Friday, December 30, 2016

Effort

So I'm a bit cliche because I always love when it's about to be New Years and you sit down and dream about what the next year holds, and think what you want to accomplish.  Our Lovely Ladies group has been having this great discussion around goals and what we want out of 2017, and we decided to go for the My One Word technique.  I honestly think it's a fantastic way to boil down a list of goals to one core concept, and it can be like a mantra throughout the year.

The word I chose is "effort", because ultimately I feel like effort is something I really need to work on in many areas in my life, and not just fitness.  There are times when I feel like I'm complacent and just coasting through and letting the winds of life just blow me around wherever, rather than really approaching things with intent and giving something my best.  There are so many times when I think "I should do XYZ, but screw it, I'll just do it later when I have time."  Or there's times when I'm thinking about a friend and something nice/bad they're going through in life and say something to myself like, "I should probably send a card to so and so when I have time."  Then I never do.  I have a wonderful pen pal in England who sends me the nicest letters, but I've been horrible about writing her back.  It truly is not a conscious or malicious thing, I am just that scatterbrained and forgetful.  Sometimes it's a depression thing, and I'm so wrapped up in my own dumb shit that things pass over me.  At the end of the day though, there are ways for me to change these bad habits, and it comes down to me actually making the effort to do it.  There are so many missed opportunities for me to be a better friend, wife, family member and yes, improve myself.  It's time to start actually making the effort to utilize these opportunities instead of squandering them.

I need to actually make an effort every single day with my health and fitness goals.  Effort at calorie counting, planning/cooking healthy meals, getting in my work outs...you get the drift.  None of that stuff is rocket science, it's just making the effort to get my shit together and prioritize it.  I've already started making changes and shifting back to the head space where I was a few months ago, because there's no sense in waiting until January 1.  It's paid off because I already feel better physically and mentally, and even my pants feel more comfortable!

These are just a few of the things that I have in mind when it comes to making more effort in my life.


Health Goals

Create Weekly Menus and Plan Ahead

This is probably the biggest area that I need to put some effort into.  I'm a good cook and love making healthy recipes, but I often get into a trap of not shopping adequately, then as a result eat something crappy or go out to eat and usually that involves queso and margaritas!  There's really no excuse to not sit down once a week, plan out a week of meals, then shop according to that menu!

Simplify Food and Reduce Meat Intake

Despite how drastically my diet has improved over the years, I'll likely never be one of those people who strictly "eats clean".  BUT, I really do need to make an effort to gravitate towards eating simple, nutritious food like salads, noodle bowls with tons of vegetables, fruits and veggies as snacks, smoothies, etc.  Honestly some of the best lunches I've made lately are throwing together whatever random vegetables and/or grains and making simple salads.  As far as the meat, it's not that I want to be vegetarian per say, but I find that as I get older meat is less appealing.  I do love a good chicken dish, and if there are cocktail shrimp at a party you best get out of my way, but really beyond that I'm just as happy not having meat.  I want to explore eating grains, legumes and increasing vegetables as opposed to always relying on meat as the main star of my meals.

Get to Goal

For God's sake, this needs to be the year.  I need to get off my ass and do the work to get in my goal weight range.  I need to lose about 50 pounds to get to my goal weight of 140, but I really just mentally need to put the active weight loss part of my life to rest once and for all and get to a new chapter of a happy woman in maintenance, just living her life.  It works out to about 4 pounds a month, which is doable.


Personal Goals

Focus on Finances

I thankfully don't have a ton of debt, but I want this to be the year that I get very close to paying off my credit card, and I also want to make more of an effort to budget, track expenses and save more.  

Get My Passport

This has been a goal for like two years that I put off because it's not SUPER vital, but it's at the totally ridiculous point now.  I swear I'm going to do it this year!!

Reach Out To People

I'm so bad about this!  I went over this at the beginning of the post, but basically I want to make more of an effort to stay in touch with friends and acknowledge events in their life since most of my friends live all over the country.  Birthday cards, sympathy cards, thank you cards, just because notes, I want to be a good friend and send those things!  I am so lucky and have a lot of wonderful people in my life, and I want to make sure everyone knows how much I love them!

Those are honestly just a handful of things that come to mind when it comes to making effort in my life.  "Effort" is going to apply to just about everything I set out to do.

Here's to a wonderful 2017 for all of us!


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Catching Up: A 2016 Review and 2017 Forward Look (Part 2)

So this post is going to be more of a catch up on all the personal life stuff with me.  Before  I get into that, I wanted to update with weigh in results!  I should go run out and get a Powerball ticket because I estimated in my last post that I had gained about 10 pounds, and that's exactly what my gain was.  (I was 183 in September and am now 193). At the very least, I could go to some shady fair and guess the fat lady's weight or something.

So it's not great, but I guess less of a disaster than it could have been, and at least I had the sense to stop myself and say enough's enough before it gets any worse.  It is sobering to be close to the 200's again, but I really have no one to blame but myself for this and all I can do is just get back on the horse.  I did that starting Tuesday with both calorie counting and my workouts, and I'm already down to 191.  I've actually been surprised that my body hasn't thrown a shit fit over the fact that I'm eating 1500 calories per day as opposed to like 3000, but I haven't really been super hungry thankfully and actually feel really good.  It is very hard to break the nightly dessert habit though!  My sweet tooth is the worst basically.

The Good

Overall things have been pretty decent this year.  Job is still going well, Eric is doing great, Molly is still asleep most of the time and a demanding diva when she isn't asleep.  I am still volunteering weekly at the county animal shelter and got promoted to the next level there, so now I help walk the dogs!  That has definitely been an interesting journey, it's mostly pretty awesome but there have been some scary moments.  Thankfully those are few and far between.  I still have my tribute campaign for my music artist, and that is going very well too!

We had a really blessed year when it came to concerts.  I did somewhat keep my goal of limiting the concerts we saw to artists we really, really wanted to see, but the ones we did see were amazing.  I know I'm going to forget some, but we saw Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen (twice!), The Who, The Monkees, Brian Wilson, Leon Bridges, and The Beach Boys.  It feels so good to see some of these legendary people because as this year has shown us, we need to treasure them while we can.  I was especially emotional about Brian Wilson.  I feel very lucky to have seen him twice.

I didn't travel after our LA trip in July, but my mom did fly up to see me in October, and Eric flew out to see his family also in October.  I would have loved to have gone with him, but was out of vacation time!

I know this is a very vain thing to put in my "hey this is what I've been up to" recap, but one thing that's made me very happy is that I got my hair healthy enough to start growing out again.  I read up on the Curly Girl method, which is basically not using shampoo and only washing your hair with non-sulfate/non-silicone conditioner every few days.  I've been doing it for a couple of months now and am absolutely blown away at the difference.  My hair looked like straw once it got to a certain length and absolutely refused to curl.  I know this is silly, but it was so upsetting and baffling to me since I don't color or use heat on my hair!  I have no idea what caused the change after all these years, but at least after 3 years of having to keep my hair short I finally can start growing it out again.  It's so much healthier and actually curling again!  It's the little things right?

The Not So Good

The year definitely had some bumps.  It certainly wasn't as awful as last year on the active family drama front, but I am still dealing with a bit of emotional fallout.  I go through phases of being very depressed and anxious, feeling very alone, etc.  I know I should probably see a professional about it and that I am very ridiculously stubborn about doctor related stuff.  It's a bad habit I need to break.  It really has not exactly helped that basically any musician or celebrity I've really liked has dropped dead this year.  Like seriously.  I know I can't add anymore to the "What the fuck 2016" conversation than has already been said, but I think we can all agree that this year has been pretty brutal.  I feel like it's not even just the celebrity deaths, I just feel like everyone in general has had a bad year and terrible things happen to them.

The worst part of this year were the Louisiana floods, and I'm sorry to say that my family was heavily affected by them.  My mom lost her house (my beloved late grandmother's house) and my brother's house (childhood home I grew up in) was flooded and pretty damaged but thankfully able to be saved, so they are currently in the process of doing that.  The absolute worst part is that my mom, brother and niece almost drowned when trying to evacuate.  Long story short they drove through flood water and the vehicle started floating and filling with water.  My brother was trying to break the windows out but couldn't and thank God some random guy in a boat saw them and saw they were in trouble, and came with a crowbar to smash the windows and get them out.  At this point the water was up to everyone's chest.  My brother got a deep cut in his arm when being pulled out, then he and my SIL had to walk through waist deep flood water for a few miles until they could get to a dry point to get my brother to the hospital to get stitches.  So YEAH, that happened.  It was a very horrible traumatic thing for them, as is the whole rebuilding process.  This all happened in August and my family just got back into my brother's house at Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately there's still some work that needs to be done, but I am very thankful that they are all safe and have a roof over their heads.  We are very, very lucky on that front.  One of my dear friends was also affected by the floods and had to also heavily renovate her house.

Honestly to quote Spaceballs, that's the short, short version of this year.  Mostly smooth sailing but with some pretty big ass bumps now and again.  I wish it were more exciting and thrilling, but that's been about the gist!

I think on my next post, I'll focus on the whole goal thing.  I've definitely been reflecting and planning what's in store for me.  I'm very excited about 2017!


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Catching Up: A 2016 Review and 2017 Forward Look (Part 1)

Hey everyone!  I know it's been a super long time, but I thought I'd pop in and say hi, talk about what I've been up to the last few months and also talk about my hopes/plans for 2017.  This post ended up getting a little long, so I've split it into two...the first being a review/look ahead on my health and fitness stuff.  Tomorrow will be my personal life stuff!

Health and Fitness

For the most part 2016 has been great because I found the "formula" that works for me when it comes to being healthy.  1500 to 1600 calories seems about right for me, and I really did fall in love with lifting weights and doing HIIT.  Running is really wonderful exercise, but I think I've made peace with the fact that it's maybe not the right fit for me at this stage of my life.  The FODMAP stuff was an interesting though depressing journey, though I do credit it to a bulk of my weight loss this year since it helped my bloating, plus there were basically like 5 things I could eat so, that helped!  In all seriousness though, I felt a lot of things click for me this year in the weight loss department.

Currently I'm not doing so hot in this area, and as always I will be real about it with you guys.  It's great when you find out what works for you, but you do have to actually follow it for it to keep working.  I did really great until October when my FB Booty program ended, and since then I've floundered a bit.  I won't make excuses, there was really nothing holding me back other than myself.  I've been dealing with personal issues and depression and it has kind of emotionally crippled me.  Again, that's a reason but not an excuse, you know what I mean?  I honestly don't know what I weigh right now since I've avoided the scale like the plague.  I'm still fitting into my "thin" clothes though they are definitely not as comfortable.  I can tell my face is bigger and my belly/legs are definitely gaining.  I suspect I've gained about 10 pounds probably, though again, I haven't really weighed.  I really need to do that tomorrow and slay the dragon.  I promise I will update for accountability purposes.

I've guess I've learned (for seemingly the thousandth time) that you can never really ever be "off duty" when it comes to your health.  You think you can, but you can't.  I mean sure you can be relaxed somewhat on vacations or special occasions and enjoy life, but you also must make every day a choice, be accountable and be aware.  I've failed in that department and have been very complacent.  Oddly, I rebel against structure (though that is changing in my old age) but also desperately need it.  My Fitness Pal and writing on the blog were both good structure and accountability tools for me and I took them for granted.  I just think it's clear at this point when I try to go rogue it works okay for a spell, but I always backslide.

I guess the good news is that I haven't tremendously gained and am at least mindful that this isn't okay on any level and I'm not satisfied.  I know that's not exactly gold medal worthy, but in the past I would have just ignored it and allowed myself to gain like 20 pounds, but I just honestly feel so gross and uncomfortable that I can't stand it any longer.  I REFUSE to buy bigger clothes.  I refuse to give into the excuses and whine about it.  All I can do is move forward again.  I spent last night filling out my Fitness Blender workout calendar and threw in the FB Booty program, which I honestly liked the best out of all the programs I did with them.  They are also releasing a new workout program in the new year that I will likely purchase, but it's an 8 week thing so I'm holding off until March.  We are going to Los Angeles again in February, so I'm just sticking with a 4 week plan for now.  Actually, the trip is a good inspiration for me to get back into it oddly enough.  I felt so good about myself when we were there in July and I want to get back to that place mentally, plus I want to be able to wear cute and comfortable clothes on the trip!

A huge part of this is that I need to get my nutrition together again.  My biggest downfall is not planning and that I have not been shopping efficiently.  Basically it just comes down to me needing to sit down and plan out menus and shop sensibly.  Oh, and eating a damn vegetable now and again would probably be awesome.  I am still having my digestive BS after fully going off FODMAP eating.  At this point, I've honestly given up on trying to figure out what the issue is.  I know that's terrible, but I'm honestly exhausted with the whole process.  I'm going to be mindful of a lot of the FODMAP principles and limit certain things that really trigger me like gluten, onions and lactose, but I'm not going to stress about having things like mushrooms or sweet potatoes in my diet.

Not tracking my calories in MFP has been a HUGE downfall, so I'm going to be doing that again.  Again, it's easy and there is no excuse for me to not do it, I've just got to get back into that habit.  I also decided to do no alcohol in January and get back to focusing on simple, whole foods.  Oatmeal with fruit, hefty salads with quinoa or rice and plenty of vegetables, hard boiled eggs, baked sweet potatoes with black beans, etc.  You know, the basics. Honestly, I'm kind of excited about it.  You guys know I love my sweets and booze but my God, I am so sick of feeling like crap.  It's time to dial it back and get back to sensible eating that actually nourishes my body!

And finally, I want to make the effort to write in the blog again.  I didn't realize how much it kept me in a more mindful state until I took this long hiatus from it.  Yeah I'm busy or whatever, but I'm going to make an effort to check in at least once a week on the blog to document my progress and have that accountability.  I also miss being able to look back on the year and see what I did from both a health and a personal standpoint!

In Summary:

2016 started off pretty good but I allowed myself to get complacent and lax during the last 3 months.  2017 is going to be filled with me getting back to basics and following the general principles that work for me.

  • Staying within the 1500 to 1600 calories a day range
  • Logging food in MFP
  • Exercising at least 5 days a week with lifting and HIIT
  • Eating whole, simple foods and limiting treats/booze
  • Blogging and regular weigh ins for accountability







Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Future

Y'all.  I know.

Obviously it's been awhile, so I felt like I needed to write a post to talk about things.

In the past when there was a blogging lag, it always meant that I was failing/off the wagon and was too ashamed to blog.  I'm happy to report that the opposite is true here, I've been actually doing really well and feel like for the first time in my life, I have it figured out.  I know how to eat, I don't have a toxic relationship with food, I'm learning to be nicer about my body, and I found workouts I really like.  Like anyone else on a long weight loss journey, I have my days where I'm just legitimately exhausted with it and am ready for the losing process to be over, but I don't have the urge to just 100% throw in the towel anymore.  I just process my feelings and deal with it then move on.

As of today I'm at 183 pounds (highest weight was 250 in 2009), and I am 44 pounds lighter than I was in 2014.  Here's a couple of side by sides for comparison, the left was in 2013 at probably 220ish pounds, the right was this weekend at the Oregon State Fair at 183 pounds.


Here's a bonus closeup of my face with my goat BFF for the day:




Things are really good.  I'm healthy, inching ever closer to my still to be determined goal weight and I am passionately in love with my workouts.  I feel pretty, strong and depending on the day, I feel so tiny compared to where I was!  My job is really good.  My marriage is awesome.  Life in general is really good and I have tons to be thankful for.

So why am I not blogging about all of this stuff?

For one, my life hasn't been very interesting lately from a blogger perspective.  It's my life and I love it, but my day to day is pretty standard and isn't exactly going to keep you on the edge of your seat.  We go to work, come home, I work out, I make dinner, we watch TV.  We're doing less trips/concerts these days, so there's less of that stuff to chat about.  And my HIIT/strength training stuff, while amazing and working for me, is quite different than the running thing.  With running there was always plenty to talk about with training runs, and there was always a big buildup to some race or another.  With my new workouts, gains are harder to quantify and write about.  It's more like "hey I can do 45 seconds of burpees without dying and 2 weeks ago it was only 20 seconds", or "two weeks ago I was using 10 pound weights for bicep curls and now I can comfortably do 15 pound weights."  I mean is that interesting to anyone, or do I just sound like a douche?  I kind of feel like I sound like one of those gym bros when I talk about that stuff.

The second part is, I just don't feel a spark to blog and it just doesn't legitimately occur to me anymore.  I have plenty of time to do it, I just don't.  I don't know what the future of my blog is at this point.  Part of me feels weird/guilty that I have my shit together after all these years and am doing well, and could be sharing the love with others so to speak.  I always feel good when people say they've been inspired to make changes in their diet or exercise stuff due to seeing my weight loss or whatever.  Then another part of me, much like what happened with my relationship with running, just isn't feeling it and keeping up with it feels exhausting.  It just feels like I'm forcing things at this point, and I also feel like a hoseweed lately when I'm all like "oh I'll be better about blogging, I promise" and then of course don't.

So for right now, the status quo is that the blog is staying up, but will be updated when and if I feel like it.  There is so much history here, and it's so fun for me to look back on my old posts and see how far I've come physically and mentally.  (Plus I have apparently educated hundreds that Vega One protein powder will make you puke and crap yourself into an out of body experience....that post is STILL my most popular and most commented on after all these years!)  And again, I will do updates, but they may be more like every 3-6 months instead of every week.

I hope this doesn't bum people out too badly.  I realize that not having fresh content means a loss of readers and interest, I totally don't blame you guys if you jump ship.  I truly have appreciated the support I've gotten over the years, and the blog has been such an amazing way for me to process feelings and finally get it together.  I made some of the best friends of my life due to my blog (shout out to my Lovely Ladies!)  I don't take that for granted at all, I just think maybe I need a break.  Hopefully people will still be around for the updates when they happen.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

FB Mass Results

So my FB Mass program wraps up today (schedule today calls for optional stretching, hopefully I can fit it in), so I thought I'd update my progress and talk about what's coming next!

This program was a weird one for me, and in hindsight I wish I'd chosen to do the abs or glutes/thigh programs they have, or maybe just curated a schedule geared towards fat burning.  I am just so new to the weight lifting thing that I read "mass" and interpreted as "strength".  Dumb on my part because there really is a difference, mass building is exactly that, getting huge ass muscles.  I was surprised in 4 short weeks that my arms went from being flabby but kind of sort of thin, to them being bulky with muscle.  Now being muscular isn't a bad thing but my goals right now are to be smaller, so this program wasn't a good fit for me now.  I'd love to revisit it later when I am at goal weight and have (hopefully) less body fat.  For now though, I want to focus on actual weight loss and getting lean muscle.

There wasn't a fitness test with this one so I have no comparison for strength, but I have lost 2.8 pounds and 1.5 inches since the end of my FB Fit program.  Not super amazing, but you know, I guess I'm chipping away at it.  I do feel very confident when wearing sleeveless shirts now and find that that's a majority of what I wear these days!  Here are some progress pictures.  I don't feel like I look much smaller, but maybe that's me being insane.

Creeper Molly Alert!



Obligatory Flexing Picture
So what's next?  Well we actually leave tomorrow for Los Angeles, so I will get somewhat of a respite from working out.  We will be walking around a lot, and if time permits I will squeeze in short HIIT workouts in the hotel, but I'm sure we'll be eating a lot too.  I'm just going to be as balanced and sane as I possibly can be while also enjoying my time down there.  Once I get back I am going to be doing the FB Abs program, which is another short 4 week thing like the Mass program was.  I really want to focus on strengthening my core and hopefully tighten up the tragedy that is my stomach.  I feel so slimmed down and toned everywhere else, but my stomach just really bums me out.  I'm hoping that between a core work focus and shifting back to focusing on HIIT, I'll be able to reduce fat in that area and see a difference.

I've also dropped back to 1400 calories for the past week and a half or so.  It kind of blows honestly, not because I'm hungry really but because I really have to be on top of tracking in order to make sure I stay where I'm supposed to be, and it also really cuts out various little extras I like to have.  I did see my weight finally drop a little so I think the stalls I was seeing was definitely a calorie thing.  

I got a couple of questions about my side project, so I'm happy to share a teensy bit about it.  Long story short it's kind of a music project and I'm advocating for someone to get into the Rock Hall.  It was something I started as a hobby back at the end of January, but it grew much, much faster than I'd anticipated.  Website, social media presence, contact with the person's family, that sort of thing.  As it stands no one knows anything about me or who I am, they just know me as Project Name.  Since there are so many eyeballs on it (certainly more than here), I guess I'm just being cautious about my privacy so that's why I haven't spilled many details.  I just don't want to link the two because then any rando could find my blog and bam, here's where I live, what I look like, what my husband looks like and hell, even what my dog looks like.  There's some stuff that happened in the beginning that made me jumpy, so I'm just being careful I guess.  There's going to come a point where I think I'll forced to let people in that world know who I am, and then I'll have to make some decisions about the blog.  I'd never get rid of it, but maybe would set it to private or something.  We'll see what happens!

I am so incredibly excited about our LA trip.  Everything in life is generally going very well, but it's always nice to have a break and a change in the routine.  I will be posting plenty of pictures!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

I'm Alive, I Promise!

God almighty y'all, I am so sorry.  I've been a horrible blogger, I don't really know why I can't get back into the swing of it, especially since I could easily give little updates here and there, but it honestly slips my mind.  I used to take breaks due to shame of not being on point with working out/weight loss, but thankfully that's not the case here, I'm just literally spacing on blogging and getting caught up in other stuff.  I'll try to be better, but no promises!

Things are actually pretty good on the fitness front.  I finish my Fitness Blender mass program next Thursday, and after LA I'll begin their abs program.  I've got mixed feelings about the mass program, I definitely am a lot stronger and am very happy about that, but my body has changed very little, so that's been a disappointment.  While I'm not so obsessed with the scale at this point, it is still disappointing to see my weight maintain or even bounce up a few pounds.  While of course muscle is denser than fat and all of that noise, the fact remains that number wise I'm sill in the overweight category and I'm awfully tired of steadily hovering in the mid 180s.  Some of that is on me, my diet is not always as on point as it could be, but I do think focusing on lifting heavier has thrown things out of wack too.  Who even knows, maybe it's just strictly diet and all my fault.  I'm hoping that the abs program will help out my belly area, which is the main source of my stress and aggravation.  I'm just so tired of having a roll all the time and my pants not fitting right.  I know I'll figure it out, it's just frustrating to have cut arms, somewhat cut legs and then a flabby belly.  It drives me crazy!

I am still trying to navigate what my food life and eating habits ultimately look like long term.  Higher FODMAP foods have inevitably crept back into my diet and my digestive system is out of wack again and my stomach is puffier  than I would like.  I definitely don't look as slim as I did a month ago.  The worst of it happens when I ingest gluten, so whenever I throw caution to the wind and have something like pizza, bread or regular beer I immediately regret it.  I seriously feel like I'm going to die for about an hour afterwards.  A little bit seems to be fine, so if I have something like croutons in a salad or a small piece of cake it's ok, but a big portion is just not good times for me at all.  It's just so hard, there's this urge to just be a normal person and to not be fussy when we go out to eat, so it's difficult to reconcile the fact that I simply can't really have many things that I used to really enjoy without hardcore paying for it.

Things have been a bit hectic with preparing for LA, but once we get back I want to sit down and really come up with a good meal plan for myself and also create a good stock of freezer meals.  It's just going to be helpful from a dietary and a budget standpoint, it's just kind of getting the will and the organizational prowess to do it!

As far as life stuff, things are pretty mellow and mundane, although our trip is coming up next week and I am VERY excited!  It's been awhile since I've been down there so it'll be good to see all the usual haunts and friends, plus we're checking out some new places.  Specifically Eric is indulging me in a Beach Boys pilgrimage, so I'm quite excited about since I'm obsessed with the Beach Boys to put it mildly.

Other than that it's been the same old same old.  We hosted our friend Kevin over the 4th of July weekend because he ran three marathons, yes THREE, in as many days.  And if your eyes are bugged out at that, he casually informed us that no, that was not the most marathons he'd run consecutively....he once did 8 in a row.  Hey, he enjoys it and it makes him happy, so I say go for it.  He's almost at his goal for 300 marathons for all time, which is incredibly admirable.


Anyway, he was a great house guest and we had a lot of fun.  Probably the funnest thing we did over the weekend was go see Jaws at a brewpub in Portland.  For a whole $2 we got to see the Roy Scheider hotness and also indulge in some pizza (which I immediately regretted) and cider (which I also regretted).  It's always so fun to see a movie like that on the big screen, everyone is so into it and the audience always claps at the end.

What wasn't fun were the fireworks, and yes, I am one of those curmudgeonly people who despises fireworks.  God I hate them.  Assholes in Oregon go across the border to get illegal ones in Washington and it's an absolute nightmare.  From 8 pm until 2 am (several days in a row I might add), our neighborhood turns into a war zone of M80s and other loud, douchey fireworks that people shouldn't have.  Molly goes absolutely out of her mind, the cops don't do squat about it despite the fact they're illegal, we don't get any sleep and it just sucks honestly.  I had to make an emergency call to the vet to get Molly drugs which ended up not helping really, so it was not a fun weekend on that front for me.  I was ready to go back to work by the time it was all said and done!

Other than that it's kind of been work and basic home stuff on the day to day front, then the shelter on Sundays.  My side project is still going steady and well.  Things are just good you know?

Here's a random smattering of pictures from recent stuff!

My main squeeze (and a new top I got for $9!)
I was very excited about the 2 for 1 deal on sunglasses at RiteAid. Molly, not so much
Resting better post fireworks!

Monday, June 27, 2016

10 Minutes

So I had a bit of excitement this weekend and believe it or not, it had to do with running!  I am not sure if you caught it when I posted my PFT results, but I had a TBD next to my "after" timed mile.  I guess I should have mentioned this but I waited until the weekend to do my timed mile because it was simply easier that way.  I technically could run during lunch at work, but didn't feel like dealing with taking a shower here and dealing with the 58 comments about it, so anyways, I did it Saturday.  And wow, is all I can say.

When I began the FB Fit program April 30th, my timed mile was 12:48, which was disappointing since I'd expected more like a 12 minute mile even though I'd taken such a long break from running.  I think some of what affected me was my piss poor attitude about having to run at all, and as anyone who runs knows, the mental stuff is about half to 70% of the battle.

On Saturday my feelings towards running were less volatile I suppose, though I definitely was dreading it.  There was a moment on Saturday morning when I was sipping my coffee that I was doing mental gymnastics with myself, rationalizing that I could totally put it off until Sunday.  It's just so funny, I never have that stuff about my workouts that I do now, I just go do them without thinking about it.  I finally just told myself that it was at worst going to be 12 minutes of my life and that I wouldn't have to do it again until I did another PFT in the future.  (In hindsight I'm so happy I didn't wait because Sunday was flaming hot, and you know how much I loathe that!)  So I laced up my shoes and went to get it over with.  I even decided to run by my house to make it as painless as possible, though I really hate running around my hood and don't feel safe, but at least I wasn't driving a 30 minute round trip to the safe spot where I used to run.  The very first thing I noticed was how much energy and power my legs had, despite not running since my last timed mile 8 weeks ago.  The feeling of my quads actually propelling me forward was noticeable!  The next thing I noticed was how much lung capacity I had, which is not typical of me at all.  There were many times in the past with running where I felt my lungs were about half inflating, but on Saturday I swear I was able to take never ending inhales and things didn't feel as hard as I expected them to.  Suddenly before I knew it I'd hit the half mile point, then I turned around to go home.  I ran until my lungs were burning, and then suddenly it was over and done.

I'd hit a mile.  In 10:02.  I went from running a mile in 12:48 to 10:02.

I have probably at some point in my travels hit a mile in the 10 minute range, I can't even remember honestly.  Saturday felt special though because of the power behind the mile, and I was SO close to getting a sub 10.  I don't know when I'll do a PFT again, but I'm assuming the next time I'd be able to hit a sub 10 mile, and that's crazy.  The experience didn't awaken any deep seated love for running, but I did feel a sense of happiness and accomplishment afterwards that was pretty great.  My body was not quite as happy with me, my feet are still super angry about everything and my legs are still very sore.  (That did not make for a fun leg workout yesterday, let me tell you.)  In general I was left with a lot of muscle fatigue over the weekend that is still resolving itself.

When I was running I always scoffed about strength training, but I'd say it's pretty clear that strength training works!

The rest of the weekend was pretty chill, just a couple of happy hours and of course the Game of Thrones finale.  We usually watch GOT on Mondays because if I watch it before bed on Sundays I have trouble sleeping, but we wanted to watch the finale live.  To give the evening a little more pomp and circumstance I pulled out my newest cooking toy, my cast iron tortilla press, so that I could make fish tacos.  I've used it a couple of times now and while I still feel like I have some learning to do, making tortillas is pretty fun.  They taste a lot better than the store bought ones, that's for sure.


Not much else to report so I will leave you off with a picture of Molly being her beautiful, glamorous self!



Thursday, June 23, 2016

Fitness Test Results and What's Next

Hey everyone!  Just wanted to update you with the results of my personal fitness text after completing my 8 week Fitness Blender program.  If you want more details on the PFT and exactly how to perform the exercises, you can find them here on Fitness Blender's site,.  You could use this fitness test to measure results with any program you choose to do!


I cannot tell you how pleased I was with the results, especially the push ups.  (For the record, they were push ups on my knees).  I have always had a very weak upper body and have never really been able to do push ups unless they were against a wall!  Doing the 7 at the beginning of a program was a big feat, and I was only able to do them because I'd already been working on strength previously.  To be able to do 15 push ups felt so empowering!  I was also blown away by my squats improvement, and also quite shocked by how much my flexibility improved!

As far as physical changes, I regretfully didn't take good before pictures for me to show you guys the difference in my body.  I mean I took some, but I was shirtless and only wearing a sports bra in them, and as much as I love ya'll, I'm not trying to be like half nude on my blog lol.  I did take some after shots, since I feel like I haven't done any types of pictures of myself on here lately.




Here are some stats for you.  I lost 5 inches total:  1.5 from my bust, 1 from my waist, 2 from my hips (!), and a random 0.5 inch from my right thigh.  I get quite giddy when I lose anything from my bust, it's always been a huge source of shame and frankly tons of back pain, so getting rid of 1.5 inches there made me stoked!  And yeah, you can bet your sweet ass I'll take that 2 inch loss on my hips!

The other amazing thing about this whole program?  I went for 8 damn weeks, working out 6 days a week and did NOT get injured.  It was a huge morale boost after constantly being injured in my training for the Seattle half last year.  My body finally no longer feels like the enemy, it finally feels like we're on the same page!

I led with all of that information because if we were going on just the scale alone, things were not impressive.  I lost 2 pounds since beginning the program but I have to be honest, I'm not disappointed nor do I care really.  How can I be disappointed when I am physically fitter and can clearly hit my workouts harder, lift more weight and can see with my own eyes that my body has changed shape and is smaller?  I am dropping my calories to 1500 for the next month just to kind of play around with things, but other than that I'm going to continue healthy eating with foods that will keep my IBS in check, and eat when I'm genuinely hungry.  I'm not too stressed on the eating part really.

So what's next for me?  Not surprisingly I am so happy with Fitness Blender that I have purchased another one of their programs called FB Mass.  This one focuses on strength training, which is something that I've really come to love more than anything I've ever done.  I've always thought I was doomed to a certain body type and that fat was never going to budge from certain places, yet I'm finally seeing the changes I've always desperately wanted since I started picking up weights.  I'm definitely excited to get started (officially on Saturday).  This particular program is only 4 weeks and ends the day before our LA trip, so the timing is perfect.  Once THAT program has ended and we're back from vacation, I'll start their FB Booty program to try to help my tragic cans.

If you guys have any specific questions on the FB Fit program, leave them in the comments and I'll answer them as I can!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Whoops!!!

OMG you guys, I am so sorry!  I didn't post at the beginning of June because I was in Minneapolis, then once I got back I became consumed with both work and my side project and my blog/reading other people's blogs just kind of fell by the wayside!  My side project has kind of become a monster, I say that with love because it's growing in the best of ways, but it is incredibly time consuming and like a second job at times.  Keeping up with the social media involved with it plus doing my actual job is a feat some days!

Anyway the good news is that the blogging break did not equal a break from being healthy and keeping up with my fitness.  While my eating isn't as tight as it could be post FODMAP, I am still going strong with my FB Fit program and actually only have TWO days left.  Kind of blows my mind, the 8 weeks really flew by!  On Wednesday I get to go through that fitness test again to see what improvements I've made, so of course I will have to share the results of those.

I have taken a bit of a break from the scale just out of mental necessity.  I am finding that between my stomach trying to regulate once I've reintroduced certain foods coupled with strength workouts, my weight fluctuates wildly day to day, and it always magically seems to be on an upswing on weigh in days.  It was becoming a point of frustration for me, and finally I had to pull out my tape measure to prove to myself that no, I'm not getting fat, it's actually the opposite.  My body has changed really nicely from an inch standpoint, and judging by people's reactions I definitely am slimmer, it's just not reflecting on the scale.  I decided to just take a break for a bit from weighing, though I am going to weigh in this Wednesday and take full measurements just to record how the FB Fit program has changed me.  I'm actually pretty excited to take my measurements and see what changes have happened.

I am still grappling with food and how to eat now.  I am eating more high FODMAP foods than I probably should, and it definitely shows.  I've got some more bloating going on, my issues are flaring up again and I just physically don't feel as good.  It's just very difficult because I'm enjoying the flexibility at restaurants and not feeling self conscious and fussy as a dining partner, but I hate that I don't feel as good.  My experiences with gluten have really not been great, pizza made me feel like I was going to die and beer feels like a lead balloon in my stomach.  Gluten is easy enough to avoid so I honestly do 95% of the time.  Other things don't necessarily cramp my stomach or make me feel bad, but make the constipation issues immediately flare up.  It's incredibly challenging and I'm still trying to strike what the best balance is for me.

Anyway, sorry again for the gap in posting, I'll try to be a bit better and post on a more regular basis!  I will definitely post again Wednesday to let you guys know my program results!


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

FODMAP Challenge Week 6: Fructans

So yeah, fructans.  They kind of sucked about as much as I thought they would.

I was super squirrely this week with the challenge foods and definitely overloaded my system with high FODMAP foods, but even at the beginning of the week when I was being all scientific and good, my stomach wasn't that happy.  Pizza felt heavy, garlic powder caused some cramping and heartburn and I just generally didn't feel good at all.  And I started the week off stopped up, and let's just say things didn't improve.  We had a super wild weekend food-wise, so my poor system is thrown into another dimension level out of wack.  I pretty much did it all:  Lactose, Sorbitol, Fructans (also known as ice cream, metric ton of avocado, salsa and tequila.  So much tequila).

This whole thing has been a bit disappointing, but in may ways I feel fortunate.  I could have a life threatening allergy or celiacs, so I'm fortunate that the worst thing that will happen to me is that I'll get stomach cramps/bloating/constipation if I overload on FODMAPs.  I mean it could be worse, I could have a situation where I have to carry an epipen around.  In some ways I'm grateful that I had to do this diet.  I feel like I make better choices now, am happier with less food, am in the habit of packing my breakfast and lunch every single day and am more in tune with how my body feels.  I'm just trying to stay positive about it all, and there are definitely positives to be had!

My game plan going forward indefinitely is to just pretty much eat low FODMAP most of the time and avoid triggers, but to not stress if I'm in a situation where I have to ingest something high FODMAP.  Yes, I'm even going to try to stay gluten free where I can.  I honestly don't miss it that much, and when I've had it over the last few days I feel gross afterwards.  I also notice my desire to snack goes through the roof.  Coincidence perhaps, but I find it odd that whenever I had any fructan stuff that I would get weirdly snacky and overeat.  Anyway, there's no reason to mess with what's working.  Once I get back from my travels, I'm going to go back to 100% low FODMAP for at least a week to try to get my poor system working properly again.

I leave this week for Minneapolis to see my friend M, and I am SO excited!!  It will be amazing to see her after so many years, plus it will be cool to see a new city.  I leave Friday so I will get my Thinner Thursday post up.  I'm honestly not expecting great things after hoovering down delicious fatty things all weekend, but you know, I guess we'll see!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Thinner Thursday and Nine Years

Ack!!  I can't believe I almost forgot to post my Thinner Thursday post.  It was a good one this week!

Previous Weight:  188.6
Current Weight:  187.4
Difference:  -1.2

Yes, after complaining and being mildly bummed last week, I finally dropped more than 0.4 pounds of weight!  I honestly think my digestive system is to blame (fructans are going just about as lame as I expected they would), but at least I had a nice loss this week.  I've really not done much of anything different as far as diet or exercise so, I'm just going to keep plugging away.

So today is a very special day because it's the 9th anniversary of my poor husband legally binding himself to me.  The poor guy.  In all seriousness, I can't believe it's been 9 years already.  It seems like just yesterday we were lining up in the balls ass hot sun of Las Vegas to take pictures and head into the Little Church of the West.  (Adorable chapel if anyone wants a quick but non-tacky Vegas wedding).  Our wedding was a glorious 4 minutes long and there was no reception.  We went back to Mandalay Bay, ordered room service cake and reveled in the air conditioning.

Eric is a wonderful person and an even better husband.  No one makes me laugh harder than he does, and no one seems more capable of putting up with my shenanigans.  There's no one else in the world I'd rather be married to or share adventures with.  I'm a very lucky lady!

The dysfunctional Layton family!

If there is a Sex Pistols poster in an airport, I WILL take a selfie with it.

Photo booth at the Holiday Ale Fest. Yes we were very tipsy.


The infamous Lucy statue!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Meta Stream of Consciousness

Y'all I woke up feeling all meta and zen today.  I've been finding that's happening to me more and more lately as my weight continues to drop.  I just feel like I've shed a lot of crap and nonsense out of my life and am simplifying things.  I feel like I continue to shed that stuff and am getting closer to who I am fully supposed to be.

I am about halfway through my 8 week Fitness Blender program and guess what?  I have not skipped a single, solitary day of it.  Me, the person who hates schedules and following the rules has faithfully followed a schedule for 4 whole weeks!  There have been times where I've had to swap a rest day or double up 2 days of workouts in one due to late night concerts, but I have not missed a single workout in the program.  Not only have I not skipped a day, I bought another program of theirs specifically for lifting that starts immediately after this challenge ends.  It makes me feel really good about myself as a person and obviously makes me feel good physically.  I feel better about my body than I ever have, and if I could time travel and tell myself these things, I would have started strength training many years ago.

The crazy thing to me is how easily it's come to me.  Every day I get home from work and go right upstairs to do my workout without even really thinking about it.  It's like brushing my teeth or feeding the dog, it's just something I do every day that needs to be done.  No angst, no hand wringing, it just is.  Just like my teeth need to be brushed or they'll rot out, and the dog needs to be fed or she'll starve and riot in the streets, working out needs to happen or my body doesn't feel good and I won't reach my goals.  To not brush my teeth or feed the dog would be neglectful and weird.  Not working out feels the same way, to the point my rest days feel weird.   You read about these things in fitness magazines all the time, about making workouts non-negotiable and part of your day, but I've never been able to put it into practice until the last few months.  I'm not sure why, it was just something my brain couldn't do, until one day it clicked.  Now I get it.

I have to admit, running seems like a distant memory these days and that realization is all kind of part of the meta zen thought process I've had lately.  I just can't see myself doing another race, and definitely can't picture myself going out for a run just because I feel like it.  Lifting weights has been a bit of a revelation because for the first time, I am doing an activity where I can actually see consistent improvement.  I went from doing 5 pound deadlifts to now doing 15 pounds (and could comfortably do 20 if I had the weights).  That's consistent, I know I can go upstairs today and do a 15 pound deadlift, then walk up there the next day and do 15 pounds.  With running I just never could see or gain improvements.  Most of that is my fault because I didn't put in the work necessary and wasn't consistent, but some of it was the nature of running.  Some days you can go out there and feel like Usain Bolt, and then 2 days later for no reason, you'll feel like shit/cramp up/go slower.  Mentally that was very discouraging for me and I think contributed to why I had so much mental thrash with it and lack of motivation to be consistent.

The great thing about weights is that I had no baseline of what I'm "supposed" to lift, so I just started lifting what I could and didn't worry about it.  Then that weight got easier so I upped it.  Then that got easy, then I upped it again.  I imagine by the end of the program I'll be upping things yet again.  That progression has been amazing for my confidence and self esteem.  Watching muscles get defined little by little encourages me to keep going.  There's just an ease to it that I never felt with running.  Running always felt hard and like it would never be easy no matter what I did.  Lifting feels natural.

And I'm certainly not saying running is the devil or that I hate it.  I think it's an incredible sport, takes an great deal of effort and moxie and I will never cease to admire those I see out there getting it on a daily basis.  I think I've just realized it's not my calling or exercise of choice anymore, and that I'm okay with that.  I remember being so sad and stressed about this at the beginning of the year, but now I'm chill about it.  Hilarious considering my blog name, but it's okay.  It's part of my history and who I am, so the name stays.  Plus I paid for the domain!  ;)

Anyway, it's all a very long winded way of saying I'm happy.  I'm well.  I feel really good.

Monday, May 23, 2016

FODMAP Challenge Week 5: GOS

This week's challenge category was GOS and my challenge food was English peas, and I don't know who was more excited, me or Eric!  He loves peas!  I love them too, plus they are so easy to have around and go with so many things.  I missed being able to toss them with pasta or have them as a quick side with dinner.

The challenge went...okay.  When I had the peas in a half cup portion things were great.  Bathroom trips were good, didn't have cramps or heartburn, life was good.  On Thursday though when you have to have at least 3 servings of your challenge food, things got a little squirrely.  No cramps, but let's just say that I was not productive and leave things at that.  I finally had to take an aid last night, which really didn't help me.  So irritating because my stomach is all bloated from not going.

It seems like the end game with the GOS group (or at least peas) is that in small amounts it's fine and won't hurt anything, but I shouldn't expect to sit down with a giant Costco bag of peas and go to town anytime soon!  And honestly, this really seems to be the theme of all my challenge groups other than avocado/sorbitol.  I've kind of made my peace with it at this point since my weight loss does center around portion control.  I shouldn't really have more than a half cup of ice cream or peas in a sitting anyway.

I am really incredibly nervous about this week's fructans test group.  This is the group that contains gluten, garlic, onions and all of the stuff that I suspect will be a disaster.  I've already kind of mentally prepared myself and am at peace with living without wheat (it's the fructan carbohydrate, not the gluten protein that causes issues in people with IBS) and severely limiting things from this group.  It really doesn't help that I'm already starting out on a stopped up note either.  I've already decided to not bother testing onions, the few times I've accidentally had them the last couple months have been horrible, so I already know they bother me.  Today I'm going to have the Cheeseburger Pizza from Cooking Light, so that will be my gluten serving.  Hopefully it goes well.

At the request of my favorite people, I took some Molly pictures this weekend.  I have been incredibly neglectful in not updating everyone with pics of America's favorite diva!

It will come as a shock to no one that Molly is incredibly spoiled.  Yes she has her OWN couch that has TWO dog beds on it, yet she consistently lays between the two beds because she's a weirdo.


She did "help" me yesterday during my workout by watching me and making sure I was lifting with proper form.  (Side note, those are 15 pound dumb bells, yay for Fitness Blender!)


Then we took selfies, because that's what us girls do.



Thursday, May 19, 2016

Thinner Thursday

Weigh In

Previous Weight:  189.0
Current Weight:  188.6
Difference:  -0.4

Another somewhat solid weigh in this week, I say somewhat because the small losses are driving me nuts despite my flowery pep talks to myself.  It is good that it's consistent, I am happy about that, it just drives me crazy because I wish I were losing full pounds.  I am holding off on recording measurements until the end of the month, and I'm sure those will give a better picture of my progress.  My clothes are loose as hell so I know things are happening, so I just need to calm down.

Everything Else

I looked at my sidebar and feel bad, I realize that the blog probably has been boring lately since the only posts are weigh ins and FODMAP updates.  Sorry about that, life has just been a bit hectic.  I obviously work now full time, then I work out as soon as I get home, and much of my free time lately has been going to my Rock Hall side project (which is going great!).

We did see The Who this week, which was pretty cool.  Poor Roger Daltrey seems to be struggling vocally and we suspect this is the last gasp for them to be out there touring, so I am really glad we saw the show.  Tommy is one of my favorite albums and they did a decent chunk of it during the show which made me  very happy.

I can't believe how the year is flying by.  I just realized that I'm headed to Minneapolis in like 2 weeks to spend time with my friend M.  Crazy!!  It seemed like so far away and now it's almost here!  Soon after is our Los Angeles trip!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

FODMAP Challenge Week 4: Sorbitol

The Challenge

This week's challenge group was sorbitol and I used avocado as my challenge food.  Peaches were another option I could have used but honestly I don't eat peaches very often whereas I eat avocado ALL the time, so that made the most sense to test.

The Results

OMG I FINALLY had 100% success with a challenge group!!  I actually ate avocado more often this week than you're really supposed to in a testing phase, but once you open an avocado you kind of had to eat it or it gets that disgusting brown color.  Anyway, even with overeating it things went really well.  No stomach pains or cramps, which I didn't really expect anyway and absolutely zero constipation.  If anything it made my life much more pleasant, and if this isn't too TMI to say, I was practically doing the George Jefferson strut out of the bathroom every day this week.  That's how pleased I was.

The Verdict

I am confident that I can eat avocado once the dust settles, which is really awesome since it's something I love.  Of course it won't be something I can eat a zillion of in one sitting since they do have so much fat, but it's nice to know I can add it back into my life.

Next week's test group is GOS and I'll be using green peas as my challenge food.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Thinner Thursday

Weigh In

Previous Weight:  189.6
Current Weight:  189.0
Difference: -0.6

The scale is continuing to be nice to me and keep moving down, although it would be nice to have a bigger loss.  Right now my daily calorie limit is 1600, but when I work out I obviously replenish those calories until I hit a net of at least 1300.  If I cut my calories I would probably see a bigger loss each week, but at the same time, I feel like I've got things calibrated pretty nicely and I don't want to mess with anything.  I find that I'm consistently satisfied but not stuffed, so I don't want to tweak things to where I'm hungry all of the time.  I guess having smaller losses will be the trade off, and I'm at peace with that.

I got better perspective when I took waist and hip measurements just for fun this morning.  I was down a half inch in my waist and almost 2 inches in my hips since when I last checked at the end of April.  Pretty insane right?  It was just a good reminder that there are so many metrics when it comes to measuring success, and I can't always depend on just the scale.  I'm going to do "official" measurements at the end of this month and record them, but having that bit of reassurance this morning was nice.

Nutrition

The diet stuff is going okay this week.  I'm testing sorbitol and my challenge food is avocado.  I'll cover it more when I do my FODMAP challenge post for the week, but I just about cried with happiness the first time I bit into some avocado on Monday.  I just really love it, and it's been SO LONG since I've eaten it.  I think I'm going to make tacos tonight, and I'm so excited to have taco with avocado on it!

I had a awful blip on Saturday at the movies.  We went to the fancy theater that serves food, and since it was around lunch time I ordered some fries, literally the only thing on the menu that was FODMAP friendly.  Apparently not because I bit into a fry and realized instantly that not only was it seasoned with garlic powder but that the fries were coated with some kind of breading.  I was so hungry that I decided to chance it, and that's how Mary learned the lesson that she apparently needs to bring her own food to the movies.  I had awful, awful cramps and stomach pains, plus was comically bloated for the rest of the day.  I am dreading my test week with the fructan group (gluten, onions, garlic) because I already know it's not going to be pretty.

At this point I've made peace with the fact that eating out is what it is.  It does really bring home the fact that nothing, and I do mean nothing is cooked simply at restaurants.  Everything has random ingredients in it, and I've just kind of accepted that eating out will be something where I have to risk stomach pains or be hungry.  Otherwise it's just too easy to get freaked out and obsessive about it.  I mean there are certain situations where I can talk to the server and ask questions/modify my food, but I realistically don't expect the 16 year olds making minimum wage at the movie theater to accommodate me.

FB Fit 

I am still going strong with my FB Fit challenge and am starting to feel stronger every day.  I can't believe how much I've taken to and like strength training, it's made me view my body in a completely different (and more positive!) way.  It's a total trip seeing and feeling muscles in my arms and being able to physically do things like tricep dips.  The other day I rubbed my stomach and was like "What the hell is my stomach hard for...oh my God are those abs?  Those are abs aren't they!?"  I had the same reaction this morning when I went to scratch my side and was like, "What is this hard thing in my side...oh my God are those ribs?  Can I actually feel my ribs?"  Anyway, it's just silly little things like that that keep driving me forward and encouraging me to work out!  I've  never stuck with any kind of regimented training program this long!

Long Term Weight Loss and The Biggest Loser

I posted this article on my Facebook yesterday that was a bit of a rebuttal to the New York Times article on the medical study done on the Biggest Loser contestants.  I was really, really bothered by that article, not so much because of the study but everyone's reaction to it.  I tried several times to write a post about my feelings and finally stopped because frankly, I would have probably majorly pissed some people off.

The long and short of it is, I already feel like we in the US have a defeatist attitude towards health and weight loss, and I watched last week as that NYT article became an anthem for "see being healthy is pointless" by many, many people.  It just really frustrated me.  For starters, the study is not a complete picture and is flawed in several ways and does not address a lot of questions I personally have.  They used a small sample set, did not compare the BL contestants to others who lost weight more traditionally and there was just a lot of other general information that was missing and questions that were not answered.  But the damage is done, the media portrayed weight loss as hopeless and many people now have a reason to not try.

The article I posted yesterday really articulates how I'm feeling and I LOVE that it brings up how building muscle can help your long term weight loss.  It just really brings more of a message of hope and a message that you really shouldn't give up on your health.  I truly believe people's attitudes have so much to do with their success in weight loss.  I myself was not successful until I changed my piss poor attitude about it and realized that I can do it!  Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that things can be hard, but not impossible, so you've got to keep trucking along.

Friday, May 6, 2016

FODMAP Challenge Week 3: Mannitol

The Challenge

This week's group was mannitol and my challenge foods were sweet potatoes and mushrooms, two VERY high value foods for me and two things that I eat all of the time.  I happy danced the first time I had mushrooms this week, I'd forgotten how much I loved them!  It was the same with sweet potato, there is just nothing better than a baked sweet potato with butter.

The Results

I don't know guys, I'm starting to feel like a broken record here and am really kind of down in the dumps.  I didn't have any kind of bad reaction like stomach pains or gas, but I feel like my digestive system just simply stalled.  It's already slow, this much is clear after however many months, so piling onto that sucks.  It's miserable to eat 1600 to 1900 calories worth of food a day and barely have any output.  I just start freaking out and wondering what state my intestines are in when that happens.

I'm kind of ready to throw my hands up in the air and say fuck it to the rest of the challenges.  I just feel like they aren't going very well.  I went into this thinking that there was no way that every single group affected me, but apparently every single group affects me.  I just kind of have a bad attitude about it, which I shouldn't because anxiety and that kind of stuff does affect the digestive system.  It's just very hard to not be discouraged.  I am going to dutifully test out the rest of the groups, simply because I've come this far and might as well see it through.  Once testing is done, I'm going to have to figure some things out.

The Verdict

At this point I don't know what to think.  Is it simply that I need longer challenge periods to see if my digestive system will level out?  Three days of eating challenge foods just seems like it's not very long for my body to adjust, but I'm just following what my guidebook tells me to do.  I mean I'm not a doctor and the people at Monash University are a billion times smarter than me, I figure they know what they're doing!  Is it just that I will have to strictly eat low FODMAP for the rest of my life and barely touch anything in the "no" categories?  That seems insane.  Besides the fact I'll be missing out on nutrients in a lot of foods, low FODMAP is an absolute nightmare when it comes to traveling or eating out.  I mean I can't live the rest of my life being incredibly stressed out and panicky over the thought of eating out, which is kind of how things are now.  I'm going to Minneapolis in June and Los Angeles in July, I can't be in a state of anxiety about food unknowns, that's ridiculous.  I want to have a good time and relax, and I don't really know how to reconcile the two.  I'm just going to have to do my best I guess.

The one thing that scares me the most is wondering if the FODMAP results were short lived.  One of the many things I tried awhile back pre-FODMAP was taking a magnesium supplement and that immediately fixed my issues...for about a month.  I keep wondering if the FODMAP success is temporary and even if I went back to strictly eating that way, is it going to help me long term?  It's just a lot to think through I guess.  I'm just kind of scared and discouraged.

I guess to end on a positive note, I'm eating better than I've ever eaten in my life.  I have always scoffed at the whole "clean eating" thing but basically that's kind of how I'm forced to eat now.  I feel really, really good physically and now that I'm eating in a more balanced way, I don't really get hungry except for right before mealtimes.  I guess there are worse things than eating this way, I just really would like some more variety.  Anyways.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Thinner Thursday

Weigh In

Previous Weight:  190.4
Today's Weight:  189.6
Difference:  -0.8

Well it's official, I'm in the 180's!  I'm not totally excited about it yet because I've been fluctuating a lot, so I would prefer to be like 187 before I'm 100% confident of saying "I'm in the 180's".  I know that sounds nuts, but my weight has fluctuated pretty wildly this week so I'm just being realistic.  I think my muscles are in a state of WTF and retaining water or whatever muscles do, lol.

Anyway, I'm very happy with that number and feel that I'm continuing to do the right things, so basically I'm just going to keep on keeping on.

Workouts

Yesterday in honor of May the 4th the Lovely Ladies group put together a Star Wars workout challenge.  You could choose to be on the Rebel team or the Dark Side team, and each one had a different set of exercises to complete.  There were also extra credit run/walks that everyone could do.  Eric and I of course picked the Dark Side, so we had to do 15 crunches, a 30 second plank, 30 seconds of toe taps, 5 donkey kicks per leg and 5 minutes of marching in place.  We also squeezed in an extra credit Nerd Herder Mile at work!  It was a lot of fun and I think will be a new tradition for us!

My first week of my FB Fit program is almost over and I am liking it so far and already noticing changes in my body.  The only buyer's remorse I have is that I wish I'd gone with the FB30 program instead where each video is 30 minutes or less.  I do my workout every day when we come home from work, then go down and make dinner.  It's been really challenging to workout for 45-60 minutes, then have to rush down and put together dinner in 30 minutes, so I just wish I had a little extra wiggle room.  I'm usually famished by the time I put dinner on the table, which is also isn't ideal.  Eric can totally fend for himself and it's not like he's cracking the whip about dinner, but I like cooking him (and me) homemade meals since they are healthier and I get leftovers out of the deal.  Anyway, being done in 30 minutes would just make like a little less hectic but, it's all good.

I also wish they had two rest days a week instead of just one.  I just feel a lot of fatigue in my muscles and it would be nice to have one more recovery day.  There's no pain or unpleasantness, just a sense of being a bit tired and maybe not having as much "get up and go" as they say.  It's telling that I practically threw confetti in the air when I saw today's workout was just a 30 minute yoga stretching routine!  Tomorrow is a rest day and I will definitely be resting!  I know I could take an extra rest day on my own if I really need it, but I'd like to not get off the schedule too much if I can help it.

I know that sounds like a lot of complaining, but I do like the program a lot!  They do a great job of having a different muscle group being worked each day, which is exactly the kind of guiding I needed since I tend to just focus on my lower body.  I have never ever challenged myself this much when it comes to strength and cardio workouts, and I'm finding that I actually like lifting a lot!  I'm still weak AF compared to most people I'm sure, but I'm able to use the 10 pound weights for a lot of the exercises.


I just needed to throw in this shot of Molly, who is always determined that she needs to touch her mouth to mine.  Considering she munches on her nether regions all damn day, I do not share this desire with her.




Sunday, May 1, 2016

FB Fit 8 Week Challenge

After my big happy lovefest over my measurements and body shape progress the other day, I decided that I really wanted to challenge myself for the next couple of months.  As you guys know, I've been pretty much exclusively using the free Fitness Blender videos on Youtube and just kind of picking workouts that sound good or fit in my time table.  I know I've gushed about them a lot, but the significant body changes I've noticed have been as a result of those videos, so I gush for good reason.

While their Youtube videos are free, they do have a handful of structured programs you can buy.  It's all online based and it sets it up in a nice calendar for you and everything.  I'd been toying with this for a couple of weeks, but I finally broke down and bought one of their paid programs.  While yes, I could do a zillion of their free videos, I do want to support what they do so I thought throwing some cheddar their way would be good.  I also feel like I'm at the point where I want to be guided a little more as to what muscle groups to work which days if I'm going to be more serious about strength training and sculpting.  I mean yeah, I can pick some videos out at random, but I feel like I'm not working as effectively as I could.  Anyway, I kind of struggled with which program of theirs to pick, and finally settled on one of their 8 week FB Fit programs.  8 weeks is a long time and I tend to have a short attention span, so this will be a challenge for me in more ways than one.  In retrospect I wish I'd picked their FB30 program since all of the exercises in that are 30 minutes or less, but it's all good honestly.  Our schedule is fairly light the next couple of months, so I can spare the hour a day.

You have to do a fitness test at the start of each program (a timed mile, the amount of squats/push-ups you can do without rest, how long you can hold a plank and a reach test to see what your flexibility is) so that you have numbers to compare at the end of the program to see what progress you've made.  I have to admit, I'm loving having my focus lately be on noticing improvements in my strength and physical changes in my body rather than worrying about the scale, so I was somewhat looking forward to the results of my test on Saturday and focus on improving those numbers.  I am actually quite eager to see what my numbers look like once I complete the program!

One part of the fitness test I wasn't looking forward to was the timed mile.  I haven't run a step since February or something, and I felt incredibly stressed and anxious about doing this mile, so I am definitely still adverse to running.  I finally kept having to tell myself that worst case it was 12-14 minutes of my life and it would be over and done with.  So I did the run on Saturday and it was...interesting.  Part of me thought that maybe I'd stress and kevetch about the run, but then do it and suddenly rediscover how much I loved it.  Nope!  I felt sluggish and awkward the whole time, and while it has been awhile since I've run, I expected to be faster than I was.  I was very disappointed that I finished my mile in 12:48.  I've lost a bit of weight since I last ran and gained all of this leg strength so I was expecting better, but I guess it just wasn't to be.  I don't know, I kind of hated it the whole time and was so relieved when it was over.  At least I won't have to do it again until June!

Here are the results of my "test":

Timed Mile:  12:48
Half Push-ups:  7
Squats:  15
Plank:  49.40 seconds
Reach Past Heels:  1 inch

I did my first workout in the program today and oh my God....I was literally dripping sweat in a way that I never had, plus EVERYTHING hurt!  It was good hurt, but still, I think I'm in for a tough go the next 2 months!  I immediately undid my workout by having wine and appetizers with our neighbors, but hey it was totally worth it.  ;)  My neighbor made these insanely delicious pickled asparagus and ham roll ups that immediately made me say "FODMAPS and sodium be damned", and I consumed a ridiculous amount of them!

I hope everyone had a great weekend.  As always I will be keeping you posted on my challenge, FODMAPs and all my usual happenings!




Saturday, April 30, 2016

FODMAP Challenge Week Two: Fructose

The Challenge

So this week's food challenge was fructose, and I was definitely a bit more invested in this group since many of the foods I love are in it.  The challenge foods I used were cherries and asparagus.  I honestly don't eat cherries a ton simply because they are so messy, but I bought frozen ones so that I could throw them into oatmeal and that kind of thing.  I added asparagus to my lunches (rice and chicken) throughout the week except for Thursday when the challenge was to eat fructose foods three times in a day.  That day I had cherries in my oatmeal and asparagus at my other two meals.

The Results

I don't know if this had anything to do with the fructose really, I personally think it didn't, but I have had insane heartburn this week.  On Sunday we went to this Prince tribute thing in Portland and I had a little too much to drink, so I honestly think that was a lot of it because I'm old and that's just how things are now.  I finally broke down and took a Prilosec on Tuesday night, which seemed to mostly set me straight.

I have mixed feelings about this week.  There were no cramps or gas after eating my challenge foods which is great, but I still feel like it immediately affected my constipation somewhat.  Looking at my notes for the week, I technically "went" most days, but without being too graphic the output was not what it should have been considering how much I eat.  I eat anywhere from 1600 to 1900 calories a day depending on how much I exercise, and let's just say the bathroom trips haven't reflected that.  I always feel like I need to go but nothing happens, so that really sucked.  I mean that's the whole point of this, is figuring out what foods are affecting my digestive system, but it really blows to have something as innocent as a few spears of asparagus wreck you.

The Verdict

I won't lie, this one had me a bit bummed out because I feel like it's another category where I will have to limit the foods to "occasional only".  I really, really hope the rest of the challenges don't go like this.  I really want to be able to add in some different foods because I really need the variety!

The next challenge group is mannitol and my challenge foods for this one are even higher value to me than the fructose group!  I'm using mushrooms and sweet potatoes for my challenge foods, two things I have desperately missed in my diet and used to eat all of the time.  I won't lie, I'll be hardcore depressed if this group doesn't go well.  I love sweet potatoes and mushrooms.  Like, obsessively love them.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Delayed Thinner Thursday

Hey guys, sorry for the delay!  Yesterday we got to work and the internet was down.  To keep busy I started my post in Word Pad, then they sent us home because there was no ETA on getting the internet back and I had no way to transfer the post to myself!  Anyway, better late than never eh?

Previous Weight:  191.2
Today's Weight:  190.4
Difference:  -0.8

Oh.  Mah.  Gawd.

Obviously I'm happy with my weigh in, mostly because I am just so, so close to being in the 180's!  This is the lowest I have been in years, like...many, many years.  It's such a fantastic feeling.  I've really worked hard and been on point with both exercise and diet the last couple of weeks and I really feel like it's paid off.  Big shocker, having your shit together is effective.  ;)

Another thing I did was take measurements, which I've tried to do sporadically throughout my journey.  If you don't take measurements, PLEASE do it.  Don't put it off, take those measurements once every couple of months!  I've talked about this before but sometimes it's such an ego boost compared to weighing yourself.  We all know the scale can be totally douchey sometimes and fluctuate randomly whereas your measurements are just kind of a set thing.  Case in point, I have lost 4 pounds since March 4th, which really isn't a lot if we're going by the "lose a pound a week" standard.  However, I have lost FIVE inches from my body in the same time period.  Here's how things broke down measurement-wise since measuring on March 1st:

Neck:  -0.5
Bust:  -1.5
Waist:  -1.5
Left Thigh: -1
Right Thigh: -0.5

I am excited on so many levels.  First of all with my waist, a lot of that is reflective of how bloated and in pain I was due to the IBS stuff, so it's such a victory to me and so telling that I am down 1.5 inches since March (ie starting the FODMAP plan).  I know at least some of that is due to not being bloated all of the time.  And I'm always happy to lose any amount around my bust because I've always hated my boobs and am one of those rare women who would be thrilled to have an A or B cup.  (To any smaller ladies reading this, you are beautiful as is, wonderful and lucky!) My back feels so much better now and there are yoga moves and stretches that I couldn't do before that I can now because I don't have Jessica Rabbit boobs thwarting me.  Oh, and clothes actually fit!  The thighs are a victory too since I have been trying my hardest to get that area to budge for a very long time so seeing those numbers go down is pretty awesome.  I don't want a thigh gap or anything like that, I just want stronger, toned legs.

I straight up owe this to starting to do strength workouts and HIIT, and you're going to hear me sing the praises of this stuff a lot.  I've never had my body change like I'm seeing it change lately, and I really wish I'd kind of mentally gotten on board with it sooner.  It's almost a blessing that I had the freakout about running because it kind of forced me into doing these strength workouts.  I don't know what clicked in my brain, but I have found them so much more approachable and enjoyable and even when I do hour long workouts I feel like they fly by.  There were times with running where I was just literally out there for hours it seemed like.  I also feel like I don't argue with myself about doing strength/HIIT or wring my hands about it, it's just kind of this unspoken thing that when I get home from work I'm going to take the laptop upstairs and get my workout in before dinner.  It's also changed how I feel about my body.  I mean look, I'm not exactly proud of my stretch marks or the inevitable loose skin that I'm going to have.  Trust me, my stomach and thighs are going to be a disaster, yet I'm somehow not bothered by it most days due to my giddiness over my strength.  I am ridiculously proud when I see the beginnings of definition in my stomach, when I'm strong enough to do "girl" push ups and when I see more and more muscle popping out in my arms and thighs.  I was giddy Wednesday after a strength workout because after a whole 40 minutes of squats and deadlifts with 10 pound weights (20 pounds total), I realized that I could have comfortably done 15 or even 20 pounds each.  I've always had very weak arms, so finally feeling like I have some strength and power is very exciting!

Lately I have been kind of having this meta discussion with myself about my journey and me in general.  I am so happy with where I am now and where I'm going, but am also experiencing a lot of sadness/regret that I haven't gotten to this place sooner.  I've been at this on and off since 2009, so...7 freaking years.  I feel so aggravated with myself when I look back on old posts and think about all the time I've wasted and dicking around I've done.  I've gotten in my own way a lot for the past 7 years.  It's just been kind of exhausting and I'm ready to stop messing around.  I just want to get it over with and be in maintenance.  I know maintenance is its own separate deal and comes with challenges, but I'd love to be out of the actively losing weight stage.  The irony is, I think I'll actually be pretty good at maintenance because generally that's why I've lost so slowly.  I go through periods of maintaining, then have the shitlord tough love chat with myself and go about my merry way.  But the fact of  the matter is that I still have about 50-55 pounds to lose and if I keep losing at a rate of 2 pounds a month, just God...I'll be at this forever.  Like 2 more years forever.   I just want to get it over with.  Not in an unsafe or obsessive way, but I just want to keep having my shit together and doing what I need to do.  I have found what works for me, but I need to keep finding the determination to stick with it and not go through these periods of stalling.  I would love to end this year with a glass of champagne in my hand, watching the clock count down to 2017 and being at maintenance.  Maybe that's a bit aggressive, but I've spent so long being and feeling unhealthy, and I just want to get it over with so that I can have a healthy body going into my 40's.  Like seriously, that's kind of my mantra at this point.  Get it over with.  Get to the other side and start a new chapter.

Anyway, I know this has been kind of a serious, touchy feely post but it's just kind of been where I'm at lately.  And it's a good thing, I think it's good to have those periods of reflection and ask yourself the hard questions.