Monday, July 4, 2016

Weight Watchers: 3 Month Update

I didn't realize it had been so long since I last posted. I haven't been blogging at all since about March, actually. Too much writing on my novel (which is almost finished with its first draft!), and not enough to say here.

I'd been hoping to give week-by-week updates of my progress, but it's been slow when it hasn't been at a total standstill. Truthfully in three months, I've lost ten pounds.

I was really frustrated there for awhile. What am I doing wrong? What could I do better? After talking to people via Connect, the WW social media app, people suggested that if I was working out, I should be eating my fit points, and if I wasn't working out, I should try eating my weeklies. I did that for a week, and I finally started to lose again.

It's so funny to think that eating more will help me lose weight, because there are so many that believe the calorie in/calorie out theory. But your body needs food to do its job, and by eating the right food (fruits, vegetables, lean protein), you're giving your body what it needs to do its thing.

Despite the recent losses that finally got me to 10 lbs, something had been plaguing me about my weight loss, and people also suggested that I take my measurements. I've been doing the 30 Minute Circuit at Planet Fitness three times a week, so building muscle will cause the weight to stay where it is, despite losing inches. Which is what's been happening. I lost 6.25 inches in 12 weeks, and I'm most of that is on my hips. I'm pear shaped, so that's a lot. I'm pretty sure I've lost a jean size.

I'm actually pretty impressed with myself. I've gotten up at 4:55 every work morning to get to the gym so I can go home and crash after my long days. It's even gotten to the point where I can just get up, and go, and it's no big thing. I'm also finding myself going to be around 9, which is absolutely bonkers to me (though, just watch. I've probably jinxed myself for tomorrow).

So, that's where I am. I've lost ten pounds, I've lost 6.25 inches, and I'm able to get up early for working out. It's been pretty good. I think come July I might switch out of the Circuit and go back to LiveFit or something on I've got a vacation to Canada coming in September, so I might hold off until afterward. We'll see. Right now, it's a matter of if I get bored, which I've been known to do.

  • Is anyone else on Weight Watchers? Maybe we can find each other on Connect! martinbeks
  • What goals do you have?

Friday, May 6, 2016

On Starting Over

So, sorry I haven't been around lately. I'm working on a manuscript for Camp NaNoWriMo, and even The Modern Jane Austen is getting neglected because of it. But also, I just haven't really had anything to say in regards to healthy eating, working out, or weight loss. Tragedy, really.

I'm terrible at being my own support system. Years of attempting to stick to My Fitness Pal with no success, attempting Jamie Eason's LiveFit Trainer without finishing, Atkins, Clean Eating, Visalus. Lots of things started, but nothing really stuck. I'm another story of another diet that didn't work.

I know. you're supposed to say that it's "Not a diet, but a way of life." Face it, it's a diet. Let's be real here. K? Okay.

Anyway, I was chatting with a friend of mine the other day, who was telling me that she'd recently started Weight Watchers meetings, but the food wasn't very filling. I have a lot of experience in bulking out meals with healthy veggies (Zoodles and Spaghetti Squash are amazing!), so I gave her a few pointers. She told me she lost 3.4 lbs her first week! Yay!

The following day, I was chatting with my mom, and casually mentioned my friend's first week weigh-in success. Mom and I have been on WW several times since I was 18, and had success on my first go-round (Lost 30 lbs!) during high school, and then again after college, at my lowest, emotionally, I was able to lose 44 lbs. It's a good system that has worked well for me. Why I don't keep it up, I have no idea.

Anyway, for funsies, I hopped on their website to see what pricing was like, because last time mom checked, it seemed exorbitant. Also, neither of us was feeling the meetings. We don't get much out of them, and when I was in college, despite showing up every week for 16 weeks, they still didn't know who I was. Womp Womp.

As they were running a special three months at $3.XX/week, plus a free starter kit for WW Online, we both jumped on it, determined to be each other's support, and have been counting SmartPoints for the last few weeks.

So far, I have to say, I love how they've reformatted the points system, where it rewards you for eating real, single-ingredient foods, as opposed to 100 calorie cracker packs that we used to survive on (No one's surviving on those. However, 100 calorie nut packs are good). I like that fruits and veggies (including bananas!) are 0 points now (Can you say 0-point banana soft serve?!).

I haven't been on it a full month yet, but I'm very optimistic. I've done well in the past, and I hope to do well this time, too. So far, I've lost six pounds, and I weigh in again tomorrow!

  • Have you ever done WW?
  • Are you on WW now? How do you like SmartPoints?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

5 Ways to Keep Well During Cold/Flu Season

The weather outside is frightful (especially in the days following a blizzard), but the fire is so delightful (except how drying it is to the skin and sinuses), and since we've no place to go (no. I missed two days of work this week. I've got places to be!), Let it Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow (Except, I'm over winter. Can it be spring yet?)

These last two weeks have been awful. The first week, I had this terrible cold, starting with exhaustion, then fever, then congestion (which, thankfully, my Chiropractor helped clear up), then cough and chest congestion. I've still got a bit of a cough, but thankfully, it's almost cleared up. Now it's just residual yuck that's still there. I think I caught it from someone at work (I have a pretty good idea who, too). A bunch of us had it, and as we passed each other in the hallway, we shared looks and words of sickie encouragement. Like we were all part of a team. Not a team I'd like to be a part of, honestly.

Begs the question, how can you stay well when you're stuck indoors, full of people who have fluey symptoms? It's easier said than done, but it's really just a matter of doing it.

1. Go to bed early

That entire week I was sick, I was in bed, lights out at 9:30 at the latest. I have to get up around 5:30, so that's a good time for me to get snuggled in. I usually read on my backlit phone (With the Twilight app, which takes the screen brightness down to the circadian rhythms of the sun) for about half an hour, but getting into bed early really helps to fall asleep faster.

2. Drink tons of water

And I mean TONS. When I was a freshman in college, I was a theater major, and one thing they warned us about at the start of cold/flu season was to wash your hands a lot and drink tons of water to flush any infection from your system. Since you're losing water due to congestion and fevered sweating anyway, it's good to keep hydrated. Also, Celestial Seasonings tea makes this amazing tea called Sleepytime Sinus Soother. I love all of the Cold Care teas from CS, but this one actually feels like it helps alleviate some symptoms. Plus, it's delicious and relaxing. Perfect for just before bed.

3. Get 5+ Servings of Fruit and veggies per day

Groundbreaking information, right? But making sure you eat fruits and veggies ensures that you get natural vitamins and minerals to help fight off infection. This leads me to...

4. Lay off the Junk Food

Even when you want to be lazy and do absolutely nothing, which is precisely what I want to do (and did) when I'm sick. I think it made it worse, because I wasn't really doing anything to help get rid of it faster, which is why I've still got residual grossness happening in my throat. Eat unprocessed, natural foods, and maybe hit up the spices, which can also help ward off infection. 

I once swallowed whole garlic cloves twice a day for two days to get rid of a cold. It worked. It was gross, but it worked. 

5. Stay Active

If you stay active, you're helping your body sweat out toxins and heating up your body to kill off infection. But, as always, listen to your body. If you physically can't work out, because you know you're sick, don't push it. Rest is key to get over the flu. 

So, that's it. Those are my tips to keep healthy. When I'm not lazy and follow this to a T, I don't get sick. Also, after this last bout of having the flu, I'm a tea fanatic. It won't remove coffee from my number 1 drink, but it's great at night!
  • How do you keep well during cold/flu season?
  • Any natural tips to help get your over a cold quickly?

Monday, January 4, 2016

I Don't Do New Year's Resolutions

I used to do New Year's Resolutions. I never succeeded, so I stopped making them. It's great to have motivation and goals every year because it is the start of something new, but resolutions themselves don't seem to work for me.

What does work for me?

Well, for one, I feel like absolute crap right now, and I know that it can be fixed just by changing my diet, and actually exercising, which gives energy.

Reading more, and watching less TV. When I got back from my cruise, my sister got me into Outlander, the TV Series, but when I finished the show, I started reading the books. I just finished book 3, Voyager, and have moved on to book 4, Drums of Autumn.

I've made it a goal to read 30 books this year. That's nothing compared to people like my mom and sister, who devour books. I'm working on getting better about reading more. I used to love reading. Now it's difficult for me to find books that interest me, which sucks because I'm a writer. Writers need to be readers.

Drinking lots more water goes along with reading if you believe that. When I choose water over soda or even Crystal Light, my mind gets a lot more clear. Clarity is probably the best feeling in the world for me. I hate having a fuzzy head. I enjoy my life much more when my head is completely clear. Even my day job, which gets arduous.

Aim for eight hours of sleep per night. Even when I want to get up at 5 to hit the gym, which would mean I'd need to turn the light off at 9 (which sounds better and better the older I get, honestly). Sometimes, I need help falling asleep. Mostly on Mondays, when I get to sleep in (I've been having wicked insomnia lately), but I also find Sleepytime tea to be helpful.

I guess what I'm saying is that this isn't a resolution, it's just me knowing what I need to do to make myself feel better, and making a conscious effort to do it.

I also have another cruise come September, and I'd really like to be able to climb the rock wall on the ship.

  • Do you do resolutions?
  • Is there anything you'd like to accomplish in 2016?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Jamie Eason's LiveFit Trainer: A Love/Hate Relationship

I really can't stand "Starting Over." Most people look at it as a fresh start, but for me, it seems more like I failed at something, and I need to try it again.

I've never once finished Jamie Eason's LiveFit Trainer. I've started it and gotten six weeks through it but never followed through with it. It's super frustrating, but I must be insane because I just started it again today.

I will say this. While I was at the gym today I had it in my mind to pick a weight that would make it difficult to complete the reps. For dumbbells, I used 12.5, which used to feel like nothing, but I was having trouble the last three reps.

At least I know I'm doing it correctly.

Food prep has also been difficult in the past. I'm hoping that it'll be different this time, but we'll see. Right now, I've got all my lunches packed (Mini meatloaves, protein-packed veggie mix, and broccoli), plus breakfast is egg white oatmeal (amazeballs), and snacks are greek yogurt and probably avocado toast.

I think the important thing is to take it a day at a time. Plan as best as possible, and hope to God that I find encouragement along the way.

Monday, November 2, 2015

No Excuse November

I'm baaaa-aaaack!

Back to blogging, back from vacation, and back on the healthy eating train.

I got back from my vacation on Thursday, and after a week of poor eating (or rather, deliciously decadent eating), but with tons of walking and a 5k on Castaway Cay (Seriously. My phone's pedometer was going nuts every day!). I call that pretty even. Plus, for breakfast two of the five mornings of vacation I had oatmeal.

Successfully completing the Castaway Cay 5k
It was a very active vacation. When we were in Grand Cayman, we snorkeled. I'm not a strong swimmer, so I had to practice breathing through my snorkel in the shallow end before I ventured over to the deep end. It was about ten feet deep, but once I got going, It was pretty incredible. Lisa (on the right in the picture) even got to pet THREE turtles who just swam up to her! But after swimming all morning, I was pretty ravenous at dinner. And that was Pirate night, so food was super delicious.

Pearls of the Caribbean:
Crabmeat, Shrimp, and Salmon mixed in Pearls of Couscous
with a Lemon Grass Infused Vinaigrette

Jerk Chicken Salad, which I'd already started eating before taking a picture.
Jerk Seasoned Chicken Strips over fresh crispy greens
with Citrus Dressing and Plantain Chips

Jack Sparrow's BBQ Marinated Beef Short Ribs
Rubbed Beef Short Ribs with Tamarind-Barbecue Sauce served
with Onion Red Bliss Mashed Potatoes and Plantain Chip

Sweet Temptations
A Trio of Bounty Fruit Cobbler, Chocolate Cake, and Coconut Cream Treasure
Worth it? Absolutely. I'm not one for replacing calories burned with food (unless you really worked hard and need to replenish), but I definitely think I deserved this meal. I loved all of it (Except the Coconut Cream Treasure. It was a little bland).

But now that vacation is over, and it's November, time to go back, remember how tired I'm feeling because of lack of quality, nutrient dense food, and water the last couple weeks, and I know that to get through these next two months of holidays, I need to take care of myself with adequate sleep, food, and exercise.

That's why I'm implementing No Excuse November. I am making a goal to exercise at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes, track all of my food, and get more fruits and veggies in.

I'm even considering giving Diet Bet another go. Just a quick 4 Week Kickstart to get my butt in gear for the holidays. If I succeed, I get my $25 back. I hate losing money.

  • What tips and tricks do you use to jump-start your weight loss?
  • Have you used Diet Bet?
  • What's your favorite Fun Run?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Let's Eat Together Again: Welcome to the Billion Family Dinners Challenge!

Did you know that eating too quickly is bad for your waistline? Eating slowly helps your brain send signals to your stomach to say it's full. You know what helps you slow down? Eating with other people.

I remember when I was a kid, my parents had us sit down to dinner every night, in the kitchen, at the table. My sister and I would set the table, using our favorite cups, giving our parents the bigger forks, and we'd take the little forks (with the flowers on them!). Kiri would have her Care Bears plate, and I'd have my Peter Rabbit. I remember each meal being relatively balanced. I'd have to drink a cup of milk every night (which I was never terribly fond of. I don't remember the last time I drank a glass of milk that wasn't chocolate!), and in order to leave the table, I had to finish it. Usually sitting on my mom's lap (I was under the age of six).

Since we moved to our new tiny house last year, we're not really able to eat at a table anymore. It's usually in front of the TV. Our dining room is small with barely enough room to put our table out to its smallest setting. I fully admit that unless we're at a restaurant, we don't really chat over a meal. I'm hoping we can change that a bit.

My family is full of four great conversationalists. These three people make me laugh harder than anyone I know. I legitimately enjoy talking to them about anything and everything. And the reason Lauren and I are so close is because she's the same. People watch all of us talk like we're on a show or something. Once, a congregant from church told my mom that it seems like we have fun at our house.

We do.

Anyway, I'm participating in The Billion Family Dinners Challenge.

From their email:

Change starts at your table.Research has proven that there are significant individual + societal benefits when we reconnect with one another over food. One dinner at a time, we can change the trajectory of society to one that is more inclusive, healthy and rooted in love. You've already taken the first step towards building a better future for your family + society by downloading DinnerCall to participate in the Billion Family Dinners Challenge. So, what's next? 1. Forward this email to 10 people you care about + encourage them to join the movement by downloading the app.2. Log + share your first family dinner by using the DinnerCall app and hashtag #BillionDinners.The more everyone uses the app + shares their experiences, the more we will inspire the world and positively impact society! Whoever your family, whatever your home, let's eat together again. For more information, visit

I am hoping to start logging my meals and sharing anytime I have dinner with more than one other person. I already sometimes post my food, this is one step further. lol.

Anyway, slowing down to enjoy your food and the company you keep is not only good for your body, it's good for your soul. Getting to know the other people takes you out of your headspace, which is extremely healthy.

Please join in, and let's inspire people to share a meal with friends and family!