Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Progress Report

I have lost four pounds in a month.

When you have significant weight to lose and it comes off slowly, it can be easy to get discouraged. Diets promise quick losses. Hell, the cover of Women's Health this month promised to get me "bikini ready in 10 days." (Side note: it's a distinct possibility that particular headline thinks I'm far closer to swimsuit comfort than I actually am. Also, the editor must be an asshole.)

Quick losses aren't inherently bad. They can give you the motivation you need to keep going. Losing six pounds in the first week - mostly water - can make you feel successful because of the number on the scale. But that's all it is; a number on the scale. Do I want bigger numbers? I'd be lying if I said I didn't. But the truth is, looking back over the past month, I see greater success than one can measure on a scale; far greater, for sure, than the measurement of my body's relationship to gravity.

I'm eating better; consuming whole, real foods and fueling the athletic events life puts in my path. Over last weekend, I completed a 5K and a two-hour indoor cycle event, and this week tri training begins in earnest. There's good stuff happening. But probably the goodest (oh, shut it; sometimes I talk bad) is that I'm learning not to obsess about the number.

It's only four pounds. But the difference it's made in me is so much bigger than that. I can see it in my cheekbones. My belly fits better in my bikini underwear. (I am not, however, "bikini ready," regardless of what the magazine says.) I honestly have more energy. This is not about weightloss anymore; it really has become about me, who I am, what I need, and how I can be a better athlete.

So yeah, I'm down four. I'd like to lose another 20 to 30. But the real goals are to be able to crank out 30 push-ups from my toes. Do a decent pull-up ... and then another. Those sorts of things. The rest? That's just gravy.

But since we're here, let's look at last week.

  • Monday: Did not work out; still sick. Ate within guidelines.
  • Tuesday: Took spin class. Ate within guidelines.
  • Wednesday: Took barbell class and ran two miles. Ate within guidelines.
  • Thursday: Did not work out; felt like I needed rest. Ate a few calories over.
  • Friday: Did not work out; had an event with my sister. Did not log calories. Tried to stick within program, but ate some sweets.
  • Saturday: Did a 5K, ate within guidelines (which was easy because it was "cheat day.")
  • Sunday: Did a two-hour spin class.

Honestly, this is a pretty good week for anyone, and in my case - recovering from strep and an awful cold - I think getting anything accomplished is a solid win.

So far this week, I have a solid training plan. Three weight training sessions, three runs, some yoga, some swimming, and maybe - just maybe - I'll get the bike out of storage. It's time. Outdoor workouts, here I come! (Also, when I finally weigh less than 200 pounds, prepare to cover your ears; you're gonna hear me hollering!)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

But you can just call me Maggie.

You guys, guess what? I just heard from the manager of PR at Lifetime Fitness corporate, and I've been chosen as an Esprit de She Brand Ambassador!

Esprit de She is a women's race series, and they do two in Chicago each year - a sprint triathlon and a 5K. Dedicated to "the spirit of her," Esprit de She is a great opportunity for women to come together and participate in the athletic endeavors that keep our hearts and minds healthy. I'm proud to be associated with them.

As an ambassador, I'll be sharing information about the events I'm participating in, and encouraging all my friends (well, the women, anyway!) to join me. I am already registered for the triathlon - it takes place in June - and I haven't made up my mind yet about the 5K. Unless something comes up on that date (it's July 24, a Thursday night, in the city) I think I'll do it. Care to join me?

And that's it; that's the Big News. I'm thrilled to play a small part in the great work Esprit de She does to promote fitness among women. It's a great organization, and I'm ready to go!

Ambassador Bieritz, out!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Of weddings and weigh-ins

I was out of town last weekend, so I didn't get an "official" weigh-in done. I did, however, make a fair estimate that I am down another pound. Let's hope that come Saturday morning, this holds true.

Turns out it's either not hard at all or insurmountably difficult to stay on an eating plan while traveling. Stick with me here; I promise it makes sense. I would wake up in the morning and have a cold chocolate fudge pre-made shake; I brought them with me. Perfect breakfast; set me out the door to my morning run ready to go.

On the way back up, I would stop at the St. Arbucks in the lobby of the hotel for a tall nonfat latte, no sugar. I'm getting used to these, I tell ya! Once back up in the room, I showered and changed and went about the business of doing whatever needed to be done; hair and makeup for myself for the wedding, or helping others get ready, whatever. It was nice to have "approved" snacks with me - 100-calorie packs of almonds, and protein bars that work as a meal - so I didn't feel hungry and then make bad choices.

And then, it would be dinner time. Both Friday and Saturday presented me with options any sane person would struggle with. On Friday I opted for one slice of Lou's, a small salad, a beer (oh, how I love pizza and beer) and half a slice of cheesecake. Not great by any means, but not awful.

Saturday night, however, our food choices included a mashed potato bar, a macaroni and cheese bar, and a slider bar. I was in trouble.

I ate it all. Plus a piece of cake, because it was actually good.

So I wasn't perfect ... but I didn't go off the chain, either. I think it's possible to do okay and not completely lose your shit when it comes to eating. I had fun, I ran each morning, and I was mindful of what I was eating. I didn't put butter on my potatoes (although I did go for a little cheese. And bacon.) and I didn't feel full afterward. I call that a win.

And, now that I'm home, I feel like I'm coming down with a cold. It's always somethin', isn't it?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday (or, here's what's weighing on me)

So Saturday is the official weigh-in day. I am working hard at this. I want to lose the last 20 (or 40, or 50) pounds and just see what that's like. I am committed.

I worked hard last week. Monday was a rest day (not because it was scheduled, but because I left my sports bra at home.) Tuesday I did cardio dance (awesome!) Wednesday, I ran and took barbell class. Thursday, spin. Friday, swim and hot yoga. Saturday morning, I weighed 213.4 - only 1.2 down from the previous week.

I was so disappointed, because the night before when I weighed (which I shouldn't have but whatever) I was 210.6. That would've represented a four pound loss. Instead, I have to be content with 1.2.

And I am oka with it, honestly. A pound a week, over time, adds up. But I want that week that's a huge success. I want that four-pound loss. But is that sustainable? No. Not sensible either, and certainly not what I should expect. But man, for that one moment when that's what the scale said, I was so happy.

Soon, however, I will once again weigh what my drivers license says I weigh. And shortly after that, I'll stop obsessing.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Open to change

So the nutrition plan started last week. Weigh-in happened on Saturday morning.


This is not a proud number. It is hard to own it, but it's not like I can hide it, so there you are. The good news is, this number represents a two-pound loss from the previous week. Two pounds is pretty significant, if you ask me!

So even though we're already mid-week, let's take a look at how last week went.

Nutritionally, I stuck to the plan. There were a few meals that I actually missed because I haven't been feeling well. Having no appetite meant I just napped through meals. This is not a lifestyle choice. I think it's important to say that missing meals is not a sign of disordered eating. I just really wasn't hungry, because I was (and I think I still am) fighting something. So Sunday through Friday, I eat six small meals a day, each three hours apart. Each must consist of a serving of protein and a serving of complex carbs. Sugar is cut considerably (trying for no food with more than two grams of sugar) and good fat (olive oil, nuts, avocado) are consumed in moderation.

I am not hungry following this plan, but I will admit that sometimes it's hard to get the food in every three hours. Right now, for example, I realized I'm 30 minutes late for second breakfast. But changing the way you eat, just like anything new, takes practice. I'll get there.

Workouts last week were outstanding. Here's how everything came together:

  • Monday: Two-mile run and barbell class. (This class kicks my ass.)
  • Tuesday: Rock the Funk class, an absolutely awesome high intensity cardio dance class. In 45 minutes, I burned 567 calories.
  • Wednesday: Three-mile run and barbell class. Between these two activities, I burned over 1,000 calories.
  • Thursday: I can't remember, so I must have taken a rest day. (Seriously, who forgets one week to the next?)
  • Friday: Easy swim, followed by a yoga clinic.
  • Saturday: One hour spin class, followed by weight training class (free weights this time).
  • Sunday: Rest day

Very pleased that I've added more strength training to the regimen. It is HARD. My barbell instructor is tough; she requires 15 pushups from each student before class begins. She suggests you lift as much as you can with good form. She is relentless, and this is exactly what I need. It's what I've gotten from Pam in Schaumburg over the years, and having that same attitude at the location closer to home means I get to give my body what it really needs.

I can feel myself getting stronger, and I am seeing changes in my face already. I'm much prettier when I get under 210; I might be close to that this week.

And that's where we stand. Saturday is weigh-in day once again. Fingers crossed; I believe I'm at the turning point. Swimsuit season is going to be awesome this year.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Turning the page

To say that my last post resonated with a lot of people is an understatement. Your messages and support have meant a helluva lot to me, and I can honestly tell you it makes me feel more capable to know you think I am. That's awesome. That's what friends do for me, and it matters.

Since that post, I've taken some important steps, and you'll begin to see the results right here. First, a friend of mine kindly offered to help me get my nutrition in line. Because I am not stupid, and because this person is a medical expert and (in my opinion, anyway) an elite athlete, I took her up on the offer. The way I eat is changing drastically.

The short of it is, I'm eating six small meals every day, with protein and complex carbs at every meal and veggies at at least two of 'em. Every three hours, food goes in my mouth hole. One day a week, I get to cheat. I feel consistently satisfied (but I'm not gonna lie; I am really looking forward to my cheat day!)

But here's the thing: the whole point is to fuel the inner athlete. When I began to consider this concept, everything changed.

I know that sounds crazy. The conversation happened on Saturday, and since then everything changed? Well, yeah. Because the way I think changed, everything changed. It's possible, friends.

When I started looking at food as fuel, I started thinking of myself as a being to be fueled. And I started working harder. Pushing my run pace from slow to less slow. Venturing into higher cardio zones. Lifting heavier weight (while keeping perfect form, natch). Finding the edges. Not taking no for an answer. Trying harder. Taking a ridiculously fun, awesome, exhausting and fabulous class (thanks, DT!)

In short, I've turned a page. I've always been relentless. Now, I'm sorta ... relentlesser. I gave up excuses for Lent, and now there's no turning back.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The whole point

So my last post seems to have resonated with more emotion and with more people than anything I've shared publicly before. I've spent a week trying to figure out why, and I'm finally content to just acknowledge that I touched a nerve with a lot of people. Because in some way, we're all on a quest to be a better version of ourselves.

And we all struggle, at some point along the way.

I think it's important to note that my post, in all its honesty, was not me being in a dark place, or feeling low at all. It was simply me, owning my baggage, letting it be real, and tearing it away to move on to what's next.

There is always something next.

Next, for me, is a process I'm figuring out. Two weeks ago, I was sound asleep, awaiting my fifth half marathon in a year's time. Now, I don't have a race of that distance coming up until October at the earliest. From here, anything is possible, and everything is a little daunting. For three years, I have had a Big Race to prep for. Now, it's just life. How does one go about prepping for just plain life after that?

I've determined one does that by first acknowledging that life is never "just plain." And second, by kicking ass.

I'll be kicking ass by adding more weight training, cycling and swimming to the regimen. I'll be spending the summer focusing on tri training, because the built-in cross-training is awesome. And finally, with the help of an amazing friend, I'm getting my nutrition in check. Her advice, in a nutshell, is to fuel the athlete that I am.

Instinctively, I wanted to laugh. And then I realized ... she's right. I am. I'm an athlete with big goals.  A bucket list I really can't afford but intend to complete anyway. And a deep desire to be that version of me I see beneath all the bullshit.

There is prevailing wisdom and some proof that when I get close to something I really want, I sabotage myself. I do it with weightloss, I've done it in my career, and some might say I did it in my marriage, too. But the truth is, that's not me. I've come too far, accomplished too much, to let myself down.

You're invited, as always, to come along for the ride as I figure all this out. But what I believe more strongly than anything else is this: the whole point is to be challenged by yourself. To face challenges head on. To wonder if its possible and then prove that it is. To acknowledge your age, your skill level (or lack thereof), your particular obstacles ... and then just crush 'em. To let nothing stand in your way.

Obstacles are there to be surpassed or destroyed. My inner saboteur is goin' down.