Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thinner Thursday

Hey all!  This week's weigh in was a slight womp:

Previous Weight: 188
Current Weight: 188.2
Difference: 0.2 pound gain

I mean you never want to see a gain on the scale but I'm not especially worried about a 0.2 pound gain, it's more eye rolling than anything.  I'm feeling great, my clothes are fitting great and I'm doing all the things I'm supposed to be doing, so I'm not really discouraged.  I'm chalking it up to typical weight fluctuations combined with not being able to hit my workouts as hard due to my back.  I'm really hoping that my back is back to normal soon so that I can go back to lifting a bit more.  I can tell it's getting there, but it's being really slow and annoying about healing.

I also need to take a new set of measurements since I haven't done that in ages!  I'm going to wait until the 1st of the month (can you believe we're already over halfway through January??) so the timing is consistent.

My back woes have actually prompted me to do something positive this week, and I have been committing to stretching for at least 10 minutes in the evening while watching TV.  I just kind of free style various stretches that feel good and work on whatever tension I am feeling at the moment, but I typically try to hit each area (neck/shoulders, core, hips, back, legs) at least once.  I downloaded a free interval timer app and that's actually been super awesome because I can just set it to the number of "reps" I want to do, how long each interval should last and how long each rest/transition period is.  I've been doing 1 minute of each stretch with an 8 second transition period, and it really is a nice way to wind down the evening.  I've typically gone well beyond the 10 minutes and one evening did 25 straight minutes of stretching.  It's not like it burns a ton of calories, but at least I'm not just sitting and doing nothing.  I have to keep reminding myself that working on flexibility and being kind to my sore muscles is just as important as the actual strength training aspect!

I'd said that I wanted to start posting a favorite workout of the week here and there just to let you guys know what I'm up to.  I've had to be pretty creative with my back stuff and try to choose workouts/modifications that wouldn't aggravate me.  I randomly chose this workout the other day, and hoo boy, do NOT let the low impact label in the title fool you.  I was pouring sweat and shaking the entire time, but I loved every second of it!  It was 3 rounds of the following exercises:

Squatting Calf Raises
Push Ups
Alternating Lunges
Arm Circles (switch directions halfway through)
Front Leg Raises - Left
Front Leg Raises - Right
Oblique Crunches + Leg Raises - Left
Oblique Crunches + Leg Raises - Right

During the first round you do each exercise for 2 minutes each, second round is 1 minute each, third round is 30 seconds each.  On paper that sounds all sugar and spice, but my muscles were completely toast by the end of it and I was sore in the most random of places the next day.  I really like total body workouts like this and actually added it to my favorites folder so that I can come back to it again.  I feel like it's one of those workouts you could use to judge your progress pretty easily.  The bridge exercise actually helped my back quite a bit for a wonder!

Food tracking and menu planning is going really well, I found weekly menu planning templates online (just do a Google image search, you'll find some good ones), so I just printed a bunch of blank ones and sit down on Thursdays and start planning meals for the next week.  I assess what we have in the pantry/freezer that I could make and then also thumb through my cookbooks and Cooking Light issues for inspiration.  I plan everything out, then make a grocery list based on that and do our shopping on Saturday or Sunday.  I always make sure to have a backup meal that I can throw together in case plans change.  The snow storm is a good example...we were supposed to meet a friend for dinner last Thursday but couldn't due to the snowstorm.  Even though I didn't have a planned meal, I knew that I had a bag of frozen grilled vegetables and pasta, so I was able to throw together a simple but tasty pasta dish in a pinch.  It's all definitely much less aggravation than going to the store and winging it and has also saved money since I'm only buying what we immediately need.  Eric is also pretty cute because he'll look at the menu and get excited about random meals (especially pasta ones).

Menu planning also makes calorie counting a lot easier because I can enter my MFP entries a day ahead of time and then assess if I have room for an extra snack in the evenings, or if I need to add some items to my lunch.  I have a horrible habit of not bringing enough food for lunch and then starve until dinner time!  Being able to look ahead of time and see that my lunch only adds up to 200 calories or something (I'm usually packing stuff like salads or whatnot) prompts me to make the adjustments I need to be comfortable!.

It's amazing to me how much being back on track has dramatically affected my mood and outlook on life compared to a couple of months ago.  It's like, the same stuff is going on but I feel better emotionally equipped to handle things and a lot calmer.  Obviously exercise is huge in boosting mood and the feel good chemicals in your brain, but something about also having a control on my eating has really boosted my self esteem too.  I just feel organized and together, which is very calming and makes me feel good about myself.

All in all, things are going well!


  1. The stretching will definitely help you in the long run. When I started having back problems a couple of years ago, my physical therapist advised me to get up in the morning, move around for 10 minutes (for me, that's feeding the cats and making coffee time) and then lay flat on my back on the floor with my legs up on the seat of the couch. I do that for about 5-10 minutes and then move into 5-10 minutes of stretching. It has really helped my back and if I miss a day I can definitely tell the difference. You're right in that it's not about burning calories, but it is definitely about injury prevention.

    1. I love doing the thing with propping your feet up! I had a yoga teacher say that's one of the best things you can do for leg circulation, and it also helps promote sleep. Not sure why that would be, but bodies are weird so we'll go with it. The stretching has definitely been a lifesaver!