Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Thoughts On The Scale

I am quickly realizing that diet and weight loss can make you crazy. I know this about myself, but apparently it is universally true. At least I don't feel so alone. My paranoia is not mine alone. Now that I recognize that I have the problem, I am able to work on it. I am happy to say that I am no longer a slave to my scale. Yes, I still use it and I still weigh in - but I do not freak out when it doesn't do what I want.

I have read soooo many posts by people whose focus is entirely on the scale. So much so, that they miss the ENTIRE point of what they're doing, which was to drop some pant sizes. Unfortunately, the scale is the most widely accepted unit of measurement for weight loss. And I suppose that has something to do with the fact that what we refer to as wanting to get in better shape is "weight loss" as opposed to saying that we want to "get fit" or "get in shape." The truth of the matter is - getting fit does not always equal losing weight. At a certain point, getting fit could equal gaining weight. It depends on what you're doing, how you're doing it and what your ultimate goal is.

It is absolutely bonkers to me that some people are losing inches, feeling better, looking better and their clothes are starting to fall of of them - yet ALL they care about are the numbers on the scale. Do you know how crazy that sounds?! So, let me get this straight - your body is getting smaller, your clothes are getting too big, your muscles are getting defined, but you're upset because if someone tried to physically pick you up right now - you wouldn't be as "light" as you wanted to be?


What if the scale didn't exist? What if it wasn't the most widely recognized unit of measurement for weight loss progress? What if the tape measure was the only progress indicator you had aside from what you could see in the mirror and feel in your clothes? How important would your physical mass be then? I understand that we all want to be smaller in numbers on the scale, but seriously? You can't ignore all the other signs of your progress and bank it ALL on three numbers that have less to do with your progress and more to do with whether or not you're bloated that day.

If you are trying to get fit, having a scale is kind of like having chocolate around. If you can handle having chocolate around you without feeling the need to consume it all the time - then you're ok. If you do consume it a little more than you should, but you're ok with dealing with those consequences - then fine. But if having chocolate around you means you'll devour it and then feel completely horrible afterwards, then DON'T have chocolate around you!
Same with your scale.
If you can keep your scale, but use it only as one of many indicators of your progress - ok. If you use it out of curiosity but don't freak out every time you look at it - great. If you're so consumed with the number it gives you that you truly don't recognize losing inches as more quantifiable progress than losing pounds - it's time for you to put the scale away. Or be put in a crazy house.

Sweet Charity

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Insanity Week 2: "I'm gonna be really honest right now...

I'm actually really nervous for this workout."

That's certainly a frightening thing to hear from your fitness instructor before a workout. But then you do the workout, called "Pure Cardio" and once you're about 5 minutes in and you realize you're NOT getting a break...at all...you understand what that statement meant. Unlike the other workouts, Pure Cardio gives you NO break until it's over. But even though that workout is synonymous with "pure hell", that's not what I'm nervous about.

I think the thought on a lot of people's minds before they start a workout program is "what if it doesn't work?" When I did my first round of P90X, I didn't see weight loss in the first 30 days. I found out that that is very common to not actually "see" the results in the first 30 days. Well the same is said about Insanity. But I figured - well I just did P90X so maybe I'm exempt from the 30 day rule with Insanity? Ya know, since it was already applied to the X and this is like a continuation of working out...maybe I don't have to worry? Now I've seen some people with fantastic results in the first 30 days, but I've also seen some people complete the full 60 days with results that were just meh.

Here's the thing: every body is different. There are fundamental weight loss rules that apply to everyone, like eating well and burning calories are necessary to reach elite fitness. However, other things change from person to person. Just because someone else lost 20lbs. on Insanity doesn't mean I'll even lose 5lbs. There are so many things that factor in to why, that I don't even wanna get into it. The point is, nothing is guaranteed.

But should that stop me from trying? Am I gonna let my nervousness cause me to fail? I weigh in every week. While I don't let the scale control me, I do like it when numbers go down. My diet has been pretty spot on. There were a few more cheats than there should have been, but for the most part I've been on point. My weight stayed the same. This is the point where a lot of people give up. "Two weeks, no weight lost = no progress, I quit!" I suppose it depends on how you measure progress. Two weeks also marked the Fit Test day. Every 2 weeks you repeat the Fit Test you took on the first day. I improved in numbers on most of the moves on the test. Personaly, I'll take that as progress.

Another thing to remember is that it's a 60 day program that promised me results in 60 days. It's been 14 days. Nothing anywhere says anything about 14 days. I already know that a LOT of people didn't see results the first 30 days but then DID see major changes in month 2. So at least I know that's a strong possibility. If weight loss were easy and only took 2 weeks, the fitness industry wouldn't be making billions of dollars a year. The truth is change takes time. Everyone wants to lose a TON of weight right now! And that's just not practical, especially for long term weight loss. So I'm 14 days into a 63 day program and I"m already stronger than when I started. And loving the workouts by the way. Oddly enough, I actually look forward to coming home to work out. Of course I'm a little anxious to see weight loss, but for now the improvements in my strength are progress enough.

As always, I'm here if you have questions about Beach Body programs, fitness, weight loss or nutrition. Just leave me a comment or message me at my web page below :)

Sweet Charity


Friday, April 23, 2010

Trust Me - It Ain't Worth It

So far, I have done three programs and gotten a few supplements from BeachBody.com. I ordered all of my workout programs, Slim in 6, P90X and Insanity directly from the website. I paid full price for them, got my deliveries within a week of ordering with everything that I needed for each workout. My DVDs are all functional and have given me no trouble. Were some of the things I got a little pricey? Yes. Absolutely. But to me - it's worth it. Losing weight is a big priority for me, so I'm willing to make investments where needed. I literally had to save up money from a couple of paychecks to get some stuff - but I haven't been disappointed. I like getting the full fitness and nutrition guide books and also having the support of Beach Body.

I can totally understand and appreciate that there are some people out there who are not willing to make the same kind of investment. Some of the programs may be a little more than you can/are willing to invest in at this time. Now, my intent is not to offend ANYONE. But as per usual, if you take offense to what I say - then you're taking that on yourself, and you probably wouldn't be offended if I wasn't right - so that's really your issue. But just let me explain what could happen if you decide to go twenty bucks cheaper and get the programs somewhere else.

If you find it cheaper than the Beach Body website, it's illegal. Period. Amazon is licensed to sell Beach Body products, but it's more expensive there AND does not carry the Beach Body guarantees. DVD skipping? Take it up with Amazon. 90 day money back guarantee? Amazon doesn't offer that. Bought it from an Amazon e-store or e-bay? You're screwed - neither Amazon nor Beach Body can help you.

I'm not sure who else is a licensed retailer, but rest assured if it's cheaper - it's not licensed. Yes, they are very good copies. They look just like the real thing. If they can duplicate an iphone that's not really an iphone, I'm sure that DVDs and books are not really a big challenge. And perhaps the pirated copy you receive will work fine, I can't really say. I'm just saying that I have heard TONS of complaints from people who received a faulty product that they could not return or get help with because they decided to risk problems buying an illegal copy. Now which one of us wasted their money? Honestly, I'll pay the extra bucks just to know that A)my DVDs won't skip or be missing B)if they do, they'll be replaced and C)my products will stand the test of time and I can re-use them.

I just find it baffling how many people say they care about their fitness and really wanna lose weight, but "oh, I can't afford that". Really? Cuz I certainly saw you afford that last cheesesteak and fries you ate and that night out at the bar. If you stopped spending so much money on being un-healthy, you'd have plenty left over to get fit. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but I work too hard to sugar coat it for you. If you wanna get fit, you'll do it. If you don't, you'll make excuses.

Sweet Charity

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Maybe It's All In My Head

(original post date:April 21, 2010)

So I've been wondering if all of my weight loss progress is all in my head. Maybe I wasn't that big to begin with? Maybe I haven't lost as much weight as I thought? Do I have body dysmorphia? Because I can still see where there's a lot of work to be done, yet other people keep telling me I'm small. I look at pictures and I can definitely see progress, but I still see what I need to work on. Is all the progress I'm seeing in my head too?

My friend was telling me a story about being at a ball game and seeing a girl there with her muffin top on full display. She was wearing jeans that were too tight, and a cropped shirt, literally putting her muffin top on display. The thought of this horrified me. I have never, ever been one to let my stomach show when it shouldn't. Even when you have a shirt that's a little short and your belly pokes out a little bit - that drives me crazy if you're not fit enough to get away with it. My jeans are (were) always strategically placed so as to avoid any muffin toppage. And since I was young - I've sucked my stomach in when in public. Always. It's to the point that I don't even realize I'm doing it. When I try to take true measurements, I have to make an effort to be sure I'm NOT sucking in. Anytime there is fabric touching my stomach, my reflex is to suck my stomach in. I figure that's why I'm so good at doing ab exercises - my life is one big ab-crunch.

So it occurred to me, maybe it's not that I have a lack of progress - it's that I've hidden what my true body looks like for so long - people can't tell the difference! Now - I don't have to strategically place my jeans because my muffin top is no where near as noticeable. I can just let my waistband sit where it may. But you wouldn't know that unless you're me. I hid the muffin top before so you didn't know it was there. Now I'm not hiding, cuz it's not there - but how would you know the difference? It's the same way that people keep telling me I don't need breast implants. That's because what you see daily as a full B cup is really an elaborate set up of me double-padded-bra-ing under every outfit I wear. It would be nice to not have to put on a show in that arena anymore too.

I think because so much of my life is focused on weight loss, it seems strange to me that other people don't seem to notice. But most of these people - I see every day. They may not necessarily notice because they see me day-to-day as opposed to seeing just my start and end results. I think people also get a set picture of you in their head and then believe that that is how you SHOULD look (unless you're morbidly obese). I have people telling me all the time that if I get any smaller, I wouldn't look right. That sounds completely ridiculous to me! It's not like I'm at Lindsay Lohan or Nicole Ritchie status. Being too thin because you don't eat is not the same as being so fit that you have a low body fat percentage. Personally - I think I'd look kick-ass at a size 2, though that is not my goal. I don't care what size I am so long as the body fat issue is under control. I could go on and on about this particular subject, and I will...in another blog.

I think the point is that change is gradual. And for those who see it as it's happening, they tend to forget where you started and only remember what they've seen recently. Unless it's someone whose close to you - like family. They tend to remember only where you started and compare you to that constantly. So, to them you may be "too thin" simply because they're used to you being so fat. I'm glad I know what my goal is. I know what I'm doing, what I'm doing it for and what I want the end result to be. I notice my progress and I appreciate the changes and really - that's all that matters.

Sweet Charity

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Week 1 of Insanity: "This Sh*t Is Bananas"

That's an actual quote from the workout. The instructor himself is saying this about his own workout, and he's not lying.

How does Insanity compare to P90X? P90X has a large focus on weight lifting as well as including cardio. Insanity is straight up cardio that includes moves that will also improve your strength - it just uses your own body as resistance. The workouts are a lot shorter. While a typical day on the X will take an hour to an hour and a half, a typical Insanity workout is 40 minutes long. It just happens to be 40 minutes of cardio hell. I think in the second month the workouts go up to 60 minutes.

During my first workout, I told the TV screen "eff you" approx. 5 times. I have never sweat so much in such a short period of time. These workouts seriously define what it means to do an exercise to failure. You don't do push ups until you think you can't anymore, you do them until you fall on your face because your arms physically will not hold you up anymore. The workouts are structured on something called max interval training. In normal workouts, you elevate your heart rate for a short period of time then give yourself a longer recovery time. With Insanity, you try not to die for about 3 minutes and then you have 30 seconds to make sure you're not dead, then you start right back up again.

My recovery time has massively improved. I used to be panting and out of breath for a really long time after intense cardio. I was pleasantly surprised to find with Insanity that the 30 seconds of rest is usually enough. It also comes with a nutrition guide. I'm still only eating from the top two tiers of Michi's ladder, but most of their meals are easily adjusted to fit that criteria. The way the meals are structured, I'm actually not hungry at all. I've been doing 1500 calories for a while, but it's not always without effort. The Insanity meals however, have the perfect carb/fat/protein ratios and I haven't been hungry at all.

I'm liking Insanity a lot. I really like the change of pace. I like that Shaun T. teaches like a mirror - he'll say "go to the right" and he means my right, not his. I like that it will only take 40 minutes out of my day. I always feel like I need to do more after the workout because it's so short compared to P90X. A lot of people do a hybrid of Insanity and something else, but I'm really resisiting the urge to add cardio or weights to the program. I want to see what results I can get with just Insanity alone. Although, technically I am doing Slim in 6 three times a week with my mom, but I'm hoping she'll eventually do it on her own without me. I'm definitely no pro at the workouts. I don't get through every single section without taking breaks of my own. Sometimes, it's easy to feel bad that you can't do the dvd straight through - but that's actually pretty silly. If I could do the Insanity workouts without breaks, then I probably woudn't need Shaun T.'s help to get in shape. The whole point is that you do it to the best of your ability. You dig deeper, give everything you have and eventually everything you have will be more than it is now.

Stay tuned for my 60 day transformation. My goals are: 1) to reach my goal weight of 135lbs, 2) to demolish my muffin top into non-existence, 3) to lose another inch of fat off my thighs and 4) to maybe go down to a size 4? I don't care about that last one as much as the first three, but I wouldn't mind.

As always, feel free to ask me questions about fitness, nutrition and Beach Body products :)

Sweet Charity


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Week 13 - Thnks Fr Th Mmrs

"Thanks For The Memories"
So, this week brings us to the end of my P90X, round two journey. THANK GOD. I'm pretty sick of Tony Horton at this point, and I'm quite ready for a change of scenery. I just wanted to take a second and thank everyone who's been following along and encouraging me over the past couple months. I can't believe it's gone by so quickly. I think the greatest thing I've gained his year is my attitude towards weight loss. As you can tell, I work my butt off to get where I'm going. It does seem like I should have more impressive results to show for what I've done - but the thing is, I know I'm giving as much as I possibly can. I don't know why other people do less and see more - and that's not for me to answer. All I can do is my absolute best, and that's what I strive for. The point is - I've made progress, and I can recognize that.

I do want to mention that for anyone is thinking about trying P90X, it is do-able. It's difficult and challenging, but it's rewarding as well. Most people I have seen do have really killer results. Especially if you're someone who doesn't work out much as it is. I think the fact that I already worked out very regularly before I started could be why my results weren't as drastic, but whatever - it got the scale and the tape measurer to move which is something I wasn't accomplishing on my own. I definitely think my diet for this year is what really made the difference. I feel as if my pictures don't do me justice. Even when my coach saw me in person, she said "wow - you look really fit!" Maybe the stats tell the story a little better - cuz seriously guys, my muffin top is CONSIDERABLY smaller than it used to be and I'm not sure you can tell that in the pics.

I started the Insanity program today. Judging from the fit test, if this program doesn't get the last pounds off of me, then I was just meant to be fat, cuz holy man - was it tough! I will continue blogging about my Insanity experience and I'll tag anyone who seems interested or who requests to be :)

So here are my starting and ending stats and pics from both rounds of the X. Thanks again, and I'm confident that by the end of Insanity, the muffin top will be completely demolished!

P90X Fit Test Results: The fit test is the very first thing you do before you start the program. You do it again at the end to see how you've improved.

Resting Heart Rate
Day 0: 80 beats per minute
Day 180: 76 bpm
(this is good, it means my heart doesn't have to work as hard as it used to doing nothing)

Day 0: 0
Day 180: 3 (technically, they were chin-ups but I'll take it)

Vertical Leap (jumping up without gathering momentum)
Day 0: 10.5"
Day 180: 12.5"

Day 0: 18
Day 180: 27

Day 0: 0" past toes
Day 180: 2.25" past toes

Wall Squat
Day 0: 1min 35sec
Day 180: 2min 25sec

Bicep curls
Day 0: 8lbs 50 curls
Day 180: 12.5lbs 34 curls

In & Outs (sitting on ground, bringing your knees in to your chest then back out)
Day 0: 51
Day 180: 82

Day 0: 150 lbs.
Day 180: 143 lbs.

Day 0: 35
Day 180: 34

Day 0: 31
Day 180: 29

Muffin Top
Day 0: 37.25
Day 180: 34.25

Day 0: 38.5
Day 180: 36.25

Day 0: 24
Day 180: 22

Day 0: 11
Day 180: 11

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Step Outside Your Little Box

I think it's easy for us to get so stuck in something, that we are very relectant to change. Even when we complain that we don't like the way things are going, we don't always want to switch things up because "what if it starts working?" I recently had a friend help me change my resume since I've been getting very little if any response to what I've been sending out. For the most part, it was more format changing than content. I liked the new look and everything, I was just kind of being lazy to use it. I already had my old one saved to my computer and in my e-mail. It was just "easier" to continue to send that one out. But I finally sucked it up and made the necessary changes to start using the new one. To my surprise, I actually heard back from a job I applied to. Was it the new resume layout? Who's to say? The point is - I wanted a change, I asked for and accepted help and gave the change a try.

I find a lot of people are in the same boat. They don't like the way things are going, they ask for help and feedback and suggestions - and then don't make any changes. Because they're scared, lazy, or want to wait until what they're doing works. How stupid is that? I can't tell you how many people I know have had diet/exercise questions ~ I have given them advice of things that have worked for me ~ and they respond with "well this is what I'm doing so I'm going to stick with that for a while." I'm thinking "hello? Did you not just say that wasn't working? Why would you continue to do what you know isn't working?!" But in the end, I can't change things for you. If you want to continue on doing something you yourself said wasn't doing it for you, that's up to you.

The thing is, most adjustments aren't permanent. Why don't you just try one of the suggestions you've been given and if after a week .... two weeks it doesn't work, then don't do it anymore. What have you got to lose? If you've already conceded that what you are doing isn't working, what will it hurt to try something else? It's certainly a better idea than continuing to complain and ask for advice that you will never take.

sweet charity

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It's Possible?

The weather has been gorgeous this week! I was excited to go for a "run" (by run I mean jog, but saying go for a run sounds better) outside yesterday. I'm not sure if it's sad that the highlights of my day yesterday were
A) Taking a nap when I got home
B) Exercising in yoga pants that fit and didn't slide off my ass as I ran
C) My delicious salmon dinner. I'm seriously addicted to salmon right now.
That does sound pretty pathetic as highlights go...but ah well. I'm boring. Sorry.

As I was "running" I was really focusing on not taking breaks. One of the things I'm working on is my endurance, so I try to run for as long as I can without stopping. I did have to stop a couple times and kind of bounce around in place for 30 seconds or so, but then I'd just pick back up and keep going. I noticed that my recovery time - the amount of time I need to bounce in place before I run again - has drastically decreased. Even when I was revovering, I still felt pretty good. I wasn't panting and dying, I just needed a little repreive. I used to need two minutes, at the least to get my heart rate back down and catch my breath. Yesterday I noticed that as soon as I stopped, my heart rate would start to slow down, and that's good.

So while I was running in my size small Victoria's Secret yoga pants, I was really happy that they were staying put. My mediums had been sliding down while I tried to workout, thus the purchase of the smalls. I was also kind of amazed that I was wearing a small and running continuously. It's really strange for a former fat person once they lose the weight. Some people who are trying to lose weight are trying to get back down to where they once were - before they gained weight. I however, have always been a chubster. So as I lose I keep getting to the smallest I've ever been, and it's strange. I still don't think I look like I should be wearing a small. I tend to think that if I do fit into one, the sizing of that company must run big. But the realization got me thinking about my ultimate goal.

I know in my head where I want my body to be. I know how much weight I want to lose and what I want my body to look like. Even when people tell me I look great, while I appreciate it - they're comparing me to what I used to be where as I compare me to where I'm trying to get. I'm not gonna lie, while I work really hard to attain that goal - it does seem a little impossible sometimes. I've NEVER had a flat stomach. I can't even imagine what it would feel like to not have to suck in my gut. And I started to think - you can actually do this. You can ACTUALLY get that body. Holy crap - you're gonna have a flat stomach!

It's kind of strange to think about it. Even though it's what I always wanted, actually picturing myself with that body FOR REAL seems a little...odd. More than that, it seems possible.

And I know there are people out there who say "my body wasn't made to looke like _____" or "it's in my genetics, I'll never be ________" and that's crap. It's just pure crap. Does my body have a certain shape that probably won't change? Yeah, most likely. I'm sure my thighs will always be one pant size larger than my waist. Because even when I burn the fat there, I still have pretty sizeable muscles in my legs. It's even hard to fit skinny jeans around my calves. Does that mean that my thighs will stay the size they are now while the rest of me shrinks? No - that's ridiculous. There are certain things that are beyond our control, but losing weight is NOT one of them. It's possible people. There's so much possible out there for those of us willing to work to get it without making excuses.

What's your possible?

sweet charity

Friday, April 2, 2010

Week 12 - omg, I'm ENORMOUS!

*Disclaimer: This post talks heavily about woman troubles. Men, if you're sensitive to that kind of thing - you've been warned.*

So I started this week off really good. I had a really positive attitude. I was sure that my week ending blog was going to be on how happy I am with my results. I got into my goal jeans 2 weeks before my deadline. I remember how putting my hands on my hips felt different because there was significantly less flab there. I'm starting to win my battle with my massive thighs - I can even look at them in the mirror and consider them thinner. When I feel my legs, I feel the muscle and a lot less flab. It felt like I was finally making progress!

Then - it hit, my monthly gift from mother nature. Now I have to say - I used to not have too much trouble in this dept. I had one day of mild cramps that could be cured with midol and I was good to go. Those mild cramps turned into severe cramps that could be dulled with midol and cardio. That then turned into 2 days of cramping....then one day of nausea plus one day of cramps. This week: 4 days of nausea - I felt like I had to throw up all day long kind of nausea and 2 days of why-do-women-have-children-if-it-hurts-worse-than-this cramping. Midol did nothing to help.

In addition to this, I also incorporated Shakeology into my diet this week. It's a meal replacement mix that you're supposed to take once a day. I was trying to experiment with different things I could mix it with this week so I was having two a day. And on top of that - I'm trying to reduce my carb intake. I did not realize until I tried to reduce them what a carb monster I am. Especially on my period. Now - because I had two meal replacement shakes a day, that brought my calorie count down a little bit. But because I binged on every carb in sight when my period struck - that brought it back up. So, while I didn't really exceed my daily calorie allowance by too much - many of those calories came from potato chips, chocolate and golden double stuff oreos - OH MY GOD they are so good!!! They are seriously like crack, I can't stay away! Ahhh! I did manage to get my daily workouts in, though I fell a day behind due to curling up in bed in the fetal position on the first day the nausea hit.

And all this week, I felt like I looked HUGE! Even on the days that I was wearing my most recent pairs of goal jeans, i.e. the smallest jeans I own. My belly in the mirror just looked massive. And bellies have nothing to do with period bloat. I'm talking a huge gut. "How do I manage to stuff this body into a size 6 and size S workout pants? That can't be right. My belly is gigantic!!!" The GOOD thing is that I've been in training. I've been working on myself and my attitude over these past 12 weeks. And so, even while I thought these things - I was able to tell myself "think about how ridiculous what you're thinking is. You're WEARING a size small right now. You did not gain a pound in a day. Or 2 days. One pound =3,500 calories and even with chip bingeing you've had far less than half of that today. Stop being crazy." And so that's what I did. I banished all negative thoughts to the "you're on your period and not thinking clearly" bin and continued on with my week.

I don't know what the results of my bingeing mishaps will be. But I'm not gonna beat myself up. I won't say "hey - it's totally ok, you were on your period!" because that's just an excuse. I really could've resisted if I planned better and exercised my willpower. But it's ok to make mistakes. It's ok to live and learn. This is a lifestyle change and not a timed race. If you trip, you just get back up and keep going. One more week on the X...then we bring on the Insanity!