I really, really, really want to be a weight-loss success story. As in DONE, maintaining, happy weight success story.
I have done a great job of losing nearly 30 pounds but it has taken 16 years to do that.
(Holy crap, I don't think I've ever written that before.)
That's really slow, isn't it?
This past year I got down to "pre-baby weight" and have stayed at that number for a couple of months now. I am assuming that this is a weight that my body is very comfortable with.
But I'm not comfortable with it, because it's 235 pounds and I am not 6-foot-8.
I have a very realistic target weight -- 199.9. All I want to be is below 200. Then, when I get there, I'll reassess.
I have admittedly been kind of half-assed about my food and exercise, despite the fact that I have been faithfully logging NEARLY everything on My Fitness Pal, drinking MORE water and working out three times a week at the gym, once a week at Jazzercise and OCCASIONALLY on Thursdays and Saturdays at home.
Kind of half-assed words, aren't they?
What doesn't make it onto My Fitness Pal? Oh, the stuff on the spoons, a couple slices of turkey breast (hey, it's pure protein!), a few almonds, a gulp of kefir, etc.
More water is good, but it's really not a lot -- it probably comes out to about two-thirds of what I should be drinking. The water bottle I bring to the gym needs to be empty by the time I get home.
The days I'm not at the gym need to be my cardio days. I work from home, and if I don't do any exercise, I'm barely moving -- not good. That Jazzercise Groupon I bought gets me 20 Jazzercise sessions, which is great but I can't slack off on Thursdays. I totally can carve out time for a workout, be it 30 minutes or an hour. I'm good with my Yoga Saturdays because I committed to it for the blog.
I dabbled with carb cycling but I could never remember if it was my higher or lower day, so I set that plan aside. I want to make this whole process less "crazy making" so I went back to my pal Robert Ferguson's Diet Free Life system, because ultimately, don't we all want to be diet free?
I think better planning is going to help me get the ball rolling faster downward. Last night I prepped dinner for tonight -- everything is in the fridge. Plus I pre-logged my food on a sheet of paper so I know what to grab the rest of the day. And I got new running shoes over the weekend so I'm going to push myself a little harder at the gym today.
Yes, I know it's a prenatal yoga DVD, and no, I'm not pregnant. But Baby on Board Prenatal Yoga (Yoga for Surfers, $29.95) has been sitting in my office awhile and the cover was so darn cute I just wanted to give it a try.
And I'm glad I did. Aside from the pregnant belly stuff that totally did not pertain to me, the 25-minute Energizing Sequence was a nice and easy practice that was practically all done standing. Most of the moves come out of mountain pose, and there's even a little aerobic action -- mind you just a little.
Yoga for Surfers creator Peggy Hall does the intro and the voiceover instruction as fellow instructor Melinda Ferriera does the actual yoga.
Melinda uses a pile of beach towels for a couple of moves, but if you're not pregnant, you probably won't need them, as it's OK for us non preggos to lie on our backs.
You can't beat the scenery on the DVD -- it's all palm trees and beachy structures, and it's nicely shot.
In addition to the Energizing Sequence, there's also a 25-minute Soothing Sequence that's done on the floor, as well as yoga breathing to ease discomfort, and a meditation sequence that's geared toward moms-to-be.
The last (and only time) I was pregnant was in the late 1990s, and I wish I had something like this when I was carrying the kid. It's a nice little vacation for the body and mind.
See that magificent creation? That, my friends, is "diet food," more specifically, it's a Fontina BLT Pork Waffle from The Fresh Meal Plan, a meal-delivery service available in South Florida and Orlando.
I had the opportunity to try out a few days of the plan this week and I was pretty happy (and satiated) with the three days of meals.
The nice thing about the plan is that you don't have to commit to a large, expensive plan. You can get two meals a day on a five-day plan for $79 a week, which is a good idea if all you want is someone to make you lunches and dinners. There are 5, 6 and 7-day plans and you can go all the way up to three meals and three snacks a day if you really want to make it a no-brainer. The maxed-out plan is $270 a week but you really won't have to buy any groceries at all. This isn't one of those plans where they ask you do supplement with your own produce or dairy products -- everything is included.
And even if you're doing the two-meal plan, you can still add on snacks or desserts if they strike your fancy, and if you do, may I suggest the Fontina BLT Pork Waffle. It's listed as a snack but I ate it for lunch this week and it was fantastic. It's basically pulled pork and cheese on a waffle with lettuce and tomato, all for around 300 calories.
The plan features free-range chicken, wild-caught fish, grass-fed bison and natural meats, and, as I found, the vegetables and fruits are equally fresh. I chose meals from the traditional plan, but there also are vegetarian and Paleo plans, if you're so inclined (but you won't be getting any pork waffles -- just sayin').
Above is a sampling of what you'll eat on a typical day. Clockwise from top left is a breakfast pizza made with potatoes, cheese, eggs and turkey bacon on a thick foccacia-like base, a big turkey meatball with marinara sauce over pasta with garlic bread and spinach, a couple of gluten-free, Paleo snickerdoodles (all the desserts are Paleo and gluten free) and chicken with paella rice.
Truth be told, while the snickerdoodles were good, I'd prefer to have a more protein-rich afternoon snack. I also sampled a hazelnut cupcake and a blackberry bar. There was a little dessert labeled "Twix bar" but it was nearly 200 calories and I didn't feel like it was worth the calories.
But the meals were all definite winners. I would heat them in my microwave in their BPA-free containers and then transfer the meals to a plate. Whether you're doing meal delivery or frozen meals, don't eat them out of the plastic container -- it's just a much better dining experience.
A couple other meals that were worth raving about:
This is a blueberry French toast eggwich. I would have never thought to put egg whites, mozzarella cheese and turkey sausage between two pieces of French toast but it totally works. It's topped with fresh berries and nuts and comes with a couple of orange wedges.
At right is a bison burger topped with cheese and served on a pita half with arugula and potato wedges, for around 400 calories. The burger was big and juicy and the arugula had a nice kick. It was a great lunch.
And as you can see, there's not a salad to be found. It's not stereotypical diet food. In fact, the company serves as the official pre-and post-game meal provider for the Miami Dolphins, and they work nutritionally with some of the players on and off season. They also work with Orangetheory Fitness and I AM CrossFit, the largest CrossFit group in South Florida.
Along with the meals, snacks and desserts, they also have a line of organic cold-pressed juices, which you can add to your meal plan. I tried the Beet Down, a mix of apple, beet, carrot, ginger and lemon, and the Green Power, a blend of kale, cucumber, apple, romaine lettuce, spinach, parsley, celery and lemon. Both juices were great -- the beet one was definitely sweeter than the green one, but the green one had a nice balance -- not too sweet, not too "lawn-clippy."
So there you have it. My philosophy on meal-delivery services is that they're great if you're single or want to bring a healthy, balanced meal (or two) to work every day. It's a little trickier if you're in a family setting because you end up making meals for everyone and eating your own food. But it's also good if you want to jumpstart your healthy eating for a few days and want to reset your brain as to portion size and meal ideas.
Disclosure: I was provided three days' of meals from The Fresh Meal Plan. All opinions are my own. And I love BLT pork waffles.
I used to joke that if I was ever a weight-loss success story on the "Today" show, instead of wheeling out wagons full of doughnuts or cheeseburgers, Joy Bauer would place a single teaspoon on the table as the reason why I once struggled with losing weight for decades.
A single cream cheese-and-jelly smeared teaspoon.
This week I am trying with all my spoon-licking might to make food and toss the implements in the dishwasher.
("What's the big deal? Isn't that what normal people do?" you may say. You are not me -- you have no idea how much Vidalia onion relish I ate straight out of the jar.)
My weight-loss guru pal Robert Ferguson sent me the most updated version of his Diet Free Life system. I've long been a fan of his extremely common-sense approach to losing weight, first with the original Food Lovers' Fat Loss system, then with his Diet Free Life system.
The upshot of Robert's plan is to eat nutritionally balanced meals and portion-controlled snacks every few hours to keep your insulin and other hormone levels stable throughout the day.
Boom -- that's it. No restrictions, no eliminating entire food groups.
The only caveat to that is the 3-Week Clean Start plan, which cleans up your eating and cuts out a few things like alcohol, added sugars, fried and breaded foods, sodium and white flour.
I'm already a pretty clean eater so this part of the plan won't be a big stretch for me, plus I've been test-driving a meal-delivery plan the past few days,which makes meals super easy -- they're waiting for me in the fridge and they're very clean (more on that Friday).
But the thing that really has me nervous is this -- you weigh yourself on Day 1 (which was Monday) and you don't weigh yourself again until Day 22.
Can I do it?
This would mean having to "trust the process," which is a favorite phrase of mine. Heck -- I even have a coffee mug that says it!
(OK, coffee mug, I will trust the process.)
It's hard out there for a control freak.
So I'm going to put my faith (and weight) in Robert's hands and log my clean meals and snacks for 21 days.
So far so good but I still tend to go overboard on my afternoon snacks -- I need to keep that 100-200 calorie range in mind and not go all "endless buffett" (A banana, and some Greek yogurt to balance that out, with perhaps some nuts on top, and some green juice ... you get the idea).
Diet Free Life is radical in its "unradicalness" (don't think that's a word), but that's the point. I felt myself getting too wrapped up in devices and apps and books and widgets and gimmicks, and I needed to "unplug" from all that -- or at least most of that -- and just eat healthy foods that I enjoy and that what my body needs. I need to unlearn all the "crazy making" habits that have done absolutely nothing to make the scale move.
I need to lose weight but I also need to live diet free, and I think the two needs can coexist.
Our 24 Hour Fitness has had PiYo classes forever but I never got around to taking one, so I was psyched to see that Beachbody was releasing a DVD system for the home. PiYo was developed by Chalene Johnson as a high-energy Pilates-yoga hybrid workout, so there are no weights or gizmos involved.
I just got the set in the mail yesterday so I barely have had any time to check it out, but I did pop in and do the Align: The Fundamentals DVD.
It's around 40 minutes and like the title says, it's all about alignment, which I really appreciate. Chalene, with her background exercisers, shows the right way to hold poses and also points out people's different levels of flexibility -- so if you can't bend like the person on screen, it's OK. Just bend like the other person or bend to the best of your ability. Since my upper spine is a little on the straight and unbendy side, I have to deliberately put my head in the correct place to line everything up head to toe.
I'm a little intimidated by some of the moves in the other DVDs -- I don't know whether I'll get my body parts near where the exercisers have theirs (you want me to put my arm around what and where?) but I like that the system encourages people go progress at their own pace.
Maybe if I get up the nerve, I'll take one of those live classes one day.
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