Jan 192015
 

Well, we are a few weeks in to 2015! How are your new year’s resolutions going? Are you still on track? If your goal was to lose weight this year, I hope you are finding your groove and settling in to your new routine.

I think there are a lot of different ways to approach weight loss. Weight Watchers is a great program and I think it’s one of the best options out there (although I never did WW). It teaches you portion control and how to eat in a healthier way in the “real world” as opposed to a Jenny Craig type program where you only eat their food.

Whatever your path, here are a few tools that can help you along your way:

Scale

I know, I know, the dreaded scale. If you can get away with losing weight and not using a scale–just go by measuring and how clothes fit–more power to you. You’re probably better off. But for most of us, a scale is a necessary evil. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of factors that go into weight loss and health and they can’t all be measured in a number. But this is a good place to start to track your progress.

If you can, find one of those fancy scales that don’t show the number. They sound fantastic and someday I’d like to have one. Basically you set up the scale, weigh yourself, then put in your goals. The next time you step on the scale it will tell you your progress without telling you your actual weight. I like the concept–I think it’s healthier emotionally than seeing a number and feeling devastated but instead you see that you lost a percentage of your weight compared to the last weigh in.

No matter what you decide to get, make it a habit to weigh yourself consistently. Whether it’s once a week or every other week or once a month, try and be consistent: same time of day, before eating or drinking any water. Keep a journal or track the progress in some way.

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Heart Rate Monitor

I’ve talked a lot about heart rate monitors on this blog. I never had one while I was losing weight and I kind of wish I’d had. I think it could have spend up some of the weight loss. What the HRM did for me was twofold: 1) It taught me to TRAIN SMARTER and 2) It gave me better accuracy in the gym.

With training smarter, I noticed it first with running. It taught me how to pace myself. It really did teach me how to run. When I first started running I thought it was “run as fast as you can as long as you can” and that’s not right. Or healthy. Or effective training. The heart rate monitor taught me how to pace myself and stay within the zone for extended periods of time. I am such a better athlete because of my HRM.

With the accuracy, I finally knew how many calories I was really burning. The cardio machines aren’t accurate at all, even putting in my age and weight. And when I don’t do machines, I want to know how many calories I’m burning lifting weights or doing body weight exercises. It helps knowing the actual number.

Read this old post for more details: Polar Heart Rate Monitor Tutorial.

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Food Diary App/Journal

I think tracking is THE number one way to lose weight. Being aware, being consistent, being HONEST with food tracking WILL work. The trick is to be honest with portions and calories you are consuming. If you aren’t honest in your journal, you won’t see weight loss. And this is something I know well!

There are a ton of free options out there. I know that Spark People was a really popular website for people. If you are on the go and want something that you can use anywhere, a smart phone app is probably the best choice. I use My Fitness Pal and I know that Lose It is also a really popular app.

The reason I think a calorie app or food journal is so important because it’s right in your face. It makes you be aware. You are aware of calories in food, you are aware of what you are eating, you become aware of what food makes you feel good and what food does not. Tracking your calories will show you where you need more work (for me, it’s sugar). If you get an app that breaks down your intake you can see if you’re eating enough protein and fiber, if you’re eating too much sugar (ME!), if you are deficient in vitamins. It’s just all around a great tool to help you in your journey.

Check out these old post for some more suggestions:

How Do You Track?

How to Count Calories

The Battle of The Calorie Counters.

 

Water Bottle

I am always trying to drink more water. I am so bad at this, but I’m getting better. Having a large water bottle at work that sits right next to my computer reminds me throughout the day.

Drinking water is a good thing all around, but if you are trying to lose weight drinking more water can be essential. It fills you up. It takes the edge off hunger pains. How often have you thought you were hungry and you mindlessly munch of snacks when in reality you were just thirsty? I’ve done that many times. Listening more carefully to body cues can help with weight loss (am I REALLY hungry? Or just bored? Thirsty? etc).

My tip would be to ditch the sodas, the juice, etc, stop drinking your calories and switch to water.

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Food Scale

This has done so many great things for my weight loss. For a long time I just went off the nutritional labels and then eye-balled portions. Portion sizes have always been my downfall and you can go along, thinking you’re doing great and then discover you’ve been tracking for 1 serving when really eating 2 or 3! No wonder weight loss wasn’t happening. For awhile I did the food measuring with measuring cups. This is better than eye-balling it and guesstimating, but it’s still not perfect.

A food scale was so eye opening for me. We got one a few years ago and one of the first things I used it for was cereal. The box says a serving size is 3/4 of a cup or 1 cup. Okay cool. I measure out a cup and think I’m doing ok. Then I used a food scale and measured out the serving according to grams (per the nutritional label) and HOLY COW. I had been eating way more than I thought!! (Read this post: M is for Measuring Mistakes!)

A food scale is fantastic. If you buy ONE THING to help in your weight loss goals, this would be the one I’d recommend.

Finally, if you’re new to my blog, check out this weight loss series I did a few years ago:

How to Lose Weight Series: 

Week OneWeek One Check In

Week Two , Week Two Check In

Week Three

Week Four

Week Five

Five Truths of Weight Loss

Five Truths of Maintenance

Hope it helps jump start your weight loss resolutions!

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Nov 102014
 

I had a pretty good weekend. To be honest, the last few weekends have been a struggle for me. The weather was ugly, the darkness was making me tired and I was feeling very distressed about my weight. I was starting to get into the “must restrict” mentality and when I ate something I deemed to be “not healthy” I felt like a failure and would beat myself up about it. All weekend long. One slip-up, even if I hadn’t gone over my calories, felt like I failed. It sucked. It was kind of a dark place to be. I felt resentful of (seemingly) everyone else on the planet that could eat and drink whatever they wanted and not worry about their weight. I felt like I wasn’t making any progress. I actually broke down and bought some clothes in one size up because I was tired of crying every time I put on my pants and they felt skintight.

So that’s where I was the last few weeks. This weekend I didn’t feel like that too much. I was on track with my food. I was feeling more positive. I wasn’t feeling STARVING all the time like I had been for the last month and a half. And I had some good workouts. This was the Warrior Room on Saturday (and I went up in weight in the kettle bells!):

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It was a great workout and I am reminded just how important the Warrior Room routine is to my knee health. I noticed that when I took time off when I was sick, then the wedding, then the honeymoon, my knees started to bother me. But when I go to the WR consistently my knees are happier. It really does show how unbalanced my body is naturally. I need to work extra hard to keep those glutes strong to keep my knees strong!

This was Sunday’s workout — despite feeling a little stiff and sore I was able to get in a 2 mile run on the treadmill before yoga class:

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The yoga teacher seemed to psychically know that I needed extra hip stretching because most of the moves in that particular class worked on the hips (thank goddess!).

I also ate really healthy foods. I wanted to share one of the finds because it was so delicious. Years and years ago I was a vegetarian but I wasn’t very good at it and didn’t eat in a healthy way, I just didn’t eat meat. There also weren’t a lot of options for vegetarians 15 years ago. The faux foods weren’t good and I think the only option was Morning Star, which I’ve never liked.

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I got these veggie burgers at Trader Joe’s on a whim and I’m so glad I did! They were amazing! I loved them. For dinner on Sunday night I cooked up one of these veggie burgers and had some sauteed Brussels Sprouts with onions (cooked in coconut oil) with some cottage cheese on the side. It was a really filling dinner and it was only around 400 calories. I loved these burgers!

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If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, I highly recommend you give them a try. I will be buying more of them and working them into my meal rotation. The only downside is that you have to cook them in a skillet. I don’t know if they’d turn out in the microwave, so I don’t know that it would be a feasible option for lunches at work. But on the weekends it would be a great lunch option.

The weather was also really nice on Saturday. I got so much stuff done–a lot of the usual chores in addition to a bunch of yard work (and planted some plants from a neighbor). I also went through a bunch of stuff and got a box and big bag full to donate. Plus, Michael and I took Bella to the dog park.

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(That picture was actually taken by our dog walker in the backyard but it’s too cute not to share.) The dog park was packed with dogs because it was so nice out! Bella had a blast running around playing and chasing dogs and there were two rambunctious puppies (one pitbull and one mutt) that were super spazzy and Bella loved them. They all had the same crazy energy.

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Once Bella was done playing (she stopped paying attention to the other dogs) Michael and I walked with Bella around the park. It’s a huge park with trails and a few different fields, there was even a fenced horse area! Crazy that this huge park is so close to our house and we had no idea.

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It was just a really nice way to spend the afternoon–sunshine, blue skies, fall leaves and a nice walk.

Back to the food. I was under my calorie goal every day for the weekend AND I had some leftover Halloween candy too. It just goes to show that I just do not do well with restriction and moderation is what works. For weeks I tried to restrict and NOT eat any of the foods that I deemed on my “no list”. No pizza. No dessert. No “fun” foods. Just eat whole foods, fruits and vegetables. But denying myself these things just made me want them more and made me feel more miserable and frustrated with my lack of progress. It just goes to show you how much of weight loss is MENTAL.

I haven’t weighed myself to check in for two weeks. I will do it this week and see if I’ve made any more progress.

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