health

Unconditional

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{Written December 13th on my 27th birthday.}

Lately, I’ve had a really hard time writing blog entries. I can’t process my thoughts into anything cohesive.

I’ve typed a couple short drafts.  I’ve also written about 10 posts in my head.  Basically, after it’s “written” in my head, I don’t have any desire to try and recreate the “perfection” that it was and so it’s lost in oblivion.

All of those lost blogs covered mainly one subject: my desire to quit contest prep.

Throughout any given day, if you were in my head, you’d hear a voice trying to convince me that I’m awesome and I can do anything… quickly followed by how much I suck and don’t want to do this anymore.  I don’t want to think about macros or weighing in every week or taking pictures to send my coach or writing blog updates about it when I feel like my body isn’t changing anymore and my gut is huge.

The truth is… my body is most definitely changing.  It doesn’t matter if my weight isn’t much.

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March 2013 to December 2013 - 15 pounds lost

And yes, I’ve said that before about the scale, but the obstacle really holding me back was this fixation I have on my stomach.  I’d see changes in other places, but look down at my stomach, feel depressed and immediately want to binge, which is counter productive.

This morning, oh this morning, I had a REVELATION.

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Bikini Prep Week 2 Weigh In

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Food wise, this was a good week.  Workout wise… eh.

I did my workouts, wasn’t feeling on top this week.  Felt kind of off at beginning of the week.  That’s probably due to leg day Friday, Bikram Saturday and half marathon (which I still need to write about) Sunday… yikes.  I swapped leg day to Tuesday now, that way I have recovery time for long runs and racing.

This week was also THAT week of the month.  Boo.

So here’s your reminder of where I begin two weeks ago.  Starting weight of 197.5 pounds.

2014_09_06Day1Week 1 brought a 5.5 pound weight loss, bringing me to 192 last week.

And this morning…

2014_09_20Week2WeighIn

Week 2 Weigh In: 190.5 pounds

Weight Lost: 1.5 pounds (7 pounds total)

I see changes in the hips and stomach mostly.  Honestly, I was thrilled that I lost any weight this week.  I generally retain water weight during period week.  I’m disappointed that I’m not into the 180s as I had hoped. What’s one more week when I’ve waited this long though, right?

Lessons Learned & Highlights of the Week:

  • Leg day needs more recovery time.  I already touched on this.  Friday didn’t work for me, so leg day is now Tuesday.  I really didn’t even think about it being a problem when I looked at the splits.  My trainer was okay with switching it as long as back isn’t trained on the day before or after back since I do deadlifts on both days (conventional one day, stiff-legged the other).  HIIT on Monday was also brutal after last weekend.
  • Meal prepped more for family.  This was so helpful.  Taking the extra time on the weekends to do this really makes my hectic life easier on weekdays.
  • Started drinking tea.  I used to love love love hot chocolate in the cooler weather.  I can’t do the dairy anymore and non-dairy options are too many calories for prep diet.  I am drinking green, black and white teas right now.  I have a few blends.  When I have a craving, I make tea.  Consequently, I’ve drank a lot of tea this week resulting in many bathroom trips.  Arguably, green tea is beneficial for weight-loss as well.
  • A friend from high school came to the gym with me!  Very excited about this.  I posted one day on Facebook my workout hours to give anyone in the area an invitation to workout with me if they wanted help becoming acquainted with the gym.  I have plans to become a personal trainer, but for now I can just offer advice and hopefully ease the intimidation of weight-lifting that most women feel.  Hope she keeps coming back.  My gym needs female lifters.
  • Apples and almonds are still amazing.  (By the way, it’s almost 3 o’clock snack time!)
  • Found a sweet potato recipe that I like.  More about that on my meal prep post.
  • I like to check myself out in the mirrors at the gym.  I probably do this way too much, but I get excited seeing the developing muscles and comparing the changes.  I stop to admire, sometimes making my gym visits too long.  Maybe I’m a little narcissistic now. Ha.  Guess that’s what happens when you start to love and appreciate your body for all the hard work you’ve put into it.

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    My back and shoulder muscles are my favorites.
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This may be weird, but I like my chest too. It’s just getting so lean!

Heading into week 3 then!  Off to do some grocery shopping and anticipating APPLE TIME!

Bikram Yoga

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Earlier this year, I tried yoga classes for the first time, but Bikram yoga (or hot yoga) has been on my to do list as well.

If you haven’t heard of Bikram, it isn’t doing a bunch of random yoga poses thrown together in a really hot room.  It is a series of 26 specific postures practiced in a room heated to 105ºF with a humidity of 40%. According to Bikram, the postures are designed to systematically move fresh, oxygenated blood to 100% of your body, to each organ and fiber, restoring all systems to health.

My boyfriend and I had plans to run a half marathon on Sunday and were looking to fill our schedule for Saturday.  A Bikram studio opened “near” me (nothing is near me since I live in the middle of nowhere), and since it has also been on his to do list, we decided to get it done.

It just so happens that this studio was also offering a Groupon last week. Normally,  a drop-in class is $18.  The deal they were offering was $27 for 3 classes.  I also had a Groupon coupon (hehe) for $10 off… sooooo if you did the math already you know that I got 3 classes for $17!   That’s THREE classes for $1 less than ONE drop-in class.  Sweeeeeetness.

Saturday morning, we woke at 6:30 to put some food in our bellies.  It’s not recommended to eat within 3 hours of class.  I just ate a banana, because that’s normally what I have in the morning.  For clothing, I selected my shortest shorts and lightest tank top to wear to class.  By the time we walked into the yoga studio, I was feeling a little overwhelmed after reading and re-reading the “How to Prepare for Class” section of their website a dozen times.  I was ready with a 1 liter bottle of water, yoga mat and my phone with the Groupon app for redemption.

First of all, I can’t remember the instructors name… I feel like a douche.   Forgive me.  Let’s call her “Wendy.” Anyway, “Wendy” greeted us.  I told her about my Groupon and pulled up the app to redeem it.  We filled out some newbie forms, then “Wendy” went through some tips for beginners.  Things like what we do if we feel dizzy, that it’s normal to possibly feel sick, etc.  She also said they recommend you come to 5-10 classes before deciding if this yoga is “for you.”  It takes time to acclimate.

There was a small locker room to store your bags during class.  The front door of the studio is locked while class is in session. Everyone inside is in the hot room, so I didn’t worry about locking up my things.  Then I snapped a picture before heading into the 90 minute class.

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Those shorts are so short! I haven’t worn them for anything other than yoga.

When I entered the room, my immediate thoughts were, “whoa, it’s hot.” Um, duh.  And “wow, I’m thirsty.”

“Wendy” (still feeling like a douche for not remembering her name) asked us to set up our mats near the center of the room so she  could more easily keep track of us.  There were maybe 10-12 other people there.

The first thing we did was a breathing exercise.  It was very awkward and uncomfortable.  It’s easier to show than to describe so here you go…

I hated it.  It hurt my neck.  She counted slowly for us to breathe in and the same to breathe out.  I couldn’t hold on as long as she was counting… I felt like I already wanted to quit.  I noticed sweat rolling down my legs already.

Luckily, this didn’t last long.  We moved into some standing postures.

Here is a chart of all the postures we did…

bikram-yoga-poses-chart

Some were easy, some very difficult.   I’ll just do a recap of memorable ones…

4. Was difficult to get my arms to wrap around each other.

5. My legs are too long to easily grab the bottoms of my feet.  My boyfriend and I have the same torso and arm length, but my legs are 3-4 inches longer.  Seriously.  He said he saw me struggling and wondered how I would be able to do it with my long legs!

11.  My leg kept sliding off the other leg from all the sweat.  I wasn’t strong enough to be able to hold my bent leg up without putting it again the other.

12. I don’t think anyone went down that low.

13. YES.

16.  My legs barely got off the ground. Ha.

19. Ouch.

21. Trying to tilt my head backward made me really dizzy.

25.  I love the spine twist.

“Wendy” left us in Savasana (#13) at the end.  She said many like to take up to 15 minutes after class to reflect in this posture.  I was just ready to be out of that room, but resisted the urge to run to the door.

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Pictures can’t do justice to how saturated my clothes and skin were.  My clothes actually left a damp spot on the floor.

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There were three showers, I didn’t have to wait too long to clean up.

Overall Experience:

Enjoyed the detoxifying sweat.  I always liked how yoga made me feel, even if I’m not particularly flexible or graceful at it.  The instructor was knowledgeable and helpful in adjusting postures.  She also made alternate posture suggestions to a woman in the class with an injury, so that was nice to hear.  It would definitely take more time for me to be comfortable in that room.  I have two more sessions to use before November, so I have a couple more chances to do that.

If you live in the greater Lansing, Michigan area, I certainly recommend Bikram Yoga Capital Area. It was 45 minutes from where I live, so it’ll be a treat to go, not something in my regular routine. The classes are designed for those with no yoga experience, but seem to be challenging for experienced yogis as well (increasing flexibility, stability, etc.).

Bikini Prep Week 1 Weigh In

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Trying to stay on top of my blogging, so getting this done before I check off a bunch of things on my to do list. Groceries. Apple & Almond Time.  Gym. Clean. Cook Meat. Nom Nom. Paint Nails.  Boyfriend Arrives.  Weekend Begins.

Today is Friday and that means progress tracking day!  Gotta tell you, I’ve been cheating all week with the scale.  I couldn’t wait until Friday to know.  Every day the number was better!

Technically, I don’t have to take progress pictures for my trainer’s sake, but I figured, why not take them weekly for the blog’s sake and my own.  My trainer only requires monthly shots.

Just a reminder, this was last Friday’s picture at 197.5 pounds.

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And here is this morning.

2014_09_13Week1WeighIn

Week 1 Weigh In: 192 pounds

Weight Lost: 5.5 pounds!

Can you see any difference?  Yeah, neither can I, but that’s okay.  I FEEL the difference.

I can tell my stomach is a bit smoother and throughout the day, it bloats less.  Normally, my stomach right before bed feels huuuuuge to me.  Also, the waistline from the rear looks a bit slimmer, but that could be the lighting or me grasping at straws.

I started somewhat following the meal plan over last weekend, but had a few things to eat up first like a vegetable soup that I made last week.  Don’t want to waste good food!  I still lost 1.5 pounds from Friday morning to Monday morning.  Then  a pound every morning after that.  My hope is to see the 180s next week.  I can’t even tell you the last time I was that size.  Middle school?

Lessons Learned & Highlights of the Week:

  • Stair stepper is the devil.  I used it Tuesday for my High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and my calves are still tight on Friday!  Never again (unless my trainer orders it).
  • I love apples and almonds.  My afternoon snack is an apple and almonds.  3 o’clock is literally the best time of day now.
  • Meal prepping is the shit.  I am a single mom, I work a full-time job and a couple part-time jobs plus I train hard.  I don’t have time to debate over what to make every day then spend 2 hours making it and cleaning up after I pick the boys up from daycare.  Having my meals cooked, measured and stacked in the fridge this week was simply amazing.  I’ve meal prepped before, but always large meals that I left in containers then portioned when needed.  Grabbing a dish from the fridge and throwing it in my bag has been awesome.  Portioned meals in containers are the way to go busy moms!
  • Meal prepping needs to happen for the kids.  Unfortunately, I didn’t do a very good job of planning their dinners for the week.  I had lunch stuff and breakfast covered, but dinner was hurried every night.  This weekend, I’m going to prep a couple things for them to eat this week.
  • I am not perfect.  This isn’t really a lesson for me.  I knew this already.  A couple nights ago, I had a couple bites of ice cream.  Terrible decision.  Not on my meal plan, OBVIOUSLY, and dairy pisses off my stomach.  Don’t even ask why I just HAD to eat some.  I somehow talk myself into thinking it isn’t that bad for me and won’t hurt my stomach, but it always does. “It tastes good,” isn’t a good reason, asshole.  Thankfully, it didn’t screw up my week.  Holding strong for week 2!
  • Co-workers suck.  Now, not all of my co-workers and not all the time.  But when someone brings in three bags of candy encouraging everyone to eat it, I’m going to say that person sucks.
  • Stop. Assess. Solve.  Monday morning, I woke up late.  Shit.  Immediately, thoughts are rushing in my head that I am going to miss the gym and screw my whole training schedule on the very first week, my trainers going to drop me, I’m going to get fat and lazy and depressed and binge instead… BUT rather than panic.  I stopped the craziness.  Stood quietly for a few minutes… then figured out how to get everything done.  Carter to daycare.  Harley to sitter.  Gym.  No shower (sorry!).  Daycare to pick up Carter.  Preschool home visit.  Visit over.  HIIT for 20 minutes on the steps.  Carter joins me.  Cute.  Done.  Cook eggs for us.  Shower.  Dressed.  Carter back to daycare.  Harley’s school to drop off books.  Work by 10:30.  Whew.

And with that, I think I’ll head out for a busy afternoon.

Thoughts on Week 1?  Questions?  All welcome in the comments, please!

Day Zero – The Weigh In

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My progress tracking begins with a weigh in and progress shots for the bikini competition.  This is my base.  Joy.

I will be weighing in every Friday and sending my coach a log of my weekly progress with meals and training.

Last Friday, is what I’m referring to as Day Zero.  This is where I begin this six month transformation.

2014_09_06Day1

Starting Weight:  197.5

(Height for Reference: 5’9”)

In case you track my progress, you’re probably wondering why I’m not 190 pounds like I was about two months ago briefly.  While some of it is muscle gain, some is likely from poor food choices.  Yes, I make lots of mistakes.   No, I’m not perfect.  Get off my back.

Monday the 9th was the first day of what I’m going to make a PERFECT week.  PERFECT, I tell you.  Workouts on track every day, in addition to my first half marathon next weekend.  I’m not going to say the next six months are going to be perfect.  I’m a realist and I know that I suck sometimes.  However, I’m going to work everyday to put the crap out of my mind.

Yeah, chicken, brown rice and broccoli will probably be boring, but so what.  It’s food.  Food doesn’t have to be exciting.  What I’m DOING is exciting.  The changes my body will make will be exciting.  Having a flat, toned stomach and possibly abs for the first time in my life will be exciting.  NOT having a flabby mom body will be exciting.  I don’t need food to be exciting. I have me.

I’m sort of looking forward to simplicity though.  I know I might eat those words, but at least for a while, I don’t want to think about what I’m going to pack for lunch or make for dinner when I get home.  It will be simple and prepped ahead of time.  My days are way too busy to worry about what I’m going to cook now that school has started, my training is increasing and I’m working two or three jobs a week.  I need to be efficient.  And I need to learn to like sweet potatoes too.

Yesterday, I also ordered a paleo protein powder which I’ll review after I’ve tried it.  It’s one of the only “paleo” protein powders on the market I’ve found without non-paleo ingredients such as soy, corn, or milk!

Finding My Trainer

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In searching for a trainer, I knew that I would have to find someone online.  I live in a rural area with limited options for ANYTHING.  No one around me does competition prep.  I needed someone who could reply in a timing manner to my emails, give me a meal and strength training plan and NOT break the bank.

I emailed a few different ones and some didn’t reply.  Not a good sign.  Another was hella expensive.

I won’t reveal my trainer or fees yet, but so far, I’m very happy with his attentiveness and cost.  I pay a monthly fee, with no contract or limit on correspondence.  I’m not sure yet on what kind of help he’ll be able to give me as the competition gets closer on posing, make up, hair, spray tan, etc.   I do know that he has coached at least one other client in Michigan.  He trains a lot of competitors who place at competitions and seems to have a good reputation.  I trust that he has connections or suggestions for those things when the time comes to discuss them. He does free posing classes on Sundays at his gym, wish I could attend!

Before he even agreed to accept me as a client (he can’t take on many more, as he has  quite a few already), he asked for information about my current eating habits and workout regime.   He also required a bikini shot, front and back, to see if my six month bikini competition goal was a realistic one.

I’m always willing to give my readers the “ugly truth” because I like being honest and transparent.  Before I do that though, here are some old fat pictures to soften the blow…

March2011toSummer2013

And here is what I looked like on the day I emailed him bikini shots.

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Vast improvement, yes.  But it’s definitely nothing close to this…

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Picture from here.

Full disclosure, I’m not looking to win.  I have never gone into a competition for anything related to physical fitness expecting to win.   (My JV soccer team sophomore year didn’t win a single game and I scored the only goal all season on a direct kick while playing defense.  So sad.  But we had fun even though we got our asses kicked every game.)

I’m competing for me.  I’m competing so my kids have a mother they can look up to, who doesn’t sit on the couch eating entire package of oreos and half gallons of double fudge brownie ice cream crying her eyes out because she’s lonely with two babies.  I left that version of myself behind when I started losing weight 2.5 years ago.  I freed her completely when I ended my marriage. Too much of my early 20s was wasted on feeling like I had to live in a that box until I died, because I made my bed and now I had to lie in it.

Enough of that.  This is a happy post.

So after the pictures, my trainer said that six months was realistic for me to be ready, as long as I follow the plan.  AWESOME.

We exchanged a few emails back and forth before he decided to take me as a client.  So I paid him and the following day, I received multiple emails with tons of information to overload my brain.  A couple had generic information he gives all clients relating to strength training form and tracking progress.  I received one email with an initial meal plan for the first two weeks.  We will set a base line and see how well I am responding before making adjustments.  And the last email had my weekly training plan.

In every email, he encourages me to reply with any questions or concerns.  He’s also helped to work around my gluten free/dairy free/paleo requirements (I allow brown rice on my diet though, which I said in the last post).  The plan is suppose to include whey protein, so he gave me some nutritional requirements in finding a protein powder that fits my needs.

Thus far, I’m very happy with him and hope that I can provide him a glowing review when I’ve reached the competition.

Next post, Day Zero – The Weigh In.

“You’re Doing What?”

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The time has come, my friends, to add another crazy thing to my ongoing to do list.  After months of yo-yoing weight loss, dodgy eating and consistent weight training, I’ve decided to do a previously unfathomable thing:  a bikini competition.

This has been on my mind for a while now.  I have a formerly fat online friend who did a bikini competition this summer.  Here she is lookin’ hot.

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(Her name is Kyle and she’s pretty rad, you can find her on FACEBOOK or on IG @kylethegirl or her BLOG)  I also follow a lot of professional competitors on IG and Facebook for fitness inspiration.  I kept thinking, I want to look more like those women.  I love lifting weights, I’m making progress, but I have never had a trainer or a nutrition plan.

Basically, I’ve maintained my weight with some loss and muscle gain for the past 8-9 months but don’t feel like I’ve made as much progress as I want.  This is just not happening fast enough doing it my half-ass way.

I want to feel confidant enough to pose on stage wearing those tiny bikinis and be proud of what I’ve done for my body.  I want to blow Fat Addie away with my willpower and dedication.  I want to be unrecognizable to my former self.

And wow, check out this transformation!

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“Bikini competition, are you nuts?”

“You’ve lost so much already, why aren’t you happy the way you are?  You look good.”

“How are you going to eat chicken and brown rice for 6 straight months?”

“That isn’t paleo, what are you doing?”

“Isn’t a trainer expensive?”

“Don’t disappear!”

Well, let’s start with how most people have been extremely supportive of this decision.  Many people call me brave or inspirational.  Honestly, I just think I’m a little crazy and fail to think things through before I make the decision to do them… i.e.  First 5k after only 3 weeks of running in years?  YES, PLEASE.  Half marathon off-road terrain obstacle course when your longest run is a FLAT 6 miles?  SURE.  Hilly sprint triathlon when you haven’t swam or rode your bike in over a month?  WHY NOT?!  If that is brave or inspirational to you, then I’m here for you!

Realistically, I don’t think a competition diet is something I’d want to stick with forever. It’s strict and going to be low calories for me since I still have a lot of weight to drop before the competition.  Six months isn’t that much of my life though.  I was pregnant longer than that.  Twice.  I can do this.

No, brown rice isn’t paleo either.  But as I’ve stated before, I allow brown rice in my diet.  I can tolerate brown rice and gluten free oats, so I still eat them in my version of paleo.  My digestion gets pissed when I have gluten and dairy, mainly.  The only problem I’m working on solving for now, is a replacement for whey protein that is mostly paleo friendly.  It’s proving difficult.  Some say they are paleo, but contain corn or soy.   I am looking for something that has 25g of protein per serving with egg proteins, preferably.  If you have recommendations, send me some links so I can research.  (So far THIS is the best option I’ve found but really out of my price range!

The competition that I’m scoping doesn’t have an exact date yet.  It says March of 2014.  I’m hoping they have the date soon so I know how long I have exactly… because I love countdowns.  Otherwise, I’ll find another in Michigan close to that time frame.  I’m just happy to be on a proactive plan.

Information on my trainer will be in tomorrow’s post.  Check back for that.  And I’ll have another post on my Day Zero Weigh In.

Any questions on what the hell I’m doing?  Recommendations on anything competition related?  I’m limited on funds and trying to do this as well and cheap as possible so tips are welcome!