Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Weigh-In Wednesday: Onederland!

Well, I successfully dodged the cupcakes (including leftovers today!) and...

...I'm very happy to report that as of this morning I weighed 199.2! Somehow, I managed to pull off a 2.4 pound loss this week. And I know exactly why.

I bitch and moan about it, but intense exercise is crucial for my weight loss. Cutting calories alone doesn't do much for me. It has to be moderate calorie restriction combined with regular hard workouts.

Monday night I did level two of the 30-Day Shred--a great workout. Tuesday night I did my favorite workout DVD ever, Denise Austin's Boot Camp. It's 40 minutes of cardio with bursts of strength training as active recovery.

I completed four solid workouts this week, and watched my calories for four days out of seven. It wasn't a perfect week by any means. I ate pretty badly over the weekend and didn't get much exercise. But I turned things around Monday, got back to work and successfully made up for it.

I feel like I'm starting to put some of the "pieces" together. My weight loss equation is becoming clearer. This past week confirms my belief that it's not necessary to put your life on hold to lose weight. I am perfectly fine with making modest changes that results in a slow, steady loss. But under 200 is nice to see! My weight starts with a one, not a two. :)

However, I realize backsliding up into the 200's again is absolutely possible. I'm heading home to Indianapolis on Saturday, and I'll likely be inundated with food and alcohol for a full two weeks. So the exercise needs to come up a notch to accommodate for these factors. I'm starting to believe I can do this! I feel different already!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lauren vs. The Cupcakes

Top reasons I am NOT going to have a cupcake when they're distributed at my office this afternoon:
  • An hour after eating it, I'll feel completely wiped out and shaky.
  • They're caked in super sweet buttercream frosting that hurts my teeth and makes my tongue feel slimy.
  • The post-cupcake tiredness will cause me to skip my workout later since "I already blew it today."
  • I have no idea how many calories would be in said cupcake. Could be anywhere from 350-800, and I don't like those odds!
  • In two months, I'll never remember the pain of resisting this cupcake, but I might be wearing smaller jeans!
  • Tomorrow is Weigh-In Wednesday, and if I don't work it, I'll have to report a gain to all of you in Internetland!

Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm Trying... eat a little cleaner after a weekend of too many carbs. get in all my exercise despite a busy week trying to prepare for my trip home to Indianapolis. get out of the sugar cycle.

I had a really fun weekend. On Friday night, I stopped at the grocery store on the way home to get dinner supplies, resisting the urge to go out to eat. I also did my 30-Day Shred as soon as I got home. For dinner I made coconut-crusted halibut and rice. I had a nice small 4 oz portion of fish, but then I ate too much of the white rice. I'm sure it was still better than eating out, though.

Saturday morning my choir sang Christmas carols for Christmas at Fenway, an annual fun event at Fenway Park for season ticket holders to come enter a lottery to decide which seats they'll get for the Red Sox season. We sang carols for three hours; it was fun, but really exhausting!

After a nap, Jeff and I headed back downtown for my choir's big holiday concert. It was at Marsh Chapel at Boston University. Here's the outside of the chapel. Breathtaking!
Here's the inside. Equally impressive!
Here's a shot Jeff took of my choir performing. If you look closely, you can see me just above that woman's head:
Lastly, a shot of me and a couple friends after the show. I'm on the right!
After the concert we walked seven FREEZING blocks to Boston Beer Works. I was wearing terribly uncomfortable heels. Well, really any heels are intolerable when you're carrying around 200 pounds of person! Sure, 120 pound girls can wear those four-inch heels, but try wearing them while holding two 40-pound hand weights.

I ate a little too much at Boston Beer Works and had two and a half full-calorie beers. I definitely had a food/slight alcohol hangover the next morning. So what did I do? Ate white bread, pizza and pumpkin cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory. Not good. Then I had the other half of my pizza for dinner, so it was all in all a terrible day. Very little protein, and the only vegetable I consumed was the fatty Caesar salad I had before the pizza. I also drank very little water. The only good decision I made on Sunday was having raspberries as a post-dinner snack. My feet were still literally swollen from the night before, so I didn't even get any exercise. Pretty pathetic.

This morning at work, I felt completely disoriented and unfocused. Part of it had to do with my medicine; this new anti-depressant makes me dizzy for a few hours after I take it. But it was worse today. I literally came out of the bathroom (that I use every day), and I felt so out of it that I didn't know which way to go. Then it occurred to me--I was having serious withdrawal after all that sugar and white flour. I felt lifeless and terrible. I was dehydrated and overcaffeinated. In short, my body was not happy with me.

I turned things around today, thankfully. I drank lots of water, ate well and did my 30-Day Shred as soon as I got home. Here's to making the rest of this week just the same! :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Weigh-In Wednesday: A Tricky Number

As of this morning, I weigh 201.6. I'm thankful for this--it's 1.8 pound loss since last week, and I've eaten things like McDonald's, Chinese food, a Reese's Christmas tree (amazing...) and a large chocolate chip cookie. I've also worked out a few times and cut out some late night eating, so I was able to keep things moving in the right direction despite a few too many indulgences. However, this number represents some significant challenges for me.

For the past few months, I've fluctuated between 199-207, generally staying around 204. Only once did I get down to 199, and I was ecstatic. So ecstatic that I rewarded myself with food and laziness and quickly put on a few pounds again.

Ridiculous, right? We're talking about a difference of like five pounds here. It isn't real weight loss, but seeing a number that starts with a 1 instead of a 2 really gets me excited. (Even though these numbers are so arbitrary when you think about.)

Anyway, the past couple months I've noticed a pattern. 201.6 is the number I hit when I'm starting to do well; when I've been on track for a few days, getting some activity, etc. But every single time I bounce back up almost immediately after reaching it. I'm so excited to almost be permanently out of the 200s that I sabotage it. This pattern has to end.

I desperately want to prove to myself that I can lose an actually noticeable amount of weight. For the past three years I've been at almost this exact weight. I really want to lose at least 10 pounds to show myself I can reach a goal if I truly work for it. But thinking about it that way puts too much pressure on everything. I start to feel overwhelmed and give up out of frustration and impatience.

So I'm not "celebrating" this small loss; not this time. I'm not in this for the short run anymore. I choose to celebrate the fact that I've felt more positive recently and am getting on a better track, in general.

Will I break the pattern and continue downward next week, and the weeks after it? We'll see, but I know for sure that my whole mindset is going through a serious positive shift!

Here's my exercise game plan for the rest of the week:
  • Tomorrow--Yoga class and running one mile. Last week after yoga I decided to try to run a mile and see how I did. I'm happy to report I ran a 12 minute mile. Not too bad considering I almost never run! I'm planning to continue running just a bit after yoga each week in an effort to improve my endurance.
  • Friday-Sunday. Do the 30-Day Shred twice.
Well, after a long day at work and an evening of babysitting our friends' 8-month-old son, I'm completely wiped out. Goodnight! :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Wonderful Weekend in Pictures

So I've been feeling fairly positive and motivated lately. I did level two of the 30-Day Shred as soon as I got home from work tonight, then showered and changed into pajamas by 7:30. I laid in bed watching HGTV while Jeff made me dinner. It was SO relaxing, and I felt amazing. I never want to work out when I get home; I always convince myself I need a little nap before I feel up to it, but what do you know, I often skip the workout once I'm comfortably settled in front of the television.

We had a pretty wonderful weekend. I'm cautiously optimistic that the Wellbutrin is helping me feel more like myself. It could just be the holiday spirit, but I was smiling and laughing all weekend!

Friday night we grabbed drinks with some friends at a bar in downtown Boston. Here's a shot of Jeff and me:

Saturday night we attended Jeff's work Christmas party in Worcester. I forgot the camera, so no pictures of that, but it was pretty uneventful, as most work parties can be. I had some fantastic coconut salmon and tried bok choy for the first time, so that was a plus. I think some bok choy experiments are in order...

Sunday we had an absolutely fantastic day. We did some Christmas shopping, got lunch, saw A Christmas Carol in 3-D (I liked it!), then came home and decorated the Christmas tree. If you remember, Jeff tried to get me to decorate the tree last weekend, but I was in a black cloud. Well, with a cup of Starbucks hot chocolate in hand and a homemade (except for the crust) pizza in the oven, I was in better spirits. Here's a pic of the pizza. I used the Pillsbury ready-made dough, and it was just okay; it had a biscuit-like texture and not much flavor. I don't know about you, but if I'm going to eat white flour, it better be something delicious! I think I'll stick to my usual Stop n Shop whole grain crust. Toppings were a small amount of light mozzarella, onions, green peppers, a few turkey pepperoni and some dabs of fat-free ricotta cheese!

After pizza, served with steamed brussel sprouts, we turned on the Christmas music and got to decorating. Here's a before and after on the tree. We have lots of goofy ornaments we've acquired over the years, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Sydney and the undecorated tree:
And Jeff putting on the finishing touches:
Eating hasn't been fantastic. I had McDonald's on Saturday and some Chinese food on Saturday, not to mention two beers on Friday night and four on Saturday night. I've decided to go back to calorie counting for awhile until I get a better handle on things. Today I ate around 1590 and got 30 minutes of intense cardio in--not too bad. Things are looking up. :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Weigh-In Wednesday

I think it will help me stay on track to post my weight here once a week. I'm not so concerned with big losses each week--I just want to keep an idea on the general direction. If I'm only down .2 pounds, no worries--it's the long run that counts! If I've lost 20 or 30 pounds in two years, I'll be a very happy girl!

As of this morning I weighed:

Okay, on to some more updates! As I mentioned in my last post, I've been experiencing some depression lately, so I talked to a psychiatrist on Tuesday. She agreed that the low energy, lack of focus and feelings of hopelessness all point to a chemical inbalance in my brain. She prescribed me a mild anti-depressant (Wellbutrin), which I started taking today. I looked up the side effects online, and thankfully weight gain wasn't one of them, so I was relieved!

It felt really good to acknowledge this emotional rut and declare it a work in progress. I know the medication won't be this miracle drug that makes my life suddenly perfect; I'm just hoping to emerge from the black cloud enough to recapture control of my life.

In other news, eating and exercise have been pretty good. I've been doing lots of yoga and taking walks, which feels like a pretty good combination for now. Tomorrow I'm going to my weekly yoga/pilates class. My friend and I have been going consistently for a couple months now. I don't feel like I've made significant strides yet, but I've definitely gotten some great ab work in! I'm aiming to do at least three hours of yoga a week on a regular basis. My dream is to attend a ritzy yoga retreat somewhere exotic. I definitely need to build up my strength and repertoire of poses before I take that leap.

I've also been really busy performing with my choir. I'm a member of an elite group of singers that performs around Boston, and the holiday season is a busy time! Tonight we performed for a really sweet group of elderly residents at a local retirement home. They really enjoyed the upbeat numbers, and I could see the happiness and appreciation all over their faces as they took in our performance. After the show I spoke with several of the attendees. One took hold of my hand and told me over and over how much she enjoyed the show, and I could tell it really brightened her day to chat with me for a bit. It was one of the most rewarding concerts I've had since joining the group a few months ago.

Being part of this group is time consuming, with rehearsals and performances every week, but I realized tonight what a healthy activity it is to have in my life. Instead of laying around watching HGTV all night (what I would have done if I'd been at home), I engaged in something I love doing and connected with a group of people that really appreciated me. And none of it involved food. (Except for the cookie table they had out after the concert, which I deftly avoided!)

I leave with you an adorable pic of my dog, Sydney, cuddling with Jeff's XBox controller: