Take a [Yoga] Break

Today is the perfect example of a very long day. Working from home definitely has it’s advantages, but a downside is that I often find myself sitting in the same spot ALL DAY LONG. I am at this desk all day for my day job, then I often sit here to do personal stuff, blog, etc.  It’s not uncommon for me to be at my desk for 12+ hours each day.

 

To break up my day & force myself to get up and move, I’ve been trying a few new things. First is set a a few alarms on my phone. I have 3-4 timers set up on my phone to go off throughout the day to remind me to get up. Yes, that seems really ‘type A’, but when I get sucked into work I lose track of time. I’ll mean to get up to grab lunch or walk around, and sometimes it just doesn’t happen. Hopefully by continuing with the alarm method, it will be a gentle reminder to GET UP! 

I like to do this particular stretch during my shorter breaks, it releases every knot in my back and legs. I’ve also done this while listening in on conference calls, but only when I know I won’t have to jump into the conversation. You don’t want to rise quickly out of this stretch, be gentle.  

 

Uttanasana: standing forward bend.  2013 is the year I plan to really focus on my yoga practice. I plan to commence teacher training so I can deeper my knowledge and guide others through this special philosophy. #EndeavourCollegeofNaturalHealth #My2013HealthVision

Via

 

The next thing I am doing, is a quick yoga sequence to stretch and clear my mind. I like both of the below sequences depending on how I’m feeling at that moment. Not only does it force me out of my chair, but I get the added benefit of reduced stress and increased strength & flexibility.

 

Via

 

 

Just 5 minutes will make a difference! Yoga in the morning.

Via

If you want to try something similar and don’t like yoga, try walking around the block or building. When I used to work at an office, I liked to walk outside and around the building a few times to get some fresh air and stretch my legs. I also used to take some of my less formal work calls while wandering around outside. Unfortunately I don’t have the best cell service at my house so that doesn’t work so well for me now.

 

…and in case you need a little more inspiration to bring some healthy back into you life. This is Daphne Selfe, the ‘oldest’ an amazing supermodel at 83 years old. She credits Yoga and Pilates to keeping her body in the best shape. I hope I look this hot and healthy at 83!

flexibility - 83-year-old daphne selfe

Via

 

All you office workers out there…what tips do you have?

I’m Feeling Inspired – Down A Size

So first off, I have to say…WOW. Last month was one of the biggest on the blog and I posted a whopping 5 times. Which makes me wonder if you’re trying to tell me something. That, or June was just a huge month for Golf Cakes and Apple Butter. I never thought those would be the most popular posts on CMD.

I’m also doing something a little different with this week’s inspiration post (just pretend there wasn’t a month long gap since the last one). I realized I haven’t given you a proper update on the weight loss journey lately.

[I could not get the smears off the mirror, sorry]

 Down a Size_2

My ‘fat’ jeans are in the donation box!

[Holy crap, did I just post a picture of my ass on the internet?]

 

YES. I. DID.

 

Thing have been going great on the weight loss journey, I’m down 28 lbs and a full jean size. I’m also starting week 7 of the C25K and have gone from struggling through a 90 second jog to finishing 20 minutes straight. Now instead of reaching for food when I get stressed at work, I find myself looking forward to my workout. Who thought that would happen? I still have a long way to go, but I’m smiling again.

In all honesty, I hate these types of posts, because I don’t like tooting my own horn. But I’m trying to learn that sometimes it perfectly healthy and justified to pat yourself on the back and share the good news. Especially justified since this blog is supposed to be all about my journey to changing my destiny, right? Well, I see progress.

So here’s to sharing the great news all over the internet!

…especially since my dog just doesn’t get it when I dance around the bedroom in my now smaller jeans.

Motivation – Nike+ Fuel Band

A few weeks back I took advantage of a restocking of Nike+ Fuel Bands online, and purchased one as soon as they went live. I had watched them sell out in minutes at previous launches and didn’t want to take the chance of missing out again. This particular band appealed to me primarily because it was a one time cost. As much as I love my BodyBugg, I wasn’t thrilled with their food logging system, and I had to pay a monthly fee. The Nike Fuel Band gives me similar data, without the monthly fee, and it’s also not quite as…let’s face it…ugly. It looks like a bracelet and blends in with my other jewelry so I can wear it with any outfit.  For food logging, I prefer My Fitness Pal which is free and has a comprehensive food database (and bar code scanner on the phone app).

So, a few days later I had the pretty little band  at my door and ready to go.

IMG_20120412_153400

The first few days I went about my normal business so I could get a baseline for my day. Since I have a desk job, I wasn’t surprised at the low numbers. I set my goal to hit 3000 Nike Fuel ‘point’s’, and on an average work day I was barely closing on 2000. Now that I have the reminder on my wrist, I can check on my ‘points’ (or whatever you want to call them) throughout the day and it’s a gentle reminder to get up and move around. With the band I find myself going the extra mile to move a little more throughout the day and that makes it worth every penny. I now find myself pacing during conference calls instead of sitting, I’m working out in the morning now to get a jump on the day, and if I’m running low at the end of the day I’ll jump around or dance in the living room for a bit. Those are things I wasn’t even considering before.

Here is why it’s working for me:

  • It’s not a diet tool, it feel more like a LIFE tool. Similar to how some people use a pedometer, I use this to motivate myself to move more.
  • It looks nice so I don’t mind wearing it all day, even when I dress up a little. In all honestly I stopped wearing my BodyBugg simply because I got tired of it showing under clothes. I have a few loose bracelets that fit right over the band and would barely know I have it on.
  • It tells time in addition to Fuel, Steps, and Calories so I don’t actually have to wear a watch anymore
  • Charges quickly using my computer, no batteries to change, and the charge lasts for days
  • Since I have a goal of 3000 ‘points’ per day, I find myself trying to hit goals throughout the day. I now workout in the morning so I try to hit 1000 before work, 2000 before close of business, and 3000 by bedtime. If I’m running behind during the workday, I might jump on the stationary bike in my office or jog up and down the stairs for a few minutes to both get away from my desk and move my body.

I’m not saying that anyone else should use this, or that it would work for you, but it’s a tool that is helping me get back on track.

 

*This is not a paid review, aside from once responding to a tweet, Nike doesn’t know I’m alive. I purchased the Fuel band with my own hard earned money and felt like sharing since it’s a tool that has been beneficial to me.

Weight Loss Reward: 20 lb

Usually Tuesdays are a tough day for me. I have some important calls at work that take a lot of prep every week and they stress me out. No matter how long I’ve been doing this, it still makes me nervous to talk to smart people. Lucky thing, I’m pretty good at making people think I know what I’m talking about.

 

Other lucky thing…

I’ve lost 20 lbs!!

 

Wow…terrible transition…but let’s keep going.

I’ve been working really hard to clean up my diet since the holidays are over, and I’ve also been slowly getting back into a workout routine since the back injury. Turns out it’s all paying off! I’ve been steadily dropping and last week I finally hit a total of 20lbs down. Actually I’m down 24.7 as of this morning, and it feels so good.

Since losing weight is slow, tiring, boring, exhausting, and sometimes depressing…I have to give myself a goal. Every 5 lb loss gets a reward and the 20 lb reward was a shopping spree at Aaron Brothers for Art Supplies.

Art Supplies - Reward

I’ve been wanting to get back into painting for a while and I have a great idea for a series in the Spare Bedroom so this was perfect. It was too much fun to wander through AB and pick out new paints, brushes, canvases, and a few sketch books. The added bonus was that AB is doing their Penny Sale right now so I every second item only cost me a penny. The few that weren’t on the sale were on clearance and marked 50% off.

Technically I get another reward at 25 lbs, but the next reward I want is some art that is pretty expensive, so I’m focused on losing 10lbs for that one.

 

Do you ever use a reward as motivation when trying to get healthy? Do they work for you? If not, how do you stay motivated?

Metamorphosis Level 1 – Complete

So we’re finally here, two weeks in and the first Level done! Things are going well and I feel great overall. For a little background, each level (I sometimes refer to them as cycles) will last me 14 days, 10 of which are Meta planned workouts. The other 4 days are either rest days or random fun workout days. I will post updates like this every 14 days for the next few months to keep me on track.

Stats:

Pounds Lost this cycle: 7.7

Pounds Lost overall: 22.7

Inches Lost this cycle: 4”

Here is a recap of how the first cycle of Meta workouts.

Day 1 – 3

[D1] I’m no pro, but I do consider myself a pretty damn good dancer. I also have  knack at picking up routines very quickly. However, the first day I felt like a total spaz. The moves change so quickly during the dance cardio that it’s tough to keep up. [D2] It hurt to move. But I kept at it and did both the cardio and muscle work. [D3] I could move on day 3, but it hurt to breathe…and sneeze. Oh dear lord my abs hurt so bad when I sneezed, I wanted to cry. I completed both the muscle work and the cardio, but I was so sore I couldn’t go full out on the cardio.

Day 4

The soreness was getting better on day 4. I didn’t cringe when I walked down the stairs or burst into tears at the grocery store when I unexpectedly had to sneeze. Everything still hurt, but that was to be expected. I was working my body like never before. Even with all the pain, I felt stronger and leaner. As of day 4, I felt leaner because I had already lost about 5 lbs which was a great motivator to keep going.

Day 5

Finally the golden day, the first day everything felt good. I was still sore, but it was far from unbearable. In fact it felt like a badge of honor since I could feel my abs working and my legs felt strong. I still struggled on the leg muscle work, but it’s far better than on day 4.

Day 6

Part of the arm workout uses weights, but since I’m new to this, I haven’t been using them. However, on day 6, I added the 3 lb weights. It felt good and so empowering to be stronger today than a week ago.

Day 7 – 8

I only did the muscle work on day 7 & 8 because I was frankly still tired from finishing the 10K. The blisters on my feet hadn’t healed enough to put my tennis shoes back on so I skipped out on the 30 minutes of dancing for a good night sleep. However, I did add in the weights to the arm muscle work both days and it felt great. Just hard enough to really feel it, but totally doable since I’ve gotten so much stronger in the past week.

Day 9 – 10

Back in the groove and feeling good. I finished 30 minutes of Cardio Dance and the full muscle work with weights. Food did slip a little on these days but I honestly didn’t feel bad about it because over the course of 2 weeks I had worked out at least 10 days and lost almost 8 lbs.

General Tips I’ve learned this Cycle:

  • Know your own pace and how to push it. You get out of this program what you put in, so if you slack off, you’re only cheating yourself.
  • Do your own warm up and cool down, also add in a little stretching since it’s not really included in the DVDs.
  • Use your own playlist for the cardio dance and don’t be afraid to freestyle the entire dance section. I stopped following her cardio dance on day 4, I find it more fun to freestyle it.
  • Use a towel under your knee during the ground legwork (this made the biggest difference for me)
  • Watch all the DVDs at least once before starting the workout, trust me on this, it will seriously help you out.
  • Close your blinds until you really get the hang of this. You will look like a spaz the first time out, having the blinds closed meant I didn’t really care how I looked since no one could see me.
  • Odd fact: My left leg is stronger than my right; however, my right arm is far stronger than my left. Overall my arms are so much stronger than my legs right now.
  • The workouts are tough, but doable. Don’t feel like a failure just because you can’t keep up or do all the reps. Just keep going and you’ll see major progress.

Things I’ve learned work for me:

  • I like to work out at night since I’m a night owl. I do not do mornings very well. So at 6pm I started having  a little coffee to give me the perk up I needed to really push through the tough workout later that night. A little coffee to me is about 1/2 a cup. Anymore and I get very chatty and my dog didn’t appreciate it.
  • While I do still wear the BodyBugg to track my calorie burn, I stopped counting calories that I eat. I try to hit goals based on the number of fruits, veggies, and water I get that day. After that, I can have my ‘foodie’ dinner and not stress.
  • I really wear myself out when dancing so I learned that it was better for me to complete the muscle work first. Otherwise I’m too tired to maintain proper muscle work form after the cardio dance.

As I mentioned before, I’m not following the included Meta eating plan. A few people asked me to post my daily eats and while I won’t be sharing my eats on a daily basis (I just don’t have the patience for it), here are just some of the dinners I have had recently.

Potato Soup with Cheddar in a Bread bowl

Potato Cheddar Soup/Bread Bowl

Veggies, Eggs, and Toast

Breakfast For Dinner

Brussel Sprout stalks are back!! I roasted some sprouts and potatoes one night for a light dinner.

2011-11-12 16 20 02

Brown Rice, Tilapia, and Broccoli Cheddar patties (really good way to eat broccoli if you don’t like it)

Broccoli Patties & Rice

Spaghetti, Peas, Shrimp and Parmesan Marinara

IMG_2349

Yesterday I started Level 2 and it hurts to breathe again, but I know I will get better and stronger everyday.

Healthy Lifestyle Goal – Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis

*Today has been rough, and technology really hates me. Here’s hoping this post even goes up since my internet/phone/cable has been out for several hours. I’m running off of an air card which can be a little spotty at times.

In the journey of weight loss (which has been life long for me), my problem has never really been the workout side of things. Once I get into a rhythm of working out regularly I can often stick with it, and even look forward to it. However,I’ve been struggling lately with the type of exercise that I enjoy doing. For the past few months I was training for the 10K and even though I saw significant progress, I can’t really say that I truly liked it all the time. So as I ended my training, I decided to step back from the running and try out some other activities.

No matter how long I sit here, thinking about what I should do, the only thing I want to do is Dance.

Dancing is a constant for me, it’s a passion, it’s a pivotal as breathing. I’ve danced in one way or another my entire life, covering all types of styles, but my own insecurities held me back from really pursuing my passion of being a dancer when I was younger.

It doesn’t have to be in a class or a social setting, just dancing in my living room gives me the same happiness. When I’m dancing, I feel the most like me. The me that isn’t silenced by insecurities. The me that isn’t afraid of being judged by others. The me that isn’t worried about tomorrow.

I feel like the strong, sexy, beautiful, smart woman that I know I am deep inside.

I enjoy running…I LOVE dancing.

So for this reason, I’m setting running aside for now (although I do plan to keep up with my promise of completing the 10K this month). In place of the recent training I’m starting a new workout program, Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis.

Meta_Photo__22109_zoom

Source

Per the website…

In the newly released Metamorphosis by Tracy, you will transform your body, defy your genetics, and create the body that you never thought possible.  Prepare to be challenged throughout this 90-day program that includes 9 discs of transforming muscular structure work, designed for your specific body types,  a cardio component, and a dynamic eating plan. Experience this total transformation through your own Metamorphosis!

The program is offered for several different body types, I chose Omnicentric, as it focuses on the whole body. The other options were Abcentric, Hipcentric, or Glutecentric. You can find out more about each program on her site.

Why did I choose this program?

I’ve tried out Tracy’s Method before and I liked the mix of dance and muscle work, it was easy enough to follow once you’ve done it a few times, yet incredibly challenging. I also know several others who have used Meta and saw amazing results. So after much thought I purchased the 90 day program which included the Cardio Dance sequence as well as Muscle work DVDs for the next 90 days. The workout takes only an hour a day, which is perfect for my schedule.

What about the included Food Plan?

The food plan for Meta is by far the most controversial part of the method, and I agree with a lot of the concerns. The plan, for the most part, is incredibly low calorie. However, the lowest calorie days are meant as a reset, they are not meant to be used long term as your primary eating lifestyle. Tracy is very honest that her plan is a lot of work and takes dedication, you get out what you put in. This is not a justification, I don’t agree with the low calorie diet included in the program, but I think a lot of people generalize that the eating plan included in the plan is meant to be eaten for the rest of your life. It’s not.

With that said, I’m not following the eating plan. I agree that I would probably see faster results by following the included diet, but it’s not how I want to live. I will be following my own eating plan and using the BodyBugg to keep track of my calorie burn, so that I can refuel appropriately. I feel that this would be the right course of action for me since I’m trying to get in a healthy lifestyle, not fit into a certain dress in 90 days. Based on the past few days, my calorie burn has been so high that I could eat up to 2000 calories still lose weight, so right now I’m on track.

Source: shredesign.com via Rae on Pinterest

I started this plan several days ago and I’m already seeing incredible progress. I feel stronger and I’m seeing an increase in my endurance everyday. I feel the burn…quite literally. My abs hurt so bad after day 2 that I nearly cried when I had to sneeze.

I’m also down 5 lbs already!!!

Now, this is almost 100% water weight, but I’ll take it anyway. It brings me halfway to my monthly goal of losing 10lbs and I’m officially down 20 lbs from my highest weight. (cue the happy dance!)

Progress/Rewards

I’m all about motivation and, let’s face it, that nice “I’m healthy” feeling just doesn’t do it all the time. So in an effort to keep myself motivated I’ve created a reward plan that would ‘give’ me a reward for every 5 lb weight loss. For every 5lbs lost, I get something. It could be a pedicure, new shoes, trip to the movies, a new book, mini shopping spree at Sephora…etc.

The program works off 10 day intervals, so I’ll be posting updates every 10 days for the next 90 days. During the 10 Day updates, I will also share any rewards I have earned and any new goals.

I’m excited about this new venture. If anyone is curious, I’ll be happy to share my honest opinions of the program along the way and answer any questions you may have. If you’re doing the program already I’d love to know that too.

I’m also looking for reward suggestions…What would be on your reward list??

Back On Track

This is why I love BodyBugg!

image

The past few days I’ve been frustrated with my weight loss. I know the scale shows variations in your weight throughout the week and for this reason, I typically do my official weigh in on Monday mornings. However, every so often I do weigh in everyday just because I find it interesting. Variations for me tend to be about 2- 3 lbs on any given day. So you can understand that when I was expecting a weigh in of 253, I was perplexed when the scale showed 260. 260!!!! I get 2-3 lbs overnight, but 7, really!?!

The first day I chalked it up to monthly bloating, or not drinking enough water, so I just kept a close eye on what I was eating and moved on with my day. However, the next day, it showed the same thing. Now I was just pissed off. I just changed the batteries the other day on this stupid scale…

…wait! I just changed the batteries!

There’s no calibration on this scale so the calculations shouldn’t be off due to a battery change, but I thought I’d test it just to be sure. So I grabbed 30 lbs worth of hand weights and set them all up on the scale. My 30 lbs of weights lit up the screen at 36.7 lbs.

Whoop! Whoop! My Scale is wrong!

I mean I’ve said that before, but this time it’s actually TRUE!

So tomorrow we’ll see what I weigh in at AFTER I subtract the 6.7 lbs and all should be right with the world again. At least all will be right with my hips, the world will still have some issues to work through.

 

Otherwise my life has been pretty boring so I won’t…well, bore you. I’ve been mostly busy with work since several of my coworkers are on vacation and I have to cover for them. Oh, and I’ve been sucked into the show, I Survived… on Hulu. It’s a lot like the show I Shouldn’t Be Alive, but without the dramatization. Geez, some of those stories are insane. Makes me want to learn Krav Maga, how to shoot a gun, install supersonic bolts my doors, and never get on a boat.

A Weight Off My Shoulders (& Hips)

Vacation Mode Goals Update:

Two days into the work week, and the goals have been successful so far. When I was on vacation, I was able to easily get up early and walk Baxter around 6:30am. I honestly didn’t think I’d stick with it, since I’m a die hard night owl. However, yesterday and today I made a point to get up early and take Bax on a 30 minutes speed walk. By 7am it’s already 70 degrees, so you go for a walk early or not at all.

Before setting these vacation mode goals…

On a typical weekday I would wake up late, check my email before I’m even out of bed. Immediately begin stressing out about work issues, skip breakfast, feed Bax, then head upstairs to pace the office for a bit, talking to myself, while my computer starts up then start working.

After…

Wake up before the alarm clock and put on my tennis shoes while Baxter eats breakfast. Head out for a 30-40 minute walk with Bax. Return home, shower, eat breakfast, check twitter/news then head upstairs and scan my work emails on my phone while my computer starts up, start working.

A MAJOR difference if you ask me. I have been oddly calm both yesterday and today, and I’m completely caught up on work right now. I think it all has to do with the morning walks.

I’ve also kept up with my workout, healthy eating, being presentable, and making lists. I haven’t meditated like I’d hoped, but I think I can consider the walking an outdoor mediation for now.

 

A Weighty Issue…

I promised to be very honest about a lot things on this blog, including the constant fight I have with my weight, which I’ve battled all my life. I feel somewhat comfortable opening up about this now since I’m actually making some progress. Accountability is key so, here we go.

If you’ve been keeping up with the blog since the beginning (which was a mere week ago), you may remember reading that I gained an extreme amount of weight over the past two years, 80 pounds to be exact. At the time, I was just breaking 200 lbs after losing about 30, so I wasn’t even at my goal weight when I started gaining again. At my highest I dented the scale at 280…OUCH!

There are so many reasons why I got to that point, depression and disordered eating being the main two reasons. But as anyone who’s battled their weight over a lifetime knows, it’s never as easy as it seems to fix the issue.

I’ve never been one for quick fix diets, weight loss pills, or ‘celebrity’ diets. I’ve never tried the cabbage soup diet or eaten only protein. I’ve never done a master cleanse or delighted in the cookie diet. These plans have never sounded effective to me, since I’ve never been looking for a quick fix. I have, however, been looking for a healthy lifestyle that felt right to me. One that would be tasty, help me lose the weight, then later maintain a healthy lifestyle. One that wouldn’t feel like deprivation or make me desire to binge on 8 dozen cupcakes at a time. Lately I’ve been blending several ways of thought together to create an eating plan that works for me.

In November, I started following the 17 day diet because the eating plan made sense to me. At the time I was binging a lot and following the strict eating plan helped me get back on track, like eating bootcamp. In a month, I had lost 20 lbs and started feeling so much better about myself. However, life got in the way and I stopped eating healthy, gaining back about 10 lbs.

My mom used to tell me that you couldn’t change a person, they needed the desire to change for themselves in order for the change to stick. I second that by adding that it can’t simply be a ‘desire’ to change. I’ve desired a change all my life, but I’ve finally reached that moment where I want to live authentically and make the necessary changes, not just desire them anymore.

In the past few weeks I started reading Crazy Sexy Diet, Tracy Andersons Method, Food Revolution, several resources by Kathy Freston, as well as many other publications. All were leading me toward the same thing, a Vegetarian eating style that cut out processed food and sugar. Seems so simple, but I guess I just had to be ready to learn, and ready to make the change for good.

My food plan lately has been completely meat free and I feel amazing. I’ve also cut out a majority of dairy and gluten, but I do plan on slowing integrating those back into my diet. I have no desire to give up milk, cheese, or eggs long term at this point. I also know I can physically tolerate Gluten, so I don’t need to cut it out to be healthy. In the end I’m torn on whether I’ll continue to be vegetarian long term or just a majority of the time. However, it fits in my lifestyle now, and it has had such a positive effect on my life so far.

 

Progress Update…

I’ll try to make weight progress updates a weekly feature to keep myself accountable. So far, I’m down 28 lbs and I’ve almost broken through the 250s. I can’t tell you how amazing that feels, just 28 lbs lighter and everything is easier. I’ve also started following Tracy Andersons 30 day Method (although I’m not following her eating plan) and I absolutely adore the cardio element. I grew up dancing and this is essentially 30-40 minutes of pure happiness everyday. How can you go wrong with that?

Adding the dancing, strength training, and morning dog walks have obviously made a difference. Next week I’ll give you a weight loss progress update along with measurements to see just how effective this new eating/workout plan really is. Here’s hoping that the scale has me in the 240’s, and I’ll officially be down 30 lbs.

 

How else have I changed lately…did you hear I cut off 20 inches of hair recently! Maybe that accounts for a few of the pounds!