Thursday, April 13, 2017

We were made to Move

Well, friends, I did it. I had a one-on-one Pilates session at Move Studio in Lincolnshire. Everything else I have to say should be prefaced with "ow ow ow ow ow."

Pilates is tricky. It requires time under tension; you rarely let your muscles relax. It isolates muscles that are otherwise hard to isolate. But all that could be learned from a Google search. Let me tell you about my specific experience at Move with the amazing Emily.

Emily's background as a personal trainer comes through in her attention to form, not to mention her clients. She finds a way to make you feel like you can do whatever she asks of you, and mostly you believe it. We began the workout with simple moves that became more difficult as the muscle woke up. The Pilates Bench of Torture (I'm told it's called a "reformer") helps you a bit with springs, but you're mostly working against them. And with each repetition (say, when you're isolating one tricep) that familiar burn seeps in.

And stays.

And then Emily says something like, "Just four more."

And she tells you you can do it, after which you do.

The studio is gorgeous, and it feels good to know that hockey players and soccer moms - and everyone in between - are among the clients.

Truth is, Move is for anyone and everyone. It's for middle aged "fit fat" people like me, it's for lithe dancers, avid runners, yogis, cyclists and anyone who wants to work hard.

And potentially not feel their legs in the morning.

100 Days update: Haven't missed a workout. Haven't missed logging food. Have met my challenges head on. And still haven't regularly photographed my food. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Does the scale matter?

First off, let me tell you ... I still suck at photographing my food. Maybe in another 25 days I'll have that one mastered.

Anyway, it's Day 25! Can you believe it? We're a quarter of the way through 100 Days. It's a little weird to think about it.

So, 25 days ago, I got on the scale. Not a normal scale, mind you, but this one. It doesn't tell me what I weigh; it tells me how much my weight has changed (plus or minus) since my first weigh-in. And wow, what a difference it makes. It puts the focus on change, rather than some far-off end result. (I don't mind telling you, I'm seeing the number trending ever so slowly in the right direction.)

I get on the scale once or twice a week, just to check in. No big deal. But this is about so much more than weighing in.

It's logging my food. Guys, I haven't missed a meal. Not one. In 25 days. (Disclaimer: I leave for Hawaii a week from tomorrow. I'm going to try and log while I'm on vacation, but ... I'm human. And how do you log hula pie?)

It's veggies, it's berries, it's lean protein. And it's the occasional glass of champagne. I am not a barbarian.

It's not missing a workout. It's trying different workouts. I've gotten myself back to yoga class since starting my 100 Days. I got back in the pool for a swim last weekend. I haven't missed a run on my training plan. And this Thursday, in an absolute fit of lunacy, I'll be visiting Move Studio for a one-on-one Pilates lesson. It might kill me, but I'm going to try it!

The thing is, there is so much to consider, to try, to work on here. I've been at it for 25 days, and I'm ready for the next 75. Goals: maybe take a photo. Keep doing workouts that are fun and different and maybe a little scary.

But mostly just keep going.

Thursday, April 6, 2017


I ate two cookies yesterday.

That felt a little bit like I imagine it feels to be a young Catholic headed to her first confession. But here's the thing: cookies aren't sin. And if they are, man, I'm a sinner.

They were delicious.

I'm not prohibiting any foods during my 100 Days, but I am trying to cut back (and eventually eliminate) processed foods. The cookies came from catering here at the university, and I know they were packed with more sugar than I should have in any given day. But seeing as there are no "rules," I didn't break any. So I ate them, and I logged them, and I moved on.

Dessert lately has been some honey yogurt in a martini glass (fancy!) topped with some shaved dark chocolate. For a girl who used to enjoy a Klondike bar (or two?) each night, this is an odd indulgence, but it does indeed feel indulgent. And a couple of cookies (one white chocolate macadamia, one snickerdoodle) did not derail the train.

Nope, last night I was right back at the gym. Dinner was sushi (thank you, Trader Joe!) and my treat (did I need one after two cookies?) was ... you guessed it ... berries and yogurt. That's what I want at the end of the night. Not ice cream, but yogurt. (With a little shaved chocolate. I'm not a barbarian.)

So here I am on Day 20. DAY 20 I SAID! Crazy. I suck at taking photos of my food. I thought that would be the easiest, but it turns out I'm an epic failure. Think I'm kidding? This is literally all the food I've had this week, if you trust the photos on my camera:
Sunday's bloody mary

Sunday's post-race breakfast. (And dinner.)

Berries and yogurt from I think Monday

Monday breakfast shake and coffee

Monday second breakfast

Monday dinner. Hey, I did pretty well on Monday!

Tuesday lunch. Be jealous; it was fabulous.

Wednesday dinner

Wednesday dessert

But hey, I have 80 days left; I can improve.

I have done at least five days of working out each week. I haven't missed a run. And I've logged all my food with the exception of BaconFest because how the hell do you log 75 bites of weird food that has no entry in MyFitnessPal? Get real. I even logged my bloody mary (okay, two bloody marys) last Sunday. This, my friends, is progress.

And that is the real essence of my 100 Days project; to find progress in unconventional ways. I struggle when I don't see progress on the scale. The weight moves away from me slowly, but the other changes? Those are already happening.

I'm feeling strong. I'm feeling confident. I don't let myself talk myself out of a workout. I even look forward to my workouts like I did back in the day.

I missed that version of me; it's good to know she hadn't strayed far.

But it's also good to know that I can have a cookie (or two) on occasion and not feel like I've lost the wagon entirely.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Left field

Sometimes, life surprises you.

For a long time, I understood how differently I felt when I worked out regularly. It made a huge diffence in my emotional state, and I was in a great routine.

Then, well over two years ago, I got sick ... and that brought with it a downward spiral that I just couldn't find my way out of.

I'm not sain' I'm out of the woods, but I feel like I'm on my way back. I'm trusting myself to take a rest day and not derail my everything. It's different. It's good. The realization sorta hit me out of nowhere.

Speaking of which, tonight I ran into a friend in the locker room who asked me if I was still considering becoming an instructor. I'll be honest; it's something I'd love to do, but I know I need to get closer to my goal weight in order to be a credible instructor. So from here on Day 18, that's something I'm letting myself think about again.

And yeah ... all of this hit me out of left field.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Lucky number 13

Y'all, I'm on Day 13. Maybe not remarkable to anyone but me, but it's damn well a thing in my book. Almost two weeks down!

And it's going well. Not perfect, but well.

And that's the whole thing, really. It isn't about being perfect. It's about maintaining motivation even when it isn't perfect. So here's what's the what this week:

  • On Sunday, my sister and I did a run through the park near where we grew up. The one-mile course has five exercise stations positioned at intervals around it. They almost killed us. We completed the course  twice, and then went to look at wolves and otters. (We saw eagles and a cougar, but no otters.) (Dammit.)
  • Other workouts this week included another great run, lots of weights, and C9 - this horribly awesome weight training/cardio class at the gym. 
  • On the food front, I suck at taking pictures of my food. Seriously, this morning I sat down to breakfast and thought "take a picture" right before I ate it, and then promptly forgot and ate. This habit may take awhile to really solidify. Obvi.
  • Water? Bad. I haven't gotten nearly my allotment this week. Something to work on, I suppose.
  • I have logged all my food. All of it. This may prove difficult tonight, because I am volunteering at BaconFest, and most of the offerings there will not be in My Fitness Pal. But I'm planning carefully, not indulging in all the things but instead going in with a Luna bar and not allowing hunger to lead me. I'm going to enjoy a few things, and forgo the rest. Because I love bacon, but I am not stupid.
This weekend is the Shamrock Shuffle, my favorite race of the year. It's an 8K (just a smidge under 5 miles) and I'm not really trained for that. But I'm going to head out with the intention of having a great time, and that's really the whole point, right? 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

One week

Here we are on Day 8 of 100. I'm feeling pretty confident, but with 92 to go, there's a lot left that could happen.

This week, I managed to:
  • Make it to two yoga classes
  • Get three run workouts done on a 5k training plan
  • Lots of walking; twice at treadmill desks at the office
  • Did a weight training workout at home when I forgot my shoes
  • Took an intentional rest day
  • Schedule a Pilates introductory class at a studio recently opened by a friend
And, believe it or not, I logged my food. I didn't get pictures of everything as I intended, but I feel pretty good about the logging. 

It was a very good week. The confidence I feel when I make myself eat right and get the workouts in is such a bonus. I know I am very lucky to have the opportunities to move that I do, so it's good to feel like I am getting back into the habit of making use of the opportunities I have. 

The one potential pitfall I had was going to Eataly with my sisters yesterday. We all managed to navigate wisely, taking most of our lunches home. We ordered pizzas and shared some appetizers, and while pizza is an indulgence (oh blissful carb, I love you so) it's not such a bad thing when you eat only a third of it. Plus, all that walking! Getting to 10,000 steps yesterday was super easy. I feel like I really earned the sitting down when it was all over. 

This morning was the usual Saturday morning workout, and it felt great to get it done. It's been a good week. I hope to be able to same in another week's time.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Checking in - Day 5

This morning I started Day 5 of my 100 Day Challenge. And I woke up a little proud of myself.

Last night, I went to the gym only to quickly leave the gym. I'd forgotten my gym shoes, and I didn't think combat boots would quite get me through the workout. So, when I got home ... I worked out. Yep; turned on my trusty app and got 46 minutes of body-weight muscle toning in, and I followed the workout up with a pretty delicious salad and yogurt.

If this had happened last week, it would likely have resulted in a trip to the Whole Foods hot bar for mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese, and possibly gelato. Not that any of that is verboten (even with my new mindset), there just really needs to be a reason for it. And no, a day that ends in "y" is not a reason. Either I earn it with a serious workout, or there's an event or celebration behind it. (Preferably, I will earn it AND there will be a celebration.)

What's more, after I had my dinner and yogurt last night, I just brushed my teeth. Nope, no more food tonight. You will not tempt me, Kind bars!

So here's the real dill pickle: this isn't hard, but it's hard. I have to continually remind myself that this isn't a quick fix. It's not really about what I'm eating; it's about being real about what I'm eating, and being diligent about getting to the gym.

It's about focus. And sometimes I lose focus.

Here's what I know on Day 5: I feel good. I'm sleeping great. And I'm excited about trying new things. That's sort of a tertiary goal here - trying new things. I'm counting yoga in that, because I haven't been going regularly to yoga in a really long time. So all those places that offer you a free workout to try? I'm trying them. Orange Theory? Bring it on. A friend of mine just opened her own pilates studio, and I am pumped to try it. And yes, I'm challenging myself to get to at least one yoga class every week, because I know it will tap into parts of me that need to be awakened and worked. Scary? A little. And that's okay.

For the moment, though, I'm off to walk on a treadmill and answer some emails before going to meditation class. Because that's something new, too.