Find Something That Works: Part 1

I’ve embarked on a diet journey!  I finally got fed up and sick of not fitting into any of my jeans.  I’ve been trying to work on this off and on for a few months, but lately I’ve really started buckling down and getting my crap together.

The only problem with writing this blog….is that I don’t have any measurements or great comparison pics so we can track my progress!  Ughs I didn’t plan this out very well I guess.  Alright, so if we go back this summer to when I first started noticing my jeans didn’t fit, I posted these two pictures.  I couldn’t even take a picture in the jeans on the right when I started this a couple months ago because they wouldn’t even button!  I may or may not have also blown the butt out of them doing the “I can make these fit better if I do couple deep squats” maneuver that we all do when stuff starts to feel a little snug.  The blow out happened over the summer and I just sort of resigned myself to my one pair of “fat jeans” and leggings for the Fall.  Sometimes though, you just want to wear jeans.  Wanting to be able to wander into your closet and find clothes that fit you isn’t a big, out of the ordinary expectation.  So, I made a change.  I stitched up my blown out jeans at the beginning of the year and promised myself that they would fit….and be comfortable….again!

The biggest problem I have with dieting and researching dieting is that every website, instagram guru, and healthcare provider will tell you a different plan, method, or system that they claim is the absolute best for loosing weight or gaining muscle.  It all seems like a bit of a crap shoot, so I can’t say that I was necessarily 100% certain that my new plan was going to work.  But, it’s been a bit over a month or so that I’ve been really buckled down, and I can definitely tell a difference!  Fitting back into all my jeans is a big deal!  They all button, but some are still a bit snugger than I’d like.  I do feel like I’m really starting to figure out what works for my body so that’s a win I will take any day.

At it’s core…..weight gain or loss comes down to a simple calories in versus calories out equation.  It’s a teeter totter and it’s not hard to figure out that to loose weight you need to burn more calories than you consume.  In an effort to diet, but make it more of a permenant lifestyle change, I discovered intermittent fasting.

When you get right down to it, everyone fasts.  Unless you sleep walk yourself to the fridge and eat, most people fast for at least 6-8 hours a day depending on how much you sleep.  Intermittent fasting just extends that fasting time out a bit longer.  There are a whole host of benefits to extended fasting including:

  • Regulation of hormone and insulin levels
  • Reduction of inflammation in the body
  • Cellular regeneration
  • Weight Loss

Longer fasting periods help you body and metabolism reset and function better.  Weight loss can be attributed to a restriction of calories…..less time in the day to eat means you’ll probably eat less…..AND the changes in your bodies insulin and hormone levels can help boost metabolic rate and make the processing of stored fat for fuel more accessible.  Yes you read that right…..intermittent fasting can help you loose weight by two different methods.

The double whammy of diets!!!

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I will say…..the first week sorta sucked butt and working out was rough.  I can’t say that I was always starving…..I really wasn’t….it just felt like I had no energy at all.  Changes and adjustments of this kind take the body a bit to get used to, and everything felt a bit sluggish for a couple days.  It’s easier for your body to use carbohydrates as energy, but carbohydrates aren’t what was being stored in my muffin top that was causing my jeans to squeeze the life out of me when I buttoned them!  Gotta loose those fat cells if my jeans were gonna fit again!  Speaking of loosing things….it’s pretty much also impossible to keep your boobs during the weight loss process.  Fat cells are fat cells and the body doesn’t care where they come from.

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Moment of silence for all the boobs lost on the journey to less muffin top……

Now that I’m a few weeks in, I will say that fasting is the easiest way to diet!  It’s basically just a routine, but it’s one that works well with my schedule.  I prefer to eat at night, so I fast my “extra” in the mornings.  I do technically “cheat” though.  I’m not one of those girls who can survive without coffee in the mornings, so I do still have my coffee every morning.  The second cheat is that I add my collagen peptides to my coffee.  I know that sounds like a ton of cheating first thing in the morning, but there’s a method to the naughtiness!!  I generally workout over my lunch break, and working out on a totally fasted system is an easy way to consume some muscle tissue.  So, the peptides just put a little fuel into my system, help boost my overall protein consumption for the day, and should help convince my metabolism to leave my muscles alone!  Also, it’s still not an easy to burn carbohydrate, so my body is still being forced to use harder to convert fat cell for fuel.

The plus of fasting during the morning is that it allows me to still eat a good sized lunch and a bigger dinner when I get home.  But….if that isn’t your thing, just change it up!  If you are a die hard breakfast eater, intermittent fasting can still work for you, you’ll just stop eating earlier in the evening.  Intermittent fasting is designed to be super flexible and adaptable, which is what makes it more of a lifestyle than a diet.  It doesn’t require you to cut out any foods or food groups which is what makes it so easy!  I have combined my intermittent fasting with a more ketogenic style of eating, but it isn’t at all required so don’t feel like you need to be doing anything fancy!  Maybe we will cover that next week, I don’t want to bore you with too much diet info!?!  I will say that even on reduced calories, I don’t feel like I’m dieting.  It isn’t hard and I don’t feel restricted at all.  Partly it’s because I still get a big dinner at home with The Engineer after work every night, which is important to me.  It feels the most normal of any diet I’ve ever tried, and I can really see myself sticking to this style of eating for the long haul.

One thing that has helped make the fasting easier is an app called Zero.  Basically it’s a gloried timer, but it does come with some extra science and information about the benefits of fasting if that’s something you’re interesting in.  I do a 16 hour fast everyday.  I start my timer every night around 8…..again it’s flexible so if I’m done eating at 7:30 one night and end up having a late dinner at 9:20 the next night that’s totally ok!  Did I break my 8pm rule Friday night to drink at a concert with The Engineer?  Yup!  Did it totally derail my progress and ruin my fasting?  Nope, not even a little bit.  Just started my timer at 11:21 pm after I finished my PBR!

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Just start the app when you’re done and go from there.  The goal of 8pm just works well for me and my schedule because then I’m done fasting when I get back to work after my workout at lunch time.  Like I said, it’s basically a glorified timer, but it’s just one less thing to think about during your day, so I like it.  It also tracks your total fasting time and calculates an average daily fasting time.  I guess it’s a bit fun to know that since February 8th I’ve fasted for a total of 112 hours and 7 minutes!  It sounds impressive and hard, but I promise once you get through the first week hump it’s a super easy routine!!

 

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Trying Some New Things

You may remember a few weeks ago when I was ranting about feeling like a chubby panda.  Well, I decided to take a positive step towards at least feeling like I’m getting myself back on track, and I bought some protein powder.  Technically speaking, I bought some collagen peptides, but at it’s core, collagen is a protein.  It’s a protein source many people ignore now, because we don’t need to cook and eat every part of an animal anymore.  Modern society has allowed us to pick and choose what we want to eat, but modern choices aren’t necessary what our bodies need or want to function well.  It makes me feel “fitter”, but that might only be because I know lots of cross fitters and fitness bloggers use this particular brand.

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I’m not really living a strict Whole 30 life, I still like a sprinkling of cheese on a taco or an occasional drink, however overall I’m being much more mindful of what I’m putting into my system and the effects my diet has on the way I feel and look.  I do think it’s made a big impact, and if chugging some greens and adding collagen into my coffee helps me be more mindful of everything else, then so be it.

Throwing a scoop of the collagen into my morning coffee, whether it’s hot or cold, with a splash of unsweetened coconut milk has become my daily breakfast.  I might supplement it with some fruit, but I find that the added protein is enough most days.  It’s flavorless, so I’ve tried to convince The Engineer to add some to his Moscow mules….he’s not having it.  I’ve also blended it into smoothies with flax seed, greek yogurt, and whatever frozen fruit has been laying around.  Really, I think you could add it to anything.  I did learn that even though it dissolves in cold solutions, it needs to be stirred quickly.  One morning I threw a scoop with some ice into my travel mug and had the Ninja “Brew Over Ice”.  Since I wasn’t there to stir it, it did start to form a sort of jello-y blob that took quite a bit of vicious stirring to break up.

The Beauty Greens have taken some getting used to, but now I find that I don’t mind them really at all.  First things first, don’t let the “Coconut Vanilla” flavor make you think they are going to taste like anything….because they don’t.  They honestly taste like a bunch of green veggies that have been steamed and pureed with no spices.  Just….greenness….  I don’t recommend smelling them, they smell a bit like pond water.  I promise that they taste much better than they smell, but the smell leaves serious things to be desired.  I usually drink these with lunch every other day.  It’s just become part of my routine.  I’m not sure that they are doing much for me, but it’s not like more veggies and vitamins ever hurt anyone.

I’ve only taken the vitamin pills a few times.  I wasn’t really after more vitamin pills, but it was cheaper to get the bundle pack.  Plus, it’s not like having vitamins around hurts anyone.  I did take them one morning, but like most vitamins do, they sort of made my tummy upset.  I think if I took them at night I would be fine, but I’d also have to remember to take them.

Like I said, I’m not sure that any of these products are helping me slim down.  Granted, protein has been shown to be an important part of weight loss, so that might be helping some.  Mostly, just having a set routine and knowing I’m taking these products has kept me more responsible and thoughtful about what I eat the rest of the day.  Starting off my day with collagen coffee seems silly if I’m just gonna pound down ice cream, snacks, and a burger later in the day.  Not that I always say no to these things, but I’m just getting myself back to a level that feels good and sustainable to me.  Bodies are a constant work in progress, so I’m not sure that the work is ever really done, but I definitely feel like I’m headed down the right path again.

In more fun, and less “diet-y” news….I got my nails done last weekend!  Technically, I got them done for a wedding…..The Engineer wanted to send me for some fancy pampering while he was doing Best Man things for a wedding.  I’ve been having some trouble with getting my regular gel polish nails to stay bonded correctly.  It has it’s pros and cons…..pros being I no longer have to spend anytime soaking off my polish, it just peels right off.  Cons….when I want/need it to stay looking nice it almost never does.  To try and remedy this, I tried a new acrylic/gel system called Slickpour.  You’ve maybe seen the videos of people dipping their nails into colored powders.  It’s the same concept, only at my local salon, they pour the powder onto the nails.

I tried to find a good picture or gif of the process, but I couldn’t really.  I didn’t want to just post the stock videos of the process as that seemed just sorta boring.  Basically it’s a laying process of colored powered and activator polishes.  I did a very light blue, so it needed three coats to cover well, although that apparently isn’t the norm.  My salon topped the whole process with the gel polish top coat, but that isn’t a requirement, it’s just how they do it there.  They are supposed to last 3-4 weeks and wear more like an acrylic set of nails than just a polish.  Once you’re done with them, you’re supposed to just be able to file off the shine and then wrap and soak them off just like regular gel polish.  So far so good I guess, although I did have the corner of one of my longer nails crack yesterday.  However, I was able to file everything down and even it all out and there doesn’t seem to be any lasting bad effects.  They aren’t lifting, and my nails feel much stronger than they normally would at their current length.  I’m only a week in, but so far I like them.  I like them enough that I might even consider buying the products so I can do them at home.  I’m not much for paying people to do what I learn and do myself.  I’ll keep you posted though I’m sure!

Learning to Love Yourself

You wouldn’t know it by the weather this week, but summer time and bikini season is looming.  Usually, I’m always amped to throw on a swimmy suit and hit the beach or the pool, but this year, something is different…..

I think I’ve given myself unrealistic body goals.

I believe the root cause is in the fact that I sort of inadvertently lost so much weight last summer.  While struggling with and trying to get my anxiety and panic attacks under control last summer, I basically quit eating.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be eating, I’m not one of those girls who doesn’t eat…..food is always my jam!  I was just way too worked up all the time.  Eating just a couple bites of anything would just make me feel sick and nauseous.  I remember distinctly sitting at work trying to eat a cliff bar…..it took me 4 days to get through the whole bar!!  During this period I was also working out a ton, because ya know….that’s what they tell you to do when you’re stressed.  Run a bunch, lift all the heavy things and put them down, and get those happy endorphin feelings flowing!  I’m not sure how exactly I managed to function, but apparently anxiety gives you super powers….just not the sort of super powers anyone really wants or should have.

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It turns out that loosing 15 pounds in two weeks has a dramatic effect on your muffin top.  It also has a dramatic effect on your psyche…

I know that I only achieved my slimmed down self because I was unhappy, and that unhappiness and stress changed my body in ways that I normally cannot and would not do.  The worst part though….is that I felt so accomplished.  Maybe it was just the sense of control I had over things.  Nothing felt good, but I had finally achieved the look I had been craving since high school but never had.  It was the one little thing that seemed to be going in my favor.  I finally had reached a point where I didn’t have to squat stretch out my freshly washed jeans, I could throw on anything in my closet and there wasn’t a lump or bump to be found, and I think it just gave me this inflated and superficial sense of self-esteem…..which when you talk about it sounds super awful and unhealthy……BECAUSE IT WAS!

My body is obviously not meant to existing in a muffin top free state….I’m honestly not sure that even the strictest diet would have kept me looking that way.  Once I started feeling better the muffin top slowly but surely started making a come back.  I’m naturally curvy and just tend to carry and collect all my weight generally on my love handles and around my belly button…..a spot I’ve nicknamed “The Doughnut of Awful”.  I’m right around 5’10” so I’m overall very proportional and quite a healthy weight for my height.  I’ve never been told that I need to loose weight by any of my doctors, and even in high school at my most active, swimming and dancing for several hours everyday, I still was no where near as slim and lean as I was last summer.

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…..this photo stresses me out…..as much as I hate to say that and I want to rise above it all…..it still does.  I know that it’s only 12ish pounds and some summer time tan, but I’m not sure that this picture makes me feel as happy as the other one, which is my continual struggle.  There’s some muffin top and tummy squish, and my ribs and hips aren’t poking out of my body.  Idk….it’s not bad, I can rationalize that, but at the same time I don’t exactly feel good about it either.

Lately, I’ve been trying very hard to convince myself that a slightly squishy Miss Happenings is a happier Miss Happenings.

  • I try and remind myself that I’m in a happy relationship, and if I eat out a bit more or drink a bit more now than before it’s because I’m with someone who wants to spend time doing things and having fun with me.
  • I should be happy that my brain finally realizes that skipping a workout to have lunch with friends IS NOT AN ANNOYANCE OR AN INCONVENIENCE!!!  That’s just how my anxiety made me feel about it all the time.  It’s a rare chance to spend quality time with some of my favorite people.
  • I should realize that I rarely hang out in bikinis alone, so even if I’m looking slightly squishy in a bikini I’m still surrounded by people who love and care about me regardless of my muffin top.

I do honestly remind myself of all these things and more when I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see.  I suppose that I probably will always occasionally struggle with my weight and how I look.  I always have from time to time, so it doesn’t make sense that it would mystically go away anytime soon.  The most annoying and hardest part is the small little diva voice in the back of my mind that sometimes quietly whispers that if I just stopped eating for a couple weeks I would slim right down again.  Ugh….go away crazy diva voice…..I have burgers and shit to eat, new beers to try, and things to do that have nothing to do with you!

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Going forward, the best I can do is continue to work out, maybe reign in the diet and kick up the cardio a bit, and just generally live the best and healthiest life I can live!  You only get one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.  I refuse to believe that anyone looks back on their life and regrets the fancy desserts they ate, or the summer time patio drinks with friends they drank.  That simply can’t be reality…..and if it is, I don’t want it to be my reality.  If I had continued on the stressed out path I was on, I know looking back that I would have regrets.  I already regret the things I did or didn’t do because my anxiety controlled my life.

I lived that life once, and I refuse to go back there.

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This summer, in the same jeans as last summer.  A little bit squishier than last summer, but I’m happy!  Ignore the sass face, The Engineer was mocking my photo skills….but he’s just jealous of my shooting skillz!

Happy is healthy….and that’s all there is to it!