If not for the skinny jeans…

Posts Tagged ‘healthy

My father loves his garden.  Not so much to eat the goodies that grow, but more just to watch them grow period.  He does have favorites that he will eat like cucumbers and tomatoes, but everything else is more for show.  This year, with my lifestyle changing as much as it has, I asked him if the Goob and I could plant a few things this year.  He was more than happy to accommodate 🙂  The garden, in my opinion is huge… and I love it!  I love getting in there and watching the flowers turn to fruits.  I love the smell of the tomato plants.  I could care less about how dirty I get when I’m in there.  The Goob seems to enjoy it just as much as me, but she’s a little more squeamish about the little buggies that hang out in there.

I decided it was beyond time to show my families garden with all of you wonderful people.  I am so excited to have had this experience, and I know it’s one I’m going to continue once we move.

Contents of the Garden: Beefsteak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, jalepeños, habeñeros, green and red bell peppers, a peanut bush, lettuce, zucchini, squash and eggplant.  (I think that’s all of them!)

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first harvert from the week of 6/27/13

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the Garden is overseen by the scarecrow…

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… and an owl

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first eggplant of the season

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second harvest from the week of 7/4/13

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my lettuce

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I was going through some of my old weight watchers goodies and I realized something.  I have been working on improving myself has hit it’s one year anniversary.

Yes, I have been dealing with my weight for a number years now, but I’ve got actual documentation from weight watchers.  When I joined weight watchers it was May 12, 2012 and I weighed 188.8 pounds.  I was roughly 6 weeks post-partum and miserably tired.

I am 155 pounds (give or take depending on the day LOL) and I’m happy.  Honestly happy.  There was a time that I was so frustrated with my scale that I was honestly depressed I “couldn’t” lose weight anymore.  I am at my body’s comfort zone right now.  And I’m okay with that.  I am in a size 6 (I just found that out yesterday!!) and I’m the smallest and strongest I’ve ever been.  I’m toned.  I have confidence in myself.  So much so that I’ve signed up for a marathon of all things!!

I don’t count my points anymore, but I do watch my caloric intake, as well as watching my macro nutrients.  I drink anywhere between a half and whole gallon of water a day, and if I don’t, I’ve got a headache the whole next day.  My diet is roughly 70% clean and that works for me and my family.

In order to celebrate this “anniversary” here are some things I’ve learned along the way:

  • You can’t out-exercise a bad diet
  • Sometimes you need to give yourself a break, indulge and get back on the wagon
  • Food intake has been the absolute hardest part of changing my lifestyle
  • Forgive yourself, you are not perfect
  • Drink water.  Drink when you’re thirsty.  Drink when you’re hungry.  Drink when you THINK your hungry.  Just drink!
  • You will have set backs.  You will over indulge and love every single taste.  You’ll feel like crap shortly after.  You will be fine and you just need to put that in the memory bank for the next time you want to eat the whole batch of delicious cupcakes you make for you daughter’s birthday 😉
  • Lift weights and lift heavy!
  • push your limits
  • find yourself emotionally, physically and spiritually.  it makes a difference
  • You can’t plan out every single day and expect it to actually work every single day.  work with the challenges.  they make you stronger
  • a little retail therapy when you’ve lost your motivation can go a long way
  • planning = success
  • TAKE EVERY SINGLE COMPLIMENT YOU ARE GIVEN.  (and don’t be so stingy with them either)
  • You are more important than what the scale reads.  You will plateau on the scale but not in reality.
  • Take progress pictures!!

Okay I should probably stop.  Yes, I’ve learned a lot.  Some of them are more at the front of my brain than others, but they are in there regardless.

If you are on your own journey, I wish you all the best!

I remember once passing a mirror while I was still living in Texas and needing to do a double take.  I sat and analyzed myself.  How did I let myself get so unhealthy?  When did I stop caring?

Of course I banked on the excuse, well, I just had a baby x months ago!  Of course I’d have a little extra fluff.  But staring at myself that day, there were no excuses.  I hated what I saw.  I hated how I felt.  I had to change or my family’s tendencies for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a slew of other things would be knocking on my door much sooner than I’d ever be ready for.  A doctor had once told me that I was pre-diabetic, but not to worry about.  She said it was probably caused by not really watching what I had been eating for the previous few days.  We decided I would watch my diet over the course of two weeks and come back to see if there were any changes.  I was scared enough that I ate supremely well.  I got more blood drawn and low and behold, no problems.  GREAT!

You’d think that would scare me onto the right path.  Nope.  I went right back to my old ways and sat looking at myself in that mirror.  Depressed and resenting all the choices I had made that had gotten me to what I was seeing on that day.  

That was over a year ago now.

Since then, I have lost over 40 pounds, I’m back to endurance training and can run 3-5 miles without huffing and puffing the whole way.  I’m strength training for numerous reasons.  I’ve lost over 5 inches from my hips alone!  I’ve got a ton of energy (most days) and I sleep soundly when I’m supposed to.  My body fat has dropped from somewhere around 35% (although I’m not positive of this) to roughly 24%.  

I still have moments that I get upset I don’t have amazing results.  But then I think, what I’ve accomplished in one year IS amazing!  I need to (consistently) remind myself that I have made some serious changes to my life.  Yes, the scale is stuck and possibly glued to a certain number, but I know now that results are more than just what that scale says.

Results aren’t always as steadfast as numbers.  Those are just the easiest indicators to find that you’re going in the right direction.  Mood, sleep quality, energy…. how would you quantify that?

I no longer want to be skinny.  I want to be strong, fit and healthy.  My girls and my family see the changes in me and they have noted the positive effects they’ve had on me.  I will never go back to that person I stared at over a year ago.

I took this picture yesterday at the gym.  I can’t wait for more date nights to rock some heels with these calves 🙂

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I have been taking before and after shots since I started working with Nick.  Just recently I had a meltdown because I wasn’t seeing/feeling any different.  I knew I was getting stronger, but I didn’t feel like I was getting any leaner.  I was frustrated and complaining to both Link and Nick about it.  Frustrated doesn’t even really come close to how I felt to be honest.

I am all for getting stronger.  I have been promoting the benefits of lifting for some time now.  I love the benefits I’ve been reaping thanks to lifting.  I apparently still need some help to get over my mental road blocks.  I still find myself turning to food to help deal with stress.  I still see myself as “chubby” and I am very critical of myself.

Here are my original before and afters:

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It took Tom pointing out the difference because I honestly could not see them.  I see them now and feel crazy for not having seen it before.  No, they’re not drastic, but they don’t need to be!  It’s progress and that’s what I need to be concerned with!

I showed them to Nick as well.  He made a valid point… I need to get out of the shorts!  How am I going to see the progress in my legs if I’ve covered them up?  I have always had major insecurities with the “thickness” of my legs and booty, which is why I put the shorts on.  So, I’ve got new before pictures.  In a triangle bikini no less.  I took them last night and it was like some weird form of torture.  I like being on the seeing side of the camera, not the seen.  I cannot thank Link enough for helping me with them.  I felt awkward and exposed.  Not the best feeling in the world, let me tell you.

But, after looking at them, I can see even without pictures to compare them to, I know I’ve made progress.  Of course there are things I don’t like.  I’m trying really hard to not focus on those parts.  In order to keep with the whole honesty idea of this blog, I’m sharing these pictures with you.  And I may or may not be planning to compete in an ACTUAL fitness competition come September which is where the poses are coming from.

oh, and um, don’t mind my crazy, it’s way past my bedtime hair 😉

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I have been going back and forth recently trying to decide if I want my body fat calculated. The bigger part (giggling here) sounds off with a loud resounding YES! I need to know where I’m starting from in order to get where I’m going.

Then there is the other part. The part that is scared of the truth. I have no idea how knowing my body fat will affect me emotionally and that scares me.

I have found numerous ways to calculate your body fat. Each system has its own degree of error. Here are some of the tests I have found:

(1) Body Mass Index – otherwise known as BMI.  This is the LEAST accurate assessment of a person’s body fat.  It is simply a height to weight ratio that gives a general idea of your health.  It does not take into account a person’s lean muscle versus body fat.  My BMI is 26.8 (overweight).  You can find your BMI here.

(2) Weight Scales – There are numerous scales available now that can quickly give you your body fat.  Some are fancier than others.  The inaccuracies with this one come with consistency.  You should always weigh yourself at the same time of the day, as well as similar clothing (or lack thereof).  With that being said, when using a scale that can analyze an individual’s body fat, how hydrated the person is can alter the results.  I have the Weight Watchers scale and according to this scale, my body fat is 32.2%.

(3) Circumference measurements – These are the body measurements you take with a measuring tape.  The do have the capability to be inaccurate if the “tester” (normally yourself) does not consistently measure in the same place every time.  To get the best readings, a tester needs to take the same measurement three times and get the average of the three measurements.  I found this online calculator if you’re interested in this technique.  My body fat according to this technique was 24.2%.

(4) Skin Fold/Calipers – This method uses a device to physically measure the thickness of your skin folds are specified locations.  There are one-site tests all the way up to nine-site tests (that I have found).  Like the tape measuring, using a different tester or if the tester doesn’t consistently use the same place, the results can be inaccurate.  I recently bought a caliper and doing a three-site test (with Link’s help), my body fat was 25%.  If you have a caliper at home and are curious to find out what those numbers mean and how to get the measurements, you can read about it here, calculator included.

(5) Bod Pod – This is the one I knew the least about when I started looking around.  I knew about hydrostatic testing (which is the next bullet down) and the Bod Pod is similar to that… at least in theory.  The big difference?  One is done in water, the other one is not.  The Bod Pod is a capsule of sorts you sit in and once the capsule is sealed it takes numerous measurements and prints out a pretty little reading of you body’s make up.  It claims to be as effective at the hydrostatic testing.  I don’t personally believe it.  On two separate occasions I found the readings to be way off on two different women.  You can read their posts here and here.  I think I would still like to have it done simply as a “just to know” situation.

(6) Hydrostatic Testing – This is the gold standard for body fat testing.  You are submerged underwater and the readings are analyzed.  I know that’s a really simple explanation of the process, but sometimes it’s just better to leave things simple.  As soon as I can find a location that can do this without breaking the bank, I will be doing this!

Regardless of how I chose to ultimately track my body fat going down, I just have to keep in mind that consistency is key.  As long as the numbers are going down, they are at least giving some indication that I, and you, are on the right path!  If you’d like more information or have any questions about any of these, just post your questions!  I’m really intrigued by this particular topic and would love your feedback!  What’s your preferred choice?

First and foremost: LINK IS HOME!!! His two week “vacation” started this morning, so I was crazy getting the house and kids ready, which is more or less the reason I haven’t posted much in the past week (ish).

Now, onto blog business. A quick update with my “no scale” challenge. It’s been hard. Honestly. I hate not knowing how much I weigh. At one point, a couple of weeks ago, Nick wanted to get my stats, so I found out then what my weight was, and seriously, it was like getting taking a huge breath after you’ve been underwater to that point just before you know you might want to consider coming up for air. I haven’t looked since though. I’m starting to feel the “itch” though. LOL May 4th is the day my scale comes back out. One more week.

On Friday Nick decided it was a good day to work my entire back half. Wow. Lots of dead lifts. Lots and lots of dead lifts. I was actually able to do 185 pounds, whereas last week I could only do 165 pounds. 20 pound difference in a week? I’ll take it! I try to tell myself those are the numbers that matter, even if it doesn’t sink in every time.

We also did some ab work on the TRX. It’s a great training area/device/contraption/torture device if you can find the right form. Some of the exercises are a bit hard to find the right form, at least for me they are, but I think that’s what I’m going to start working on because I really do like how it works.

I’ve included a couple of pictures that Nick took while I was working with cables and while on the TRX.

—Take care of your body, it’s the only one you have!

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I’m hoping that with better planning, I can prepare myself for the sneak attacks coming from the snack pantry! Tomorrow, I’ll be firing up the grill and getting the bulk of the meats cooked up and ready to go. Hopefully this works!Image

I’ve been raving about Nick my trainer (and if I can convince him, I’m going to try to get a picture with him next week so you can put a face with the name) and I thought maybe at some point I should inform the blog reading world what it is I actually do when I’m with him.  Here are just some examples:

warm up (10 minutes) –

walk (2.5 mph) walking lunges (1.5 mph) side skip lunges right side (1.5 mph) walk backwards (1.5 mph) side skip lunges left side (1.5 mph); repeat

“prehab” –  (otherwise known as preventative exercises)

bird dogs, dead bugs, and supine bridges on bosu ball

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THE PAIN –

squats, lots and lots of squats.  we started on the smith machine and have since moved onto what Nick calls “the big boy” .  We’ve done a couple of different versions of squats, but the “Linda” squat is by far the most, uh, challenging.  Its like a one-legged hip check squat thing lol (note: I tried to find a picture, but I can’t.  It may have a different name, and if it does I’ll post a correction.)

Lunges!  Oh my god, Nick loves lunges.  I’m sure it’s because I made it known how much I despise them!  LOL  Unfortunately, they give very quick results…

Superset Lat Pulldown with BillyJacks.  I didn’t think they would effect me like the do but wow, my arms burn after the BillyJacks.

For chest/shoulders, we start on an inclined bench, do a set of presses and flyes, then go down one notch, repeat.  We do this until I’m one notch away from flat.  All with a natural grip, arms at a 45, instead of out to the side.  Those little changes have made a big difference.

Lots of Kettle Ball exercise, to include: Double Arm swing, Single Arm swing, squats, deadlift into a row, around the worlds, suitcase grabs, figure 8’s and windmills.

Sometimes he’ll add some plyometrics or the dreaded rope!

And we normally finish up with 20-30 minutes of cardio depending on what I actually did.  And cardio is almost always interval training.

So as I said at the beginning, these are just SOME of the examples, but this is not a typical day’s workout, except for the warm-up, “prehab” and cardio.  The stuff in the middle alternates.

I honestly love my workouts with Nick.  I’ve got that “hurts so good” feeling while I’m doing it.  He’s always conscious of my right shoulder (which I really need to get checked out).  He’s always pushing me.  He’s always available for questions outside of training sessions.  I hope you enjoyed reading about “the pain!”

Since starting this adventure into the world of “fit living,” I’ve had to make some serious changes.  Not just environmental, but mentally and emotionally.  When a person endeavors to better themselves, the only way to achieve that goal is by changing and adapting.  Here is a list of some of the biggest changes I’ve had to make in order to make myself the best person I can be.

1. Drinking close to, if not more than a gallon of water a day.  I used to drink half my body weight (in oz) of any liquid.  Now, I strive to drink at least my body weight (so 159 ounces) in water.  If I drink something besides water, I don’t count it.  Honestly, the only things I really drink are almond milk, coffee and water, so not counting liquids hasn’t been too hard.

2. My general mindset.  I used to get frustrated when the results weren’t happening as quickly as I wanted them to.  I used to “cheat” and say if I didn’t write it in my tracker I didn’t eat it.  I used to think that I could never get to my goals.  I know better now.  I know that I am worth all the effort I’m putting into this.  I know that great things take time to develop.  I know that even if I don’t write it down, my body is keeping a very accurate journal of what I’m putting into it.

3. I need to eat.  It’s very frustrating when you’re trying to lose weight to be told, “You need to eat more.”  But they’re absolutely right.  I’m eating every 2 -3 hours now.  All my meals can fit on a small dinner plate.  I’m getting 5-6 meals a day, and 1-2 of them of drunk.  I am eating so much cleaner now.  I can actually listen to my body and know what it’s telling me (for the most part).

4. My body needs the release it gets from lifting weights and/or getting a good sweat.  “Sweat is just fat crying.”  That saying has helped me more times than I can count.  I now look forward to sweating, since I equate it to how hard I was working at the gym.

5. Emotionally, I’ve also had to change.  I used to want this for other people.  My husband, my daughter, my friends.  No one likes being the fat girl.  Now, I realize how much I want this for me!  I don’t want to have to worry about diabetes.  I don’t want to have to get on medication to control the functions in my body that should be handled with living a healthy lifestyle.  And yes, I want to look good.  I love fitting into my 8’s now.  I love buying clothes that wouldn’t have fit me just two years ago.  I feel better about so many other things now.  That being said, I’m not overly thrilled with my lack of bust now, but I’ll take the no boobs over being fat with boobs any day!  They make push-ups for a reason!  LOL

I know that with each stage in this endeavor, new adaptations will have to be made.  I look forward to making them and learning from them!

After signing up for the transformation competition, I quickly realized that I needed some professional help.  I went to my gym and told them I needed to start personal training sessions ASAP!  Of course they were excited, not just for a hire, but also for my reason why.  I LOVE MY GYM!  The staff there is amazing and they really do care about you and are willing to help you succeed in any way they can.

Back to the trainer.  The manager gave my number to their newest trainer, Nick.  He assured me though that he’s not new to training!  Nick called me not even an hour later and we scheduled our first session for the following week.  We had our first session and he’s awesome.  We spent the majority of the time learning some of my limits and really pinpointing my goals and what he can do to help me achieve those goals.

I’ve expressed to him that my nutritional battles are so much worse than my internal debates of going or not going to the gym.  I honestly like sweating when I’m working out.  In my head I equate the amount of sweat with how hard I’m working.  “Sweat is just fat crying!”  One of my mantras right now!

I am so excited to work with Nick and get my body where I want it to be and where I know it CAN be!


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