Brand new song and sound for the redheaded Brit. Great mid-tempo song for a workout mix.
Brand new song and sound for the redheaded Brit. Great mid-tempo song for a workout mix.
... that's the sound of my Retrofit advisor and me tweaking my eating plan.
While a few weeks ago, I took a flying leap off my stubborn plateau, my weight has, ahem, stabilized again lately and we're looking for ways to get the fat loss going again.
Sometimes I feel like I'm chipping away at a concrete wall with a shrimp fork.
But chip away I will.
The calorie level is fine -- 400 at each meal with two 200-calorie snacks. But she suggested that since I'm hypothyroid we limit starches to the daylight hours -- breakfast only if I'm feeling especially virtuous.
Apparently, people who are hypothyroid can have issues with grains. It's more complicated than metabolizing them or utilizing them. To get ridiculously scientific on y'all, it's impaired glycogenolysis from the skeletal muscle, or something like that. (Once again, I'm not a doctor, just a nerd with a journalism degree.)
So, yay, big salads!
Don't get me wrong -- these are great salads, full of lean protein and healthy fats. I jokingly call them my "fatty, fat, fat salads" because I can add an avocado half, some kalamata olives and a can of olive oil-packed tuna to the pile of leafy greens and other nonstarchy vegetables and barely get over 350 calories.
I don't miss the starches at all as long as I have avocados!
(I loooove avocados.)
I use the Florida variety for smoothies and the California one for everything else. Florida avocados are just too watery and sweet for things like guacamole but they're aces in smoothies. I keep a bag of frozen Florida avocado chunks in a bag in the freezer to plop into smoothies.
Remember back in the day when avocados were "OMG-so-fattening"? We'd avoid them while stuffing our faces with nacho cheese rice cakes. So glad we've straightened that misconception out. Fat does not make you fat (unless it's caressing a french fry).
In addition to healthy fats, avocados are also loaded with fiber and even have some protein.
I haven't weighed myself yet, but my ab area is feeling smaller, despite the lingering PMS (TMI? This is a blog, so deal...), so I'm sorta kinda looking forward to getting on the scale this week.
Here's a great article from Life Fitness, which makes my fave exercise machines at the gym. (The back extension is my current fave -- my lower back has never felt so strong since I've been using it three times a week.)
This post is not sponsored in any way. I just totally agree with this, and since I've been "upgrading" my calories, weight loss has been somewhat easier. As I said some years back, when referring to another weight-loss program, "30 points of nacho cheese rice cakes is not the same as 30 points of healthy, filling, nutritious foods."
Do you meticulously count calories to stay fit? We hate to break it to you, but a 150-calorie brownie is not the same as 150 calories worth of broccoli. But what about that age-old weight loss saying, “Calories in vs. calories out?” Well, it’s true that a calorie is a calorie regardless of its source, but not all calories have the same effect on your body, and that’s the real key! Here’s what you should be eating to get the most bang for your calorie’s buck:
Make Friends With Fiber. Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains are fiber-rich foods you want in your grocery cart. Fiber requires more chewing, which means your brain has more time to get the “full” signal and prevent you from overeating. And since fiber takes longer to digest, the calories in whole-grain toast go farther than the calories in a candy bar. The end result? You feel satisfied longer.
Choose Healthy Fats. Healthy fats like olive oil, canola oil, avocadoes, nuts and seeds are by no means considered low-calorie, but when eaten in moderation, they make you feel fuller longer and stop overeating. And while saturated fats and trans fats raise cholesterol, unsaturated fats actually aid in muscle recovery, improve hair and skin quality, and are important for a healthy heart. Can a 100-calorie snack pack do all that like half an avocado? Nope.
Polish Off Protein. Protein is one of your body’s biggest allies. Not only do you burn more calories digesting and metabolizing protein than any other nutrient, but protein leaves you feeling fuller longer than eating an equally calorie-dense carbohydrate. Are you starting to see a theme? Plus, protein helps feed muscles, and the more muscle mass you have, the better your metabolism burns calories. You can get high-quality protein from plant-based sources such as whole-grains, nuts, vegetables and legumes, and also animal-based sources like low-fat dairy, white meat poultry, lean beef and eggs.
Fit Tips are provided by Life Fitness, the leader in designing and manufacturing high-quality exercise equipment for fitness facilities and homes worldwide. For more information on Fit Tips and other fitness advice and expertise visit www.lifefitness.com/blog.
(Nope, no April Fools stuff -- have I told you that I DESPISE pranks and practical jokes?)
I call this song my "plateau buster" -- I busted through a huge plateau a couple weeks ago and all I could think of was the end of this song: "Done, done, on to the next one." This album makes for a particularly bad-ass soundtrack at the gym.
It's very easy to take your eating plan from that of losing weight to that of not losing weight. Here are a couple of ways. Do this every night and you'll see your weight loss stagnate -- I guarantee it!
A few fingerfuls of these:
And a few handfuls of these:
Voila! Your scale will go nowhere.
And that's what I had been doing every time I'd have a modicum of success on the scale. I'd throw a peanut butter and cereal bomb into the works and shut the whole thing down. That snowball of success, stuck on a gooey, wheaty speedbump.
Notice I said had been doing.
When I got on the scale last week and found that my totally awesome weight loss from the week before disappeared, I took stock of my eating. Sure, I was journaling my meals and snacks, but these things? They just happened to launch themselves into my piehole.
I figured the combo was about 300 calories -- enough to take me from weight-loss mode to maintenance mode. It really doesn't take much.
So my Retrofit advisors and I worked on a way to end the habit. I now have a totally awesome 1,600-calorie eating plan with a few favorite meals, chosen by me, so that I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything or eating someone else's favorites. We made a plan of a couple different choices for my meals and snacks and they're everything I love. It comes out to three 400-calorie meals and two 200-calorie snacks.
That amount of calories used to seem sooo hiiiigh, but really, it's not. I used to think I couldn't lose weight on that many calories but I can. I'm also a lot more active than I was a few years ago, especially in the strength-training department and I need the extra calories or else I am highly cranky. When I plug my day into My Fitness Pal, I shoot for the macros to be about equal. When I do that, I really get into weight-loss mode.
I haven't yet weighed myself (that comes on Wednesday) but my jeans are really loose and my wedding ring is barely holding onto my finger. (It's got the spins.)
As for the nighttime eating, I've been "front-loading" the day with my meals and snacks and pushing dinner closer to 7:30 or even 8. (Hey, it works for me; call me cosmopolitan) That way, I'm really not hungry at night, and if I really, really am, I'll grab an apple.
I have to remind myself not to run to the pace of most Vampire Weekend songs or I'll get gassed!
I'm totally a "Biggest Loser" fangirl. I've been watching since season 1, episode 1. I have all the books and cookbooks, tried all the workout DVDs, weigh my food on a Biggest Loser food scale (which is fantastic, by the way). I've interviewed Bob Harper a few times, as well as Jillian Michaels, Dolvett Quince, chef Devin Alexander, host Alison Sweeney, dietitian Cheryl Forberg and lots and lots of contestants and winners.
I have a Team Bob T-shirt and a Jillian Michaels T-shirt (that I wore to a Bob Harper workout for funsies). I took part in two Biggest Loser Run/Walks -- last year and this year (they're great for beginners and seasoned runners alike).
OK, you get it, total fangirl.
So when I heard that "Biggest Loser" season 5 winner Ali Vincent would be at the Broward Mall this past Saturday, I had to go. Ever since she became the first female winner of "The Biggest Loser," she has been on a mission to share her healthy message.
I stuck a copy of her book "Believe It, Be It" in my purse and headed to the mall. She was there to talk about her show, "Live Big With Ali" on the LivingWell Network. After she addressed the crowd, I walked over to her, book in hand.
Talk about a fangirl moment -- Ali told me that she reads my "Biggest Loser" recaps on Examiner every week and gave me a hug. (I've been doing weekly recaps since 2007 and wrote about Ali's season at my old newspaper blog.)
But what really struck me was how passionate Ali is about healthy living. She told me she was dashing out to catch a flight to California and I commented that she has pretty much been on the road ever since winning "Biggest Loser" in 2008. But she smiled and said that's what has kept her on the right path -- sharing her story with people and being a role model.
She admits, she was at her 122-pound goal weight for "about 2 minutes," she said with a laugh but she then worked at building muscle and athletic prowess, eventually running half marathons, marathons and even an Ironman triathlon.
She signed my book and took a photo with me and then told me she had something for me. She asked me which hand was my "grab hand" and I held out my left arm. She put a hot pink (her "Biggest Loser" team color) "Live Big With Ali" rubber bracelet on it and told me to look at that "grab band" every time I wanted to grab something that might not be the best choice for weight loss.
I'm still wearing the grab band next to my Fitbit Force (yes, I know it was recalled, but I don't have a rash so I'm keeping it because I love it).
And Ali wrote in my book:
Thank you for all your support and for helping share and stay in the conversation of wellness.
Sitting here, clearing out my inbox, watching basketball and arguing with myself about going to the gym.
I've been going to the gym like clockwork three times a week (I'm still the mayor of Planet Fitness!) and walking/jogging twice a week.
All that work, plus a major tweak to my eating has produced great results in the past couple weeks. I had been stuck around 235 for months and months (and MONTHS).
As of Wednesday, I'm at 231.8, a number that I honestly can't remember being at AT ALL. I got married in 1992 at around 180ish and before I found out I was pregnant (late 1997) I was 235. Somewhere in those years I was this weight.
I smashed that plateau, and I don't ever want to be back on it.
Every single thing in my closet fits me, save for a pair of jeans I bought when I was feeling emboldened. I tried them on yesterday and stuck a Post-It note on them with the number "225?" I'll revisit them then.
Oh, that major tweak to my eating? I've really cut back on starches. I'm trying to get the bulk of my carbs from plants, and I'm not missing the starches, because AVOCADOS! I love those nubby little suckers. I have a bag of chunks of Florida avocado in the freezer, ready to plop into a smoothie. I keep a few California avocados on the kitchen counter, ready to add a half into a big salad, as a snack with chopped tomatoes or as a side to my dinner. (I tried that egg baked into an avocado half but I don't really dig it.)
I can't really call what I'm doing Paleo, because I'm still using dairy products, like Greek yogurt, cottage cheese and whey protein. I'm also eating some fruits that are a little higher in sugar than berries, like bananas in my smoothies, fresh pineapple and apples.
I guess I'm on a Gail-eo plan.
But, yeesh! I feel so guilty if I skip an exercise day. That's what I'm working through right now in my head (and here). I'm tired and sore and I would like to be not tired and sore.
I've gotten MUCH better in the sleep department. I've gotten 8 hours of sleep consistently since last weekend and since the teenager is on spring break next week I'm sure I'll keep that up.
But there's still that lingering tiredness and soreness. I have been working really hard in the gym and I think I need to rethink the upper body stuff I'm doing because the way my head is screwed onto my shoulders (ie, badly), I already have extremely strong neck and shoulder muscles. Too strong, really, so I'm making an executive decision to move the upper body work down a bit to my mid and lower back and abs. I think that might ease the achiness. Evenings shouldn't have to end with an Aleve.
Yikes -- 4 o'clock already. Think I'll do "what I can when I can" and do one of the many workout DVDs on my "to review" list.
I used to get really nervous when I'd get my weight down to an "all-time low" but this time I don't feel that way. I'm more than a couple pounds under the plateau and I'll be damned if I gain that much weight to go back. No -- this plateau is DONE.
The new Foster the People album, "Supermodel," drops today (as the kids say) and as we speak, my preorder is being delivered to my iTunes account (thanks for the birthday present, pal!). But I want to acquaint you with a song from the band's first album, which came on just as I was pushing through a tough set on the overhead press machine, which I am totally a weakling with.
You gotta focus on your ability
Focus on your ability
You gotta focus on your ability
Focus on your ability
Boy, did I need to hear those words at that exact moment.
Hoping the new album is as great as "Torches."
I came up with the most amazing snack last week. I’ve been eating it nearly every afternoon. It’s a creamy and crunchy salty-sweet combo and I can’t wait to share it with you:
(Yep, it’s an apple and a piece of cheese.)
Granted, it’s an organic apple and an amazing slice of Irish Cheddar (Happy St. Patrick’s Day, y’all!), but, yeah, two recognizable, unadulterated pieces of real food.
I’ve been eating my meals and snacks with the mantra of “produce and protein” in the back of my mind, and wow, what a difference it’s making. The "produce and protein" was something that was suggested by my team at Retrofit. They're literally working overtime to help me succeed, which I greatly appreciate.
Last night I had rotisserie chicken, microwaved broccoli and half an avocado for dinner. I then made my kid’s school lunch and was practically repelled by the sight of the bag of sweet potato chips. Like NOT ONE CHIP made its way into my mouth.
I also didn’t eat another thing after dinner – another crazy feat. (Seriously, that never happens.) I had absolutely no desire to eat anything.
I was satiated.
That sentence thrills me to no end. Satiated – I never feel that way in the evening. There’s always room for some yogurt, a piece of fruit, some chocolate … basically anything. But last night the “OFF” switch was solidly flipped.
I think the avocado played a big part in that.
Remember what a big no-no eating half an avocado was back in the day? I’m talking the Snackwells/air-popped popcorn/sugar-free hot cocoa day.
I’m so glad that my thinking has evolved since then.
And now we wait for my metabolism to catch up.
(I’m not scheduled to weigh myself until Wednesday but I can tell things are going well because I can feel my midsection flattening.)