Friday, December 31, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In: 12/31/2010

Weight: 123.0 
Body Fat: 20.3% + 3% = 23.3%
Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.5" 
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Today marks the very last weigh-in for me of 2010. Seems like 2011 has sneaked up on me!  I've drafted up a set of goals, but I'll only be listing the specific titles:

Running
  • Complete four 5K Races in 2011
  • Complete one 10K race in 2011
  • Beat all 2010 times for 5Ks
Health & Fitness
  • Maintain weight under 127
  • Attain a body fat percentage of 20% (-2% decrease)
  • Log at least 180 minutes of exercise weekly
Blog Goals
  • Continue to blog Monday through Friday
  • Improve upon the Monday pictorial posts
  • Review at least 3 Cooking Light recipes a month
Happy New Year everyone! 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thursday Tips: Another reason to love oatmeal!

I have already professed my love of the grain known as the oat, but I always love reading new research that provides me with yet another reason to love it.

Open Your Arteries with a Bowlful of These
By RealAge (source)

Your heart and arteries will be pretty thrilled if breakfast always has you craving a bowlful of oats.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Don't set resolutions this New Year, set goals!

How many of us have set a resolution at New Years to lose weight, get fit, quit smoking or some other amorphous high-minded goal?

I wager almost all of us have done this at one point, myself included.

A few years ago, I thought perhaps if I were taught how to set attainable and intelligent goals, I might be better off.

Hence, research was done and I learned about the SMART way to set goals (source):
Specific, significant, simple
Measurable, meaningful, manageable
Attainable, appropriate, achievable
Relevant, realistic, result-oriented
Time-bound, timed, timely
How does this methodology apply to the ever popular resolution to lose weight?  Below I've provided an example of how I might implement a weight loss goal:
GOAL:
Lose weight

S: 
Current Weight: 155
Target Weight: 145
Total Loss: 10lbs

M:
Weekly weigh-ins to measure progress

A:
Is this goal attainable? Yes.

R: 
Is this goal realistic? Yes, 10lbs is a manageable amount to lose.

T:
Assuming a healthy loss rate of 1 lb a week, this should take approximately 10 weeks.

In the next couple of days, I will be using this goal setting methodology to generate my 2011 goals, which I will be sharing on the blog on Friday.  I encourage anyone who wants to do this as well to share! :) Making goals public helps keep you accountable.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Maintenance: Year One

Weight: 122.0 (used a different scale than normal)
Body Fat: 19.3% + 3% = 22.3%
Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.5" (I am pretty sure these aren't going to shrink anymore!)
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WOW! It's been a whole year! I can hardly even believe it. Time seems to go faster every year. I decided to celebrate the anniversary by answering some interview questions which Mikala has been so gracious to provide me with.

What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
I am a planner by nature. I make very intricate plans with lots of little details. I'm also a perfectionist by nature.

I think you can see where I'm going with this.  I made so many intricate and detailed little weight loss plans that they were impossible to stick with. I expected myself to be perfect, and my plans were never robust enough to handle setbacks.   At the first detraction from my plans, I'd crumble and go back to my old habits.  This continued for years, and it wasn't until I hit self-esteem rock bottom that I realized what I was doing wrong.  I had to stop planning so far into the future; I had to keep it simple.  I stopped trying to make radical changes and I started making itty-bitty changes.  I didn't try to clean up my diet in one fell swoop, instead I slowly switched to cleaner, healthier foods. My motto became "baby steps."

For exercise, I started walking first. I worked up to walking 30-40 minutes every other day.  After that, I started following a simple walk-run exercise plan.  I just kept building slowly and incrementally upon this base and am now running 4 miles at an average pace of 8:55 minute a mile, with a long run of around 6.5 miles once a week.

Did you weigh everything, even veggies and fruit?
I weigh everything but lettuce. Veggies and fruits have calories too and I like to see how much a serving looks like. I know that many popular diets have foods that are considered "free", but the only thing that I consider free is water and lettuce.

Did you eat back your exercise calories? If so, did you use a heart rate monitor to figure out calories burned?
Not when I was losing weight.  I kept my exercise relatively light during my weight loss phase, 30-45 minutes of exercise five out of seven days. If you actually do the math out, you'll notice that exercise really doesn't add that many more burned calories into your day.  I averaged a 1.5lb weight loss each week without eating back a single exercise calorie.

What's the best part about losing the weight?
This is a really tough question. I think the best thing is quality of life. I feel more energetic and clear-minded.  Nothing seems as daunting anymore because I have the energy to face life.

Did you ever hit a plateau? If so, what kept you going?
I was extremely lucky and unusual.  I lost 31lbs last year without ever hitting a plateau.  I've tried to analyze my diet to see if I could understand why.  I think it has to do with the fact that approximately every three weeks, I would have to have a day where I didn't log and had to eat out.  I most likely ate maintenance calorie levels on those days and shocked the heck out of my body.  I read later that this is essentially a strange form of calorie cycling, which is one of the best way to avoid or beat a plateau.

How did you learn "positive self talk?" Or was that not an issue for you?
My internal monologue has, and likely always will be a huge problem for me.  Even losing weight doesn't silence the self-doubt and negative internal monologue.  I try to be highly self-aware of what I am thinking about myself.  If I catch myself spiraling into a storm of negative self-talk, I stop and ask myself if I am being reasonable.  If I'm not, I stop myself and actively tell myself that I'm not the things I was thinking and chase the bout of self-doubt with some positive reinforcement. This usually consists of me mentally repeating positive things about myself.  Ultimately, I spend a lot of time in my own head.  I'm definitely better than I used to be, but I find that when I get tired it's more difficult.  I think this is one of the aspects that people underestimate when they embark on a weight loss or life changing journey.  You have to learn how to be introspective.

How did you get over the "I already screwed up today, I should just continue sabotaging myself and start fresh tomorrow" mentality?
I signed up for a 13-week binding contract on Stickk.com that said if I didn't lose .85 lbs a week, I would lose $50.  This forced me to start thinking about what was going into my body and prevented me from losing  control.  I couldn't just say "Forget this, it's not worth it because I already screwed up," because I didn't want to lose the money!  This really helped me achieve perspective on my habits

Did losing weight boost your self esteem?
I think the process of losing weight, not necessarily the weight loss itself, has boosted my self-esteem.  I know that I am more outgoing and confident in myself, but I think that has come from constant re-evaluation of my mental inner workings.  I'm much more aware of how things make me feel and how I respond to them.

Thanks so much for coming up with these questions Mikala! :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thursday Tips: Making your New Years resolution already?

We're fast approaching 2011 and with the advent of every new year, resolutions abound. One of the most common resolutions is weight loss. When you're making your resolutions this year, keep this following tip in mind:

Tip after the break...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Recipe Review: Cocoa Fudge Cookies

I've been trying to get this post up for a week now, and haven't had the time until today. Thank goodness for vacation!

Chocolatey goodness
Recipe and review after the break...

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Weekend Before Christmas

Mikey gave me a cute little gift!

A single serving crock, a pastry brush and a
tiny ladle by La Creuset....Thanks Mikey! :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In: 11/17/2010

Weight: 125.0
Body Fat: 19.1% + 3% = 22.1%
Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.5"
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More to come later today, I've been absurdly busy this last week and a half with work. Real update tonight, I promise! :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday Tips: Craving a cookie?

With Christmas nearly upon us, the amount of baked goods and delicious chocolatey treats has all but tripled. You may not even be able to turn a corner without seeing some sort of treat.  However, if you've strictly been avoiding them all and are now craving one of those delicious looking morsels, perhaps you should give in and have a single cookie.

They look so tasty...
 The reasoning after the jump...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Micro-Choices

This is a post from earlier this year. I find that I'm in need of some motivation and a reminder of where I started so I'm bringing this to the top and rereading it!

I stumbled across this article a while ago and thought it quite valuable because it describes the methodology that I used without even knowing there was a term for it.  The average person makes around 250 food related decisions every day, and that doesn't even include the exercise related decisions! That sure seems like a lot of decision making for just food, and especially when some of the decisions you're making are what the article calls memory-based. 

I recall the day I decided to really take control of my weight clearly.  I had gotten a new issue of All You in the mail the night before, and I was leafing through it while I was waiting for something to download at work.  I noticed this tiny blurb about a website called Stickk, where a user could set up a binding contract with a specific goal for a user-determined amount of time.  Each contract would have weekly or daily reporting, based upon your choice and reporting failure would cost you. Now, I'm a pretty big penny pincher. I hate wasting or losing money. I rarely ever gamble and have been known to put off buying things I need because I don't want to spend money.  Then it clicked, if I put money at stake on my weight loss, I would be extremely motivated and aware of my food decisions.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Weekend in Pictures

I got a gift in the mail this weekend! 
Thanks Ramon, I love it!
More after the break...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In: 12/10/2010

Weight: 125.0
Body Fat: 18.9% + 3% = 21.9%
Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.5"
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 It was about 1AM Wednesday morning, and I awoke to a strange noise. At first, I couldn't place the noise. Subsequently, I started to get a little freaked out. I lay in bed a bit longer, ears perked trying to figure out what it was.

It sounded....like a duck quacking? At this point, I thought I was losing my mind or possibly still dreaming so I lay there a little bit longer hoping to actually wake up.

Nope, it's definitely a duck quacking.

I got out of bed quietly, and picked up my conveniently located personal trainer textbook from my nightstand. I was ready for anything at this point, so I gingerly unlocked my bedroom door and opened it slowly.

The quacking stops.

WTF? I stood perfectly still for a few moments, listening for any sort of other creepy weirdo noise. I heard nothing so I stepped back to shut my bedroom door.

The quacking starts again.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thursday Tips: Some fatty meals can make you hungrier?!

A lunch time discussion about the satiety value of "healthy" foods vs. "unhealthy" foods had me curious to see if there had been any research done on the topic. I poked through the RealAge tip database and found this gem.

All About YOU: Some Fats Make You Hungrier
By RealAge (source)
That fatty bacon cheeseburger may be loaded with calories, but at least it stomps out your hunger. Right?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Recipe Review: Tex-Mex Pork

I was looking for a quick dinner to serve to myself and Eric earlier this week, and I came across this one in my December 2010 Cooking Light issue. I had everything but the avocados on hand, and Eric graciously agreed to pick up a couple on his way to my place.

Recipe after the break...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Recipe Review: Chocolate Malted Cookies

I like to hand out Christmas cookies every year to friends and coworkers. Usually I select my favorite cookie recipe for that year and package off a dozen cookies into a holiday themed Chinese takeout box.  This year is going to be a little bit different because I simply cannot choose my favorite between the four recipes I chose.

Malted chocolate-y goodness

Recipe and review after the break

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Three Best Exercises for Everyone

The most common excuse not to exercise is a lack of time. However, there are three easy exercises that anyone can do anywhere, anytime, without equipment and still achieve results.  You can even do them at your desk, during a quick break from sitting.

More after the break...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In: 12/03/2010

Weight: 125.0
Body Fat: 18.9% + 3% = 21.9%
Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.5"
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I've had a niggling thought for the last few months, something that's been irritating me but is difficult to pin down exactly why.

This morning, however, I finally figured it out.

Throughout my life, I have known several people who claim that they just have a sarcastic sense of humor.  This is what they say after they deliver a cutting jibe or taunt that they claim I simply take what they're saying  too literally. I've even done this in the past.

I'm calling bullsh!t.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thursday Tips: Foods for the cold and flu season

With cold and flu season upon us, you might be wondering if there's anything you can do to help boost your immune system and fend off those evil little germs.

Fortunately there are a few things you can add to your diet, that is if you don't already eat them. :)

More after the break...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The countdown to Christmas has begun!

I love the Christmas season.

I get to send handmade Christmas cards to friends and Christmas cookie samplers.

I get to decorate my tiny tree with a cute mishmash of ornaments.

I get to wrap presents, even if I'm absolutely terrible at it. Really, I am.

I get to plan the Christmas dinner menu and have my mom as my sous chef!

Christmas is also special to me because it is the anniversary of making my goal weight.

24 days until Christmas. :)