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Stress Eating

I caved. One cheeseburger, an order of fries and a Neapolitan milkshake from In N Out burger, I still don't feel any better. In fact, I feel worse. If the stress from my business trip isn't sufficient, I now have a stomach ache to go with it from all that crap. Delicious crap, but 1268 calories of it. With 65g of FAT. 

I'm pretty disgusted right now. And I'm writing this down to remind myself that next time I'm feeling stressed, food isn't the way to cope with it.

I can't eat my feelings. I'm not really that much of a stress eater when I'm at home. I have my snacks, my usual healthy places I can grab food, and the comforts of my own home. But when I'm out on vacation or in this case on a business trip, it's all gone. I have a hotel room with a few snacks that i bought (my usual healthy ones), and an endless supply of per diem cash from my company and a selection of take out and restaurants. Oh, and unhealthy coworkers. 

Yesterday, it was our catered lunch that had the brownies. Last night was the dinner at Yard House when I behaved at the restaurant and ended up getting ice cream afterwards. And today was In N Out with my coworker. No more, I need to hold my ground when I get into these situations. If I'm stressed, take it out at the gym after work, not at lunch during work. 

So, this is a lesson to myself. I highly doubt the scale will still say 147 when I get back on Saturday, and I have to drive straight to Jersey for 3 days in which I'll have more food temptations to deal with. But I've learned my lesson. It's back to my strict food plan when I'm back in Virginia and back to my usual routine. I just hope it doesn't take long to get back down to 147 so I can keep losing again. I was really hoping to see 145 soon... maybe I can do it by the end of July if I stick with it and don't get off track again. Stress sucks, feeling sick from eating the stress sucks even more.
 

The Magic Number

Now that I've decided to go for 140 again, I'm really starting to think about why that number has such significance. It doesn't mean that magically I'll look exactly the way I want to. And it doesn't mean my size 4 NY&Co jeans will magically fit without a muffin top. Or my bikini will look like a Victoria Secret model. But it means that I'm in the selective group of Americans that are a healthy weight. At only 30% of the population, I'm calling it a pretty exclusive group. And its one that I don't think I've really been in my entire life. I went from chubby child to overweight teenager to really overweight adult... and now to a slightly overweight adult at 147 lbs and a BMI of 26.

But there's another magic number that I would love to attain, and it's partly tied to my weight. That's my Body Fat %. My gym just got a computer system that has calipers and computes body fat with a few skin fold measurements. MUCH more accurate than a handheld bioimpedence device. And it told me I had 29.8% body fat in mid-June. That's a healthy fat percentage, so it shows that BMI isn't all it's cracked up to be. But I've got a magic number in mind for that as well.

24.9%

At this number, I'm not merely a healthy body far %, I'm FITNESS! Me, FITNESS! Its the point where people might actually be able to see my muscle and even those elusive abs. And while 140 is important, I think that 24.9% is even more so. Maybe I'll get there before I hit 140. Maybe it will take a few more pounds. But I want to keep that number in mind more than the 140 number. And now that I have an accurate way to measure that isn't at all based on an inaccurate handheld toy, it's a goal I really want to aim for.

So far on this business trip, if I had to grade myself I'd give myself a B. I've been making better food choices, trying to log everything that I can (usually guessing for my meals) and I'm not drinking like a fish. I worked out for an hour yesterday. But when it comes to what I'm ordering, I think I need to scale back on the quantity. Last night at dinner was a soup, a salad, bread (oy...) and one beer. I should have told the waitress to take the bread back. But, I think I'm definitely making progress and I don't feel gross like last time. I'm coping with not having my scale, but that really is my way to see how I'm doing. We'll see when I'm back on Saturday, but I'm going to try to make even better choices for the rest of the week. I don't think I need a 3 course meal... haha

I'm also not setting a date for either of these magic numbers. It will happen as I go. I'm currently thinking about a beach vacation in January, so ideally I'd like to have reached my goals by then. It's over 6 months away and I definitely can get there by then. I've finally sorted out why I stalled, what I need to do to fix that, and I've cleaned up my eating habits. Now it's just a matter of getting back to a normal schedule after these two weeks of upheaval. I think I can do it, I just can't stress myself out over getting stuck or having a few off days that are out of my control. Slow and steady...
 

How To Escape The 150s! (Or Any Plateau Really)

I've had quite a few people ask me what I did differently to get out of the 150s, after spending a solid 9 months in that decade. A LONG 9 months! And as you know, 6 months right around the 150 mark, dipping below to 149 for a day or two as a tease and then jumping back up again. I can't guarantee what I'm doing is the best or easiest or most efficient way to go about it, but all I know is that I've lost 3 lbs in 2 weeks and the scale hasn't jumped more than half a pound in one day. No more swings of 2-3 lbs in the span of a few days. So... onto what I did and what you can do!

1. New workout routine: I was running 4-5 times a week and I had one 30 minute training session where I did strength/circuit training each Tuesday. After my last 5K of the season, I switched to a circuit training-based routine. I still run, but maybe 2 times a week. The other days I do my Chalean Extreme circuit training workouts and I have my personal training session still, where I told my trainer I want to focus on strength. Given my weight and height, more strength and circuit training at this stage is definitely key. I can burn more fat by building up some muscle and I still get some cardio in for fat burning too. That together has helped increase my metabolism, I believe.

2. Stopped eating fast food: Convenience is dangerous. I didn't want to take the time to pack a lunch and buy the stuff for it. So I'd go to the cafeteria at work, Chick Fil A, Subway, etc. And in theory I was making the healthiest choices possible at these places. But it's just completely different than a fresh homemade lunch. And SOOO much less sodium!!! I went from 2500-3000mg of sodium a day to just 1500 on average. Low sodium lunch meat, less frozen foods, etc. Now I have a sandwich, fruit, and yogurt for lunch and it's delicious. I don't miss fast food one bit. And once a week, I let myself have a treat and I'll get Wegmans with my boyfriend.

3. Started getting more protein, especially at dinner. This is a more controversial choice, but I have been drinking protein smoothies for dinner every night for the most part. I make my own with fresh ingredients tho, none of the premade sugar laden protein shakes. It's 1 scoop of protein powder, soy milk, Trop50 juice, 0% fat greek yogurt, and frozen fruit. Delicious and filling. I've also started eating better snacks. My food diary is public if anyone is curious about my specific eating habits.

4. Make smarter choices when dining out. I stopped drinking 3-4 beers at once. I stopped ordering terribly unhealthy food when I go to a restaurant because it's there. I have one beer, 2 at most, and I pick a healthy dish. Fresh grilled fish, grilled chicken, a salad (after making sure it's not a surprise 1000 calories salad). It is worth the 10 minutes to scour the menu and check MFP for available nutrition info to pick a better meal, than just ordering something unhealthy. That's the biggest contributor in not swinging 2-3 pounds after a bad day.



My chart from the last 3 weeks is that big drop at the end. It's been a quick drop into the 140s and then a slower gradual decline. All that I've changed isn't making me lose several pounds a week, but at my weight, I'm happy with a pound a week on average. As long as that line keeps trending down, I know it's working.

I have my business trip and vacation for the next week and a half, and that will be the biggest test of keeping up these changes in a difficult environment. Having to eat out, having to squeeze workouts around 12 hour work days potentially. It will definitely be a challenge, but I really want to stick with it. I don't want to erase the progress that is 6 months in the making! So, help me stay accountable, yell at me on my wall to make good choices, and hopefully when I come home to my scale on July 5th, I won't cry when I see the number. 
 

Conflicted

Busting my 6 month plateau was both a blessing and a curse. I've always had 140 as the number in my mind, not 150, and I've never been the personality type to settle. So all along I felt that 150 was settling. But then over the last 6 months, I gradually became OK with that number, enough to change my MFP ticker to 150 and declare that I've reach the goal my body wanted.

Then something strange happened. The scale decided to start moving! And not inching downward and then jumping back up again. Nope, a steady march downward just about every morning and when it hit a new low number, it stayed there. No seeing 149 and then it was gone as quickly as it came. I've been a proud member of the 140s Club for exactly 2 weeks from today, when I weighed in at 147.2. I've seen as low as 146.8.

So, of course my brain starts getting into the "what if" mode. What if I can really get to 140? It's looking possible for once! 3 lbs in 2 weeks is significant, especially since I haven't actually lost weight and kept it off since December. I can honestly tell my body is getting smaller again, and I'm liking what I see. A flat stomach? Toned arms? Thinner legs? All signs that I was overweight are vanishing and I'm embracing being a healthy weight.

But, that nagging in my brain keeps telling me that I can get to 140! I'd have a healthy BMI for the first time in my life. I'm really be comfortable in my own skin without the extra pudge on my stomach. I won't care when I wear a bikini if people still think I'm an overweight girl trying to wear something she shouldn't be. And I won't be giving up on the goal I set for myself. I think it's a reasonable one, I'm 5'2" so 140 is the very top of the healthy weight range. My doctor told me given my body type 130-135 would be healthy for me.

The important thing to focus on is not obsessing over getting there. I'm going to let it happen and if I don't have a big loss one week, the main focus is to at least maintain the new lower numbers. That's really what will help it to stick, not some crash diet to drop 5 lbs and they're back as quickly as they came. I'm not doing this with anything besides good old exercise and a good healthy diet. I've cut out some of the things that were unhealthy, like fast food lunches and unhealthy dinners. It still fits into my lifestyle change, I love my delicious sandwiches for lunch with some fruit and yogurt.

Right now, I'm taking it one pound at a time. Focusing on how I look and feel rather than what the scale happens to say. But I've got to admit, I really like what I'm seeing and it can only get better :)
 

Lift Like A Man!

I'm 5'2", 147 lbs, and I can dead lift a 90 lb dumbbell. 12 times. Haha! That's a solid 61% of my body weight!

I've been working with a personal trainer once a week for 6 months now. It's been a tough journey, he kicks my butt every week and usually I feel like I'm gonna die at the end of it. But this week I really saw how far I've come since I started.

My trainer is having all his clients do a circuit (one for men, one for women) and timing them to see who is the best out of all of us. It was 25 dead lifts with a 60 lb kettlebell, 25 reverse crunches, 25 squats, and then 12 pull ups with a bar about 2 feet off the ground. And I KILLED IT! My time was 1:57.9, the best by a mile from the other girls! So I have officially earned my "girl wings" and now I'm moving onto the men's circuits that he does. Once I get the moves in them down (dead lifts with the dumbbell and hand clings I think they're called), he's going to time me on the men's and rank me on the leaderboard with the guys! Until then, I sit atop the women's leaderboard, proving that girls kick ass :)

But of course a common response to this triumph (which came from my concerned boyfriend, typical), was "don't get all weird and muscle-y". Ugh... pet peeve right there!

I'm not taking steroids. Girls CANNOT get "weird and muscle-y" just from lifting heavy weights once a week for 30 minutes. I still have 29.8% body fat (and shrinking...), whatever muscle I do have is still hiding for the most part altho it's coming out in an attractive way! I'd have to be doing a hell of a lot more to get muscle-y any time soon.

So, my point is that girls can lift like guys! We're strong too! Even if I'm only 5'2" and don't look like I could lift a 60 lb kettlebell, I like to surprise people ;) And the benefits of it are increasing your muscle tone while losing fat from burning more calories at rest. Muscle burns fat! Basically lifting and strength training increases metabolism. So by swapping out a cardio workout or two a week to strength train, I'm still able to lose weight with the right diet (SO important, I can't say that enough!).

And don't worry, dear boyfriend, you won't notice any crazy muscles, just thin toned arms and legs and a sexy flat stomach in a bikini. And really, what guy is looking at my ARMS when I'm rocking a Victoria Secret bikini? :)
 

Business Trip Challenges

One of the awesome parts about my job is every few months I get to travel to California... Where they pay for my food, my drinks, keep me occupied 12 hours a day on testing and support, and then exhaust me so that I go to bed at 8pm and wake up at 6am to do it again.

Sounds fun right? haha. I do enjoy getting out of the office for a week, but it throws my schedule for such a loop that it's kind of terrifying me. And here's why:

The last trip I went on was in January. We had issues with the testing and I was stressing out. Plus it was the first time I was on a trip on the company's dime. So, restaurants with awesome food, big lunches, snacks, beer, good lordy if it was there I ate it! And the last night I was so stressed I ended up on a bit of a bender off of beer, food, and red velvet cake (I may have been eating red velvet cake while sitting at a bar table drinking beer. YES it was THAT BAD!!)

So needless to say, I'm concerned about my will power and stress levels this time. I'm FINALLY losing weight at a consistent pace, the scale goes down nearly every day and when it does jump up, it's less than half a pound. So a week away from my routine, my gym, my smoothie maker, and my premade lunches is stressing me out. I'm gonna need a game plan, but it'll be a little hard since they haven't even told me when I'm flying out!

1.) Don't eat crap! I'll be smart about the hotel buffet, get some eggs and yogurt or something healthy. Lunch will be tricky since I'll be at the vendor and have to find food around there, but I'm not going nuts this time. Dinner I can take my time choosing where to eat, and there is a Jamba Juice down the street from the hotel. I can definitely go there for something healthy like my protein smoothies. 

2.) No skimping on the workouts! Last time I went in saying I'd work out every day. But then I gorged myself at dinner and drank beer and came back to the hotel and went straight to bed. This time, I will workout for half an hour each night. Not a huge time commitment, and I'm bringing Chalean Extreme and the thigh toner with it to workout in the room.

3.) If I indulge, I have to keep it in moderation. I can still grab lunch or dinner out somewhere, but I don't need a giant plate of mac n cheese and 3 beers to chase it down. 

4.) Don't let stress get to me. Chances are, I'll be stressed, and I don't want to undo everything from the last 3 weeks in the span of a few days. I'm planning to hit up a supermarket when I get there for snacks to keep with me at the vendor and for at night, that way I can have smaller, healthier meals with healthy snacks. My hotel room has a mini kitchenette and a fridge I believe.

So, there's my gameplan. It's gonna be a challenge, especially since I'm going straight up to Jersey once I'm back in Virginia for 4th of July weekend (don't get me started on how to handle that!). But, if I go in with a plan, at least I have something to stick to. The fact that I'm finally out of my plateau should be motivation enough! And all those hot bodies in Southern California can remind me to keep up. Now if only they would tell me what day I'm flying out to California... haha
 
Check this post out at my Blogspot Blog:

Droopy Drawers

Yesterday I realized that I needed to invest in some new underwear. Particularly the moment that I was purposefully walking in the mall to get to Victoria Secret and my underwear nearly fell down. 

Yep, I nearly dropped my drawers in the middle of a mall! I was wearing a dress... it was a close call. HAHA! So it became even more obvious that I've shrunk in the last 2 months since the scale seems to be moving again (3 lbs down and counting from my plateau weight of 150). Luckily Victoria Secret is having their semi annual sale, so I spent a good hour in there picking out some undies that fit, all size small and medium! And then I ducked into Express and they had a bin of undies on sale. So, I think I'll be safe from dropping my drawers in public. Unless I'm trying to get arrested for public indecency, so you never know :P

I kind of thought I was safe with the size I'm at, but it's looking like I can get even smaller. I didn't know my body could do that! But I can see my stomach shrinking and my bikini improving and it's totally possible. Clothes I bought 3 months ago are a bit loose. The size 10 denim skirt I had just got replaced with a size 6. And my little sister is asking to borrow my dresses... haha (the last picture in the banner at the top of the blog). It's a good feeling after nearly having resigned myself to being 150 for good. It was just a matter of eating better! Oh yes, and chilling out. I've adopted the mentality that every extra pound is a bonus at this point. My body fat is 29.8% and falling (measured with a computer and calipers, way more accurate than a handheld thingy). I'm by all accounts healthy, and happy. I just need to invest in some smaller clothes again... 

And people wonder why I'm addicted to shopping... hahaha. Yes, it's something I admit I do a bit too much, but it's become a bit of a necessity so that I have clothes to wear that fit! Especially undies. 
 
 
This bllog is also posted on my Blogspot! Check it out and become a follower if you're interested :)

80% Diet, 20% CHILLING OUT

We've all heard how losing weight isn't all just about working out. The food you put in your body has an equally important impact. But then again, there are other mysterious factors out there that can keep the pounds from budging. One of the biggest one is stress, at least for me. It's a self-perpetuating cycle: I stress over not losing that week, the scale doesn't move, I stress because it didn't move... it doesn't move the next week... yada yada yada.

So, I tried something. I set my ticker to 150, the weight I've been at for 6 months. And I stopped freaking out. I'm happy with how I look 95% of the way, I'm fitting into the clothes I want (I'm a size 6, my size 8 AE denim shorts I bought a month ago are roomy now). And I'm happy in a bikini. So, I took the pressure of myself. No deadlines, no crazy goals, just going with what my body wants.

And so, exactly two weeks after I did that, the scale says 147.4. HUH???

Yeah, I'm as baffled as you. I got rid of the stress and reevaluated my habits and voila, bye bye 150s. So, what exactly did I do?

1. Cut back on the cardio! I rediscovered my Chalean Extreme DVDs. I've been chaining myself to the treadmill or the summit climber at the gym with no major effects. Great calorie burns, firmer tush, but no weight loss. Swap out my running days for circuit training or strength training and things have gotten a lot better.

2. Stop eating whatever I please when I go out. It's fine to have a nice treat meal on occasion, but that's not lunch every day. I have no need to go out to Chick Fil A or Potbelly or something 4-5 days a week. Oh the sodium... badddd. So I started bringing delicious lunches, and I can still eat with the guys I work with in the cafeteria. I've been getting more protein and WAY less sodium and less carbs. For dinner's I've been having a protein smoothie, plus a nice evening snack.

3. Took a chill pill. I don't mind taking a day off from working out. Or taking it easy that day. As long as I'm moving. I did a 30 minute Chalean DVD yesterday before going to kickball. I took Wednesday off because my calves were (still are) killing me from my nice 4" wedge heels. Now I just need to keep the stress level down. The scale cooperating does help.

So, if you're stuck, take a look at what you're doing. I said up and down that I didn't want to change my habits because I was comfortable. But you're body isn't gonna change when you're comfortable. So I looked at a few relatively painless ways to adjust things. Less running doesn't suck (and it's the hot summer anyway), so I"ll pick it up again full force in the fall when I've lost the rest of the weight. It'll be a good way to maintain it and look good. I don't mind brining my lunch, and my wallet LOVES me, haha. And the less stress is always welcomed :)
 
Also, this blog is posted on my new Blogspot blog, follow me!

The Debut of "The Shrinking Rocket Scientist" Blog!

In continuing my MFP blog, I wanted to create one that anyone can see, so... 

The Shrinking Rocket Scientist 

 

I'll be posting my blogs on here and on my Blogspot blog, so you can follow them wherever you wish. Hope you enjoy it, and I always love feedback (good, bad, or otherwise!)

10 Little Secrets

We all hear tons of advice on how to lose weight, exercise, get healthier, and what not, but what really works??? I'm somewhat inspired today to write about little everyday things that I've done, swapped out or cut out that have added up to a lot of weight loss. And... finally breaking the maintenance plateau! (as I'm calling it, since it was a bit of both). And I really think a few of these tricks helped.

1.) Avoid eating out when it's possible to eat your own food. I've started bringing my lunch to work every day (except Friday, my treat day and I get lunch with the guys). I know exactly what's in my food, and best of all it's low in sodium! I really think that's contributed the scale moving again. I go for a roast beef and cheese sandwich with hummus on a pita, greek yogurt, and some sort of fresh fruit. I have a fridge at work and I can buy groceries. There is NO reason other than my own laziness not to bring lunch.

2.) Protein doesn't have to come from a chicken breast. I'm a HUGE fan of non-meat proteins. So I've been eating lots of greek yogurt, peanut butter, protein bars (Zone taste the best) and protein smoothies (I like Designer Whey and Optimum Nutrition). Some people might not agree that getting protein from bars and shakes and yogurt is preferable, but for someone like me that doesn't like to cook a giant chicken breast every night to get my protein count up, it's a good alternative.

3.) Sneak in exercise. I don't spent 5 minutes trolling for parking spaces. I'll take an extra lap around the mall when I'm done shopping. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. I've been known to do chair dips at my desk at work... haha. It's great to get that 30 minutes of a workout in, but your body benefits from even a little extra movement for the day.

4.) Don't drink your calories. This is a pretty basic one, but I only ever drink my calories when there's alcohol involved... haha. Otherwise it's water for me (aside from my morning coffee). Or diet iced tea is another favorite of mine.

5.) Carbs aren't a horrible thing. Especially when the carbs are simple carbs from things like fruit. I love eating fruit, but I balance it out with the protein that I get. No need to cut them out entirely, fruit is delicious! When was the last time you heard someone say they gained back weight from eating more fruit? haha

6.)  You don't need to do cardio allll the time. I think the best thing I've done in the last few weeks is cut back on my cardio... but replace those workouts with either circuit training or strength training. I'm still getting a calorie burn from it, but it seems to be helping my metabolism more than all cardio was.

7.) Trade out indulgences for healthier ones. I love a treat every now and then, but I tend to go overboard. So instead of ice cream at night, I have a greek yogurt or a protein smoothie. Instead of cookies I have hummus and crackers. Instead of a chocolate bar I have a little pack of Skinny Cow chocolate dream thingies. And then when I do have a treat, it's even more of a special occasion and I enjoy it. And i don't feel the need to overindulge.

8.) Your MFP app is your best friend. I spent a solid 10 minutes (probably more) at the Cheesecake Factory on Saturday looking for something to eat. And ya know what, I didn't gain a single ounce this weekend instead of the usual pound or two.

9.) Take a rest day, or two. I don't work out 7 days a week. I'm not saying my rest days are entirely restful, I'll go to the pool or mall or do something with the boyfriend so I'm moving. But my body feels so much better afterwards and I have more energy to give on my workout days. Right now, I seem to be averaging 4 days a week with a dedicated workout, sometimes 5 depending on my kickball game being canceled or not.

10.) Measure your progress in any way possible. Given the scale was a putz until this week, I had to have SOMETHING to keep me going. So I had my 5K personal best goals, and my goals for fitting into smaller clothes or looking better in existing clothes. I measure myself once a month. And I've been lifting heavier and heavier weights and kettlebells at the gym. So, numbers do matter... but the scale isn't the only one.

 

Feel free to contribute tips and tricks of your own in the comments below! 

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