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Week 2

Like the first week, this week had it’s own set of challenges.  My summer cold hasn’t quite departed but is getting better so that was good.  The week began with some lovely female issues (that we won’t get into here but I’m sure you get the idea) and that added some additional physical challenges early in the week.  Most alarming, however, is the revelation that I am consuming WAY more calories than I initially thought I was.  I have gone over in my 1290/day allotment according to MyFitnessPal every day this week except Thursday.  I am trying to take this with a grain of salt because this app is by no means perfect.  For one thing, I am using a database that can be added to by users of the app (much like Wikipedia) so I have to take into account that some of the info may be bogus.  Also, the app gives me absolutely NO calorie burn credit whatsoever for all the strength training I do.  They explain it on their website by saying there are too many variables that go into strength training which makes it hard to be accurate in the amount of calories burned (ie, number of reps, amount of weight used, the speed with which each exercise is performed, etc.) so their answer is to not count it at all.  So I’m trying not to freak out too much about the whole caloric intake bit.

Here’s how the week went:

MONDAY:  Nothing like starting this week out with a bang!  I’m still feeling a little “off” from the illness that developed last week but I think it’s on it’s way out now.  Once again, Sunday night was not a good night for sleeping.  I think I overstimulated my brain with my new fitness app and the schedule app on my ipod because I couldn’t stop the thought train from running full speed ahead all night long.

I got up and into the gym on time and jumped right into my upper body workout after 5 minutes of warm up time on the treadmill.  I had completed 2 back and 2 chest exercises and used up 30 minutes of my time before I realized that today I’m supposed to be doing my LOWER BODY workout.  Really!?!?!?  So after a few moments of indecision, I made up my mind to do as much of the lower body stuff as I could.  I did dead lifts, leg presses, hip abductor and adductor, leg curls and abs.  I had to skip the leg extensions, low back extension and both calf exercises.  To say I was mad for my lack of attention was an understatement.  However, after a shower and some time to think I decided I would just do the ones I missed on Tuesday in addition to my cardio workout.  Problem solved!

TUESDAY:  Woke to a thunderstorm on Tuesday morning.  I love thunderstorms 🙂  Got to the gym on time and made up for Monday’s mishap by doing the low back extension, leg extension, calf exercises and a 5 minute warm up on the treadmill.  I wimped out on the cardio though.  I just didn’t have it in me to do a whole 30 minutes so I only did 15.   Cardio is usually my favorite part of working out but not today.  I felt weak and light-headed (thanks to the “issue” I mentioned at the top).  I left and determined to do better on Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY:  Another night of lousy sleep…what is up with that?  I was tired before dinner around 6 PM on Tuesday night and then at 9:30 PM when I should be off to bed I got this burst of energy and cleaned my kitchen for 30 minutes.  At 11:30 PM I was STILL wide awake….mind racing.  My workout went pretty well, however.  I got going on the CORRECT one this time so that was an improvement 🙂  I also pushed and did heavier weight on my bicep curls (15 lbs instead of 12) for half of my sets.  I had to drop back to 12’s for the second half but that’s ok.  It is progress!  I also added a little more weight on the last set of my tricep extensions (30 lbs instead of 25).  Baby steps but I’ll take them.

Unfortunately, my diet took a nosedive at dinner time.  I came home to make another great recipe from The Skinny Rules only to find that my salmon hadn’t defrosted enough so I succumbed to being over tired and too hungry and did the easiest thing which was take-out.  I blew 500 calories on a Slim Jim from Big Boy.  No fries.  I think the lesson here is the importance of preparation.

THURSDAY:  ELLIPTICAL!  I’m in a budding romance with the elliptical machine.  I find it more challenging than the treadmill but I also find I can do more on it which is strange to me.  I can’t go for long periods of time at a fast pace on the treadmill.  I get winded too easily.  But on the elliptical, I can go at a 15-minute mile pace and keep my heart rate elevated in the high 160’s to mid 170’s for extended periods of time.  I went for 30 minutes this morning, which was my intention, but I’ve never done it that long before.  I always wimp out at 15 minutes and head over to the treadmill to finish the last 15.  Again…progress!  Today was one of those days when I felt really strong in the gym.  I hope to see more days like this one.

I had trouble again Thursday evening diet-wise, unfortunately.  I didn’t pack an afternoon snack.  I resorted to unsalted dry-roasted peanuts about mid-afternoon.  That wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t enough either.  I had to run errands on the way home and ended up stuck in this ridiculous traffic jam.  The result was a 2 hour commute home.  To say I was famished by the time I arrived at 7:30 PM was an understatement.  I ditched my plans to have a healthy Skinny Rules salmon dinner and instead ordered tacos, refried beans and rice from a local Mexican family restaurant.  I split it with my daughter though so I didn’t go completely off my rocker.  Then I made the salmon for Friday’s lunch.

FRIDAY:  Aaaahhh…..Friday!  My lower body workout went well this morning.  No problems or complaints.  Got in and out on time and felt pretty good afterward.  That’s 2 weeks down.  Only 10 more to go.  Looking forward to my weigh-in on Sunday!

Weight Update

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weight:  168 lbs

Weight-wise, nothing changed for me this past week.  I battled an illness that came on 3 days into my new workout schedule and decided to continue on with getting into the gym every day but not to push myself too hard.  I’m not disappointed with my weight remaining the same.  Gaining would have been a bummer.

The first day of this challenge was my birthday.  I have been saving to buy myself an ipod Touch so I ordered it on that day.  It arrived on Thursday.  I’ve spent the weekend (the down time I earned being in the gym all week) to explore it and add a few apps.  I found one last night called MyFitnessPal (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/).  It is awesome!  One of the best features is the food diary.  I have been reading and hearing in multiple places that I should write down everything I eat every day.  It helps to see where I’m wasting calories and where I’m lacking in nutrients like fiber and protein.  It is a little cumbersome at first setting up all those foods but in the weeks ahead it will be a breeze because everything I eat will already be in my database.  The coolest feature of the diary is a bar code scanner.  I scanned my Greek yogurt, multi-grain tortillas and cheese packages today and voila! they were added to my diary.

Another cool feature is the calorie countdown.  When I registered it asked for things like my starting weight and goal weight, whether I am male or female, etc. and used that data to compute the number of calories I will need to eat to reach my goal.  As I mentioned previously, the goal for me is not the number that’s on the scale at the end of my 12 weeks.  It’s about reduction of my BMI, measurements and increased muscle mass.  However, I couldn’t get set up without choosing a goal weight so I chose one that would have me losing weight at a healthy rate of 1 lb per week.

As a way of helping me to stay on track for my caloric intake each day, the calorie counter works backward to tell me how many calories I have left to consume in my daily allotment.  Already this is proving to be a great tool and it was a free app.  The only drawback I’ve found is the set daily allotments for protein and fiber are too low so it appears that I am eating too much in those categories when in reality I’m not.

I also finished reading The Skinny Rules by Bob Harper.  At this point in time, I don’t plan to implement his monthly meal plan like I did when I read Master Your Metabolism.  I already know how to eat healthy.  The purpose of reading this book was to get some new recipes and to pull me out of the boredom I was creating by eating the same things all the time.  I also wanted see what else he had to offer in the way of nutrition advice.  What I’ve found most refreshing about Bob’s book is the simplicity of his recipes.  Last night I made his recipe for Seared Pork with Lemon-Thyme Sauce.  It was very simple to make (7 ingredients), was done in less than 20 minutes and it was delicious.  The serving had 235 calories, 33.7 grams of protein, 2 grams of carbs and 9.5 grams of fat.  Tonight I am going to try Parmesan-Crusted Chicken.  Even simpler, it has only 4 ingredients with a serving containing 157 calories, 29 grams of protein, 0.2 carbs and 3 grams of fat!  Sorry though…no recipe sharing here.  If you want to try it for yourself, you’ll have to buy the book!

I’m excited to see where this week will lead me, challenges and all.

I just did WHAT?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The morning dawns and reality sets in.  Did I really just post all that information for the world to see? No…..I didn’t do THAT! Then I remember the little notification that WordPress gave me that said “we’ve shared your post with 191 people on Facebook.” 191 PEOPLE!?!?!? OK…breathe…..I guess there’s no turning back now, is there? Of course, that doesn’t mean 191 people will actually READ this blog either.

But what have I done, really? I shared part of my personal story that has defined the last 2 ½ years of my life. I shared some information about an important health crisis I faced and what has resulted from that struggle. I shared some personal statistics like weight and clothing size. That wasn’t “too much information” was it?

This blog is to help me keep my word to myself. It is insurance against those moments of weakness when I will want to quit. I already want to quit and I haven’t even started! If sharing some of my personal and somewhat embarrassing statistics helps keep me on track it will have been worth it.

WARNING:  Here comes some more personal information….

Starting Statistics:

BMI: 27.1 (still within the “overweight” range)

Go to http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/ for the BMI calculator I used.

Weight: 168 lbs

Upper Arms: Right: 12 1/4” Left: 12 1/4”

Fore Arms: Right: 9 5/8” Left: 9 7/8”

Chest: 35 6/8”

Waist: 31 6/8” (upper) 36” (lower)

Hips: 43 7/8”

Thighs: Right: 24 6/8” Left: 24 6/8”

Knees: Right: 16 1/2” Left: 16”

Calves: Right: 15 1/2” Left: 15 1/2”

For the first month I plan to work my upper body on Mon & Fri. I will work my lower body and abs on Wed. Tues & Thurs is cardio. I will alternate the days every week changing to lower/abs on Mon, Fri, etc. Tues and Thurs will always be cardio.

I’m currently reading The Skinny Rules by Bob Harper. I am looking for ways to change up my eating habits and for new recipes to try.

I’ll update my statistics again in a month. I hope to see some meaningful progress.

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