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It Had To Happen Eventually... I'm Stuck!!!

Six months without a plateau is pretty amazing. I thought I'd get stuck before that, the longest I went at the same-ish weight was a week. Until this month. Yep, it had to happen sometime. I've been bouncing between 163 and 165 for a solid 2 weeks, possibly a bit longer. And as any good engineer would do, we analyze the problem to fix it. At work, when we break a satellite, we have something called a Failure Review Board, and from that we decide on Corrective Actions. So I'm going to do that with my mini plateau

 

Failure Review: Why Could This Be Happening?

1. TOM... stupid little bugger... perhaps when it's over in a few days I'll start to see the scale fall

2. Alcohol... my friend and nemesis. Of the past 3 weekends, two involved me getting drunk and this past weekend I did have a beer and a half. It's possible the alcohol has finally caught up to me. The bad thing is that this weekend I'll be visiting my best friend in Phoenix who I haven't seen in nearly a year. There will be inevitably drinking. This time I have to make sure I drink TONS of water. That's been my downfall lately with drinking. No water.

3. Higher protein diet combined with strength training... In general, I dislike the excuse "I'm building muscle", since I don't think it happens that quickly. But I went from 15% protein to 30% and increased my fiber. Could my new diet be balancing out fat loss the past 2 weeks?

4. My body adjusted to my workouts... This is also very possible. Running isn't a new thing anymore, I started after Memorial Day. Chalean Extreme isn't new, I started in mid-July. Zumba isn't new, started after Memorial Day. So... time for a change???

5. Too much food at the end of the day... I've been tending to eat less during the day and then having dinner, a protein shake, and at least 1-2 snacks at night. It's quite a bit, and it all gets eaten right after I work out after work. So, it's possible my body isn't burning off as much of it?

 

Corrective Actions: How can I make the scale move again???

1. Cut out the drinking... after this weekend. And keep it within reason this weekend. I'll be drinking my weight in water while in Phoenix, but I'm going to try to avoid drinking excessively. Then when I get back, no alcohol for 2 weeks or so. I don't have to worry until my friend comes to visit the last weekend in Sept.

2. Start the Chalean Extreme/Turbo Fire hybrid TODAY! I have Turbo Fire now, so I'm going to do the hybrid schedule, starting with Week 4, since I completed Phase 1 of Chalean Extreme already. I previewed some of the TF workouts and it looks great! Between this and improving my running to longer times/distances, I think it will really help to break the routine.

3. Keep eating protein and try to lower my carbs. I love carbs, and I'm not a fan of cooking meat. So it's harder to get all the protein in. I'm working hard on it though, and each day is getting better.

4. Snack/eat more before dinner and less after my workouts. I'm going to try to even out my calorie intake so I'm eating less at night. I'm going to try to stick to protein shake plus dinner, and ONE evening snack. 

5. Chilling out and sticking to my routine. The scale will have to start moving eventually. I'm not going to stress out about not hitting my minigoal on Labor Day. I'm only 3-4 pounds away from it, and once I get things sorted out, I'll be there in a week or two. So, no stressing. I like that my new scale measures body fat. It's something else I can use to track progress. And I do measurements, I'll be measuring again around Sept. 15th.

 

So that's my game plan, in about the nerdiest way one could present it. Let's hope it works! I dislike being stuck :)

Who Doesn't Love Before and During Pictures???

I can't think of anything especially poignant to blog about today, so since a picture is worth 1000 words, I've got about 6000 words worth of before and during pictures to share with everyone! It's amazing when I see them all lined up next to each other. It doesn't feel like a big change since I see myself every single day, but pictures really do tell the whole story. I can't wait to officially post Before and After, but I'm about 25 lbs away from being "an After". I'm already thrilled with where I am now, but I've got the energy and determination to take this to the finish. I hope these pictures can inspire someone to keep going or kick it up a notch :D

 Sidenote: Thank goodness I'm a total NERD and can code HTML. MFP does not make it easy to put pictures in blogs...


The starting point: 215 lbs in October 2008 (this is on my 22nd birthday)
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200 lbs: Christmas 2009

192 lbs: Caribbean Cruise in March 2010


~183 lbs: New Clothes shopping at the beginning of May.


~ 173 lbs: BIKINI BABY!

 
~170 lbs: In a size small top from Michael Kors. I don't think I've EVER worn a small anything

 164 lbs: Today! Feeling awesome and totally excited for what the next few pictures will look like down the road :D

1 Minigoal, 2 Weeks, 4 Pounds...

I'd really love to hit a minigoal on time. It seems I always fall a pound or two short and it takes an extra 2 weeks. I've set them fairly conservatively too, but this summer has been busier than I planned. I do love having a social life, but its hard to combine losing weight and that! My friends are either in college or just out of college... so what do our gatherings entail? Drinking, bars, dancing, parties, eating. Ugh.... love it and hate it.

One of my little tweaks that I wanted to make to my current lifestyle was to cut back on drinking. Haven't quite followed through with that one. Bars last Saturday, 2 beers at Poker last night, going to an end-of-summer party tonight, wedding shower tomorrow. Oyyy... as much as I want to say no to it, I'm a social drinker and I like to have a few when I'm out with friends. They're always lowest calorie options possible, light beers and diet mixers, but the alcohol itself still slows down the weight loss. It's been less than a pound a week for a month because of it. Way less than usual.

At this point, I have 2 weeks left in the summer... and 2 weeks to my minigoal of being at 160 by Labor Day. I'm gonna need to figure out a balance so I might actually meet it. Here's my game plan

- Enjoy myself, but have fewer drinks. I'll still let myself drink, but have 1 or 2 instead of 3-5. That way my body takes a few hours to adjust back to burning fat instead of a day or two. And no hangovers... haha. I'll be visiting my best friend from Cornell in Phoenix over Labor Day, so I do want to be able to enjoy myself. And it's cheaper :D Aside from the fact that guys have been buying me drinks, that's really hard to say no to...

- I'm getting back from NJ on Tues. From that point until I leave for Phoenix, I will be on my best healthy behavior. Exercise EVERY day, no cheating with food, and hopefully no drinking or eating out. That should give me a chance to detox and drop a few pounds of water and hopefully fat. 

- Follow Chalean Extreme more closely. I've been slacking and skipping days, no more. I'm going to pick up with Week 4 of Burn when I get back from NJ. Planning to start Push when I'm back from Phoenix and stick to it exactly for the next 2 phases.

- Get more protein. I've just changed my ratios to 45% carb, 25% fat, 30% protein, and it's a challenge to get it all in. I've been hitting it the past 2 days since I started trying. I don't eat all my exercise calories, but more then 30% of the calories I did eat were protein. I'm kind of a carb-o-holic, so this will be a really good change to make.

-  Keep up my no junk food policy. I haven't touched my ice cream in a week! I bought yogurt and string cheese for snacks. I'll stock up when I get back on some fruit and cottage cheese. I don't really miss the junk, I have a small piece of chocolate (30 calories or so) when I really need a sweet tooth fix.

 

So there's my gameplan. It would be awesome to see 160 on the scale the day I leave for Phoenix. I'm already in a whole new territory for weight in my adult life, and for clothing sizes. I'm hoping to do some shopping this weekend for fall clothes and I want to wear Size 10 pants! I'm pretty much a medium in tops (minus the tummy I'm still working on), but it's a great improvement. This goal is possible, I'm just gonna really have to work for it :D 

Lost: 50 Pounds, Found: Myself

Today I reached a crazy, monumental, I-never-thought-I'd-ever-get-here, holy crap milestone...

I LOST 50 POUNDS! 

I started out in August of last year trying to eat a bit better and move a bit more. And then once I graduated from college and started my job in Feburary, I got into it 100% and found MFP. It's been almost 1 year to the day since I started and 50 pounds have disappeared. MFP has helped me immensely, since I've lost 35 pounds since getting on here 6 months ago. 

I was never really all that happy with how I looked, and it definitely affected everything else in my life. Not to mention, 4 years of excess everything in college (food, drinking, lack of sleep, stress, etc) didn't help the situation. Now that I have my job and I've really gotten to be an adult living on my own, all the excuses I used to make just weren't cutting it anymore. I don't have time... yes I do, I only work til 5:30 and then do nothing. I'm too tired... no I'm not, I get 8 hours of regular sleep now. I'm too lazy... well get off the couch! I don't want to pay for a gym... the office gym is FREE! 

Once I cleared all the excuses away, I realized that I was only cheating myself. I want to be happy with everything in my life, and my weight was one of the last things on my list.  If I started work sitting at a desk all day, I'd easily gain even more weight, and I was already unhealthy. Now that I've done this for 6 months, it's not an impossible task. I found willpower and determination and strength that I didn't realize I had, at least for this task. If I could push myself to get through college in one piece, I can totally do this too.

So now I'm looking forward to what is next. My goal is a mere 25 pounds away, that's only 1/2 of what I've already lost. I did it twice over, I can do it one more time. I'm down about 3 sizes in clothes, and closing in on the elusive Size 10. I really would like to be under 150 by Christmas. I've been tweaking things in the past few days since I let myself stray a little. I really can't wait for the day when I reach my goal, but today feels pretty awesome too. I don't know the last time I've really been happy about EVERYTHING in my life. It's a nice feeling...

If I Write It Down, I'll Feel Guilty If I Don't Do It...

Lately, I'll be the first to admit I have been slightly slacking off. I'm blaming it on summer. And my best friend. My weekends have been filled from Friday night til Sunday it seems. Before my social life was revived, I was able to workout Friday, Sat. and Sun. no problem. Now if I get one of the three in I'm lucky. So I'm making a list of a few things that I need to focus on or starting doing better, so that way I feel responsible.

1.) Enjoy the last few weeks of summer... in a healthy way! I'm still going to hang out with my best friend, and visit family and friends on the weekend, but I'm going to make good choices when I do. Starting with cutting down on the drinking a bit. OK, maybe more than a bit. One or two drinks is OK, but lately I've been exceeding that whenever I go out. I've been eating pretty healthy when I'm out, so that's not too much of a problem.

2.) Work out at least 5 times a week... NO MATTER WHAT! I used to have no problem doing 6-7 days, but lately I've completely taken the weekends off. So this time, I have to work out at least one of the weekend days, if not 2. 

3.) Stop eating ice cream. It's still low calorie froyo, a reasonable 180 calories for a serving (and I really do eat one serving). But it's not a filling snack, it's not really a healthy snack, and it's not like it's been an occasional treat. I just checked my food diary. I ate ice cream like 4 times last week! So, I'm not buying any more of it until I can keep myself from eating it every single day just because it's in my fridge. It's too much of a weakness.

4.) Work on getting more protein. I think part of the reason I've had an issue with being hungry at night and eating multiple snacks is that I'm not getting enough protein. So I'm adding a protein shake in after workouts. And I'm going to focus on eating more protein in general. I worked on my fiber for the past few weeks and got it up to 25g a day. Now protein is my next mission.

5.)  Drink more water when I'm not at work. I'm fine sitting at a desk with a Nalgene bottle all day. But when I'm home or on the weekends, I definitely don't drink enough.

 

That's all I can think of for now, but I think it's a good start to making some improvements. My weight loss has definitely slowed down the past few weeks (hasn't stopped, but 1 lb a week is low for me), so I'm doing something now about it. I still have 3 1/2 weeks to lose 6 pounds to reach my goal of 160 by Labor Day. Hopefully this will get things going so I can hit that goal.

It's All A Balancing Act

I've realized that I've been living in a bit of a weight loss bubble since I started in February. I just moved to a new state for a new job and I didn't know a lot of people in the area. I live alone and out of my parents' house so I have complete control over everything.  Without all the temptations I've been completely focused for the past 5 months and it's worked great for me.

But that's not complete reality. Now my best friend is home in Virginia for the summer and we're hanging out pretty much every weekend, going out to drink, etc, out to dinner, etc. It's a lot more like what I was used to doing before I started losing weight. But I'm not about to stop what I'm doing because of it. It's just another thing I have to get used to. 

I've been doing well so far. I still probably drank too much, but I've been really careful with what I'm eating. And even when I do drink, it's always diet mixers and I don't need as many drinks now that I weight 50 pounds less than college. Who knew I'd be a lightweight???

Working in exercise has been a bit more difficult. I only worked out 3 times last week, between a baseball game, a hair cut appt, and spending the weekend with my friends. I literally spend 2 hours in my apartment between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon. I did work out before going out for Japanese food last night. I had PLENTY of calories for it and I didn't go too crazy. Except for the tempura... mmm

So now that I've been tested with having to deal with a real social life again, I know I can handle it. I lost 0.8 pounds this week. It's not the 1.5 lbs or more I've lost recently, but it's a negative number and I'm happy with it. The next month is going to be really busy for me. I'm probably going to PA/NJ this weekend, NJ weekends of August 20th, possibly Arizona for Labor Day, maybe Boston thrown in there... and maybe a business trip eventually to San Diego?? It's kind of insane... I need to pick where I'm going first. And then make an effort to keep up with everything while there. I'll just suggest lots of siteseeing or something when visiting friends. It's at least an excuse to go walking. I can tell my way of thinking has changed, so situations like this don't scare me or get me off track. It's taken 6 months, and I'm happy I didn't have to deal with it until now, but I feel ready. And the next month is going to be a lot of fun too! 

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