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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.

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My Shakeology 3-Day Cleanse December 3, 2011

Filed under: fitness,food,hEaLtH — dragonfly180 @ 10:27 am
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My Shakeology 3 Day Cleanse

This week, I decided to try the Shakeology 3-day Cleanse. It is supposed to remove toxins and gunk built up in your system, which I needed after splurging quite a lot over Thanksgiving. I hadn’t gained weight over the holiday, but I definitely didn’t feel my best. So basically, you drink a shake for breakfast, one for lunch, one for a snack, and eat a salad with grilled chicken (or other white protein) and low-fat dressing for supper. You can also have 1-2 pieces of fruit and green tea for snacks. I changed my plan just a bit. You’re supposed to mix your Shakeology with water for the three days, but I used almond milk instead, because #1, mixing it with water sounds really unappealing to me, and #2, I felt like I needed more calories than the 800 or so this cleanse has you down to. That’s just not healthy, in my opinion, even if it is only for 3 days. The other change I made was that I had decided that if I felt truly hungry, I’d eat extra fruit.

Day 1:
Today went pretty well. I had all three shakes plus two pieces of fruit, a delicious honey crisp apple and a d’anjou pear. I baked my chicken tonight and had a big salad with zesty Italian vinaigrette. I taught a Zumba class around 5 p.m., and I didn’t feel the least bit weak. By the time I went to bed, which was pretty late, I felt hungry enough that my tummy was growling again, so I ate ½ cup of mandarin oranges and went back to bed. I felt really…I don’t even know how to describe it. Not bloated and puffy. I know that probably isn’t clear, but it’s the only way I can describe it.

Day 2:
I have felt hungrier today. I had two shakes, one for breakfast and one for lunch, a navel orange, and a red d‘Anjou pear. I didn’t want the shake after school, so I ate my salad with chicken before going to my second job. I had a low fat Asian sesame dressing that was soooo delicious. When I got home from my night class, my 3rd shake still didn’t appeal to me, so I had a Mariani Sesame Honey Bar, which is an all natural seed, nut, raisin, and honey bar that I found on my last shopping trip to WalMart. I’d had one over Thanksgiving holiday week and thought that it was really bland, but eating it after being on this cleanse and not having much sugar and such, it tasted so delicious and sweet tonight! Yum!

Day 3:
I had two shakes, a honey crisp apple, and a d’anjou pear earlier today. I ate my chicken salad with low fat thousand island dressing this evening. I am sipping on coffee and might have some green tea later. I will probably have my third shake before bed. Sticking with the cleanse was more difficult today. It’s been a bit of a mental struggle. I didn’t have my morning shake right off, so it was about 9 a.m. before I had it, so I was very hungry by the time I drank it, and all I could think about was eating something solid instead. The shake satisfied me, though, but it was a little later than usual that I had my second shake, too. Also, I am one of those people that gets really sick of a food if I eat it for more than two meals in a row, so eating the same things with only little variations over the past three days has not been easy. Now, to be fair to the cleanse, I could have chosen to eat different white-meat protein sources, which would have changed things up a good bit, but I was definitely going for easy by batch cooking three days’ worth of chicken during my busy work week. I also feel a bit weaker today. I think I could probably teach Zumba tonight if I had to, but I’d struggle. Ended up drinking my last shake before bed, and it was very satisfying. I felt full and comfortable and not deprived.

 
Final Impressions:
For my measurements, I lost ½ inch from my waist, and 1 inch from my hips from when I measured on Wednesday. I also lost 2 lbs. So that comes down to 18.41% bodyfat, which is the lowest I’ve been in YEARS! Yes, I did a little dance :o) In fact, in all the years that I have been fitness-conscious and health-knowledgeable, I have never even seen this number!!! I am sure sometime in high school when I was in a size 0 jeans, I was down below this body fat, but I definitely wasn’t doing it the healthy way back then, so it doesn’t count! :oD Also, I didn’t lose muscle (I actually gained over a lb in muscle!), so if losing some of your lean body mass is a concern when doing a cleanse, I can at least say from my experience that Shakeology didn’t let me down there, either. I figured out my body fat by using this calculator:

Linear Software Body Fat Calculator

 
Want to try it? You can get Shakeology through me by going to myshakeology.com/cshows. You will also be a part of my Beachbody team, where I will coach you for free, offering advice, fitness and health info, and whatever level of motivation and support you need from me. The best part about Shakeology as a product is that there is a 30-day empty bag-no questions asked-money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied with it. It’s definitely worth a try. If you read back through my blog, I was pretty skeptical about it. In fact, my Beachbody coach had talked to me about it numerous times before I finally tried it. But I can say with all honesty that I have really liked the results I’ve gotten with it. I feel better, and I look better. That is worth the money to me. It isn’t the cheapest meal replacement out there, but it is the healthiest. It’s also the most filling that I’ve tried, and I’ve done things like SlimFast in the past that left me hungry all the time. Shakeology fills me up when I have it for lunch. I pay less than a dollar more per day than I was when I bought frozen low calorie dinners and fruit or yogurt for lunch, and I’m just as satisfied, if not more so. I am definitely more satisfied with what Shakeology has done for my body – made me slimmer by body fat reduction and smaller measurements, given me more energy throughout the day, and helped me stop obsessing about food so much. If you have more questions, just email me (csshows@yahoo.com) or message me on Facebook.

 

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

 

We Invest in What We Value September 24, 2011

Filed under: food,hEaLtH — dragonfly180 @ 11:31 am
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The above is a video made by another Beachbody Coach (Christine Dwyer) about Shakeology, and she made some really good points that I thought were worth sharing. We really do invest in what we value, whether it be a certain brand of jeans, a certain brand of cereal, or a certain brand of makeup. We will pay more for what we feel is worth more. I know almost NO ONE who buys generic mayo. Why? Because it’s not the best. We want what we know tastes good. Yes, Shakeology is pricey, but you have to ask yourself is trying it worth the money? No, scratch that.  What you have to ask yourself is if you try it, is it worth the money each month you’ll spend to keep it going because you’ll love the results and how you feel. See, Beachbody offers an “empty bag” guarantee, meaning that you can take a full month’s supply at their expense if you don’t love it by the end of your first month. That’s a pretty great guarantee. I sure don’t know any diet pills/drinks or even “health food” frozen dinners and such that would match that same guarantee. So there is no monetary risk in *trying* it. Getting hooked on it because it’s a good product is another story! :o) So you replace your latte and cinnamon roll or bagel with it each morning (for the same amount of money and way fewer calories) or your high-calorie and high-fat lunch or tasteless, high-sodium frozen dinner and whatever you snack on immediately after lunch because you’re still hungry (for the same amount of money and probably fewer calories) with a filling Shakeology shake that gives you energy, helps you lose weight, puts back vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and probiotics into your system, and makes you so much healthier. Then, the money you pay for Shakeology doesn’t seem so frivolous. I was easily spending $100 a month on Lean Cuisines, Smart Ones, cafeteria salads, salad dressing, little yogurts and puddings, and whatever else I was eating along side those frozen dinners or salads that didn’t fill me up alone.

I am loving the results I am getting with Shakeology, and in fact, I just emailed Beachbody yesterday about changing my monthly supply to the Chocolate Shakeology, because I like the taste of it so much and because it fills me up so well. I am excited about trying it for another month. I’m not under an obligation to try it for any certain amount of time, so I’ll cancel it if I’m not totally satisfied. But as of right now, I am satisfied with what it’s doing for me. If you’d like to give it a try, send me a message by going to the Team Beachbody tab at the top, or you can leave your email in a message on this post, and I’ll get back to you about it. I plan on going into the holidays feeling good about my weight and being healthy. There will be no guilt about casseroles and ham and pie at get-togethers for me this year!

 

Shakeology Week 2 September 18, 2011

Filed under: fitness,food,hEaLtH — dragonfly180 @ 4:33 pm
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Shakeology Week 2
Monday – got almost no sleep (less than 5 hours), pretty alert all day. Very small amounts of food satisfied me, and I didn’t think about food constantly like I usually do throughout the day. Came home to take a 30-40 min nap before bunko, slept about 10-15 mins and then was wide awake but pretty tired feeling by the end of bunko. Went to bed early. Had chocolate shakeology for lunch instead of breakfast today. I think it worked out better.

Thursday – I’ve been doing Shakeology for lunch instead of breakfast all week except today, and it’s worked out well. It keeps me pretty satisfied, not hungry like I thought I’d be by drinking a shake for lunch. I usually have a piece of fruit with it, too. Today, I decided to eat a grilled chicken salad  for lunch, so I made my Greenberry shakeology for breakfast. I mixed it with a cup of pineapple juice and a little almond milk, and it was so sweet and delicious!  I actually got enough sleep last night and wasn’t ridiculously tired at work today like I have been most of this week. This has been a doozy with starting up my Zumba class (finally!) and having football duty tomorrow night :o/ It’s the Homecoming game, too, so there will be massive amounts of Lions fans there. It will be a very busy night. Anyway, I am looking forward to some downtime this weekend. With all the grading I have to do, I might even enjoy some of it.

I went grocery shopping Tuesday night after my night class, and I was thrilled to spend only about $60 on food. I would have easily spent $150 before, so I’m already ahead for the month by buying Shakeology! The price was one of my biggest reservations, so I am so happy about that. Despite being very tired from all the working and other engagements I had this week, I was still able to go most days without a nap, which is a definite improvement in energy levels. It’s not miraculous, but it’s improvement. As for curbing my appetite, Shakeology has definitely done that. It doesn’t curb my appetite so much that I don’t eat anything (unlike some diet pills that have too many stimulants to be safe). I just didn’t want to overeat, which was good. That’s a definite problem of mine. But I still ate throughout the day. So over the past two weeks, I am down 4 lbs, minus 2.5 inches in my waist/hips areas, and had a decrease of about 1% body fat. 1% may not sound like a lot, but since I’m already in my ideal weight range, it’s a pretty big difference. Not shabby for two weeks and not a ton of exercise. Because of Bunko Monday night and Homecoming football duty Friday night coupled with teaching until pretty late on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I definitely didn’t have as many opportunities as I usually have to get in quality workouts this week. Planning on making next week much better for exercise.

 

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.

 

Shakeology Experiment September 4, 2011

Filed under: food,hEaLtH,running — dragonfly180 @ 9:20 pm
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For about a year now, I have been hearing about Shakeology. I first heard about it from some of my sparkpeople.com friends. But I already drank protein shakes, so why did I need to pay more money for another type of protein shake? Well, after becoming a Beachbody Coach, I kept reading my Beachbody friends reviewing it as an awesome and nutritious meal replacement. Now, I am all about eating as much food as possible. I do NOT like to drink my calories, so I was still turned off about it. As a Beachbody Coach, I have the option of selling Shakeology if I want to. So I read up on what Shakeology is made of on my Shakeology website that Beachbody provides its coaches. It seems to be legitimately natural and very nutritious. Before long, I went on YouTube and just checked out some of the videos of people touting its effectiveness and making them feel better, lose weight, gain energy, lower cholestrol, fix stomach/digestive issues, etc. Well, I came to the conclusion that since it is a big part of the Beachbody brand, I should try it out myself if I want to sell it. After all, I am not one to push something that I’m not sure even works. I got into Beachbody because I believe in the products and want to help people. It’s not much of a gamble since Beachbody offers a refund if you aren’t satisfied with it. And I get free shipping to have it sent by Home Direct (automatically each month). So I thought I’d blog about my own experience with Shakeology as I try it for myself.

Day 1

My Shakeology came in yesterday. I picked it up at the mailbox as I was taking my pooch to the pooch hospital for another kidney infection. Needless to say, I wasn’t thinking about meal replacement shakes when I made it home. Furthermore, I had a cookout planned and knew I was probably going to eat more calories than I should for the day, so I didn’t want to add to it. So today was the first day of Shakeology. I bought the combo box that has both Greenberry and Chocolate flavors in it, because I wanted to try out both to see which one I like best. I poured 8 ounces of almond milk into my shaker cup and added a packet of Greenberry. I have been really curious about what it tastes like. I shook it really well and to my surprise, really liked the taste of it! It is quite different from anything I have tasted. There is a faint fruitiness to it, but it mostly tastes like sweetened green tea and a flavor similar to the taste of bran flakes. That’s the only way I can describe it. I think blended with a few strawberries, a banana, or some fruity yogurt, it’d be outta this world good. Anyway, I didn’t feel particularly full after having drank it. I was starving after I came in from church, so I ate some carrots and a few deviled eggs from yesterday’s cookout after I drank it. Although I didn’t feel full from it, I haven’t been very hungry this evening, so we’ll see. This evening when I stepped out of church, a cool breeze from Tropical Storm Lee hit my face, and I instantly felt energetic and craved a good run. So I threw off my church clothes when I got home, quickly dressed, grabbed my Garmin, my red flashing caution light (as it was beginning to get dark), and my rain pullover and hit the door. I had some really good mile splits. I don’t know if it was energy from the drink or just from the excitement of some cooler weather for a change. A true test of its ability to increase energy will come during my busy work weeks. With three jobs, if anyone needs some extra energy, I do!

If you are interested in giving Shakeology a try, please click on the tab above that says ‘Team Beachbody’ and message me your contact info. WordPress won’t allow me to post a link to my Beachbody website, but I will be happy to email you my Shakeology link or answer any questions you may have. Thanks!