Category Archives: Exercise

Frustrated, Disappointed and… Proud? What?

I haven’t written a whole lot lately. Part of it was due to wanting some quiet time, another part of it was my lack of wanting to discuss my weight loss, and another part of it was my obsessive planning of our trip to Disney World in January. Today I want to talk about my weight loss trials and tribulations and how that’s affected my writing… Tomorrow we’ll talk about how I’ve discovered I’m an obsessive planner when it comes to our trip.

So yes, weight loss. Guys, I’m frustrated again. And I think I might’ve screwed up my metabolism a bit. Back when I started this whole getting healthier thing, I planned on doing it by just eating less calories. I dropped my intake to 1500, thinking that sounded like a good amount because of some crazy calculations I did in my head. And it worked! I started dropping crazy weight, we’re talking a newborn baby per week. Then I thought to myself, hey let’s add exercise into this mix, I’ll lose even MORE weight! Right? Right?

Wrong.

Ever since I began exercising back in July-ish, my weight loss plummeted. I stopped losing the weight I’d been pulling before, in fact for a period of time I just sat around the same weight, even though I’d been eating 1500 calories and exercising.

It’s been a struggle since that point. I’m sitting at a weight loss of 55 pounds, but that fluctuates, too. I thought I was past my plateau but alas, I’m not. It’s been frustrating, but I’m actually starting to be okay with it. I know that if I continue to eat healthy and exercise, I’m at the minimum making myself healthier in doing so. Do I wish the fat would start going away? Of course.

I did more looking around and researching this weekend and realized that at my current weight, even with the 55 pounds weight loss (and still much left to go), I think I’ve been under-eating since I began working out. I tend to burn around 500 calories in my workouts alone, which would put me at a total intake of 1000 calories per day. I don’t think that’s healthy for someone at my weight, and I’m wondering if the reason I’ve been struggling with weight loss since the exercising began is due to my body being in starvation mode. I’m not 100% sure, but I’m beginning to suspect this.

Of course it took me 3 months to figure this out, and so begins a new experiment: Eating 2000 calories per day. No more 1500, 1700.. 2000 calories. I’ve realized this whole weight loss thing has been a bit of a science; you experiment with different amounts of calories, when you eat, how much you eat at different meals, what kind of exercise you’re doing, etc. It’s been a LOT of trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t work. I’ve come to realize that I feel silly for not thinking about this and how much I should be eating. It’s simple. Eat 2000 calories, burn 500, I’m sitting at the 1500 I used to eat pre-exercise days. I’m hoping this simple discovery leads to a more normal routine of losing weight every week, but I’m not holding my breath.

I think I was hoping not to hit a plateau this early. If anything, I was really hoping to lose 100 pounds and THEN deal with my first plateau. A bit part of this is just knowing how much more weight I have left to lose. I’ve gotten a lot better about not obsessing about numbers, (though with this post you’d think I haven’t) and I swear to you that I’m not actually that upset about it. Just disappointed is more like it. Does this mean I quit? Nope, it means I continue to try to figure out what works. This has been one huge experiment, and while it’s been remarkably frustrating at times, it’s also been an amazing journey thus far. I started this in April, and while I’m not at the 60-70 pounds I hoped to be at, 55 is NOTHING to sneeze at. It’s been 6 months so far and I’ve almost averaged 10 pounds per month!

I’m really proud of myself. This is the longest I’ve EVER gone in my life of trying to eat better/healthier. I’m proud because I’ve realized that this is my life, and it’s not going to change! When I think  about how I used to eat on a daily basis, I’m kind of shocked. It’s weird how you step away from eating fast food, bad frozen food, etc. and you could never imagine going back to eating that on a daily basis. I think having a cheat meal/day has REALLY helped us keep ourselves in check. Plus, it makes you appreciate your food more. There are days where I think about how a burger from some fast food place sounds really good, then I consider how it’d be for a cheat meal and think.. Uhh, no, if I’m doing a cheat meal, at least let it be something GOOD. So in turn, we haven’t had fast food since 6 months. WEIRD considering I used to have it multiple times. Once you step back and take a look at what you used to eat, it’s pretty surreal.

The next six months will be difficult. Since I’ve hit my plateau/minor weight losses, I think the next bit will be a lot of experimenting and trying to figure out what will get me back on track. I’m not asking to lose a puppy per week, but perhaps around 2-3 pounds isn’t asking for much. Especially not at my weight.

Okay, so, why is this an excuse for not blogging? Because there wasn’t much to discuss! I’ve been waiting to get back to losing weight so I could blog to you guys about my choices in food and how I broke through that plateau and have been steadily losing ever since, etc. But I haven’t. And in turn, it’s made me not want to talk about it. But now I’m willing to open up a bit more about it, about how not losing weight in recent times has been a bother, but I’m also learning how to deal with that and the emotions that come with it. Frustration, disappointment, you name it, I’ve felt it. I’m trying to turn it into being proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished thus far, and what I’m going to continue to accomplish. I’m still learning that, as you can see in this post of going back and forth on being frustrated/disappointed and also proud of myself. I try to focus on the overall picture and remind myself that, HELLO DANIELLE. 55 pounds is a LOT of weight. You’re 55 pounds lighter than you were 6 months ago, and a helluva lot healthier! Plus, though the weight loss has slowed down, at least it’s been mainly losses and not gains.

It might take longer than the 2 years I hoped for, but who cares? As long as I’m losing and learning how to maintain that weight loss, that is what matters. And I’m not doing it via some “new” diet (sorry, but that Paleo diet isn’t for me, nor is any other “diet”), I’m doing it the way people should lose weight. Eating less “bad” calories, eating healthier foods, and working out. It’s pretty simple, and sure it takes longer than dropping some silly amount of weight in a short period of time due to eating a ton of protein and whatever, but I’m willing to bet that I will have a much easier time maintaining my end weight than someone who is following a fad diet.

Anyway, hopping off my soapbox about “diets”… I’m hoping I have more to say now that I’m trying something new (with the whole 2,000 calories experiment), and I’ll let you guys know how that turns out. It’s going to take a week or two (maybe a month?)of trying it out, I assume, and seeing actual results (whether I gain, lose or maintain will be interesting to see!). I’ll do some talking (perhaps later this week, depending on how busy I am) about what I’m eating for those 500 extra calories. Regardless of what happens, it should be an interesting experiment to say the least! Adjusting my normal caloric intake with adding 500 healthy calories isn’t an easy task.

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Stepping back from the scale

Photo from google images; not mine!

I’ve had something on my mind as of late… and it’s about the whole numbers game, the whole weighing myself weekly, dealing with weight gain. The past 2 weeks have been gains. Overall I’m up 3 pounds. I had a really hard time dealing with this after my week of workouts and pushing myself even harder, eating more fruits and veggies, and just being all-around healthy. To step on the scale and see another 2 pounds added on, I can’t lie, it bothered me. I felt pretty bummed out, like all of this work was for nothing.. I fell into the trap that I promised myself I wouldn’t fall into when I decided to change my lifestyle for the better. The GOOD part is, it wasn’t the same trap that I used to fall into, in which I’d give up and start eating bad. That’s not even on my mind, so I’m actually happy that my way of thinking has changed, and that I’ve made such a change in my life, the thought of going back to eating that way wasn’t even something that came into my mind… But anyway.

After listening to numerous people tell me the same advice, I’m finally going to listen. I’m stepping back from the scale, and if anything, writing this to solidify the fact that I will no longer obsess over numbers. I think what’s been hardest is knowing that I have such a long way to go, and hitting gains this early really worries me. But I need to remind myself that this is a journey; it’s not like The Biggest Loser or that other show where these people lose a remarkable amount of weight in a mere few months.

I set out to do this, to change my life, over a 2 year period to lose enough weight to feel comfortable with the thought of having kids in a safe manner. So why the hell am I getting so down on myself when it’s 3 1/2 months in and I’ve lost a good amount of weight? I’m eating healthier than I ever have in years. I’m more active and am pushing myself the most that I have since I was a sophomore in college. I should be proud, so proud! But because of some dumb numbers, numbers that could be from me retaining water, being bloated (because I, like a lot of other ladies, balloon when I’m PMSing), or even have a full stomach of food, I’m sitting here being really hard on myself. I need to stop obsessing with these numbers on the scale.

The only number game I want to be playing is with my calories during the day. That’s something that I will continue to do because it keeps me in check… Though I’ve gotten pretty good about knowing what most foods I consume contain. It helps when you’re eating a lot of the same fruits, veggies and proteins on a daily basis. We take breaks from counting on the weekends just to keep our sanity.. You look at food very differently, so you definitely think a minute about what you’re putting into your mouth.

I’m not putting the scale away, so instead of weekly weigh-ins I think switching to bi-weekly will be a better option for now. As we lose more, probably down to every three weeks. I need to make sure I’m still on track, but I’m not going to obsess with the scale anymore.

What I will focus on is how I feel after those workouts, how I look in the mirror and feel good about myself, how I’m starting to have certain clothes not even fit me anymore because they’re too big. I need to stop being so hard on myself, stop focusing on what I need to lose and start focusing on myself and feeling good how my body is changing.

It’s not really an easy task, honestly. When you’ve been so down on yourself for so long and your self-image has been pretty terrible in the past, it’s really easy to continue sitting in that negativity versus looking at the positives. I’m kind of mad at myself for falling into that; I’ve always gotten really frustrated with people when they look at only the negatives in their life versus the positives. I’ve been a hypocrite and really haven’t stopped to just give myself a damn pat on the back or looked at how much ass I’ve been kicking… To stop and realize, “Danielle, you’ve done a great job, keep it up.”

So blinded by the numbers I haven’t stopped to just enjoy where I am and where I’m going. This is big, and I need to stop and be proud of what I’ve done, proud of what’s to come, and most of all, be proud of myself. Honestly and truly proud of myself, regardless of what they scale says when I step on it.

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It’s Friday!… Or is it?

I’m totally having one of those Fridays after an extremely long week that has decided to be more difficult than it should be. Normally my Fridays are a little easier to deal with, people are less tense and needy, and you can kind of sit back and be excited for the weekend. Today is not one of those Fridays.

Woke up this morning, stepped on the scale, then promptly stepped off. We’re getting a new scale that should actually be in today, because our old one has been really wonky lately. Sometimes you step on and it won’t even turn on, other times we’ve stepped on and magically lost 100 pounds over night (ohhhh how I wish it was that easy!)… Recently it hasn’t been re-calibrating itself like it normally does, so enough was enough and I decided we needed a new scale. After doing a little searching on Amazon, I found this one that has excellent reviews. Hopefully it’s a bit more accurate and um, not broken, like the one we’ve had. To be fair though, our current one has lasted us many many years so I guess I can’t complain. Here’s hoping tomorrow is a good weigh-in with the new scale.

Work-wise, today’s been one of those days where my writing is just… well, it’s been a process. I love writing, I really do, but sometimes it’s pretty difficult when it’s hitting a lot of walls and getting lots of makeovers, or minds change about the message, or it needs to be shortened. This is why I love my blog; I have the ability and freedom to write about whatever and whenever I want to. So yes, I’m taking a minor break from my current writing, because sometimes you need to focus on the fun stuff, then go back to the tough stuff.

Enough about my boring writing problems… Workouts this week were great. I pushed myself on both weight training and cardio and felt great. Sore muscles? Yes, but that really awesome kind of sore that makes you feel like you got a great workout in. Yesterday I planned for a quick cardio workout due to being short on time, and I was happy to be able to take it a little easier on the elliptical… As soon as I stepped on the elliptical though, I zoomed away and I guess kind of.. forgot that my plan was to take it easy. I think once I get in the gym with my music it’s like this zone of just saying, “No, you’ve gotta push yourself.” I’m glad my body and my mind does this because I felt good leaving the gym, versus slacking off like I’d originally planned.

Plans for the weekend include the usual shopping trips, breakfast, fun meal, and lots of relaxing/fun. We might even go check out a movie; I’d personally like to see Crazy, Stupid, Love. But we’ll see! Cabin trip next weekend, which I’m always excited for.

OH! I also meant to mention, in my video game nerdiness, that yesterday I totally won a DeathSpank t-shirt playing their Trivia Thursday game. DeathSpank is one of my all-time favorite video games, mainly because it’s fun and absolutely hilarious. If you’re looking for something a little Diablo-esque but also remarkably funny, you should play this game. DeathSpank will be your new best friend.

Last thing I’m plugging, I swear (but it’s also something awesome that benefits people!)… I’ve been using a new music service that’s called Spotify. It is AMAZING. You can access any album, in full! There is a free version, but it has limitations. Matt and I decided to was worth it to just pay $10 a month for it, because it also enables us to listen to the music on our iPhone, and you can actually have offline playlists (so if you have no reception or whatever, you can make your music available to access anywhere in the world.) I have some invites hanging around (because the service is invite-only right now, ooh la la), so if any of you readers are interested let me know, I’d be more than happy to send you an invite so you can play around with the best music service ever. And yes, I will admit it, I was jamming out to Michael Jackson last night on my iPad.

Happy weekend everyone. Feel free to spill the beans on what’s going on in your neck of the woods; I thoroughly enjoy hearing what other friends are up to.

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Uh, am I doing this whole exercise thing right?

So, I’m pretty in love with going to the gym and getting a solid (albeit quick) workout going, and I’ve kind of got that whole, “Well as long as I’m moving, that’s gotta be good” mentality. While that is great for now, and I’m really enjoying my time on the elliptical and time to do weights, I’m wondering if I’m doing this right.

Basically my routine consist of around 20-30 minutes of cardio, and then 15-20 minutes of weight lifting, focusing on a specific muscle group each day so I never exhaust or overdo each muscle group. For cardio, I’m on the elliptical (10 times better than the treadmill due to it being low-impact) and have been running the Fat Burn program on their, which requires my heart rate and letting me know when I’m going too fast or too slow. Problem is, because I’m obviously overweight and have been out of shape, my heart rate is a little higher than the machine wants it to be. I know the whole “fat burning” heart rate is based merely on the whole 220 minus your age, but I’m thinking weight has something to do with it, no? I’ve been trying to do research on this but haven’t really found much.

The thing is, when I slow down and bring my heart rate down to the level that they state is around the cardio/fat burning level, I feel like I’m not getting much of a workout at all. So my dilemma is should I trust what the machine is and take it easier or do what I feel comfortable with in getting a solid workout, but have a higher heart rate which possibly means I’m not really burning many calories and am causing my body to freak out.

If anyone knows anything about this or has any information about it, I’d GREATLY appreciate it because it’s something I’ve been stuck on and am not sure how to handle. I actually tried the whole slow things down but got annoyed with going too slow and ended up speeding things up a bit for the second half of my work out.

With weights, I’m feeling pretty good on that front. The only question I have on that is how many reps I should be doing with each exercise that is appropriate for a workout. Now, I’m talking about the weight machines and not free weights here. I do reps of 10 but I’m never sure what is too much or too little!

For now, just being active at the gym in working out, doing cardio and weights is enough for me. But these are things that have been on my mind and I just want to make sure I’m basically taking full advantage of the 30-45 minutes I get every day after work to squeeze in my workout.

So yes, for the few of you guys and gals who actually do read my blog, I would absolutely love any advice given to me on this front. I never knew working out could be so complicated. 🙂

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Best workout music… ever?

Sooo remember how I said I was going to be working out and stuff and hoped I wouldn’t make an ass of myself? Well today was day 2 of hitting the gym after work and I have to say, I actually impressed myself.

I went in thinking I would get on the elliptical and quite possibly keel over in a sweaty, tomato-faced heap after maybe 5 minutes, but dammit, I held my own. In fact, I owned that elliptical machine. What’s weird is I normally get bored/get all ADD when stuck on an exercise machine for too long, but I actually didn’t mind staying on the elliptical. It helped that I threw my towel over the display, so I wouldn’t keep looking at the time… Okay so maybe I peeked once or twice, but for the most part I was pretty good about it.

What got me through my workouts? Music. I know most people listen to music while they work out, so this post might be a little boring, but I definitely feel compelled to discuss workout jams right now. I think I have a pretty good starting list of songs, but would love to hear more suggestions, especially based on my taste for workout music,

I am going to admit something, something some people might be embarrassed by: I LOVE early 90s dance music. I have since I was a little kid, and it’s stuck with me. A little Haddaway “Please Don’t Go” or CeCe Peniston “Finally” will get me either dancing or at least singing my little heart out, embarrassing Matt as he stares at me wondering what is wrong with me. So I’ve got the following songs from this era on my list:

1. Haddaway, “Please Don’t Go”
2. Haddaway, “What is Love?”
3. CeCe Peniston, “Finally”
4. Crystal Waters, “100% Pure Love”
5. Snap!, “I’ve Got the Power”

6. Technotronic, “Pump up the Jam”
7. DJ Kool, “Let Me Clear My Throat”
8. House of Pain, “Jump Around”
9. Reel 2 Real, “I Like to Move It”
10. La Bouche, “Wanna Be My Lover”
11. Mortal Kombat Techno Theme

Oh, I also have a ridonkulous amount of Jock Jams remixes because we always had them on our basketball warm up tapes in junior high and high school, and they always are upbeat and fun (even if they include songs from Chumba Wumba)..

I also LOVE the remixes on the video game DJ Hero. (Um Queen’s “We Will Rock You” mixed with Daft Punk’s “Robot Rock”? Yes please.)

1. Benny Benassi, “Satisfaction” vs. Black Eyed Peas, “Boom Boom Pow”

2. Daft Punk Megamixes 1 and 2
3. Public Enemy, “Bring the Noise 20XX” vs. Justice, “Genesis”
4. Queen, “We Will Rock You” vs. Daft Punk, “Robot Rock”

Then I’ve just got a random smorgasbord of songs that I love and are on every workout playlist I’ve ever made.

1. Basement Jaxx, “Where’s Your Head At?”

2. DJ Skribble, “Zombie Nation”
3. Deadmau5, “Ghosts n Stuff”
4. Cee Lo Green, “Fuck You”
5. Daft Punk, “One More Time”
6.  Fatboy Slim, “Gangster Tripping”

7. Eric Prydz, “Call on Me”
8. Pitbull, “Move Shake Drop (Satisfaction)”
9. Lo Fidelity Allstars, “Battleflag”

10. NYC Undergound Party, Louie DeVito, “Dark Beat”
11. Pitbull, “The Anthem”
12. Pitbull, “Krazy”
13. Rob D., “Clubbed to Death (Kurayamino Mix)”

I’m totally open to more songs in this general genre. I need upbeat fun music to keep me going, and no I don’t really listen to any rock or crazy death metal while I work out. I listen to some dorky old school hits along with more recent stuff that’s got a great beat. So feel free to take any of those songs and stick them on your own workout list! The DJ Hero stuff is a bit harder to find but I might be able to help people out with that if anyone’s interested.

Here’s to awesome music and getting our exercise on!

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