Friday, August 31, 2007
I really believe that anyone that is doing a reduced calorie diet will have a very hard time sustaining any type of long term weight loss, because it just isn't realistic to reduce calories indefinitely. Besides, how sad it would be to give up all those wonderful 'naughty' foods forever!!!
Let me remind you that in my first BFL 12 week challenge, I lost 12 pounds of fat and gained 2 pounds of muscle...and I took 12 free days eating whatever I wanted. I'm not one of those people who, after eating well for weeks, then got in the 'habit' of eating well, and didn't crave any bad foods anymore. I still LOVE all those foods I loved before. I am more careful about what I choose to eat on free day because I don't want to blow it on gross fast food, I make sure to eat things I really LOVE.
So what is the reasoning for a free day you might ask. Well, our super smart bodies know when we are calorie restricting, and after a while it adapts to this calorie deficit by slowing down your metabolism and going into sort of a starvation mode, holding on to the body fat in case food is going to be scarce and it needs the fat for energy. Having a day where your calories are higher, announces to your body that all is well, food is not scarce, and boosts your metabolism to burn off those extra calories. Recently there has been more research on this idea. Read this interesting article about a former BFL champion who has now written his own book The Cheat to Lose Diet I have not read the book, and the fact that the word DIET is in the title puts me off a little, but since it reinforces why the cheat day/meal is so important, I was happy.
Anyway, I would not have stuck with BFL if there was no free day, it's psychologically and physically important. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
On a side note, I got on the scale today (I vowed to only weigh in once a week), and the scale HAS NOT MOVED...not my weight, and not my body fat% (insert expletive here). Oh, this is infuriating. I'm convinced that I'm not getting enough calories. I haven't been feeling 100% the last week because of an infection, so my appetite was a little low. I'm going to try to boost clean calories next week, and cross my fingers. That combined with the new exercise routines should confuse my body enough to get off this plateau.
So, I'm off, just had some delicious fluffy bakery white bread french toast made by my DH. I plan on having a Starbucks iced mocha, some more white bread, maybe pizza tonight with a glass of wine (strange combo I know), then ice cream tonight. YUMMM
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Also been tracking my calories for the last 2 days. I'm usually very anti calorie counting. It messes with my head. However, since the weight isn't coming off like I wanted/expected, I figured I would see what my intake was like. Well, it's a little lower than I think it should be. I was about 1300 yesterday and 1430 today..and the only reason I hit 1430 today was because I put everything into fitday before my last meal...so I added peanut butter to boost my calories a bit. So I figure if I'm creating a calorie deficit (which I definitely should be), but the fat still isn't coming off despite my workouts...then I must not be eating enough.
Why can't this be an exact science??
Also been jumping rope for my HIIT, which has been great. For some reason I had never given this form of exercise much thought because it seems so simple...like cardio has to be complicated in order to be effective? Anyway, here is an interesting article on a Jumping Rope . So besides the whip marks I've been giving myself which make it appear that I am into some strange S&M stuff, I am going to stick with jumping rope...maybe I'll get better at it.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
This song touches me like I Can Only Imagine, by Mercyme did when it came out. It is called In My Arms, by Plumb. If you are a Mom, you will get it, and if you are a Believer, it will have even more meaning.
The video is just for the song...
Plumb In My Arms
From the album Blink
Your baby blues
So full of wonder
Your curly cues
Your contagious smile
And as I watch
You start to grow up
All I can do
Is hold you tight
Clouds will rage and
Storms will race in
But you will be safe
In my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash around
But you will be safe
In my arms
Are full of fairytales
Of Kings and Queens
And the bluest skies
But my heart is torn
Just in knowing
You'll someday see
The truth from lies
Castles they might crumble
Dreams may not come true
But you are never all alone
Cause I will always
Always love you
Label: Curb Records
Lyrics may not be reproduced without permission from the publisher.
First: MorningStar Spicy Black Bean Burgers
With just 140 calories per burger and a near equal protein/carb ratio, they are a great lunch time meal. I put them in the toaster so they get a little crispy on the outside. I like to eat them with a little low fat cheese, and fresh garden tomatoes...yummy!!
Speaking of cheese, I really do not like the fat free cheeses that are on the market now. They don't melt, and they are just weird. However, I have discovered a fat free feta cheese that is actually really good, and I don't really care for regular feta cheese. I got President Fat Free Feta, California Tomato and Basil . It has 30 cal per oz, with 6gms of protein and less than 1 gm of carbs. It is super delicious on the above Spicy Black Bean Burger.
The third thing I have come to really enjoy is Fage Total 0% Greek Yogurt . I had a really hard time finding this in my town, and had to go 30 minutes away to a Co-op to find it. It is much higher in protein than regular yogurt, is also lower in carbs, and has no artificial anything in it. It has the consistency of sour cream almost, and it isn't flavored. Last night I had it with some delicious fresh diced peaches.
The 4th thing I really like is the MorningStar Sausage Patties (I really like MorningStar products!) . One patty has 80 calories, 3gm fat, a whopping 10gms of protein and 3 carbs. The last few mornings I have nuked one patty, toasted an organic whole wheat english muffin, cooked 1 whole egg and 1 egg white, and had breakfast sandwiches. Very tasty!!
The 5th thing I am excited about is Torani sugar free peanut butter syrup. I love peanut butter, but putting it in my protein pancakes, protein shakes etc, can add quite a few calories..especially if I have already had enough healthy fats for the day. I haven't actually tried the syrup yet, as my dear sister just got it for me yesterday. It smells yummy though!!
Okay, now I'm really hungry....gotta go eat!!
Friday, August 24, 2007
Prior to starting my quest in fitness and getting serious about making this a lifestyle, I might have believed that doing a bazillion crunches could make my abs flatter than Kansas. I'm now a little smarter. Did you know that no matter how many crunches, sit-ups, leg extensions I do, that layer of fat that sits over my ab muscles will STILL BE THERE, hiding my 6 pack. Yep, I have a 6 pack, so do you, it's just hiding under a nice protective layer of blubber. Nice huh. I've been genetically gifted with a bowl of jello right under my belly button, it also oozes nicely to both sides of my hips. There is nothing about my body that I rue more than my bowl of jello. Now, fashion has decided to accentuate this beautiful gift by making low-rise pants, which has caused an epidemic of muffin tops.
So, how do you get a flat washboard stomach? In the kitchen! Your body fat has to be around 15% for girls in order to see a 6 pack, sometimes lower. I think it will have to be lower for me since I tend to hoard all fat in that area...apparently my jello belly doesn't like to share. (Although, as a side note, my shoe size did got down 1/2 a size when I lost weight.. apparently I had chubby feet too). Thank you,Kelly, for mentioning how tiny my feet looked in my karate uniform, although you'd be hard pressed to find someone who's feet didn't look small with 14 yards of white fabric on.
I digress, you know what I'm doing to get flat abs. Lipo! Just kidding...although I have to admit, I've thought about it. Nope, I'm doing it the old fashioned way; HIIT (high intensity interval training), lifting weights, and eating 6 small meals a day consisting of equal parts proteins and complex carbs, and lifting weights, and some healthy fats in there too. While lifting weights, I tighten my abs during almost every exercise. They are getting a workout, I just don't spend lots of time on them yet, because I still have a lot of body fat to lose. Did you know that Jackie Warner doesn't do any crunches or independent ab work!! Did you see her abs?!!
Thursday, August 23, 2007
It sits there staring at me in the shower, it watches me while I'm in the bathroom. It magically beckons the cat over while I'm standing on it and gets her to stand on it too, just to mess with my head. It estimates my body fat a full 7-8 % more that it really is. It's cold, it's cruel....I need to throw it out!! I have had my DH hide the thing before because I was getting too obsessive about it, then I spent about 1/2 an hour trying to find where he hid it. I've got issues! I've got a love hate relationship with the scale...mostly hate. Why I feel the need to stand on it nearly every morning..I don't know...maybe because I 'feel' skinnier. I get on it with high hopes, it tells me I'm number one (see picture), then reminds me of my age (yes, I just turned 30), then beeps several times while my hopes rise and rise, then kabamb, I'm a pound heavier than yesterday. What the?? I've been busting butt in the gym, my eating has been close to perfect.
As a side note, I avoid the scale like the plague when I'm "off the wagon".
The moral of my story, is stay off the scale (I'm trying to convince myself here). Yep, I know all the reasons why scale weight is so insignificant in and of itself. Why do I care about a number that does not take into consideration water weight, lean body mass, bloating, how long my hair is, how many children I've birthed, etc. I know that muscle weighs more than fat, so I may be putting on muscle while losing fat, but this will not be reflected in my scale weight. I know that it is not good to lose more than 2 pounds a week (although I know I'd be happy if I did) even though I KNOW that this would likely be the result of losing lean body mass...which I don't want to do. Why oh why do I care what that blasted thing says.
So from now on, I am only weighing in once a week, I will do measurements whenever I feel 'skinnier', instead of getting on the scale. I will test my body fat with my hand held thinga-ma-bob (which incidentally gives me a number 10-11% lower than my evil Tanita scale). I will attend my S.A. meetings (scale addicts). I really should have my DH hide it again, although I find myself constantly wondering where he put it, and I feel challenged to find it just to prove he didn't have a very good hiding spot.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
After a strenuous workout your body/muscles are depleted of many important nutrients, and it is vital to replenish these nutrients in order to build muscle. Otherwise your body will start using your hard earned muscle to replenish itself..eeks! Your muscles only grow while recovering...not while lifting. In general it is recommended to DRINK something within 45 minutes after exertion, I say drink because it will be more easily absorbed than solid food. Whey protein (made from milk) is a gold standard for post-workout recovery because it is easily digested. You also need some simple carbs to create an insulin spike in order build muscle and stop protein breakdown. There are a lot of different ideas about the ratio of carb to protein for post-workout, but the one I've seen the most is 4 carbs to 1 protein. And as a side note, other recommended nutrients for a post-workout recovery drink are: glutamine, glucosamine, vitamin C, branched chain amino acids, and b-complex vitamins.
I'm sure many of you have heard about the studies done on chocolate milk as a post-exercise recovery drink. Well, even though I had read those studies, I just couldn't get over the mentality that I was cheating if I drank chocolate milk while 'on program' (key word for eating right and exercising according to BFL standards). Since I've been doing BFL for nearly a year (although not consistently unfortunately), in fact it was 1 year yesterday that I started my first 12 week challenge, I figured I could start to play with things a bit. So I did a little more research on chocolate milk, and although there are still those die hard protein shake guzzlers that think there is nothing better than a manufactured protein powder, I think I will stick closer to nature and go with the old fashioned chocolate milk. I'm not saying that some protein powders might indeed be better than chocolate milk for post-exercise recovery, I'm just saying I REALLY like chocolate milk. Let me also just say that I am talking about non-fat or 1% chocolate milk here, not the high fat stuff. Also, I did not find any study that directly examined chocolate milk vs. protein shakes. Most of the studies done have been chocolate milk vs. Gatorade and other mostly carb drinks.
Here is an excerpt from a study
From the February issue of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
"Our study indicates that chocolate milk is a strong alternative to other commercial sports drinks in helping athletes recover from strenuous, energy-depleting exercise," coauthor Joel M. Stager, PhD, from Indiana University in Bloomington, said in a news release. "Chocolate milk contains an optimal carbohydrate to protein ratio, which is critical for helping refuel tired muscles after strenuous exercise and can enable athletes to exercise at a high intensity during subsequent workouts."So, today, after my upper body workout, I came home to a nice, cold, refreshing glass of 1% chocolate milk. My kids looked at me strange, because they NEVER see me drinking chocolate milk, and we always have it in our house since my kids are now addicted to it, and will not drink white milk. Even my husband gave me a strange look.
So lets all raise our glasses and say CHEERS to chocolate milk :)
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Class #2 was last night. I got my Gi (karate uniform). I can't decide if I look like a chef or a sumo wrestler, but I guess we're not there to look cute. We train in an old gymnasium of sorts in a community center which is used by many other groups. Well they had some kind of wild shindig in there because the floor was filthy, sticky, nasty, gross....and we train barefoot of course. So, Sensei (being the leader that she is) got the mop out, and all of the students had to get paper towels and dry where she had mopped. It was a "wax on, wax off" kind of moment. Lesson #2: drying a large floor with paper towels is a great workout!!
We then proceeded with punches, blocks, and kicks. One of the instructors came over to watch my kicks and said..."oh, you have done karate before". I said, no, this is my second class. He said "well, you are a natural". Weeeeehoooooo, I'm 30, a mom of 2, and I'm a natural (okay only at the roundhouse kick). I still have trouble doing 2 different things with my hands.
Lesson #3: must roughen up feet.
They are so sore from pivoting and dragging them on the cement floor. DH thought I had rough feet before and teases me saying "why are you wearing your shoes to bed". Okay, not everyone has baby soft feet like you honey. In a few months he may be asking me to take the brillo pad off my feet :)
Monday, August 20, 2007
One of the other fabulous discoveries I've made while doing BFL has been protein pancakes. It's amazing how good these are...and as an added bonus, they are really good for you. Make sure you have a good blender though, or even better, a food processor. Here is a list of the different varieties you can make. I prefer the banana ones because I always have bananas on hand, and I love the banana flavor. I have not tried all of the varieties, and I never use baking powder.
Anyway, you NEVER taste the cottage cheese...even people who despise cottage cheese can't believe how much they love these pancakes. If you make them, make sure to cook them on a lower setting than you would regular pancakes, because they are more dense and it takes longer for the middle to cook through, otherwise they tend to be a little mushy in the center. Make a big batch, put 2-3 (depending on size) into a freezer bag, and throw in the freezer. Then when you need a quick meal/snack, put them in the toaster or microwave. Top with a bit of natural peanut butter or spray butter and some sugar free syrup....or nothing at all, your choice. ENJOY!!
Banana: Serv 4. 12 egg whites, 1.5c dry oats, 2c cottage cheese, 1/2c mashed banana (about 1 lg. banana), 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder, cinnamon, vanilla.
Pumpkin: Serv 1, 4 egg whites, 1/4c dry oats, 1/2c cottage cheese, 4tbs pumpkin puree (1/4c), 1/4tsp baking powder, pumpkin pie spice (or all spice), splenda to taste.
Blueberry: Serv 1, 3 egg whites, 1/4c dry oats, 1/2c cottage cheese, 1/4c blueberries (fresh only), 1/4ysp baking powder, splenda.
Strawberry: Serv 2, 6 egg whites, 3/4c dry oats, 1c strawberries (fresh only), 1/2tsp baking powder, splenda & vanilla.
Apple or Pear Cinnamon: Serv 4, 16 egg whites, 1.5c dry oats, 2c cottage cheese, 1.5c chopped apple (about 1 lg), 1tsp baking powder, splenda, cinnamon.
Peach Pie: Serv 2, 6 egg whites, 3/4c dry oats, 1c cottage cheese, 1 sm. peach - about 3/4c), 1/2tsp baking powder, dash of nutmeg, vanilla & splenda.
Lemon Poppyseed: 1/2c Cottage Cheese, 1/2c dry oats, 4 egg whites, 1/4c splenda, 1tbs poppy seeds, 1/4tsp lemon oil (not extract nor juice - must be oil), 1/4tsp baking powder.
Raspberry Almond: Serv 1, 1/2c Cottage cheese, 1/3c dry oats, 3 egg whites, 1/4c splenda, 1/2c raspberries, 1/4tsp almond extract, 1/4tsp baking powder.
Chocolate: Serv 1, 1/3c dry oats, 2-3tbs cocoa, 4 egg whites, 1/2c cottage cheese, 1/3c splenda, 1/4tsp baking powder, a splash of vanilla. **Blend the oats into a powder. Add cocoa, then add everything else on top (otherwise the cocoa will go everywhere). Blend and cook like the rest. You may need to add a bit of water if it gets too thick.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
When the fitness revolution started...way back when...everyone was doing aerobics, stair steppers, running on a treadmill, etc...for hours and hours a week. I, like most people, thought that the more calories your burned while doing cardio, the better off you were, and of course, the longer you were on one of those machines, the more calories you burned. More had to be better right?? Well, apparently this school of thought is on it's way out. Here is an interesting article by Alwyn Cosgrove regarding moderate vs. interval cardio Energy System Training . Bill Phillips seemed to be ahead of his times when he suggested a 20 minute high intensity interval cardio in his Body for Life book. Yes, you heard right, 20 minutes...and no that is not every day. That is 3x a week only! Most people who are new to Body for Life do not believe (or at least have doubts), that this amount of cardio will be enough to bring about weight loss...or more specifically, FAT loss, which really is the ultimate goal. Side note: scale weight is a bunch of hooey. More on that later.
So, spread the word, work your hiney off for 20 minutes 3x a week. Start with a 2 minute warm up on whatever machine you prefer...or just outside walking. Then do a "sprint" for 30-60 seconds, followed by "active rest" for 60-90 seconds, which means you don't come to a complete stop. Rinse and repeat for 20 minutes, followed by a cool-down period. There are a LOT of ways to do HIIT, but as long as you are at some point thinking you are going to pass out (what we in the BFL world call "hitting your 10s"), followed by active rest...etc, you will burn far more fat, and do a greater service to your metabolism, then staying at the same pace for 45 minutes.
JUST SAY NO TO SLOW-GO CARDIO!!
As you can see from the title of my blog, I love BFL (Body for Life). A book written by Bill Phillips, which has really made an impact on my life over the last year.
After having my 2 beautiful kids, I had gained 30 stubborn pounds, and had made numerous unsuccessful attempts at getting it off. I had been working out consistently for about 6 months, and had managed to gain weight (slightly frustrating). In August, I was completely frustrated, grossed out by my flabby body, and really wanted to find a program that was healthy, well balanced, and didn't leave me feeling completely deprived, and totally guilty if I indulged every so often. I borrowed the Body for Life book, and couldn't wait to get started. On Aug 21st 2006, I started my first 12 week challenge. In those 12 weeks I lose 14 pounds of fat and gained 2 pounds of muscle. I lost inches and inches off my body, and I felt great. I continued onto another 12 week challenge, which wasn't nearly as successful, but I still managed to lose another 6 pounds (I was still not at my goal weight)
Since I was still in the mindset of this being a 'diet', after a trip to Mexico (one of the main motivators for wanting to lose the weight), I rebelled, ate really poorly...worked out sometimes, and gained 12 pounds back *GASP*.
So this is my journey. I still struggle, I rebel, I crave, I lose motivation, but through all this, I persist. Phil 4:13 !!