Apparently I was accidentally bulking

Confession time.

My nutrition has been, er let’s just call it “sub optimal” for a few weeks now.  And by “sub optimal” I mean wine and Chinese food and Easter candy like a boss.

Pretty much every morning I would wake up and say, “ok today is the day I get my shit together.  I can’t keep eating like this or else I’m going to start gaining weight,” but things would fall apart once I had a hard workout in the morning, arrived home starving for lunch, and raided the leftover takeout food containers.

Yeah, I know I should have just thrown the crap out and gotten it out of my house, but that’s such a waste, no?

So here’s the good news.  It’s not like I’ve done so much damage that I’m back to where I started.  I’m up a few pounds and feeling more fluffy than I have in months around my middle, but I’ve done a great job with meal prep this week and have actually given myself the tools for success.

What’s more, I’ve been working out like a freaking beast.  Other than taking a few days off last week to let my body recover from everything I’ve been putting it through, I’ve been extremely consistent and am seeing some darn heavy weight come off the ground on all of my lifts.

Today I took progress pictures just to gauge where I’m at, and honestly in part to make myself feel better that I haven’t completely ballooned up.  I mean, it’s not like I can actually see the jelly beans hanging off my thighs or anything.

But I noticed something surprising in my pics.

Whereas when I first started this weight loss journey, I was eating at a pretty solid calorie deficit to help my body to shed fat, over these past few weeks I’ve been eating at a pretty even calorie balance, and some days in surplus.

And let me tell you, I’ve got GAINZ.  Like for real.  My arms are looking jacked, and my booty is more HELLO than I’ve ever seen it.

Seeeee?

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 2.05.47 PM

So not all is lost with my junk food binge.  Yeah, it’s time to stop putting crap in my body and get my pie hole under control, but putting on a little muscle in the process was a surprising and not entirely unwelcome side effect.

How is your nutrition going lately readers?  Anyone want to be accountable with me and get yourself back on track?

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Repeat after me: It’s ok to take a rest day

rest day

My workouts have been awesome lately.  I’ve had several solid weeks of training, and have managed to fit in not only my runs in preparation for the upcoming half marathon I’ll be doing, but several rides, and weight training 5x per week.

My diet has been, uh, ok I guess, but given my activity level I’m getting away with eating a lot of things I normally wouldn’t and still maintaining my weight.  Anyone who has lost a significant amount of weight can probably tell you, gaining it back is among one of my biggest fears, so I’m happy that I seem to be holding pretty steady.

Yesterday I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed just like every other day, but within about 10 minutes of getting out of bed my energy was zapped.

My entire body hurt.  I mean, I’ve been sore daily for the past several weeks and the level of ouch was about normal, but for some reason, yesterday it was hitting me particularly hard how sore I was.

And I was tiered.  Even after my usual cup of coffee in the morning I was still dragging, and just didn’t have it in me.

I made the executive decision to skip my morning Yoga class, and it was a good one.

By 3 o’clock I was ready for a nap, and my body told me without hesitation that I would not be riding that night.

I won’t lie, I tried to pep talk myself into it.

I mean, it’s only Wednesday.  I can’t skip a workout this early in the week.

And I ate rice with lunch.  RICE!  That’s carbs, I need to work that off, right?

And what about cross training?  I mean, riding my bike is great cross training for this run I’m doing and I don’t want to take a step backwards in my fitness, do I?

And oh my god, the CALORIES!  If I don’t workout how am I going to burn at least 500 calories over what I eat so I can continue losing weight?

So yeah, I’m more than a little crazy.  But after a few hours of playing this game with myself I finally said ENOUGH.

My body needed rest.  Even today, I’ve decided to postpone my long run for the week (9 miles) until tomorrow to give my body just a little more time to recover.

Sure, there’s a million reasons for me to train, but sometimes we also need to realize when our bodies are actually trying to tell us something.

There’s a definite difference between being lazy or unmotivated, and legitimately needing rest and recovery.  It took me awhile yesterday to realize and understand, I’m on the recovery end of that spectrum.

So the moral of the story for today, kittens, is that it’s ok to take a rest day.  Learn from my inner struggle and listen to your body.  It’s the best way to prevent getting burned out, prevent injury, and ensure that you love your training every day.

Anyone else have a hard time taking an unplanned day off?  How do you cope?

10 Weight Loss Tips You Totally Know but Probably Aren’t Doing

vigorous exercise

To date, I’ve lost nearly 50 pounds.  Yes, yes, feel free to applaud.  I’m darn proud of it.

It seems like every time I turn around, someone is asking me how I did it.  Once I tell them, they’re usually somewhat disappointed.

Why?

Because as it turns out, there’s no magic trick, shake, fitness program, or abracadabra to make the weight fall off.  It’s a combination of all of the stuff we’ve heard a million times, doing it consistently, and sticking with it even through temptations and challenges.

For a long time, I was one of those people.  I would ask, “how did you lose so much weight?” or “how do you stay in such great shape?” and when I was told I would think, “ok well, I’m not going to do THAT, so what else did you do?”

I’m glad I’m not doing that anymore, because I’ve finally seen results.

So without further ado kittens, here’s 10 things that I do every single day to lose weight and stay healthy.  Remember, it’s not any one thing that will bring success, it’s a combination of healthy habits that make all the difference.

1.  Drink lots and lots of water.

I average around a gallon per day.  It keeps me hydrated allowing me to push hard through my workout, and also helps to manage hunger and cravings.  Sometimes when you feel hungry, you’re actually thirsty.

2.  Eat veggies at every meal.

I mean it, every meal.  They’re nutritionally dense, full of fiber, fill you up, and are the key to getting all the vitamins your body needs.

3.  Eat protein at every meal.

Like your vegetables, protein has a whole host of health benefits.  Lean protein can keep you full and help you build muscle for starters, and is absolutely essential in your diet.

4.  Sleep at least 8 hours a night.

While this number is a little different for everyone (I NEED at least 8 hours, hubs is actually better on 6.5 to 7), the moral here is to get enough rest.  Your body needs sleep to recharge, as well as manage hormones and other essential functions.  Getting enough rest is also crucial to avoiding over training, so make sure to make time for sleep every day.

5.  Move as much as possible.

I would say to exercise every day, but I feel like that sets an unrealistic expectation.  I workout vigorously *most* every day of the week, but on days when I have deadlines or other commitments, I still make sure to move.  I never sit in one position for more than an hour at a time, and will take frequent stretch breaks or do jumping jacks or squats or just move around to get my blood flowing.  Even a little movement is better than none at all.  Avoid being chained to your desk for hours at a time.

6.  Lift weights.  Often.

I’ll be honest, I prefer doing cardio.  (I know, *gasp* the horror!)  But to build your metabolism, especially women, NEED to lift weights.  If you only have 30 minutes to do a workout on a given day, skip the cardio and lift weights.  I know, it sounds like blasphemy to some of us who grew up in the Jane Fonda era of the 80’s where cardio is golden, but for the best weight loss results you need to build muscle.  No, you won’t get bulky.  And if you do it right, you will elevate your heart rate enough to get fat burning benefits while you’re pumping iron.

7.  Cut out alcohol, refined carbs, sweets and treats.

I feel like this is the point where I lose most people.  Up until here everyone thinks, “ok, yeah, I can do that,” but as soon as I mention that you need to stop drinking folks seem to say, “well we don’t need to go THAT far, do we?”  And trust me, I get it.  I was that person for a very long time.  To that, I’ll simply say this.  Is there a physique you admire?  Is there a goal aesthetic you’re looking to have?  Does that person drink regularly?  (or eat cupcakes, or cookies, or grilled cheese sammiches or whatever your vice might be?)  Yeah, didn’t think so. It’s simple, what do you want more?

8.  Keep track of what you’re doing.

Admittedly, I get a little neurotic if I use a calorie tracker (like MyFitnessPal) to track every morsel of food I shove in my piehole, and for me that’s actually counter productive.  I do, however, keep track of my meals and number of servings of protein, veggies, fats, starches and fruits I have in a day.  This helps me to make sure I’m eating enough, the right things, and to stay accountable.  Find what works for you, but be sure you’re tracking your nutrition and workouts to not only follow your progress, but ensure you’re following your program appropriately.

9.  Eat breakfast.

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I’m just going to agree.  Eat it.  I know everyone is rushed in the morning, and sometimes it’s hard to plan a meal that includes protein and a vegetable and you can stuff in your face and still make it work on time, but it’s important.  Find a way, not an excuse.

10.  Take pictures.  In your undies.  Every week.

Early on this was the most mortifying part for me, but as the weeks progressed it became the most motivating piece of monitoring my success.  Strip down to your skivvies every week and take a pic of your front, side, and back.  There is nothing better than watching the inches melt away and watching your body transform.  I take mine every Monday, which helps me track my progress and keeps me honest over the weekend.


Like I said, nothing life changing, but hopefully something that was helpful to you.  So what say you readers?  Did I miss anything?  What is the one thing you feel like contributes most to your success in a quest for a fit, healthy life?

Non-Scale Victories

It’s Fitness Friday and I’m in the mood to celebrate!  With the holiday season in full swing, I’m doing what most of us are and working hard to try to maintain balance with my fitness and nutrition, and all the fun going on around me.  I don’t ever want to get to a point where I’m not living life and enjoying it because I’m worried about gaining a pound.  And as someone who has now successfully lost over 40 pounds, I’m really working to understand not only how to keep these healthy changes I’ve added into my life, but how to maintain the weight loss as well.

Enter non-scale victories.  Sure, I still weigh myself and take measurements to ensure that everything is moving in the right direction, but the proof is in the pudding as they say, and lately my pudding has been delicious!

First up we have this killer Beast Mode pic from last week at the gym.  Have you ever posed for a flexing pic before and had people say, “ok but now make a muscle?”  Yeah, that was me for the longest.  Not anymore:

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 11.15.50 AM

The highlight of my week, however, happened just yesterday.  While getting ready for a bike ride on a beautiful day I ran across my most favorite pair of tri-shorts in my dresser.  I haven’t worn these since 2011 when I did the Florida 70.3.  I remember this because pretty much immediately after doing that race I stopped doing anything and started my slow and steady gain of close to 50 lbs that I’m still struggling to lose the last of.

Needless to say, the shorts haven’t fit in a long long time.  I tried them on back in October and still looked like a tasty triathlete sausage stuffed into a spandex casing and had some serious gut dun-lop going on.  (As in, my gut dun lopped over my pants).

Yesterday I decided to give them another go.  The results are below:

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 11.15.26 AM

TA-DA!  Those are some shorts that fit people.  And fit well.

It really is the little things that make this whole journey worth while.

So how about you guys?  What are you up to on Fitness Friday?

My all-time favorite breakfast

Fun fact I haven’t yet shared with ya’ll, I’ve been doing some writing for a few different websites lately, including www.shakeforshape.com.  You should check it out, it’s totally me only more professional and with less sex comments and poop jokes.

Anyhow, this past week or so the admin hasn’t posted any of my stuff because apparently there’s issues, but usually there’s 2-3 articles a week that go up over there with health, fitness, beauty and nutrition content.  Good stuff.

A few weeks back I wrote out a recipe for my 4 ingredient protein pancakes that I eat pretty much every single day for breakfast, and I wanted to share it with ya’ll here because they are just too darn good to keep a secret.

Now I know what you might think when you first read this- ew eggs and bananas, right?  Please, try them.  If you like bananas, this is seriously the tastiest thing ever.  They’re sweet and fluffy and filling and oh-so-tasty.

Give ’em a try and let me know what you think in the comments!

Banana Protein Pancake

Ingredients per serving:
1 banana
2 egg whites
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
1 oz crushed walnuts (or pecans)
Cooking spray (or coconut oil)

Directions:

  1. Spray small frying pan with cooking spray
  2. In mixing bowl, whisk two egg whites together with 1 tsp of cinnamon.
  3. Add banana and smash with a fork.  The banana should still be somewhat chunky, but broken into very small pieces.
  4. Whisk mixture again ensuring banana is covered with egg whites.
  5. Pour mixture into pan.  Set to medium heat and cook 2-3 minutes each side or until golden brown and egg is cooked through.
  6. Once plated, top pancake with crushed nuts and enjoy!
Nutrition Facts:
Calories 324.4
Total Fat 19.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 13.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 112.2 mg
Potassium 655.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 31.3 g
Dietary Fiber 5.0 g
Sugars 15.6 g
Protein 12.8 g
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Don’t be jealous

weight loss

I admit it, I’m a bit of a hermit.  Sure, I go out once or twice a week, but it’s totally normal for my friends to only see me once a month or so.  Most of them just stalk me through social media, and love me anyway.

Lately I’ve been making the rounds and keep getting told how amazing I look.  *Brushes shoulders off* thanks peeps.  But even more than that, friends are reaching out to me privately to find out what I’m doing to see such great success.

Just this past week I’ve had five different people text or message me asking how I’m doing it.

I think sometimes regardless of how much we know about how to be successful in our weight loss and fitness efforts, it helps to have someone who is doing it tell you the things you already know.

So I tell them.  I’m eating healthy.  Lots of protein and veggies at every meal.  Healthy fats, starchy veggies for carbs.  I eat a lot.  I don’t drink.  I’m very active.  I lift weights every day.  I rarely eat junk food, and if I do it’s as a special treat and in moderation.

Basically, I do all the things we all know to do but always find reasons why not to.

Yesterday when talking with one awesome friend who recently popped out a  human from her vagina (ok actually she had a C-section, but really, it’s the growing the human part that’s hell on the body), she told me:

I’m super jealous.

Boy do I get that.  Before I started seeing my own success I remember trolling Instagram on #transformationtuesday and looking at all the amazing before and after pictures.  I remember wishing desperately that was me.  I would get angry with myself for not being strong enough to get there.  In some of my worst moments I would wish I was actually fatter and completely inactive so that I could do something “easy” like just walking around the block to lose weight.

Yes, I was that stupid.

But let’s face it, we’re all our own worst enemies.  And for a long time, I was mine.

My advice to my friend?

Don’t be jealous.  Do something about it and be your own success story.

 

I don’t have all the answers.  And lord knows half the time I still don’t know what I’m doing.  But I’m doing something, and you can too.

So readers, if you’re seeing success let me know.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE hearing from you.  And if you’re struggling, lay it out there for me as well.  I will totally break out my pom pons for you.

No, Crossfit didn’t make me fat

About five months ago, I quit Crossfit.  Prior to leaving my super duper awesome box, I had been WODing for nearly two years, and loved every minute of it.

But since leaving Crossfit I’ve lost a shit ton of weight.  A few months ago it was enough that people were starting to notice, and at this point it’s enough that strangers are starting to comment on it.  I look good.  Damn good if I do so say myself, and I’m working my ass off for it.

Interestingly, there seems to be a camp of people who believe that Crossfit was holding me back/making me fat/made me gain weight/limited my potential the entire time I was doing it.  They have no problem pointing out to me time and again that it’s only been since I stopped doing Crossfit that I’ve found the weight loss and physique results that I was looking for, and truly believe that Crossfit was the “problem.”

So here I am to set the record straight folks.  Before one more naysayer jumps in and feels the need to spread their drivel let me clarify to the world:

CROSSFIT DID NOT MAKE ME FAT.

When I quit Crossfit I took a long hard look at the things I was doing from a fitness and nutrition perspective and made the decision and commitment to really overhaul  my lifestyle to make lasting changes to get the results I wanted.  I didn’t cut out Crossfit because it was a change I felt I needed to make to be successful, nor did I think it was holding me back.

I WAS HOLDING MYSELF BACK.

Crossfit isn’t what kept me from reaching my goals.

These things are:

  • Alcohol- I was drinking most every night, and not just one glass of wine.  The calories in the booze combined with the effect it had on my metabolism, and the poor nutritional choices I made as a result of being buzzed contributed to my unhealthy weight.
  • Poor Nutritional Choices-  As I mentioned above, I wasn’t great about making good choices.  While I certainly knew HOW to eat well and to fuel my body properly, I was also just as likely to justify a cheeseburger and fries BECAUSE of the really hard workout I had earlier in the day.
  • Eating too Much-  Calories are weird little buggers.  Sure you can eat 100% Paleo for several days straight, but if that involves gobs of bacon and avocado and not so much in the spinach and greens department, you’re not going to see weight loss results either.
  • Making Lots of Excuses-  Any time I deviated from the nutritional guidelines I knew I should have been following, I always had a really good reason why.  If I had spent that much time and energy convincing myself to just stick to the healthy choices, I would have been much further along.

Moral of the story is:  to achieve your goals you need to work towards them every single day in every action you take and every choice you make.

I’m not perfect, no one is, but over the past 5 months I’ve made great choices every chance I’ve had and am seeing great results because of it.  It’s not because I quit Crossfit, it’s because I quit making excuses and prohibiting myself from being successful.

So to the Crossfit smack talkers- piss off.  I still love the sport, I love my box, and have a lot of respect for the people who do it.

And regardless of what fitness plan you follow, get out there today and kick some ass.  Who’s with me?

*GASP* A Progress Picture

I’ve blogged about progress pics before.  If you’re too lazy to click the link (which I know most of you are because my analytics tell me so) the gist of it is, posting the “before” picture literally gives me a panic attack.  Like a palms sweating feel-like-I-might-burst-into-tears panic attack.

I don’t want to think about what I looked like before I started.  And like I posted this weekend, I really really really don’t want to consider the possibility that I will end up back there any time soon.

But ya’ll I’ve got to tell you, I am so so proud of myself here lately.  I posted a pic of me flexing at the gym yesterday to Facebook and got an overwhelmingly supportive response from my friends.  The best compliment was from a friend I haven’t seen in a long time who told me that I’m the fittest he’s ever seen me.  Since the last time he saw me was about two weeks before I raced a HALF IRONMAN, that’s saying something kittens.

So to keep with my mantra of overcoming my plethora of fears, I’m saying eff it.  Without further ado, here is my progress to date.

progress pic October 2014

The picture on the left was taken right after I completed a 62 mile charity bike ride back in March, and the pic on the right was taken on Sunday.  It was leg day, but I couldn’t resist taking a flexing selfie because dem guns doe.

I remember when the pic on the left was posted to Facebook I almost cried.  That was the start of a big turning point for me when I realized something had to give.  I was riding 4-5 days per week, doing Crossfit 5x per week, and was still busting out of my size 14 jeans.  The fact was, I was sabotaging all of my success with a shitty diet and bad drinking habits.

I started slow in March, and really ramped up my efforts after a work conference in June that I had to buy a new suit in a size 16 in order to attend.  I had never been that large, and didn’t want to be again.

Today, I am SO PROUD not only of the weight I’ve lost, but of the muscle I’ve put on.  Obviously, it’s a journey.  I’m not done yet, but I can’t hide behind my fear of failure to the point I don’t celebrate my successes either.

So there you have it readers.  Feel free to tell me I look fabulous.  My ego loves you all already, so you might as well stroke it some more.

And if you’re feeling up to it, share your pics too!  Feel free to link to your blog in the comments, I want to cheer you on too. 🙂

Fear of My Inner Fat Kid

ronda_rousey

You know what scares me?  The notion that a year from now I could end up right back where I was four months ago, overweight and miserable and hating myself for it.

If I’m being truthful, it freaking terrifies me.  Every day I’m working so hard to make lasting lifestyle changes that will stick with me for the long run.  Every day I’m battling demons who want me to eat a family sized box of Mac and Cheese for dinner or drink a bottle of wine just because it’s Tuesday.  More often than not, I’m winning.  Actually, if I’m being completely honest, I am winning 100% of the time outside of planned cheat meals.

But there’s this part of me that chides me.  That whispers in my ear that I can’t be perfect forever.  That some day I will go out to dinner and just order the burger and fries, and that will lead to a slippery slope of stuffing my pie hole until my size 14 jeans don’t fit me anymore… again.

Two days in a row of posting about confidence and self love and I still have these fears and doubts.  I still worry that this time won’t be any different than any other yo-yo I’ve done.

But then I think about all the times I HAVE made the right choice.  Just tonight I went to the grocery store after the gym starving and really craving some soup.  What I wanted was the Publix Chicken and Dumplings, loaded with creamy biscuity goodness.  What I bought was fresh carrots, celery, mushrooms, spinach, a can of diced tomatoes and a big box of veggie broth and came home and made my own concoction.  With scrambled eggs.  Because for some reason that sounded good.

I recognized the craving, but once I was in the store I was on autopiolot.  That, friends, is a lifestyle change.  And one I hope will stick with me for the long haul.

The title of this blog is “Not the Fat Kid in Gym Class Anymore,” but really I think I just need to realize that regardless of what I look like on the outside, mentally I need to not be that kid anymore.

So with all that, look for a bit of a blog redesign soon.  I’ve been thinking about doing it for some time and the urge has finally struck me.  We’ll have a new name, a new mantra, and a new layout, but the same great shit you’ve come to expect from me.

Now, tell me your demons.  I’ll reassure you that you’re not alone.  And heck, might crack a pewp joke or two for good measure.

Fat Isn’t a Feeling

buddah

Yesterday in a moment of needing a personal pep talk I wrote this post about body confidence.  I’ve got to tell you guys, some of the comments, emails and feedback I received have darn near moved me to tears.  But it’s reassuring as hell to know that I’m not alone.

One of my most brilliant and beautiful friends from all the way back in high school left this comment on Facebook:

I’ve spent years in and thousands of dollars on therapy to try to understand that fat is not actually a feeling.

How true that is.  And wow did that resonate with me.

We all have those days when we wake up feeling like we’re stuffed into a sausage casing that is too darn tight.  And I know that we’ve all looked into the mirror and been far too critical of lines, lumps, bumps and “fat” that we see.

I know we can’t just turn off the negative voices in our heads, but recognizing what we’re doing to ourselves is a step in the right direction.

confidence

My wish for all of you is to look in the mirror today and see what the person who loves you most sees when they look at you.  I would give anything to be able to see myself through hubs eyes… though it would probably lead to my walking around naked permanently.  But today I’m going to appreciate the things I know that he does, and ignore all the flaws that I’m so critical of that he doesn’t even see.

Let’s do this together ya’ll.  Let’s change the way we see ourselves because really, we’re all pretty damn beautiful.