Sweet Silver Lining

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Why Size Does Matter (Body Fat and Goal Jeans) January 23, 2013

Filed under: fitness,hEaLtH — dragonfly180 @ 9:34 pm
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I am having a really difficult time putting into a few words for a blog post what I’ve learned over the past few years about losing weight, gaining muscle, and decreasing body fat. It can be a bit confusing to explain, so I know for the beginner, it is probably confusing to read. I’ll do my best! It’s a bit long, but please bare with me and hear me out til the end :o)

I was reading some posts today from the Facebook Fit Bitch page (kinda in your face but has lots of knowledge and still responds to posts even though she has lots of followers), and she explained that you can’t have fat loss and build muscle at the same time, which is why spot reduction is a big myth. I had always assumed you could do both, that it was a simultaneous thing. I knew spot reduction was bull, but I thought you could lose a few lbs while also gaining muscle. What finally clicked in my head is how Meg explained that there are two ways to get a really toned, beautiful body. You can lose weight/fat (cut), then add muscle (bulk) – and incidentally add back some fat, too, and then you have to lose weight/fat (cut) again OR you can bulk up by adding muscle and some fat and then cut by removing the fat to reveal the muscles, which makes so much more sense! Why? You’re cutting out a whole step (and months of work) AND when you build muscle first, those muscles burn calories at a faster rate, which makes the cut phase so much easier/faster. This is why so many of those Beachbody exercise programs work. Take P90X or Chalene Extreme, for instance. Both have you bulk up for the first month before doing any kind of cut/lean phase. I never really got why they wanted you to lift so heavy for the first phase until now.

Let me go back to her insistence that you can’t lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. You have to create a deficit in calories (and/or a deficit by doing lots of cardio) to lose fat and you have to create a surplus in calories (while strength training) to gain muscle. So the quickest way to get a fit physique would be to first create a surplus in calories while doing a strength training program. You may actually see a bit of an increase on the scale initially. Don’t FREAK OUT! Then, you work on adding in more cardio and decreasing calories to cut the fat so that the muscles you’ve created finally show.

Why does any of this matter for you? Here is why. Size matters! If you could be 135 lbs in a size 10 or 135 lbs in a size 4, which would you choose? You can technically have either, but it all depends on your body fat %. Look at the following picture, which I previously posted to my Facebook page. This girl shows how adding muscle and losing body fat (but she didn’t do it at the same time) makes her body look much different at the same weight. Had she just started out at that weight, not done much of any strength training, and decreased calories/increased cardio, she would have lost some more lbs, but she would NOT look this good., even if she was 8-10 lbs lighter! She’d just look like a scrawnier version of her old self, still very soft and probably still not fitting in those size 4‘s she wants to get into. (Photo courtesy of Jamie Eason’s Facebook fan page.) Image

Maybe you’re ok with that. Perhaps you have a lot of weight to lose as opposed to 10-20 lbs and would rather lose weight first and then work on adding muscle in before cutting around your goal weight. Fine, that’s up to you. Even if you are ok with just losing weight initially (body fat and muscle, too), you should still check you body fat %. Sometimes when the scale isn’t really changing much, your measurements can still be changing, which can be a powerful motivator to continue with your plan when your resolve is flagging. So what if the scale didn’t move this week if your waist measurement went down a half inch! :o) Checking your measurements regularly (I did it about every 2 weeks) will help you see that you are still making progress, even when you feel like you aren’t. Besides, if you are significantly overweight, even just losing a lot of lbs will make your body fat decrease, for a while anyway.

Here is how you check your body fat %. Grab one of those soft tape measure strips at the store. Go to the Body Fat Calculator. Click on the Female Body Calculator tab (or stay with male, guys!). Enter your age and weight. Click on the Tape tab. (Although the caliper tests are even more accurate than the tape measurement, I found that the tape test was easier for me and for beginners, too.) Enter your height in inches and take measurements of your neck, waist, and hips. Just for fun, I’d also take measurements of my bicep (about two inches below my armpit) and my thigh to track changes. Here’s an important point, though. Wherever you measure, you have to measure there every single time, or your numbers will be off. For instance, I may measure my waist an inch below my belly button this week, but if I measure my waist two inches below my belly button, I’d get two different measurements, even with no actual change. Ok I digress. Back to the calculating! Write these measurements down on a piece of paper with the date. Now, once you’ve plugged those numbers in, the calculator will give you a body fat %. This is the % of fat that is in your body as opposed to the rest of your “weight,” which consists of muscles, organs, fluid, bones, etc. There’s even a nifty little chart that tells you where you fall according to your body fat %.

If you are making good food choices and working out any (whether it’s only cardio or if you’re also adding in strength training), I commend you for working on your health. Any exercise will produce positive results, and you should feel really good about the changes you are making now for your health. Even if you aren’t focusing on losing body fat right now, adding in some strength training still gives you an added boost in calorie burn. If you decide not to check your body fat %, that’s ok, too. Maybe just try taking those measurements and writing them down somewhere a couple of times a month. Just remember that the scale is NOT the whole story and that you shouldn’t let it discourage you from trying to reach your goals.

 

Clean Eating January 19, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — dragonfly180 @ 7:48 am
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Someone asked on my Facebook page Love the Fit Life, “What types of foods should I focus on for losing weight? Is it only about calories?” You *can* eat 1400 calories worth of Milky Way bars and Cheetos each day and possibly lose a lb or two, but your body would be lacking serious nutrients, and your body would most certainly hold onto the trans fat you’re packing in. So yes, the food does matter.

There are umpteen dozen “diets” out there – low carb, the zone, raw food, south beach, paleo, weight watchers, medfast, Sonoma, perricone, 5 factor, atkins, dukan, glycemic index, rice diet, heck there’s even a cookie diet! Those diets may in the short term produce results, but they won’t keep you healthy for the long term. And of course, we know about all the weight loss pills and drinks and what happens when people finally get off them and still don’t know how to eat! What I’ve seen over the past several years that is the ONLY sustainable “diet” (one that is healthy to live with long-term and provides the necessary nutrients to do so!) that consistently produces results is what is called clean eating. Tosca Reno has a few books on the subject, and there is a ton of info out there. Just search clean eating and read some of the info. It basically emphasizes what most of us already know- eat whole, unprocessed foods (whole grains, lean meats, fruits, veggies), 1200-1800 calories per day depending on what your body needs, 4-6 smaller meals, and get regular exercise. The fewer the ingredients on the package, the better! The goal is no more than 3-6 ingredients on the ingredients list. If you can’t pronounce what’s in it, you probably don’t need it. Nix the sugar and saturated and trans fats as much as possible. Here is a great resource of different articles about eating clean: Clean Eating 101

While eating clean can be somewhat restrictive (Waaaah, I don‘t wanna do it! No fun!), it’s just sound nutritional advice. I am all about the sugar, but let’s be honest – I KNOW it’s bad for me. Will I never eat it again? Ha! We are all human and want some processed food occasionally. Even Tosca Reno promotes having a “cheat meal” each week, which I would call dessert! :o) Do I need dessert daily? Absolutely not.

Even if you don’t go wholeheartedly into the eat clean lifestyle, your weight loss efforts will definitely benefit from replacing even *some * of the processed foods you eat with clean eating. Just gotta make Hamburger Helper in all its trans fatty goodness for supper? Ok, have a small portion and add bigger portions of carrots and green beans to your plate. No one said eating healthier had to be the “all or nothing” approach, especially if your goals don’t include being a fitness model in the near future.

What’s that? You don’t like your veggies? Stop being a 5 year old, try them out for a while, and I promise that they will begin to taste better once you get away from all the over-processed, chemically treated junk you’ve been eating. Or change nothing and whine at the mirror every time a shelf of fat hangs over your jeans, your upper arms begin to look more like thighs, and your jowls begin to sag. Sit on the couch feeling sluggish and depressed Cry and lament every picture taken of you and posted and tagged on Facebook. Or better yet, just hide from every camera for the next decade until you have finally had enough of “living it up” on McDonald’s and Nabisco until there’s a whole chunk of your life missing from your kids’ photo albums.

Well, I wish you wouldn’t, but what can I do but put the info out there! I know I‘m being kind of abrasive here, but wake up and take control of things, you awesome person, you! Nobody can change you but you alone. Keep the words of the old Nina Simone song in mind, “It’s a new dawn, it’s new day, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feelin’ good.”

 

2013 is here! January 1, 2013


A new year has begun. Many are so afraid to set resolutions for fear of failure. Not me. I love setting goals for myself, even if I don’t reach all of them. Here is what I’m looking forward to this year:

  • I’m going to be a mommy! This is probably the biggest and most important thing that will happen to me in 2013. This opens a huge door for all kinds of resolutions, but for the most part, I want to just learn how to take care of my baby and juggle the responsibilities of family and work. Since I’ll be having Rachel at the end of the Spring semester, I’ll get all summer to spend time with her and get adjusted to being a mommy before going back to work in the fall. I know the time will fly by, but I hope to make the most of it. Which leads me to my next resolution…
  • I want to focus on spending my time wisely. I am the Queen of Time Wasting. Brother Don gave a sermon about time wasting just this Sunday, and it really hit home. Satan steals our time with needless anxiety by overloading us with unnecessary commitments, possessions, work, and information. The other major source of anxiety (and time-wasting) is regret. We have only 8,760 hours in a year. Why spend it dwelling on what has already happened and can’t be changed? Instead of wasting time on the above robbers of time, I want to focus my attention to the following: drawing closer to God, spending time with family and friends, doing all I can to raise Rachel as well as I am able, taking care of my health (exercise and nutrition).

Those are the things I’m setting my sights on in 2013. My spiritual life is very important to me, so I plan on devoting more time to Bible study and prayer. I plan on working through the entire Bible in a year (one of those plans for weekly study), but even if I am unable to always keep up, reading even half or a third on my own will be better than just opening it only when I’m in church.

I feel like I am constantly struggling to give more attention to my family and friends, who honestly deserve it. I know I can do better in this area. I have resolved to work on this issue in the past, and I believe that it has gotten much better recently. There is always room for improvement, though!

I am already focusing a lot of attention on how I want to raise Rachel. I am reading some books that I think might be helpful. I am getting my registry in order, buying some clothes and other items along the way, and learning about cloth diapering. I’m taking birthing and breastfeeding classes this month to prepare for her arrival.

As I always strive to do, I plan on focusing on my health. During the time I was trying to conceive, I let a lot of this go to the wayside. I stopped teaching Zumba when I had my first miscarriage in March. Zumba had been my most favorite type of working out, and suddenly, it was gone. So was that 2-3 hours of calorie burn every week that I was suddenly missing. I wasn’t eating all that well and rarely exercised. Running wasn’t giving me the solace it had in the past. Much of it was from apathy/light depression. Some of it was from fear that exercise might cause another miscarriage. So I became complacent about my health. Now, I am struggling because I am gaining a good bit of weight with this pregnancy. I know that I can make more time for weekly exercise (I have become very lazy about exercise and have really lost the habit), and my nutrition has been atrocious. I’d really gotten into the mindset of ‘I’m pregnant, so I can eat whatever I want!’ I know better, so I’m going to start eating better. Will you never see me with a big scoop of Coldstone? No, I won’t go that far. :) But I can doing better on a day-to-day basis. Part of making health a priority is to maintain focus, which I do through my Facebook page, which is a source of self-motivation, and Dailymile.com, where I keep up with my yearly walking and running miles.

It’s always a little overwhelming looking at what you want to accomplish in a year, but we are amazing in our ability to adapt to new things. Make your 2013 a wonderful year.

 

Healthy Meals September 28, 2011

Filed under: food,hEaLtH — dragonfly180 @ 7:41 pm
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Do you ever go into the kitchen after a long day at work, want something delicious and nutritious to eat, but instead grab something you know is not good for you more out of frustration that you just don’t know what to cook than anything else?  Or maybe you are in such a hurry in the morning that you don’t think you have anything quick to eat, so you just leave for work hungry? This is when a list comes in handy. If you have something to look at to give you ideas, even if you’re tired or short on time, you’ll probably still find something that you can fix fairly quickly that is nutritious. These are some of my favorite foods. I obviously left off some of the things I cook occasionally that aren’t necessarily that good for you (chicken taco soup, lasagna, deep dish homemade pizza, really really sweet desserts!). Some of these are my own recipes, so just ask for it if you are curious about trying something new. I’ll be happy to share a recipe with ya!  Try to come up with your own list to go to when you’re starving and staring at your kitchen cabinets or fridge shelves.

Breakfasts:
2 eggo waffles with peanut butter
2 cinnamon raisin bread slices and 1 egg
2 eggs and 1 slice toast with sugar free jam
1 cup cereal and 1 cup almond milk
Oatmeal, old-fashioned oats (sometimes with a banana mashed into it or blueberries or PB2)
Hot cinnamon rice cereal
Mini bagel (plain) with sugar free jam and/or peanut butter
Mini bagel (everything) with laughing cow cheese triangle and piece of fruit
Shakeology with almond milk
Grits with stick Colby jack cheese
Cinnamon and cloves french toast with honey

Snacks:
1 tbsp. peanut butter on apple or banana
100 cal pack buttered popcorn
Stick Colby jack cheese
Protein bar
Wheat thins and laughing cow cheese triangle
Fruit: grapes, navel orange, pear, strawberries, banana, apple, kiwi, plum, plantain, watermelon, cantaloupe
Canned fruit and cottage cheese
Nuts/trail mix (mixed nuts, coconut flakes, dried cranberries or raisins, and mini chocolate chips)
Dry cereal (Cheerios, Oatmeal Squares, Chex)
Crunchy granola bars (Dark Chocolate, Pecan, or Peanut Butter)
Tortilla chips and salsa

Lunches:
Shakeology with almond milk and piece of fruit
Grilled chicken salad and piece of fruit
Frozen dinner (220-350 calories) and yogurt
Ham and provolone sandwich and sugar free pudding cup or wheat thin crackers
Ham, pickle and mustard sandwich and cheese stick or sun chips
Black bean veggie burger, salad greens, salsa, green onion, and 100 cal pack guacamole and tortilla chips
Small portions of leftover dinner below

Suppers:
Turkey meatloaf and boiled okra
Spaghetti and green beans or salad
Tuna melt
Tuna salad on lettuce
Soup (sausage and bean or turkey and veggie)
Turkey chili with toast
Grilled cheese (reduced fat provolone usually) and pickles
Smoked cabbage and corn
Crab pasta
Chicken Salad with fruit and pecans on lettuce/wrap/wheat bread
Hot ham and cheese pressed sandwich with pickles
Egg sandwich
Red beans and rice
Pasta with Crockpot chicken spaghetti sauce
Pot Roast and veggies (usually zucchini, carrots, celery, onion – if I use potatoes, I use them sparingly)
Chicken stir fry

***Eat a small salad before supper to lower serving sizes and calories

Desserts:
Chocolate supreme protein shake (after weight training)
Peanut butter and mini marshmallows on wheat thins
Peanut butter on graham crackers
½ cup chocolate frozen yogurt with 1 tbsp. peanut butter
Sugar free jello
Sugar free pudding with sugar free cool whip
Canned fruit and fat free cottage cheese
Fruit salad with honey
Baked pineapple with brown sugar and nuts
Two slices cinnamon raisin bread
Pear halves with small amount of cholesterol-free mayo and shredded cheddar
Slice of bread with 1 tbsp Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter

 

Shakeology Week 1 September 9, 2011

Filed under: food,hEaLtH — dragonfly180 @ 7:04 pm
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Shakeology Day 5

Well, apparently the 7:30 cup of coffee last night was not a good idea. It was my fault that I didn’t lay down until 11, but I tossed and turned until sometime after 11:30. I had chocolate Shakeology this morning. I was really tired throughout the day. I even came home and took a 30 minute nap before going to teach my night class. I never felt really hungry past lunch and actually find myself having a hard time finishing whatever I’ve made. For instance, I made a pb&j sandwich before I headed out to my class, and half way through eating it, I just didn’t want the rest. And I love pb&j!

Shakeology Day 6

Still didn’t get into bed until 11. Arghhh! Maybe it’s not possible for me. Anyway, after hitting snooze twice, I got up and weighed myself this morning just to see, and the scale says I’ve lost 3 lbs. That’s definitely a positive, because it hasn’t been budging at all in the past month (well, other than a strange loss of 8 lbs that came right back in a few days – i’m tellin’ ya, scales are wacko!), and I know it’s due to my nutrition (or lack there of lately!), because I get in quite a bit of exercise each week. Truthfully, I don’t think scales are very reliable at times, so we’ll see if any change in measurements takes place over the next few weeks, as well, and I’ll keep tracking my weight to see if the 3 lb loss was a fluke or is actually sticking. I could tell a definite change in appetite today. My Greenberry Shakeology filled me up (and it helped that I added another half cup of unsweetened milk to the 1 ½ cups I was using, and it only added 17 calories!), and although I ate all of my salad at lunch, I wasn’t wolfing it down like I usually am. I also wasn’t hungry at break time (1:45), so I saved those calories for a snack when I got home.

Now that I’m coming up on the end of my first week of my Shakeology experiment, I am going to start blogging about it only weekly to update everyone on how it’s going. I am feeling a little more positive about using it. Actually seeing benefits a week in really helps, but I also know that it’s just a wonderfully nutritious drink. Sure beats some of the food I would have been digesting instead.

If you want to give Shakeology a try yourself, send me your contact info/questions by clicking on the ‘Team Beachbody’ tab above right, and I’ll send you my Shakeology website link or answer any questions you have. WordPress won’t allow me to put any business-type links on my blog.

 

Workout Nutrition September 7, 2011

Filed under: fitness,food,hEaLtH — dragonfly180 @ 8:18 pm
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I really love this graphic I stumbled upon about good nutrition for a person’s cardio day versus ST day (or workout if you do both on the same day). I am a visual learner, so this was a great find for me.  This is from The Greatist.

More Health and Fitness News & Tips at Greatist.

 

Shakeology Experiment Mid-Week 1 Update

Filed under: food,hEaLtH — dragonfly180 @ 8:08 pm
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Shakeology Day 2

I tried the chocolate shakeology today, and it is freaking awesome tasting! I thought optimum nutrition chocolate supreme casein protein was really yummy, but this even beats that! So today was my second day on it. Last night, I could not sleep for anything. Sometimes I suffer from anxiety, much like a panic attack but not to that extreme. So I lay in bed last night, stressed that my dog was still at the vet’s office and I hadn’t heard anything. Every little sound startled me, and I kept thinking about crazy stuff like someone breaking in or my dog dying and coming back evil like in Pet Cemetery. I mean, seriously crazy anxiety. I got up to go to the bathroom and wondered what I’d do if I rounded the corner, and men in suits were congregating in my living room at 2 a.m. and just looked up at me as I stood there. Peculiar thoughts. So anyway, it was well after 2 a.m. when I fell asleep, and the vet called me at 7 a.m. to tell me that Jake was doing well. I got on up, because I was excited that the doc said I could pick him up Tuesday. I explain all of this, because I was going on less than 5 hours of sleep. I had my shakeology shake at lunch. It was more filling than the greenberry had been the day before, and I actually was full before I even finished it. Yet, I kept snacking this evening, but I think that had more to do with having ‘dieting’ on the mind, which I unconsciously rebel against whenever I feel like I might be depriving myself. So I decided to try to go back to bed for a nap at 12:30 since it was cool and raining. I laid down and had trouble falling asleep. I wasn’t anxious, but I felt alert. I must have slept, because an hour and a half went by in what seemed like 30 minutes or so, but I didn’t feel the least bit groggy when I got up, which sort of confused me and made me feel like I hadn‘t slept. I ALWAYS feel groggy after a nap. And I should have slept 3 or 4 hours going on little sleep, and that seemed odd. I got up and did things around the house, but I was doing everything I could to avoid grading. Well, it is now after 10, and I still feel alert and not tired. I am wondering if it’s a fluke, but we’ll see tomorrow. Also, I am still munching, although it’s not from hunger. I think I’m stress eating. My workday tomorrow should be a true test of the power of this stuff.

Shakeology Day 3

I slept well last night. I slept so well that my alarm clock went off for 20 minutes before my brain even registered that it was going off. It was almost 11:30 when I went to bed, so I was pretty tired this morning. I had Greenberry Shakeology this morning for breakfast. It tasted good, but I was very hungry by lunch. I did notice that I didn’t get the post-lunch sleepy slump I usually get each day. I also noticed I was more alert on my drive home, which is usually when my eyes are trying to close. Something about those backroads. Anyway, by the time I got home and grabbed a quick snack, I could barely keep my eyes open and ended up getting a 15 minute nap before running out the door to job #2.

Shakeology Day 4

I had Chocolate Shakeology again today. Man, I can’t get over how yummy that stuff is! Anyway, I felt very full by the time I had downed it all, and it kept me full until lunch. Problem is, I didn’t get enough sleep AGAIN, and I could barely keep my eyes open today, and we’re talking even before the post-lunch slump! I don’t know if the chocolate makes me less alert or if sleep deprivation this week is just beginning to catch up with me. I think I’ll try chocolate again tomorrow after getting enough sleep tonight (I know it’s possible to get in bed before 11, I just know it!!!) and see how my energy is with this and adequate rest. The chocolate has definitely curbed my appetite today. I am not even at 900 calories, and I really don’t want anything to eat for supper, but I am going to eat anyway. I know that it’s not healthy to eat below 1200. I had a high calorie day yesterday anyway (1700), so it will be fine to come in a bit lower than that tonight.