Since “cleaning” up my diet (essentially, cutting processed products/foods and eating out) I’ve been experimenting much more with cooking and different ingredients.
I’ve heard so many people talk about it as though it is the most super of super foods. Yet, I had never tried it. I finally bought some and today, I found a non-threatening way to incorporate it into a recipe. (Looks like lettuce, but smells kind of like broccoli when chopped.)
If I continue to post recipes, you’ll probably notice a few things: I eat a lot of black beans. Wonderful food. I also consider lentils a super power food. They are cheap, filling, and so nutritious.
Anyhow, here’s my latest lunch concoction (in truth, I found it hard to name because it’s almost equal parts everything, so there you have it – it’s also nimble and easy to adapt depending on what veggies, beans/legumes, etc you have):
1/4 cup Red Onion (this can be adjusted depending on taste – I like I used a bit too much. Red onions are PO-TENT. A milder white or yellow might be less over-powering in this amount.)
1) prepare brown rice (while this is cooking, go to step 2), set aside
2) add corn and black beans to bowl and microwave 2 minutes (while this is cooking, go to steps 3 & 4)
3) wash and chop kale
4) chop onion
5) add kale to bowl with rice
6) remove corn/black bean mix from microwave
7) microwave kale/rice for 40 seconds (enough to wilt the kale) – remove and mix into rice (you will notice a considerable change in volume)
8) add seasonings to kale/rice and stir
9) add corn/black bean mixture and onion to kale/rice bowl and mix
Seasonings: garlic, chili powder, cumin, red pepper
Facebook was down earlier so I had nowhere to aimlessly shuffle on the internet. Enter Pinterest. Oh Pinterest. There were so many food posts in my stream tonight. It’s hard to not think about dessert when it’s in your face. Annd I had eaten fewer than 1200 calories for the day and needed a bit more healthy fat and protein to round out my day.
As I was drooling, I stumbled on a healthy chocolate shake recipe that I pinned this week. After reading it, I realized I was missing several ingredients and I was not willing to try to find them at 8:30pm. I also stumbled onto Chocolate Covered Katie’s recipe, but didn’t have the ingredients for that either. RATSSSS.
And then, oh yes then, I found my childhood roots. I was quite the concoctor when I was a kid. So, here’s what I threw together tonight (it was DELICIOUS!!!!):
Add all ingredients to blender. I add in this order:
1) Coconut Water
2) Protein Powder
3) Cocoa Powder
4) Flax Seeds
6) Greek Yogurt
And blend!!!! (until smooth – at least 30 seconds, maybe longer)
Pour into glass and enjoy.
*I used 10 ice cubes and added a tiny bit of plain old water. Also, blend long enough to grind up the flax seeds or use the kind that’s already ground up. I love “travel flax” because it’s ground up, portion controlled, and portable. It will also disappear into whatever you blend or mix it in.
Okay, a new year started and suddenly the word “cleanse” is all over my internets: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.
Cleanse is a marketing buzz word. That’s it. It’s not magic, but it’s not hype either. A good “cleanse” will actually help you lose “weight” and feel better.
They cut coffee and caffeinated beverages: In addition to adding cognitive clarity and boosting energy, caffeine stimulates appetite making you feel hungrier, and caffeine speeds up the digestive process – and not necessarily in a good way.
They cut soda (pop) and carbonated beverages: Regular soda is full of sugar which is terrible in excess. All soda is full of acid that is awful for your teeth and chemicals that your body has trouble processing. Soda and carbonated beverages also cause bloating – you’re drinking gas, expect to be gassy. It takes up volume in your gut. Also, I hate artificial sweeteners.
They cut alcohol: Empty calories. No real nutritional benefit (aside from wine which when consumed in moderation has been shown to be beneficial.) Other than its direct impact, alcohol is almost always a gateway to eating more, and often not the best choices. It also screws with digestion and liver and kidney processes. I like booze. I do not like hangovers. Or eating an extra meal because I stayed up late drinking.
They cut processed foods: If your food doesn’t get moldy you probably shouldn’t be putting it in your body. All those chemicals interfere with nature. Processed foods are laden with sugar, sodium, fake color, and preservatives. They strip foods of the natural things that make them well, natural, and they add things that aren’t meant to be consumed (I’m a non-fan of foods with “added” fiber. There are great sources of natural fiber that won’t leave your gut feeling like someone is stabbing it and making you and anyone near you wonder why your ass sounds like a giant sheet of bubble wrap.) No thanks.
They focus on vegetables: This is one of the most basic things you can do to boost your health. If I had to pick two things off this list to tell someone to change immediately, this would be second only to drink more water. Once you focus on veggies you will likely naturally cut some of the processed foods (and then you can cut them altogether.)
They focus on lean sources of protein: Filling. Healthy. Yay muscles!
They focus on adding vitamins, minerals, and pre/pro-biotics: I put all three in one. These are things your body needs to work properly. Focusing on veggies will help with this. Building and repairing cells is helpful in oh, I don’t know, staying alive. Getting more of these things will improve your skin and vitality.
They focus on drinking lots and lots of water: This is step number one for anyone looking to increase health. The more water you drink the less other crap (like soda) you will drink. Trust me, you really can give up soda. I drink it maybe twice a month if even that often. I won’t preach here. I’ve already been leaning that way. We all know drinking water is good for our bodies. (and stop adding all those artificial sweetener flavor packets! Yes, they taste good, but they are fake. blarg. Squeeze some lemon or lime instead. And yes, I have a bunch of the packets. I caved and used them but they make me feel awful so I stopped using them. Really, they made my face all hot and red.)
They “encourage” you to move: Who knew moving burned calories?
Guys and Gals, this is what we should be doing anyway.
I’m fat. I got and stayed here for a lot of reasons. Well basically, not doing enough of the the things listed above consistently enough. I have been extra sensitive to this the last week or so because of the changes in my routine. My whole schedule of working out, cooking, and eating was thrown off when my mom died. Like I said in my last post, I’m trying to “get back on the horse.” I wish there was a magic bullet. But getting back into cooking and doing all the stuff above is hard. I find myself eating breakfast and then not eating again until dinner. Terrible for my metabolism. I don’t feel good this way. I’m bloated. I keep reaching for sugar but my body doesn’t want it. Anyhow, today, so far so good.
I’m not saying you should completely cut all of these things all of the time. I drink coffee. (I did give up caffeine early in 2011 for a while. After the first days of fogginess, I actually felt great. Caffeine influeces your system for up to 5 hours after you consume it. Not sleeping well at night? What are you drinking and when?) I occasionally eat things like “bars” from Kashi or sweets or drink a pop.
I just think it’s funny that people think “cleanse” is a noun. It’s a verb. Always was, always will be. Cleanse yourself. Put good things in your body. Stay clean.
So, people who have done a “cleanse” – did I get it right? What am I missing? Am I full of shit? Thoughts and comments are welcome.
To use a cliche to gentley ease into this post, I need to get back on the horse. You see, I haven’t really worked out since last Thursday. (I walked on the treadmill on Friday, but I’m not counting that.) For once in my life, I have a good reason. The day of my last post, January 13th, my mom passed away. She was 56.
In her last years, my mom struggled with diabetes and obesity. However, in the 25 years prior (of the 30 in which I was blessed to have her alive) she was very health conscious. She ate vegetables. She drank water. She exercised. However, she also smoked.
I’m sure the stroke that killed her was caused by some combination of long-time smoking (though she’d recently quit), a multitude of prescription medications for various ailments (any more on this will only be a rant about what is wrong with health care in America), lack of movement, and a profound sadness.
For me, I know activity is the best medication. And I think it could have saved my mother. I too struggle with depression and social anxiety. But getting out, being with people. moving my body, eating healthy food, and creating new experiences and memories is my salvation. New experiences make my brain sing and gives me things to write about. Writing fuels my self esteem and provides an outlet for emotional satisfaction. Exercise provides immediate lift through all the fun sciencey biology things someone else can explain to you.
My mom also read and commented on this blog. She loved me. She felt my pain. She felt my elation. And she knew my struggle. It was with great conviction that she told me she knew I would achieve my goals. And so Mom, I do this for both of us. I get back on the horse. I put down the Russell Stover’s and the comfort foods.
I fill my body with wholesome foods. With power I push myself – further than I think I can – as far as I can go.
It’s the question that always means more pain. Not bad pain, but pain none-the-less. Here’s how it goes (note, this is all paraphrased from real occurrences):
PT: “Were you sore?”
FLK: “Actually, not really!”
PT: “Oh, hmm.”
FLK: “Yeah, I think it was because of the walking on the treadmill after! That really helps!” (note, PT told me to walk because it helps so this is not only just being honest, but unintentionally sucking up because I R Good Student!)
PT: “Well that’s good but being sore is good.”
PT: *proceeds to make me want to cry through use of leg and arm torture aka resistance training*
After this I hopped on the treadmill and 2.6 felt fast until I loosened up. And I jumped to a whopping 3.0 pace. By the middle/end there may have been treadmill dance-walking. Dance-walking occurs when one forgets (or no longer cares) that one is in public and starts adding flare/flair to their stride. Suppressing treadmill karaoke becomes a cognitive reality.
OR it can go like this:
FLK: “Ohmygosh, I was sore after that last workout.”
PT: “GOOD! Sore is good.”
FLK: “Yeah, I walked on the treadmill after and I think that helped, but I was still sore.”
PT: “Being sore is good. Bear crawls!”
PT: *proceeds to make me want to cry through use of leg and arm torture aka resistance training*
So, basically, no matter whether you were sore or not, the answer is more cowbellalways work hard.*
And be proud of that soreness because it’s a badge of honor, a source of pride, and a persistent reminder that you are actively changing your body. (and it’s a lot easier to not want to eat ice cream by the pint when it hurts to lift your arms or sit down on the toilet to pee.)
Well, at least not for me. Being within the first week of a new year means new people (LOTS of new people) showing up at the gym using machines and attending classes and throwing off my routine. I congratulate them on getting started, but it still makes me a little grumpy when I have a routine and preferred places for classes and I have to adapt. I’m territorial (I once stared someone down in a meeting and made them move because they were in my seat- I was joking, with a hint of “I’m not really joking” ) and the gym is one place where I like to be in control. I go in with a plan and goals but when I have to adjust on the fly, I find myself less excited, more nervous (I have a wee bit of anxiety and nervousness – okay, I have known anxiety issues which is one of the reasons it’s important for me to workout daily) and self conscious. It abates quickly in most cases. Enter the real story behind (ha!) the title of the post.
I’ve been attending Project Poolside since the sweltering summer days of 2011. I sweated through squats, lunges, jumping jacks, and other resistance moves on the hottest days of the year. The class was always well attended but today, the first Saturday of a new year, it was jam packed. Fat girl in a crowded room had a fleeting moment of panic. Where was I going to fit and who was going to watch me try? As a fat girl you are very aware of space and how much of it you take up.
I showed up 10 minutes early for class, which is usually enough time to get settled in my spot and ready to go. I say usually because today when I walked in the floor was already full of participants ready to be reminded that there are muscles in their bottoms. Thankfully, there was a spot next to the first lady I ever talked to in class (on my first time) so I was able to get situated. Unfortunately, the spot was in the back. I HATE being in the back. It’s harder to hear the teacher, harder to see what she’s doing, distracting to see all the other people, and forget about watching your form in the mirror. It was so full that I had to move my water so the girl in front of me wouldn’t jumping jack into it and sprain her ankle (she was pretty unaware so that would have been bad – she did great in class for a newbie though.)
I’m a veteran of the class and I’ve been working out regularly for while, but I did not put out a great showing in class. While still “good” it was definitely not my best and that disappoints me. I expected more of myself. I know part of my diminished performance was not sleeping well (or enough) last night but a big part of it was the fullness of the class and my position in the back.
Anyway, I wish all the newbies good luck with their goals and I hope they find class as helpful as I have (and do) – BUT, next time I’m showing up much earlier and getting my spot. Because now we are competing!
All those words just to complain about getting stuck in the back of class.
Time to close out the December goals posting and move on. How did I do?
Fit into the jeans I grew out of recently by Christmas – Wearable, but still not to my level of comfort.
Hit my Dec #GoTheDist goals (log 50 miles and 6 strength sessions) – I hit my strength and resistance goals (and exceeded) but came in well under my 50 mile elliptical goal. It was pretty audacious for a first time, so I’ll keep that in mind moving forward.
Stick to my high protein, high veggie, lower carb diet until Christmas (gets me back on track with meal planning and getting my veggies in!) – I did GREAT with my eating (except Christmas day and the few days surrounding where I was a little more loose. And I just didn’t try on Christmas.)
Workout 5 days per week (Funny thing about being active; you have to BE ACTIVE!) – After not hitting this at the first update, I locked in and have been hitting and exceeding this goal. I’m currently only taking one day of rest now.
Remind myself it’s okay not to do high intensity, high stamina workouts EVERY TIME I workout (perfectionists mount up!) – A little better. I walked around the neighborhood a couple days and felt good.
Make sure each workout is at least 20 minutes – No problem with this. All workouts are 40+ minutes.
Track my water consumption better (this one is really hard now that I’m not working) – Not tracking well, but still drinking water.
F*&% THE SCALE! (This time, I have pictures and I’m going to measure so I have a better idea of what’s actually happening. I want to lose fat, gain muscle and slim down. F*&% the numbers on the scale as long as the other 3 things are happening.) – I caved and weighed myself but I lost weight (finally!).
Also, my “before” pictures that I took of myself DISAPPEARED from my computer. I looked at them after I uploaded them. So weird. Time to check the Recycle Bin. I’m not stoked about taking those pictures again, but I will if I have to. IT’S FOR SCIENCE! Found them. And took more the other day. My 30 day mark is 1/9/12 so I’ll be taking pictures again.
Because what’s life without a few challenges? (also, all those inspiration fit pictures on Tumblr and Pinterest have me eager to get all strong and stuff.)
I don’t mind planks (though, I battled mightily to hold a side plank) but I find wallsits and burpees to be a special sort of torture. Which is precisely why I think I need to participate in these challenges.
I’ve struggled with my weight and fitness for many years. In fact, for half of my life. Each year as I aged and didn’t achieve my goal, I banked on time. “I’m still young. There is still time.” Teenage became early twenties, and soon, early twenties became busy career twenties and before I knew it, late twenties bordering (OMG!) THIRTY.
My goals and dreams where off track with my age. I was to have achieved my goals of fitness and love by 28. And then I was 28 and it was as if I was still 15. A lot happened in those years; I bought a house at 28 (personal), I became a manager at work (26), I adopted a cat (24) and then 2 kittens (27), and I lost 70 lbs (24) and I gained it back (26-30).
But, I’m still unfulfilled because I haven’t conquered my weight and fitness. My progress this year was much slower than I’d like. I lost 22 lbs overall, with a few periods of gaining and having to lose the same few pounds again. I plateaued for several months at a time. At least I’m moving the right direction, but in 2012 I hope to improve my rate of weight loss (within reason!)
And that’s why in December 2011, though jobless (aka no income streaming in) I decided it was time to contact a personal trainer. There are 2 major things that I did this year that will have a lifelong impact: quitting my job and working with a trainer. (You’ll see me write more about this on Tremendous Blondette.)
I knew my life wasn’t moving toward what really mattered to me in life. I was stagnant just like those months of plateau. And then I quit my job and I woke up. I started to feel like me again, whatever that means. But it was true. I was lighter in spirit, though I gave in to unhealthy foods and stopped exercising regularly. I hibernated. And then I was free.
Having lived through major (healthy) weight loss in the past I learned that it takes a lot of mental, emotional, and physical effort to get healthy. Getting out of a situation that made me feel bad was the first step to true transformation. It gave me the courage to work with a trainer. Working with a trainer means you have someone pushing you to your limits – AND BEYOND. You have someone encouraging you, checking up on you, helping you, and believing in you. It’s exactly what I needed. [I can already do more push-ups (I struggled to do 3 sets of 8 the first day – yesterday I struggled, but I managed 3 sets of 10). ]
What I believe to be true about living a healthy life focused on losing weight (fat) and getting fit:
Work cannot consume you. You must be happy in your work. If you are not, it makes everything else that much harder.
People should be kind. I’m leaving it there in those 4 words through there are SO many more I could write on that point. People should be kind.
You need an outlet. When I lost 70 lbs 6 years ago, I had an online social network of other people doing the same thing and I had a blog (LiveJournal yo!).
Competition helps. I was competing with my friend (though she didn’t know it) those 6 years ago and now I’m competing with myself and my own expectations. See also, seeing other people check-in at the gym or post about working out etc.
You need to focus on what you are putting in your body and when you’re putting it in. Don’t starve yourself. Have a cookie if you really, really want one. Eat when you are hungry and not when you are ravenous, but eat mindfully. Eat veggies with at least 2 meals per day (that’s what works for me). Eat fruit, but spread it out during the day – fruit is good for you, but you have to be mindful of the properties. I try to eat it with protein or fat when I do eat it and I make sure I don’t eat a fruit heavy breakfast followed by a fruit heavy snack. (It’s what works for ME. Maybe not for you.) Also, all that stuff about eating protein and fiber is true. You poop better too and that’s VERY rewarding.
BUT, DON’T EAT WHEN YOU ARE EMOTIONAL. This is the big one for me right now. I’m becoming more and more aware of the fact that I want less healthy food or food that is quick to prepare (processed, Chipotle, Subway, pizza, ice cream) when I am emotional. And this means happy, sad, unsure of my feelings. I have to consciously tell myself I’m not actually hungry for those things and think about my goals and why I’m wanting whatever it is I’m wanting. I find myself frequently en route to acquire one of these things and change my mind at the last minute and head home and eat what I have. It’s healthier for body and my pocketbook.
Move. Exercise is just so crucial to feeling fit and good about myself. I can do some killer squats. Remember when I wrote about wanting an ass more like the CrossFit lady? I’m on my way. I don’t think my glutes have ever been in such good shape.
I need support. That’s really where the trainer is helping me. I needed someone else on my side, guiding me, letting me know that what I thought I was doing right I was actually doing right, pushing me. I need to know someone else is cheering me on with my goals and believes I can reach them. This is one of the reasons I post check-ins at the gym on Facebook – just seeing people “like” my check-in or comment on my note gives me a little boost. See also, seeing other people check-in at the gym or post about working out etc.
Keep your environment tidy. This is hard for me but extremely effective in keeping me balanced. Housework is good for you and doing the dishes takes a lot less time than feeling bad about not doing the dishes. (I like to do them in the morning when the coffee is brewing. I usually finish the dishes before the coffee is done.)
So, 2011 has really been a life changer for me. I spent NYE feeling good about 2011 and hopeful about 2012. It’s never easy, but it’s doable. When I was doing push-ups the other day I told my trainer that I was looking forward to the day they were easy. Her response, “No! They should never be easy. We’ll just find a way to make them hard again.” Right on. RIGHT on.