Saturday, November 26, 2011

I'm back!

Actually, I've been back two weeks now. I just haven't gotten around to writing a blog post, partly because I've been jetlagged and busy, and partly because I have this notion that I have to make my "back from vacation" post long and special. These kinds of thoughts have put me off blogging before, so I'll just jump right into it, and maybe write a couple of shorter posts about my vacation instead.

It was a really wonderful vacation! :D I loved the sun and warmth and just being able to relax and do nothing. The only problem is that is was quite a shock coming back to cold and dark Norway! I really don't know why I live here when I'm allergic to the cold and darkness, I must be in the wrong place...

Health wise, I did pretty good, although I could have been better (of course). I didn't overeat most days, and I was mindful of what I put in my mouth. I didn't stay away from sweets and desserts, but I tried to take cues from my body and only eat when I was hungry, and stop when I was full. That worked out all right.

I started out great with the exercise - I was running each morning in the beginning. Then I ended up blistering so bad that I was limping when I walked (quite literally!), and I had to take a rest. Somehow, I never got back into the exercise groove. Next time I'm bringing mole skin!

I quickly noticed that my running hiatus had wreaked havoc on my shape. :( So I've found a program called Ease into 10k, that I'll do after Christmas to get back in shape. Until then, I'm alternating between running 4X4 intervals, shredding and Zumba.

I didn't meet my goal of maintaining my weight, but I wasn't too far off. After the worst of the water weight had disappeared, I was up about 1,5 kg. Not too bad for an all-inclusive two week vacation! :) The most important thing is that I'm back on track again, and I haven't let the vacation ruin my momentum. So all in all I'm okay with my efforts. I'm especially proud that I managed to stay off the overeating trap, while still enjoying desserts every day and never feeling like I was on a diet.

I'll write more another time, now I'll go check out my Google Reader. I haven't dared check it yet, I'm guessing it will be pretty full....

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My secret weapons for maintaining weight while on vacation

This weekend I leave for a two week cruising vacation in the Caribbean! I'm SO excited, can't wait to soak in the sun and warmth! What I'm not looking forward to, though, is what I fear will be a pretty heavy weight gain. On previous cruises, I've gained a lot of weight, so I'm scared I will do so again. I'm doing fairly good with my weight loss these days and I don't want to ruin the momentum.

On a positive note, I've been very inspired by fellow bloggers who managed to maintain or even lose weight while on vacation. So it can be done, and my weight goal for this trip, is to weight the same as I do when I leave within one week of coming back. (I usually put on quite a lot of water weight when I travel, so I know I won't weight the same right away when I get back).

In order to accomplish my goal, I've made a plan for how to maintain weight on the cruise:

* Work out/move a lot every day
This time I'm not only bringing my running gear, I'm actually going to use it as well! There will be a gym as well as an outside running track, and now that I can run, I will take advantage of it! I'll probably wake up early because of the time difference, so I plan to get my workout in before the ship docks for the day. That way I won't feel like I'm missing out on anything.

* Fiber 
Last time I went cruising in the Caribbean, I ended up constipated from not eating as much fiber as I normally do. (There is little whole grains on those buffet tables!) This time around, I'm bringing some Benefiber to put into my water. (I'm going to buy the flavored one that they sell in the US but not here, really looking forward to try it!) My plan is to drink this before every meal, that should make me fuller and keep me from overeating.

* Chromium
I've been using chromium to curb my sweet cravings, and while it isn't a miracle pill that keeps me from eating sugar (I wish!), it does help keep the sugar hungry monster inside of me at bay. (I'll write a more detailed blog post about my experiences with chromium later).

* Zinc
Personally I don't have much experience with Zinc supplements, but Karen at Waisting time recently linked to a Dr Oz article that mentions Zinc as a way to reduce hunger. I read up on it, and while most people don't lack this mineral, and you can overdose on it, there seems to be no harm in taking a supplement as long as you follow the recommended dosage. So, I started taking it a couple of days ago, and I hope it'll help me stay clear of the overeating trap (also known as a 24-7 free all you can eat buffet).

* I've tasted you before
Luckily, the desserts on the aforementioned buffet isn't really my type of desserts. Unfortunately, the fried and fatty foods are. This time around, though, the foods won't be new and enticing, but more familiar. I read in an article somewhere, about a dieter who thought to herself  'I've tasted you before, I don't need to taste you now'. That helped her, and I'm hoping it can help me as well.

* Hypnosis
I've had some success with hypnosis for sugar cravings in the past, so I'll be bringing those, as well as some more general weight loss hypnosis tracks to listen to. That should help keep my motivation up!

* Limit the alcohol
I actually drink very little alcohol, but I do have a soft spot for those drinks that contain an incredible amount of calories. After an office night out, I put the alcohol units into my food journal and was astounded to see how many empty calories I'd consumed. So while I probably won't abstain from these completely, I will be more restrictive and instead enjoy the ones I do drink more thoroughly and think of it as a special treat.

* Limit the vacation eating to the actual vacation
I learned this 'trick' from a fellow blogger this summer. (I'm sorry I can't remember who it was at the moment, but if it was you, let me know and I'll link to you here!). Too often, I allow myself to slack food wise in the days before the vacation. Then, after the vacation, it usually takes forever to get back in the weight loss groove. This time around, my vacation starts when I leave from home, and it ends when I'm back!

There you have them, my secret weapons for maintaining weight on the cruise. If you have any other tips or good ideas, I'd love to hear them! :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A short update

Wow, it has been AGES since I my last blog post. :( I am still alive and kicking, but I have had a lot to do, and even though I've thought about blogging, I never got around to it. Last month I was pretty much stressed out all the time, and of course that led to a weight loss stand-still. Thinking back, the main reason was most likely that I didn't exercise much. Turns out those workouts really make a difference! Both because I burn more calories and because I feel better and more relaxed when I work out regularly.

I've been trying to get back into a good exercise routine, but it has been harder than I thought. I wanted to try my Zumba dvds, but there was always some excuse or other. Which is just ridiculous because I love to dance, and I always feel good after I've worked out. I've run or hiked a few times, but all in all I have been kind of lazy....

Right now I'm starting to feel a little under the weather. It might be psychological, a lot of people I know have been ill, and when they talk about it, I automatically feel a little sick myself. Since we're going away on vacation next week, I really want to stay healthy for that. Don't know if it is chickening out, or just being reasonable, but either way the result is that I haven't wanted to do hardcore workouts (or, to be honest, any workout at all) lately. I have been trying to keep moving, though, to burn some calories even though I'm not actually getting in shape.

Excuses aside, I think my main problem is that I miss a program and rules and structure. When I was doing C25K, I always ran 3 times a week. Come rain, come snow, come splitting headaches, I was running regardless. The program demanded 3 workouts a week, and so I complied. Right now I'm just lacking a sense of direction, I guess.

So, to remedy this, I'm going to make a plan of what I want to accomplish on a weekly basis. It is probably going to be one session of Shred, one session of Zumba, and one session of running (most likely 4X4 intervals). I might wait till after my vacation (or at least until I'm feeling better) to start, but I WILL do it. I miss that great feeling after a good workout! :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My very first race

First of all, thank you all for being so understanding about my pre-race hysteria and for your kind thoughts, it meant a lot to me! :) Some of you might have wondered if I didn't dare write about my race seeing as it took me so long to write a new blog post about it. It wasn't that, instead I've been incredibly stressed out (as I've been most of the month) and haven't had much time or energy for blogging or reading other blogs. :'( Sorry about that! Anyways, on to the tale of my very first race.

The whole experience started out really stressful and chaotic because, as is very typical of me, I got there later than planned. While I went through registration, my boyfriend (who was kind enough to come cheer for me, comfort me and take pictures of me) was parking the car. Luckily there wasn't really a line for the registration - my biggest worry. What I hadn't planned for though, was that it was kind of hard to find the start area. There was little information, and at one point one of the race volunteers (or are they paid? dunno!) actually gave me wrong directions!

While I was able to find the start area fairly quickly (although it seemed like an eternity because I was so incredibly stressed out about being late), my boyfriend had more trouble. On the invite, it specifically said you had to be at the starting line no less than 20 minutes before start so the volunteers/officials would know you were present. As the time went by, and no boyfriend arrived, I was getting more and more anxious. I had a bag of extra clothes and other stuff with me, and if he didn't make it I'd have to run with it on, most likely making my already slow pace even slower. About 22 minutes before the race started, he finally found me, and I practically ran to the starting line.

Once there, I looked frantically around trying to find those officials who needed to know I had arrived, but I found no-one. I started asking around, and eventually learned that no-one checked if you were at the start line. So, basically I had just stressed over nothing! I really wish the official information could have mentioned this, instead of actually giving out wrong information!

Oh well, at least I made it in time for the race! Because I was so late and stressed, and because I'd read somewhere that in some races you're not allowed to drink anything other than what you get at the water stations, I hadn't brought my water bottle. And I was parched before even starting! As I noticed several other participants with water bottles, I seriously considered asking strangers if I could get some water from them. I didn't, though, that just felt too weird.

As I looked around the crowd of runners, I was starting to feel a little bit more relaxed. There were people of all ages, and, seemingly, all conditions. And there were loads of people, so I figured no-one would pay too much attention to me if I made a complete fool of myself. All the adults were starting together in one group, so I maneuvered towards the back, after all I knew I would run slower than most of the others.

(A part of) the crowd of runners at the start

And then we were off! I had promised myself that I'd start slow, almost every advice I've read about racing says to start slower than you want to. And I really did try. However, when there are loads of others running at a faster pace, it takes a stronger person than I am to run slow. I didn't want to be the last one from the very beginning! Then, a man with a BABY STROLLER ran past me, and at that point I nearly panicked! I later found out that he did really good in the race and was one of faster ones, but then and there it felt as though even an old lady with a walking stick would be able to pass me.

The 'evil' baby stroller man who ran past me

However, I was starting to see stars, and when I checked the running watch my gadget loving boyfriend had lent me, I learned that I was running way too fast for me. I took to my senses and slowed down to a more comfortable pace. It felt like everyone else ran past me, and I actually looked back a few times to check that I wasn't the last one. (I never really did get over that fear, though I tried).

Running on asphalt wasn't as hard as I'd imagined. But what I noticed, was that when you're used to run on a treadmill and never actually moving, it is harder to judge your own speed when you're all of a sudden actually moving and going somewhere. It felt like I was running so SLOW, so I checked my running watch, and was astounded to see that I was running at about 8 km/hour. I've been keeping a pace of about 6-6.5 km/h on the treadmill, so I tried to slow down a bit. But it seemed to me that I was moving so slowly that it would be almost impossible to slow down further.

My new best friend, I wouldn't have made it without the running watch I borrowed!

This was the first time I'd tried the running watch (I'm good at not trying things like running outside or using a running watch before the actual race!), so I decided that it was probably malfunctioning. It wasn't until I saw the 1 km mark and checked how long I'd been running that I realized that it was, in fact, showing the right speed. Again, I thought I should slow down, but it felt like I was already running as slow as I could, so I kept it up.

To make a long story short, I kept the pace up at about 8 km/h. I passed a few people who had started out too fast and was now walking. (And, no, I DIDN'T laugh at them or think them stupid for signing up for the race. I was too busy running and minding my own business, but if anything, I admired them! And also I was a little relieved because that meant I wouldn't finish last. I'll have to try to remember this the next time I freak out about others laughing at me for running a race slowly.) I even passed some people who were still running. And I made it to the finish line, running even faster towards the end, giving it my all.

Oh, finish line, I thought I'd never see you!

At times like these, it is no fun being undercover. I'd really love to brag all about my new personal record, but the results are open to the public and I wouldn't be so undercover once I shared that. :( But even though I can't share my exact time, I can say that I finished in less than 22 minutes! :) That is more than 5 minutes less than last time I ran on the treadmill! :)

I don't know why I was able to run so much faster this time. Maybe adrenalin from the nerves? Maybe because I could see clearly how slowly I was actually moving? Maybe running with other people made it easier? Maybe my treadmill speed is way off (even though I thought I checked that)? I really have no idea, but I am very happy with my result!

We got a medal as soon as we crossed the finish line

I succeeded at every one of my goals for this race. My goal speed was an average of at least 6 km/h, and I was above 8 km/h on average. I did run the entire time, no walking. I even met my secret (but not forgotten) goal of not finishing last. My speed would probably be considered slow by most runners, but for me this was a real accomplishment. I'm so excited to have come so far in just three months!

I'm also proud of the fact that I didn't let my nerves stop me. Especially when I was running late on top of being nervous, it was tempting to just go home and not show up at all. But I knew I would let myself down, and I didn't want to do that. As Jillian would say, I deserve better!

My very first medal, of course I had to show off the back side as well!


As for the run itself, it didn't feel that special to be running a race. It was kind of annoying that people would wander into the running tracks and that made me more stressed out. In fact, I remember thinking why do people bother running races?

After the finish line, though, I got it. That feeling of having completed the race, of having done my best, and being rewarded with a good time, it was priceless. I definitely experienced that runner's high! And, that good feeling stayed with me for a long time, much longer than the normal workout euphoria does. It gave me a sense of accomplishment, of having done something to be proud of.

So, while I don't think I'll be travelling the country each weekend looking for a new race, I know this won't be my last race, either. For me, doing this race has been a great goal and a wonderful motivation. I can't wait to see how much faster I'll run next year! I love seeing results!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Nerves

WARNING: Long rant of pre-race nerves follows, this is your last chance to turn back!

Today is the day of my very first race, ever! And I am TERRIFIED! I wonder why I thought it was a good idea to sign up for in the first place?

I've been driving myself crazy worrying about this race for the past week. What if I get lost and run the wrong way? I'm quite sure that can happen as I'll probably be the very last one in the whole race. What if I find out running on asphalt is A LOT harder than running on a treadmill? Why didn't it occur to me to try running on asphalt at least ONCE before the race? What if I trip and fall and embarrass myself? Or finish way behind everyone else and embarrass myself that way? The list of bad things that could happen just goes on and on.

Then, today, I looked at some pictures from earlier races, and a whole new set of worries surfaced. There were so many people! I hadn't thought about all the people who would see me run and finish way later than everyone else. All the ones who would no doubt think me stupid to have signed up for a race when I clearly can't run. And there are cobbled stones! I never even considered that, and I'm scared my frail ankles will be hurt.

Tonight I had a nightmare where I started the race and ran for a while, only to find out that I had forgotten the timer chip (is that what it is called?), and I had to find someone in charge and convince him to give me another. Of course, by the time I got back to the start line to start over again, everyone else had left.

So, as you can probably tell, I'm just a wee bit scared!

I know that someday, I'll probably laugh thinking about how scared I am now. But I'm not laughing now... And I am sure it will feel wonderful to cross that finish line having faced my fears. But right now I don't feel like facing anything.

To be honest, all I want to do is curl up in my bed and forget I ever signed up for this. The only thing keeping me from doing that, is that I know I will feel more like a failure if I don't even give it a go. I don't want to disappoint myself like that. The regret of not daring lingers a lot longer than feeling like a loser for finishing last does. Quitting would feed my inner critic, and I'm trying to silence her once and for all. So I am going to do this, no matter how scared I am, and no matter how much I don't want to right now.

Enough ranting, now I'm going to let go of my fears and focus on my goals. I am going to sit down and envision crossing the finish line with a new personal record. I can do this, and that's what I'll keep my focus on from here on out. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

One more goal accomplished!

This weekend I officially completed C25K! :) The last couple of weeks I haven't been able to run much, due to something that felt scarily like tendinitis in my right foot. This means that I've only been able to run once a week. Not the best way to prepare for my first ever race, but it is what it is. I would much rather play it safe, take it slow and run slower in the race, than risk injuring myself!

The last two weeks aside, I have run three times a week and followed the C25K plan to the dot. Before I started out, I wasn't entirely convinced that I would be able to make it. But I've been able to do each and ever run, and often times I did a session of shred afterwards, too.

It feels GOOD to have accomplished a new goal. It is strange to think that, only a couple of months back, I was only able to run a minute, and now I can do half an hour! I could probably run further if I wanted to - while I'm tired when I'm done, I'm not totally beat. In fact, usually I speed up the last minute, from my snail pace of 6 km/h to a whopping 7-7.5 km/h.

Last night, I was in a hurry to get home, and had to run parts of the way. I marveled at how easy it was, and how much further I could run without getting winded. This probably sounds obvious, of course you'll be able to run faster and further when you've been improving your running for a couple of months. However, there was something magical in seeing my hard work from the tread mill seep into my 'real life'. I can actually feel the effects outside of the basement (where the tread mill resides), too, and that makes it all the better. :)

I have never been able to run this long before - ever! Not even as a teenager, I've always hated running up until now. I wish someone had told me about the C25K back then, I wonder if it would have made a difference? If perhaps I would have made the effort, and if it would have changed me into a more athletic person. And if it could have kept me from gaining all the excess weight in the first place. I'm not sure, though. I just don't think I was ready back then. But I was ready now, and that's what counts at this point.

Speaking of goals, and running: I've decided to change my goals for the 3K race. I'm tossing out the goal to not finish last, replacing it with being able to keep a pace of at least 6 km/h on average. I've thought about it long and hard, and I know that a good goal needs to be something I can control, not something that depends on others. Even if I did my best run ever, I can't control how fast the other participants run. And I can't control who signs up. Maybe all the slower runners decide to stay home? Should I fail my goal just because of that? No!

Also, I want to be at peace with finishing last. There is no shame in being the slowest, someone has to be. I thought that a good first step to not be scared of 'losing' would be to not include it in my goals. I'm probably going to keep it in the back of my head, I REALLY don't want to finish last. (I have a very unrealistic, but yet very terrifying image of everyone else finishing way ahead of me, waiting at the finish line and laughing at me, thinking how stupid I was to sign up for the race when I obviously can't run).

But I don't want to give into those fears, so I'll try my best to focus on more positive goals. Besides, there is more positive energy in trying to reach a goal, rather than trying to avoid an experience I don't want to have. To quote one of my favorite book series (the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning) - Hope strengthens, fear kills.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Celebrations

Today I officially went from "obese" to "overweight" on the BMI scale! I don't actually think BMI is a very good way to measure these things - my goal is a healthy fat percentage, not necessarily to be normal on the BMI scale. In fact, I want a lot of muscle, which might still make me overweight on the BMI ratings.

However, even though I'm not a huge fan of the BMI scale, it is always fun to see progress. And it is important to celebrate every little success where you find it! :) Even though you might not have crossed a threshold today, why not try to find something to celebrate today? In fact, you could celebrate just the fact that you are you! I'm a firm believer that if you treat yourself right, the weight loss (or whatever you might be working towards) will come easier. And I'm quite sure a celebration (no food if you're on a weight loss journey - there are plenty of other ways to celebrate!) is a good way to treat yourself right. Make today something special!

Happy celebrations everyone! :)

Image by Bill Longshaw / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sometimes all you can do is try to hold on and not fall off the wagon

The last two weeks have been such a time for me. Lots of eating out. A tight packed schedule most days - and I need some time alone to replenish my energy, so too many plans stress me out. And, of course, when I'm stressed, that's when all my good intentions get out of dodge.

The low point was the day I ate brownies for every single meal (including breakfast!) - not my proudest moment. Luckily, the very next day was the opposite - I managed a whopping 1800 calorie deficit without even trying! I ate what I usually eat, but didn't stay off my feet the entire day. No strenuous exercise (except for my c25k run), just cleaning the house, taking a (slow moving, non sweaty) dance class and walking there and back. I was flabbergasted by how many calories you burn when you're not relaxing in front of the couch as I do way too often. I don't think such a large calorie deficit is good in the long run, but it really helped after the gazillion brownie calories from the previous day. :)

Despite the stress, I did manage to get in all my c25k runs, and I am very proud of that. I've made those runs a priority! Even though I sometimes had to run far later than I wanted (I get wired and can't sleep if I exercise too late in the evening), I did manage to squeeze them in. AND last night I ran 30 minutes for the first time! Woot woot!

Right now it sounds like I actually did pretty good these past weeks. I didn't, I just don't like to dwell on the negatives. I don't believe in beating yourself up after you've slipped, that only lead to self loathing and often makes it even harder to get back on track. But I DO believe in learning from your mistakes, so here is what I (re)learned (nothing new under the sun here).


  • Stress, and having too many plans, no matter how fun they are, is a major trigger for me. I need to prioritize more 'free' days, and I need to find a way to lower my stress when I can't.
  • It is much harder to avoid candy that is right in front of me, then to just not buy it. I have the latter down, but in order to not pig out when someone else brings candy, I'm trying out chromium in large doses to see if it helps.
  • When I've mentally prepared to stay off a certain temptation (ie a special type of candy), and another type appears instead, my mental strength falters too often. Not sure what to do about this, maybe try to not focus so much on what kind of temptation I'm expecting?
  • When I have a planned cheat, I way too often feel like that gives me a free pass to eat whatever I want the rest of the day/week. Challenges help with this, so maybe I'll try some half-day challenges as well.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Working towards a new and improved me

Last week, I've done two very important things. I believe they are going to help me on my fitness journey, but also make me feel better about myself.

1) I signed up for my first race! I'm going to participate in Oslo Maraton. Of course, I'm not going to run the marathon. I'm going for the 3K, you know that distance that is so far from a marathon that the race isn't even the same day as the real marathon.

Anyways, it is the perfect first distance for me, as by then I'll have finished c25k and I'll have a few more weeks to work on my speed. Any tips on how to build speed would be greatly appreciated! I'm thinking intervals is probably the way to go, but I haven't been able to find any good sites on this.

The race will (hopefully) give me the motivation to put in the extra effort in my running program. I also love having a goal to work towards, it helps me focus and keep going even if I don't feel like it a day or two. And I've read so much about others who love racing, so I'm hoping I will, too! :)

Image by jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This being my first race, I don't know what kind of times are attainable, so I decided on these two goals: To complete the whole race without walking, and to not finish last.

I've been thinking about signing up for this race for a while, but the thought of finishing last held me back. I was plagued by flashbacks from high school, when I was always picked last for sports, when I always finished way behind the others, when I hated exercising. I was afraid of feeling that way again, afraid of the bottomless pit of self loathing and self berating. I don't have to win, but I really HATE to suck at something.

However, I couldn't let that stop me, now, could I? First of all, just by participating I'd be winning over my fears and bad memories. Second, even if I DID finish last, would it really be such a disaster? I would probably feel bad right there and then, but I'd be able to work through it. It wouldn't be the end of the world. I am a big girl now, and I can handle disappointments. What I CAN'T handle, is sitting around, not daring to live my life in case I might disappoint myself. I've done too much of that in the past.

But, still, I'd prefer not finishing last, so that is one of my goals, and I think it is perfectly attainable. If it's not, well, as the saying goes: "Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you'll land among the stars".

2) I changed my style in clothes completely. I was fed up with my old style, or rather, lack of style. I loathed what I saw in the mirror. I didn't care much about fashion, just put on whatever I found. My clothes were clean, yes, but flattering? Nope.

So, I enlisted the help of a very stylish friend. She helped me choose stylish and girly clothes that fit me, and taught me a thing or two about accessories. It cost a fortune, and I'm sure I spent as much on clothes in that one day as I've ever spent in my whole entire life. But it was well worth it!

Now, when I look in the mirror, I actually like what I see. I'm not so hung up on my weight anymore, because I look GOOD in my new clothes. They work WITH my shape, not against it. And while I am still heavy, I don't think it is as obvious any more. The right clothes can really work miracles, both on your appearance and your self esteem!

I believe this will be an important part of learning to love myself the way I am right now. I've learned the hard way that if you don't work on your feelings, thoughts, and self image when you're losing weight, you'll have a harder time keeping it up, or, if you reach your goal, maintaining a healthy weight. It is not just about the weight, it never was. The cognitive part of this is just as important. And I'll be focusing a lot more on that now, and I believe it will help me reach my goal weight and stay there. I'll keep on finding new ways to treat myself right, and hopefully my mind will catch up and realize that I am, in fact, worth it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Planning to fail?

Lately, I have started noticing how my mind is constantly trying to avoid failure, rather than working towards success. It became very evident when I first decided to do a 1 week 1 kg challenge. As I started to write the blog post announcing my challenge, I almost scared myself into quitting before I'd even begun. Thoughts like "what if I can't make it", "I will be publicly humiliated", "I'm not good enough" and "Now everyone will see what a failure you really are" raced through my mind. 

I noticed these fears, and decided to not let them stop me. But I also wondered how many times these fears have stopped me from doing something that I want to do. I am not always as aware of them, or if I am, I believe them and give up before I've even started. Frankly, I'm a little scared to think of all the things I've missed just because of my gut reaction of "you're not good enough".

I recently read You CAN be thin by Marissa Peer, and she talks (among other things) about this. Her advice is to tell yourself that you are enough, and repeat it until you believe it. I've started doing that, and I've also started being my own cheerleader instead of my own worst enemy. Well, I'm trying to anyways, my inner critic has been a part of me for years, so the habit takes a while to break. But at least I'm trying. :)

Of course, when I first started c25k, I was attacked by the self doubt monster. When I looked at the schedule ahead of me, I quickly decided that this was way too hard for me, impossible even. Yet, others who hated running had managed to come out alive and with a new-found passion for running, so I gave it a shot after all.

The first few weeks were okay, but as soon as the running time doubled from 1,5 minutes to 3 minutes, my doubts resurfaced. You may remember that I very nearly convinced myself I'd reached my limit. Luckily, I refused to give in, and managed it just fine. There and then I decided to stop believing that the next run would be too hard, and think positive instead.

For a long time, I actually managed to do so. I cheered myself on. At one point I even started feeling like I looked forward to a new challenge. Things were looking good. Then the dreaded week 5 of the c25k happened. From the very beginning I'd feared this week. Somehow I had managed to push it from my mind, thinking it was way in the future. Then, all of the sudden it was there, and there was no way I could quell my self doubts this time. Really, whomever thought that it was a good idea to go from running 8 minutes straight to 20 - TWENTY - minutes straight? They should be locked up, crazy people!

I was quite sure I'd never make it, my fear of failure was warning me against trying - no good could come out of this. Well, I'm very stubborn, and I hadn't come all this way just to quit. So I set out to prove myself wrong. I kept Jillian in my mind, and I envisioned the triumph of being able to blog about it afterwards. And I DID IT! Not only did I run 20 minutes straight, I went on to run really fast (for me - remember my definition of running at this point is 6 km an hour - babies could probably crawl faster) for a while afterwards, just to quiet my doubts once and for all. Take THAT, evil self doubt! Totally knocked-out there, inner critic!

Image by digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


So now I'm more determined than ever to not let my fears stop me. I will not be planning to fail anymore, I am going to plan success instead. :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

I made it! :)

I managed to have a calorie deficit of 5000 cals, in fact I did even better - I ate 5630 calories less than I needed!

AND the weight went down, - 0,9 kg! NOT BAD! :)

Yet, when I see the stats on my Tanita scale, things don't look quite as good:


Weight: 77,1 kg - down 0,9 :)
Body fat percentage: 38,9% up 0.9% :(
Body fat in kg: 29,9919 kg up 0.2 :(
Muscle mass in kg: 11,2615 down 0,27 :(
Water weight in kg: 33,5385 down almost 1 kg :(

Seems like all I've lost is muscle and water, and gained fat. :( That seems kind of strange, though, when I've been so good. 

I guess I can't really trust Tanita blindly, either. It changes too much from day to day, and these last results sound impossible considering that I have such a high calorie deficit. Oh, well, I'll just have to look at the results in the long run instead. I have been working out, both running and shredding. I am getting fitter and I am losing weight. Hopefully the fat percentage and the muscle percentage will reflect that soon enough. Patience, my dear, patience. (this is quote from one of my favorite shows when I was a child - the musical Rock 'n' roll wolf - I still love it to this day! :) Just too bad I'm not the most patient type. ;)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New challenge

I wanted to do a new 1 week 1 kg challenge this week, as I didn't have any plans and it seemed quite doable. But then I was invited to a friend's birthday party, and I realized that such a goal would be totally unrealistic this week. My friend is originally from Azerbaijan, and his family was visiting and they were making traditional, Azerbaijani food for us. Now, how often do you have the opportunity to taste real, authentic traditional Azerbaijani food, made by Azerbaijanis who also happen to be excellent cooks? Not very often, and there was just no way I was missing out on this or trying to restrict my food for that particular day! 

The food tasted wonderfully, probably one of the best meals I have ever had (and I've even been to a 2 star Michelin restaurant!). I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it was SO worth every single calorie, no question about it! Incidentally, I think the food was quite healthy, however there was a lot of it, lots of different dishes to try, each better than the previous.

So, no regrets there. What WASN'T worth it, though, was that I let myself lose on eating other things, too, just because I had let myself lose for that particular event. I had already let my guard down this weekend and binged on way too much candy, so I was heading down a dangerous path. I needed a new challenge to get back on track, and I decided that the rest of the week (Wednesday through Sunday), I'd lose 0,7 kg. The rules are the same as last time, I'll reach my goal if I manage a deficit of 5000 calories throughout the rest of the week. If the scale follows, that'll be great! :)

At first, my mind was stuck on the idea that a challenge had to last an entire week. I'm glad I got past that notion, though. There is nothing wrong with having a challenge for just a day, for that matter. I think this will make it easier for me to stay on track in the weeks where I have plans that make weight loss hard for a day or two. I don't see any problem with letting myself lose (within limits!) for a couple of days, the problem is getting back on track again. Hopefully this will help!

I'll be using my weight yesterday as a starting weight, because I am all bloated today, so it wouldn't be a good starting point.

Here are my starting values as reported by my Tanita scale yesterday morning:
Weight: 78,2 kg
Body fat percentage: 38%
Body fat in kg: 29,716 kg
Muscle mass in kg: 11,5356 kg
Water weight in kg: 34,5644 kg

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Feeling your feelings

Lyn from Escape from obesity talks a lot about feeling your feelings. This has always been a struggle for me. When things got rough, I always put my feelings aside, ignored them and tried to live my life as if the bad stuff never happened. I am sure that's part of the reason why I am overweight - I've stuffed myself with junk food and candy to avoid taking a good hard look at all those feelings looming beneath the surface.

Dark feelings looming beneath the surface
Image by nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Lately, I have tried to do something about not just my weight, but my old-but-not-forgotten feelings as well. I have started going to Rosen therapy, which is a form of massage therapy that helps you get in touch with your feelings. I am also starting psychoterapy to work through some of the dysthymia (low grade depression) and anxiety that I've been batteling for far too long. My first day is tomorrow, and I'm scared to death - don't know quite what I'm scared about, though!


Anyways, when the twin terrors (as I've been told they are called in the rest of the world, in Norway, of course, we only call it the terror) hit, I woved to not let this experience add to the already overflowing collection of suppressed feelings. Instead of my initial reaction, which was to just stuff it all away, I decided to feel it all and work through it right there and then.


Healing
Image by m_bartosch / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Consequently, I spent most of last weekend couped up in my living room, glued to the TV. I watched and listened to every single of the horrors that were told. I bawled my eyes out thinking of what those poor kids and their families had gone through. I even blogged about it. It feels like I was able to process at least most of the sorrow, and I'm hoping some of the shed tears were from old sorrows as well.


But there was more to this event than just sorrow. A lot of shock and fear, too, and those are not so easily dispelled by tears. Come Sunday, I was ready to let go of these feelings, too. I thought the best way to do that was through exercise. So I ran. First, I did the Cooper test at my old gym, to see how much I'd improved (I'll talk about that in another post). Later, I did a session of C25K.

It felt so GOOD! It was really what I needed to free some of the shock that had frozen my body and mind. Running, and I'm sure most kinds of exercise, can be the best form of healing. Often, we think of exercise as a means to reach our goal weight. But lately, I've started to value exercise for its own sake, for the good feeling it creates in me. I LOVE how strong I feel after a workout, how much more I appreciate my body, how it reduced my stress levels.

Even though I officially quit the challenge half way through, I DID succeed in losing 1 kg in 1 week. Half of that (the part prior to July 22) was due to hard work on my part. The other half - well, you just don't have the stomach to eat much when you're bombarded with heart gripping, real life horror stories like that.

Well, actually I'm sure it could have gone the other way, too. I could just as easily have turned to food for comfort. So it was just pure luck that my reaction led me away from food. Or was it? Could it have been that I didn't NEED comfort food because I was actually feeling my feelings instead of suppressing them? I hope it's the latter, because that would give me a new kind of power over binges. I'll never know for sure, but nonetheless I will continue to work through my feelings instead of hiding from them. I believe that will make me more equipped to reach my goal weight and stay there. Not to mention that I'll have a better life alltogether. Now, that is something worth fighting for! :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Changed perspective

All bets are off, I won't be finishing my one week challenge. It just doesn't seem important anymore. What happened, you might ask? A bomb, that's what happened. A real life bomb in my country, too close to where I live and work. And an even worse massacre to top that off. It's just totally unreal, Norway is a peaceful country. We're famous for our peace treaties, not terrorist attacks!

Although I work as far away as 7 km (4.3 miles), I could actually hear the explosion when it happened. At the time, I didn't think much about it, I just figured it was lightening. Because you don't really expect t a bomb to go off close to where you're at, do you? I didn't, anyways. So I didn't realize what had happened until I heard it on the radio a while later.

I just couldn't believe what I was hearing, and rushed to check the online newspapers. The pictures that met me there, were unreal. It looked like a warzone, like something that happens in other, more controversial (for lack of a better word) country. Not here, where I live. I wasn't physically close to where it happened, but psychologically it was just way too close.

It didn't help that, in order to get home, I'd have to take a bus through the center of Oslo. The situation was toally chaotic, the police kept securing larger and larger areas around the bombing, telling people to stay away and don't use their cell phones. When I found out that Oslo S (Oslo train station) was closed due to 'mysterious items', I decided not to go home. My bus would drive through that area, and I was not willing to take any chances.

Yet, I was shocked and scared and really wanted to get home and feel a little safer. I found a bus that drove a different route far away from the city center, and jumped on that. It would take a lot longer to get home, but it was well worth it to feel safer and get home. When I sat on the bus, I got a message saying that there had been shots on an island nearby. At that point, it seemed relatively 'innocent' (if you can ever called a shooting incidence innocent) and unrelated to the bombing.

When I got home and turned on the TV, though, the story was much more dramatic. AUF, the youth organization of a major political party in Norway, arranged a summer camp at Utøya. There were 500-1000 youths gathered there, and a man dressed as a police officer started shooting people. The scenes described just got worse and worse. Facebook and Twitter flooded with warnings like "don't call anyone at Utøya, someones is shooting and people are hiding". Some of the kids tried to swim off the island. There were interviews with families who had talked to their hysterical, screaming kids when the lines went dead and they hadn't been able to reach them since. These stories just etched themselves into me, I can't even begin to imagine this. I keep thinking about these families and the nightmare they must be going through.

I sat glued to the TV most of yesterday. When I went to bed, there were 10 reported dead from the shooting incident. Survivors talked about 20-30 dead, so I feared that the number would rise. But nothing could have prepared me for the news I woke up to - at least 84 dead. EIGHT-FOUR! And they were all youth, some as young as 13-14 years. It's just unbeliveable! And none of the diseased are identified yet, there are SO many families in the dark, hoping and praying that their loved ones are safe. But for every mintue they don't hear anything, the hope grows dimmer.

And today, when we were finally feeling a little bit safer because the shooter (who is also suspected of the bombing) was arrested, the news came that there might have been two shooters. Which means that there might be a very, very dangerous person on the lose. And that we might not have seen the last of this.

Today there were also more stories from the survivors of the shooting. They talked about how the shooter pretended to be there to help them, but instead started shooting. They described him as cold and calm, having all the time in the world as he leisurely shot people. Some saw their friends being killed right in front of them. Others had to play dead among their already dead friends to try to survive. It is just crazy, horrible, unimaginable - a real nightmare that unfortunately is no dream!

In between all this horror, there are some bright spots. Facebook is flooded by support messages both from Norwegians and foreigners. A lot of people have changed their profile pictures to show their support. The blood banks have long lines of volunteers giving blood and in fact they now have so much blood that they are sending blood donors away. There are stories of great heroes - one young man who swam from the island taking with him his injured friend. He almost didn't make it, yet he never let go of his friend, saving both their lives.

I am sorry about this long rambling. I don't really feel like I have the right to write about this. I wasn't there, and as far as I know, I don't know anyone involved. But still, this has shaken me and touched something deep inside. I'm home alone and don't have anyone to talk to, so I just needed to try to put words to some of the horror, disbelief, sadness, fear, sympathy and shock that I feel. Thank you for listening.

If you wanted to read the story of someone who was actually there, you can read Prableen Kaur's blog. (It is in Norwegian, but you can translate it at http://translate.google.com/) It is deeply touching. I just cannot imagine how anyone could survive such horrors, let alone someone so young. I have no words, it is unbelievable. And, please, send your prayers to everyone hurt by this attack, and their families and friends. They are going to need it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

One week challenge

 Image by scottchan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


This week I've decided to challenge myself. I have a relatively empty week ahead of me, and my boyfriend is out of town so it will be just me and the cats. A perfect time to put in some extra effort!

My challenge for this week is to lose 1 kg (2.2 pounds). It should be doable, and it is within what is recommended for safe weightloss. I know it's going to take a lot from me (I'm not sure I've gone down that much in a single week before, except perhaps at the beginning when the weight loss always happens faster), but I think it can be done.

I know that the scale is not the best way to measure progress, it just varies too much. So I've come up with an alternative way to see if I've accomplished my goal. If I manage to have a calorie deficiency of 7000 calories this week, that's a success even if the scale doesn't agree with me. (7000 calories is roughly equal to 1 kg lost). I'll use my BodyMedia fit to see how many calories I burn and a food journal to see how much I eat.

My plan is to do this without eating less (I like my food! And also, I don't think it's a good idea to go too far down on calories. Right now I'm on 1600 calories a day and that works pretty well hunger and craving wise). Instead, I'll be moving more, doing house chores instead of watching tv. I though about walking more, but since I'm running I don't want to tire my legs too much. They need some rest, too! I'll have to check my exercise dvds for good workout ideas that do not include too much legwork. This will be the perfect time to experiment with my new hoola hoop! And I've always loved the punching part of the shred, so I'll definitely incorporate those into my regime!

EDIT: I forgot to tell you my starting weight for this challenge. Today I weighed in at 78.9 kg.
Wish me luck! :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I made it! :)

I did it! I managed to run the three minutes straight that week 3 of the couch 2 5K requires! I am SO proud of myself! :)

Before I started the session, I was convinced I wouldn't make it. I had almost worked myself up to a minor panic attack thinking how hard this was going to be. So I went pretty slow, I might not have been going much faster than a speed walker. But that's perfectly okay, I can build up the speed later. Right now I'm just focusing on my endurance, and I DID IT!

It just goes to show that you can do more than you think you can. It wasn't even as excruciating as I imagined. Don't let your fears hold you back! Pain is fear leaving the body, as Jillian would say.  And I did keep her in mind. I decided beforehand to make Jillian proud, and I think she would have been, but the most important thing is that I am proud!

As I've complained about earlier, the scales haven't been moving much lately. I finally got around to weigh in on my Tanita scale, and it confirmed what my body has been telling me - I was really bloated. I have in fact lost fat, but retained extra water. I found some herbs that help, and finally the weight is going down, and I can wear my rings again. My body also feels much better when it is not bloated. Hopefully this has moved me past my plateau and will make the weight loss journey a little bit easier. At least it is more motivating when you see the numbers move.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Week two and running outside

This week I went on a little vacation to my home town. My parent's house is halfway up a small mountain, and so we have great hiking trails just outside our doorstep. I brought the shred and planned to do a few sessions with it, but ended up skipping it in favor of long walks. Having great hiking trails right outside my house is something I miss, so I had to take advantage of it when I could! :)

One thing I didn't want to postpone, though, was my C25K. Now, my parents don't have a treadmill, but luckily there is a stadium with running tracks not too far away, so that's where I headed. And that's how I learned that running outdoors is SO different from running on a treadmill.

I hadn't really thought about the difference. I knew it would be harder to motivate myself to run when the weather was bad. But other than that, I didn't much think about the differences. However, once I tried it, I found out that for me, at least, it is harder to run outside than on a treadmill. Turns out the treadmill babies and shelters me.

First of all, when you're used to a treadmill showing your speed, it is challenging to know what pace to keep. I started out running way to fast and got tired and had to slow down. It did get better once I learned to start slower, so it just takes some getting used to. I still miss knowing how fast I run, I think it is too easy to slow down when you don't know your speed.

The other thing I hadn't given much thought to before I tried outside running, was that there would be other people around. Fit people. That brought out all my insecurities about being out of shape and being a failure. I feel like I SHOULD be able to run faster and longer (or even just run at all for that matter, right now I'm just jogging). Seeing all those fit people made me feel like a fraud and I felt totally out of place. I know this is something I have to work on, but for now I'm looking forward to running in my basement again.

Though running outside wasn't my cup of tea, I couldn't let that stop me from doing C25K. I've finished week 2 now, and it went pretty well. I have to say I'm a little bit (okay, more like a lot) worried about next week. I'm supposed to go from running for 1,5 minute to running 3 minutes straight. It feels like I've reached my limit now, and I have no idea whatsoever how I'm going to double my running time. My comfort is that others have made it, and so I can, too. Wish me luck! :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I've started couch 2 5K!

Actually, I've done more than start, I've completed the first week! I am so proud of myself! :)


Don't know why the woman is running
in her underwear... Image courtesy of
Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Last week, I started out with the Cooper test. If you haven't heard about it, it's a simple test to gauge how fit you are. Run/walk as far as you can for 12 minutes, and compare your distance with this table (or a US/UK equivilant) to see how fit you are for your age. (EDIT: I didn't actually run the whole time, though I wish I was fit enough to do that. I ran as long as I could manage, then walked for a while, then ran a bit more. Hopefully C25K will make me fit enough to run the whole 12 minutes soon!)

I did this test back in January, when I started working out again. Unfortunately, because I used the treadmill at the gym back then, and our own treadmill this time, I can't actually compare the results with this time. Because apparently speed is different for each and every treadmill. :(

How annoying isn't it that treadmills don't run at the exact speed they say? That bugs me! So to see how much I've improved this last year, I have to go back to the gym and retake the test on the same machine. Of course, neither of these machines show the correct speed, so if I want to know exactly how far I run, I have to retake the test yet again outside, using a GPS and hoping that will be accurate. GAH!

Anyways, rant aside, I finished the test, and didn't do too well. I fell into the 'very bad' category, and I'm hoping and praying this is only because of my treadmill being faster than it says. My boyfriend and I agree that it seems to run a bit fast, so here's to hoping. The main thing, though, is that I now have a distance to compare to when I've completed the C25K program. That way I can see my improvements even more clearly.

After having finished the test, I think my brain shut down from exhaustion, because I got the brilliant idea to start the C25K program right there and then. Being totally exhausted from running the fastest I could, this was very hard. But I did manage to finish, somehow. (I can be VERY stubborn!)

The second time was easier, I was even able to squeeze in a level 3 of the shred afterwards! I finished the third workout yesterday, so now I'm ready for week 2, or so the programs says. I guess we will find out soon enough.

It felt really good to finally start, though. And I even experienced that famous runner's high! :) Not bad considering a few years back I couldn't even run a couple of seconds (NO KIDDING!). It feels totally doable, but I am glad I have almost finished the shred. I don't think I could have done both C25K and the shred together for an extended period of time. However, I AM going to incorporate strenght training into my workout week after I'm done shredding. Jillian has opened my eyes to how important strength training is. :)

Today was my third running session of week 1. I'll start week 2 next, and I'm kind of scared.

Monday, July 4, 2011

My July goals

I've seen a lot of bloggers setting goals, but it wasn't until I read Dawn's monthly review of her goals that I was inspired to start making my own monthly goals. I love the idea, and here's what I'm going to be focusing on this month.

1. Do a mindful meditation most days

2. Be active most days (go for a walk or play golf when on the days I'm not working out)

3. Finish the 30 day shred (only 6 workouts left of level 3!)

4. Do C25K 3 times a week

5. Buy one piece of feminine everyday clothing and actually wear it

6. Start the Beck diet solution program

7. Eat healthy most days

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Motivation

If you need some weight loss or running inspiration, watch this video:



I think it's EXTREMELY inspirational and it brought tears to my eyes. This week I really need some extra motivation with my scale not budging and cake parties almost every day at work, so I might just watch it a few more times. Enjoy! :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ups and downs

This weekend I was at a game festival and I had a lot of fun and lots of new experiences. What I didn't have lots of, though, is candy, and I'm SO proud of myself for that! I go to this festival almost every year, and foodwise I did a great job compared to other years. One year I lived almost entirely on cheez doodles (they sold supersize ones and I'm a sucker for those cheesy devils). My goal for this year was to maintain my weight throughout the weekend (I knew better than to hope for a weight loss!), and I'm happy to report that my weight today is the same as it was on Friday. :)

How did I do it? I think it came down to planning. I planned my main meals in advance and brought a chicken pasta salad with me the first day. Since I wasn't staying at home, I had to settle for the less than healthy warm food they sold. Mainly hamburger and toasts, not the most healthy things to eat. But I did bring diet bars as alternatives to smaller meals. I wish the stores would sell more dinner stuff that can be eaten cold, then I could have avoided the worst calorie traps alltogether.

Another accomplishment was that even though I was sleep deprived and tired to the bone when the festivities ended, I did manage to squeeze in a level 3 session none the less. It was HARD though, my legs felt like jelly, I had to take lots of breaks and I was totally beat afterwards. But it's the effort that counts, right? 

On the down side, even though I've been really good this last month, I'm only down 0.4 kg and that bugs me. I have a body media fit that tells me how much calories I use throughout the day, and I log all my food. For this, I've calculated that I should be down 2 kg, which is a much more respectable number.

It feels really unfair when you've put in so much hard work yet you're not rewarded. Yes, I know that I'm probably healthier now than I was a month ago. And more fit. But still, no matter how important those things are, I still want that scale to move! I yearn to see myself getting closer and closer to my dream body. Right now all my goals feel unattainable and that's never good. I can keep going a while longer on faith that things will turn around, but each week the scale refuses to budge it gets a little harder to keep going.

The worst part is that I feel like I'm doing good, so I'm not sure what to do differently. Maybe add some more cardio? I'm planning to start C25K soon, hopefully that will shake my body up from its routine. Until the scale starts to cooperate again, I'll just have to focus on the positive things I HAVE achieved. After all, the habits I'm learning now are for life, so there's no quitting!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A new mindset is slowly creeping in

Today I noticed that I have changed in the last months, and not just physically. I've been ill for a couple of days, and today I found myself thinking "I have to get well so that I can work out". Previously, I would have used my not feeling well for all it was worth, thinking it was the perfect excuse to avoid working out and maybe even to eat a little something sweet. Today, however, I completed level 3 even though I still wasn't feeling 100%. I am so proud that I'm finally building a healthier mindset! (One important note: I'm not saying that working out when you're sick is a healthy mindset! I've had a cold, and even though I'm still a little off, I'm mostly better and have no fever etc, so I'm good to work out.)

I believe there are a couple of reasons why I've been able to keep the workout habit this time:

Limited timeframe and a clear goal
The 30 day shred is meant to be done 30 times (some crazy people think that means 30 DAYS, but that's just too much for me at the moment. Also, I want to build muscle and that requires rest between workouts). Instead of the neverending "I am going to work out and get healthy and lose weight", it has a clear goal and I know that if I just tough it up a couple of more times, I'll be done with this level. 

Also, "Completing the shred" has been a crystal clear goal from the get-go. Whereas other workouts are easy to quit because after all you've worked hard for a few weeks and you deserve a break, it's much harder to quit in the middle of a set program. That makes me feel like a quitter, and I'm way too stubborn for that (at least when I have a clear and attainable goal). There was never any question about whether I'd complete the program, only how long it would take me. (it has taken me quite a while, so let's not dwell on that, okay?)

You can see the results
Another important point, is that with the shred I can see actual improvements. I do get stronger. The exercises get easier after a while. I can actually feel the results! This as opposed to spinning, which I enjoyed for a while a couple of years back. There, you can't really feel the improvements you make, because each time you do your best and you end up just as tired at the end of each session. You probably used harder resistance, but the bikes don't show the numbers so it's hard to tell. So you're exercising and exercising without actually seeing how far you've come. I haven't yet gotten around to trying level 1 again, but when I do I know I'll see a huge difference!

The way I talk, you might think I've actually completed the shred, but no. I'm only on day 2 of level 3. But I'm getting there! And really looking forward to it, and to starting couch 2 5 k, another program with limited timeframe, clear goals and where you can see the results.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The art of making cake less unhealthy


Not actual office cake (I WISH!)

I learned a valuable lesson from a co-worker the other day. It was the birthday of one of my colleagues and we were celebrating with marzipan cake. Now, I HATE marzipan (one of the VERY few sweet things I don't like), but I like the main part of the cake, so I removed the marzipan top and ate the rest.



I always feel a bit silly doing this. When I noticed that one of my colleagues also left her marzipan untouched, I was a little relieved and commented "so you don't like marzipan, either, huh?". However, her reply surprised me. "I do like it", she said, "but it is just way too unhealthy so I just skipped it".

I totally love this idea! At work, we're way too often tempted with unhealthy stuff. Three cakes in two days, and then a third day full of candy and cookies! You've got to have iron will to say no to all that. And that's why I love the idea of having a little, but removing the most unhealthy part of whatever you're having. That way you can try a little of the good stuff and not feeling like the odd one out at the party, yet being in control and not getting too many calories. I'll definitely try this in the future.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Level 3 and golf

When I look back at my post from a couple of days ago, where I naively thought that the golf class would be a couple of days of resting (from the 30DS), I have to laugh. My body has been aching all over throughout this weekend! Even though my golfing experience didn't include any cardio, I wouldn't call it resting either. I've been using muscles I didn't know existed, but I had a lot of fun. For a while, anyways, until we got to the actual game.

Turns out, I suck at golf. That wasn't a problem when we were all practicing by ourselves, but by the time we were trying out our newfound abilities in the field, it was also pretty obvious that I suck at losing, too. I HATE feeling so inferior! It just brings forth so many (not so) deeply buried feelings of self loathing. I know I have to start working through my perfectionism and other problems before they overwhelm me, and before they turn into binge eating, lethargy and weight gain. I've been there before, and I'm certainly not going back there now that I'm slowly but steadily losing weight and getting a grip.

On a more positive note, I did level 3 of the 30 day shred for the very first time today, and I MADE IT ALL THE WAY THROUGH! :D (thankfully, that helped a little with my sore self esteem). It is hard, and I had to take breaks and do some modifications, but I didn't have the same feeling of wanting to die as I had when I first completed level 2. I don't know if that's because I was more mentally prepared this time around, or if level 2 was so hard for me because of all the planking, and I've gotten (somewhat) used to that.

Whatever the reason, I'm super happy with myself for completing, and for actually doing it today. Because I was sore all over from golfing, I nearly skipped the workout alltogether. However, I know I'll have little time for shredding this week, and so I had to do it when I had the time, ready or not. I'm very proud of that decision, because it's not that long ago that I would have used any excuse to avoid exercising. It just shows that I HAVE come a long way, and I AM improving, although I still have a long way to go.

Now, I'm trying to focus on my accomplishments and not on my failures. And I've also decided to keep on golfing. It would be so easy to quit, but then I wouldn't get to see the improvements I can make. And golfing is a good way to get some light exercise. So I'm going to face my demons and keep on going!

Friday, June 10, 2011

10 facts about you

10 facts about you!

1- You're reading this right now
2- You're realizing that this is a stupid fact
4- You didn't notice I skipped three
5- You're checking now
6- You're smiling
7- You're still reading this even though it's stupid
9- You didn't realize I skipped eight
10- You're checking again and smiling about how you fell for it again
11- You're enjoying this
12- You didn't realize there's only supposed to be ten facts


Shamelessly stolen from this blog because it did indeed make me smile, and I wanted to share it with others. :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Weehee - I just completed level 2

I just finished my last session of level 2 of the shred, and I did it without ONE SINGLE BREAK! :D Go me!!! :D

I have to say, it was hard and if I weren't so stubborn and so set on finishing strong, I probably wouldn't have made it. But it is good to push yourself and it helps to have a goal in mind.

Now I'm "well on my way to being shredded" as Jillian would say, and I'm supposed to start level 3 next. I'm more than a little scared, though. I vividly remember what a shock that first session of level 2 was on my body and mind. And I have no illusions that level 3 will be any less trying. However, like I said earlier, it IS good to push yourself. And level 2 has been getting more and more bearable the last sessions, so it is about time to move on.

This weekend I'm taking a golf course, so I probably won't be able to start level 3 until Monday. That should give me some time to rest up. Even though I'm scared of level 3, I'm also excited to feel my body getting stronger, to be closer to finishing the shred and to be able to start the Couch 2 5K soon. :)

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Not quitting

I guess anyone reading this blog might have thought that I probably just died from doing level 2 of the 30 day shred, or if, in fact I did survive, I'd just quit alltogether. I have to say, I nearly did. I have trouble with tense neck and shoulder muscles, and all those planks were killers. I had tension headaches for days afterwards, and it took me a week to muster the courage to try again. However, the next time was easier, and since then I've been doing it mostly every two or three days, and while it's still hard, it is bearable.

I'm more than halfway done with level 2, and already dreading level 3. When I think how much of a shock level 2 was for my body, how much worse will level 3 be? On the other hand, I'm dying to go back to level 1 and see how much easier it has gotten. I could do about 15 "real" pushups when I'd completed level 1, can I do more now? I really hope so! :D

I'm really looking forward to completing the shred, as I'm planning to start Couch 2 5K. I've never been able to run, and the thought of being capable of running 30 minutes straight is REALLY motivating. Although I HATE running, I can't wait to try this program and see if it will work for me. I have to admit that I have my doubts that it will, but I've talked to others who felt the same way before starting, and they managed it. So I'm giving it a try, I'm more into working out now than ever before, so that at least is a plus.

While it's very tempting to drop the shred in favor of C25K, or try doing both at the same time, I'm holding back a little. I don't want to be a quitter, the shred is a good workout and I really need the strength training. Also, I know I'm not in good enough shape to do both, especially now that level 3 is right around the corner. However, I do hope that level 3 will be bearable after a while, and at that point I plan to start the C25K. Looking forward to it! :D

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pushing yourself

I just finished my first time of level 2 of the 30 day shred and all I can say is OH MY GOD I WANT TO DIE! I can't believe there are people out there that do this every single day, crazy peopel!

I was unsure whether to start level 2 or continue a bit further with level 1. But as a forum friend pointed out, it is important to push your body. It was almost like hearing Jillian herself, and of course she was right! However, right now I can't imagine doing level 2 one more time, but hopefully the feeling will pass by Thursday, when I've planned my next level 2 date.

Like I said, I had my doubts about this, as I still think level 1 is hard enough. But still, I did manage to complete the whole thing (with a couple of small breaks), and I am very proud of myself right now! :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Getting back on the horse

Last time I blogged, I was heading for Jordan. Now I'm back, but after one week of vacation, followed by one week of a really bad tummy bug, followed by Easter with lots of candy and parties and good food - well, let's just say my motivation is NOT back! And of course the fact that I've gained weight doesn't help much, either.

Nature based stock photography

I think it is unfair that it takes so much more effort to get in shape than it does to "fall out of shape" again. I've been SO good most of this year, but a couple of weeks of bad choices has wreaked havoc on my blood sugar levels. My motivation has gone down the drain and it feels like I'm trapped in a maelstrom of bad choices. Up until recently, I hadn't been eating candy this year, and was finally able to say no to sweets that were right in front of me -  a feat that I've never been able to do before. But now, I'm back to mindlessly binging on sweets and comfort food.

Before going on vacation, I had spent a lot out time working out, and was on day 7 of level 1 of The 30 day shred. When I started up again last Tuesday, a mere two weeks after the last time I'd worked out, I could barely complete it. My whole body felt like lead, and I had to take lots of breaks. I just hate that two weeks of vacation destroyes months of good work! Yes, I know it's not really like that, and it will get easier soon. But right now I can't motivate myself to work out, because it just feels like there's no point, I'll never get in shape.

 
I guess that is the most scarey thing about these relapses - how they tear down your motivation. Somehow, once you've started down that slippery path of "I'll just try one tiny little one", you're flooded with thoughts like "I've ruined it all" and "I can never loose weigtht" and "now that I've eaten one I might as well eat the whole package".  Those are the real culprits, not the slip-ups themselves.

I just wonder why it is so much easier to start eating crap than it is to start eating healthy! Is it because we're more used to eating crap than to eating healthy and it's hard to break the habit? Is it because our bodies are wired to store fat and not shred it? What can I do to make it easier in the future? Is there any way to do it without willpower, because my willpower is dead and buried at the moment.

Well, even though it's hard, I refuse to give up! So I've come up with an action plan to get me back on track:

1) Weight loss/sweet tooth hypnosis
When I started my weight loss journey in January, I also listened to a sweet tooth hypnosis mp3. I don't know if that did the trick, or if it was my motivation, but up until recently I've been handling sweets and craving better than ever before in my entire life. So I kind of believe it's at least partially effective. So I've ordered a few more hypnosis tracks on weight loss and hope that they will jump start my motivation.


2) Keeping a food journal
I know that when I log everything I eat, it's easier to say no to the worst temptations. When I mindlessly gulp down everything in sight, I mentally discount the calories (or sometimes I just don't care). When I log everything, I'm forced to see the consequences of my actions, and that keeps me more in check.

3) Adapting the plan to fit me NOW
I was following a plan that worked before going on vacation, but right now my needs are different. Because I have been used to eating more, I am more hungry early in the day. When I try to stay on plan, I end up with cravings and binge eating. So now I'm moving up my evening meal (which I don't really need, I'm usually not hungry after dinner) and I'll have it when I'm actually hungry, when I'm at work. That should be better for my energy levels, too, and perhaps for my sleep as well, as my stomach won't be busy digesting food all night.

 
4) Work-out challenges
I've somehow got to get used to working out again. I've joined a 30 day shred challenge on a local forum, and hope that will help me get back on track. I've also joined a national challenge called "ride your bike to work", where you're part of a team and can win prizes for being more active. I'm hoping that having others relying on me will help me get off the couch.

5) Work on my thoughts
I know that the core to the problems lie in my brain, not my body. So I'll be using the Beck diet solution to help train my mind to work with me, rather than against me. I started this a while back, but somehow forgot about it. So now it's time to dust of the covers and give it another go!

6) Healthy snacks
 I have to break my bad snacking habits. And as we all know, it's easier to toss out a habit if you replace it with something new. So I'll buy tons of fruit and vegetables - sugar peas and physalis are my favorites! That way I'll have something healthy to eat when my cravings kick in.




These are all easy changes that I should be able to implement without much trouble. Hopefully they'll help me get back on track.

Monday, April 4, 2011

30 day shred and vacation-time

My preferred workout these days is the 30 day shred by Jillian Michaels from the Biggest Loser. I just finished day 7, and I'm happy to say that I'm actually seeing improvements! :) Now, I can do more of the harder exercises and less of the modified ones.

When I started out I didn't dare try 'real' push-ups, but did the easier version instead. Now, I'm able to do 15 hardcore push-ups before I have to switch to the modified ones. That might not seem like a lot, but it's a great improvement for a wuss like me! I'm in horrible shape, and I have absolutely no strength in my arms whatsoever. I'm changing that right now! :)

I didn't follow everyone's advice on taking before pictures and measurements... But now I'm starting to regret it .... I'm going away on a vacation to Jordan in a couple of days, so I might do semi-before pictures and measurements when I get back. I hope I'll be able to see at least SOME changes when I've completed the 30 work outs!

I'm leaving on Thursday, and I'm contemplating whether to have my last work-out on Wednesday, or just skip that one. On one hand, my body always feel very heavy the day after a work out, and I want to feel my best when on vacation. On the other hand, I want to work out as much as possible before I leave, because I know that I'll probably gain some weight while I'm away. I will try my hardest to maintain my current weight, though - I won't even dream about losing weight (well, it IS hard to stop myself from day dreaming!), because all experience tell me this is impossible.

I won't be too strict with myself, because going to a new country is also about trying all the delicious foods that you don't get at home. That is a very important part of a culture! But I will stay away from candy and empty calories as much as I can. And I'll probably move around more that usual, so maybe it won't be that bad overall.

I'm looking forward to sun and warmth (no more snow! :) - and it better be gone when I get back, too!). But I'm not looking forward to wearing a bathing suit again. I'm currently at what was, until last fall, my all time high weight. So I have a long way to go before I'll be small enough feel comfortable at a beach. Though, to be honest, I'm not sure I'll ever get there.... But, I won't let that stop me from enjoying the vacation. I refuse to hide away just because I'm overweight!

However, come to think of it, is Jordan one of those countries where women wear burka? In that case I might just get a burka swimming suit.... Just kidding! :) But I have to admit part of me wants to hide away in something like that rather than wear a bathing suit. And I know I have to work through these feelings somehow, because I don't think they'll just magically disappear once I've reached my goal weight.

Oh well, that will have to be another day, I'm practically falling asleep at the keyboard, and I still have to shower after my work out.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Good news, bad news and motivation?

Well, I've changed my mind about Tanita. I now officially HATE it! (split personality? me? No, I'm sure you're thinking about one of the other me's :P). I had my weekly weigh-in today. The scale showed 0.4 kg down and I was feeling pleased with myself. That is, right up until the point where I started punching in all those other numbers, and found out that I had GAINED 0.25 kg of pure fat since last week! :(


Now I'm in a bad mood. So much for motivation! I have to say I doubt it, though. When I sneak weighed-in a couple of days ago, Tanita said I had lost 0.3 kg of fat. So that would have to mean that I have gained 0.5 kg of fat in a couple of days, while eating much less calories than I should. Sounds unlikely.

I guess Tanita isn't as trustworthy as I thought. And that I'll have to look at the longer trends, and not from week to week. I know, I know, it's what everyone says you should do. It's pretty annoying, though, as I bought this thing specifically to be motivated on a weekly basis. I bought it so that when my weight wasn't moving, I could still see a difference. And here my weight IS going down, and Tanita makes me lose my motivation. Oh, the irony!

Here are my stats this week:

Weight: 80.7 kg (down 0.4)
Fat percentage: 40.5% (up .5)
Fat in kg: 32,562 (up .25)
Muscle mass in kg: 11,3104 (down .1)
Muscle fitness level: 3 (no change) (higher is better, my goal is 8)
Visceral fit:7 (no change) (lower is better)
Base metabolism in kcal: 1490 (down 16)

I can see that this obsession with those numbers isn't very good. I went from being happy to miserable in no time. Now, I'm thinking "what's the point" and "I'm never gonna make it so I might just as well pig out". I'll really have to work on my motivation today!

Well, at least there is a good lesson in there somewhere: Don't use external factors that you can't control as motivation. But it is SO hard! How much I weight is a very tangible goal. And the fact that I've done really good this week, made mostly healthy choices, it's all a means to reach my weight goal. I know I'll get a healthier body in the end, but I also want assurance that I'll reach a healthy weight! Is there anyone out there who's cracked this and found good ways of motivating? In that case, please share the secret!