Sunday, November 17, 2013

Total Body Transformation, Month 3

This has been my workout for the last three months: Chris Powell Total Body Transformation

Here's how I did in month 3!

Beginning of the month:
  • Alternating lunge jump:  12 reps, holding 8kg kettlebell        
  • Bent-over row:  12 reps, 8lb dumbbells
  • Stability ball hip raise and leg curl: 12, resting 3/4 through
  • Incline bench press: 12 reps, 12 pound dumbbells
  • Stability ball plank: one minute. 4-5 rests to complete
End of the month
  • Alternating lunge jump: 18, 12, and 11 reps,12kg kettlebell  
  • Bent-over row: 12 reps, 15lb dumbbells
  • Stability ball hip raise and leg curl: 12, no rests
  • Incline bench press: 12 reps, 20 pound dumbbells
  • Regular plank: one minute, 2 rests to complete

Ridiculously good looking. You're welcome for providing this eye candy.

Other improvements:
  • When I run, it's easier to run further and faster than when I used to just run without weight training
  • My clothes fit better (looser) though I'm still too skeptical to try the skinny jeans yet
  • I have established a routine that I don't waver from, even when I don't feel like doing it.  Habits are powerful!
  • I lost 3 pounds
I am not going to continue with months 4 and 5 of the Total Body Transformation - not because it's not a good workout, but because I think, for me, I need something different. Chris, if you're reading this, I hope this doesn't stand in the way of what might be between us i love you!

I started running outside again the past three weeks and I discovered that I had really been missing it.  I actually like running, even if I'm slow.  And after a run, I like it even more, because I get serious endorphins.

I know this quote is played out but it still makes me lol

I have been lifting continually for the last three months and, you know what? I don't like lifting! I don't get endorphin-high from lifting and as soon as I start I can't wait to be done.  Now, I will continue to lift because: 
  • it makes me a better runner
  • keeps your bones healthy and dense
  • muscle raises your RMR
  • I want to be fast AND strong
  • muscles are sexy. 
But I think I need to readjust because a happy exerciser is a more productive exerciser, at least in theory! Details forthcoming!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Chris Powell Total Body Transformation, Month 2

Hello, readers! Long time, no see, I know.
I just want to share with you how it's going with the Chris Powell total body transformation.  Here are my stats:

Beginning of month 2
1. Crossover dumbbell step-up: 8kg each hand, could not make it through one set completely
2. Mountain climber: This was very easy from the start
3. Squat press: 8lbs each hand, could not make it through one set completely
4. Medicine ball slam: 14kg

End of month 2
1. Crossover dumbbell step-up: 12kg each hand, could only make it through first set
2. Mountain climber: This was very easy from the start
3. Squat press: 10lbs each hand, could barely make it through all sets
4. Medicine ball slam: 20kg

Fastest set: 4:20
Fastest workout: 15 minutes

I haven't seen any weight loss but at least I am getting stronger. And even though I haven't been running regularly, when I do run, it's still strong because the exercise that I am doing is making me all muscley and strong :D

Currently, I'm almost through month three, so another post soon to follow!

Oh, and one more thing:
BAM! Chris Powell.  Meeeeow!


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Daily LOL

Readers, let's try this.  Report back!

New Goal: Produce Annihilation

New goal: For a hungry day eat more and don't worry about the extra calories but make it fruits and veggies only.

One Month Checking In

Welp, it hasn't been my best month.  I went back to work after a long vacation and the new routine has been challenging my new healthy lifestyle thing, to say the least.  

Then skirmish went down like this:
Large ladies represent my fitness/schedule struggle.  Now you understand?

Now, it hasn't been as bad as it has been in previous falls, but I certainly haven't lost any weight.  I also haven't been counting calories because I am not put together enough to be making deliberate meals.  Every lunch is a kitchen sink lunch: lettuce + anything edible in the fridge.

No cats were harmed in the making of my salads.

But some nights I can't decide which is worse, my hunger or fatigue.  I think that I may be turning that corner, however.  There's a bit of an adjustment going on here and I know that this part is temporary.

Anyway. As for working out, I didn't miss a single weight lifting routine the entire month! Yay!  Triumph!  Remember, I am using Chris Powell's plan because he's sexy and I want to be sexy.  Here is how I progressed:

Day 1
Goblet Squat: 16 kg
Hammer Curl/Press: 15 lbs
Dumbbell Deadlift: 40 lbs
Dumbbell Pullover: 8 lbs
Planks: 50 seconds/46 seconds (2 rounds)

Day 30
Goblet Squat: 24 kg
Hammer Curl/Press: 15 lbs
Dumbbell Deadlift: 60 lbs
Dumbbell Pullover: 15 lbs
Renegade Rows: 12 lbs

I didn't switch over to the renegade rows until about 2 weeks in.  But before that, I improved my plank time to 80 seconds/68 seconds/60 seconds (3 rounds). And I know it doesn't look like I improved with the curl and press but I did On the first day, I couldn't complete more than 8 reps a set.  By the end, I was able to do 12 on the first set and 10 or so for the next two.

I'm getting stronger.  I can feel it but I sure can't see it because I need to get the food in check. I hate counting calories but I just don't trust myself not to. So for month 2, here are my goals:

1. Continue the CP plan without missing any workouts.
2. Add 2 cardio days, one being interval training. Bf says that cardio will give me more energy.  It's worth a shot!
3 Count dem calories.

Thought of the Day

"Working out at the gym to fit my underwear"
~ Weezer "Pork and Beans"

Yup.  That and my skinny jeans.  They just don't fit like they used to...

It's probably been a month since my last good outdoor run. 
Ran twice this weekend.  Okay, so it was only 30 minutes each day but I have to start somewhere, amiright? And at that, I'm sore!

Tomorrow begins month two of Chris Powell's 5 month program and I'm a little nervous because I took last Monday through Friday off because I was sick.  I know, through the wondrous power of logic, that I didn't lose all the muscle I gained in the last month, but it sort of feels like it.  Wish me luck, readers!

Here's to cardio.
Here's to lifting heavy.
Here's to counting calories.
Here's to keeping promises to myself.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Trials and Triumphs, and Cartoon Cats

Losing weight and changing how you think about eating isn't a linear process.  It's a little more Paula Abdul, you know "two steps forward, two steps back":

But you know, somewhere in that back and forth, you learn and you do find a way to slowly move forward.  Okay, so most people probably learn a lot faster than I do, but I've always been partial to learning the hard way.

Anyway.  Here are this week's notable trials and triumphs to remind myself yourself that this is a process and messing up is okay because there's something to be learned from it.

Trial: I went to a friend's BBQ on Friday.  It's always been pretty difficult for me to make responsible decisions at social events and I have been known to write them off as "special occasions" now and again, thereby justifying any binge eating I do.  But this isn't the first time that I have been presented with a social engagement since my journey has begun and so I should have learned something from the last one, right?  Well, yes and no.  The BBQ took place soon after work.  I left work a little later than I wanted to finish some stuff I was working on.  Then I hit the gym for a lift session.  By the time I got home, there was no time to cook something healthy to bring to the BBQ so the bf and I hit the neighborhood Whole Foods and grabbed veggie burgers, our favorite buns, and a bag of chips, because you have to bring something to the party besides your incredible wit, am I right? A BAG OF CHIPS! What was I thinking?! 

looks like a simple bag of chips, but it's actually real, active, kryptonite.
It's much too early in the process to be tempting myself with my very favorite chips.  Le sigh. I ate them, of course I did.  Them and a couple other chips that were on the table.  It was definitely a bit of nervous eating since I was at a party with a group of people I had just met. 

Triumph: That said, I didn't drink a single beer.  Instead, I brought tequila, fruit, and seltzer to the party.  So this was a bad party move because I ended up leaving the bottle there, but in the end I'm proud/happy with my decision.  I also didn't eat a quarter of the burger bun because I started feeling really full.  Stopping eating when I'm full is a new thing for me.  

Lesson Learned: I know that I could have defeated the chip temptation if I had made a plan before arriving at the party.  Next time, I will state said plan aloud in front of the bf.  Telling another person present would keep me honest and I know he would encourage me as well.

Final Thought: Although it wasn't perfect, I definitely ate differently than I would ever have in the past.  I enjoyed more conversations than food, chose a responsible drinking option, and stopped eating when I was full.  I'm counting this blip as a reward meal for the week and I enjoyed the extra calories/salt/fat with little no guilt.

Daily LOL

This tumblr post. LOL

Daily LOL

This is what I look like in the kitchen. Pretty accurate.

Just Your Average Saturday

Don't eat the screen.

I made those biscuits.  I smoked that tempeh.  I baked that tofu.  This book and this recipe made it possible. Happy weekend!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Friday Favorites (Saturday Edition): Daily Kale

If you're not following @daily_kale on Twitter, you're life is at least 50% less funny.  The kale jokes just never get old.  Here is a sampling of my personal faves:

And also this one:

You're welcome.

Daily LOL


Hahaahahhahahahaha! Love this.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Friday Favorites: Fitness Blogs

Welcome to the Sunday edition of Friday Favorites! 

Okay, so I have a confession to make: I went back to work this week, which explains the drop off in posts.  But I'll have you know that even though I haven's been posting with the fervor that characterized my vacation time, my brain is working on all sorts of interesting things for you, readers! 

Anyway.  This week, I want to talk about fitness blogs.  That's how this whole adventure got started in the first place.  First, I was just trolling the before and after tumblrs like this one.  The bf says that this makes me obsessed about losing weight and that I shouldn't compare myself to others, and he is right.  But he's also wrong.  These before and afters are a source of motivation because when I see someone who struggled like I have attain even a modicum of success, I do a (sometimes) silent cheer for them in my living room and give them a mental/virtual high-five.  All this positivity reminds me that people who have a harder struggle than mine have been successful and I think, "So why shouldn't I be successful?"

But that was just the beginning.  My blog inspiration really came from this man, Hank Hanna, who has a blog called The Business of Losing Weight.  

Hank. Lol. See why I love this guy?
Hank hasn't posted in a while, but here are 5 reasons why you should get into this blog (start from the beginning and you will have plenty of reading material) yesterday:
  1. Hank is just your average person, like me, except he's a man.  And some of you readers might be men and might be able to connect with that. Or you are a woman, like me, and don't care too much about the gender specifics of your blogger.
  2. Hank had a lot of weight to lose, which is different from me.  Some of you readers might connect with that too.  
  3. But even though I never had to lose as much weight as Hank, his stories are so incredibly relatable to anyone trying to lose any amount of weight.
  4. Hank is funny.  He adds pictures and videos to break up the text that always make me laugh. He also has a segment called "stuff fat people do" that are funny and relatable at the same time.
  5. Hank is also a triathlete, which is incredible.  You can read about how he got to that place and it will inspire you to do something you never thought possible.
  6. He always has a sweet sign-off at the end of each post that is like a little mantra for fitness and health.
  7. He's smart.  You ever read a post from someone who is obviously inexperienced, immature, or maybe even blatantly dumb? Yea, that will never happen on Hank's blog.
  8. He has a cool southern accent.  

Did I say 5 reasons? I guess there were a few more, eh? :) 

Start with this post.  This is where I began and I was hooked after just this one post.  Now there have been many bloggers who have written on this topic, but Hank's is original and funny.  After reading that, I went all the way to the beginning of Hank's story and read all the way to now.  I hope there is a future post soon!

So, readers, what do you think of fitness blogs?  What are your favorites?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Type 3 Diabetes: Another Reason to Stop Eating Crap

Did you need another reason to stop eating crap? I can never have too many reasons.  I just file them away in a corner of my brain and pray that they will activate when temptation arises.  The more items in that corner, the better my activation chances.  So if you need more reasons for your corner, keep reading for a really good one.

Not a lot of things run in my family.  I mean, there's good looks, incredible wit, and, oh, wait, yea...Alzheimer's disease.  If you have ever known anyone with this disease, or if you have seen/read The Notebook, then you know what I'm talking about.  One of the scariest things about this disease is that doctors don't fully understand why it happens, which means that there's no clear way to prevent it. The Mayo Clinic says that not eating fruits/veggies, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are all linked to Alzheimer's disease, and I have also heard that exposure to aluminum might be a factor.

Doctors now think that there is a link between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease - it's like diabetes of the brain, or type 3 diabetes.  Although they don't understand this relationship 100% yet, I will heed this warning because it makes sense to me, at least how Women's Health explains it here.

What to do if you're scared of losing all your hard-earned brain cells to this stupid disease? Stop eating crap.  More specifically, don't eat the stuff that contributes to diabetes: high fat and high sugar. I love fat and sugar...and salt.  Well, at least I can have my salt, am I right? No, I know, excess salt contributes to high blood pressure, which is linked to Alzheimer's disease.  Thanks, logic, for killing that little bit of happiness. This year, I think I'll just stick with the "everything in moderation" mantra, and actually try to mean it, because what we are talking about here is sugar and fat in excess

Oh, and if you're interested in avoiding aluminum like I do, start with your deodorant.  Those things are chemical bombs waiting to explode on your pits.  I've tried a lot of different ones and I like this one the best (you can get it at Whole Foods).  Also, check out this video by the Sexy Vegan, who does a review of different pit colognes. It's both funny and informative!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Short Term Goals: Part 1 of Infinity

So on day two of this new health adventure/lifestyle (yesterday), I had a rendezvous with friends.  You know, the typical dinner and drinks thing.  My old self would throw caution to the wind, drink like a fish, and eat like it's my last meal.  This just would not do for my new, healthy take on life, now would it? (No, no it wouldn't!)

Old self always has room for more snacks.
One thing that I'm really, incredibly, good at is making excuses for my bad habits.  I feel no guilt going nuts and abandoning a diet for a "special occasion".  You may have noticed that I did not type special occasion, but rather "special occasion". Well, my perceptive little readers, that's because when it comes to food, I give that term a loose definition.  Special occasion = vacations, holidays, celebrations, dinner out, dinner in, hanging out with a friend I haven't seen in more than a day, going to the movies, walking by a Sweet Frog, breakfast, lunch, dinner...  You can probably tell that with so many occasions in my life deemed special, it's no wonder that weight loss has been difficult to achieve and maintain.

So here's what went down:

Fail! Even including the calories I burned running 5 miles that morning, I still went over my daily calorie goal by about 50 calories.

Victory! I got a bowl of vegetarian chili, and upon realizing that by "bowl", they meant "trough", I only ate half of it.  And with that, I only ate half of the tortilla chips.  I also ordered a small side salad to get my greens on and fill up.  This is what I chose instead of french fries and a burger. Niiiiiiice!

Victory! I really wanted some beer because we went to this place that has interesting beers.  Instead, I had 2 tequila and sodas, 1 ale, and a glass of cabernet.  Okay, so I had about two too many drinks but I am still navigating the social pressure thing and I will do better on the next test (tonight).  But I did choose half of my drinks responsibly and I think that's a (small) victory.

Now I know that I did some little things right and some little things wrong, but it's a step in the right direction. I'm happy with my decisions even if there is still a lot of room for improvement.  

This recap brings me to my first short term goal:
Short Term Goal #1/Infinity - Healthy eating at the wedding tonight.  
More specifically, this means:
  • No bread
  • No crackers
  • Lots of raw veggies and fruit
  • Lots of water 
  • 2 drink maximum, clear liquor and soda only
  • Enjoy family and friends - talk more, eat less.
I'm feeling up for the challenge.  Check back tomorrow to see if I make myself proud!

What small victories have you had in your pursuit of fitness and health? What excuses do you make to justify poor health related decisions?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Favorites: Trader Joe's Extra Dark Chocolate Wedges

Hello, readers!

Today is Friday and I was thinking that on Fridays, I will highlight my favorites: products, websites, cookbooks, recipes, whatevs.  Any day of the week would be good to talk about my favorite things, but come on, I can't ignore the convenient alliteration of Friday Favorites, can I? (The answer is, no.  No, I can't.)

For the first installment of Friday Favorites, I offer you the following:
Happiness is triangular.
No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, 73% Belgian cacao, 100% vegan, creamy, and delicious! For me, this is the perfect chocolate serving when I need a fix because each wedge is only 40 calories (although a "serving" is 2 pieces).  Two triangles and a bowl of fresh cherries was the perfect nighttime snack last night while I was trolling the interwebs before bed.

The only bad thing I have to say about this chocolate is that it contains soy, which for me is not a problem, but I realize there are allergies out there so if that's you, this very addition of Friday Favorites was a waste of your time and you probably wish you could have your 2 minutes back.  Sorry, no refunds.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Day 1: Trials and Triumphs

Third post of the day! Don't get comfortable here, readers.  Although I promise to put in the effort needed to maintain this blog, just like any relationship, over time, I expect that my enthusiasm will wane and soon you'll be asking me why I never buy you flowers anymore. 

Here is the day 1 recap:
  • Kicking negative thoughts (I can't do this; Why bother exercising today - one day doesn't matter) is going to take some time. I guess I didn't think this through, eh? Just because you declare something adorable like I'm going to believe in myself! doesn't make it magically materialize into reality, unless you have a 3D printer, in which case, any m-fing thing is possible. Anyway.  Where was I going with this? Ah, yes.  Whilst driving through town today, I was planning my exercise for the afternoon and I caught myself thinking that I'd skip today, because, well, one day doesn't matter much.  SKIP TODAY?! TODAY IS DAY ONE! Yeesh!  So after I chided myself for getting off to a slippery start, I told myself that every little bit of positive behavior is important.  I don't know how much I really, deep down, believe that yet, but I'm trying! Which leads me to...
  • Exercise: The bf told me today that what matters most in seeing change is consistency and intensity.  Sometimes, I think I'm going to choose my battles here and only accomplish one or the other.  Today is one of those times.  I have had a headache for two days straight despite sleeping well and so I was not pumped for any exercise whatsoever.  But I did it, readers.  I think it's important to move at least 30 minutes a day, in a concerted effort to sweat (not just rolling around on the floor with my cat). It wasn't my best run, but any run completed is better than no run at all. Am I right?
  • Victory! Made a delicious dinner.  Instead of just roasting tofu how I always do it (with Braggs) and roasting brussel sprouts like I always do it (with garlic, oil, salt, and pepper) I whipped out the cookbooks for some much need inspiration.  Just using different spice combos can make ordinary staples fresh and interesting again.  Feels good to be excited about healthy food! Recipe for the tofu here. Recipe for brussel sprouts came from this cookbook.

    buckwheat, lemony dill tofu, and ginger brussel sprouts
  • This gem of a healthy snack got me through the dinner planning process.  This could be a new routine.  When I get home from work, I'm usually too ravenous to be creative.  A little snackeroo while planning will tide me over for sure. I really enjoyed this snack, mostly because it allowed me a little break from the day. I think snacks have potential for being a blog focus/feature...

baby carrots, Cedars red pepper hummus, Califa double espresso almond milk - and yes, this is the same plate I used at dinner.  Don't judge me.
Oh, and one more thing: did I tell you that my healthy routine that I'm setting up, while it will be a lifestyle change (even though it's true, I'm definitely sick of hearing people say that - sounds pretentious, doesn't it?) I am ultimately looking to be in the best shape of my life one year from today.  I read somewhere that goals are important.  So there's my long term goal.  My first short term goal is to create some short term goals...

Faith in Fitness: Taking a Leap

I have been searching for the elusive fitness cure all thirty of my years.  I have tried Weight Watchers, counting calories, fasts, calorie restriction, intuitive eating, hoping, wishing, and dreaming.  I love fitness blogs and motivational tumblrs, Women's Health magazine, running, biking, spinning, hiking. And yet 20-30 pounds of unhealthy remain. 

So what will be different this time?  This time I am dedicating myself to believing in the system. Believing that consistency, effort, and plain old healthy practices will get me where I need to be.

You know:

And, of course:

Here's to a new way of thinking!

The Beginning of the End

How the world will end.  You're welcome.
This marks the first of several many blog posts chronicling my adventures in becoming healthy.

Now I know what you are thinking.  You're thinking Pea.  Can I call you that? Um, Sure. Well, Pea, there are thousands, maybe MILLIONS of blogs about fitness.  So no one cares about your little bloggity-blog.  Just so you know. Are you even certified or a professional or anything?

Well, yes, you are right.  And no, I am no kind of fitness expert.  This is just another fitness blog. And I haven't lost 100 pounds.  Heck, I don't have 100 pounds to lose! This blog is for me, to keep me honest (and maybe sane) on my quest for health and happiness.

So here is what you will get if you stay tuned to this blog:
  • Snarky commentary about life/health/fitness/food
  • Daily musings 
  • Recipes and meal ideas
  • Successes and failures
  • Motivation and inspiration to stay on track