Friday, July 31, 2009

Am I missing something?

*You've gone over your weekly calories burned goal by a significant amount. Your calories eaten goal will not adjust automatically. If you have increased the amount of exercise you are doing, you should update your fitness settings here to make sure you are consuming enough calories to support the additional activity.* (via Sparkpeople website when I logged my fitness minutes for today.)

Well, this definitely explains how I dropped 8lbs in two weeks and 30lbs in about 6 weeks. I'm burning a helluva lot of calories with my workouts, I'm building muscle with the weight training and I'm apparently not taking in enough calories.


Isn't that kinda the POINT? Burn more calories than consumed?

Friday, July 24, 2009

The "Dietary Changes" I mentioned earlier

I'm a foodie.

Yep. I said it. I love food. I eat when I'm hungry. I eat when I'm bored. I eat to celebrate. I eat to mourn. I eat. I eat. I eat.

Obviously, this affair with food has led me to be the weight I'm at. I know that. I don't blame genes (although my mother was overweight, too). I don't blame McDonald's. I don't blame Barbie Dolls. I don't push the blame on anyone except where it belongs: ME.

So...when a foodie is looking morbid obesity in the face, what's a girl to do?

Ideally, she turns her back on the potato chips, french fries & brownies and she turns to carrot sticks, steamed asparagus and sugar substitutes, right?

Yeah, well, let's pretend that I'm NOT ideal.

Okay, who's pretending?

Anyway...I'm *not* the diet girl. I never have been. I've read hoards of books on this diet and that diet. I've researched Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers and almost every meal plan Richard Simmons ever developed. They. Aren't. For. ME.

"But Mel! It's SO much better for you!!"

Duh. You think I don't know that? Of course they're better for me. I should be eating a balanced meal (6 times a day, according to my HIIT workout) and drinking plenty of water. I should eliminate caffeine, alcohol and fried foods. I should avoid decadent desserts and creamy dressings. But I don't. I DO, however, limit them.

Like I said in a prior blog, a dietician once told me if I did NOTHING but eliminated soda from my diet, I could drop 60+ pounds in a year. That's where I started this time. I've dealt with horrible water retention and noticed when I didn't drink pop, my water retention wasn't as bad. Hmm. (This trial and error thing really rocks, btw.) So, I stopped drinking pop. I miss it...desperately!! But I don't miss the puffy ankles and tight skin. I don't miss having to stuff my pillowy feet into shoes that would fit if it weren't for all the water sitting in my skin. So I deal with the loss of my pop. (Don't get me started on diet pop. You're better off drinking antifreeze. Seriously. It's the WORST thing you could POSSIBLY do to your body!!)

The second thing (and probably the most difficult) I gave up was sweet tea. OMG - talk about withdrawl! Caffeine aside, I thought the lack of sugar in my diet was going to kill me. First pop, now tea, too??? I compromised, though. I found some flavored teas that I enjoy without sugar. (No, I'm not talking about the bottled stuff in the cooler at the store.) I make up a pitcher at a time and drink it constantly (I'm not crazy about plain water). Granted, it's not 100% water, but its better than not drinking anything at all, which is where I'm usually at if I'm not drinking tea.

Other dietary changes were to limit (notice I did not say ELIMINATE?) fried foods, rich sauces, creamy dressings and sweet desserts. Being a foodie, I'd rather you take my arm than my chicken strips, ranch dressing or brownies away. BUT...I do need to eat healthier so I compromise. Instead of ordering (4)buffalo chicken strips & waffle fries, I order a buffalo chicken salad. This cuts my fried chicken down to just one strip, adds lettuce (yay fiber!) and does away with the greasy fries (I'll miss you, potatoes!). I also notice that I can't usually eat an entire salad (they place I order them makes HUGE salads) in a sitting, so I spread it over a couple of meals. Then, instead of the soda I'd have normally ordered, I drink an unsweetened tea or ice water instead.

This is NOT to say I don't eat what I want when I get a craving. The other night on the way home from the gym, I wanted a milk shake. So I bought one. But instead of going to Dairy Queen and ordering a large chocolate dipped strawberry blizzard, I went through the drive-thru at B-Bops and ordered a small chocolate shake. A few days ago, all I wanted was french fries. Instead of ordering a large with a side of ranch, I just bought a small fry and ate them plain. I discovered about three diets ago that I can't eliminate stuff entirely from my diet because I get cravings...and if those cravings aren't met, I end up eating everything in the house until that craving is quenched. If I give into the craving when it first hits, I'm in FAR better control than if I try and ignore it.

It's all about baby steps. I know my will power and I know how far I can push myself. I also know my breaking point. I know by now that I can't go cold turkey and give up everything that's sculpted my eating pattern for the last 35 years. I know I can't. So I don't. Instead, I make the changes I KNOW I can stick with. That's all anybody can do.

Keep in mind no matter WHAT you do differently, it's DIFFERENT from what you've BEEN doing. If you get off your couch and do one lap around the block, that's a lap more than you did last week. If you switch from ice cream to frozen yogurt, it's X number of calories less than you consumed last week. The point is: MAKE THE CHANGE. Regardless of what it is. MAKE it.

And when you fall off the wagon (we ALL do. Don't bullshit me and tell me you won't. I know better. LOL), don't dwell on it. Get up, brush yourself off and get back on.

A couple of addendums

I *hate* running. It's painful and miserable. I really hate it.

BUT...when its broken up into 30 second intervals (even when it gets farther in your training and you're doing it 15 times during your workout), it's tolerable because it's not a CONSTANT thing. I'm not walking for five minutes and then running for a solid twenty minutes. I get a break.

And honestly, as much as I dislike running, I plug in my favorite songs (choose uplifting, fast-paced music) to my iPod and I'm listening to my motivation. My boys (NKOTB) are my motivation. My warm-up usually consists of Danny's "I Like It Like That" and Joe's "5 Bros & a Million Sisters", then I crank up the quicker paced stuff from the Block & No More Games. I cool down with "Don't Cry" and "I'll Be Loving You Forever" and I'm done.

I can do almost anything for thirty seconds. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it doesn't seem like such a chore. And with a husband and two kids, my time at the gym is MY time. Especially with the tour winding to a close and knowing there aren't any more impromptu NKOTB Girls Weekends coming up anytime soon, I cherish this time by myself. I take the kids to the gym with me sometimes, but they know "Don't bug mom during her workout." It's MY time for concentrate on my health (as far as hubby and the kids are concerned) and it's MY time for listen to my favorite music and enter a dream world for at least 20 minutes a day.

MAKE the time for yourself...not just for your physical health, but for your mental health, too. It's *SO* vital to your overall well-being.

Breaking down HIIT

A lot of people have asked me what I'm doing to lose the weight so quickly. Aside from making a few dietary changes (another blog, another time), the majority of my weight loss is coming from sheer activity.

I alternate 5 days a week: 3 days I do HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and 2 days I do weight training.

HIIT is probably the simplest (yet hardest) workout I've ever tried. I used to bust my ass on the treadmill AND the bike AND the track AND in the pool and didn't lose a fraction of the weight I've lost doing HIIT. It's NOT fun. It's NOT easy, but at the same time, it's the easiest to stick with because you don't have huge, lengthy workouts to contend with. Twenty to twenty-five minutes and you're done.

HIIT leads you up gradually week by week to a heartier workout. The first week, you spend 5 minutes warming up. For me, this means walking at a steady pace (2.0) on the treadmill. Once the five minutes is up, I jog at a 5.0 pace for 30 seconds. Then take 90 seconds at a 2.5 rate. I hit it again with jogging at 5.0 for 30 seconds. Repeat that so that you've jogged SIX times and rested. Then do a five minute cool-down and you're done.

Yes. It's that simple.

The second week, you still jog your 30 second intervals, but instead of taking 90 seconds between them, you only take 60. The third week, you're running for 30 seconds, resting for 30 seconds. Fourth week, you increase the number of jogs you do from 6 to 8.

The links I used to come up with this workout are listed to the right of this blog.

I did add weight training to my HIIT about two weeks into it because I knew I needed to firm up the muscles that are left underneath this flab. Besides...muscle burns fat MUCH more quickly than fat burns fat. While I follow the regimine that my personal coach at the YMCA told me to do, I don't feel comfortable enough telling you which machines to use, how many reps or at what weight to use them. That's something you're best deciding between you and a trainer. I do know that it helps tremendously to combine the HIIT & weights in a weekly workout.

Now, one thing I mentioned briefly was dietary changes. If you'll look at the link, you'll notice that they talk about other nutrition goals and weight loss motivation you can use to maximize the benefit from the training. Obviously if you're able to do this, that's going to provide the best results. You'll also notice that they talk about pushing yourself as hard as you can push yourself. I'm *not* necessarily following that part of it either. If I followed it to the letter, it would have me jogging the entire 20 minutes (30 second hard core run, then "resting" would be a light jog) and I know my body and I know I can't do that. So instead of telling myself "There's no way...Nope. Sorry. NEXT?!" to the workout, I figured out a way that I COULD do it. It's obviously working, so I'm just working on getting myself up to the constant jog that the workout suggests. How quickly I do it is entirely up to me. Some days I push myself at a little quicker pace both walking/jogging. Sometimes I'll just walk faster..some days I'll push the last part of my jogs to a little quicker pace. It just depends on how I feel.

The main thing to remember is ANY movement is better than NONE and you can ALWAYS customize it to suit your body and what you're capable of doing. You can also do this workout on a stationary bike rather than a treadmill if you're unable to run. Just do a steady pace on the bike for the resting periods and then quicken your pace (try doubling it, if possible) for the "hard core" stuff.

Hopefully this explanation helps a little when you start looking at doing this for the first time.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Hopped on the scale today and I'm down another few pounds. This makes my total loss since June first a full twenty-five pounds!!!

I look at all the diets, fitness programs, books & other weight loss methods out there and while I'd never begrudge anyone for how they've lost weight, I do have to say that this HIIT/Weight training program I've adopted has worked remarkably well for me.

I've *NEVER* been one to enjoy working out. First off, I hate to sweat. HATE it. Secondly, physical activity sucks. Or at least, it did. Thirdly, I never thought I'd find junk foods unappealing. Hell, in my house, gravy was a food group!! Seriously! If it wasn't fried, smothered in gravy or ended in -etti or -aroni, I didn't want to eat it. While I still struggle food-wise (I'm a foodie, what can I say?), I am kicking ass and taking names at this workout thing.

Last week when I wasn't able to work out, I actually MISSED it! Who'd have EVER thought this fattie would miss working out?! It's true, though! I missed it. In fact, I even took workout clothes with me, I just didn't have the time to do it. And I knew I'd pay for it once I got back in the gym. I dreaded hopping on the scale but I'm pretty pleased with the fact that my metabolism kept up with me while I was off the wagon last week. And when I say "off the wagon" I truly mean OFF the mother-father wagon. I didn't exercise. I ate utter and complete junk. I even had a few Cokes (EEEK!!!) and a ton of fried foods (Beaver Nuggets, damn you!!). There was a Whataburger in there, sweet tea, potatoes & gravy, french fries, buffalo chicken....Mmm....all the stuff I love. And I'm ok with having eaten it...I just know I can't do it like that again or my 25lbs will creep back on in no time.

I know, too, that these changes to my lifestyle are a permanent thing. I have to workout. I have to eat right. I have to give up some things permanently. I have a family history of cancer, diabetes & heart disease. I refuse to cheat my family & friends of having me around because I like fried chicken or loaded down baked potatoes. I have to keep the goal in mind at all times. Don't get me wrong. I do cheat. I do take a day or two off. When I want french fries, I'll have them. (I did last night, afterall. I just didn't order the large fries...just got the small.) I just have to get back on track and stay there.

You know, in charting my progress, I see the numbers diminish, but I don't really notice it in the mirror. My pants sizes are shrinking, but again, I don't see it when I look at myself every day. But when I compare myself from May til now, I really do see a difference. Compliments from a yummy New Kid aside, I'm pretty damn stoked about this progress.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Checking in

I've taken the last week off (being on vacation is a killer to the motivational factor), but I wanted to check in and let y'all know that I'm still doing ok!

I didn't workout all week, nor did I exactly eat right while I was gone, but I didn't gain more than a couple pounds.

In fact, while I was gone, I purchased something at Anthropologie, which I NEVER thought would happen!!! It's an XL blouse that I found on a clearance rack. It was on sale AND it fit. YAY me!!!

I did have an amazing motivator to keep going, though. I got to meet NK's in Denver when we were there and Danny gave me the best feedback on my workouts. I told him he was an inspiration to me and told him why. He said "How're you doing on it?" I told him I'm down over 20lbs in 6 weeks and he gave me a high five, a hug and the once-over followed by "Damn, girl! You're lookin' good! Keep it up!" He also said he's going to start blogging about his workouts, too, so I'm super anxious to read those.

I'm back on the wagon this week. I did HIIT yesterday (stepped up to the next week - 30 seconds on/30 seconds off and it nearly kicked my ass. In fact, I somehow pulled a muscle last week and I've been limping around, so yesterday's workout didn't help that. I took today off from weights, but I'll hit them both tomorrow, if I can. Otherwise, I'll just do HIIT. Either way...back on the wagon for me!

NKOTB just announced another cruise (May 2010) and I plan on being at my goal weight by then and there's NO reason whatsoever that I shouldn't be there. Nothing says "Hey Danny, check me out!" like a brand new bikini, right?!

Countdown, baby!!!

(Here's a pic of me in said blouse at GhostBar with Ethan from the NKOTB band)