Ash Wednesday Weigh-in

Happy Lent, everybody! Actually, I don’t know if that’s a thing people say, but I’m saying it anyway. So there.

I know it’s been a while last since my last official weigh-in, which probably seems lame given my last big ol’ sanctimonious speech about kicking my weight loss back off and whatnot, and I’m sure I have about 50 excuses I could throw at you, not the least of which is the flu that knocked me out of commission for over a week. But! I’m not going to bother with the excuses because that is just so 2012, and instead I’m just going to go ahead and focus on the right now. And what we’re doing right now is weighing in.

Starting Weight: 246 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 198.1 lbs
This Weigh-in: 196.0 lbs
Difference: -2.1 lbs

Hey, whaddya know! A loss! Granted, given the fact that it’s been a month since I last weighed in, that’s actually not that great. And I was hoping for something a little more dramatic But! It’s not a gain, it’s a loss, and every pound down is… another pound down. Or, you know, something more profound. Heh.

I won’t lie–I’m kind of hoping that my body is still a little out of whack after the aforementioned flu, wherein I lost like 7 pounds in as many days, and then gained them all back. So my inner optimistic is telling me that maybe I lost just a wee bit more, it’s just that my body is balancing back out. And while I know that probably is just wishful thinking, there was also that whole thing where I essentially spent all of Saturday eating my face off, so I guess the price had to be paid somehow (totally worth it though, I should add).

I’ve been pretty good about tracking my calories on my iPhone, and I’ve been back to CrossFit a few times as well and am working back up to the point where a single class doesn’t wreck my quads for five days (seriously, I actually have to brace myself on the toilet just to sit down on it, it is tres pathetic). So I’m optimistic about how things will go from here, and I’m just going to keep plugging along. Of course, in addition to the same-ol’ same-ol’ good stuff, I’ll also have a new undertaking that should help me along my way: Lent! (I think some of you probably saw where I was going with this.)

In years past I’ve given up everything from soda to fast food to going full-on vegan for Lent (that last one didn’t end up working out so well on the weight-loss front… turns out that french fries are still vegan!). And while I generally am never one to say that completely cutting something out of your life works for long-term weight loss, I think that the Lenten period is the perfect amount of time for a sacrifice like this. It’s long enough that it’s challenging, which serves as the reminder for why you’re giving up what you’re giving up, but it’s not neverending. So there’s the whole light at the end of the tunnel thing.

So, with all that said, this year for Lent I am giving up…

Christmas-2012-5

Yep, I will be going the next 40 days (or whatever the actual timeline is) without cakes, cookies, chocolates, candy… the whole desserty shebang. It’s funny, I never used to have much of a sweet tooth, always preferring savory snacks like chips or fries to dessert, but in recent years I have become a RAGING sweets-eating machine. It’s been bad-news bears, because desserts in particular are so calorically concentrated with little nutritional value, and the SUGAR itself is super detrimental to my weight loss (and energy levels, and general health, and mood, and, like, everything).

I don’t really follow the Lenten rules where you’re allowed to partake in what you’ve given up on Sundays or whatever, so this will be like a straight-up 40-day dessert detox. I’ve actually been seeing a LOT of people giving up sugar-related things this Lenten season, so I figure I’ll be in good company. And fortunately, Easter comes before my birthday this year, so while I know that’s totally not the point of any of this, I’m not gonna lie–I’m pretty happy that I’ll still be able to have a birthday treat. It will almost undoubtedly come in the form of a Georgetown Cupcake… with a fondant mockingjay on top. (Guess I should probably actually start planning out my Quarter Quell soon, eh?)

Aaaaaanyway, in commemoration of both my weigh-in and my first day sans-sweets (which is going very well so far, but then again it’s only 8:45), here is a song that I recorded the other day on my newest impulse purchase. Yuuuup, I bought a ukulele, and it is the best thing I’ve ever done ever in the world of ever. Super easy to learn (I already play the guitar) — I recorded this video roughly half an hour after coming home with my new toy, if that says anything.

The song is, rather fittingly, entitled, “The Happy Song” and it is by Kate Micucci. Also, it was on Scrubs, which is all you really need to know to confirm it’s amazingness.

Do you “do” Lent? What are you giving up?

Workout Motivation

Yesterday marked my last of three personal training sessions that I purchased when I joined a gym as part of my Lenten resolution. I have actually really enjoyed strength training with my trainer, Jordan, and am a little bit worried about putting in the same effort on my own. There’s no internal argument when I have someone there telling me what to do — I just, I dunno, do it. Ideally, I think I would honestly prefer to work out with a trainer on a permanent, regular basis, but monetarily that’s not very practical for me at this time.

I do know that I want to keep going with weight training, however, because I am actually enjoying it more than I expected. I wouldn’t say I like it, but I decidedly don’t hate it (yet), which is a big step for me! Alas, it will be up to me to (try to) remember all the exercises that Jordan has taught me, and to devise a few workout sets of my own to keep going. I suppose I’ll also be joining the ranks of people who scour the internet for workout plans and inspiration, too. And whaddya know, I’ve already found a few that I am more than happy to get on board with!

katniss and peeta

Theodora‘s company recently sent me a workout plan that was developed by Lisa Wheeler, the Fitness Program Director of DailyBurn. This workout is specifically inspired by The Hunger Games. I know how cheesy it sounds, but honestly the simple act of combining something that I don’t like (exercise) with something that I love (Hunger Games, durr) makes the whole idea of actually, y’know, doing it more exciting. Honestly, I should probably capitalize on this excitement most by taking a full-on archery class (resistance training, whoop whoop!) but we’ll go with what we got for now, haha. And what we got is a free workout that you don’t even need a gym to be able to do!

hunger games banner

ARMS
Exercise: Single Arm Row with Rotation
Equipment: Resistance Band
Description: A single arm row simulates the upper body action in archery by drawing one elbow back (engaging the deep muscles of the back) and slightly rotating the torso. Hook tubing around a stable pole or door jam and place both handles in your right hand. Step back until the tubing has some tension. Pick up your right foot and balance on your left and then begin to pull the tubing back, right hand moving towards right hip. Add a slight rotation to the right, opening up the shoulder.

ABS AND CORE
Exercise: Bear Squat
Equipment: none, just your body weight
Description: The bear squat combines a full plank, which is fantastic for the core, and an explosive leg press. Begin in plank then bend your knees and send your hips back over your heels keeping the knees off the floor (spine is flexed and arms are extended). With a powerful push from your legs, extend back out to plank and hold.

LEG STRENGTH
Exercise: Curtsy Squat Side Lunge
Equipment: Dumbbells
Description: To truly develop strong legs that are functional for running, jumping, leaping and carrying heavy loads, you must train them in all directions. Holding heavy dumbbells in each hand begin with feet together. Step out to the side with your right leg, keeping your left leg straight. Hinge forward slightly but keep chest lifted with the dumbbells on either side of your right leg. Push off your right foot and immediately step back and cross behind the left leg, bending both knees into a curtsy squat.

AGILITY
Exercise: Quick Feet Drill
Equipment: none, just your body weight
Description: To be quick on your feet and have the agility to change direction quickly, you must train the muscles to fire rapidly and with power. This drill is about quickness and endurance and really elevates your heart rate. Begin in the athletic ready stance (feet a little wider than shoulder width with knees slightly bent and a slight hinge forward from the hips) with arms out the side, palms forward. Start moving your feet as fast as you can as if running keeping the feet close to the ground. Keeping your shoulders and torso stable, randomly twist your hips (knees and feet as well!) to the right and quickly back to the center. Repeat to the left continuing to keep your feet moving as quickly as possible.

011712-hunger-games-new-still

As you can see, these aren’t exactly as simple or easy as your basic bicep curl. They are much more complex exercise moves that most definitely fall under the category of a “full body workout”. Each move seems to challenge your stability and balance along with the body part they are targeting – more bang for your workout buck! I’m happy because at least for OMGRIGHTNOW, I have some new moves to test out as I figure out how I work solo in the weight room. My legs are crazy sore (again, sigh) from my training session yesterday, but you can bet I’ll be attempting the faux-archery Arm Row exercise tonight!

How do you do your gym workouts? Do you need a gym buddy? Personal trainer? A workout ripped from the pages of a magazine or printed off of a website?

I (Re)Lent

‘Tis that time again, folks. While I was busy regaling you with overly detailed accounts of my trip to Harry Potter World, it was Fat Tuesday for everyone else. That means it’s time for (some of) us Christian folk to saddle up and head out on a 40-ish day journey of deprivation in the name of spiritual solidarity. We sacrifice one of our comforts to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas Jesus’ 40 days in the desert, prior to his crucifixion. Last year, I went vegan for Lent. This, as some of you may recall, turned out to be an epic failure for my weight loss, since eventually I got bored of salads and ended up on a predominantly french fry-based diet. No bueno.

eat this salad
Not that fries

This year, I’m taking a slightly different tactic. Most people see Lent as a time when you give something up — i.e. meat, fried food, chocolate, soda, etc. I, however, have always been taught that as an alternative, you can instead make a specific commitment/change to better your lifestyle — i.e. go to bed an hour earlier each night or stop eating in front of the TV. In my case, this year I am committing to exercising regularly. It should come as no surprise to you all that I am not exactly a rockstar when it comes to exercising. I have an endless list of excuses that I am always willing to whip out, but what it comes down to is that I just. don’t. like. it. Despite my best efforts to jump on various wagons — Zumba, Hot Yoga, Racing — in the back of my mind I always held onto the fact that, hey, I had lost 50 lbs without regular exercise, so why did I need to do something that I don’t enjoy? It’s been difficult for me to convince myself that I do, in fact, need it. After all, here we are, one Lent later, and I’m BASICALLY at the same weight that I was during at this time last year. Fail.

I mean, I know it’s been a process, and I’ve lost a few, and gained a few, then gained a lot, and did a little bit of exercising along the way to train for races and the like. But still, it hasn’t even been a true part of my lifestyle. I think I may have finally (yes, FINALLY) come to the realization that I really need to fully incorporate exercise into my life in a REGULAR, CONSISTENT way in order to boast any kind of actually healthy lifestyle. Not to mention if I still intend on losing any more weight, and boy, oh boy, do I ever still intend that! SO. Here’s the deal: I am committing to a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week. They say it takes 28 days to form a habit? Well, I’m giving myself 40. If you’re fixated on the fact that Lent is about giving something up, just think of it as me sacrificing a small portion of my general laziness (which, as you all know, I do so enjoy!). If nothing else, the guilt that inherently comes with the season of Lent should help me to stick to my guns, right? Hahaha.

What am I doing here? Excitement?

To kick things off on the right foot, I did something I never thought I’d actually do: I joined a gym. A real, live, gotta-pay-actual-monies-to-go-there gym. As someone who generally has no trouble wasting lots of money, I’m not sure that the monetary incentive will really do THAT much to motivate me, but at least it’ll be giving me options. I joined Vantage Fitness in Falls Church, which is a mere 0.6 miles from my house, and despite the start-up fee, I’m pretty excited about it! They have tons of free classes, too — everything from yoga to kettlebells to spin — so I’ll have some choices that will hopefully prevent me from getting too bored. And since I seem to be one of the unfortunate few people that doesn’t actually enjoy running outside, maybe having a treadmill underneath my feet will help me build my stamina back up in time for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and Reach the Beach Relay. In case you were curious about the relay team, by the way, here’s the line-up:

1. Anne P. (Fannetastic Food)
2. Sarah (Sarah Fit)
3. Patricia (Run Foodie Run)
4. Tina (Carrots ‘N’ Cake)
5. Ashley (A Healthy, Happier Bear)
6. Bridget (Yogurt and Berries)
7. Elizabeth (On Tap for Today)
8. Theodora (Losing Weight in the City)
9. Yours truly!
10. Monica (Run Eat Repeat)
11. Ali (Fit Chick in the City)
12. Melissa (Fitness NYC)

We are being generously sponsored by New Balance, and so our team name is thus “Off Balance”! You know, ’cause let’s be honest: 2 days, 6 sweaty girls packed in each van, little to no sleep? If we weren’t all a little unbalanced before the relay, you can bet your sweet bippy that we will be afterward! (It was my name suggestion, too! Wheee!)

I am still steadfastly determined NOT to completely humiliate myself during the race, which won’t be an easy feat since as you can see I’ll be running with not only ACTUAL runners, but fierce ones at that! 🙂 I swore to myself that I’d be able to hold my own, though! And I know that throwing myself into the ring exercise-wise will be the ticket to doing so (uh, duh?). I had a consult with a personal trainer last night (free with signing up) who helped me identify some goals and specific exercises for weight loss too. And then totally duped me into buying a few personal training sessions, haha. Oh well, it’s provably necessary to sustain my motivation anyway. Teach a man to fish and all that. I will obviously be spending some days where all I’m doing is running, but hopefully by mixing it up with some other stuff in between, I’ll be able to cement this good habit FORREALZ. Wish me luck…!

What, if anything, are you giving up/committing to for Lent?