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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cheat meals vs. cheat days: Part I

Thank you so much for all the birthday wishes on my last post.  It was a great weekend that was filled with so much food!  Italian, Mexican, sushi, desserts, alcohol, Chinese and fast-food.   No pictures because I was too busy stuffing my face but let's just say this is the most I've eaten in a L-O-N-G time.

Don't get me wrong, I indulge in stuffing my face at least once a week - in fact, I promote having a high calorie filled meal once in a while - but this weekend was gluttony overkill and my body is hurting from it.

My goal of seeing the 120's by the end of this month are pretty shot but is it because of my one weekend of bad eating?  I think so.

With the end of January comes the end of many New Year's resolutions so it's a good time to revisit cheat meals and their place in the weight-loss journey.

Notice i said cheat MEAL, not cheat DAY (like the two days I just had).  In my opinion, there is a huge difference: one will keep you sane on this journey and the other will destroy you!  (Okay, not really destroy you, but if it helps keep the cheat days away, then yes, it will DESTROY you)!

I've touched on this subject before and as we know, weight-loss comes down to calories in vs. calories out.  A cheat meal once a week will put you over your calories for one day, but if your nutrition and exercise are on-point the other days of the week, there shouldn't be that much damage done.  For example, I've steadily lost about a pound a week since November and you better believe I take full advantage of my cheat meals (half a medium pizza... sure).

Some people might say I could have lost more than a pound a week if I didn't include the cheat meals, and that's true, but I'm comfortable with my progress so far.  It's not a race to get to my goal weight... it's about finding a balance that I can do FOR LIFE.  Including a cheat meal once a week is my way of balancing out my cravings and I believe it helps my body "recover" from a week of lower calorie days... simply put, it kinda shocks the system to keep it guessing.

On the other hand, depending on how bad your cheat days are, it can have major consequences.  Let's take a look at my birthday Sunday:

Breakfast:  pancakes, eggs, bacon, toast (839 cals)
Snack: yogurt and almonds (200 cals)
Lunch: Chinese dim sum (estimating 1000+ cals)
Snack: popcorn (300 cals)
Dinner: pizza and Mexican (1200+ cals)
Dessert: ice cream (350 cals)
TOTAL calories for the day: 3889+ calories

That's over 2300 cals just to maintain my weight... not even lose weight!  That also means all the hard work I put in to create a nice calorie deficit is washed clean within a day, setting me back another week to reaching my goals.  Totally not worth it if it wasn't my birthday.

Some tips to stay clear of cheat days:  Cheat meals vs. cheat days: Part II (coming soon).

Sunday, January 29, 2012

One year left!!!

Today is my birthday, the big 2-9, which means I have exactly one year left in my twenties!! OMG!  OMG!!  OMG!!!!!!!

(insert freak-out here)

Okay, okay... so instead of freaking out over the fact that I'll be 30 in less than a year (insert mini-freak-out again), I thought I'd look back on my journey and revisit 29 accomplishments I never thought I'd do:
1.  After seeing a recent picture of myself (below) and feeling disgusted, I made the decision that changed my life:  I decide to get my health back.  September 17, 2008.

2.  Lost my first 10 lbs. October 31, 2008.
3.  Cranked out my first push-ups... from my toes!  November 26, 2008.
4.  First Thanksgiving I went through with a weight loss.  December, 2, 2008.
5.  Lost my first 20 lbs.  January 20, 2009.
6.  According to the standard BMI chart, I am no longer in the "obese" category!  January, 23, 2009.
7.  Changed my mindset from "lose weight" to "get healthy".  This decision changed the course of my journey permanently.  February 10, 2009.
8.  Completed my first race E.V.E.R!  8.2 mile Great Aloha Run in 1:45. February 16, 2009.

9.  Lost my first 30 lbs.  March 13, 2009.
10. First time I got up early - 5:45 am - to exercise before going to work.  March 25, 2009.
11. Started my blog... probably the biggest tool to my success so far.  April 4, 2009.
12. Literally counting down the minutes till I get off work and get to exercise!  Really, me?  YUP! April 16, 2009.
13. Joined a gym.  June 3, 2009.
14. Hired a personal trainer... another one of my "top 5 tools for success".  June 4, 2009.
15. Signed-up for, went to, kicked-ass in, and completed my first boot camp!  July 1, 2009.
16. Not really an accomplishment, but going hiking with Dr. Dre and Eminem... priceless!  July 18, 2009.
17. Tried my first green monster and fell in love.  Have had one almost everyday since.  August 2, 2009.

18. Lost my first 40 lbs.  September 9, 2009.
19. Held my first blog challenge and you guys helped me KILL it!  September 22, 2009.
20. Admitted my greatest fear which helped me put ice cream eating in-check.  November 2, 2009.
21. Broke up with the love of my life... food.  December 28, 2009.

22. I discovered the secret to weight-loss!!  January 14, 2010.
23. Viva Las Vegas... and maintained my weight without tracking calories, exercise, food, etc.  Portion control for the win!  February 24, 2010.

24. Exposed myself on the internet.  March 17, 2010.
25. Started the super controversial HCG diet in April 2010.  Lost 10 lbs. in 3 weeks... then regained it plus 20 lbs. more!  Ended 2010 at 155 lbs.  Not an accomplishment, but it was something I thought I'd never do.  On the positive side it did teach me a big lesson: nothing trumps eating healthy and exercise!  2010.
26. Totally upped my strength training and started powerlifting with my trainer.  Nothing else like it and I'll continue to do it for as long as my body lets me.  November 16, 2011.
27. Spent the entire 2011 working my ass off (literally and figuratively) to lose the 30 lbs. I regained and ended the year with 25 of those pounds gone... FOR GOOD!

28. Down to my lowest legit weight to date.  January 25, 2012.
29. I can back squat more than my weight!  So don't ask me how much weight I squat, ask me how many plates I use (the 45 lbs. barbell weight-plate is called a "plate", the other weight-plates - 10#, 25#, 35#, etc. - are just called weight).

Here's to making the last year in my 20's my best one ever!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Flashback Fridays: Selling myself short

Flashback Fridays are a re-posting of my previous blog entries.  Sometimes I need a good kick in the butt and these old posts remind me of how to get it done.

Why I flash-backed to this post:  With the GAR race coming up in less than a month, I've been having a hard time with my trainings.  I do pretty okay for the first two or three mile, but after that I sell myself short.  I tell myself I'm not a runner and that I can't do this so instead of pushing through the run, I just stop and walk.  I've done 6 miles with my GAR training group but on my own, I have a really hard time pushing myself.

This flash-back is to remind me that I CAN do it.

Original post date: 9/26/09
Original post found here.
It was my plan to go to the gym tonight and do my cardio there but decided I wanted to get outside and run. So I dropped the boyfriend off at work and went running. The route that I chose took me around Diamond Head and along the beach so the views and sunset were amazing!
This is part of the route: Around that big brown crater on the right and around the green fields to the left.

Please remind me that I live in Hawaii and we have gorgeous sunsets daily outside... I tend to take it for granted!
Anyway, the route is a little hilly and at one particular area, it's a good incline for about a mile. I've never run the entire way before, BUT I DID IT today! Even as I was doing it, I didn't think I'd make it. Talk about selling myself short! What kept me running the entire way...
"I'll just run to that mail box"
Then when I got there, "I'll just run to that street light."
Then when I got there, "I'll just run to that fire hydrant."
Then when I got there, "I'll just run to that parked car."
And before I knew it I reached the top of the incline and I felt good! So good that I just kept on running instead of giving myself the break that I kept promising myself I would get if "I just run to that... whatever."
I'm not a runner... never really enjoyed it... and over the past year or so I've really avoided it because I used to get shin splints - come to think of it, I'm pretty sure the shin splints are the only reason why I don't like running - but since I started to consistently lift weights, I've noticed (knock on wood) that I don't get them any more. Could be a mix of mostly running of the treadmill at the gym instead of on the pavement so these next several weeks I'll be getting in more runs outside to see if the pain comes back.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Weigh-in Wednesday: 129 lbs. by 1/29

Starting weight: 176.4 
Last week weight: 132.0
Current weight: 131.4
Current loss:   -0.6
45-pound benchmark reached!!

Not too bad considering TOM is here and this motivates me even more.  I'll keep going in the right direction, whether or not the scale shows it won't get to me.  One more week to try and reach the 120's... 129 by 1/29... 129 by 1/29! 

Click pict to enlarge.

You see that?!  I finally hit all my weekly goals!  Third week into January but I did it!  There's only one more week left this month, have you met your January goals yet?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"But being healthy is too hard!"

Lunch time at my office has become somewhat of a circus.  My office is right next to the kitchen so I hear everything that goes on and being that we're still in the New Year resolution "high", a lot of talk has been health/food/weight-loss talk.  It's amazing, and a little sad, how much "old school" information - Atkin's Diet, 'fat buring zone', Richard Simmons (!!) - I hear being passed around in that kitchen.

What's even worse is that people have noticed that I've been losing weight so they stop in to see what I'm eating for lunch... E.V.E.R.Y  S.I.N.G.L.E  D.A.Y!

A lot of times this food-stalking leads to small talk and the inevitable question, "How are you doing it?"

When I answer them,  they can't believe that I watch my food portions, count calories, monitor my macro-nutrients, make it a priority to get in my workouts, etc.  Most people tell me "That's crazy!" or "It's too hard to do all that".

Really, people?  REALLY?!?! 
 You're telling me it's too hard to make an effort to be more active or watch what you eat? 

Isn't it harder living with joint pain?
Isn't it harder to be uncomfortable in your skin?
Isn't it harder to get around in the world?
Isn't it harder to keep having to take medication on top of medication to keep your cholesterol/blood pressure in check?

Trust me, it's much easier living healthy than it is to be overweight.  Or in my case, obese (by America's standard BMI chart).

 5'0" and 176 lbs = BMI of 35 = OBESE!

I  always tell my food-stalker co-workers that they don't have to do things the way I do.  I do things the way I do because it worked for me.  They still brush off the information as if it's something they will never do... like they were expecting me to tell them that I take some kind of magic pill.  One co-worker even said, "Damn it! So exercise and diet actually work?  I guess I should listen to my doctor".

I say give exercise and healthy eating a one month chance.

I did back in 2008.  In one month I lost 10 pounds and I haven't looked back.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Salad over ice cream for the WIN

Blah Happy Monday!  Hope you had a good weekend.

I received an email the other day from a reader who wanted to know how I "keep it together so well" in regards to exercise and nutrition.  The truth is... I don't.

I admit, I feel confident in what I'm doing in the exercise department (GAR training and power-lifting keep me consistent with cardio/strength) but when it comes to nutrition, that's a whole different story. I mean, we all know what we should and shouldn't eat but that really doesn't mean anything unless it's put into practice.

Case in point, this weekend.

On Friday, I ate dinner earlier than normal because I had a gym date and by 10:00pm that night, I was starving!!  And even though I have healthy grab-and-go snacks - think whey protein, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, grilled chicken breast - all over the house, this is what happened:

But strawberry ice cream has strawberries in them...

Yup, ice cream... straight out of the container... with a big spoon.

Even if I only had four several spoonfuls, it's several spoonfuls of calories, sugar and saturated fat my body didn't need. FAIL!

So when Saturday night rolled around and I had to eat dinner early again because I had another gym date, I planned ahead.  Instead of using my normal big salad bowl, I decided I would fill up on salad (instead of ice cream) by busting out my HUGE mixing bowl.

Huge mixing bowl and half-eaten salad that could have served a family of four!

This is my "normal" salad bowl and although it's wider, it's much shallower than the mixing bowl I used.

Salad over ice cream... never thought I'd be that person but so happy to say I am... sometimes.

The rest of the weekend was pretty low key.

Yesterday I skipped GAR training - to do a full-body workout - however I planned to miss it from last week.  My schedule was going to be a little tight this week so I had to rearrange my strength/cardio days but I plan to knock out a 5-miler this afternoon.

I also spent time catching up on some reading:

Finding, trying and not loving a new trail mix:

I love ginger in almost anything - food or drink - but crystallized ginger is just not my thing.

And prepping my grab-and-go snack for the week:

 Eggs, ground pork, spinach, garlic, onions, tomatoes and herbs.
Recipe I used follows my egg 'cupcakes' recipe but turned into a 'pie' instead.

Overall a good weekend.  Here's hoping this week is just as strong.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Goals... goals... goals

Click picture to enlarge.

Quick January goal update.

Last week I didn't reach my weekly totals - missed my calorie goal by 9!! - but I got 2 out of 4 of them... better than the 1 out of 4 I did the first week of Jan.

Right now the one goal I see slipping away is my weight goal BUT I'm in no way giving up on being in the 120's by this month!!  14 days to lose 3 lbs. is totally doable and it will force me to tighten up on my nutrition and make every workout count.

Weigh-in Wednesday and spiral slicing

Starting weight: 176.4
Last week weight: 133.0
Current weight: 132.0 
Current loss: -1.0 

I can't say it enough... consistency with training and nutrition pays off!  Even though this weekend consisted of sushi, dim sum, and a Chinese New Year treat, weigh-in went well today and I attribute that to consistent weight and GAR training - even though I missed one weight session this Saturday.  Here's to making this week even better!


This is for my friend, Kyle, who is doing a great job with his new vegan adventure. 

Joyce Chen veggie spiral slicer. 

I have had this little piece of equipment for a couple of months now - found it a discount store for under $10 - and I love it!  Although I haven't used it for anything except zucchini, it does an amazing job at creating "spaghetti strands", ribbons, and round slices.

Last night I used it to make spaghetti noodles for Gina's Crock-pot Italian Turkey Meatballs recipe:

And I know nothing can replace the chewy, starchy, carby goodness that is real pasta, but this is a good substitute for my non-cheat meals... even Anthony likes it and that's saying a lot.  Now to try it on a lot more veggies...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Weekend recap

Good morning... long weekends are the best, right?! 

Tried to sleep in but I was up by 8:00.  I hit the mall with Anthony to do some Christmas gift returning, eat some sushi for lunch, then went home early because I had an afternoon planned with my family.  We hit up Chinatown for the Chinese New Year celebrations:

Crowds of people, food booths, and vendors of all kinds.

Super colorful shirts... 
... to super colorful candied popcorn.  This booth was pretty amazing.  They had no-kidding over 50 different flavors of popcorn! My dad got the sampler and even though we didn't know what flavor was what, it was yummy!

Of course there was a parade (only got one pict cause short-little-me couldn't see much of anything).
And the only thing I ate (besides some of the colorful popcorn) was something called fried milk.  Never had it before, in fact I've never seen it before, so I had to try it.  It was basically an egg roll with a custard filling... fried custard is always good.

And remember this cute lil' gal I ran into at the 2011 Honolulu Marathon?
I ran into her in Chinatown, decked out in a custom made Cheongsam doggie dress!
So cute!

After the celebration in Chinatown, I went home because I was so tired.  Worse part about going to sleep early... not being able to fall asleep.  I was tossing and turning the entire night and before I knew it, my alarm rang. 

Woke up by 5:30 am and headed out to my GAR training.  We did a 5.5 miler and it didn't go so well. 

I was recovering from a blister I got on one of my runs earlier in the week, so I was taking it slower.  I don't know if the slower pace or because I was tired, but two miles into the run I got the worse side pain.  For the next 1.5 miles I was barley running and it was so sad to see everyone pass me by.  By mile 4, I just went for it and finished the last mile and half at a good pace minus the side pain.  My GAR coach was there at the finish cheering me on cause he knew I was having a hard time.

After the struggle of a run, I went home and got ready to have a mad shopping spree with my mom at one of our local used clothing stores.  When there's a holiday, they have all their clothes marked down 50% so for $65 I came home with:
  • Nike dri-fit shirt
  • Nike dri-fit tank
  • Under Armour running capris
  • Arden B top
  • Bisou Bisou tank
  • 2 Bebe dress shirts
  • BCBG silk tank
  • 2 Banana Republic skirts
  • Ann Taylor collared shirt
  • Annie Klein silk halter
Not too bad for two hours of shopping!  After that, I went home and napped for four hours... waking up at 5:30 am when you hardly slept the night before is not a good idea.  Wasted the rest of my day!

Finally got to sleep in, met up with friends for lunch (dim sum!), then came back home to do nothing for the rest of the day. 

Last night was a different story though.  I hit up the gym (Monday's are usually my days off but I missed my Saturday workout) then I spent about 2 hours prepping all my meals for the week.

I have a feeling this week is going to be awesome!!  Nutrition-wise, anyway.  =)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Progress stats from the beginning

It's Friday!  And not just any Friday, a Friday before a 3-day weekend!

After posting my measurements on Wednesday's weigh-in post, I had several emails that asked what were my starting measurements like.

I don't have exact starting stats from 2008 - back then I was taking my own measurements and pretty sure they weren't consistent - but I do have stats my trainer took from a year ago when I was 158 lbs., which is 20 lbs. lighter from my original starting weight of 176, but 25 lbs. heavier than Wednesday's weight... it's always good to look back on where you've come from anyway:

Some progress from last year but not as much as I'd expect with a 25 lbs. difference.  Body fat % is the main thing I track and there seems to be a significant loss.

38% body fat at 158 lbs = 60 lbs of fat and 98 lbs lean mass
31% body fat at 133 lbs = 41 lbs of fat and 92 lbs lean mass

I feel like I could have done a lot more to maintain my lean mass but can't complain about what I coulda-woulda-shoulda during the past year.  I can make a decision on what I'll do NOW!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tasty Thursdays: Yogurt dip!!!!!

Good morning!  This isn't a recipe post like most "Tasty Thursdays" but I have to share this new-to-me find:

I've read about it on other blogs but could never find it here in Hawaii but at last... my Costco finally brought it in (and with the coupon in this months coupon book = SCORE)! 

This jalapeno yogurt dip is so yummy.  And not just "healthy" yummy, but yummy-yummy!  It almost taste like cream cheese and has a little kick to it cause, DUH, it's jalapeno.  Anthony and I bought this huge 24 oz. container this past weekend and it's already half-way gone.

It's a good thing my parents are Costco members - and don't like spicy things - cause we stole their coupon so we could buy more.  And by "stole" I mean call-my-mom-the-second-the-yogurt-dip-touched-my-lips-to-see-if-she-still-had-her-coupon. 

So far, I've used it on eggs, as a veggie dip, as salad dressing (thinned out with some salsa)...

... and on top chipotle spiced chicken breast.

If you have a Costco near by, go there now and buy it!

No Costco coupon?  Who cares... it's fricken worth it (and not expensive at all).  We'll be going back to buy TUBS of these later this month.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Weigh-in Wednesday and growing thighs?

Starting weight: 176.4 lbs.
Last Two weeks ago weight: 137.4 (major water retention from Christmas food) 
Current weigh:  133.0 
Current loss:  -4.4 
TOTAL LOSS: -43.4 lbs.

I didn't even realize a weigh-in wasn't done last week.  That's what happens when you're sick and your throat feels like a cheese grater was taken to it.

Moving on... this week I'm not surprised about my weigh-in.

A loss when you're on a diet of mostly liquids will result in the scale moving down... and it's most likely not fat but not complaining at all about the loss (YAY!).  I have been back to a normal eating routine for the last 5 days so hoping it's a true loss.  We'll have to see next week.

Yesterday at my PT session, my trainer took my measurements - something we do monthly - so we'd know where I'm starting in the new year:
  • Neck - 13.5"
  • Chest - 36.0"
  • Right bicep - 12.5"
  • Right forearm - 9.75"
  • Waist - 30.75"
  • Navel line - 31.75"
  • Hip - 40.0"
  • Right upper thigh - 23.75"
  • Right calf - 14.0"
See my thigh measurement? It's up from last month (almost an inch more) and he's convinced that the running and my lower body workouts (which consist of heavy barbell squats/deadlifts and plyo work) have to do with it... in other words, muscle!!  He and I are not worried about the gain, in fact I'm thrilled if it is muscle, but I just found it super interesting that it was such a huge difference.  We'll take thigh measurements next week just to compare yesterday's results.

All said and done, lots of work to still do!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Goal changes/updates

Second week into January already?!  That was fast!

And I've faltered from my goals... ALREADY.  Check it out below (click to enlarge):

Didn't meet my Great Aloha Run training or weight training goals (or my water goal for the week) but I blame it on being sick.  Remember the other week I was sick and then blogged about how happy I was when it was done... yeah, it wasn't done at all and I just got worse.

sore throat + horrible cough = lost voice + no exercise

Totally bummed to start the year like that but I did get my first 2012 workout - an upper-body weight session + a 3-mile run - done last week Wednesday.

 Sweat makes the sick germs go away.  =)

By the way, I added a 7th goal to my original 6... taking pictures of my food.  I'm documenting my eats with pictures (when I remember to) and posting them on my Weekly Meals & Exercise page.  So far it's helping a lot.  I noticed I need a lot more color in my meals and I snack too much.  At least twice a day I have an unhealthy snack... Cheetos, cookies, ice cream... so that needs to get cut down.  Even if it's only 100 calories worth of crap, it's still crap.  It's not doing my body any good so why eat it?

Yeah, as if it were that simple!

Anyway, moving on.  This past Sunday was the 4th official in-training run put on by the GAR volunteers.  I've said it a million times, but running is hard.  I never considered myself a runner.  Even when I played sports, I not only hated the 1 or 2 mile warm-ups we would do before practice or a game, but I H.A.T.E.D them!

But the hardest part of in-training runs: waking up at 5:15am on a Sunday morning.  I keep going because I know if I miss one training... I can kiss the rest good bye.  The training is broken up into groups:
  •  jogger group - run the entire time
  • 10 min/mile jog, 2 min walk group (I'm in this group)
  • 5 min jog, 2 min walk group
  • 2 min jog, 5 min walk group
  • 1 min job, 5 min walk group
  • walker group
We did a 5-miler and by the end of the 5 miles, our "10 min/mile jog, 2 min walk" group of 15 was down to 4.  I considered it a HUGE victory (and NSV) when I finished with the other three people.  =)

GAR is in about a month so hope my knee can stay pain-free and I hope to crush my 2008 GAR time of 1 hour and 45 mins.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tasty Thursdays: Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

(this recipe makes about 40 1-Tbs. size cookies)
  • 1c flour
  • 2c quick oats
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1/2t cinnamon
  • 2t pumpkin pie spice
  • 2T butter, room temperature
  • 1/2c white sugar (I used stevia in place of white sugar.  Be sure to use the correct conversion if you decide to go this route)
  • 1/2c brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 6T pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
  • 2t vanilla extract
  • 1/2c cacao nibs (or chocolate chips)
1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.
3.)  In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars.  Beat in egg, pumpkin puree and vanilla.

4.)  Stir flour mixture into pumpkin mixture, mixing until no flour streaks can be seen.  Stir in cacao nibs.
5.)  Drop dough onto baking sheet in 1T amounts.  This dough doesn't spread out so you can place them fairly close together.

6.)  Bake 12 - 15 minutes or until tops are slightly brown.  Cool on baking sheet 3 - 4 minutes then move cookies to a cooling rack.  ENJOY then store in an airtight container.

And what better way to enjoy your pumpkin cookie baking than to drink some pumpkin spice tea?  YUMMY!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Eve in pictures

 Fresh and always yummy make-your-own sushi bar.

Best.Salad.Ever!!  Romaine with mixed roasted veggies.

<3 Friends!

Sake for the new year.

... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...


Happy New Year You!!!!