Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Are You Lost?

Have you ever felt lost? By lost I mean like the answer you're searching for is invisble, missing or misplaced; like you feel stranded on the island of [insert goal or objective here] and there's only room to stand, water all around and no signs of a rescue boat anywhere; or maybe it's just a feeling of hopelessness where you're drained from trying to find the answer to no avail.

Now, speaking along the lines of health and fitness, what about being lost here? I mean, you get up, you know you need to eat healthier, but you don't know where to start or you're so confused by all the conflicting and confounding media reports where today tuna is healthy and tomorrow it's toxic. Does your morning start off like this:

"Should I have eggs?...or is there too much fat in the yolk?...so maybe I should just have egg whites...but then do I lose all the nutritional value of the yolks? Or,

"Should I have a salad for lunch? Should I add protein to the salad? If so, what kind? And what about salad dressing? Should it have fat in it? I've heard that you need fat to help with the absorption of the vitamins and minerals in the vegetables (fat soluble vitamins/minerals) - but then again, oil has so many calories...what to do???"

Or what about with exercise? Have you ever thought: "I know I need to exercise, but I just don't know what to do?" Or, worse: you know what to do but you're so stuck in a rut or are so bored with what you're doing that you just feel lost? ...almost paralyzed?

Well, I've been there too - seems from eating to exercising to life - I've definitely been lost, and it's truly hard to find your way back. I started thinking, I wonder if the rules for getting "un-lost" are the same with health and fitness as they are if, say, you were lost in the woods or even in a parking lot - looking for your car?

It turns out that with a little due diligence, the answers I found to being lost in the woods can help us with many of the scenarios I described above. And it's ironic that these answers are so crazy simple - like everything I seem to be drawn to these days that produces results or success: the basics!

So, here is the answer I found as a common solution to getting lost in the woods - so common the Boy Scouts use it! (compliments of The Boy Scouts of America and Equipped To Survive)


Stop/Stay put.
Take a deep breath. Calm yourself. Recognize that whatever has happened is past and cannot be undone. Your "survival" situation (the situation you're in - your feeling of being lost or stuck) is reality, and you must move forward.

Think. Take no action until you have thought through the situation. Your brain is your biggest asset.

Observe. Take a look around you and assess your situation and surroundings. Consider your resources and personal capabilities.

Plan. Prioritize your immediate needs and establish a step by step plan to systematically deal with and resolve the situation, inclusive of contingencies. Be flexible and prepared to adjust to changing circumstances.

These steps seem so ridiculously simple, but really look at how effective the outcome can be with such a simple (and easy to remember) plan! There's no 10 step system, worksheets, $100/hr shrink sessions (although I am a huge proponent of talk therapy) - just a simple-to-remember acronym and basic elementary terms strategically ordered to produce a result.

The "basics" are always a good place to start - whether it be fitness or nutrition - and the STOP for survival acronym is certainly worth a try.

So, let's test 'er out, shall we?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Lose 5 in 7 - Day 6

Yesterday was a blurrrrrr!

We woke up late for whatever reason - that's happened twice that I can remember, so I sprinted through breakfast and out the door. Didn't weigh in due to the late start, but kept on the meal plan and used yesterday as my rest day from working out. My upper body was starting to ache so I took advantage of not wanting to drive the extra 40 minutes to the gym!

So today, though not necessarily leisurely, we were up on schedule, weighed in at 127.0 - pretty close to what I expected, especially with no physical activity yesterday. I'm on Monday's meal plan - just recycling it

So, I'm at day 6 of the first 7 days, having started last Sunday at 131.4 being the highest weight. My total body weight loss to date is 4.4 pounds, right on track to hit the 5 pound mark by tomorrow morning (need a loss of -0.6 which is a weight of 126.4). My workout this morning wasn't aerobic - but rather a few Olympic lifts for max weight, so I'll try to take a jog or hit the Tmill or stepper at the gym later today.

I started this blog and effort with the quote "the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary" - and it's true. While this week's not been exceptionally peachy, it was fruitful (pardon the pun!). I had one higher calorie day and because my fat levels were moderate, I can only remember being hungry a few times, usually before a morning workout.

So, one more week at this. Sunday I'll "reprogram" my meals within the CFSP MOW (menu of the week) and schedule out my week to try to do a few two-a-day workouts, a rest day, and also take into consideration Friday and Saturday will be "event days" as my husband and I are headed to the Alafia River State Park where he'll participate with Team RebelHealth/Crossfit St. Pete in the Talon Adventure Race. We're taking food for most of the meals, so I should be able to stay on course - just can't weigh in at the hotel -not without MY scale (said the scale-o-phobe)!

I think what this potentially humbling experience proves is that the basics are true - the basics to weight loss...
  1. Be Accountable. Document or log your food and KNOW how many calories you're taking in.
  2. Eat whole foods. By eating whole "real" food versus overly processed and refined foods, your organism gets the type of nourishment on which it was meant to function. Your organism does not innately know what a HoHo is, or even a "box" of mac 'n cheese. It does, however, know what carrots and radishes are; what apples and fish and chicken are; and what an oat grout or a rice grain is. And it likes these things!
  3. Be active - strategically. I hate this one, not because I hate to exercise - quite the contrary! But because this one is sooooo misconstrued. A slow "floppy" walk down the sidewalk for 10 minutes is not going to contribute to your health, let alone aid in weight loss. Science provides us with thresholds for exertion with exercise. If you don't know what they are, find someone who is qualified (certified by an NCCA accredited organization) and learn. This is where benefits come from - not just "being active" - although for those who are sedentary, it's a good start. (The operative word being "start" - not "end"!)

Tomorrow is Saturday - early beach run with husband then, unfortunately for the diet plan, lunch out with family...I'll be Googling PF Chang's menu tonight to strategize my choices for tomorrow - fish and veggies will be the goal - as well as resisting dessert and wine!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lose 5 in 7 - Day 4 (late post)

Dinner's done and I "feel" the bonk. Between the feelings of dehydration and general fatigue, my 10 minute "150 wall ball" workout was truly more than I could take. Totally zapped me, even after that great breakfast. But I half expected to be a bit fatigued today. Didn't do the afternoon run - simply didn't have the energy.

Calories were up today and have good intentions for tomorrow.

Meal plan for tomorrow is as follows:

Breakfast: 1 cup Egg Beaters, 1 egg, kale, red pepper and onion in an omelet with 1/2 cup blackberries

AM Snack: 1/2 cup 1% cottage cheese with 1/2 cup broccoli

Lunch: Kale, red pepper, onion, 4 oz ham and 1/4 cup fat free mozzarella cheese

PM Snack: 1/2 scoop protein powder in 1 cup almond milk

Dinner: 4 oz chicken, 1 wedge Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese, 1/2 cup spinach - rolled up and baked, with 1/4 cup Lima beans and small salad.

This will provide approximately 1100 calories, 130 grams of protein, 77 grams of carbs and 29 grams of fat. I have appointments all morning, so hope to either Crossfit in the afternoon or long run from home - maybe even local gym for stepper and core.

I anticipate begin back up around 127, probably where I really was today if fully hydrated.

Lose 5 in 7 - Day 4 early post

5 a.m. scale reading: 126.6#. But I didn't get too excited, because yesterday had some hiccups in it, I felt dehydrated when I woke up (my eyes were even dry), and I know tomorrow I'll probably pop back up to 128-ish - which is where I'd expected to be.

So, to summarize the progress so far:

Saturday: 131.4
Sunday: 130.0
Monday: 129.4
Tuesday: 128.4
Wednesday: 126.6

I totalled up the calories and macronutrients for today's meal plan, tweaked it a bit and it will provide about 1400 calories (room for a latte in the afternoon!), 120 grams of protein (36%), 125 grams of carbohydrate (37%) and 26 grams of fat (17%). Higher carb, lower fat, same protein.

Luckily, the gym posted a "Pick your WOD" today, so I can pick a tough one, and then also, hopefully, do a soft sand run this afternoon.

Onward and upward! Or should I say ...DOWNWARD...re: the scale!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lose 5 in 7 - Day 3 late post

Today did not go as planned, 100%. Had breakfast as planned, then left for the day of appointments and errands WITHOUT MY COOLER BAG! So by lunchtime, I was at Target and starving! I grabbed a $5.00 four pack of Atkins 150 calorie protein shakes and drank two of them. I had the grocery store on my list of stops, but not till the end of the day, several hours out. It just didn't hit the spot. Dinner was as planned.

Because of the five plus hours between meals, when I'm used to a small meal every 3 -4 hours, I'm totally exhausted - and I know it's because of that and because I missed my workout today.

But it's 1/2 (or 1/3) of a day unplanned, it's not a week or a month. Tomorrow's a new day.
Exercise will be whatever the Crossfit WOD is plus a late run. Meal plan for the day is as follows, and will be a higher calorie day to be sure my "organism" doesn't get used to such low calories and start to conserve energy and slow down metabolically. I'll keep my protein level the same and jack up the carbs in the morning and the fat in the evening.

Breakfast: "Gruel", consisting of 1 single serving of Chobani Yogurt, about a cup of strawberries and blackberries, 1/2 scoop of protein powder and 1/2 serving of whole hard winter oats (oatmeal). This is also pre-workout. Maybe even a cup of coffee!

AM snack - post workout: 8 oz milk with 2 Tbsp Hershey's 50% Syrup

Lunch: Left over salmon (about 3 oz) over big salad of spinach, red peppers, onion, carrots, fat free shredded mozzarella cheese with 2 tsp EVOO and balsamic vinegar. 1/2 pear.

PM snack - also pre-run: 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1/2 cup chopped tomato, basil, salt and pepper

Dinner: Pan Seared Scallops (3 oz) pan sauteed in 2 tsp EVOO with large salad and steamed broccoli.

I'll total calories up in the morning and post them, but I'm estimating about 1500 - 1600, still 120-ish grams of protein, 100-ish carbs and...not sure - over 30% fat.

I'm crossing my fingers on the scale in the morning - worried the Atkins (nothing-natural-in-there) shake may backfire.

Lose 5 in 7 - Day 3 (early report)

Scale read 128.4# this morning (at 5am, the same time every day). So,

Saturday: 131.4#
Sunday: 130.0#
Monday: 129.4#
Tuesday: 128.4#

First, this supports "logging", tracking or whatever you want to call it - FEEDBACK - in an organized fashion. I use Google 15 on my homepage - which is a simple weight tracking module that gives you a little graph with bouncy balls that bounce up and down on the chart with your actual weight, then a trend line, which is highly motivating, because if you have a blip and your actual weight jumps up a bit on a particular day, the trend line focuses on the week long trend vs. that one day. It's the right way to look at bodyweight if you can't measure bodyfat every week.

Second, and here's the kicker, my workout yesterday PLUS the sandy beach run on Sunday has left my body with a serious case of the aches. I can handle the sore glutes and quads, but all the pull ups left my rt shoulder throbbing and aching this morning (and all night). So I'm adding "ibuprofen cocktails" to my day - 400 mg 3x a day for two days - like an elephant gun of anti-inflammatory OTC meds. The problem with that is that ibuprofen makes me nauseous, but it's the only thing that works. So, weight loss with nausea, here we go!

Sticking with my meal plan for the day - just prepped it in a cooler bag. Will head out for a little cardio on an empty stomach now, then breakfast, then start the day.

I'll check back in tonight with if I got that Crossfit workout in this afternoon or not (it's all overhead stuff, so probably not smart, but then again, this is supposed to be an uncomfortable week - hungry is OK, so maybe sore is OK too! I'll also post my meal plan for tomorrow.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lose 5 in 7 - Day 2

Woke up this morning at 129.4#. Down...whew.

Stayed on the meal plan today with the exception of the a.m. snack - had maintenance people in the condo and didn't want to eat in front of them.

Did about 20 minutes of BORING stepper this morning early, then a pretty tough WOD at the gym - only about 16 minutes, but HR was high enough I had to break several times. 600 feet of walking lunges - good workout for legs which were still sore from soft sand run on Easter morning - plus 81 pull ups and 81 sit ups (WOD called "Cough up a Lunge").

Onward and upward! Tuesday's plan:

Tomorrow's a busy day - a few appointments and a MILLION errands! Will pack the cooler bag and take everything with me for the road. But here's the "tentative" plan:

Exercise: Hopefully, some cardio in the morning before the first appointment, then HOPEFULLY, I'll get errands and other appt done in time to hit Crossfit in the late afternoon - but not sure.

Breakfast: 4 egg whites cooked in 1/2 tsp EVOO, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1% no salt added, 1/2 cup strawberries and 1/2 oz slivered, toasted almonds

AM Snack: 1 cup radishes, 1/2 cup carrots and 1/2 oz toasted walnuts

Lunch: 1 can tuna over veggie salad with vinaigrette

PM Snack: 5.3 oz container Fage 0% yogurt

Dinner: 5 oz salmon broiled, served with 1/2 cup balsamic strawberries, 4 oz Brussels sprouts

and...sf jello!

This will give me about 1100 calories (I'll do a pre or post workout shake if I workout to add calories), 120 grams of protein (44%), 57 grams of carbs (21%) and 37 grams of fat (30%). I'll be busy so won't focus on the hunger so much. The likelihood of making the workout is slim, so I'll plan on jacking up the calories and the activity on Wednesday.

So, that's the plan for the full Day 2 (Tuesday). Heading to the fridge now for jello - lots of jello!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

How to Lose 5 Pounds in 7 Days

That title outta get ya! It's certainly got me!

I have tried to keep most of my topics, thoughts and rants inclusive of education or teaching, usable information, reviews of mainstream media and motivational musings that might overlap my lifestyle, but would also be sources of ways to include more physical activity, healthy food choices and positive "you can do it's" in all of our lives. I see this series as a real-life motivational "you can do it" with some education and aggressive examples thrown in for good measure!

This will be a bit of a continuation of my March 21st Blog Dueling Turtle Doves & Strong Women. In it, I skimmed over a personal issue where I was still frustrated that I just hadn't accomplished losing that last "four" pounds. I have pretty much lived for over a year at four to five pounds above my ideal weight, and that day it just happened to be four. Since then, in over a week of low levels of exercise, high levels of calories (and not necessarily healthy calories), spring break, family visiting...healthy living and healthy choices can get away from you - they certainly got away from me. And since I'm such a HUGE advocate of using the bathroom scale (though I am still, and will always be deathly afraid of it), this is the perfect example of what happens when you (I) don't use it! Had I gotten on that slick, glass Tanita two or even three days into the week, I'd have caught this before it became an overwhelming and wardrobe affecting five pounds above where I was complaining to be at on the 21st, and a whopping 10 pounds above my ideal. This is what I meant by this type of thing getting to point of feeling unmanageable.

The fear of public humiliation always adds needed accountability to my efforts. It's funny, the same holds true with my Crossfit workouts - the fear of posting a bad performance for all to see drives me to do a little better than I might if it was only me involved in the effort and it's outcome. Ironic? No. That's why Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig...and yes, for me, Crossfit workouts, all work. Yes, there's an element of support, but there's also a bit of fear or self-imposed pressure to perform - and perform well. Who wants to show up at a Weight Watchers meeting with your supportive buddies and constantly remain at the same weight or gain weight? As I logged on and posted the other day: The only place success comes before work is the dictionary! Effort yields results. Discipline enhances effort. Motivation drives discipline. Right now, with muffin top in stretchy pants...I'm motivated to put forth the effort to produce the results. So here are the numbers:

Goal Weight: 120# (never quite been there!)
Typical Weight: 123-125#
Current Weight: 130#

And just in case there's one of "those" people out there who might say: "Oh, part of it's just water retention from eating crappy food here and there for a week"...not so. I spent a big part of my life coddled by people who liked to use that excuse, along with "muscle weighs more than fat" - excuses that frankly were just little white lies to make a fat kid feel better. While that might have been the right thing to do back then to spare feelings, right now, as an adult, we have to own our situations. No one can make you feel bad about yourself without your permission, no one can take advantage of you without your permission, and no one can make you fat, period! My husband always ways: "When you're fat, look in the mirror and say you're fat". And I'm sort of saying it now - not necessarily that I'm fat (though I certainly feel it when squeezing into my clothes today), but I'm definitely above my normal weight, and my organism is not comfortable! It doesn't make me happy to be here so I'm going to do something about it. We all could do ourselves justice by being honest with ourselves versus sugar-coating and ignoring our faults or problems - it's not like our friends and family don't see them, they're just to polite to call us out on them. I've been back on track, eating clean but with lack of exercise three days last week, and "healthing" it back up with the diet over the last three days. I bounced between 129.8# and 131.4 - so, drum roll please....the number is 130#!

So, what's the plan?

The plan is the same thing and the only thing that works for most people who lose weight successfully: eat less and be more active. And though there's a lot of media buzz right now about a calorie being a calorie, I can't FULLY subscribe to that, as I do think there are differences in the way people metabolize the three macronutrients. Personally, I don't do well with artificial sweeteners - I like them, but they make me crave more. After I get out of the "fog" of no "sweet coffee & tea", I also know that I do better (feeling & performing) on a lower GI meal plan that's about 30% carbs 40% protein and 30% fat. Lastly, I feel my best if there's a intense workout during the day that lasts at least 20 minutes. So I do better on my Crossfit WODs that are "the girls or heroes" and have to make adjustments on days we do the O-lifts. It's funny, I know myself so well...but I also recognize the weakness where I tend to ignore what's going on to make me throw caution to the wind and overindulge at Maggianos!

So, what's the specific plan?

I started yesterday. Scale read 130.0# even, down from 131.4 #. I split my exercise up yesterday and did a little at the gym in the morning (20 minutes of slow cardio just to get me going) and then ran intervals in the evening. My diet was "fair" yesterday, considering it ended at Hooters! But none of that for the next five days - maybe seven, if we don't plan anything for the weekend. Today my diet was totally clean (eggs/egg whites & veggies & fruit for breakfast, chicken over salad for lunch and ahi tuna, brussel sprouts and broccoli for dinner), but I didn't bother to do a calorie tally. It was low though. I'm feeling it right now! I'll reassess how I did on Sunday of next week and trudge on.

I'm using the St. Pete Crossfit/ RebelHealth Menu of the Week, or MOW, for my diet components and will make adjustments to portions (especially since there are no portions on the menu) and substitutions for higher GI carbs. I'll try to get most of my carbs from fresh vegetables and fruit. I'll also up the mutli-vitamin since I'll be lower than I like with fruits and veggies and whole grains - where I get most of the nutrients my organism needs for all its wonderful parts to function optimally. Here are the components/principles of the plan, and which are a normal part of my family's daily life - just not this past month, obviously!

  1. 5 days of concentrated effort: Monday (tomorrow) through Friday.

  2. Clean eating. Whole, unrefined foods. The challenge here? There is ice cream in the freezer, homemade "energy" granola (high carb) in the pantry and a bit of cheesecake left in the fridge. I know myself - if it's there, I'm susceptible to it. There. I've said it out load, let's see if that helps with the discipline - or typical lack thereof! Or, I just got "permission" to throw out all the bad stuff - ugh! I hate wasting money that way. Those Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips are expensive! But after Monday, I may clean house...I mean, clean pantry!

  3. Moderate to low carbohydrate intake (25-30%, or about 90 grams) - consisting solely of fruit and vegetable carbohydrates with the exception of breakfast, where a whole grain is an option. This will put me below one side of a wavering understanding I have of the fuel our brains need to function optimally. Some science states that we need 100-130 grams of carbohydrate for our brains to function optimally. Others say that our brains will function optimally on mostly fat and protein. We'll see if the brain fog rolls in!

  4. High protein (40%, or about 130 grams), which is about 1 gram per pound of current body weight. Chicken, fish, grass-fed lean beef, eggs, Greek yogurt and protein powder.

  5. Moderate to high fat (30%, or about 40 grams), consisting mostly of unsaturated fats - EVOO, healthy fats from fish, avocados, nuts, and eggs. But I certainly won't discount saturated fat in modest quantities.

  6. 5 meals a day, attempting no desserts! That's hard for me, because hubby likes his desserts. I'll try to quell the urge for dessert with hot tea - peppermint and vanilla to provide opposite ends of the spectrum. And I'll buy some SF Jello (yes, I know, not exactly "natural") and make it with club soda or seltzer for a kick - and at 10 calories per serving, it'll satisfy that 8pm itch for sweets.

  7. Target for total calories will be around 1300, give or take, and may switch my carb and fat % up and down to mix it up, while keeping protein at the same level.

  8. Exercise: Crossfit daily (M-F), plus as much extra cardio or stairs here at home,focusing there on either slow & over 60 minutes or intervals. Cardio (running, biking, stepper @ gym & steps at our condo) bores me to tears - this will be a challenge. Need a new audio book!

I'll post my meal plan for each day a day in advance, and try to comment on progress as I go. If you'd like to follow along, I'd love to hear your comments/feedback.

Plan for Monday:

  • Early Cardio (6-7am)
  • Breakfast: 2 eggs & 4 egg whites in an omelet with 1/2 cup kale and 1/4 cup onion, made with cooking spray; 1/2 cup blackberries
  • AM Snack: 4 oz (1/2 cup) 1% no salt added cottage cheese
  • Lunch: 2 oz chicken breast and 1/2 chicken sausage link, 1 cup fresh spinach leaves, 1/2 oz walnuts, 1/4 cup shredded fat free mozzarella cheese (needed more protein), and 1 tsp EVOO in the vinaigrette salad dressing
  • PM Snack/Pre-Workout: 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder in 4 oz fat free milk; same thing post workout
  • Dinner: 2 cups soy-sesame kale, 5 ounces of chicken char siu (omit most of honey & hoisin in my portion)

As written, this will provide only about 1080 calories, 146 grams of protein (54%), 59 grams of carbohydrate (22%) and 28 grams of fat (23%) - not what I outlined above, but I kick-start better this way. I think I'll need that Jello, however, after dinner!

Here we go!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary!