. I even jammed loudly to my music in the car (just because I could).
This morning, my daughter wasn't feeling good. So we kept her home from school. Guess what? I was still able to go to the gym! Yep, a sick child didn't mean I had to stay home! I could just go on and on about how great it is having him home... but that would force me to change the title of this blog to, "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!" And well, I have other things I'd like to write about.

I've been debating whether I wanted to write about this or not. And I decided that I need to. I need the accountability and the humility.
Thanksgiving did not go as planned! I was so determined to tackle the Holiday and be victorious and walk away with my head held high. When in fact, that planned failed before Thursday even came around. On Wednesday, the kids and I went with my mom to the SuperMall a few cities over. While there, we saw Johnny Rocket's. A yummy little burger, fries, and shakes place. I was very easily convinced that we could go there for lunch and it be okay. Well, that inner binge monster saw it's opportunity to come out to play. I ordered way too much (and was not holding back). I got the cheese on my fries, the bacon on my burger, and the worse possible milkshake to have when watching your calorie intake. After lunch, I calculated that I had just had about 3000 calories. That should have stopped me, right? My side of reasoning should have stepped up and turned my self control button back on. But no, I had fed the monster and it wanted more.
For those of you who don't know, I was a serious binge eater before I started MFP. There were times I would eat to the point where it made me sick and still want to eat more. I'd easily eat 5000+ calories a day. 
Well, that's where the "GRRR" comes into play. Before we left that mall, I also had some candy from the chocolate store, a pepperoni pretzel from Annie's Pretzels, some mini cupcakes, cookies, and any other samples and small snacks there. I went to bed that night feeling so sick to my stomach. I was so angry with myself.
"Well, at least your learned your lesson and got right back on track, Amanda!" you may say. Nope. I woke up that next morning and decided that I was gonna have pecan pie with my Thanksgiving mea. afterall. I went to the store (at 6 am) and grabbed a pie. A pie that I got into before Thanksgiving lunch was even ready. I then proceeded to have 2 helpings of way too much food for lunch. Then another piece of pie!
"It happens! You did better the next day, right?" you're thinking. Nope. I made terrible food choices both Friday and Saturday before I finally snapped myself out of it on Sunday. And I'm not going to go into detail the food choices I made those two days, because it's just disgusting the things I was allowing myself to eat and the amounts that I ate them. 
Couple that with 5 days of  missing the gym and you can imagine how icky I was feeling and looking. When I woke up Sunday morning, I stepped on the scale and saw a 10lb difference from the last time I stepped on it. "YIKES!" (Yes, I know it wasn't a real 10 pound gain... but I also know that I definitely gained some real weight with all of that water weight, too). Then the thought of my husband coming back home and all of my hard work finally gave me the strength to stop. I hopped right back on track. This week has been going just as well as all of those other weeks before last week happened.

So what in the heck happened? That was my first binge since I started MFP 4 1/2 months ago.. and it lasted 4 day days! Where did I go wrong?
Well, I've come up with a few answers.. a few lessons learned.
1. I broke the rules on Wed. when we went out to lunch. Saturday is my "treat day" in which I get to enjoy some of the unhealthier foods I enjoy in moderation and within certain calorie limits. Yes, I do go over on my calories that day but only if I earned enough calories during the week to still keep me within my weekly calorie goal. During the week, when I see things I want, I always think, "Wait until Saturday!" Then when Saturday comes around, I choose the thing I want most and enjoy my treat. I also find many of my cravings are gone by the end of the week.
2. I was very emotional/stressed last week planning for the husband's return and all of the other things happening at the same time. I have had emotional eating problems in the past and it has always been my #1 trigger for bingeing. I shouldn't have put myself in a position like that knowing how I was feeling. I let my guard down.
3. I let myself get discouraged by my failures. One mistake shouldn't lead to more.. but it did. "I screwed up yesterday, so what's the point?"  It took me a while to get out of this mindset.

I'm not having any treat days for a while.. until I lose back the weight I gained and things settle down a bit with all the excitement and readjustments we will have to make. I'm waiting until I feel confident in my self-control and judgment again.

But I'm not beating myself up over it anymore. There's no point. It's done and over. I've learned from it. I'm back on track this week, back at the gym, and enjoying my family being whole again.

I've almost completed my first full week of Stronglifts 5x5... and I like it. I've taken some before pics and while it's too soon for any progress pics, it goes something like this...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bad Days Happen

Man! It's just been one of those days. You know those days when you wake up and can't seem to do anything right all day long? Yep. That kind of day. The kind of day where you ruin the new recipe you've been dying to make for lunch and have to come up with a quick back up plan. The type of day where you start off running late and can't seem to catch up.  The type of day where you either drop or break everything you touch! Now, I'm not one to usually get stressed out over the small things and can deal pretty well with daily hiccups.. but today was just kicking me in the butt. I felt myself slowly building up frustration as the day passed. I know the reasons behind my less than pleasant mood.  
I can be a bit of a control freak/perfectionist/etc sometimes. I like to plan my days out and mark things off my list as the day progresses. Add special events to the calendar and I seem to make things harder than they need to be. My to-do list is a bit bigger than usual and me crossing things off that list just wasn't happening today. I've got so many things I want to get done before Thanksgiving and my husband returning. But life kept interrupting those plans today. I think the thing that frustrates me the most is that I couldn't go to the gym this morning. Gasp! Because we all know that one missed day at the gym will completely undo all of my success!
I know that isn't the case and every day can't be perfect. But it still doesn't stop those inner voices from speaking their piece. I still haven't learned how to go easy on myself on those less than perfect days. It doesn't help that I'm so close to being in the 150's.. that it's taking over my thoughts  (healthy, right?).  
I should just accept that I won't see that number this week and that doesn't mean I've done badly. Yet, easier said than done. The hardest part about losing weight isn't the eating and exercise.. it's changing your thinking process and behavior. It's repairing that broken relationship you have with yourself. Weight loss is as much an emotional journey as a physical one. 
And I know that my husband won't care at all if the house isn't perfectly clean when he gets back,  if the fridge is fully stocked with all of his favorites, or all of the small things I'll obsess over that he won't even notice. But these are the things I've been stressing over. Silly? Right? I think it's just me finding something to focus on instead of the all of the anticipation and nerves I have about him coming back. SO MUCH HAS CHANGED! Will he like all the changes? How will his return impact my progress? Or worse! Will he even notice how much I've lost? (This is about the time I tell my brain to shut up and clean something and prepare). 

But thanks to my sweet friends on MFP and their nice words, I've been pulling myself out of my funk. I decided to start thinking about positive things instead of stressing over the things I can't control. I've finally gotten good at drinking enough water during the day. My secret? I drink 2 cups when I first wake up before breakfast. Having those first two cups knocked out of the way first thing in the morning makes it easier to get the other cups in throughout the day. 
Another thing that helps me cheer up when I'm feeling lame about my progress is to look at my pics that I've taken. Even when I've been stuck at the same weight for a little while, I can look at my beginning pics and during pics and see that I'm making good changes. However slowly it may be. I may not be done but I'm not just starting out either. That makes me feel better. I decided to share my progress photos with you all. I'm wearing the same sports bra and shorts in both the before and during pics.  I took some new pics today so I can compare my progress when I finish up the Stronglifts 5X5 program. Hopefully I'll have better "during" pics for you in a couple of weeks. 

THANK YOU for letting me vent! I just needed to get my crazy ramblings out of my head and out there. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and a fresh start. Most of all, I'm just going to relax this evening and not do anything else (because I'll probably break something else if I touch it, lol). 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Weight for it....

*(That title was my best attempt at being cute and creative, lol.)*

Today I started the Stronglifts 5X5 program. I've seen it all over the place on MFP and have seen some people that have had great results with it. After doing some reading, researching,  and LOTS of thinking about, I decided I would go ahead and start it. I know that Thanksgiving week isn't the best week to start a new workout program, since my gym will be closed on both Thursday and Friday. But in the past, I've always done the "it's not a good time to start because of this and that, so I'll start next week." Well, new me doesn't make sorry excuses any more! I've decided that it's okay if I can't complete the first week right, I'm still getting started. (Who in the heck is this person?? Definitely not the same person my husband last saw months ago). 
Up to this point, I've just been winging it as far as the gym goes. I go in and just do what feels right. It's worked fairly well for me but there's only so much a system like that can do for you. I've had to constantly change it. When I first began, I started off doing as much cardio as possible (1 hour on the elliptical, 1 hour on the treadmill) just burning away those calories (800-1000 calories burned a day). Because that's how you lose weight, right?? That quickly burned me out. Then I read enough to know that having some sort of strength training is important, so I just began using whatever I found at the gym and mixing it with my favorite cardio at that time (and slowly reduced the amount of cardio I was doing). Then I kept fine tuning that approach. I split my workouts into 1/2 the time doing strength, and 1/2 the time running. Trying to create a routine of some sort. I reduced my time at the gym to just 1 hour a day/5 days a week. And that's where I've been up to now. Still winging it but with more organization. Not anymore!
It's time to create a game plan! I will still be keeping cardio in the mix. I've actually come to really enjoy it. When I get to running and complete 1 mile, 2 miles, or 3 miles.. I feel GREAT! My blood is pumping, my mood is better, and I feel accomplished! This was something I didn't think possible a few months ago. It has been my biggest confidence booster and I'm not giving it up. Though, I won't be over doing it anymore and it won't interfere with my lifting. I will have lift days and I will have cardio days. No more 1/2 and 1/2 days. On days when I lift, if I really feel like I must, I will run a mile max at a light speed. My cardio days will be another story! I have that traithlon I want to do with my SIL next year, so I will be pushing myself on cardio days. But I won't have to split my time up anymore. On lift days, I will lift! On cardio days, I won't have to split up my time to squeeze in some half-a$$ lifting. I can focus on just my cardio or just my lifting, depending on the day.
I'll be throwing in a mix of running, biking, and swimming as the year passes by for my cardio days, to train for the traithlon. But for now, with the nasty winter weather, I'll be focusing a bit more on running than the other two. 
The program is a 12 week program. I've decided I'm going to do the whole 12 weeks before I make up my mind about it. I have learned that I may change things too quickly. I don't give it time to really work it's magic. So, for the next 3 months, you will hear a lot about it most likely, and that's because I'm going to stick with it for the recommended time.  Hopefully this is the key to getting my mind to accept that the number on the scale is not the deciding factor in my health and awesomeness level.
Speaking of the number on the scale. That dreaded machine with mind control powers.
I'm hoping that all these new changes are the right thing for me. I'm so close to my goal but keep stalling. It's frustrating as anything to work so hard and not see the progress you think you should be seeing. I'm still working on finding that right daily calorie goal. I've been doing a lot of researching for BMR, TDEE, and any other initial you come across when working to lose weight. It's confusing trying to find the right number. I used this calculator to try and determine my TDEE. Then I cut 500 from it and that's what I've been using as my daily goal. I eat back exercise calories sometimes just to make sure I stay above the BMR number. I was advised to keep going like this for a month straight before I make anymore changes. It will give my body a chance to adjust to the changes. That way I can see if I'm truly maintaing, losing, or gaining and can change it from there as needed. So that's what I'm going to do. NOT EASY! No, no, no. Last week I only lost .4 pounds. It made me want to cut my calories immediately to see a bigger loss. But I'm going to give it this full month before I make anymore changes. Wish me luck!

I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving and the new recipes I will be trying. (Again.. who is this person?!?!)
I've come to REALLY enjoy cooking! It's almost a hobby now. I search and search for new recipes all the time. Or I find old recipes and change them up to be healthier. I cook throughout the day and freeze a lot of things to make quick and easy meals for another time.
I use to hate cooking. I'd try anything to not have to do it. (Wonder how I became obese??)
 I didn't like to cook, therefore I would buy and make those nasty pre-packaged meals. Well, since those were so nasty (it must have been my cooking, right?). Then I got to where I wanted fast food or take out all the time, because my cooking was so bad. And once you get that fast food craving, nothing you make tastes as good. It was a nasty spiral that just got worse and worse.
So when I decided it was time to get healthy and lose weight, my first thought was, "oh no! I have to cook! That means I'll be easting nasty forever!" Much to my surprise, when I started cooking healthier homemade, less-processed meals, they weren't so bad. (You mean by using fresh clean foods, things would taste better? Homemade tastes better than something out of a box?? Hmm..)
The more I began to experiment with foods and flavors, the more I enjoyed it. I learned new ways to use the machines in my house. For instance, did you know that a blender can be used for other things than making a milkshake?!?! And that a freezer can be used for other purposes than to freeze stoeffler meals and ice cream? Surprised the heck out of me too!
In fact, my Christmas wish list consists of new appliances and goodies for the kitchen. Things that will just improve my cooking experience. It will help in my food experiments. Like when I try a new dish a few different times and a few different ways before I decide if I like it or not. That vegetable you don't like steamed.... have you tried it grilled or broiled? May change your mind about it!
Well, those are my ramblings for the day. Hope you are all having a wonderful Monday! I can't stop smiling today because each hour that passes is one hour closer to seeing my man!

Can someone tell me HOW to attach the MFP ticker to my blog that shows my weight loss progress????

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pancakes, Bowling, and More!

One thing you will see a lot of when on MFP is protein pancakes. It seems like everyone is eating some version of them. I was finally driven by curiosity to make some for Pancake Saturday. As I began searching for recipes, I was really surprised by how many different protein pancake recipes there are out there! I settled on an easy one to try first (since I had all the ingredients on hand). My first impression of protein pancakes? Very yummy! I'll definitely be trying more versions of them to find my very favorite. But for now, this will be a "go-to" when I want a quick and easy protein pancake. She has many other really yummy recipes on her site, so definitely give it a look.
The kids were big fans of the pancakes too, so it wasn't just me. They taste just like regular pancakes, so if you're looking at the ingredients and thinking, "No way, Amanda!" Give them a try before you make up your mind!  Here's a peek at how my first set looked:
With pancakes marked off our "to-do" list, there was something else we had to do this weekend. I've been promising the kids we would go bowling for quite some time now. But things went to crap last week and we were gone for a week trying to deal with everything. So, since this was a fresh weekend, I decided it was about time to make good on my word. We had a great time and it was nice to get out of the house and do something (since it was raining like crazy outside). We had Subway for lunch, even though Pizza Hut and Taco Bell were calling my name from inside the bowling alley. I couldn't tell you the last time I ate at either of those places. I'd like to keep it that way for a while longer.
 I went to my favorite store in the mall, Romy. Bought a few new pieces of clothing. I can't believe how much I like buying clothes now. I don't go in the store completely dreading the purchase I need. I've bought more clothes for myself this year than I have the last 3 years combined. It's nice to have nice looking clothes again. When I was at my heaviest, I just couldn't stand the thought of buying any clothes. Definitely not nice clothes. I tried to hide my fat under baggy clothes and sweatshirts. I'm definitely not hiding now. I have some awesome orange pants, a very cute green skirt, and some other nice looking items that stand out just a bit. Not to mention the red hair I'm sporting compared to my usual brunette locks. I've really been changing up my appearance and enjoying myself more. Must be that returning confidence sneaking out.

We made Bison burgers for dinner. I wish I would have taken a pic to share. But that would have required me to slow down and stop eating long enough to do so.
We grilled the bison patties and then placed them on whole wheat buns and topped it with light cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, mushrooms, light mayo, and some light ketchup. So freakin' good! I was so happy that we made extra and I get to have one for lunch again tomorrow! Yay for leftovers! I usually have lots of chicken and turkey, so it's always a treat when I get to have some red meat. When that red meat happens to be in the form of a burger.. oh yea, baby!

I've got an awesome busy week ahead of me full of great things! Thanksgiving, Black Friday shopping, and a homecoming for my husband! Can't wait to get to sleep and start the week!
Wishing you all a wonderful week! <3

Friday, November 16, 2012

I'm back!

Yikes! It's been too long since my last post. Between a family emergency, coming back home and getting back into the swing of things after being gone all that time, and juggling everything else; I've just been too tired to think, let alone write about my thinkings.
But I'm back! Too much has gone on the past few weeks for me to back track and catch you all up. So instead, I'm just going to focus on the now and the upcoming. I officially hit that 40 pounds off goal (and a few extra). It was my goal to reach before my husband comes back home from deployment. I hit it just in time. I'm very happy about this. When I first started and made my goal, it felt more like wishful thinking. Now it's a reality. It makes me very confident about losing the rest and reaching my final goal (25-30 more to go).
My weight loss progress has slowed down a lot since I raised my daily calories. But the weight is still coming off and I think I've finally busted through my plateau. I've been hanging around the 160's for quite some time! But, as of today I was 160.8. So, who knows! I may just finally enter the 150's soon.
I'm trying to convince myself that the change is good. Slow and steady = permanent. Right? The important thing is that I can live this way more long term. I feel like I'm getting enough food and I feel satisfied. I'm not constantly obsessing over when my next meal will be. I'm not looking at my daily menu thinking.. "yuck, is that it?" I may not be losing 2-3 pounds a week anymore but the 1/2 pound I lost this last week is off. It's 1/2 pound less that I have to work at to meet my goal.  Plus, I was able to enjoy a ColdStone ice cream last weekend and some Famous Dave's (for the 1st time in 4 months) and still lose that bit? Even better. I know I'll have some more things I will want to enjoy over the next two months, so I'm going to keep my daily intake and exercise routine set the way it is now and allow myself those treats (don't worry.. in moderation). When January comes around, I'll probably lower my calories again and work harder to lose the rest of the weight. Or not.. who knows. It's up to how I feel. It's such a challenge to acknowledge that the scale is not the only important thing to determine my weight loss progress. I've lost 6 pant sizes and went from an XL shirt (fitting tight) to wearing a M comfortably. I can run 3 miles straight and do a real pushup (never would have happened 4 months ago).  So, while I haven't been perfect in my weight loss journey, I haven't done too shabby either. I've had a huge change in a short period of time. So maybe this slow down will help me in changing my gears. I want to care more about body fat% instead of the number on the scale. I want to build lean muscle and burn away the fat. I want to get into a single digit pant size! I may not reach my "ideal weight" but if I can hit the other goals.. then I'll be pleased with that.

Like I mentioned earlier, the husband will be back home soon!! I'm so excited, I can't stand it! I've been doing a lot of errands and what nots to prepare for his homecoming. Getting my hair done this weekend.  I've already got my Welcome Home outfit picked out. It's an awesome little dress.. size MEDIUM! How's that for a welcome home? He left and I was wearing an XL.. and I will now be picking him up in a Med! Not to mention the fiesty red hair compared to the brunette it was before. I also know that having him home will be even better for my weight loss goals. I'll have support at home! I'll have HELP! Have I mentioned how excited I am? lol

In the midst of planning for the husband's homecoming, I've also been planning for Thanksgiving. First Thanksgiving since starting and I'm not scared. I will be doing the cooking this year, so that helps to ensure that the foods are healthier and not going to counter-attack all of my hard work. Here's what I've decided on for my menu (it's still subject to change if I can find some better recipes.. but this is what I'm leaning towards with a few recipe adjustments here and there):

Mashed Cauliflower
Skinny Brocolli Mac-n-cheese
Green Bean Casserole
Whole Wheat Rolls (still searching for a good recipe- if you have one)
Mini Pecan Phyllo Tarts

We have our Thanksgiving meal at lunch. Gives me plenty of time to get in some activity that day. We'll still be enjoying our favorites, just lower in fat, sugar, and sodium than previous years. I won't be obsessing as much over my calories in/calories out on that day, but will use good judgment on portion size and amount eaten. Let's see how it goes!

I will end this post with some pics of my new favorites as of late:

I'm obsessed with making this salad:
Strawberries, broiled chicken, spinach, crumbled gorgonzola cheese, cucumbers, and some low fat raspberry vinegarretet.

Next is my Click Protein Shake/Frappe. I make it after I workout. It's filling and can be a great snack in place of a meal.. and it's so good! It helps me get over those Starbucks Frappe cravings..

Here was lunch today:
Open faced Pork Loin sandwich on whole wheat naan topped with reduced fat cheddar, low fat mayo, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Yea, it's as good as it sounds/looks.

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend! Just wanted to let you all know I'm back! :)
Tomorrow is Pancake Saturday and I will be making my first batch of protein pancakes!