May 232016
 

My Weight Loss Story – Part 1

by Michael

 

Every year, I set personal fitness related goals for myself. In the past, my goals have been around cycling a certain amount of miles. I have a back injury that rears its ugly head from time to time and this has lead me to conclude that if I keep doing the same things, I’ll keep getting the same results. As a result, I’ve decided not to ride my bike everyday or do any of the same exercises on consecutive days.

Last year, I pedaled 2,100 miles over several commutes from my home to work and back. For all of my efforts, I lost zero pounds last year. Losing weight wasn’t the focus of riding all those miles but you’d think that I’d be able to shed weight without thinking about it due to the biking but that just wasn’t the case. I concluded that while I enjoyed exercising, the reason I hadn’t lost any weight was because of my diet.

IMG_4427

My goals this year are to be able to do 100 push-ups in one set and do 10 pull-ups in one set. When I say things like, “I’m going to do more push-ups this year” it holds no water because there’s nothing holding me accountable. I need an amount and a time frame in order to be successful. At the start of this year, I was able to do 15 push-ups and zero pull-ups. My goals seemed lofty for sure but I’m a numbers guy and measurables like this are what drive me to success. I just needed to figure out how I was going to be able to accomplish it.

My first goal was to work my way up to being able to do 100 push-ups in a day. On the day of the Super Bowl, I was able to do 100 push-ups in a single day for the first time in my life. I did them in 5 sets of 20 over about a half hour period. This was a major achievement for me and it was the first time I believed that I would be able to accomplish the push-up goal this year.

Then I was able to do them in 4 sets of 25 push-ups. Shortly after that, 30, 30, 30, 10. Last month, I was able to do them in just 3 sets – 35, 35, 30. The next step from this point is challenging and I’ve concluded that in order to be able to do 100 push-ups in just 2 sets, I will need to do 2 things. 1 – I will have to do more than 100 push-ups in a day and 2 – I will have to lose weight. For every 10 lbs I lose, that’s 1000 fewer pounds that I will have to push-up over the set of 100. Tipping the power to weight ratio in my favor was obviously going to be necessary in order to be successful.

Just like I said earlier about exercising, I need a weight loss goal. I cannot just say to myself that I want to lose weight and have it stick. I just don’t operate like that. At the start of every month, I assess my progress and set a new monthly goal for myself and I get on a scale weekly to monitor my progress. I don’t know how much weight in total I want to lose, I just assume that I’ll know it when I get there. I know that I’m looking for an optimal power-to-weight ratio that allows me to accomplish my push-up and pull-up goals.

What I don’t do is count my calories. I don’t do this because it constantly makes me feel bad. It makes me feel oppressed, like I’m doing something bad that needs constant monitoring when in reality, I’m eating food and I don’t want to beat myself up for doing that. I know what’s good for me to eat and what isn’t. I don’t need to quantify all of the calories I’m consuming.

The other piece to this is that I exercise. A lot. But this isn’t the reason why I’ve lost weight. I’ve lost weight because of the diet. My exercise looks like this – M/W/F, I bike about 21 miles to/from work. T/Th/Sa, I run in my neighborhood. I created a running goal for myself this year of being able to run 6 miles in under an hour. I’m currently up to 4.7 miles in about 45 minutes. All of this is in addition to my push-up and pull-up goals, which I’m working on each twice a week. I wear a heart rate monitor to track this data and on average, I’m burning 6000 calories a week while exercising. Unlike tracking the calories that I consume, tracking the calories that I burn is empowering. It’s proof that I’m working hard and that I’m getting better as I’m able to run further and my per-mile pace drops. This also allows me to not feel any guilt when I want to drink a glass of wine with dinner because I’ve earned it.

So where am I at now with my push-up goal? I’m up to doing 160 (8 x 20) or 150 (6 x 25) twice a week. For the pull-up goal, I’m just doing as many as I can with the assistance of resistance bands over a few sets. The best part about these goals is that I’m not concerned about failure at all. If I do fail, I will have done thousands of push-ups and pull-ups this year and that itself is a huge personal victory for me. I’ll post an update in January and will let you know if I was successful or not in achieving my goals.

Part 2 will be posted tomorrow and will detail the food part of how I lost the weight.
Apr 262016
 

 

Back on the horse again!

Exercise

I went back to yoga last week. It was the first time in a few months. If I remember correctly I stopped going around 29 weeks pregnant I think. I just couldn’t do it anymore, which disappointed me because I thought swimming and yoga would be the majority of my fitness throughout the third trimester. Unfortunately, I was to the point where I had to modify almost every pose, my balance wasn’t great, I felt like I couldn’t do most of the things in class and it was getting silly going and just laying in child’s pose. So, I stopped.

Going back to yoga after a few months off was HARD. I struggled with all of it. My balance wasn’t great. I felt out of breathe and weak. Downward dog was a pose I could barely hold for very long and I couldn’t do any of the poses where you lay on your chest (because of breastfeeding). Despite that, I was glad I went back and I intend on going at least once a week (twice a week would be ideal) to try and get my strength and balance back!

On days that I can’t go to the gym I walk (weather permitting). Recently a friend came over with her daughter (and a bottle of wine) and we walked to a nearby park since it was such a nice day. Her daughter played, Bella supervised everything, then we walked back to the house and lounged on the deck with our glasses of wine. It was a nice break to the monotony of my day (pumping, feeding, changing diapers, rinse repeat<–not complaining, just saying most days are the same right now!).

IMG_1052

When it’s just me at home, I often take Bella and Logan for a long walk in the neighborhood (sometimes twice a day) just to get out of the house and move around. I remember now how much I like walking! It’s peaceful and a nice way to get in some exercise.

I’m able to go a little longer and harder on the elliptical in just one week already. I feel great when I get to go and I feel accomplished and happy when I’m done. The one downside? Upper back pain. I don’t know if it’s a combination of taking time off and needing a new sports bra or if feeding Logan is putting a strain on my upper back but it aches!

FullSizeRender

That session was 4 miles on the elliptical in about 50 minutes.

The next day I was going to try and do the stairmaster but decided to do the elliptical again instead. I was feeling a bit sore after a massage and wanted to take it easy. I did 4.20 miles on the elliptical this time and it felt really good (and a bit easy).

IMG_1104

Sunday I went back to yoga. I felt a little “meh” and didn’t want to go but I’m glad I did. I was a little early to class so I did the stairmaster for a few minutes before then went to class.

FullSizeRender

This time yoga was much better than the first time back. I was able to do downward dog with more ease and while my balance was still not great, it felt good to stretch and move. Little by little things are getting easier.

How we are making it work right now: my gym days are now Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Michael works from home on Fridays now so that makes it easier for me to go to the gym (and hopefully soon I will be back to swimming). One day during the work week I try and go to yoga after Michael gets home from work. I expect this to change some once I go back to work. I’m hoping I can bike to work once a week so that I get my workout in and out of the way.

Food

Like I said in my last post I am back to counting calories. Most days I do “ok”. I put that in quotes because I wouldn’t say I am quite to where I’d like to be with counting my calories but I am trying to do my best and BE ACCOUNTABLE. Tracking everything is the first step. Do I go over my calories? Yes, sometimes. I’d say about 2 days a week I go over my calories for the day but the other days I do alright staying within my range. It just depends on my hunger level each day (which apparently changes often!).

According to what I’ve read, breastfeeding burns somewhere between 300-500 calories a day. It depends on how much you are making, but it sounds like the average is you burn 20 calories an ounce. I’m currently pumping while Logan and I learn how to breastfeed after getting his tongue tie fixed so I know exactly how many ounces I make a day. My average is 20-30 ounces a day. That means I would be right up there with burning around 500 calories a day.

Challenge #2: Raging Appetite

If you are pumping 25 ounces a milk a day, you are burning the same amount of extra calories as if you were running 5 miles every single day. You are going to be hungry! (source

Yes, yes and yes! So much hungrier than I ever was when I was pregnant. There are days where I feel like I could eat everything in my fridge and still be hungry. It’s cra–aaazy.

Breakfast is pretty easy to make healthy. Either it’s a scramble (eggs, sausage and sweet potatoes) or oatmeal:

IMG_1103

Lunch is usually pretty healthy, too. Where I fall short is afternoon snacking, eating a little too much for dinner (things like pizza) or indulging on sweets late in the evening.

This weekend I met up with a friend for lunch and made a healthy choice. We went to Laughing Planet because I like that they have healthy options for not a ton of calories. I got the Vindaloo Bowl, which was chard, lentils, rice, pulled pork and an Indian sauce with sauteed veggies and pickled onions. It was really tasty!

IMG_1106

Dinner the other night was healthy, so go me! Salad with avocado, black olives, jalapenos, cojita cheese and chicken fajita on top. It was delicious and even indulging in tortilla chips it was under 700 calories.

IMG_1127

Accountable to Myself

I’m down to drinking a Diet Dr. Pepper a few times a week instead of every day, so that’s progress.

I’m counting my calories every day, even on days when I go over.

I’m choosing fruits for snacks again, but still occasionally eating “quickie” snacks like protein bars, which isn’t great.

 

My Goals Going Forward

  1. Continue counting my calories every single day. (It was a little too easy to stop doing it!)
  2. Move my body every day, even if it’s a gentle movement and just walking.
  3. Give it time. I am okay with keeping my gym days to 3 days a week for a bit. There’s no rush to get back to my 5 day schedule like I had before. My body needs the time it needs to heal and rest and I’ll get back to where I was at some point.
  4. I plan on going back to the Warrior Room soon. I’m thinking somewhere around June-ish. I’d like to get back into a weight lifting routine at the gym and build that back up before going back to the Warrior Room and destroying my body!

So that’s the update from my world lately. How is losing weight going for you?