Friday, January 30, 2015

Dismal stats

I haven't been posting my stats the past few days because they are, for the most part, dismal... at least the step stats.  I haven't reached 12,000 steps all week.  I'm frustrated with myself for not making more of an effort to move during my work day, but it's harder than it sounds.  I keep telling myself, when the weather breaks, I will get outside and walk around the campus here.  It's too hard to do that here inside the building, too many eyes are watching, and I'm sure wondering why I'm not working.

I have been able to workout, though I have not made it to the gym since Tuesday.  I was planning to go to the gym yesterday, until I received a frantic phone call from my son about a science assignment that he needed help with.  I skipped the gym because he had baseball practice, and we wouldn't have been able to complete the assignment if I had gone to the gym first.

I almost skipped working out all together, but I decided to do a walking workout with Jessica Smith. I chose the  Belly, Buns & Thighs workout.  It's a 40 minute indoor walking routine.  I hadn't done this one before.  It was exactly what I was looking for at 7:15 last night when I finally had a chance to workout... not too intense, but challenging enough where I felt like I was getting a good workout.

I do not recall how I stumbled across Jessica Smith and her *FREE* YouTube workouts, but I really like her style.  She seems so down to earth.  She appears incredibly fit, but not as intimidating as many other trainers.  I enjoy her workouts, and do them when it's cold outside and don't feel like going to a "real" walk.  If you haven't checked out her videos, you should.  She has a whole library of selections available on YouTube.  The selections vary in length, intensity, and target zones.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Throwback Thursday, workout edition

In honor of "Throwback Thursday," I picked out an old workout that was provided to me by a personal trainer I worked with about 4 years ago.

This workout was harder for me than I expected. There are a lot of push ups!  I started out doing the push up/taps that Jenna Wolfe introduced to me, but by the end, I was not able to do the taps, just the push ups.  I also modified the workout by doing true jumping jacks instead of the designated "walking jacks."

I was able to finish this workout in just over 40 minutes, and I broke a significant sweat.  For some reason, I equate a "good sweat" with a "good workout," but I've been told that there's really no correlation.  Some people, like me, I guess, just sweat more than others.  I think originally this workout was designed to be done in about 30-35 minutes.  I tried to go from one exercise to the next without much rest in between, but it was difficult, at times, for my old bones to transition quickly from the floor to an upright movement.  Yikes, I'm getting old!

Overall, I thought this was a good workout for me at this point in my attempt to recommit to working out regularly.  I will do this one again, soon.

As a parting thought, I'd like to share with you how much I did not want to workout yesterday afternoon.  I typically do not go to the gym on Wednesdays because that is my designated day to be home with the kids after school.  So, after getting home from work and helping the kids with their homework and chores, I found myself procrastinating.  I found other things to occupy my time to avoid working out.  At one point, my son even called me out on it, asking me why I kept saying "I'm going to work out," but not actually doing it. Part of the reason I'm making these changes in my life is to set a good example for my kids.  So, I hope yesterday's "teachable moment"  - doing something I really didn't feel like doing - will someday resonate with my kids.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Plugging away

I'm still here, plugging away at my new routine. Some days are easier than others.  Since I last checked in here, I've been up and down with a mix of green, red, and yellow days.  ***I keep meaning to take a picture of the chart in my bathroom and post it here.

Instead of listing the stats for each of the last 5 days, I'll post my averages:

Average step count: 11,484 (highest was on Friday with over 15,000 and lowest was on Monday with less than 8,000)
Calorie: Except for Friday night when we were out with friends, I've been at or below my goal of 1325.
UP Food score average: 8.1
Workouts: I worked out 4 out of the last 5 days, skipping Monday because I had a work obligation from 5:30-7 and then book club following that.

I'm working on  a few more introspective and hopefully more interesting posts.  One is about my love/hate relationship with the scale and how I can't bring myself to step on it.  The other post is about the difference between my approach to weight loss and my husband's approach.  I hope you come back to read those!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Not good

Unexpected family issues arose yesterday, and I had to skip my workout entirely.  Family had to come first. I wasn't going to post anything today because yesterday was so bad, but days like yesterday are going to happen, and I have to be able to deal with these set backs.

This morning, my UP "smart coach" had this to say: "You reached 49% of yesterday's goal, short by 6,030 steps.  Consider this Japanese proverb, 'fall 7 times and stand up 8.'  Today is a new opportunity."

That's advice I can take to heart.

Here are the dismal stats:

Steps: 6,064 (if you noticed above, I'm already over 4,000 steps for today!)
Calories: 1084
UP food score: 8.4
No workout.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I'm okay with a "yellow" day

Yesterday ended up being a "yellow" day.  Though I strive for "green" everyday, I'm okay with yesterday's "yellow," and I'll explain why in a moment.  First, the stats:

Steps: 11,115 (short by 885)
Calories: 1153
UP food score: 8.7/10
Workout: I did this workout from Jenna Wolfe with a few modifications.

I didn't know who Jenna Wolfe was until a few months ago when I came across one of her workouts posted on NBC's website.  I can't explain why, but she instantly became a new fitness hero for me... right up there with Jillian Michaels and Jari Love. If you watched the trailer from The Biggest Loser show, you'll notice she was pregnant when the show was taped.  I know I never looked like that when I was pregnant, but I digress.

I've been receiving Jenna's weekly workout tips in my inbox for awhile, but yesterday was actually the first time I tried one of her workouts all the way through.  At this point in my challenge to eat right and work out, her workouts seemed a little hard for me... three years ago, they wouldn't have seemed so hard.  I approached yesterday's attempt as sort of bench mark for me. I wanted to see how well I could do and how long it would take me to get through the whole thing. Jenna's post suggested it would take about an hour.

I think I did pretty well, which is why I'm okay with my yellow score.  I worked really hard, but it didn't show up in my UP step count. I did have to make a few modifications, and I want to document them here so I can refer to them when I try the same workout in a week or so.

The warm up

100 jog in place* = no modification (*  one repetition is complete when both legs have done the move)
90 jumping jacks with light weight = half way through I had to modify the jumping jacks, in retrospect I should have just dropped the weights.  I can easily do 90 jumping jacks...
80 butt kickers* = no modification
70 mountain climbers = I did them the "easy" way, I'm still building up to true mountain climbers
60 high knees = no modification (I struggled to keep my knees up, but I did it)
50 pikes = (I skipped this one by mistake, initially, and once I realized it, I didn't go back... my bad)
40 push ups = I did them in 4 sets of 10
30 toy soldiers =  I didn't do the squat part
20 squat jumps = no modifications (I'm sure Jenna would have been yelling at me to do them faster and more fluidly)
10 burpees = again, no modification, but I'm sure Jenna would have insisted on better quality burpees

The workout

Set 1:
50 runs left, low step
20 run left, high step
20 crab kicks
20 crab dips
50 runs right, low step
20 runs right, high step
20 crab kicks
20 crab dips

Admittedly, I had to modify the entire set listed above.  My mom has my step.  I tried to do the runs with a child's chair, but it did not feel stable enough, and  the last thing I wanted to do was get hurt. So, instead, I modified the runs listed above with some moves Sean T does in his T25 cardio workout, specifically the "up down explosion runs" and the low, jogging front kicks.  Next time I do this workout, I'll be sure to get my step back from my mom. Or, I will use the bottom basement step... don't know why that just occurred to me now. The crab kicks were hard, I don't think I did them quite right.  The crab dips were also hard from the floor, so I did them using the couch.

Set 2: Jump squat/push up taps

The combination is a pyramid scheme.  You start with 1 jump squat and then do 10 push up taps, then do 2 jump squats, and 9 push up taps, and so on.  I liked this combination a lot.  I really focused on doing good jump squats even when I had to do 10 in row.

Set 3: 15 kick drops followed by 2 minutes of upper cuts with light weights, repeat 3 times.

The kick drops were a little advanced for me, so I made the biggest modification to this set, but I think I made a good choice.  I did 15 side kicks on each leg and 15 standing front round kicks followed by the upper cuts.  I had to lose the weights half way through the second set of upper cuts.

Set 4:
30 sea turtles  = I ended up doing plain old "supermans"
30 mountain climbers = easy

Set 5: Bear crawls

Despite the description given, I wasn't sure I was doing the Bear crawls correctly, so I did 20 walk out push ups instead.

Set 6:
High knees/plank jacks

As with the jump squat/push up taps from set 2, this set is also designed to be a pyramid.  I started with 10 high knees followed by 1 plank jack. Then 9 high knees, 2 plank jacks and so on.

It took me 53 minutes to complete this workout.  Even though I made some modifications, I really tried to push myself.  I tried my best not rest between sets which made it even harder.  I'm looking forward to trying a few more of Jenna's workouts.  In a few weeks, I'll give this one another go, and see how much better I can do.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2 Days in a row!

I felt like I had a great workout yesterday.  As a result, I easily surpassed my 12,000 step goal with a total of 12,501 steps.  It was one of those days where I felt like perhaps something is clicking with my new routine.  Heck, I even gave some thought to upping my step goal, but then I thought better of that idea.  I need to just keep building back up, slowly and steadily.  I can't get too far ahead of myself.  Heck, I do not even know if any of this is actually working because I have not stepped on a scale. (More on that issue in another post).

I'm thinking about adding a few more goals to my daily list.  These include: 1) an UP food score of 8.0 or better and 2) setting a work step goal.  What I mean by number 2 is setting a goal for how many steps I should take between my work hours of 7:15-4:30.  I'm still mulling that one over. I'm not sure what is a reasonable number.  As I've learned, some days are better than others, but that article that I posted yesterday has me thinking about ways I can be more active during my work day.

For those of you scoring at home:

Steps: 12,501
workout: elliptical and strength training (body weight and 5 lb weights)

Color code: Green!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

That's better update with picture

I put my mind to achieving all of my goals yesterday, and I did it! Here are the stats:

Steps: 13,167 steps
Calories: 1224
workout completed: 44 minutes of elliptical plus 15 minutes of strength
Color code: Green Day

It felt good to be back on track. I plan to stay on track for the rest of the week.

Then, this morning, I read this article, and found it a little discouraging. I'm not suggesting that I'm discouraged enough to throw my hands up in the air and give up, but it did make me think to myself, "what's the point of exercising and eating right?"

I have a mostly sedentary job.  I can't help that.  Sure I can make a conscious effort to get up more often during my day and move around. In fact, I've been trying to do so.  Frankly, however, I don't see it really making a difference in my step count at the end of the work day, so I don't imagine it's significantly improving my overall health.

A few months ago, I did ask our HR department if I could have one of those standing desks, similar to the one mentioned in the article, unfortunately, I think the person I emailed thought I was joking.

My husband bought me a stability ball chair for Christmas.  I brought it to the office today, and I plan to put it together on my lunch break.   Maybe making this small change, in addition to the ones I've been working on for the past 2 weeks, will help my overall health improve, despite what the article says.

*** updated to add

                                        Ta da!

Monday, January 19, 2015

That's embarrassing

I knew my weekend statistics were bad, but I didn't realize how bad they were until I synced my UP this morning: 11,062 steps, for the whole weekend.  YIKES!

On Saturday, I was over my calorie allotment by just under 1000 calories (stupid buffet...), and on Sunday, I was over by about 100 calories (not horrible, but still).

I had every intention of working out on both Saturday and Sunday, but neither day went as planned.

Result: two "red" days in a row.

Lesson learned: get up and work out in the morning so that when the rest of the day doesn't go as planned, the workout will already be out of the way!

Hopefully I will get back on track today!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Try, Try, Again

When I was little and learning to fall ice skate, my dad used to sing a little song to me: "When you fall, just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try, try again."  I, of course, thought my dad made up that little ditty himself, but I recently learned that the song (with slightly different lyrics) was from a 1936 movie starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers called Swing Time.  (If it had earlier origins, I'm not aware).

This theme of "try, try, again" completely describes my efforts to lose weight. Yesterday, despite my resolve to "redouble my efforts to be less sedentary at work," I failed.  I started working on a project that kept me in my chair for a stretch of 2 hours and 5 minutes, longer than the previous day.  Yikes!

So, even though I met all of my other daily goals, I didn't meet my 12,000 step goal, falling 294 steps short.

Here are my stats:

11,706 steps
62 minute work out (elliptical and strength as planned)
1386 calories (admittedly slightly over, but I always over-estimate some foods)

Rating: Yellow day.

Now, I'm going for a walk around my building.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Is this what sugar addiction feels like?

Someone I work with walked into the office this morning carrying a Starbucks coffee cup. Immediately, my salivary glands went into overdrive.  All of a sudden, I wanted to go to Starbucks. I needed to go to Starbucks.  If my boss hadn't been standing right next to me and my new found resolve to make better food choices, I might have retrieved my coat and car keys and made a run to the closest drive thru.

I know it wasn't the coffee I was craving.  My typical coffee order has nothing to do with coffee. My go to order is a grande, skinny, vanilla latte.  In the fall, I switch to a tall, pumpkin spice latte with non-fat milk, and in December, I look forward to tall, skinny peppermint mochas.  But, as part of my resolution to make better food choices, I've swapped my Starbucks coffee runs for home brewed Green Tea.  (Bonus - I'm also saving money!)

This leads me to believe that I might be having some sort of sugar withdrawal.  I've never really considered myself to be a sugar addict, but my reaction this morning leads me to believe that I might have a problem.  I have not consciously cut out sugar, but by making better food choices and tracking my caloric intake, I have, in essence, not been eating any refined sugar.

I guess this newly discovered "sugar addiction" is an issue I should explore a bit more.


I learned a new word yesterday, portmanteau, which is a type of luggage with two separate sections.  Over time, however, it has a developed a secondary meaning.  It is the description used for a word that combines the sounds and meanings of two different words.  In other words, it's a blended word such as smog (smoke + fog) or my favorite word of late hangry (hungry + angry).

Today, I'm using a portmanteau word that I just made up: greenellow (green + yellow), which is the score I gave myself yesterday.  In truth, I told myself when I started my scoring system that I wasn't going to allow myself to be wishy washy like this. I need to fairly and accurately assess my day and there shouldn't be a middle ground; I either met all my goals for the day (green) or I fell short some how.  But, I decided that yesterday was one of those days where I wasn't going to be so hard on myself.

Here are my stats:

11,135 steps
1240 calories
53 minutes cardio and body weight exercises, specifically Jillian Michaels' Bansish Fat, Boost Metabolism workout DVD

As you can see, I fell short of my 12,000 step goal. If I had taken another 865 steps, it would have been a green day, easily.  At 10:00 pm last night, I contemplated walking around my house for another 1000 steps, but that just didn't seem true to my efforts.  In all other respects yesterday, I did well.  I made good food choices, I worked out even though I really didn't want to, and I drank plenty of water.

My Jawbone UP tells me that at one point yesterday, I was idle for a stretch of 1 hour and 59 minutes.  It also tells me that even if I exercise regularly, long periods of idleness can be detrimental to my overall health.  So, today I am going to redouble my efforts to be less sedentary at work. It shouldn't be that hard for me to get up a few more times during my day and walk around.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Salad Day

Last year, the human resources department at my work started an initiative called "Let's Get Healthy Together!"  One thing, among many, that we do is a once-a-month salad day.  The idea is that anyone who wants to participate contributes a healthy item for a salad bar.   We are encouraged to bring our own re-usable plates and silverware to cut down on wasting paper products, too.

Today was our January salad day.  Shortly before going down to the employee lounge to make may salad, I happened to hit on an article that listed 29 fat burning vegetables.  While creating my salad today, I made a conscious choice to choose as many fat burning foods from that list as I could.  I was able to choose beets, celery, beans, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, and green peppers.  I skipped the feta cheese, which I usually love to pile on top.

As I said before, baby steps... it's all about making healthy choices each and every time.

Green Day

After being in the "yellow" for two days straight, I managed to score a "green" day.  Here are the stats from yesterday:

I took 12, 174 steps, according to my Up.  I logged 1267 calories, and I worked out for 42 minutes on the elliptical and did strength moves for just under 20 minutes.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

One week check in

So, it may not be obvious from the lack of writing around here, but last week, starting on Monday, January 5, 2015, I eased back into a routine.  It makes me very sad to see how far I've gone in the opposite direction of being healthy... I was reading some of the posts about doing P90X back in June of 2011.  I am so far from that healthy person, it's depressing.

For now, however, I've resolved to move more and eat less. To accomplish this resolution, here is my plan.  It's very basic, but I need to start somewhere.wee

Goal 1: 12,000 steps daily (no excuses)
Goal 2: Track all food/calories
     sub goal: to eat 1300 calories or less
     sub goal: eat out less and make better choices
Goal 3: 40 minutes of cardio and 20 minutes of strength training
Goal 4: drink 128 oz of water

I am keeping track of my progress on a simple chart that I hung in my bathroom.  I developed a color coded "accountability" system to rate how well I did each day - again, very basic, but I'm a visual person, and I want to be able to see, at a glance, how I'm doing.

Green: accomplished all goals

Red: failed to reach at least 10,000 steps or failed to work out for at least 30 minutes or ate more than 1450 calories.  Bottom line: if I fail to move or eat right, I will give myself a red.

Yellow: falls somewhere in between.  Example 1: If I accomplish my workout but fall short of 12,000 steps, I'll grade myself a yellow.  Example 2: If I workout and reach at least 10,000 steps but eat more than 1300 calories, I will grade myself a yellow.

Since I started using my color coded system I have had 3 yellow days and 5 green days.

Diving back in without comment

I started to write a post about where I've been for the last (gasp!) three plus years, but after struggling with what to write and feeling like everything I was writing sounded like excuse, after excuse, I decided to just dive back in to writing.  I may get around to posting about my whereabouts, but it is not really all that exciting.  I suppose I can sum of the last 3 years like so: I went back to work full time.  We moved. I got older. I gained weight.