Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A little every day.

I'm on another upswing of focusing on health and wellness, which means I've logged back into this blog in an attempt to stay on track.

Some highlights:

  • I'm on a 104 day streak logging my meals on My Fitness Pal. (I'm nicycle, let's be friends!)
  • I've been logging at least 30 miles per week on my bike, which is not a high number for me, but is consistent and thus worth celebrating. 
  • I've been preparing my meals with intention, whole foods, while on a budget. This is tough, so this is a big one. 
  • I've committed to focusing on ONE goal per week, which will be implemented every day. 

That last list item is a new one. It's basically what all health experts tell you to do: choose one small thing to focus on and do it every day for X amount of time... then build on it. 

This week, I'm committed to intentional exercise each day. 

The last several mornings I've been working out in my living room. On Tuesday AM I did a strength training routine that I love from Fitness Magazine.  It requires only a stability ball and a set of dumbbells, and because it utilizes "supersets," which are compounded, it goes quickly and works a ton of muscle groups in together. 

The other two mornings I've been using YouTube videos by adding them to a playlist which I can access through the YouTube app on my Roku player. This is super convenient because it's MUCH easier to work out in front of the TV than the laptop. Some of my favorite YouTube workout videos are Kettlebells with Sgt Shanahan, almost anything from JessicaSmithTV , and this Cardio Dance workout from PopSugar Fitness

I'm excited for Spring to stick around for a while so that I can get back out on my inline skates, my favorite - however nerdy- outdoor activity. It absolutely feels like I'm running at incredibly speeds, but without the high impact of running. Plus... THE SUN!

To further support my goals for activity this Summer, I purchased a used road bike for bike camping or just longer rides. The gear ratio allows me to be SUPER FAST, which is a fun change from my tank of a winter bike, and my light single speed. I'm psyched. 

Hopefully I won't forget to come back here and talk about stuff. xo. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

She's baaaaaaack....

It's funny how easy it is to let the weight creep back on. 

I'm exactly where I was the last time I came back to this blog to restart the habits I know help me reign things in. 174.4 pounds. That means I've gained back half of the weight I originally lost over the last 10 years. 

I still consider that a success. A lot of people struggle to keep the weight off for more than a year. 

I am struggling, but I think I've developed a much healthier relationship with food in the meantime, and that is incredibly valuable. 

I also quit smoking this year. I have 46 days of being smoke free under my belt, and with that, an extra 5 pounds. I can accept that. What I've gained in weight I've also gained in life, so... I still win. 

I came here to make some goals for myself. I often make goals that are bigger than what I can do. I rarely make those goals here. Here, in this blog, I make simple, basic goals that I can achieve to continue building my confidence and giving back to my body. 

Goals for the Week
  • Track all the food! Everything! It's ok if you go a million calories over what MFP says you can have in a day, just be accountable. Keep this data to look for patterns. Are there certain days that are more prone to over eating or binging than others? 
  • Move some more! I don't have a gym membership. I can't afford it and I don't have time. I ride my bike every day. I walk a lot at my job(s). I also sit a LOT during the day, and this is a factor I don't often appreciate. I need to figure out an intentional way to get more fitness in during the week. I am committed to doing 2 at home workouts over the next 7 days, just to get me started. 
  • Make a meal plan. This is something I've been doing for the past week as a way to stretch my grocery budget. I make the meal plan, I make all the food, and I stick to it. It does often mean that if something isn't up to par, I still have to eat it. Boring food often makes for a snacky Nic. Keep an eye on this. 

That's that. 

Any advice for someone intending to return with focus?  

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Weighing In - 11/18/2015

Previous weight: 171.0
Today's weight: 170.0

This week's result:  -1.0lbs!

HOORAY! Another loss. 

Slow and steady wins the race, right? 

JUST KIDDING! There's no race. I can't think of way to explain how obvious that is to myself when I've been at this for nearly 10 years, and it's still a constant diligence. Still not second nature. Still not always something I want to do, and so I don't do it then, and then I start over again. 

I ebb and flow between points of loving and cherishing my body, and being disappointed and punishing it. I think this is normal. Well, I know it's normal given the culture of fear based beauty we've built. The high rate of eating disorders due to the strict demands on female acceptability forces me to keep an eye on my habits so I don't swing too hard the other way. 

I also just really like gummy bears, so...

This week was not the greatest in regard to eating well. I didn't spend time slowing down like I thought I would, and in fact the week seemed to go at hyperspeed (PLAID). The weekend accidentally disappeared when I recruited my Manpanion to assist me in a small project: pick up this couch I found on Craigslist. I found the couch on Tuesday, and the guy agreed to hold it till Saturday (the first day off I'd have in which to pick up a couch). Plus, there's that whole you-can't-pick-up-a-couch-on-a-bike thing, so I had to find a truck. 

I took to Facebook with my request and ended up learning that two of my neighbor friends have trucks (GOOD TO KNOW), and another buddy has a utility trailer. Given the fact that I wasn't entirely sure I would want this couch, we opted for the trailer because it somehow seemed to carry less borrowing risk. Now that everything is over, I'm not entirely sure how I arrived at that conclusion. 

The couch was a hit. It's a little dirty, and because of that I talked him down to $50 to make up the difference of needing to rent a steam cleaner. Then I took to Facebook and asked for a steam cleaner. 

Note: household steam cleaners are not really very powerful. So, still need to rent that steam cleaner, unless someone knows a trick to cleaning upholstery. Eh? Eh? 

FINALLY getting a comfortable couch in the bachelorette pad, and at only 12% of what I'd saved for said couch, meant I got to go on a little spree to get OTHER THINGS for the living room. When you're a broke 30 something, you still have your decorating sprees at IKEA, just like when you're in you're 20s. So, you still have that to look forward to you guys. 

In the end, two days and $387.27 later, I came in under budget and LOVE MY LIVING ROOM again. I cannot wait to have people over. 

The rearrangement also spurred a serious purge, and I am getting rid of a bunch of stuff. Probably not as much stuff as I should get rid of, but it's a start! I'm proud of me, and I'm grateful to Manpanion for really running with this project. 

This week, I have a lot going on again. Work every night, and lots of exams coming up before the Thanksgiving break. So this week I'm falling back on my Lean Cuisines + vegetables template because it's easy, and helps me get used to reasonable portions. I do know this is working, because I went out to eat this weekend (during the spree) and I only ate half my meal because I was FULL. AND I RECOGNIZED THAT I WAS FULL. And I stopped. 

That's kind of a big deal over here. 

Go me. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Weighing In - 11/11/15

Previous weight: 172.8
Today's weight: 171.0

This week's result:  -1.8lbs!

HOORAY! I did something!

This week I definitely focused on getting my exercise on. Every single day I did something active, whether it was my kettlebell workout, or some form of cardio like in-line skating (hilarious, fun, and a great workout), jogging (really it's wogging, walking and jogging, because I'm horrifically out of shape), or a YouTube cardio video like Zumba or a dance tutorial. 

Yesterday I had a horrible day. SO stressful. My anxiety was sky-high and my rumination consumed most of my afternoon. I decided to turn things around by heading to TwerkHop, a hilarious barre//cardio class at ExperTease Fitness, a little studio in my town that houses one of the best burlesque troops and some of the top dancers. They also offer arial classes, burlesque choreography, and pole dancing (which I used to be super into, so I know a thing or two).  I laughed my way through class because I am just awful at it, but you can't get better at something if you don't do it. I was still seethingly angry at the afternoon situation when I left, but physiologically I definitely felt more at peace, so I'll call that a win. 

As for the rest of the week, I've been trying to be very intentional with meal times. Carefully crafting my meals, making them look pretty, and eating them slowly. Well, slower than I usually do, which is hungry-wolf-pace. Because I wasn't sure I was up to the task of cooking something in bulk and eating the same thing all week, which generally sends me in a DELIVERY FOOD spin by Wednesday, I bought a bunch of Lean Cuisines, and then simple staples to bulk them up or eat as snacks like kale, onions, snap peas, carrots, leeks, hummus, eggs, and sandwich materials. 

Steak Portabello Lean Cuisine with wilted kale, and sauteed peas and onions

Scrambled eggs with carrot sticks and spicy avocado hummus

Roasted turkey sandwich with smashed avocado, spinach and horseradish mustard; carrot sticks, spicy avocado hummus, with grapes

SmartOnes Lasagna Florentine with wilted kale, sauteed carrots, onions, and cabbage with NightWine

Fat free plain greek yogurt with bananas and cinnamon, wilted spinach in white wine vinegar, and scrambled eggs with coffee

Parmesan Crusted Fish Lean Cuisine with spinach dressed in Annie's and wilted kale with sauteed carrots, peas and leeks

While I don't necessarily want to be eating frozen, processed foods... right now I am attempting to reorganize my idea of portion size by only allowing additional vegetables to my meals. It's working. It's also super tough to live alone and try to eat a variety diet because EVERYTHING GOES BAD before you can get to it, or you end up having to buy more than you need even when you attempt to shop bulk to control size. 

So, this was my solution and I'm digging it, and it seems to be working out. 

My goals for the coming week are...
  • Keep working on my fitness. The weather is supposed to turn starting today. We've really scooted by on these 60 degree, sunny days here in Minnesota, but today the rain comes and the weather drops. I have to start getting more creative with indoor workouts since I don't belong to a gym. 
  • Keep valuing meal time. I want to slow my consumption even more. I want to focus on taking the time to savor my meals, and start to learn to register when I am full so that I'm not instantly reaching for dessert after I gobble up my dinner. Maybe I don't even want dessert! Time to start listening. 
  • Get in some social time. Luckily, being super busy means I'm not consuming a ton of extra happy hour calories, but it also means that I am not taking care of my social self. I already have a date night booked with Manpanion for Saturday, and I'm super psyched to spend more than 10 minutes with him as we pass each other between classes, and it will be really fun to hear his voice instead of the little notification sign from Google Hangouts. 
Keeping things simple and mostly on repeat this week. Attempting to develop habits and make them stick. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Hell's Bells.

After my gain this week, I was on a one day roll. I didn't even have my [well deserved] glass of NightWine. I love NightWine. It's wine you have at night! As a gal who lives alone, I'm such a huge fan of BotaBox for several reasons: it takes a very long time to go bad, it's delicious, and because the box is opaque you can't see how many glasses you've had.

Hence, NightWine is also a huge flaw when you're trying to do a little hip shrinking.

Yesterday, I had a hard day. Thursdays are on-campus days from 9am until 4pm after 2 days of full classes and 2 nights of work. When all was said and done yesterday, I made myself a delightful little dinner, which I chased with 2 HUGE bowls of cereal.

My stomach was distended. It was literally huge. I ate way too much, and I was thinking about eating more. I just wanted to eat eat eat eat eat. If you're a binger, you know what that's like.

I hadn't binged in a while. Save for that whole pizza I ate on Halloween, which I can't even consider a binge because I hadn't eaten all day, and a whole pizza is still a better choice than a whole pizza and two bowls of cereal and several other things. Right? I mean... justified. It's not the best choice, but it's not ridiculous. I didn't go to bed feeling like I had swallowed two 5 pound bags of flour.

After last night's binge, I decided today was going to be different. The old adage of "every day is an opportunity for a new start" or whatever they say. I'm probably close.

This morning, for breakfast, instead of my favorite 2 fried eggs + Multi-grain One Bun + avocado + plain yogurt + honey [which is roughly 550 calories], I opted to have a rotisserie chicken leg and a half cup of roasted carrots, turnips, and sweet potatoes.

I remembered that some of my most successful calorie reigning happens when I both load up on protein in the morning, and save my eggs for dinner.

There's something about our ideas of what each meal should contain. I like dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner. I've read several times that our biggest meal should be breakfast, and continually shrink on down. If I eat my socialized idea of dinner for breakfast, I am generally pretty happy having two scrambled eggs for dinner with some steamed vegetables.

In addition to trying to overhaul my menus, I knew I could sneak in a workout between my class this morning and my work shift tonight. So I did this kettlebell workout, complete with charming Canadian accent. It's SHORT, sweet, and better than nothing.

If you're into kettlebells, my other go-to video is this one, which is SUPER QUIET. QUIET enough that someone who lives on the 3rd floor can totally do it at 6am with zero complaints from neighbors, I know from experience.

Kettlebells are awesome. They combine strength training with cardio, they're small, and they work so many muscle groups. Because you combine all those little muscles with the big ones, you get to get in and get out a little faster, which I will always be a fan of. Because a kettlebell is all you need, you can basically do this anywhere, which makes it super accessible. No gym required, just about a 3 foot shield of space around you and you're golden.

So... kettlebells!

Do you love them too? What are your favorite kettlebell workouts that I can add to my routine?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Weighing In - 11/04/2015

Previous weight: 169.8
Today's weight: 172.8

This week's result:  +3.0lbs

Awe. I thought I did a pretty good job with Halloween. I didn't go crazy with candy (didn't buy any, only ate the gifts I was given from lovely kiddos in my life... and the handful I stole from my BIL/SIL house). I only had 2 drinks that night. 

...I did eat a whole pizza after that, but that's because I hadn't eaten since breakfast. My own fault. 

So, I guess you can't eat whole pizzas and expect to maintain or lose, huh? What a rip off. 

I did NOT workout last week. I got swept up with an unwritable paper that I just couldn't seem to start or finish, so every day I would stress out about it, try to write it, fail, and then try some more. I lost a lot of sleep over it. 

I handed it in yesterday. 

My goals for the week are...

  •  to continue tracking. I'm on a 30 day streak! Keeping tabs on what I'm consuming inevitably leads to smarter choices. So, keep doing this, Me. 
  • to work out at least twice. I ride my bike every day, but that's not really a work out. I also walk [a lot] when I'm at work. These are things that are part of my base rate at this point. I need to put in extra effort. A couple weeks ago I managed to fit in a kettlebell workout, and a 30 Day Shred workout. I can do those. They take 30 minutes. I can do this. 
  • to get more sleep. It's been a killer 2 weeks. Last night I went to bed at 7pm and woke up this morning at 5:30am. I needed the sleep. I love sleep. I should sleep. 

I've already prepped the majority of the food I'll be eating this week. The compromise between budget shopping and healthy meals is hard, and something I'm still trying to figure out. 

What healthy foods do you eat when you're broke? 

Soup. The answer is probably soup. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Errand Day.

When you go to school full-time, and work two jobs in the evening, you sort of relish and also resent your "Errand day."

For me, this is often Sunday. A day in which I do laundry, I shop for food, I prepare food, and I clean the house and get ALL THE THINGS done that need to be done.

This morning, I woke up next to my love, with little feet pounding around in the hallway outside the room. Little feet is kind of a misnomer, they're actually only slightly-smaller-than-mine feet, as we later saw while shopping for winter boots and closed toed shoes for the kiddo and these chillier months at REI. His feet are now only about 1" shy of my feet, and that is CRAZY.

After that, thrift shopping for Halloween costume components. Shiny Mew, a Pokemon phenomenon. It's going to be good.

AND THEN, grocery shopping, where we took turns hanging out with Kiddo while he ate from the hot/salad bar as the other did their share of shopping. It was efficient, it was awesome, and we got it all done. Everyone was patient and did their part, and even though it was a day of to-and-fro, I was pretty smitten the entire time.

Over breakfast there was some talk of Kiddo money: how he earns, saves, and spends. Manpanion is doing a great job of trying to instill a lot of monetary lessons on responsibility, and I REALLY needed to rake the yard at the Bachelorette Pad. Since it was a gorgeous fall day, and Kiddo was actively seeking ways to make money (like earning $1 for vacuuming the living room at P's house, and $1 for putting away dishes there as well), I offered up a $10/hr position raking up leaves; explaining the difference between paying hourly, and on merit, versus on a per-job basis.

Kiddo worked it out. He really committed to this project, made it fun, and truly did a fantastic job. He added in fun by raking up a giant pile of leaves to jump in (because why else would we rake them?), and made a video in the process. He earned his $10 in 45 minutes, simply because he did not quit, and even when told he was done he still helped us carry out the yard bags to the alley because he had free hands.

So tonight, I'm studying for my next 2 Midterm exams, while roasting and baking and steaming all the things for the week.

I made....

  • a pot of steel cut oats for breakfasts ( I like to stir in peanutbutter for protein)
  • pan fried fajita peppers and onions for burrito bowls (and will add Chicken Tinga I brought home from the taco joint last week and threw in the freezer. FREE PROTEIN!)
  • roasted carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower for kimchi rice bowls
  • a pot of quinoa
  • baked sweet potato (for stuffing and twice-baking. Add quinoa, black bean and corn salsa, and Chicken tinga, with a little cheddar shredded on top)
  • an acorn squash
  • baked apples with brown sugar
The weeks meals are now easy to assemble, and I have a sweet treat in the fridge for when a craving hits. 

Though weigh in is not until Wednesday, I'm feeling mostly confident as I began integrating workouts into my slight free times this last week. I'm going to integrate various levels of the 30 Day Shred, with online workout videos, and my kettle bell. 

Hooray, this week is ON!