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So This Is Harder Than I Thought...

A month after I set some goals to do Insanity, lose weight, and improve my habits, I'm having issues. The scale is UP! My clothes definitely don't fit better. And I'm still having issues getting everything going in the right direction at the same time.

My basic goals were to get down to 170 (from 173.5), do Insanity 4 times a week, log daily, and not drink beer during the week by last Friday (when I left for a weekend trip). Of all that, I'm happy that I did manage to log daily and I didn't drink at all Sundays-Thursdays during that time. I didn't really drink that much to be honest. But the scale went down to 172.5 and then promptly back up and stayed between 173-175 for the next 2 weeks. And the last 2 weeks I only got to do Insanity 3 days a week. This clearly isn't going to be enough!

I've noticed my eating hasn't been crazy on calories, but it could be healthier food. There's a big difference between 1300 calories of junk or takeout and 1500 calories of healthy stuff. So, I'm starting there. I already grocery shopped and picked up bananas to eat with lunch, baby carrots and hummus for snacks, and chicken breast and sweet potatoes for dinner.

The other issue is my workouts. I have a love/hate relationship with Insanity (and Shaun T, who I bitch out on a regular basis when he tells me to get moving). It does kick my butt, but it is a lot of cardio and I haven't been able to do it as often as I wanted. I keep going back to the fact that lifting put me in the best shape I've been in. I was able to eat more, my shape was much improved from the added muscle and less body fat, and I just felt better. Powerful even. So, I'm going back to my roots, so to speak. Alternating strength days with cardio days by combining Insanity and New Rules of Lifting for Women. I'm already through almost 3 weeks of Insanity, so this will just stretch out the 60 day schedule. My initial plan is Insanity Mon, Wed and Fri or Saturday morning and then lifting at the gym Tues and Thurs. Depending on how it goes, I might reverse it to 3 lifting days and 2 cardio days, but for now I'll start this way.

And of course, I'm gonna need some more goals to help me along the way. I'm giving myself the month of February, since I don't really have any major events until my friend's wedding in May to aim for. But monthly is how I'd do it before, so I'm sticking to it. March 1st is my goal deadline for this month.

1. Get down to under 170 lbs - Right now I'm sitting at 175. And I hate it. I also had a lot of sodium the pst 2 days from traveling, so that's also not helping. Either way, that's a little over a pound a week if I can keep things moving in the righte direction.

2. Stick to my 5 workouts a week plan, initially with 2 Insanity days and 3 NROLFW days - I'm going to go with more strength over more cardio, it just works better based on last time. , I'm shooting for 5 workouts a week. I've been avoiding the gym entirely during the month of January, so hopefully everyone has given up on their resolutions by now and it's less crowded. The exception will probably be the week of Valentines Day, since it's on a Thursday. I'll probably only get 4 in that week.

3. Keep logging daily, EVEN ON THE WEEKENDS! - That did help me stay accountable and I ate less junk with that in mind. So I'm sticking to it.

4. Replace processed foods and snacks with healthier ones where possible - I still really like my protein bars as afternoon snacks, but adding in carrots and bananas are a good way to eat less processed foods.  

Thinking in the future, I'd LOVE to be under 160 by my friend's wedding, and that gives me 3 months to do it. And honestly, I'm not super focused on the number. If weight lifting can get my body fat percenage down again, I'm flexible with where the scale ends up. I just really want all the jeans stacked in my closet to fit again!!!! I honestly infuriates me when I try on a pair of jeans that fit perfectly fine last spring only to find that they're giving me a disgusting amount of muffin top. It makes me never want to eat again. But, I just have to work to get back into the jeans. I need to save money anyway so new ones aren't allowed.

A Week of Progress

A skinny ass wasn't built in a day, but in a week I've managed to get things going down the right path again.

I started Insanity last Friday and I've done 4 workouts total in it. Definitely a butt-kicker in a good way! I've been easing into it so I'm not too sore to function, but so far I've really liked it. I admit, I have never cursed so much at an on-screen workout instructor in my life as I do with Shaun-T, hahaha. But I keep going.

My awesomeness continued this morning with a loss of 1.3 lbs for the week! WHOOT! I'm down to 172.6, so I'm hoping that I can manage to match that amount the next 2 weeks before I leave for Phoenix to visit my friend. That would put me just under 170 for my goal. It's definitely been a week of detoxing from all the crap and booze I drank over Christmas and New Years. I'm not starving all the time at least from the reduced calories now. I shifted my meals around and added a banana with lunch and went back to chicken breast and veggies for dinner. Much more filling! Which reminds me, I really need more vegetables... my sweet potatoes were brown and icky.

So for my 4 goals, here's the official progress, for every thing I complete I get to buy something with my friend in Arizona!:

1. Get down to 170 by Friday, Jan. 25th - I went from 173.9 lbs to 172.6 lbs this week, so I'm on track!

2. No beer during the week! - Honestly, I haven't had a single beer since New Years Eve! That massive hangover put Randy and I off beer for a while, and last weekend I drank sake at the Hibachi place and then had a mixed vodka and Sprite Zero drink. Tonight there will be NO BEER with my movie at home! If I really want something, I have like, 4 oz of wine left in a bottle in the fridge to sip with the movie.

3. Do Insanity at least 4 times a week - On track! I did it Mon-Wed, skipped it last night because I got home at 7 after running errands after work (and came home to a dead Keurig coffee machine), and I'm doing it tonight. Depending on when I go to Randy's in the morning, I might try to squeeze one more in!

4. Log ALL MY FOOD! - Done! I logged over the weekend and I plan to keep it up! It actually helped a lot to see the food in my diary and keep a mental tally of what I can eat throughout the day. Defnitely a missing piece in the puzzle.

So, I'm happy with progress. So far 2013 has been kind of sucky, so at least this is going in the right direction for me. It's going to be a nice weekend so I fully plan to get out and get some fresh air and exercise!

Shopaholic Meets Foodaholic

I'm starting to realize that my lack of control with eating goes way beyond food. I have the exact same problem with shopping! Its not like I'm completely oblivious to either issue, I have a account for budgeting every dollar I spend and I keep a food diary on MFP. However, I go over more often than not and there's not deterrant for it. The scale goes up and my bank account goes down.

For being a control freak, I don't like that I get out of control with both issues. It's a very "in the moment" sort of thing, self-gratification instantly. I want that dress, so I buy it. Victoria Secret has their sale, so I buy yet another bra to add to the 2 drawers I already have full of them. Or I'll eat a few cookies because a coworker brought them in.

Either way, the consequences aren't making me stop and think about what I'm doing. There is no NEED for any of it! I don't need cookies to live, I don't need yet another dress or purse or something. It was just Christmas! I did need the new running shoes, but that's about it. Makeup is another addiction of mine, I counted 53 eyeliners last night in my collection. I know... I'm nuts.

So, my solution to both problems is to tie them together! No shopping without being a reward for doing something right! I have a trip to visit my bff in Arizona at the end of the month, and I'd like to be able to go shopping together without blowing my budget. So... here's the plan.

By time I leave for my trip (Friday, January 25th), I want to accomplish the following goals. For each one I do, I get to buy one thing with my friend.

1. Get under 170 lbs. I'm right around 174 after the holidays, so that's about a pound a week. Doable!

2. Complete at least 4 Insanity workouts each week. This gives me some leeway for a gym day.

3. Log my food daily, and yes that means weekends! I never log on the weekends anymore and I'm pretty sure that's a major reason I'm having issues. I'm just not accountable for it.

4. No beer allowed during the week. This is a major source of calories and while a beer or two on a weekend day isn't bad, there's no real reason for one during the week.

I think these are achieveable and should help make some progress with the scale and my budget! In between now and then, no extraneous shopping! No makeup, no going crazy in Victoria secret, no bored online shopping. I have a stack of giftcards from Christmas and such that I can use if I need something specific (Macy's, Kohls and Express, so that has me decently covered). Of course I pick the month after Christmas with all the good sales to do this... but it's time to get things under control. I hate feeling out of control and lately it's been stressing me out. I'm not happy with myself, but I keep going back to my old habits with comfort food (and beer) and shopping. Hopefully this helps get me motivated again!

2012: A Year of Ups and Downs

I've been filling out a year end survey since I was 17 or something. Kind of crazy, but I like having a way to keep track of what I've managed to do every year. This year was definitely some ups and downs, mainly on the scale! I started out the year doing incredibly well, I moved into my condo, I started lifting heavy and I was down into a size 6 and in the 150s by the end of Spring. Then came summer, and some laziness, and then Fall was lots of travel. And before I knew it, BAM 10 lbs came back... and then a few more. Right now I'm about 13 lbs above where I really want to be. I'm starting to get out of shape from not running or lifting on a regular basis. So, things need to change. Workouts are taking priority again, eating crap is not going to happen. Randy has agreed to eat in more so we can save money and cook better food. I'm gonna make us healthy tacos this weekend!

Anyway, here's my take on the last year, and hopeful this year will have more downs on the scale and more ups for my personal life!

1. What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before?

Moved into the condo that I bought, celebrated 2 years with Randy, traveled to Colorado for the Great American Beer Festival, traveled to Boston (last time I was there I was 5 and don't remember much), won an award at work for a proposal we wrote, got my own satellite program to oversee, did some pretty amazing things with weight lifting (who thought I could do man pushups without thinking twice!).

 2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions?

Well, last year I wanted to maintain my weight... and I didn't. I'm up like 13 lbs from where I really want to be, but I've still maintained a large majority of my weight loss. My resolution for this year is to get my weight back down to where I'm comfortable (under 160 or so), fit back into the pile of jeans that I had to put away because they were too small!!!, and get my healthy habits back on track. I really need to stop making excuses and letting will power go out the window.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What countries did you visit?

I stayed in the US again this year, but I did get to see a new state: Colorado!

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

My will power back! I've been lazy and I really need to find that drive that I had in the first place when I lost all the weight. It's inside there somewhere, I just need to light the fire.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

The day I moved into my condo, all mine!!! A lovely Valentine's Day with Randy, Dana's wedding part 2, my cousin's wedding in the summer, two awesome trips to Boston and one trip to Colorado, a fun business trip to California (more breweries to see!), my birthday/anniversary with Randy, and the day we found out we won the Warp 10 award at work!

8. What was your biggest achievement(s) of the year?

Winning the Warp10 award with Randy for our proposal. And the fact that I could dead lift like 125 lbs and squat 120 lbs. I need to get those skills back!

9. What was your biggest failure?

Putting back on the weight in the fall that really didn't need to happen. I got lazy.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing terrible, just some ill-timed colds. Oh, and then were was the day that a bad pair of flipflips gave me Weasel-toe... wiki what it is, it's amusing...

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I technically bought my condo last year, but I moved in January.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Randy and my fabulous family and friends

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Nothing stands out too much.

14. Where did most of your money go?

My shopping habits, a few trips that I paid for, and my mortgage payment every month! Really looking forward to a giant tax refund from the mortgage interest deduction tho!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Lots of fun travels with Randy, having my own space, drinking great beers.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?

The Scientist by Coldplay

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? I'm about the same I think

b) thinner or fatter? UGH, fatter... I'm fixing that tho!

c) richer or poorer? I'd say I'm probably richer, since I've built some savings back up after the condo down payment. I need to budget more cafeully tho in 2013.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Dilligently exercising and eating better!

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Excessive eating out and skipping workouts.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

I went to my aunt and uncle's house for my mom's side and my granny and pop's house for my dad's side. The usual...

21. Did you fall in love in 2012?

I have Randy, can't get better than that!

22. How many one-night stands?

Nada... that would be bad!

23. What was your favorite TV program?

I really like Dance Moms, I'll admit it! I also love Big Bang Theory.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

Eh, probably not.

25. What was the best book you read?

I just finished the first book of the Hunger Games. Gotta download the next one! 

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I'm kind of on the Taylor Swift bandwagon...

27. What did you want and get?

I wanted my condo, and I got that and the nice space it comes with.

28. What did you want and not get?

I wanted a new car, but I'm going to hold out for another 6 months at least. It's so much cheaper without a car payment!

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

I really liked Skyfall and Argo. I'm going to see the Hobbit soon too!

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 26 and it was my 2 year anniversary with Randy too! It was kind of a chaotic day. We got up at 5am, flew back from Boston, made it to the Warp10 awards ceremony just as they were announcing us!!! Then I worked for a bit, went over to Randy's, had dinner at Firework Pizza (great beer!) and then we went back to my place and hung out and slept. Then I had to wake up at 5am again for a 7am flight to California for business! It was such a whirlwind...

31.What was one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Not gaining weight.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?

I'm a big fan of skinny jeans and knee high boots at the moment! I haven't changed much besides that, work casual, lots of dresses in the summer.

33. What kept you sane?

Hanging out with Randy while drinking a good beer.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I don't really know... Daniel Craig makes an awesome James Bond.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

Oh so many to choose from... lets go with the election.

36. Who did you miss?

I miss everyone that lives all over the place! It's nice to get to see people tho when I visit.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

Dunno.... there's an assortment of people from work that I've met.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.

It is really easy to get wrapped up in the moment and forget about the bigger picture. I'm disappointed that I completely let myself go in the Fall, but I recognized it and I'm working to get back on track. By Spring, I want to be in shape!

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Dust yourself off and try again!

New Motivations and Old Habits

As this year wraps up, I've been thinking about the progress I made... and then the progress I completely erased. It's scary to realize how quickly it can all reverse itself! Photos from just early summer and spring seem different to one I took last week (and hated). The difference: 15 or so pounds. I'm only 5'2" so even 5 lbs shows up on me. 15 lbs has resulted in a new jean size...

It really easy to start making excuses and it's really hard to stop falling back into them. Well I'm on a trip so it's OK. But then my entire month of October was spent traveling. That's really the turning point in all of this. Up until September, I was hovering around 160 give or take 2 lbs. My clothes still fit and I was happy with my weight lifting progress. Then an entire month spend hopping around the country for work and personal vacations got me into lazy mode. Eating out, skipping workouts, eating what other people were eating, and drinking lots of beer. And my mindset completely shifted back to what it was before I tried to lose weight. It was indifference and it was going with my what stomach was telling me instead of my brain.

The end result of all of this is that now I weigh 173.4 lbs of this morning. That's a weight I haven't seen since I was losing the 60 lbs I lost all in one go between February to December 2010. I ended that year around 150 lbs. I ended last year around 152 or so lbs I think. And I'm ending this year up about 20 lbs from that. I have a bit more muscle now, but certainly not 20 lbs of it. Maybe 2 or 3.

Here's my chart... notice a trend?

It's like doing OK, weight lifting so it goes up somewhat in Feb-April and then I'm doing great through June. And then summer hits, I don't log the couple lbs I put on, finally fess up to it in September. And then there's November. Yep, I'm screwed. Why after 2 years of maintaining did I suddenly just give up? Part of it is laziness for sure. And the other part is that it is SO frustrating that I can't just be normal. I'm always formerly fat and I have to watch my diet and exercise a lot more than someone who has been a normal weight their entire life. It was disheartening to see that even if I don't pay full attention to it for a month, this is what happens. And now I have to go through the months of losing it again. Here's the photo taken last weekend. I loved the dress, but I hated how it was tight around my hips and my face looked a lot heavier than in my other photos. And given how my pants have been fitting lately, I can tell where all the weight went.


So, here's my goal. One pound a week. At that rate, I'm looking at 3 months. Maybe it will be more, maybe it will be less, but by Springtime when I have to put away the sweaters I've been hiding in, I want to look good. I really wanted to be under 170 for New Years, and it's still possible if I stop screwing myself over every weekend. I want a different photo in that dress again, with a thinner face and less pooch around the middle! I really hate to be THAT person who gets back into gear for New Years, so I'm starting this week instead. I tried to start like 3 weeks ago, managed to lose like 2 lbs and then put it all back on again. No more screwing around. I'm trying to save money too, so buying bigger clothes is not an option!!!


Dust Yourself Off and Try Again

Everyone has that moment when they realize a few pounds have crept back on. Maybe a pair of pants that fit last Fall suddenly are snug when you take them out of the Winter clothes bin and try them on. Or the second digit on the scale goes up from a 6 to a 7, revealing that yes, you've put on 10 lbs. Or perhaps our old enemy the muffin top has reared its ugly head (or pooch) again and you find yourself sucking your stomach in all the time.

I've realized all 3 things and I don't like it!

I was a very content 155lbs of muscle back in June, after a few stages of New Rules of Lifting for Women. My size 6 jeans fit well, and I didn't feel like a lump in my bikini at the pool. But as summer progressed, I got to the gym less, I was going out more, and I wasn't making as many good choices with food as I should have. By September I was around 162, and it definitely wasn't more muscle. Then throw in an entire month of traveling in October (both vacations and nearly 2 weeks of business travel) and I've found myself around 170. Who am I kidding... 171. UGH! I only have myself to blame because I've taken trips before and come back with a few pounds of water weight that are gone in a week. Not this time...

And of course I pick the holiday season to start buckling down. It's slightly maddening that I was able to do this all once before without as much difficulty, but relosing weight seems to be harder than losing it in the first place! It's just a mental block of laziness. I don't feel like getting up early to workout on a Saturday. Or I don't want another salad, I'm gonna order a burger. It's EXCUSES!

I can't blame my boyfriend, I don't have to order junkfood when we go out together or snack on stuff when I'm around the apartment. And I can find time to workout if I MAKE TIME for it. You would think that feeling somewhat like a sausage in my clothes would motivate me, but the spark I used to have has fizzled a bit. I need to find it again, and with that my will power. That's what is really lacking in this equation. I can make all the plans I want, but if I don't execute them it's useless. And I've always said I will never be a hermit to lose weight, but there are so many better choices I could be making.

I want to set a few goals so that I keep a solid focus on what I want to achieve. At this point, I'd like to get back into the 150s. That's when my clothe sall fit fine, I was comfortable with my body, and you could see some of the nice muscle I've built up during the year.

1. Study the menu and pick something smart when eating out, not what you're in the mood for. Letting my impulse take over is adding hundreds of calories to a meal when it shouldn't.

2. Stick to my calorie goal and log 100% during the week.

3. Workout at least 4 week days and one weekend day.

4. Start running on the treadmill again. I need to get my cardio up and I'm in my best shape when I can run.

5. Don't reset all my progress during the week by screwing up the weekends. I can't even tell you how often I've done this and it's a TERRIBLE HABIT! It's like everything goes out the window Friday night through Sunday night.

6. Don't make excuses when you aren't at home. I'm gonna be in Jersey from Tuesday-Sunday next week for Thanksgiving. That's not an excuses to eat crap the entire time and not get up and move. I bet the hotel in Philly has a gym that I could go to...


So, now that I've written all this down, I need to stick to it. I would LOVE to look awesome in my New Years Eve dress (whatever it might be, I need to check my closet). I don't want to set 160 as my goal for New Years, because 10 lbs is quite a bit for one month. So I'm being reasonable. 165. Technically 6 lbs away from what I am right now. If it more comes off, great. I'm planning to use winter to really get myself back in shape so that when Spring rolls around, I'm not scrambling to look hot in a bikini again. I'm happy to support anyone else who's found themselves in the same situation as me. That's what got me to lose all the weight in the first place.

The 80/20 Rule Doesn't Work...

...when that 20% is bad enough to COMPLETELY cancel out the 80%!

Or when it becomes 70/30, 60/40... well you get the idea.

So this summer I started out doing amazing with my New Rules of Lifting for Women program, I was fitting in my size 6 jeans, and in general I felt pretty good in my bikini. 80/20 rule was going well, my weekdays were on point and I wasn't going too overboard on the weekends so I was maintaining where I wanted to be.

Then come July, work started getting busy, I did some traveling, I did stuff with my boyfriend in the middle of the week, etc. So 80/20 started to slip and my weekdays were getting worse and my weekends even more so. To the point where in August I got sick for an entire week (no gym at all), travelled even more and only got 2-3 workouts in a week. DEFINITELY not enough to cancel out my weekends. 

So, it's back to basics. The result of my 60/40, 50/50, whatever problems was a 5 pound weight gain (UGH!) and my size 6 jeans not fitting at all at the moment. I didn't notice it that much because I wear dresses all summer and I was enjoying myself (a little too much I think). Now that it's just about Fall, I would like my pants and tops to fit properly, and even look awesome, so things have got to change.

I know what works, I've done this whole thing several times over. I can finally see the results of my heavy weight lifting program that I started back in February. It's very empowering to be hauling around 100 lb barbells like it's nothing (well, sort of, haha) and I have some defined arm and back muscles. I'm a regular fixture in the weight section of the gym and people have been commenting on my progress. Now that I've reached that point, I think it's time to balance it out with more cardio. I still have more fat loss to go, my beautiful muscles that I've worked so hard on are hiding underneath the fat!!! What's the point of that?? I want to fit in those size 6 jeans! I want the scale to go back to 155-157! And most importantly, I don't want to erase what I have worked really hard for in the last 2 1/2 years.

If I want to look at it positively, exactly 2 years ago this month I reached 160 lbs for the first time in my adult life, and I've kept it there since. I was even around 150 for a while before I took up the weight training instead of killing myself with cardio. I know I can get myself there, it's just going to require cutting back on all the cheating that I've allowed myself. I can still have beer, but when you throw in a hamburger and onion rings it's just really over the top. I only have 2 stages left in my New Rules program and I would love to have some impressive after photos. Right now my stomach is bigger than I would like so I've got more work to do.

My goal in the next few weeks is to get down to under 160 lbs again. I also want to finish Stage 6 of the NROLFW by time I leave for a week in Colorado on Sunday, Oct 7th. My birthday/anniversary with my boyfriend is on October 22nd and I want to look my best!

The Hazards of Summer

I really do love summer... time to do lots of different activities, people coming to visit, spending the evenings going out when it's not too hot. But that comes with less time for the gym, more opportunities for eating (and drinking) off my plan, and weekends where I'm out and about. The end result is that I've gained back a few pounds and I'm not pleased.

I managed to survive spring with getting to the gym at least 3 days a week, if not 4. I did my strength training and cardio, plus I didn't do too bad with food. I was able to stay between 156-158 for several months. Now I'm up above 160 and it's been that way for a few weeks. Pretty much all downhill from the 4th of July... and I know I'm completely in control of my destiny (and the scale), but for some reason summer just kills my motivation. It's too hot for the gym, I want a mojito, I want to go out with my boyfriend in the middle of the week. I want to LIVE A LITTLE! I'd be OK with the scale if I knew strength training was still happening 3 times a week, but it hasn't been. 2 has been the usual, some weeks one! This week I caught a nasty cold and it kept me out of the gym Mon-Wed.

And all I keep thinking to myself is excuses, excuses! I am fully capable of making better choices, getting to the gym more, not picking unhealthy food when I go out. I've been doing this for 2 1/2 years, its not rocket science :P

I think I need to reassess a few things. First off is my food. I tend to sabotage myself, especially around the boyfriend. We've gotten much better about cooking healthy dinners together on Sunday night, but I need to be better about what I do Fri-Sun afternoon. We need to be more active too, fall will be great for that when the heat subsides, but even now we can go to the pool or walk around indoors somewhere. When I'm by myself during the week, I'm terrible about nibbling on treats or going overboard on carbs. And I need to get to the gym 4 days a week again. Kickball takes up my Thursday nights, so Mon-Wed and Friday need to be gym days.

And I need to stop making excuses. With the exception of having a cold this week, lately my motivation to get to the gym has been slacking. Doing the easy thing and just eating junk food isn't going to cut it when I know I can do better. And the excuse that it's too hard to try and find healthier alternatives is kind of BS. I finally managed to take a plain chicken breast and make it taste delicious, no pre-bought chicken breast and it's healthier! I will bring my lunch to work every day possible (like today I packed a lunch to go to a coworker's going away lunch at a pizza place). And I will stop having bad snacks in the evening. I should really just throw out the ice cream in the freezer...

I know what to do. I just need to follow through with it! I really would like to lose these couple pounds over the next few weeks. It's not impossible. I know once they start to creep back on it's a slippery slope. I'm nipping it in the butt asap before it's 10 extra lbs. I can deal with 3.

NROLFW Phase 4 Done - And Needing a Shakeup

It took over a month, but I finally finished Phase 4 for the New Rules of Lifting for Women program. 4th of July holiday gave me a week off and an incredibly hectic schedule cut my lifting days down to 2 a week (some weeks only 1!).

And now I'm starting to see the rather unfortunate effects of that. I haven't taken new measurements, but I'm fairly certain they would have gone up. The scale was hovering around 159 in the past 2 weeks, but this weekend of travel, a wedding, traveling back and trying to submit a proposal for work by 11:59pm on Monday night had me eating fast food or restaurant food just about every meal. And now I'm at 163! ACK!!! I know its probably water retention, but it frustrates me slightly that I'm veering off track half way through the program.

I knew 7 phases would be long, but I saw really amazing progress between Phase 1-3. Then towards the end of 3 and all through 4, I slacked off and summer hit. My strength has at least gotten a bit better, I've continued to increase my weight on most exercises, but my inches haven't shrunk and the scale has inched up a pound or two. I think this needs to be a bit of a wake up call to get back on track so I can really see some results by the end of all 7 phases. I still want a flatter stomach and toned arms, but right now there's extra fat hiding all my hard work with the weights.

So coming up for Phase 5, I have a few goals.

1.) Get the scale back down to a reasonable number (156-158) through cleaner eating and less junk food/fast food/extra treats etc. Yes, it's summer and I really love the local custard ice cream from Del Ray, but things like that need to be a treat and not something we do every time. My weekends are still going to be busy, but I really need to focus on not letting myself go during the week too.

2.) Start to cook my dinners again. I've been cheating and having a protein shake as my dinner lately because I don't want to cook. While it's OK on occasion, it's probably not good to replace every dinner with it. I'm going to make healthy chicken breast with some veggies or quinoa or something.

3.) Get to the gym or workout 4 days a week MINIMUM! And I want to try to be more active on the weekends with my boyfriend, go kayaking or for a walk in DC or something that gets us up and moving. It'll benefit the both of us. I'm not going to see results from NROLFW if I can't get at least 2 strength workouts in a week, 3 is preferable.

4.) Stop the excuses. I know perfectly well what I'm doing. I know how many calories I'm eating, I know when I make bad choices, when I choose to nap instead of working out. Those aren't going to make me happier with myself unless I do something positive to change it.

And here's a few highlights from Phase 4 with strength progress.

Deadlift - 115lbs to 135 lbs
Underhand lateral pulldown - 105lbs to 115lbs
Step ups - 30 lbs per hand using a box that goes up to my knees to 15 lbs per hand on a box that goes halfway up my thighs (it's a BIG step up!)
Front squat/push press - 55lbs to 60 lbs
Dumbbell prone Cuban snatch - 15 lbs per arm to 20 lbs per arm

A Minor Rebellion

Have you ever had a day where you want to throw all the healthy stuff out the window and just do whatever you want for once? Not having to worry about spending an hour+ at the gym after work, or staring at a menu for 5 minutes trying to find the healthiest option, or walking past the box of donuts that your coworker brought in to share. Or even just something as simple as drinking something other than water with your meal!

I may have had a day like that yesterday. It was 99 degrees out, my gym has crappy air conditioning, and I just wanted to eat some Chick Fil A and get a small cup of ice cream with it, while skipping the gym after work since I didn't want to die. And I did it. Still stayed around my calories, and I did walk around the mall on my lunch and around Town Center after work so I wasn't completely sedentary.

And ya know what, the world didn't stop turning! And the scale didn't shatter when I stepped on it this morning... it was actually down to 158.3, which is the lowest I've seen all week. And I REALLY enjoyed the cup of ice cream and having a small bottle of beer with my dinner.

I think sometimes we get so caught up in being PERFECT with trying to lose weight/be healthy/reduce body fat %/whatever your goal may be, that we forget that it's not really something we're going to do every single day of the rest of our lives. There will be hot days where all you want is a beer and an ice cream cup, and there will be days where all you want to do is hit the gym and sweat it out. I've had both. I logged what I had yesterday, and I didn't wake up this morning hating myself for "stepping out of line" for a day.

The most important part of this whole journey is to think about the long term. I've been maintaining my 60-ish lb weight loss for nearly a year and a half now. If I tried to stick to 1200 calories a day, crazy cardio, gym 6 days a week, etc, I'd completely rebel and regress back into old habits. But if I let myself have a mini rebellion day every now and then, a beer, an ice cream, skipping the gym, eating out with the boyfriend, etc. it keeps me sane! And it's not enough of an impact to throw the scale into oblivion. I bounce back, I get motivated the next day to continue, and that's the most important thing. I admit sometimes I give myself a little too much rope and end up hanging myself (i.e. the scale freaks out for a week or something), but I pick up where I left off.

I just wanted to explain my thought process on long term success. I know many people on here are still in weight loss mode... but what happens when you're near or at your goal? You still have the rest of your life to deal with it! I like being a voice for the maintainers, since it's not a voice you hear as often. My victories are in a new weight for my deadlift, or surviving a week away without gaining 5 lbs in the process. And just being happy to buy clothing that is 5 sizes smaller than I was 3 years ago. It's all about balance and seeing progress in those things.

And yes, eating a cup of ice cream every once in a while!

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