Moving!

Standard

I am merging my blogs into one place – all of the information/posts you see here will be migrated over to my main blog: Swimming Upstream

I hope to see you over there!

Advertisements

21 Day Fix: Round 1 (-3.9 pounds, -7 inches)

Standard

The program suggests writing down your reasons for wanting to make a lifestyle/health/fitness change. My reason, aside from my overall health (which to date doesn’t seem to be much of a motivator, just something that bounces around in my head), are my nieces and nephew. I need the energy and fitness to keep up with them. I need my health so I am around to witness all their amazing life milestones. And I want to be another good example for them (I’m really the only unfit, overweight person in our family).

Back in August I picked up the 21 Day Fix program after hearing great things about it from several friends I trust. I dove right into the eating plan (portion control and “real” foods are the primary focus), but I never really got going with the workouts. Then a friend put together a “challenge” group on Facebook. It’s all about support, encouragement, and the real biggy….accountability. I did it! Successfully even. So here are my thoughts and lessons learned.

First, the program as a whole:

The premise is that it takes 21 days to learn a new habit (better fitness/better eating). I love it. The eating plan isn’t a “diet”. It focuses solely on portion control and types of foods and also helps show you how to spread it out over the course of a day. The idea being that these foods and this plan isn’t something to wean off of or change at the end of the program…it is a lifestyle change to stick with forever. For me, the types of food were easy. I already eat heal full real foods. It was the balance and portion control I needed to work on (less cheese and spread it out through the day,not all at dinner time).

The workouts are tough, but scalable. 30 minutes, every day (seven days per week). Me being a 110% couch potato could muddle my way through each one, adjusting and modifying as I needed to to accommodate my ability level and some old injuries I need to take care around. And as I got (and continue to get) stronger, I can increase the intensity. Hand weights or resistance bands are the only required equipment. Even I can find 30 minutes in a day, and I’m the Queen of Excuses!

My Round One Results:

Back in August I weighed in at 215.4 lbs and just following the eating plan (which, by the way was MORE food than I had been eating) I lost five pounds. I’d also like to note that while that weight makes me sick to look at, it isn’t the heaviest I’ve been, but seems to be about where I’ve stabilized at for many years now.

The official results for the full 21 day challenge program (starting Aug 31): -3.9 pounds and -7 inches!!!

210.4 to 206.5 lbs, -2 inches in my chest, -4 inches in my waist!!, -1 inch across my hips, and -0.5 inches from my thighs. No measurable change in my arms, but I can SEE and feel the muscles building there.

Lessons Learned:

  • I am stronger than I think I am. Both physically and mentally.
  • I am grateful for my genes and my inherited flexibility…even though I’ve got more to go, I started from a lucky place.
  • I really do need to be careful of a couple old injuries (wrist and ankle), and it is OK if I can’t do all the moves (full planks and push-ups, or moves based from that position, probably won’t ever work for me)…it is OK to find other moves that work!
  • I love rowing – I will be forever grateful to the trainer I went to many years ago who introduced me to rowing.
  • I am worth the effort!
  • I miss cheese and beer…after more progress is made, these will be worked back in in greater quantities! Life is too short to completely give up indulgences you love…within reason.

I feel amazing!!! I still have a long way to go…50 pounds (give or take – I’m not set on an actual “goal” number, but set one as a general target to give me something specific to aim for). I owe a lot of my success to the fabulous women in the challenge group. No judgment. We all had our struggles. And we are all successes.

The next challenge group starts Oct 5th and you can bet I’ll be participating! It’s time to step it up a notch. I’ll be adding 30min of rowing three days a week and three days will include the 10min Abs workout that comes with the 21DF program. I will be working these changes in between now and the 5th…no losing momentum and undoing progress now! I’ll be checking back in toward the end of October with (hopefully) more good results.

Bloody Mary

Standard

I have made a concerted effort to cut back on beer. The roadblock with this is that I don’t particularly love wine and I am not much of a hard alcohol drinker. Don’t get me wrong, I will drink most adult beverages in the right setting, but beer has always been my go-to drink of choice. And not that sissy light beer stuff. I love the amber ales. And it goes directly to my belly. How I managed to avoid the “freshman fifteen” in college with my love of beer I will never know, but I wish I had retained that ability!

Recently I discovered I love Bloody Marys. But only when made a certain way. Spicy, but not too spicy and thick. I hate them if they are too watery. And I don’t like them with meals – they are an ‘on their own’ drink. I finally got brave and started making my own and have come up with a recipe that does it for me.

In the perfect sized glass (I have some plastic tumblers I got for the patio that are the perfect mixing size – no idea how much they hold):

  • 5 big dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 dashes of Tabasco
  • a dollop of horseradish
  • celery salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 shots of Absolut Peppar vodka
  • Fill the glass with Harris Teeter’s organic tomato juice
  • garnish with 2 hot okra pickles, or olives stuffed with garlic and jalapeños, or with traditional celery, or pretty much any other pickled vegetable (or if I make it a meal, all of the above!)

Mix well.

Oh and everything going into the glass needs to be nice and cold. Vodka from the freezer, garnishes and juice from the fridge.

The best part is that one drink satisfies me unlike with beer where I would have at least two, maybe more, and I get my vitamin C for the day to boot. We’ll see with time if this helps fight the battle of the belly bulge. Sure, I could just stop drinking all together, but where’s the fun in that?

Um…hello?

Standard

Wow. I half expected to see cobwebs hanging off the page and all when I logged into this site today. Needless to say, it’s been a while.

My life exploded.

Nope. That isn’t right. It deflated. Everything that has happened has been a long time coming, but I really wasn’t expecting it to end the way it did (my relationship, that is). Or as suddenly as it did. It was sort of like a bouquet of cut flowers – they are dying from the get-go, but you don’t really notice they are wilting at first. And you can always sort of pick out the early faders to keep the vase looking good. But then one day, you go to add some water to it and wham. All the flowers are dead, petals everywhere and that’s it. It’s done.

Immediately following the sudden deflation of my personal life, I acquired three tiny kittens. They were around three weeks old – eyes open, ears just opening, definitely nowhere near being weaned. My neighbor found them at a job site and they couldn’t be left where they were due to construction. No sign of momma cat and he knew a shelter would have put them down. So, sucker that I am, I said, “Bring them here.” (It didn’t help that he sent me a picture of them – all three solid white fuzzballs).

Rooty (named so because he loved to root around), Patch (named because we thought he might lose an eye; thankfully, he won’t), and The Princess (she just is). Initially we had all sorts of issues. Fleas,eye infections/ulcers, dehydration, and  terrible constipation. The constipation was so extreme that I had to be taught by my vet how to give them kitty enemas at home (don’t ask – thank the skies it is over). Now everyone is healthy with the exception that both Patch and TP are going to need reconstructive eye surgery. They both have eyelid agenesis (coloboma). Essentially they are missing part of their eyelids. If they do not have the surgery they will go blind even with eye drops administered every few hours ever day of their lives. So, for now they get drops every 2-3 hours and three times a day also antibiotic ointment to stave off infections from the irritation from dryness and their fur rubbing against their eyes. In the spring we’ll do the surgery. Now if I can just get TP to wean.

Then there is Moo. The same weekend the kittens showed up, she decided to grab the brand new bottle of her allergy medicine off the kitchen counter and eat it. A 30 day supply. She almost died. Phone calls to the ASPCA animal poison control hotline, a trip to the emergency vet, and a very scary couple days. She is fine now and I am much more careful about putting everything away.

There’s my list of excuses. I have been mentally shutting down the past several months, but this past month in particular has been close to full-on hibernation. I’m working on it. Picking myself back up. Getting into a new routine. Don’t even get me started on my lack of eating and the poor nutrition of the crap I do eat. Maybe tonight I will be able to make myself cook something. Maybe in another few weeks I will even have the energy to think about exercising again. At least the thoughts are there…the actions will follow.

Ouch.

Standard

I smashed my foot this past week (or rather someone else did) and it hurts! I had already injured my little toe on the shower the week prior, so having luggage dropped on it while only wearing sandals really did a number. I am icing it when I can, but I think it’s going to be a while before things are back to normal.

This puts a major crimp in the work-out schedule since any weight on it is ‘Not Good’ right now.

 

I grabbed my foot!!!

Standard

For the first time ever I was able to grab my foot with both hands while doing standing quad stretches. Pull your foot up towards your butt to stretch out the quad – typically grabbing it with the hand on the same side. Once your foot is up near your tush try reaching behind you and grabbing it with your other hand as well. And I was able to do it on both sides without any problems!

Until today I couldn’t even touch my foot with my other hand let alone grab ahold of it. I am pretty excited. I also did fairly awesome planks (on my elbows and toes) for 30 seconds at a time.

I also totally rocked the rowing machine. It was a good morning and I know I am going to feel it tomorrow.

Homemade Pasta Sauce (Tomato based)

Standard

Easy peasy lemon squeezy…as the kid in the movie last night said.

The other night I had a craving for pasta, but no sauce in the house. Then I took a second look at what I did have in the cupboards and realized I could throw together my own sauce.

A can of diced tomatoes (sadly there are not enough ripe tomatoes on the plants yet for sauce, but that day is coming quickly!) with the juice, a can of tomato paste, two cans of sliced mushrooms with the juice, and a scoop of minced garlic (to taste – you can use fresh garlic, however I had a had of prepared garlic on hand) – dump it all in a large pan and heat it up. Season with thyme, basil, oregano, etc. Whatever floats your boat in that category…I used an Italian herb mix I had on hand and then tossed in some fresh thyme from the garden. Add water as needed to get the right consistency and voilà! Tomato based pasta sauce.

Next time I am going to add red pepper flakes to it.

To beef up the sauce for a meal I added a zucchini, yellow summer squash, and some chicken andouille sausage. Then I topped it all off with some fresh shaved parmesan Reggiano.

It was darn tasty if I do say so…I need to work on adjusting the seasonings a bit, but that is all personal preference in my book. And it definitely would have been better with garden fresh tomatoes. The major up-side to throwing together your own sauce is the lack of unnecessary additions to the recipe. No oils, no extra fats, no added sugars.

Oh yeah, and it made fabulous left-overs. I might just have the last of it for lunch!