Sunday, April 19, 2015

Workout Log

I had to deviate from my regular workout schedule this week because I felt really crummy on Wednesday and Thursday. I felt really run down, like I was getting a cold but thought that whatever respiratory issues usually come with a cold were masked by the multiple allergy meds I took (allergy season is in full bloom in Arizona right now). Ultimately, I don't think it was a cold because I felt fine on Friday.

Monday I did around 40 minutes on the elliptical and took a 30 minute walk. Tuesday I was running late, so I didn't get a chance to warm up on the elliptical before my circuit training class, but all our squats and lunges really kicked my ass and I was sore for the rest of the week!! I took a 30 minute walk that day too.

On Wednesday I woke up feeling like crap, but, convinced that a little fresh air would perk me up, I ended up taking a few walks (around an hour total). It didn't help. Probably made me feel worse, in fact.

Thursday I decided to officially take a rest day, so I didn't go to my circuit training class. Friday I was desperately missing the endorphins and got my butt to the gym for 40 minutes on the elliptical, and around 20 minutes on the weight machines (also took a 30 minute walk later). I did the one legged leg presses and lifts that I used to do in physical therapy. I've been neglecting my ankle exercises, so I'm really trying to work that back into my workouts. Although my calf is finally the same size as my left leg again, I can definitely tell my right side is weaker when I do balance exercises.

The scale has been inching down at an extremely slow rate, but at least it's going in the right direction! Proof that the scale is not always the best way to gage your progress? The fact that I've dropped two pant sizes in the last month!

It was surprising, to say the least!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Night Owl to Early Bird Update

Way back in January, I pledged to go to bed early and get up early. I'm happy to report that it has gotten progressively easier to get up when that alarm goes off! I'm asleep by 10:30 most nights (give or take), and my alarm goes off at 6:45. It is really nice to have more time during the day to accomplish all that I need to. I do usually stay up a little later on weekends, but I've found that it's a lot harder for me to sleep in late... I'm up around 8 am most weekends.

All in all, I'd say this experiment has been a success- I may never be a morning person naturally, but at least I've made it easier for myself!

On a related note, we got this sticker out of the vending machine at the grocery store, and I had to laugh because it's so me (at least before coffee):

Sunday, April 12, 2015

What defines us

The other day I was thinking about the things that define us. Many of these things we choose, like clothes we wear, our hairstyles, our hobbies.

 Then there are things that define us without even having to be declared. Being overweight, for example. Unfortunately, someone's excess weight often defines them to others, whether it's with disgust, pity, or disdain. I consistently get treated better than I ever did at my highest weight.

My weight loss (and for those who've known me for a long time, my weight gain) is a huge defining factor for me. Probably bigger than I'd like it to be. I'm so entrenched in it right now that it comes up constantly in conversations. Part of it is that I'm still self-conscious of the weight I need to lose, and I like to make it clear that I'm still working hard. And there's also the fact that it's a huge (cheese alert) journey that I'm on, and if I lose touch with that and let it fade to the background, I'll never reach my destination.

On a related note, my veganism is also a large part of who I am, as it heavily affects my day to day life. I find myself often putting these two facts I'm qualifying being an overweight vegan with the fact that I've lost 80 lbs already (side note for anyone interested: Colleen Patrick Goudreau talked about this in a podcast a while ago).

I'm looking forward to that point in time where I find myself content with where I'm at weight-wise (whatever that number may be)...maybe then I can let the things that truly matter define me: my family, compassion, kindness, success, the things that make me unique.

If I let myself reach contentedness at this point in my weight loss, does that mean I give up?

Can you be happy with who you are while simultaneously working on improving yourself?

Here's a final deep thought for you to mull over...

Friday, April 10, 2015

Workout Log + Fitbit love

So the reason I haven't posted any workout updates is because it's been pretty much the same every week. I've been doing really well sticking to my workout schedule- I've been doing a minimum of 60 minutes, 5-6 days a week.

Mondays are elliptical and Stairmaster, and usually a walk around the neighborhood.
Tuesdays are 20 minutes of elliptical and the circuit training class. Sometimes I fit in a walk also.
Wednesday I've been staying home from the Y and getting my 60 minutes of exercise in at home, usually in the form of a walk or bike ride.
Thursdays are like Tuesdays.
Fridays are either a Zumba class or like Mondays.

Having the Fitbit to track my progress has been awesome, to say the least. I only ever wore my Body Bugg to workout because it was way too ugly and bulky to wear all the time. The Fitbit is great because it's sleek, neutral, and doubles as a watch (apparently I can even get caller ID on it but have yet to get that going, because, let's face it, I always have my phone with me).

I very much respond to positive reinforcement and because of that pesky quality, I was super motivated to get my 10,000 steps a day this week! I achieved that goal every day but Thursday (although, at 9,280 steps, I came pretty close and had over an hour of exercise).

Friday was my best day by far!

As much as I love my circuit training class, I haven't decided if I'm going to sign up for the next 6 week block. I'm considering switching my strength training focus to using the weight machines (circuit training uses resistance machines) and barbells. My favorite exercises in class are the ones where we use the ViPR and do squats, deadlifts, lunges or the clean and jerk. Those are classic weight lifting moves so that tells me it's time to overcome my fear of the barbells and that area of the gym.

Are you intimidated by the weight equipment at the gym? Do you do strength training and if so, what do you do?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Sorry about the radio silence over here. There has actually been a lot going on!

Over the last few weeks I have:

Purchased a Fitbit Charge HR to replace my bulky old Body Bugg (more to come on my Fitbit love later)

Gotten my realtor headshot taken so I can finally start actively marketing myself (instead of accosting random strangers at Walmart that make the mistake of mentioning their rental search. In their private conversations. True story. But she did contact me, so I must not be too creepy.)

Finally had my tattoo worked on and made totally awesome

And, best of all, I broke my 10 month long plateau!!!!

I think a combination of two things led to me finally registering a loss: mixing up my exercise routine and eating more.
Yes, that's right, I've been eating more and I think it's helped me lose weight. For months, various people (most of whom I feel are pretty knowledgeable on nutrition) have been telling me that I'm not eating enough. And as much as I know about TDEE and BMR and blah blah blah, I just couldn't get past the less is more diet mindset. But I was pretty desperate to break this plateau and decided to increase my calorie intake to 1600 a day vs the 1200-1400 I was consuming before. The NEXT WEEK I was down 4 lbs. I've been making sure that those extra calories are quality calories, and I've been eating more protein.
Of course, changing up my workout routine and adding strength training in last month had a hand in it, I'm sure. It was pretty freaking awesome to update my weight loss tracker (an epic spreadsheet that I've been tracking my stats in for the last 2 years) for the first time since June.

Friday, March 27, 2015

I rocked workouts this week!!!

So, my determination to break this freaking weight loss plateau is at an all time high right now. I was able to fuel that motivation to get my butt to the gym this week, even when I didn't feel like it.

It is much easier to sit on the couch with a soft blanket and scowl at your husband for taking unflattering pictures of you.

We hiked last Saturday, then took Sunday off. Monday I did 35 minutes on the elliptical (my activity tracker picked it up as "vigorous" exercise vs "moderate", so I was working hard), and 10 minutes on the StairMaster. I also walked for a half hour that day. Tuesday was my circuit training class. I usually get there early enough to warm up on the elliptical for 10-15 minutes. That day I got 15 minutes in on the elliptical, followed by the 45 minute class. Actually, looking back, my total activity level on Tuesday was insane- an hour and 27 minutes of moderate activity, and 31 minutes of vigorous activity. I definitely didn't try to get 2 hours of exercise, but it can't hurt. Wednesday's workout was like Monday's, with the extra walk again. On Thursday, the gym was the last place I felt like going, but I dragged my ass in there, and of course I felt great. Class totally killed me! We did a ton of weighted squats, deadlifts, squats with overhead lifts, and other exercises my mind has blocked out in the haze of muscle pain.

no but this picture is killing me

I was toying with the idea of going to Zumba today and taking a rest day tomorrow, but I was so sore and my husband wants to go work out tomorrow, so I gave my body a much needed day of slothliness.

a sloth's still gotta eat healthy

Workout goals for the coming week? Get my butt to Zumba at least once. I also want to break my 11 minute barrier on the StairMaster. I mentioned in an earlier post that it's my new favorite exercise machine. That may be a bit hyperbolic, but I am amazed at how such a simple concept/machine can get the heart rate up so effectively! Even at the lowest level, I am working HARD- which is my number one goals when working out- I don't see the point in driving all the way to the Y only to put in a half-ass effort. When I'm there, I'm there to sweat my butt off!!!

Anyways, I found an interesting blog post about starting on the StairMaster- this guy started a virtual skyscraper collection, creating a list of buildings around the world equivalent to the amount of floors he climbs in his workouts. My max so far has been 20 floors, but I definitely think this is a really cool idea!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

My favorite kind of meal

Since becoming vegan, I've fallen in love with cooking. Out of all the things I cook on a regular basis, my favorite is very simple: bowls. Some people call them buddha bowls. They consist of a grain/carb, veggie, protein, and sauce. You don't have to be vegan to make bowls using this formula (although you should definitely try them the veg way sometime). I'd been making them for a while when I read about them in Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. She also has an entire chapter devoted to bowls in Isa Does It (aka the best cookbook ever).
The combinations are endless and so easy, even for the laziest of cooks.

Here are a few of my favorite combos:

Sprouted rice blend, sauteed cauliflower/carrots, dry-fried cubed tofu, and a curry peanut sauce (sauce recipe from Isa Does It)

Looks gross, oh so good. Israeli couscous, lightly breaded tofu, steamed broccoli, and Trader Joe's goddess dressing

Burrito bowls. Rice (I usually use jasmine or basmati), black beans, salsa, and some kind of veggie (and crunched up tortilla chips on top, of course). The second bowl is the burrito bowl from Isa Does It (again). 

I love recipes with basic formulas like this because it really lets my creativity flow. Sometimes I steam the veggies, sometimes I roast them. I like to vary the way I cook the protein too. And there are so many grains out there! Quinoa, barley, couscous, millet, brown rice, black rice, wild rice. 

Apparently this is how I feel about grains