Back from Asia Travels, Off to San Diego

Hi! I’ve been back from Asia for about 2 weeks now and am still trying to get back into the groove of things. It was a great trip, and I’ll probably blog more about it later, but it’s back to the real world now… This will be a short post, but I vow to get back to posting more.

My jet lag was so bad, but I am finally over that. However, I am battling some crazy sugar cravings.

As you can probably gather, I ate freely on my vacation. It’s kind of hard to avoid carbs in Asia, and honestly, I didn’t even try that hard. It was anything goes, and it went. I do not regret it and I am not going to beat myself up over it. I did walk a lot, and we did go hiking, so at least I stayed somewhat active.

But now that I’m back, it’s been difficult trying to get back on track. I have been going to the gym, but have not been doing as much strength training as I should. But my baby step goal right now is just getting back to the gym regularly and getting my heart rate up, one way or another.

Unfortunately, my routine is going to take a hit again because I’m going to San Diego on Friday for a conference. I’ve never been to San Diego, and I’m really excited, but it’ll be a very packed week. We’re going to LA first to visit my bestie, Gina! Haven’t seen her since my other bestie’s wedding, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Once I’m back from the conference, I’m going to create another plan to get back to my health challenge. I need to get excited about it again and find new inspiration. I want to write more, too! I have so many pending drafts that I just haven’t had time to finish and edit.

I will be back! Stay tuned…

 

 

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Weeks 10, 11 & 12: An Introvert at the Gym

It’s been a couple of weeks and I’m just brain dead. As you can probably gather, I’m just literally counting down the minutes to my trip. I am still trying to generally eat pretty healthy, but I know that once I’m back from my trip, I’ll need to do a full-on diet and challenge reset.

It’ll be another thing for me to learn how to deal with. I’m very dependent on routine and consistency. Once my routine is disrupted, it’s really hard for me to get back to it. This has happened to me time and time again where I have a really good thing set up and I’m working out regularly and eating well, but then something happens, and it all stops. I get discouraged and it takes me forever to pick back up the momentum I lost.

I am so determined to not let that happen this time. Even if I gain back some pounds or lose some strength while away, I will get back into it and not sulk about my lost progress on my wonderfully indulgent vacation.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been focusing more on strength training for my workouts. I’m trying to do it 2-3 times a week with cardio mixed in. Instead of doing my time on the treadmill, I’m doing sprints and just trying to really get my heart rate up every few minutes. It just seems to be a more efficient way to exercise. And it takes up a lot less time.

Cardio has always been my go to type of exercise, and I think a big part of it is that it’s very introvert-friendly. I can put on my headphones and just go. I don’t have to talk to anybody and I can be as antisocial as I want. Aside from the exercise being a great stress release, it’s also my recharging time. I can listen to my music, watch tv, and completely zone out.

Since picking it up with strength training, I’ve noticed how awkward it is to strength train in a busy gym. It’s an introvert’s worst nightmare. I mean, think about it. You go into the weight room, which is a huge open area (there’s nowhere to hide! GASP), ready to work out, only to find it’s packed and all your intended workout equipment is in use… You start walking around as if you know what your doing, but secretly you’re just walking around in circles trying to figure out what to do. Or at least that’s what I do.

On some nights, it’s harder than others to get my workout in without being in someone else’s space, or someone else being in mine. I’ve actually ditched my strength training in the past and just opted for some cardio. I’m trying not to do that so much now…

I was at the gym in the weight area the other night using the smaller 35-50 lb barbells to work on my form for doing some compound exercises (i.e. military press, front squat, deadlifts). The rack that holds these barbells is, of course, in the worst, most inconvenient spot. Everybody was crowded around it, trying to get their turn.

Anyways, I  was able to wedge myself in there to grab a barbell. I started on the lighter side to make sure I could actually do it and just to practice my form. When I realized it was too light, I went to look for a heavier one, but of course all the heavier ones were being used. This guy saw me looking and said he’d share with me. It was really nice of him to offer, but I said it was okay. He was really insistent though, so I accepted, even though the introvert in me was like Nooo.. so awkward. Especially when he was watching me while waiting for me to finish my set. For any socially normal person, this is no big deal, but I just felt rushed and anxious to get my set done. Anyways, I finished my 3 sets, muttered my thanks to him, and got out of there. I am so awkward!!! It’s okay. You can laugh at me.

So that’s just a snapshot of me and my weirdness. But the more I strength train, the easier it gets. I know most of it is in my head and I’m making it a bigger deal than it is. It will get better over time… hopefully.

I probably won’t write again until after I get back from my trip, but I hope to bring back stories and awesome pictures. And I’ll continue with my challenge when I get back!

I hope to be super recharged after my trip and get back to writing regularly. Until then!

 

 

 

 

Week 9: Less than a month until my trip!

I've been slacking, I know…

I've been distracted by my upcoming vacation. My last real vacation was last September so I am itching like crazy for some R & R. I'm going to Thailand and Hong Kong, and I absolutely can not wait!

I know we'll be doing a lot of walking, so I'm really trying to get into shape. I'm nervous about encountering all the delicious food over there that I'll want to eat. I mean, how often do you get the chance to eat dim sum at a Michelin-rated restaurant? But I'm hoping that walking a lot and other types of physical activity like hiking will balance it out.

My goal when I'm over there is to eat low carb for a big portion of the time, while also allowing myself to indulge here and there.

Her are some updates from week 9:

  • I've been satisfied with my weight loss progress so far. It's been slow but steady. I'm still eating low carb most of the time and working out at least 3 times a week. Though I confess, this past week I may have had a couple of pieces of my husband's leftover birthday cake. But I didn't gain weight this week, so I'm glad I didn't over do it. To balance last week's sugar intake, I will make it a goal to have no sugar this week, except maybe some whole fruit.
  • I've definitely been more energetic. I know this because I'm not constantly thinking about naps and feeling constant fatigue. This is a big deal because it was getting so bad that I even went to the doctor to make sure there were no underlying issues. I have energy now to do things after work, like cook, bake, knit and workout. Let's hope my energy levels just keep improving. There are still days where I'm tired, but it's not every day.
  • I'm shifting more focus on strength training but I still have trouble with it because I'm still intimidated and I don't enjoy feeling how weak I am. But I've been doing better and I know I just need to take it one day at a time. My goal is to do strength training at least 3 times a week, minimum 2 times. I do enjoy the slight muscle soreness from a good workout, though, because I feel like it's working!
  • I'm hoping to have lost a total of 15 lbs by the time I leave for my trip. It's been fun trying on clothes I haven't worn in a while and seeing that I can fit into them! For the trip, I plan to pack a bunch of workout clothes so I'll be comfortable moving and be more inclined to do more physical activity while I'm out and about.

Since I can't seem to stop thinking about my vacay, here are two photos from when I was in Bangkok and Macau years ago.

I'm so excited to go back!

Until next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 8: Sometimes Being Healthy Just Sucks

This week, I was having one of those days where I just hated life. It was hard to get out of bed and I just wanted to hide away from the world. My limbs felt heavy and I just wanted to stuff my face with fries, pizza, and ice cream.

These days, I realize, are the true test of my character and whether I care enough about myself to make the right decision. This is when it is the most important to stay positive and stay rational. I knew being healthy was never going to be easy. It may get easier at times, but getting through it when you are feeling down in the dumps is true triumph.

It's easier to stick to your goals with a positive attitude and when you're feeling happy but when you're having a bad day, Life just says, HA! Good luck! But if you get through it anyways entirely intact, then you have won and you are that much stronger. Or at least that's what I'd like to think.

I had to buy lunch the other day at work and the special they were serving in the cafeteria was turkey leg with waffle fries. These were fair/carnival size turkey legs with a big heaping serving of waffle fries. I saw this, and I immediately thought "Being healthy sucks!".

I let myself curse healthy food and died a little inside as I asked for the chicken, asparagus and green beans instead. Can I get a standing ovation, please?

I believe strongly that a healthy lifestyle is the seed that allows your life to flourish, but the act of being and staying healthy is a whole other thing. I'm NOT a health fanatic that loves everything healthy. I will make myself work out but some days I will still hate every minute of it… until it's over and then I'm happy that I pushed myself to do it.

I'm not saying all this to discourage those that want to take a healthier path, but I want you to know that I feel your pain! This is hard! But it's not always going to be hard. Anything worth having is never easy, is it? And sometimes, it just plain sucks. Everybody is enjoying a burger, while you're eating your salad. Your salad can be delicious, but it doesn't taste like a burger. I get it.

I made it through this week with no major casualties. I stuck to my healthy eating and worked out 4 out of the 5 days. And as a result, I am 2 lbs lighter and 1 inch smaller.

So yes this felt like a crappy week, but let's look at the bigger picture. The total weight I have lost is 12.6 lbs, and I am also down 2 inches from my hips, and 5 inches from my waist.

Here are my 5 things for this week:

1. Documenting my progress has really helped me see the bigger picture. It's satisfying to see a downward trend and that all my hard work really is paying off. Especially when I'm feeling like crap.File Jul 29, 1 05 37 PM

2. I always thought my emotional intelligence was always very low, and I know emotion plays a huge role in my difficulties in accomplishing things. If I can get my emotions under control, achieving my goals becomes something that is much more attainable. I'll try to think of it as a muscle that just needs practice and training.
3. I bought a cute little black dress from Banana Republic for a mad deal a while ago and got it in a smaller size since I've been losing weight. I tried it on this week and it fit! It was a major confidence booster!
4. It is actually just easier to bring lunch now so I bring leftovers I can eat and that usually tastes pretty good. I also won't be tempted by the junk food in the cafeteria at work. Also, now that I do have a bit more energy, I can make healthier compliant dinners with leftovers to spare.
5. It is ridiculous how expensive salads are compared to sandwiches if you're eating out. Anywhere where I can get a decent salad, it's like $10 or more! Where as sandwiches average around $6, 7$. Like I said, being healthy just sucks sometimes, and expensive.

It's been a bumpy ride so far, but I am managing. Thanks for reading my vent session, but I hope you can get something out of it like I did.

On another note, happy 3 year anniversary to my amazing husband! I love you!

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Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

Week 7: Breaking Up with the Scale

This whole journey is not just about losing weight. It’s about knowing how to be far from perfect and still being able to succeed. One thing I’ve learned is that success is not a destination. It takes consistent effort and habit. It’s also about the little triumphs.

I’m still having difficulty allowing myself to have a cheat meal without going overboard. I haven’t really gained significantly, but it’s also hard to tell with the scale…

I was curious to see if I had made any progress so I weighed myself Thursday morning – the scale said I hadn’t gained anything, but hadn’t lost… Which was fine with me. Then yesterday (official Friday check-in), the scale said I had gained 2 lbs! And this morning I went down 1 lb. I know weight fluctuation is common, so I’m taking a break from the scale for now… Or at least trying to not let it discourage me.

So instead, I’ve decided to look back and see how far I’ve come and how much progress I’ve made by compiling a before and current picture of myself.

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The important thing is that I’m still eating healthier most of the time and trying to get more physical activity in. I’ve also slowly been getting back into running. I can feel an improvement in my leg muscles and endurance while I run. My clothes (especially my pants) feel looser. People have also commented on how I look thinner.

Maybe the number on the scale isn’t showing much progress, but the scale is a crappy way to monitor weight loss. I know this. My friends know this. But we still let the number mess with our heads, instead of remembering that measurements and inches lost mean so much more. We still let it mess with us even though we can run longer or lift heavier.

In reality, we’re kicking ass and we’ve come so far! Let’s keep going and we’ll be in a such a better place a year from now. To a healthy life!

 

 

 

Week 6: Baking is a Dangerous Hobby 

Week 6 of my health challenge journey is over. I’m just trying to stay on track after my indulgences from last weekend. Note to self: baking is a dangerous hobby to have while on a diet. Last week, I made cupcakes at a friend’s house, and taste-tested almost everything! It was so good… BUT with all the baking I’ve been doing lately, I am getting sick of looking at cupcakes. So yay…?

I’ve been a little distracted, so I haven’t been blogging as much as I’d like to… Over the past two weeks or so, I’ve immersed myself in other hobbies. I’m learning how to knit and baking a lot. It’s been really fun, but I’m trying to structure and divide up my time so that I can do a little bit of everything and get some variety.

I’ve been so busy with my hobbies that I haven’t been as focused on working out. I plan to focus more on diet and exercise next week. I’ve still been eating pretty well since the weekend. I am slowly trying to get back into running, too.

I am down about 0.6 lbs, and I did lose an inch around my hips! So I’m taking that as a win. Yeah!

Anyways, here are my five things for this week:

  1. I need to be true to myself. I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses. The whole point of this health challenge is to learn how to work with my weaknesses so I can make this a long-term healthy lifestyle. One of my weaknesses is that I exhaust myself when I’m focusing on my goals. I have to remember to allow myself to rest so I can have the stamina to keep going.
  2. I’m losing steam, so I need to spice things up! This week I tried challenging myself to have no sugar. Next week I think I’ll do 30 push-ups a day challenge.
  3. FATHEAD PIZZA is the bomb! I thought cauliflower pizza was good, but OMG, I’ve been missing out. And it’s super filling! You only need 4 ingredients: cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, eggs, and almond flour.
  4. It’s okay to keep it slow and steady. I need to stay focused on my goals, but not get too obsessed with them because otherwise I’ll just easily get discouraged. I have to keep reminding myself that losing weight will take time and consistent effort.
  5. I’m still figuring out how to work in cheat meals in a non-detrimental way. I’m going to try to allow myself just 1 cheat meal a week and see how it goes. Since I’ve taken on baking as one of my hobbies, I’m also making my next project to create healthier versions of cakes and frosting.

Happy low carbing! See you next week!

 

Week 5 Health Challenge Update and Happy Post-Friday!

We made it through this 4-day week! Is it just me or whenever it’s a holiday weekend and we get a shorter week, it almost seems just as long or even longer than a regular five day week?

Confession time… So I had a couple of cheat meals this week… I went out to dinner with friends Saturday night and had salad, but allowed myself to have buffalo wings and indulge in a brownie sundae. Then we celebrated my father-in-law’s birthday Monday evening with a cook-out, in which I may have had a cheeseburger… I also made a cake for him, and of course had a piece (or two…). No judgment please.

Don’t worry, I went back to low carbing the next day.

I felt extremely fatigued this week so I didn’t go to the gym as much as I usually do.

So I was not surprised to see that I didn’t lose anything this week.

But you know what, that’s okay! I am not perfect, and I’m not going to beat up myself over it. I’ll pick up the pieces and keep going. The good news is that I didn’t really gain either (unless you count 0.2 lbs a gain… but if you do, keep it to yourself) so at least I was able to maintain my weight. I’ll use this tiny little setback as motivation for next week!

To help offset some of the extra calories, my hubby and I went hiking on July 4th at Great Falls. It was really hot, but we had a good time and the view of the Potomac River was beautiful. Also, considering that I can get pretty moody when I get uncomfortable, I was extremely… okay. For once, my hubby was the one who wanted to end the hike, when normally I would be the first one ready to call it a day. Instead, I felt like I could have kept going! But I sure slept well that night. I didn’t realize it then, but when I got home, being out in the heat and sun really took a lot out of me.

So in staying with the spirit of remaining optimistic and always learning, here are my five things for this week:

  1. Self-discipline and willpower is a must. When I am able to follow a low-carb diet to the extreme, I have very little cravings, and it’s easy to stay away from blood-sugar-spiking goodies. However, I know if I want to make this a long-term thing and keep it sustainable, I have to work out my willpower muscles. If I don’t exercise them, I can easily have a piece of cake and just fall off the wagon completely. I need to know how to go back to healthy from unhealthy easily and with little hiccup. I also need to make things easier for myself, so I make less decisions, and therefore have more energy for exercising my willpower when I really need it. I used to think it was all or nothing. Now I know better.
  2. I need to motivate myself daily. Staying focused and reviewing my goals daily is a good way to stay on top of things. Have you ever told yourself that you’re going on a diet, but then kind of forget about it and ended up eating junk food anyways? If it’s not constantly on my mind, I get careless. Journal, blog, make lists… I’m going to do whatever I have to do!
  3. Being content and fulfilled in one part of your life does wonders for the other parts. I don’t want to jinx myself, but for the past few weeks, I’ve generally been in a better mood, and dare I say… happy? It just goes to show that happiness really does come from within. I’m focusing on doing something better for myself and it has really helped my state of mind and well-being. Even when I have a bad day, I seem to be handling it better.
  4. I envision having tiny superheros in my body whenever I eat healthy. They are powerful little beings improving me from the inside. I envision my fat cells getting destroyed by these itty bitty Kimmy-version Avengers and X-Men. Smash! It’s silly, but makes me feel good! Hey, whatever works, right?
  5. I’m figuring out my happy medium. I basically had 2 cheat meals this past week which still allowed me to maintain my weight. And this was with minimal exercise. I’ll continue to monitor this as I lose more weight to determine how much I can still indulge without going overboard.

This week got a little busy, so I got delayed in publishing my post. I will continue to aim for publishing my check-in update posts on Fridays unless other circumstances dictate otherwise.

Do you have any great tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle? I’d love to hear about it!