Friday, July 25, 2014

Finally Friday...

I got to tell you, each day this week I was convinced it was later than it actually was, on Tuesday I was positive it was Wednesday, on Thursday I woke up thinking it was Friday, and this has all made my week feel super long. *Sigh* TGIF! We survived!

I am falling back in love with the gym. I like the clink of the machines. I like watching my muscles move and feeling the edges of fatigue as I get to end of my set. I like watching the muscle men with these crazy intense looks on their face as they lift and then throw the weights down. I even like the crazy lady in the weight vest using the pull up machine as a leg workout (you would have had to seen it to believe it). What I don't like is the lady watching movies on her phone while working out and barely moving her legs on the machine that I am waiting on. I believe strongly in working out if you are on a machine unless you are taking a short rest period in between sets. Most days I still struggle with it mentally after a long day at work but once I am there I feel great. Something about being there makes me feel strong and healthy. Odd I know but hey liking the gym is half the battle.

I did a really great workout on Monday. 30 minutes of killer intervals on the elliptical machine where I sweated so much I was a little embarrassed and then chest/back day on the weights. Tuesday was just legs and boy was I okay with not doing an ounce of cardio. It is a necessary evil but I just don't like it still. Maybe one day I can reach some middle ground with cardio.

Wednesday I had to get my paperwork for my birth certificate notarized and faxed to county records office. Turns out when you want to apply for a passport you kind of need your birth certificate. Luckily it should be here today, all I need to do is get my picture taken and I should have my passport application in (fingers crossed) by next week. I am going on my first real vacation since being a grown adult. Don't give me that look. I know it sounds odd since I am turning the big 3-0 today but there was not time or the funding for vacations in my 20's. There was a bad economy which lead to college classes and trying to find what both the husband and I wanted to do career wise, then there was entry level positions and working hard to keep our household afloat while surviving getting my degree in paralegal studies. But this will be the first time the husband and I are getting on a plane, flying together and then setting off on a cruise ship for 4 whole days to Mexico. I am so freaking nervous and now I am frazzled because I was procrastinating on getting ready. I don't think I truly believed it was going to happen and now I know it is, so I am saving all my vacation time at work and now I have to get our passports ready. I have flights to book. A hotel to find. I have packing lists to make. A luggage set to order. I have been pouring through travel advice websites. Only a little over 2 months to go and I feel like I am running out of time over here but I am also super excited. In my usual paralegal fashion, I have set up a research notebook where I am keeping all my important details and notes stashed. Luckily there are not a lot of birthdays or anything going on in August and September, leaves some time for me to get organized and get ready.

Wednesday I also had to run to the craft store to find iron on letters for t-shirts for the Color Run happening next weekend. When did that get so close? It felt like it was so far away for so long, I thought I had plenty of time to make shirts and get ready but now it is a week away. UGH! So I headed to the craft store to hunt down a way to put our team name on our shirts. I couldn't find any teal iron on letters (PCOS awareness color is teal) but I instead found these sheets where you design what you want on the computer, print it out on a regular computer printer and then use the sheets to iron them on somehow. Don't know how they are going to work honestly, I still have to read the directions and I haven't had time yet. So I figure Sunday will probably be spent trying to figure out how to iron on these sheets to some white tank tops and t-shirts. While also making some bows. The Color Run is in a little over a week and plans are still wobbly with the other people going with me, so I am just going to make my t-shirts and concentrate on building my endurance. I am sure the rest will fall into place and people will organize themselves soon.

Last night though was yoga and we are on week 4 of the beginners series. I feel stronger. Last night we went through the poses we have already gotten comfortable with and then introduced some new one's in. Downward dog was the first new pose we brought in, up until this point we have just been doing puppy pose.

I struggle with downward dog so much and have since I began yoga. It hurts my wrists because I am not good at spreading out my hands and my elbows hurt. It is a really hard pose for me to deal with but the teacher talked about observing our feelings of resistance towards certain poses or sides of our bodies and how we meet with that resistance. I have always just given up on downward dog and gone into puppy instead. But last night I settled into the pose, it still hurt but not in an unbearable way that meant I was about to injure myself (because you SHOULD NEVER hold a pose that is hurting to the point of injury). The teacher discussed with us when we feel our muscles shake and then lock up, we need to back off because that is the danger area but if we aren't there maybe we need to explore why the pose makes us uncomfortable, make some adjustments. So I did and it still hurt but I held it longer than I ever have before and felt a little better about it.

The next pose we worked on was triangle.

Not a pose I have ever explored much but I sort of like it. It felt really good in my spine and my legs. I had to build a block tower for my hand because I can not reach the floor but I felt good in the pose. Plus the teacher helped me a bit with foot placement so I would be better balanced.

The next pose we worked on was wide legged folded bend with twist (I don't know the technical name).

Of course blocks were used in all of these poses and I struggled with this one a bit. It was uncomfortable to me but again not unbearable. So I settled into it the best I could and explored why it made me uncomfortable instead of immediately backing off the post.

The last pose we did was bridge.

This pose works your booty but I have been known to do it for exactly that reason. I felt good with this pose. No I can't connect my hands underneath my body yet but this pose has always been a favorite of mine. Even with that the teacher still helped me with how I was holding my shoulders and moving my legs a little closer to my body. Which felt even better! I was able to sit in this pose even when it got slightly uncomfortable.

And that is what I mean by getting stronger, I don't just back off of poses anymore. I have learned what is unbearable for me and what is bearable but just uncomfortable. It also really helps to have a teacher that is so willing to give you tips on how to use the blocks to help and even chairs. We have an older women in our class who does the yoga with a chair. Love it. Last night the teacher talked about competing, how we are so competitive with ourselves and those around us, she discussed how yoga wasn't about competing and one of the hardest parts of yoga was letting go of our competitive nature in order to listen to what works for our bodies. I really loved what she was saying because I am pretty hard on myself when I can see other women doing the poses I can't or looking more relaxed in a pose than I am. It made me stop worrying so much and instead start focusing on my body completely. It is a really great class and a great amount of energy. I have even started chatting with some of the other women before class and after class. I just find myself looking forward to Thursday night yoga and I am going to dearly miss it once it is over in two weeks.

This teacher and this beginners series of yoga have been teaching me so many things. It is a great lesson for life, learning how to settle into moments that make us uncomfortable and deal with emotions/situations/people that we feel resistance towards at first but eventually learning how to settle into those emotions and observe them before we react to them in the same way we always have. There is so much yoga is teaching me about my physical body and emotional responses to things. I can actually feel myself handling situations differently and reacting to things slower. I can feel myself settling into my body more comfortably and wanting to take good care of it. I am getting out of this exactly what I was hoping and more!

Yay for it being finally Friday. Boo for my weekend being a little booked up. I have two birthday parties to attend on Saturday, luckily they are at separate times but I basically won't be getting much done at all on Saturday due to them. So Sunday will be my busy day of laundry, cleaning, making those shirts/bows and hopefully getting a really good workout in. Boo also for the week of over 100 degrees predicted. I see lots of shorts in my future. But since I just got my sunless tanner might be a good time to try using it!

Here is to hoping I can resist cake this weekend because my final weigh in is coming up on Monday for the two week challenge!!!! Even though I have been working hard and eating clean, the husband has lost a good amount of weight already (the butt-head), more than me, I am a little jealous actually and might end up losing his and I's competition. Booooo!!! But hopefully I can still win the one with my Mom (no offense to my amazing mother).

Have a great weekend everyone! :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Week One: A Success...

What is your favorite part of the gym?

I love lifting weights and I absolutely hate cardio. During the cooler months earlier this year I was doing intervals of walking with running. I was doing great and building up a lot of endurance but when the heat settled in and I had to fight for a treadmill in the gym, I easily walked away from it. I just don't have any love of cardio. But when I was going through the hellish months of May and June (where I gained back a whopping 18 pounds), crazy busy, not being able to hit the gym, inconsistent exercise and emotional eating, I found that I missed lifting weights but dreaded getting back into doing cardio. I think it is why I love my boot camp DVD so much, they sneak in cardio without me even knowing it and I just feel like I am getting a lot of toning the entire 35 minutes.

This last week for the first week of the challenge I went back at the gym and I didn't plan a whole bunch of cardio. I wanted to concentrate on finding the fun in my workouts again and also just getting back into the habit of hitting the gym after work. I did my boot camp DVD on Monday and Tuesday which is a combination of cardio with strength intervals. But come Friday I knew I needed some cardio and so I got on the dreaded elliptical machine. Well actually I accidentally got on a new machine that combines stair stepping with elliptical type motions and after 5 minutes I was done with that, mostly because I looked like an idiot trying to figure out how to get the machine to swing instead of step. Give me my normal elliptical any day of the week. I vowed to do 15 minutes, anyone can do 15 minutes right? So I started the interval fat loss program, the one that spikes you up to a resistance of 8 and then drops you down to a resistance of 1 every few minutes. It is 30 minutes long but I figured I could do 15 minutes of it and call it even. I popped in my headphones, draped my towel over the bar and put my Pandora on current hits.

It was like my Pandora wanted me to work out because every song being played was a ton of fun to work out too. So I worked and worked and ended up successfully doing the whole 30 minute fat burning interval elliptical workout. That felt great. I poured down sweat and there were a few times I was ready to get off the damn machine but I did it and that is something to be proud of for a cardio hater. Then as a reward I got to rock out leg day on the weights. I had a rest day on Saturday where I just took the day off and binged watched TV to reset my batteries. Then Sunday I ended up moving a whole ton of furniture around so I counted that as exercise for the day. All in all I am proud of my week of workouts. I did good. I marked each one off the board each day and I stuck to eating at home/eating the dinners planned. Honestly I can already see the results and feel them, no more stomach aches, acne clearing up and my mood is more stable. Feels great!!

This week I have 3 days of cardio planned mixed with strength training almost every day, except my yoga day on Thursday. I cringed when I wrote it down but I know I need the cardio, not only for some weight loss but also because I need to build up my endurance before the Color Run coming up in two weeks (OH MY GOSH).

My workouts this week and dinner plans:

Friday is a treat day of Fresh Choice (salad bar with other food thrown in) because well the husband and I need a little bit of fun, plus by Friday we are usually just done with cooking and I set it up as a little reward for rocking out my workouts for the week.

Eats this weekend stuck to the same theme as during the week, low carbs and meats with vegetables. I felt actually really good about what I ate, even though on Saturday (my lazy rest day) I went over my calories, which happens when you sit around eating (I did do laundry and fold clothes and clean up the house as well) and watching tons of TV shows all day long. 

(Dinners, Saturday was chicken with Brussels sprouts and Sunday was spaghetti squash spaghetti)

(Both mornings I ate bacon omelettes with veggies)

I even discovered a little treat to help with my terrible ice cream habit.

Coconut milk ice cream with no sugar added AND it was in mint chip. Wow. I was just dumbstruck with happiness. The taste isn't exactly the same (DUH!) but it was a great substitute. I also found it was easier to stretch out over the whole weekend, I still have some left for tonight. Take that sweet tooth!

I stepped on the scale this weekend because I wanted to see how I was doing one week in on my two week challenge and I am proud of the results (I am not telling you how many pounds yet, I will do a big reveal at the end of this week once the challenge is over). I felt I could have lost more but I still felt good about the loss. But I also vowed to step it up this week with more cardio and really working on keeping my carbs below 100 grams a day (I had a few days last week where my carbs were above 100 grams by a bit). All in all I would call week one of the challenge a success. 

I think my biggest challenges this week were chores, guilt and sleep. We all know I hate a messy house and I do a little bit of cleaning each day during the week to make my weekend cleaning sessions not last as long. So it was hard for me because I get off work at 5 p.m., get to working out by 5:30 p.m. after driving there and changing (luckily the gym is 5 minutes from my work), if I have cardio it will be an hour workout and if I don't have cardio it is roughly 30-45 minutes of a workout depending on how many other people are there making it difficult to use the machines I want. So I get home a little bit before 7 p.m., then I have to cook dinner (well the husband does but I switch off with him on some nights) and while he is cooking most of the time I am folding clothes, letting Bella Rue out, taking trash out and doing all the little things that stack up during the week. We sit down and eat around 7:30-7:45 p.m. and by then we are beat. We just want to veg in front of the TV before starting our routine of feeding all the animals and getting to bed. So this week has been harsh on my sleep, I have been having a hard time balancing my time between working out, vegging and getting to bed before 11 p.m. The guilt comes from the animals. The big dogs are outside if the weather permits (which this last week it did) but Bella Rue (mini dachshund) is inside in her carrier. So I feel bad for her having to spend too long in there. 

So this weeks goals are simple, get more sleep by simply letting things go and keeping my carbs below 100 grams a day. I need to stop freaking out about the house as much and do what I can. My workouts are important and my sleep is super important, I can clean on the weekends and I can do what I can during the week but I need to stop letting it make me a crazy sleep deprived person! I also need to stop allowing myself certain treats (like soda one day last week) that I know will sky rocket my carbs for the day and sticking to my clean eating. But I also won't beat myself up because that just leads to wanting to give up and binge eat.

I am ready to rock this week though and step it up. I have a challenge to win and of course some goals to keep!   

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Physical Part of PCOS...

It is easy to hate your body when you have a condition like PCOS. Really easy. When I first started noticing my body was doing weird things I was 13 years old and black became my color. I wore heavy big coats that covered literally everything. I found a picture the other day, me and one of my best friends at the time. She was dressed in a tank top showing her belly with jeans and I was dressed in this huge snow coat looking jacket and it wasn't a cold day. I am not kidding. I remember that day, I remember that coat, I remember sweating so much I thought I was going to melt into a puddle. I had a tank top underneath but I refused to take off my jacket. The whole day I tried to pretend I wasn't sweating even though it was pretty obvious. It was horrible. I mean hells, I didn't even buy shorts for the first few 100 degree summers in this city. Why? Simple, I have scars, acne, extra fat and facial hair. PCOS is a beast and it can result in so many hormonal things. Like acne at my age, because when my hormones start fluxing my chin breaks out bad. I also have Hidradenitis suppurativa linked to PCOS, though no one is quit sure how. Then there is the Hirsutism that got so bad when I started gaining weight that I started worrying that everyone was looking at only the chin hair when talking to me and I would spend hours each night plucking away with my tweezers while reading my book. I lost a lot of my confidence due to PCOS and over the last couple of years I have been working really hard to gain it back. How? Well with finding ways to deal with the issues. For the most part, if I stick to healthy eating and a low sugar diet, I can keep the Hidradenitis suppurativa and acne on my chin under control. I also make sure to wash my face nightly and I use night cream before bed. I use witch hazel on any bad spots after I sweat, like under my armpits. I control the Hirsutism by using Sallie Mae's hair removal cream for faces. It works and doesn't cause in grown hairs for me. It took a lot of trail and error to learn these few tricks.

Somewhere along the way I discovered something, looking well put together makes me feel confident and makes me worry less if everyone can see the scars or extra fat. When I look good, I feel good. I enjoy learning new make-up techniques, how to do my own nails, how to style my crazy curly hair and I especially love trying new products. One of my favorite YouTube channels is still Kate at The Small Things Blog. She truly taught me how to curl my hair the right way, showed me even I could do nice up-dos, how to add cute accessories to my hair and even introduced me to some amazing beauty products.

I also discovered Birchbox and BeautyBox5. They are monthly box's full of beauty samples, usually with a theme and you take a quiz before you get your first box so they can kind of cater the box to what you prefer/complexion/hair type. Each month I wait impatiently to see what goodies I will be able to try out now and I am not often disappointed with either box. I absolutely love most of the products I get. Below are some of my favorite.

I had to add an extra shelf to the bathroom to hold all the products now that I am currently trying and some that I have gone ahead and purchased because they were just that good. 

Along the lines of trying new things, recently in one of my BeautyBox5's came with sunless tanner. I put it on the shelf thinking, oh hell no. See when I was growing up, sunless tanners were orange and streaked horribly. I am assuming they were fairly new and they hadn't perfected the formula yet. I just remember one day wanting to be tan, going into my sisters area of the bathroom, grabbing her sunless tanner and the results were horrible. I went orange and streaky. Terrible. So I never really gave sunless tanners another thought. I don't mind my pale freckly Irish skin. But I stared at those samples for a month. Then I started looking up YouTube videos about sunless tanning. I started finding that my want to try sunless tanning was outweighing my pale skin. Mostly because I have legs that just absolutely won't tan and I always looked mismatched with tan arms and very pale legs. So one night, I shaved, exfoliated and put on some rubber gloves.

I completely forgot to take a before picture but there is some color there. A lot more color than there ever was before. I felt like showing my legs off afterwards and loved seeing the soft brown color the bronzer produced. I absolutely loved how the tanner skin just sort of covered up my scars and little flaws. Do I want to be Snookie? Hell no. But I do like the idea of maybe having sun-kissed skin that covers up a lot of my little scars without having to risk cancer or terrible wrinkles for it. I stayed firmly on the fence though. Well I did up until Amazon sent me an email informing me that one of the very well reviewed and liked products I had been debating was on sale for very cheap. So I jumped on the sunless tanner bandwagon and now I am waiting impatiently for the package to arrive.

Sun Laboratories Sun Laboratories Ultra Dark Self Tanning Lotion SetJergens Natural Glow Firming Moisturizer, Fair to Medium Skin Tones 7.5 Ounces

Part of getting healthy for me also meant discovering how best to take care of myself. It meant learning how to feel confident in my skin and to feel good about walking into a work place full of well put together women that didn't have PCOS issues to contend with. Some women don't like beauty products, they don't want to wear make-up and they feel great without it. I applaud those women because that is the great thing about being individuals and being different, we all get to choose what we like and don't like. I personally love make-up, I love discovering new products, I love trying out new beauty samples and it makes me feel really confident in my own skin. Which is important for me because for a long time PCOS made me feel very uncomfortable in my skin. For a long time I didn't know how to deal with the acne or facial hair from the rising testosterone in my system. I hid away from the world because I was so darn self conscious. Now I don't. I walk out of the house feeling good mostly every morning. I no longer worry about blemishes or unwanted hair because I know I have found the best ways to deal with those issues. I don't worry about how I am dressed because I know that my clothes are suited for my body type. And when I asked my husband if he misses the 19 year old me who wore blue mascara and kept covered up or if he likes the me now that looks a lot more sophisticated and put together, he will choose the me now, he will also say that he likes how much confidence it has given me.  

So what have new beauty product have you tried recently? Do you sunless tan? How do you feel confident in your skin? How do you deal with the unpleasant physical aspects of PCOS?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Experimenting with Pizza...

Don't let the title of the post worry you, I haven't completely lost my mind and eaten a whole pizza. Nope. I am still sticking strong to the challenge/competition.

Last night was arm, back and I added in a little bit of chest in at the gym. I planned on swimming and then forgot my cap, blonde hair and chlorine don't mix, so I stuck with the weights. It was actually a good night at the gym, mostly there wasn't a lot of people clogging up the weight machines and there was surprisingly a lot of women working their muscles. LOVE IT! I always flex a lot after arm day just to see if there are any baby muscles popping up, I am convinced there are some. Either way the husband had to carry my workout bag out of the gym because DAMN I worked those baby guns really hard.

Okay so I have to mention something to you guys that I am super proud of. I am one of those women that hides in the bathroom to change. It is a lot of work. You get a locker, pull out all your clothes, wait for a stall, squeeze into a stall, get super sweaty changing in a small stall (half the workout right there), then finally get to emerge dressed, with all your work clothes in your hand, unlock the locker again, fold everything up and then put my shoes on. It is a huge amount of steps and I have always hated it but have never been brave enough to change in the locker room. Well last night I did NOT want to change in the tiny bathroom stall, so I didn't, I changed right there in the locker room. No one stared. No one called me fat. No one even glanced in my direction. I walked out of that locker room feeling super proud. In my world it is the small accomplishments that really make me feel amazing!

Last night after the gym, the cat fish had gone bad, like smell up the house and not in a good way bad. I was about gagging and the husband wasn't feeling much better about it. So we threw it away and started the dinner debate. We had just spent 45 minutes working our arms till we could barely lift our gym bags, it was getting late and we were hungry. Like snap at each other hungry. I debated going to Chipotle and getting a burrito bowl, but I had already had a tough carb day (ended up with with a whopping 128, whomp whomp whomp) and I wasn't about to make it worse. We debated all kinds of dinners we could buy but in the end we both knew it would be better if we made dinner at home. So we looked down our dinner list and experimenting with the brand new recipe of eggplant pizzas sounded just like the right thing to do.

Now we couldn't just eat any old spaghetti sauce in a jar because most have sugars added to them. So the husband made his own. The sauce with the meat was so yummy all on its own, I probably could have eaten a bowl full of that and would have been happy. I have no clue how to make spaghetti sauce and the husband tried to teach me last night but I got caught up in doing something else while he made it. Someday soon I will let the spaghetti sauce genius aka my husband teach me, until then I will just keep just enjoying it! It took some time and we had to do some experimenting but the eggplant pizzas were well worth the wait. 

We didn't follow any recipe. We just took our knowledge of how to cook eggplants and worked with it. Basically we cooked the sauce and baked the eggplants for about 5 minutes on their own with some olive oil drizzled over them. Then we added sauce and cheese to them, popped them back in the oven and waited till the cheese got all brown and crispy. I love crispy cheese. I could eat fried cheese all day long, and have been known to beg the husband to make it for me on really bad days. I am drooling a bit right now thinking about it. Mmmmm. But unfortunately I have restricted a lot of my dairy intake right now for multiple reasons. I wrote a post about dairy and PCOS, also it just doesn't agree with me most days sadly. Sad because I really love cheese. So we added a bit of cheese to each little pizza because it wouldn't be pizza without it but I was good about limiting the amount.

Anyways, the eggplant pizzas were so simple and so easy and so yummy, I am thinking about adding it to our weekly dinner rotations. Of course it won't taste like actual pizza because well um it is eggplant but it is nice to get the sauce mixed with the cheese on a fun little slice of eggplant goodness. Plus eggplants rock because they are full of all kinds of healthy goodies

After the gym the husband and I had popped into a new nutrition store that had opened up right by the gym for a couple protein bars for desert. We found the one's with the least amount of sugar and that made for a really nice treat after such a yummy healthy dinner. 

Only 10 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of sugar. Plus they tasted really good. 

Yes I went a little over my carbohydrate intake for the day but that was due to a lunch time slip at work. But I am not beating myself up for it. 128 grams of carbohydrates is still better than what I used to eat and was making me sick. Plus it has been a stressful couple of days and I haven't emotional ate or been a cranky mess. Honestly going to the gym makes me a much happier person, working out, eating healthy and concentrating on me, those things make me a well rounded and happy person. I am feeling really good and positive! Plus it is yoga night, YAY

What is your go to low sugar desert?


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Two Week Challenge...

You ever have a week get away from you? Well this week has gotten away from me. I meant to write this post on Monday aaaaaaaaaaand now it is Wednesday. Whoops.

First of all I just want to update you all on my beginners yoga series, it is still AMAZING. I am going to be so sad when this course ends in 4 weeks. So sad. I might have to take it again, who knows. The teacher is still super amazing, patient and observant. I talked to her after class about my T-Rex arms, basically I am a tall girl but I got short arms and it is hard to reach my legs to twist them when lying on the floor because of it. She gave me ways to deal with that issue and made me feel a lot better about it. There is absolutely no shame in her class about things you can't do and that makes me feel really great. Looking forward to tomorrows class and exploring some more moves.

Also this weekend I was very lucky that someone at work overheard me talking about how much I wanted to see the sold out show of Mary Poppins and because they are a season ticket holder who couldn't make the showing, they gave my husband and I tickets. It was INCREDIBLE. If you get a chance to see a live version of Mary Poppins, please go see it.I absolutely love Mary Poppins and must have watched it so many times when I was growing up, singing along to all the songs. The live version is SO MUCH BETTER! They did an amazing job. Even the husband really enjoyed it.

And afterwards I got Thai food with my mom. I have missed her and I's weekly dinner dates since she moved away (come back MOMMA! LOL), so it was great to see her and we stayed up far too late talking by the fire pit at her hotel.

It was a great treat weekend because starting on Monday we started our challenge. 

The challenge is this... My mom and her husband vs. Me and my husband, which couple can lose the most weight in two weeks. We clean up our diets, exercise regularly and that is all the rules we have. Personally I think it was a ploy on my Moms part to help me clean up my emotional eating that had over run my life for two months but I will take it, I love a good challenge and she knows it. Whichever couple loses has to send money to the other couple to get pedicures. I have been planning for this for a week. Shopping and buying everything I would need to eat 100% clean. I actually started eating clean a week before this challenge started so it wouldn't be such a shock to my system.

And come Monday I was ready. I changed my workouts a bit and instead did my boot camp DVD both Monday and Tuesday, but for the most part I am sticking to the above board for the week.

Monday was a good, sweaty workout to the boot camp DVD and some pork steaks with steamed vegetables made by me. I managed to only eat 83 carbs for the day. My goal right now is to stay below 100 grams a day and then eventually I would like to get below 50 grams. My body just does better with a high protein and low carb/sugar diet. Something about PCOS doesn't agree with sugars and carbs. Probably that pesky insulin resistance. 

Excuse the ugly face, it was a hard workout because I hadn't worked out in a couple of weeks. But I powered through it. As a side note, you ever wonder why they only fill the protein containers half way up? Seems like such a waste of space!

Tuesday was another shot at the boot camp DVD, which I did a LOT better at but was still sore from Monday. A nice protein filled lunch of tuna, egg salad and pickles. Plus a healthy dinner of pesto chicken with zucchini because the catfish was still frozen solid. 

(I look a tiny bit demented in this pic, probably because I was super sore)

I also discovered last night night that if you place 1 tablespoon of coconut flower, 1 tablespoon of chocolate protein powder, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon of honey, 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of coconut milk in a cup, throw it in the microwave for 2 minutes or so, you create this Paleo version of the mug cake.

Okay so it doesn't look amazing but it wasn't bad to eat. That stuck me around 85 carbs for the day. Not bad. Still sticking to below 100 grams. I haven't calculated today's eats, so I don't know how many carbs I have taken in.

I got to tell you, I feel a lot better. Last weeks clean up combined with this week so far are making me feel a lot better. I have more energy, no crashes at 3 p.m., no headaches and no indigestion. Not to mention my acne is clearing up and nothing new is sprouting up. I can't wait to see how much weight I can drop after two weeks. 

Since the challenge with my Mom is only about pounds lost between the couples, the husband and I decided to do another challenge on the side involving our inches and BMI. We haven't worked out what the other person gets but we are working on that. 

Last night there was a little bit of stress and my knee jerk reaction was to go get ice cream, but the husband worked with me and helped me work through it without the ice cream. He just kept telling me that I didn't need the ice cream but that I wanted the ice cream. What a smart man.

Beginning Stats:

Weight: 325
Arms: 16 inches
Thigh: 29 inches
Waist: 55 inches
Hips: 55 inches
Chest: 57 inches
Neck: 20 inches

Whew that is hard to put that out there. In May I was still rocking 305 pounds, I gained 20 pounds in a little less than two months. Eeck. Time to work it off and win these challenges!!! It is a gym night tonight and I find myself looking forward to it. I want to throw some weights around and rock that elliptical. Maybe I will even get to steal a lane for swimming tonight. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Last night I laid on the bed debating my choices, I could clean my house and fold my mound of clothes lying on the bed or I could work out. I was worried if I did both that I would end up not getting to bed on time and I desperately needed an early bed time. So I waited for an answer to hit me, some kind of inspiration and suddenly I noticed that the husband was cleaning. While I had been debating he had been lighting the BBQ for dinner and starting the dishes. That made my choice for me. I hated leaving the house up to him but I also really needed to jump back into my fitness routine. So I pulled on a pair of shorts that have now gotten a little bit tight and slipped on my tennis shoes. I was going to rock my Boot Camp DVD.

SILLY SIDE NOTE: Bella Rue LOVES to be involved in any fitness DVD that I am doing. She crawls right up in my lap and gets all up in my face. Makes the stretching period a little more interesting when you have to deal with a mini dachshund all up in your grill.

You don't realize how much strength you lose in such a short period of time till you stop working out for a month. In May I was working out sporadically and was still able to complete this whole workout without needing breaks or modifications. Last night I started pouring down sweat within a few minutes, my ankles started hurting and I found myself needing to do the modifications. So very frustrating to see how much endurance and strength I lost. I looked like a complete hot mess by the time I was done.

That is the face of a women super upset about how much strength she lost over a month of not working out and tons of stress eating, oh yeah and gaining a pesky 18 pounds. But I will tell you this, seeing how much strength I lost was a harsh reality slap and I packed my gym bag for today. I am determined to not lose anymore endurance or strength. No wonder my hip, ankles and back have been hurting again. 

After my workout the husband fed me a healthy dinner (have I told you how thankful I am for that man?!)

and I put myself to bed at 8:30 p.m. with my book. The lights were out at 9:15 p.m. and I woke up this morning actually feeling somewhat human for the first time in two months. I forgot what it felt like to feel good when I woke up instead of feeling horrible.

So I have been reading articles on genetics lately. I am fascinated with how big of a role that genetics play in our bodies and fitness. I happened to stumble upon this article while logging my food on Sparkpeople. Great read. I came to the conclusion that I have a hybrid body between an Endomorph and Mesomorph. I have wide shoulders, bigger stronger legs and I can build muscle actually pretty quickly (probably a little due to the testosterone from PCOS) but my waist line is soft and chubby, I will probably never have a 6 pack and I am okay with that.

One of my favorite parts of the article is where she explained that she put her body through an amazing amount of stress trying to lean out for bikini competitions because genetically her body wasn't made for it. It just clicked a lot of things into place for me in my head. Most people's ideal of healthy has to do with long, lean muscles and a 6 pack of abs. But for some of us that isn't possible. We are not genetically built for that. I came from a family of women who are bigger. We are softer, rounder and have to work really hard to lose weight. There are a few cousins that came out tall and slender of course but for most of us our weight is a constant struggle. I also come from a family of health problems, heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure. And I have PCOS, which comes with its own slew of weight loss issues and makes it so I tend to gain weight around my midsection. I won the lottery over here when it comes to genetics obviously.

My mom started running to fight her genetics. She saw that there was a history of a lot of heart problems and cholesterol problems that ran in her family and that she needed a way to fight those things. I find myself constantly worried over genetics and what I was given. I am already on high blood pressure medication and I am only 29 years old. I have PCOS, which they don't know if it is genetics that causes it or something else that happens when I women goes through puberty. I have high cholesterol and actually have been fighting that since I was a teenager. I worry a lot and that is what ultimately pushed me towards becoming healthier in the first place. I didn't care about bikinis, I cared about controlling my PCOS and controlling my genetics. 

This is also why I don't believe in fad diets. What works for one person, won't work for another. I have met plenty of women who can eat pasta without it being a problem. I have even talked to women with PCOS that eat whole wheat pasta and it works for them. I for one can not. I have found that eating non processed foods and cutting down on my sugars is what really helps my body lose weight. Whether that is due to my genetics or due to my PCOS, well I will never know. I just know what is working for me. When I was eating Paleo a couple years ago my blood pressure had dropped, my cholesterol was healthy and my PCOS symptoms were barely existent. Mainly because I was eating strictly proteins and vegetables with every meal. I wasn't eating pastas or starches or processed anything. I was eating meats (all meats, including red meat), vegetables and some fruit. It is the best I felt and the best my body felt. I was even losing weight at a steady pace without exercising. But like most emotional eaters, when stress came back into my life, so did the eating of processed junk food. Is it in my genetics to emotionally eat? I don't know. I just know it is something I struggle with on a daily basis. 

Above all though my ultimate favorite part of the article was her 6 tips for any body type:

"1. Eat real food 90% of the time. This means whole, unprocessed food that is as close to its natural state as possible. A healthy amount of real food can do wonders for your body.
2. Lift heavy things 2-3 times a week. Strength training is important for many reasons, especially for women. Lift weights for joint health, stronger bones and better posture, as well as the maintenance of your muscle mass and overall confidence.
3. Walk for leisure often. Walking is a fantastic low-level exercise that can aid in recovery, improve your sleep and help you relax and de-stress. Getting more active each day can help you turn off genes that encourage you to store fat.
4. Find ways to manage your stress. Stress is an absolute killer, and if you don't mange yours properly, you are opening yourself up to a host of health issues. It's also been linked to increased fat storage in the body. Find ways to manage stress effectively, whether it's going for a walk, getting a massage, or having positive interactions with friends and family. In short, take a few minutes each week to take care of YOU.
5. Get quality sleep. Lack of sleep is another big health problem, because when we aren't sleeping well, our bodies aren't repairing the damage we did to ourselves during the day and we sure as heck aren't recovering from our workouts. Shoot for 7-9 hours a night in a cold, dark room, and do your best to hit the sack before 11 p.m.
6. Love yourself. Stop comparing your body to other people and start embracing your unique size and shape. Variety is the spice of life! Be grateful for all the things your body can do. Remember: You are more than a body or a number on a scale. "

I am working on incorporating these 6 things back into my life after two months of binge emotional eating and beating myself up for not having more will power or different genetics. I know that fighting the bad part of my genetics, fighting PCOS and gaining balance within my body is my ultimate goal above anything like having a 6 pack. I don't want to compete in a bikini competition. I don't want to become a personal trainer. I just want to feel good in my body and enjoy life. I want to be able to ride horses again, I want to not feel so self conscious, I don't want to struggle with PCOS symptoms and I really do not want to worry about if there are weight limits on the vacation I am planning. I just want my life back.

I think my Yogi tea said it all last night.

How do your genetics dictate how you eat/workout?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Beginners Yoga Series...

I touched on it briefly in yesterdays post but I wanted to go into a little more detail about my first beginners yoga class. Now if you had been paying attention last week (which was hard to do with the holiday fast approaching), you know that I signed up for a 6 week beginners yoga series at my favorite yoga studio. I needed to make a commitment to get back into my practice of yoga after taking almost 3 months off.

My journey with yoga started out simple enough. I was in massage therapy school and the teachers used yoga as a way to ground ourselves before we would get into learning new massage techniques. I really started to love it but when I quit massage school I stopped doing it. Eventually I went to a few of the classes offered by my gym, I would walk out an hour later sweating and completely feeling wrung out. Those classes were focused on power yoga, yoga that was used for weight loss. Not what I had in mind for my yoga practice. Then I quit smoking last year in October. I struggled with panic attacks and anxiety on a daily basis. I got really sick.

At the beginning of the year my doctor threatened to put me on anti-anxiety pills and since I was already on enough medications, I didn't want to take them, so she suggested yoga. I found the small studio by my house, discovered the calmer/relaxing side of yoga and finally found my breath again after months of struggling. Now for the most part I have a good handle on my anxiety and haven't had a panic attack in awhile, BUT I still work a high stress job, deal with drama and have a house to run, which all cause some form of stress in my life. Since I was a young child (think Middle School) I have dealt with stress in a very unhealthy manner, I eat. I tend to be someone who internalizes my stress, I don't want to show any signs of weakness or any signs that I can't handle what is going on, so I keep it locked up real tight and then I eat. I eat fast food, I order take out, I eat desert every night and I make myself sick. So sick that my PCOS symptoms start raging out of control, so sick that I stop sleeping as well, so sick that my indigestion gets so bad that I wake up in the middle of the night with acid in my throat. It is a form of self abuse really. I am my own worse enemy.

This leads to me not wanting to meet new people or go out and do things because well none of my clothes fit and because I get super embarrassed about the extra pounds that keep stacking on. This causes me to get  depressed and then I eat some more. It is a really vicious pattern. Recently there has been a lot going on. In May work was getting crazy hectic and I was bringing a lot of it home. I stopped being able to balance work, chores and errands with how exhausted I felt every night. So I didn't. I didn't cook, I didn't pick up each night and I didn't really exercise. In June work slowed down just a bit but then family drama picked up to almost full notch. I am not sure that my family understands completely that when they start dragging me into fights I don't want to have, that I start emotionally eating to deal with it. I am not 100% sure some of them would even care if I told them. But it is my responsibility, not theirs, to take my problem with emotional eating into consideration. Emotional eating is such a foreign concept to people who eat to fuel their bodies. My relationship with food is so much more complicated than that.

18 pounds later and a whole bunch of frustration, I am here, feeling like a failure, feeling wrung out and feeling way overwhelmed with finding a new way to cope with any stress that comes my way. I am less than a month away from my first 5k that I had hoped to run but will probably be walking. I am 3 months away from my vacation. I am angry and pissed off at me. So what does this all have to do with yoga? I need a better way of handling stress. I need something that helps me not hurts me. I need to learn to self soothe and to love my body. I need to ease my hip/knee/ankle pain. I need to help manage my back pain. This lead me back into the yoga studio that helped me fight my anxiety/panic attacks and to commit to 6 weeks of once a week beginners class.

I got there early, as usual, on Thursday. I hate risking not getting a good spot where I can see the teacher but also not feel like I am on display. I watched the other students filing in and I was so relived to see many different bodies walk in that door. Young, older, middle, fat, skinny, tall, short. It was amazing. I always feel much better when I see other chubby girls taking classes with me, I don't know why but I do. I met the teacher and after talking to her for a bit instantly felt at ease. She just seemed to have a very calming air around her. She talked about her own personal struggles with scoliosis and how 15 years of yoga has been helping her. She asked us to introduce ourselves and I felt comfortable enough to tell the group about how my panic attacks lead me to fall in love with yoga. Each person had a story. Each person had a reason for being in that class and taking the same series I was. It was great to hear the different views on yoga. It was great to hear that like me some were interested in the mental effects of yoga as well as the physical benefits. It would appear I am not the only tightly wound person on this planet.

We started off simply enough. Just working on our backs and core a bit. The teacher was amazing about talking to us, telling us that each of our bodies is different, that we aren't here to compete with the person next to us and we have to listen to what our bodies can specifically do. I needed to hear this. I have a nasty habit of pushing myself too far because I don't want to look bad in class but she was right, so I focused on my body and not looking around too much. The teacher was also amazing at seeing when each of us was struggling with a pose, she brought straps without you having to ask, adjusted your positions sometimes to help and just kept a good eye on all of us as we moved through the series.

It was like an instant anti-anxiety drug. I felt so much better. My back pain eased up and my mind quieted. I walked out of the studio really happy, really relaxed and really excited to come back this week.

Is it Thursday yet?