Disclaimer: Before I get into the nitty-gritty business of weight loss, I want to nip a few certain comments in the bud. Such comments include:
"Why do you want to lose weight?" "You don't need to lose weight" "You look great, you shouldn't lose any weight"
I anticipate these comments because they crop up - either on here or just if I'm talking to someone - whenever the topic of weight loss is brought up. I'm not sure why, either. Either people don't want me to lose weight. Or they are blind. Or they just haven't seen me in a bathing suit recently. I believe it must be the latter.
Let's get a few things straight:
1. I have a certain body type. I pack on muscle easily, I have wide hips, short legs and robust thighs and ass (I was born to be a Speed Skater, it seems. Except I can't skate). No more how much I diet and exercise, I will never have the "fashionable" reed-thin body type which most people seem to possess. I don't want that type either...I'm quite comfortable with my shape in some ways. Therefore, since people seem to be concerned about "losing my curves" so much, it's pretty impossible for me to do.
Except for the boob area. Sadly, that usually is the first place to go, even with a weight loss of a couple pounds. I wish I could put my ass in my chest, but I can't.
2. I have gained weight. I have a body I am not proud of. I want a body I am proud of.
Is that so bad?
My body at the moment is the product of being lazy, not exercising one bit, eating and drinking like a fish, all for the last 9 months. NINE MONTHS OF SLOTHDOM.
Before I moved in with the in-laws, I was going to Spin Class at least twice a week, running or walking a lot, making my own healthy meals, etc. Since I've moved in, I haven't done anything and my body has responded by packing on at least 10 pounds.
I don't actually know how much I weigh because the scale is misleading (I've lost all muscle weight but gained fat).
But I can tell you that my clothes don't fit. I can't wear ANY of my pants, albeit for the stretchiest of stretch jeans. I put on a bra I hadn't worn for awhile and upon seeing all the back fat spilling out over it, I cried my eyes out. Literally, bawled and then ripped the bra off in anger.
Having a flabby, untoned, pale, pudgy, wobbly body is nothing to be proud of. Being toned and sleek thanks to discipline, exercise and eating right? That is something to be proud of.
3. I have zero confidence. My confidence is so lacking, I can't even be naked in front of my boyfriend anymore. It's becoming a problem.
And I'm sorry that looking good/feeling good equals confidence for me, but it does. I'm happy for those girls (and guys) who can be happy and feel sexy with their body no matter their weight, but I am not and have never been one of those people.
And I know people are going to say "Real confidence comes from within." And I do agree. And normally I have confidence in other places other than my looks, but lately, I feel like I SUCK AT ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING IN LIFE. Writing included.
So setting a goal, losing weight, getting fit and toned, well those are all things that will make me feel good about myself. Not only because I will look the way I think I should look (I'm pretty sure God gave me all this muscle for a reason) but because it's something that I achieved. And another checkmark on the list.
ANYHOW, with that giant but necessary disclaimer aside (sorry if I sound defensive, but I know that you readers don't really see what I see, and that's not a bad thing), here are my thoughts and tips on weight loss/health food/exercise this week:
I started a month without booze on March 1st and decided one way to eradicate all the crap in my system would be to take a week and just eat nothing but clean, whole foods. Not counting calories in anyway, but just loading up on meals that get your digestive system going. Such meals include lean turkey stir-frys with spinach, onions, zucchini, mushrooms, olive oil, kidney or garbanzo beans and a crap load of spinach. I supplemented this clean eating with B-vitamins, Omega 3 fish oils, probiotics and a few drops of Liver Support System added to green tea.
For exercise I did one easy spin class and lots of long walks. Can't just jump into it.
This week, and until I shed the pounds, I am counting calories. This was how I last lost the weight and it is what works best for me. Yes it's a pain to count, but at least I can still pretty much eat anything I want - just have to keep portions in check and make sacrifices. It also makes you conscious of what you put in your mouth. Amazing how often I eat without thinking.
The Fitness and Meal tracker that I love to use is the one on the Self Website, part of the Self Challenge (which I did before, which got me in the magazine last year).
One thing I love to do is snack, and this week I've found some pretty groovy snacks at 200 calories or less:
Baked Apple. Core an apple, stuff with splenda and cinnamon and nuke in the microwave. This treat comes in at around 80 calories. To up the nutrition, add a tsp of chopped almonds to the mix for a 100 calorie desert. The best part of this is that Apples, Cinnamon AND Almonds have been shown to aid in weight loss.
Apples - An apple a day can keep weight gain at bay, finds a study from Penn State University at University Park. People who chomped an apple before a pasta meal ate fewer calories overall than those who had a different snack. Credit their high-fiber status—4 to 5 g each—which fills you up. Plus, the antioxidants in apples may help prevent metabolic syndrome, a condition marked by excess belly fat or an "apple shape."
Almonds - These filling, snackable bites can help keep your blood sugar steady. A study from the University of Toronto found that people who ate almonds with white bread didn't experience the same blood sugar surges as those who ate just the slice. And the higher blood sugar levels rise, the lower they fall; that dip leads to hunger, causing people to overeat. Plus, blood sugar changes cause the body to make insulin, which can increase abdominal fat.
Cinnamon - Everything is nice about this spice. Just 1/2 teaspoon each day can help control your blood sugar and prevent the postmeal insulin spike that can trigger your body to store fat rather than burn it.
Going back to that ditty on almonds (above), I know how hard it is to snack on these nutritious wonders and still keep calories in mind. After all, just a few pack a pretty caloric punch. Luckily, by choosing BOLD flavours like the titled Blue Diamond range, you can snack slower and get more out of each almond. So far I've tried the Wasabi and Soy Sauce nuts and they are phenomenal. There's about 100 calories in 15 almonds, but with flavours this strong, it's easy to take your time. The only downside is that it's so tasty, you can't help but want more later.
Another fabulous snack choice is Yoplait Light Yogurts. Unfortunately these have never been available in Canada, so I make the occasional drive across the border to get them (helps that at the moment the border is only a 4 minute drive from my house). The flavours of this rich, creamy yogurt are fantastic, such as White Chocolate Raspberry and Boston Cream Pie, and all come in at 110 calories or less.
While I do believe the Milk Council does more harm than good and I equate most of their campaigns with evil propaganda, yogurt seems to outweigh the negatives. For one, I am lactose intolerant but yogurt has little affect on it. The probiotics produced in yogurt make an enzyme that breaks down lactose.
Yogurt - Dietitians often refer to plain yogurt as the perfect food, and for good reason: With its trifecta of carbs, protein and fat, it can stave off hunger by keeping blood sugar levels steady. In a study from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, those on a low-calorie diet that included yogurt lost 61 percent more fat overall and 81 percent more belly fat than those on a similar plan but without yogurt.
Finally, I've been treating myself at the end of the day with Skinny Cow Skinny Dippers ice cream bars in Caramel and Vanilla. At just 80 calories a pop, it feels way more indulgent than it should (and yes, since I am lactose intolerant, I shouldn't be sucking back on these babies, but so far it hasn't upset my stomach).
Well that's it for this week in the food section, next week I'll break down some of my favourite new toning exercises (at the moment I am alternating Spin Class with running for cardio) as well as some tried and tested healthy dinner and lunch recipes that come under 500 calories! I'll be posting pics of those masterpieces/disasters too :)
If you like the new format and schedule, please let me know in the comments below.
And make sure to check back here tomorrow for Fashion Friday - there will be a blog post from Kira, plus pictures of shoes I just bought. That's right! I actually bought shoes...first time in 4 months!