Climbing again

It is Friday night and I’m sitting here on my sofa, having a cup of sleepy tea, and watching Grace & Frankie (again) on the TV. (Side note: I’m SO excited for Season 4 which comes out next week.) ANYWAY. I got off work this afternoon and came home and deep cleaned my living room. I tore down the Christmas tree and all the decorations. I moved all the furniture and vacuumed. I bought a lamp (also random.) All that to say, I’m super content in this spot, right this second. Which puts me in a good place to talk about something that I’m not happy about: my fitness.

A week before Christmas I messed up my back. It was AWFUL. I’m too embarrassed to say what I did, but it was a dumb thing and I’ve LEARNED MY LESSON. ANYWAY. I couldn’t bend my spine at all. I couldn’t even sit. I could only lay flat or be in terrible pain. So needless to say my workouts were not fabulous. And then I went home to my family for Christmas. And then I went to California for 2 weeks to be with my fella. My butt has not been in a gym for 3 WEEKS. It’s embarrassing. And I didn’t follow my macros over the holidays either. I wasn’t terrible, but I wasn’t perfect.

Confession: I’m absolutely terrified to step on the scale. (I’m not stepping on the scale until Monday morning, but still.).

I feel bloated and chunky and lumpy and likely 10 pounds heavier.

So that’s the bad news.

The good news? I can fix it. I can fix all of it. You know why? Because last year I learned how. I can’t tell you how much that reassures me that this is all going to be fine. This year when I’m looking at my fitness and health journey it is totally different than last year. It’s kind of like carving an ice sculpture. When you get started you have to take off a whole bunch of the bulk before you can even start to shape what you’re really trying to carve. 2017 was getting rid of the excess for me. In 2018 I get to sculpt something fantastic. Isn’t that wonderful!?

I admit, I don’t like that it feels I’m starting this year behind. But you know what? I had a great Christmas and New Years and California dreams. The rest let my back heal. I just…lived for a while. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Even if it does feel like I’m starting in a deficit. Whatever I’ve gained will come back off. I’ve proven I can do it.

So with that said…tomorrow I go back to the gym with my best girl. Good things to come.

TODAY I LOVE: my Filimin lantern

the post I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to write.

It’s Monday morning on Labor Day.  I’m sitting here on my sofa, having a cup of tea, planning my meals for the week, and gearing myself up to hit the gym.   This last month, especially the last week has been one of the most stressful I’ve had in a while.  Exactly four weeks ago I broke my ankle.  Last week I had an allergic reaction to a dye in a new vitamin I started taking and that turned into some really nasty urticarial welts in spots (don’t google that – so gross) all the while working an 80 hour week to respond to Hurricane Harvey.  I’m hopped up on so many steroids and antihistamines right now I should be resistant to just about everything.  It’s just been a lot of things and little rest.

The broken ankle really messed me up mentally.  I was having such great momentum and progress with my lifting and weightloss and I knew that was going to have to change.  I’m so, so blessed (and I can’t say this enough) with my best friend, who also happens to be my coach and encourager and sister by choice.  She’s brilliant and within hours already had me talked of the ledge and had alternative moves I could do for every single exercise.  I didn’t have to stop.  I’ve had to make lots of modifications.  I cannot tell you how much I’m ready to do cardio other than the stationary bike and row machine.

Back in January I set a goal to lose 30 pounds.  If I’m being entirely truthful, I didn’t think I’d be able to do it.  Why?  Because I’ve said that same goal for the last 2 years.  And I never happened.  This morning I stepped on the scale, as I do every morning, and I’ve officially lost 31.2 pounds.  It took me 7 and a half months but I did it.  That was 7.5 months of working my ass off, fixing my metabolism, losing fat and gaining muscle, getting my dietary calories UP not DOWN, and not giving up.   Looking back at my weight log, I lost 9lbs while with a broken ankle.  Crazy!!

Last week Ash asked me what my new goal is now that I was nearly to my current goal.  I’d already thought about it.  Now I want to get to my goal HEALTHY weight.  Which now, as of this morning, is about 9lbs away.

I’m really glad I got to write this post.  The words I’ve wanted to say for over two years.  Thank you to all of you who have been so encouraging.  Most especially my Ash.

TODAY I LOVE: I get to go buy new clothes for a good reason

gasp! we are all broken in some way.

Don’t let anyone fool you, especially those pretty put-together instagram folks, no one is perfect.  It’s so very simple to take photos or share the one tiny corner of your life that is clean, tidy, skinny, modern, detailed, polished, or beautified while ignoring the other 98% that is “normal.”  (I cannot tell you how long we discussed “what is normal and who decides it?” in my abnormal psych class in college.)  Anyway, today’s post is a raw one.  A real one.

So, if you’ve been keeping up with me at all over the last several months, you know I’m working hard on my fitness journey to lose weight, gain confidence, and be fit.  I’ve made so many great strides.  When I’m having a good mental day, I feel really good about myself.  But then I have those days where I don’t.  Those days where all I see are lumps and bumps, stretch marks, bruises, and just how much further I have to go in my journey.

Those days it’s hard to remember how far I’ve come.  It’s hard to remember that I’m not the only person out there who isn’t perfect.  I posted a “progress” photo the other day on instagram and while most people have been simply wonderful it’s hard to deal with some of the things others have said.  Things I’ve heard:

  • Um, whoa.  I had no idea you looked like that.
  • It’s taken you 7 months?
  • I mean…look at your arm!
  • Still losing that weight?  Lookin’ better.

First of all, yes, I was a lot larger and unhappy with myself when I started.  That’s a known fact to me.  Why do you think I wanted to change?  But some people, when they say these things, it’s not in the “nice criticism” way.  It’s more of the “wow, I had no idea you were so gross and why did it take you so long to get to now.” (Before you yell at me for getting upset over criticism over a photo I willingly put out into the world – don’t.  I opened myself up to it.)  I’m certainly strong enough to smile away the negativity if it were to give someone else out there hope.

Anyway, it is just one of those days where I’m focusing on remembering why I do this.  That not everything I see is perfect for everyone else either.  I could tidy up one corner of my apartment and make it look magazine amazing, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the place looks like a tornado went through it.  Those beautiful people on instagram likely aren’t so polished and lump-free all the time either.

Unbroken people are a rare find.  And I’m ok.  I’m perfectly normal and perfectly me.

TODAY I LOVE:  garden fresh tomatoes

all things may

We are almost halfway through this year.  I hate that my mom was right, that time really does go faster the older you get.  So yeah, May is over (one more day anyway.)  Let’s see how this month broke down for me:

HEALTH: I’m happy to report I was 100% on my macros everyday.  I was never over, although there were a few days that I was under.  I didn’t miss a single mandatory workout (lifting), and only missed one barre class from my bonus workouts.  Win! And it paid off: since the end of January I’m down 21 pounds and 23 inches.  I haven’t starved myself and I don’t workout hours and hours everyday.  The actual scale number is slowing down in it’s decreases, but I’m getting muscle and it looks so much better.  I’m happy with it.

For grins, I almost 100% cut out gluten during the month.  (I still maintained eating my Ezekiel bread every morning.  Not giving that up.)  Other than that, I was gluten free.  I really wanted to see if it made any difference in my belly bloat.  It taught me a couple of things. First, I really don’t eat that much gluten to begin with.  It wasn’t hard to not eat it.  Second, I had very thin crust pizza last night (yes, I considered May over for the most part starting yesterday), and it made my food belly (that I’ve affectionately named Ethel) go CRAZY.  Hello bloat city.  All that said, I think I’m going to try to maintain little gluten/wheat when I have other options available.   Because it did prove to me that it does make me puff up like a fish.

I did get the best compliment this morning.  Two girls who are not regulars at the gym came up to me as I was lifting.  They told me they hadn’t been in in a while and it’s been a bit since they’d seen me.  And they said I looked amazing!  Asked me how much I’d lost and said they could really tell I was working hard.  Anyway, it was so great to hear!  Onward to June.  🙂

RANDOM:  Let’s see…I got my hair done.  Only a trim off the ends, but went another step towards my blonde goal.  To all of you naysayers out there, it really is lighter!  I can prove it.  My hair is so dark it takes a long time to get to blonde.   As far as other beauty stuff, I’ve watched way too many makeup tutorials because now I keep wanting to dip my toe in these strange eye combinations.  Today I’m wearing navy and gold.  Yep.  It is disappointing to report that my eyebrows are still hopeless.  I’m not giving up.

IMG_2678

Ok, so my hair isn’t fixed in either photo (ignore that).  And also ignore the fact that in the second photo I’m getting ready for bed and have no make up and my glasses on.  Hey, real life folks.  You can’t ALWAYS be a beauty queen.  🙂 

I’m totally and completely obsessed with blackberries right now. The fruit, not the phone.  Cannot. Get. Enough.

I’ve read 3 books and am currently diving back into the Tudor dynasty as written by the awesome Philippa Gregory.  I think there are 8-9 books total.  It’s going to take me a while.

I finished season 3 of How to Get Away with Murder.  HOLY SMOKES.  That show is on fire.  I very rarely guess how it is going to end.

Work has been crazy nut-job busy.

I think that’s enough for now.  All in all, May wasn’t so bad on me.  I didn’t go crazy.  I didn’t blow up at anyone.  I think I maybe only cried 3 times or so.  That’s a win, folks.

How was your May?

TODAY I LOVE: the song “Every Monday” by Marvelous 3 (an oldie but goodie.  Takes me back to college.)

you count what?

I’m going to preface this entire post with I AM NOT A NUTRITIONIST.  Honestly, if it weren’t for the instruction from some very smart individuals I’d be flying by the seat of my pants.  I do what I’m told.  So any of what I say you attempt to make your own, I’d encourage you to research a great coach/trainer/source to figure out what is right for YOUR body.   Deal?  Deal.

Several of you have asked me via various social platforms what I’ve been up to lately as far as my new health and fitness lifestyle.  I’ll talk about the diet part of it today.  Last year I dabbled here and there with switching to counting macronutrients rather than calories.  At the beginning of this year I made the hard shift to doing so all the time.  After years and years and years of low calorie diets, where ALL I did was calculate calories, this was quite an adjustment.  When I used to think the calorie was all that mattered, to now realizing it doesn’t matter as much as the CONTENT of the calories ..well, mental struggle.

For those of you that do not know, macronutrients are the parts and pieces that make up our food.  Carbohydrates, protein, fat, potassium, magnesium, etc….all these things are macronutrients (or commonly called macros for short.) I track the big 3: carbs, protein, and fat.

I had kinda destroyed my metabolism over time from all the low calorie diets, which is fairly common when doing that type of thing long term.  Yes, you temporarily lose weight but your body will adjust, you might be eating calories that really don’t work for the structure of your body, and it’s just not maintainable.

Going into this whole endeavor for me was quite honestly just to lose body fat.  I’ve enough body fat to float a barge and it needs to go away.  I was at my heaviest in my life.  And yes, I realize now more than ever that the number on the scale is really just a number, but even that being said I had/have quite a significant amount of body fat to drop.  Your coach/trainer/source will look at your weight/measurements/body fat and determine a starting point for your macros.  As I said, I’m not a nutritionist so I can’t explain this fully, but making some levels higher than others will help you gain muscle, while lowering some and raising others increases fat loss, etc.  It’s a bit of a puzzle at first because everyone is different and all of our bodies respond differently.  My coach understood that I not only wanted to lose fat, but also needed to repair my junky metabolism.  So she set my macros and off I went.

I weigh every day.  I thought I would obsess over this, but really it isn’t that big of a thing.  It’s not really the number that matters.  It’s simply a gauge to judge, pretty readily, how my body is responding to adjustments.

Tracking my macros is pretty simple thanks to all the apps these days.  I use My Net Diary, which has a website and apps for both iPhone and iPad.   I set my current macro targets, and then daily just input my food.  Instead of calories, I’m watching my carbs/protein/fat totals.  Just like calorie counting you do have to plan a bit.  All in all, thanks to the apps, I’m not finding it difficult at all.  It only gets tricky when you’re near the end of your day and you have x-number grams of carbs to stuff in.  When you have to get just ONE macronutrient, without affecting the others, it can be tricky.  You quickly learn some go-to foods to fill the gaps.

I’m in my fourth month of macro tracking, and I’ve had my macros adjusted 3 times.  The most recent was just this week.  We ADDED more food.  We added more food the last time as well.   Yes, I’m eating more food, with less exercise, and still losing pounds and inches.  No pills, no supplements, no voodoo.  Just science.  It’s quite fascinating.

If you have any questions that I can legitimately answer, let me know!

We’ll talk about the exercise portion of things another day.  🙂

TODAY I LOVE: really soft t-shirts.  It’s like wearing a hug.

 

Month 3 Update

If you follow me on twitter or instagram then you’ve already read these results, but it’s worth elaborating.  April was a challenge for me.

This past Saturday marked exactly 3 months to the day I began this new fitness journey.  In those 3 months I’ve lost 16.5 pounds and a total (whole body cumulative) of 21 inches. It’s un-freaking-believable.  If you’re just looking at total number of pounds, it’s really not that much over this length of time.  Back in the day when I would calorie restrict and go nutso on cardio I’d drop weight a lot faster.  But, as I’ve said all along, I’m trying to do it right this time.  Long term.  Lifestyle change.  No more yo-yo.

I really can’t get over the inches.  Yes, even that has slowed down this last month, but it’s still changing.  Muscle is my new drug.  And it is very addicting.

Admittedly, April was hard for me.  I had some traveling and I kinda put myself in cruise control far too many days.  I’ve set some attainable goals for May and I’m kind of excited to see what changes they bring in my 4-month update.  I’m ready to push myself again and be one step closer to that sexy summer confident body.

I’m ready to get stronger physically, mentally, and most of all emotionally.  Even as I write these great numbers I’m really struggling emotionally with some nasties right now.  I’m ready to work those things out too.

Work in progress is a good thing, on all fronts.  Who knows what the finished product will be?!

TODAY I LOVE: 80’s movie ballads (yep, singing at the top of my lungs)

let’s talk about muscle

I had the most eye-opening realization this past week and I have to share.  I’ll be honest – the whole concept of “muscle” has really been quite foreign to me most of my life.  And what I mean by muscle is actually TRYING to attain any kind of muscle growth/definition that was outside of the typical girl “I’m just toning up” mentality.

For the last 9 weeks I’ve been marching to the beat of a different drum, attempting to get my body to repair and change in a healthy and long-term sustainable manner.  I’ll talk about exactly what I’m doing in a different post at a later time.

Periodically over the last 3 years I’ve kept weight logs and measurement logs and stored them in my journal app on my phone.  Since I’ve begun this new way of life (and stuck with it), I take my weight every day.  That’s been something I’ve had to get used to, but honestly it doesn’t freak me out or depress me as once as it once did.  And the reason why is in my “eye-opening realization.”  🙂

In addition to weighing every day, I take new measurements every month.  Last week I took my two-month measurements.  Since beginning this journey I’ve dropped 11 pounds and 16 inches (total  full body.)  The number on the scale is still awful; I’ve got loads of weight to drop, but I’m losing FAT.  I was bored this past weekend so I was reading through my journal app for old entries and such and stumbled upon one of my measurement entries.  It was when I was at my lowest weight in a while, July 2015.  I was 20lbs lighter than what I am right now.  But get this – in the measurements I was only 4 INCHES different (total).  And yes, it was all in the butt and thighs (this girl has a ghetto booty.)  Can you believe that?!  Only 4 inches.

Inconceivable!  All that stuff people tell you about muscle being heavier BUT “slimmer” is so true.  I wouldn’t have believed it if the measurements hadn’t been my own.   If nothing else this whole exercise is teaching me that the number on the scale really truly isn’t the whole picture. (Some days it’s harder to remember that than others, like when it goes up, but hey, baby steps.)

Muscle for the win!

TODAY I LOVE: the sound of the rain on the roof.  We need the rain!