Sunday, January 26, 2014

Yet another new thing, although it's not really new anymore


It's me again. Lynnette. The girl that's always looking for some new way to stay in shape and lose weight. I'm at it again. This time, I've decided to try personal training. Yes, it's expensive. I go twice a week. I've been seeing my trainer for three months now. I've decided to stick with it for one more month.

Going into it, I thought it was going to be the magic pill that would get these 10 pounds off of my body. You know, the 10 pounds I've been talking about for years? Yes, that same 10 pounds is STILL there. I thought that having a trainer who was also coaching me in nutrition, and knowing I was paying a lot of money for the support, I would magically be motivated to really focus on what I was eating, and be able to lose the 10 pounds.

But that didn't happen. Am I worse off for it? Well, I've spent a lot of money. But in the end, I do think it was worth it. Although the scale hasn't budged, some of my pants do feel smaller. I just wish that I could have been stronger about the food I was putting into my body. I'm excited about the strength I've gained. And I'm looking forward to the group training I plan to do once I'm done with this last month. But what if…

So what is it about food that I can't stop myself? Overall, I know that eat well. I try to incorporate fruits and vegetables into all of my meals and snacks. I try to eat whole grains and little wheat. I eat small amounts of processed stuff. I eat low fat dairy products. I don't drink soda, juices, or coffee. So where do I go wrong? Sweets. Cookies. Chocolate. Donuts. Bagels. Yes, I realize the irony of trying to eat real food, whole grains, and little wheat in my normal diet, but somehow when it comes to sweets, I think it's ok to still eat those things. Well, not really. I know it's not ok. But my brain must do some weird thing where it lets me convince myself otherwise. I know that all that crap is not good for me. And I know that I'm not going to lose those 10 pounds without giving up most of those treats. But somehow, having a meal plan where I don't have to count calories or points, I fear, is actually hindering me from losing the weight. I have at least been documenting everything I eat. They say that if you do that, you'll likely eat less. Well guess what? I still eat the sweets. And I write them down. And I feel bad about it. But then at the next opportunity that they present themselves, I eat them again. And again. And again. It sucks. I'm so tired of feeling guilty about every sweet that I put in my mouth. And I'm also tired of these 10 pounds I can't get rid of.

So I don't know what to do. I bought a new book. The Sugar Smart Diet. I thought maybe if I followed a regimented plan that is designed to curb the sugar cravings, it might help kick start the weight loss. I've just been reading the book. I haven't started the diet yet. 

Also, and this is new, I'm having trouble getting motivated to work out, mostly on the weekends. I see the trainer on Mondays and Fridays. I'm able to work out at home on Tuesdays and Wednesdays without a problem. I can't work out on Thursdays…too busy. I would really like to do some sort of workout on Saturdays and Sundays, even if it was just 15 minutes. But it is so cold in Pittsburgh right now, and on the weekends, I just want to sleep and stay snuggled in my bed, and have my 9-year-old daughter come and hang out with me in bed. So then I'll often tell myself that I'll just work out later, maybe before lunch. Well, that never happens either. By 11:00 am, we're usually into something together, even if that might just be watching something on TV. But we're together, and I don't want to leave that comfy place of togetherness just to get a workout in. So I've been struggling with workout motivation, too. 

Am I just getting too old for all of this? Have I done it for so many years that I'm losing my oomph? Have I lost the will to keep it up? I don't know what's going on. I just wish it would go back to the way it was. Years ago when I lost 15 pounds on Weight Watchers… I want THAT motivation again. Those days when I was excited to work out 6 days a week? Yeah, I need that back, too. I don't want to get lazy. I don't want to gain weight. I just want to be happy. And I don't want meal planning to consume me. I want it to all just happen naturally and easily. Does everybody that's in shape and eats well work hard at it? If not, how do they do it?

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A new diet and fitness program

A while ago, I found a fitness blog that seemed interesting to me. It was called The Great Fitness Experiment. The woman who writes that blog has dedicated herself to fitness, and trying out all kinds of fitness programs, and reporting back to her readers on how the plans worked for her. She also has gigs writing for Shape magazine and others like that. I find her credible and funny, and very candid and not afraid to share. I like that. It's very honest. 

Anyway, several months ago, I read a review that she wrote for a new book by Rachel Cosgrove. I had never heard of Rachel Cosgrove, but apparently she is a fitness guru who owns a gym in California, and she seems to be quite popular. How I had never heard of her baffles me, but on with the story. Charlotte, the blogger, didn't like Rachel's new program, but she raved about one that she had done years earlier. So I read Charlotte's old post from when she did the old program, and I was intrigued. I ended up buying Rachel's old book, The Fit Female Breakthrough, and started reading it.

It took me a while to get through it (life is always so busy!), but I finally finished it while on vacation back in July. The book is for women, clearly from its title. The book's philosophy focuses on heavy weight training, and how to eat to fuel your body. I started the program three weeks ago, and I really enjoy the workouts. I do weight training three days a week, and this week, my third week, I added in a day of cardio. The book talks about how the typical steady-state cardio that a lot of people do at the gym (treadmill, elliptical, or even running that you do outdoors) are not efficient ways to work your body to lose weight. Instead, the cardio you do in this book is very metabolic. I think of it more as calisthenics. Burpees, mountain climbers, spider mans, jump squats, etc. You do them in circuits, so for the first two weeks, you do each exercise for 30 seconds each, with 30 seconds of rest in between. 

The eating part of the program focuses on eating a protein and a vegetable/fruit at every meal, including each snack. And you're allowed 4 splurges per week. Also, you're supposed to eat breakfast within 15 minutes of waking up every day, in order to keep your metabolism stoked. And you're supposed to have a protein shake within 15 minutes of your weight workouts. In addition, you're supposed to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. And you're supposed to eat every three to four hours. The big kickers are no wheat, no added sugar, and no processed foods (except in your splurges, I guess).

In all honesty, that last sentence hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be. So often, I was feeling so miserable after eating, and I was unsure what was causing it. I'd get this pain in my intestines, almost gas-like, but not quite. Maybe crampy? I don't know. Whatever it was, I didn't like it, and I always felt bloated and uncomfortable. But since I started this plan, I haven't really felt that way, and I don't feel bloated anymore. I have splurged each week, probably more than my four allowed times. Some splurges are not worth it. I was at an out-of-town wedding last weekend, and really couldn't control a lot of what I had available to eat. After our drive home last Sunday, I felt miserable. It was all from the food. Amazing. Today, I was pouring my daughter a bowl of cereal, and I decided to taste it (it was Vanilla Honey Bunches of Oats, which sounded delicious), and I was a bit grossed out. It just didn't taste good. It tasted fake. Not like real food. So if anything, I'm happy about the change in my taste buds.

I've been eating oatmeal for breakfast when my breakfast isn't a protein shake. I love oatmeal, and I usually put some fruit in it (blueberries are my favorite). You would think after three weeks, I wouldn't miss the sugar anymore, but no. I still miss it terribly. I'd love to put a spoonful of brown sugar in there, but alas, I don't. I just try to appreciate the texture and flavor of the oatmeal on its own.

Other meals have been ok. The book says not to worry about your good-fat intake, so I've not cut back on that sort of thing. For instance, I make my own salad dressing, and it's a full-fat olive oil dressing. I only use 2 tablespoons with my salad, and I have that for lunch Monday through Friday. When I'm home for lunch, I make a panini using olive oil instead of butter on my bread. I use low-fat cheese, and usually turkey (lunchmeat without nitrites), on sprouted grain bread (this is low on the glycemic index, so is acceptable on this plan). Dinners are always a low-fat protein of some, pork, lean ground beef, top sirloin, chicken...a vegetable, and a starch (non-wheat, like brown rice, potatoes, or a rice pasta).

I've been really good at resisting the treats that people bring in to work, and like I said, I haven't splurged much (although it's probably been more than the allotted four times each week). 

Why am I telling you all of this? Because after my first week, I was down a pound. After my second week, I was up a pound. Really? Now, granted, Rachel tells you in the book that you may not see the number on the scale change, but you will be able to tell that you're changing the shape of your body based on how your clothes are fitting. And I think I'm ok with that. But somehow, I'm still disturbed by the lack of movement on the scale. I think what bothers me is that my fat % didn't go down. If my fat % went down (which would mean that my muscles were growing), but my weight stayed the same, I'd be ok with that. But when it's all not budging, well, then I wonder if what I'm doing is working.

But then I think of Charlotte, and how successful she was on the program. And how much she raved about the program. And how other readers of hers raved about the program, and how quickly they saw results. And here I am after week three, and I am barely noticing any changes. In fact, the only change I notice is that I'm not as bloated. Am I stronger? I don't know. Am I leaner? I don't know. My scale doesn't say so. Do I feel better about the food I'm putting in my body? Yes. Do I miss my bowls of cereal? Absolutely. I'm looking forward to the day that I don't miss that anymore. Missing it means I'm going to be tempted by it. And if I am just maintaining my weight by eating mostly what I'm supposed to, I can't afford to be tempted by it. There is no room for error here.

Anyway, that's what I've been up to lately in my month or so since I last wrote. I'll be checking my measurements after the end of my first phase, which ends after week four. We'll see if there's been any change. Wish me luck. 

Has anyone out there ever tried this Rachel Cosgrove program? And if so, were you successful? Is there hope if I just stick it out?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I'm a jerk

I discovered today that I'm a jerk. 

This afternoon, I went to a picnic with some other 40-somethings... men and women. Some are parents. Some are not. Some are married. Some are not. When I arrived, we were greeted by an old friend, male. It has been a few years since we last saw him, and while my first thought was, "give me a big hug, I've missed you," my second thought was, "huh, he gained weight since the last time we saw him." I'm a jerk, right? Then I wondered, what is he thinking about me? What about me has changed for the worse since the last time we were together? Are my hips bigger? Did my butt grow two sizes? Do I look old?

These are the thoughts that go through my head when I interact with people, especially people that I don't see on a regular basis. But even the ones that I see on a regular basis, sometimes I think, "How can you stand being that heavy? Isn't that uncomfortable? How do you go to the bathroom?" Shallow, right? See, I told you that I'm a jerk.

Most of the other people at the picnic today were people I didn't know. They all were perfectly nice, but you know what my first thought was when I met each of them? Yup, you guessed it. "Huh, you're a little chubby." 

What the heck is wrong with me? Why am I so hung up on people's physical appearance? Although I am hung up on it, I don't like anyone any less because of their weight, height, or appearance. In fact, I bet that I see beauty in people that other people find it hard to see. But these are just things I notice. It works in the other direction, too. And of course, with those people I wonder, "How does he/she stay so thin? I see all those cookies they're eating." And soon, that turns to, "it's just not fair" and "why can't I eat whatever I want and stay thin like that, too?"

Am I so critical of other people's appearance because I'm so critical of my own appearance (all of those things I thought about everyone else today, I also think about myself)? Or is it the other way around? Or doesn't it matter? Am I just a jerk and an idiot? The women I met today seemed to be so comfortable in their own, imperfect bodies. Why can't I have that confidence? But I also wonder, "don't they know how terrible they look in those clothes that don't fit their bodies right?" I want to have confidence, but I also want to look good, no matter what my size. Why? I don't know. Am I vain? How did I get this way? And the better question is how do I keep from passing this ridiculousness on to my daughter? I don't want her to be like me. I want her to see the world through eyes that don't notice the imperfections on others or herself. I want her to love herself, and be confident. How do I teach her that when I can't do it myself?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


I had bloodwork done a couple of months ago. I was due. It had been over three years since the last time I had my cholesterol checked. The last time, my doctor said it was high, but that my HDL was really, really good, so he wasn't concerned. This time around, though, my LDL was also high, and my doctor (different from last time) told me that I need to go on a low-fat diet (this is kind of ironic, because I do eat low-fat foods when I can).

I listened to her for about the first week. Then I quit trying.

I always quit trying. And then I hate myself. And then I see myself with probably 40 pounds more than I have on my body. I just can't seem to see myself the way the rest of the world sees me. I don't understand it. I don't know why I'm flawed this way. 

So what do I do about this high cholesterol thing? I want to eat better than I do. I really do. I eat pretty well, for the most part, but often I just throw in the towel and give up trying. Sometimes it's just too hard to do it right all the time. There's not enough time. I don't have enough energy. I've contemplated calling a nutritionist. What I really want is someone that I can talk to. I want to tell them this:

I like to work out. I'm not afraid to lift heavy weights. My goal is to weigh 125 pounds, and be very toned. But I also like to eat. Here's the foods I like to eat: chicken, hamburgers, pasta, mexican, chinese, italian, cheese, cereal, apples, bananas, grapes, avocado, tomatoes, green beans, rice, etc., etc. Can you help me to create a meal plan using the foods I love that will help me to lose weight at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week? Provide me with recipes for foods I like and can actually prepare, and that actually taste good. Help me determine how much cardio and weight training I need to be doing every day to reach my goal.

This seems like a simple request, right? I'm sure it's run-of-the-mill normal stuff for most nutritionists. I just need to be willing to pick up the phone and call someone. Life gets so busy, and I put this on the back burner. But every day that I do that is another day that I hate my body. I continue to sabotage myself by throwing caution to the wind and just eating mindlessly. 

And then my age... I'm 44 years old. I feel like, yet again, my body is going through changes. It's just getting harder and harder to maintain my weight. I'm not succeeding at this. Every week that I get on the scale, it's up again. Maybe just a tad, but a tad every week will result in 10 pounds by the end of the year, and that will just devastate me.

I'm rambling. I'm sorry. I am so busy, with so much to do, and I shouldn't be spending my time writing this blog entry. But here I am anyway. It's mini therapy, kind of. 

Anyway, before I go, here is my positive thing for the day—the thing I like about my body: I think I can wear clothes well. I know what looks best on me, and I know what flatters my figure. I think that most people see me as a thin, petite woman because I know how to hide my flaws. So I'll leave it at that, before I go all negative again. I like the way I look in most clothes I own. Yay!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

No time to read

I have had zero free time to myself to get any further reading done in my Rachel Cosgrove book. I'm bummed, because I really do feel like I need a swift kick in the pants to get my diet back in order (by diet, I don't mean the kind that helps you lose weight; I just mean the eating-right-on-a-regular-basis diet). But alas, when 8:30 at night rolls around and I'm finally sitting down, we actually engage in our nightly ritual of watching some TV before my daughter goes off to bed. It's weird, but when one of us is in the room, but not engaged in the show we're watching, it changes the dynamic of the experience of "family time", as we call it, so I don't like to read or anything else during that time. Anyway, once the kid goes off to bed and it's about 9:30, I then want to enjoy some TV watching with my hubby. So the moments I have to squeeze in time for reading a book are few and far between, unless I want to (and actually can) stay up late. Which I usually don't want to do since I get up at 5:45 am to go to the gym most mornings.

And so the cycle continues.

I weighed myself today. 138.8 pounds. I'm up almost 2 pounds from where I was last week when I weighed in. I honestly don't know what goes on in my body. I wish that I truly understood all of the molecular things going on in there because I just find it hard to believe that with what I eat and the working out that I do regularly, I still gain weight.

So what did I eat yesterday? Well, breakfast was a delicious bowl of oatmeal with some blueberries and packet of Truvia. I was too busy for a snack in the morning. Then I went to lunch at Mad Mex. I love Mad Mex, and this time I ordered wisely and got the grilled chicken salad. Of course, we had chips to start off, and I probably ate more than I should have, but seriously, don't we all? And does everyone perpetually gain 2 pounds every week? I would think not. This is when I get all "woe is me" and think that I'm the only one this happens to. 

Anyway, my salad was great. Not too much chicken, a scant serving of melted cheese, and half of an avocado. I got the dressing on the side, and used probably the normal 2 tablespoons serving size.

Back at the office, I had 2 mini Reese's peanut butter cups for dessert. Then later for a snack, I had a blueberry Greek yogurt, and maybe 4 little honey braided pretzel sticks.

For dinner, I had a 3-oz. lean hamburger on a bun, no cheese, vegetarian baked beans, and a small serving of boxed mac-n-cheese (organic, mind you). For dessert, I had a 60-calorie popsicle. When I got hungry later, I made some air-popped popcorn with 1 tablespoon of melted butter.

So you tell me, since this was a fairly typical day of eating, does a diet like this sound like the kind of diet that is going to make someone that works out 5 to 6 days a week gain weight? I don't think it does. But it does. So apparently, for as knowledgeable as I think I am in the world of nutrition and health, I don't know as much as I think I know. Or I am in so much denial that I can't see the bad in my regular diet, maybe because I don't want to change my eating habits. I don't know.

Anyway, let me move on to something positive. I've been lifting weights at the gym for almost four months now. I really enjoy this form of exercise. Just recently, I realized that I can't continue to let the cardio workouts take a backseat (I was only doing them maybe twice a week if I was lucky), so I've been trying to do 25 minutes each day of cardio, then about 20 minutes of lifting. I really feel good about this routine. My cardio is hard. I sweat, and I like the way that makes me feel. I sweat when I lift, too, because I'm lifting heavy. At least it is heavy for me. I do 15-pound bicep curls with free weights. Same for chest flys (or is that flies?). Triceps aren't as strong, so I probably do 10-pound free weights for those. My legs are strong, so I can do 20 or 25 pounds in each hand for squats. My shoulders are sensitive so I never try to push them too much. They're in that range, too. But all this muscle building makes me feel strong, and I like to feel strong. 

So today's thing I like about my body: my strength. Yay, me!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day is bad for my health

Boy, did I eat like crap yesterday.

It was Father's Day, so I wanted to treat my hubby to anything he wanted. I told him I'd like to take him out to breakfast. He was thrilled. So we met up with his parents at The Beach House out in Finleyville. We love it there. They have such a variety of breakfast foods. I opted for The Sand Dollar, which was two pancakes (which are huge), home fries, and bacon. I had water to drink. I only ate one pancake, and half of my potatoes, and I didn't quite finish the bacon. But still. It was a lot of food. And none of it was good for me.

Then for lunch, we went to a graduation party where all of the food was homemade. It was all good. Since we had such a big breakfast, I wasn't starving, so I didn't overdo it. I had one stuffed cabbage roll, one small meatball, some haluski, and one peirogie (how in the world do you spell that word??). While it wasn't much, it was more of the same from breakfast. Fattening, greasy, floury food.

For dinner, I had suggested to Jack that I make magic chicken (that's his term for it; it's breaded chicken, baked in the oven, that you dip in garlic butter before dipping it in the breadcrumb mixture which has parmasean and cheddar cheese in it), and he was excited about that. Then he also asked for homemade macaroni and cheese. Plus I knew I needed to make him dessert, so I made a strawberry pie. I added some broccoli with olive oil to get something somewhat healthy in there. But the chicken—oh my! There was a whole stick of butter that coated 8 pieces of chicken. It felt so indulgent. And the macaroni and cheese! I'm not one for buying processed cheese spread, but you can't go wrong with Velveeta in your mac and cheese. It was a delicious dinner, and dessert, but again, here I was eating more fattening, greasy, floury food.

So how did I feel by the end of the day regarding what I ate? I felt crappy. The pancake was good while it was going down, but the egg frittata that my mother-in-law ordered looked equally as good, and probably would have been better for me with all the protein and vegetables in there. But I am always suckered in by the lure of a big, fluffy pancake with syrup. I'm not a crazy syruper. I like to put just enough on to wet the pancake. But these pancakes suck it up, so I end up having to use more than I like. And then while I was making dinner, and realizing how fattening the meal was ending up, I was just depressed, as there was no turning back at that point. I wanted to make Jack happy. And sure, I was happy, too, as it tasted delicious going down. But then later, when I thought about what the scale is going to say on Thursday for my weekly weigh-in, I got depressed.

Grrrrr. I hate this.

But I did go to the gym this morning. I like going to the gym. I feel good about myself. I try to work hard. I've been doing about 25 minutes of cardio, followed by 15 minutes of weight lifting. I try to do this six days a week. You would think this routine would help keep the pounds off, but alas, it doesn't. Perhaps this is "the change" starting in my body. I don't know. If it is, it stinks, and I'm mad at it. If it isn't, and it's going to get worse in 5 more years, I really better get my butt in shape so that I have room to gain a few without feeling even worse about my weight than I do now.

What do I love about my body today? Well, I guess I'm going with my haircut. At a graduation party on Saturday, I must have had 10 people comment to me about how cute of a cut it was on me. Surely all 10 weren't just saying that to be nice, right? And some comments came from people I hadn't seen in ages that didn't really owe me a compliment or anything. It was a nice surprise. That made me feel good.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Decisions I make that frustrate me

After my last post, I was planning on having an evening snack. Popcorn. It's a good snack, provided you do it right. But picture the scene... 9:30 pm, watching TV with my hubby. He gets himself a bowl of cereal, and I'm starving. Suddenly, whatever craving I had for popcorn goes out the window, and I need to have those Honey Bunches of Oats (I swear, he sabotages my plans every night—I have no willpower). So I give in, and I have the bowl of cereal instead of making the popcorn. My problem with cereal is that I can't seem to stop at one normal-sized bowl when I eat it for a snack. I have a bowl, then I add a little more cereal to use up the milk, then I add a little more milk to use up the cereal, and so on, until there's nothing left. So I'm sure that I consumed way more calories in my "bowl" of cereal than I would have in my bowl of popcorn. 

Why do I make these dumb decisions? In part, I think I was very hungry and wanted something to eat right then, instead of waiting the three to five minutes it would have taken me to get out the air popper and make the popcorn. How sad is that? I was willing to consume twice as many calories because of a three to five minute wait? This is why I can't lose 10 pounds. I make stupid decisions.

I'm not sure that yesterday was much better. I did pretty well most of the day. Oatmeal for breakfast, apple for a mid-morning snack, soup at lunch with a grapefruit and some pretzel sticks, yogurt for an afternoon snack, two 1" squares of Dove dark chocolate for a treat. Dinner was ok. Meatloaf and a small baked potato. Then I had a popsicle for dessert (all natural and only 60 calories). Even to that point, it wasn't bad. But after we came home from an event that evening, I was hungry. Nine-thirty rolled around and I decided to finally make popcorn. It was great. But when I was done, I was suddenly now craving something sweet to counter the salty popcorn. I found three Sarris' malted milk balls that were left over from my daughter's Easter basket. I ate them. They were good. And the night would have been fine had I stopped there. But no, I had to be a glutton and consume more chocolate. So I went digging for a chocolate bunny, and found one filled with peanut butter (my favorite combo!). So I ate half of it.

Sure, you may think this isn't a big deal. And in the grand scheme of things for how I ate yesterday, it's not. However, all of these small bad decisions that I make day in and day out continue to add pounds, not take them away, or even let me maintain my weight. These small bad decisions add pounds. Every week. And that's why they are the decisions I make that frustrate me.

To counter all of this negativity, I vowed to try to focus on the positive. So on the brighter side, I only ate half of the peanut butter bunny. I could have had the whole thing, but I chose not to. I closed up the wrapper, and set it aside. I also made the decision to make the popcorn. Again, Jack had his bowl of cereal. I was tired, sitting there on the couch, watching him prep his snack at the TV tray next to where I was sitting. But instead of giving in again, I talked myself into walking to the basement to get the popcorn maker and make myself a bowl of popcorn. So yay for me!

And today's rendition of "what I like about my body": my hands. They're petite and cute. And they look pretty when my fingernails are painted (and how about those monkey jammies?).