Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving weekend, and jumping back on the wagon...

Thanksgiving weekend really got the best of me.


I ate whatever I wanted and didn't work out as hard as I had originally planned, but you know what?
I think I needed it.

I needed the extra sleep, just like my little Olive.
(I've been messing with this new GIF generator, PHHHOTO, its pretty great)

Thursday we feasted on mimosas, prime rib, turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cracker and cheese... you name it... we ate it.
How cute is this cheese and cracker turkey plate my mom made?
Olive was determined to hang out with the humans on Thanksgiving, ignoring all the other dogs. She ultimately found her way up onto the stool, where she just stared at us while we made conversation. This little dog. She is too cute and steals my heart whenever she does silly things like this.

Friday was an epic Black Friday shopping extravaganza. I desperately needed new clothes for work, so we ventured out into the madness from 6am to about 2:00 pm. Then we napped and hung out on the couch for the rest of the evening, ditching all plans for a workout. Shopping was my cardio that day. HAHA

And then Saturday rolled around, and it was time for my favorite class to dread, BOOTCAMP.
DY (aka David York, the owner of our gym and leader of this infamous bootcamp) surprised us with 20 lb weight vests to wear for the second half of our workout. OMG seriously, those weight vests were torture. They made the workout SO HARD. It really was eye-opening how an extra 20 lbs on your body will effect your ability to move quickly.

And now it's MONDAY, and I've already gotten two workouts in the books. I got the workout bug last night again to amp up my workouts and start eating clean again. I've been pretty lax about my lifestyle lately, and it's beginning to show. I'm ready to put the work in again and start shedding some of this holiday fluff.

That being said, I've come up with a new peppermint chocolate protein shake recipe, along with a healthy thai carrot ginger soup recipe that I get to try out tonight. (It's in the crock pot as we speak! I can't wait to see how it turns out!!)



Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday 30 minute leg workout

I just completed this little doozy of a workout. Initially it didn't sound like much, but after the first few rounds, I realized my initial impression of it being easy was way off. The more you put into correct form on this one (with any workout really) the harder it is and the more your legs will burn.

My legs were feeling pumped after this workout!!

Equipment needed: Agility ladder, or you could draw in a ladder on your sidewalk in sidewalk chalk.

Main Set:

15 body weight squats
10 squat jumps
20 second overhead squat hold

10 right leg backwards lunges
10 left leg backwards lunges
20 alternating lunge jumps

Agility ladder - high knees, two feet land in each ladder space - left side x 2
Agility ladder - high knees, two feet land in each ladder space - right side x 2

REPEAT as many times as possible in 30–45 minutes. Cool down. Stretch.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Recipe: Crock Pot Chicken (sans-tortilla) soup

I've been pretty obsessed with my crock pot lately, now that it is finally a little bit colder at night, soups and chilis sound more and more appetizing after a long day of work and working out.

Yesterday I was inspired by a paleo recipe and decided to try a little something of my own in the crock pot. It's a lot like chicken tortilla soup, without the tortillas. It was really good! Dave loved it and ate two large bowls.


3-4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
6 cups chicken broth
3 sweet potatoes (about 3 cups cubed)
3-4 large carrots (about 2 cups cubed)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups arugula or spinach (I used arugula and the peppery flavor was quite good!)
1 jar of fresh salsa (I used mild salsa by 365 from Whole Foods)
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp onion powder
2 teaspoons lime juice
zest of 1 lime (the leftover lime from the juice works great)

Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro & avocado slices

Step 1. In a large crockpot bowl, add the chicken, chicken broth, salsa, garlic, lime juice, lime zest, onion powder and salt. Set on low for about 8 hours.
Step 2. After 8 hours, add the cubed sweet potatoes & carrots, making sure they are still submerged in the broth. Set the crock pot on high and leave for another hour.
   *** Side Note: You can probably chop up the sweet potatoes and carrots and put it in with the first step ingredients. I just didn't have time in the morning and had to quickly do it in between getting off work at 5:00 and making it to boot camp at 6:00. I'm sure cooking them all day does wonders to the veggie flavor.
Step 3. Once everything is cooked, scoop out about 2-3 cups worth of vegetables and broth and place in a blender for about 15 seconds. Make sure the chicken stays at the bottom of the crock pot so it doesn't make it into the blender. With two large forks, start shredding the chicken in the crock pot by pulling the forks away from each other. Once the chicken is fully shredded, add the blended mixture back in, along with the arugula. Once the arugula has cooked down (this took all of 2 minutes in my crock pot) the soup is ready to serve.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and avocado slices. SO DELICIOUS.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Happy State of Mind - Regarding health and body image

A little while back I posted about those last 7 lbs, and how I said I didn't care about how fast they melted off and that I planned on enjoying myself a little more during the holidays.

Well, the last 10 days or so I've been weighing myself every day and getting disappointed with the lack of results on the scale. I've even upped my workouts, moving up to 2 workouts per day and what else have I done? I started counting macros again.

Really Erin?

What ever happened to "letting it happen, and relaxing a little bit?" -- Because obsessing over the scale and counting macros is not relaxing in the least bit. I need a mental health intervention.

I have an interesting little story to tell... for about a year or so I have been CONVINCED that I had developed a handful of food allergies. I convinced myself of this to the point where I avoided soy, gluten and dairy like the plague - as though it really did harm my body. I even developed my dreaded skin rashes again - all over my body, to back up my new theory. So I finally went to see an allergist to get tested for basically every food I come in contact with. My whole back was tested with a plethora of food tests - and a basic "Histamine" test spot (which always produces a reaction) to make sure my body was reacting properly.

Well, absolutely no foods at all tested positive for an allergy. I'm not allergic to any foods whatsoever. The only reaction I got was the darn Histamine test spot. You would think I would have been elated with these results. But I was so convinced that I had food allergies that I felt disappointed. The Doctor sent me home with some basic skin care maintenance information that I already knew about, and that was that.

A few weeks went by and I took the same care of my skin, ate the same foods... even ate a few things I shouldn't have because "why not? I'm not allergic!" -- And you know what happened? All those rashes that were on my skin before completely cleared up.

Why? Because my state of mind changed. I was not stressing about all the foods I was putting in my body. I wasn't worried anymore. A weight had been lifted and I had an answer on a piece of paper that told me my body would not reject these foods and make me feel miserable. So I ate them, and nothing happened. My skin got better. All this time my own mind was the enemy here, and that is what was making me miserable. The stress of it all.

I'm telling this story because I think it speaks volumes about how a "happy state of mind" can have such a positive effect on what is going on inside our bodies. It shows me how powerful our minds really are, and when the mind is at peace... so is the body.

So what do I take from this story and how am I applying it to my "weight loss expectations?"

I am putting my scale away. I will weigh myself every couple of weeks, just to make sure I am maintaining and not going off the deep end. I am going to stop counting macros. I will log my food and calories for a little while longer to establish my portions, but then I will eyeball it and fuel my body based and what it wants and tells me it needs. The only thing I will try to keep going strong is my water consumption. I truly believe drinking a gallon a day has done wonders for my health. Hydration has been essential for my workouts and daily life. I hope letting go of some of these habits of mine will allow me to release the constant stress and worry about my daily consumption. I don't want to worry why the scale went up 1.5 lbs in a day... I don't want to care about that. I just want to live healthy and eat healthy and continue being able to do the things I want to do. I want to try new recipes and love my food. I want to enjoy food, and enjoy cooking again. I want to learn to love my body in the skin I am in today - and yes, I will be thrilled if I can someday be in the 130's - but until then, the 140's have been pretty good to me.

I really don't have anything to complain about.

Paleo cookies

My bible in the kitchen is Against All Grain by Danielle Walker. Whenever I am needing a little creativity in the kitchen, I turn to her book for guidance. Lately I have been marking a lot of pages in her book of recipes to try (and possibly modify for myself) and last night I tried this recipe. I've been jonesin' for cookies lately (of the cinnamon oatmeal raisin variety) and this one was a pretty close substitute, but way healthier.
I didn't have ALL of the right ingredients (surprise surprise) but I was pretty darn close to having them. I substituted dried cranberries instead of raisins, and added pepitas to the mix for an added crunch.

Here are the ingredients I used:

2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp palm shortening
3 dates, pitted
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I like a stronger vanilla flavor)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (I used this much because my dough didn't seem thick enough)
2 tbsp chopped dried apricots
2 tbsp dried cranberries
2 tbsp pepitas

Aside from the ingredients I followed her recipe completely. I have a vitamix, and it was a little difficult to blend everything, so I think a food processor is the next item on my list of things to buy.

All in all, this recipe was pretty good. These cookies don't really have any allergens to them, and I believe they're even vegan. They taste a lot like banana bread and the coconut flour actually works in this recipe. You would never know there wasn't flour in these cookies.

Gluten free.
Grain free.
Dairy free.
Soy free.

I can dig it.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Weekend fun and a BIRTHDAY workout!

This weekend flew by in a flash, and was filled with fun workouts. Friday night was probably the most relaxing. Dave and I made turkey chili (recipe to come soon!) and watched re-runs of How I Met Your Mother - my favorite kind of Friday night. :)

Saturday began with an 8:00 am bootcamp. This Bootcamp is no joke, seriously - the trainer/owner of my gym literally starts off every class with, "For all you newbies trying this out for the first time.... this is no joke. If you need to puke, go outside."

Yeah, puking happens at this class... but not often.

I made it through the class unscathed (I did almost trip on one of my box jumps, but I managed to correct it just in the nick of time!) -- Then Dave and I went to Whole foods for some food. The rest of the day was kind of spent running errands that weren't all that interesting. Saturday night however was spent celebrating a lovely friends BIRTHDAY at Café Fiore!! By the way I tried a lavender martini there and it was AMAZING.
Hayley (Far right in the above photo) is a longtime friend from the high school days that just had an adorable baby boy. She recently got permission to work out again and has been my partner in crime at the gym - she's so hard core, going to every class possible... I love it! It's been so great having someone so amped on fitness to pull me to the gym when I don't feel like going.

Sunday morning rolled around, which was the morning of the 21st annual Patagonia Salmon 5K. Dave and I ran with our two friends, and it was a lot of fun, and for once we weren't doused in a sweltering wave of California heat. It was about 64° and perfect.
I even finished in a record time for myself - 8:40 min miles!!!! I haven't done that since Junior High, so I was pretty stoked.

THIS MORNING I got up a little extra early for a workout. Hayley's birthday wish was to go to 6:00 am boxing class at our gym. PERFECT birthday idea if you ask me.
A bunch of friends showed up, even ones that don't often wake up early, which was really cool. It was fun working out all together, though I needed a little extra coffee this morning. Early morning workout on a Monday? Waking up for that was harder than I expected.

By lunchtime today it was time for my second workout (sometimes I'm crazy and do 2 workouts per day) and it was REALLY great after so much cardio this morning. My legs are burning, so I wanted to share this one:

Warm up: 
5 minutes walk/jog on treadmill

Main set:
10 kettlebell deadlifts (I used a 20lb weight)
10 squats holding weight to chest
10 second squat hold with weight to chest
10 squat jumps

10 left leg lunges, holding weight in right hand - then switch legs for 10 more reps
10 second hold in lunge position holding weight - switch sides for another 10 sec hold
10-12 lunge jumps
10 lunge > curl > press - RIGHT LEG
10 lunge > curl > press - LEFT LEG

10 Single leg deadlifts - RIGHT LEG
10 single leg deadlifts - LEFT LEG

Repeat 3 - 4 times


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Recipe: Homemade Coconut Creamer for your Coffee!

One food I can NOT live or function without is coffee. Seriously.

Since about age 13 I have been an avid coffee drinker, and have tried every latte and coffee shop under the sun, and am always looking for delicious new places to try.

With this new healthy lifestyle I've acquired over the past couple years, I've made a conscious decision to give up dairy. With the exclusion of dairy from my diet, and what I believe to be a sensitivity to soy, my favorite coffee shops were dwindled down to a select few that had almond milk or coconut milk. (I'm still fully supporting the petition to get almond milk at Starbucks!) I also had a hard time finding good creamers I liked that were in fact GOOD for me and not packed with chemicals and artificial sweeteners.

So, with this predicament I decided to try making my own creamer out of canned coconut milk. After many many tries with different ingredients, I have a simple go-to recipe that really works and tastes great.

NOTE: This recipe can be altered in about a million different ways with spices and different sweetening agents like maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, etc.

Here is the recipe:

In a large mason jar or recycled glass bottle that pours well (I like using glass salad dressing bottles, they pour nicely into a mug) pour in the following:

1 can coconut milk (If calories and/or fat are something you're keeping an eye on, or you dont like your coffee too creamy, use LIGHT coconut milk)

1 tsp cinnamon

1-2 tsp vanilla extract (depending on how vanilla you want your creamer to be)

2 tbsp maple syrup (optional, and not pictured) - because I like my creamer on the sweet side.

Shake and mix well in the closed bottle, and bada-bing!
A nice little batch of coconut coffee creamer!

I really do love the simplicity of this dairy-free solution. A lot of my friends have told me about adding pumpkin purée to it to make a pumpkin spice creamer! YUM.

I also want to try some cacao and peppermint extract to see if I can make a good "Peppermint Mocha" creamer for the holidays!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Finding balance...

In the months leading up to our wedding, I decided to count macros and really focus on body fat loss and muscle gain, also to lose those last few stubborn pounds to look my best on the big day. I found that counting macros was an incredibly effective way to fine-tune my eating habits and properly fuel my body for workouts... it worked so well that it became sort of an addiction, as I've heard that tends to happen. When something works and you see results, you want to keep seeing those results.

The problem with counting macros is everything for your entire day is mapped out. If someone wants to grab appetizers and drinks after work, well... no-can-do. I've already allotted this many grams of fats, carbs and protein for my day, and that would just throw it off... It was a strict way of eating that just made social gatherings a hazard, and enjoyment often was the sacrifice. But with something as big as a wedding, and looking your absolute best for that big day, friends seemed to understand the sacrifices I was making... as long as they were short term and I was at the very least going to enjoy myself on my wedding day...
My wedding day was amazing and I absolutely ate what I wanted that day and enjoyed every minute of it. Even on my honeymoon I put the calorie count app away and didn't use it the entire time we were in Kauai. We just simply enjoyed healthy foods and some not-so-healthy foods, and made sure to do fun activities that got us the exercise we needed. I managed to maintain my lowest weight (same weight I was on my wedding day) the entire time we were on our honeymoon with little to no effort, and that was a good feeling.
It has been about 3 weeks since we've returned from the honeymoon and with the holidays coming up I am finding myself at a crossroads. Do I start counting macros again and tackle the last 7 lbs during the holiday season? OR do I enjoy myself, possibly putting a few pounds on, but not too many, and try to tackle what I can assume will be the last 10 lbs at the beginning of the year? Enjoying food and time with family without feeling like I'm trapped in a cage of restrictions might be a pretty good way to go, and it's quite possible I can still make healthy choices and not even gain any weight... I just don't think I'm ready for another couple months of super-restricted eating habits that make everyone around me feel awkward and sensitive to my choices.

Counting macros works, and someday I may return to it, but enjoying myself and truly immersing myself in the holidays this year sounds like a good way to go. And who knows, maybe I will find some great healthy holiday recipes to keep me on track without feeling deprived or in a sugar coma! :P

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

2014 Spartan Beast Recap: The Heatwave from Hell

On Saturday Dave, myself and our trainer friend Eric set out on a little road trip to Temecula for the Spartan Beast, a 12+ mile obstacle course through some major hills in Southern California.
Our race time was 11:45, which originally we thought nothing of, until we saw the forecast for the weekend. Over 100° on Saturday. So... essentially we were racing during the peak heat hours of the day.


We all decided a few days earlier to buy 50 oz camelbaks, hats and cooling towels to soak in water and wear around our necks to keep us cool. Lifesaving ideas... literally.
^^ This was where I was emotionally as we waited in traffic to park before the race. I looked at the temperature outside and it was already 101° at 10:30 am. I was a little nervous about racing in that heat!!

As we started the course we all kind of decided that running it was a bad idea... so when we hit the first steep hill (I'd like to call it a cliff, that's how steep it felt), we decided to walk up nice and easy. When we got to the top of that monstrous hill, we knew the heat was already really bad. Racers were dropping left and right from heat exhaustion. A little after mile 1 there was a poor girl struggling to stay conscious as emergency staff tried to tap her face to keep her awake.

The heat was getting serious.

We made it through a few obstacles and took good long breaks at all of the water stations to make sure we were staying hydrated, and also eating gel packs to get carbohydrates and electrolytes back in our bodies. By mile 6 my calfs and legs were beginning to cramp pretty badly, but I knew I could work through it. The water and gel packs were definitely helping.

As we passed mile 7, we walked down a small hill to what looked like a river crossing, where we would cross and hike through another set of hills and obstacles to finish the final 5 miles of the race.... except, there was a man on an ATV blocking the road.

He was turning all the racers around telling us to head to the finish line. They had cancelled the remainder of the race due to the heat. So that is exactly what we did. We headed to the finish line, completing about 7.5 miles of the 12 mile race.

I understand their decision completely and in all honesty it probably should have happened sooner. There were so many athletes looking pale, cramping, puking and collapsing on the course - I felt like we were in a war zone.

The good news: Spartan decided to give all racers another chance to race for free at the same location in January!! So it looks like we have 4 months to train until our second chance race. ALSO - they are offering a special 2-hour workout in Temecula called the Hurricane Heatwave, where we get a custom t-shirt and dog tags.... now that is a company that will do just about ANYTHING to make right of a situation!! Dave and I are actually considering going back down this weekend for the Hurricane Heatwave workout. It sounds too fun to pass up!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Spartan Beast Jitters...

This photo say everything about my emotions today.

Tomorrow I will be running the Spartan Beast Race with Dave, and our trainer friend Eric. I am one crazy girl... entering a 12+ mile obstacle course a month before my wedding, with 2 incredibly athletic boys. Don't get me wrong... I am excited, and I know I will have a blast once I'm in the race and crushing the obstacles (or doing hundreds of burpees)... but the leading up to the race always has me with a belly full of butterflies. 

I still haven't fully figured out what is going on with my ankle... and part of me worries about a potential injury during the race, then another part of me is like "screw it... it's not that bad. Limping across the finish line is still finishing!"

I also worry about not being able to complete an obstacle. This is purely a competitive mindset that I can't seem to shake. Who cares if I can't climb that rope? Who cares if I miss the spear throw or fall off one of the horizontal wall climbs? I'll do burpees and move on. 

But it still makes me nervous. 

I guess I am just anxious to start the race and see where my endurance is at. I did an 8 miler back in January, and did just fine. I am in better shape now than I was then, so there shouldn't be a problem!

I'm so ready! I just want to be at the starting line... oh who am I kidding, I just want to be at the finish line!!! Then I'll just have a 3 miles Sprint race to complete before I earn my trifecta medal!!

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The last 10 lbs...

Since early June I've been diligently counting my macros with the IIFYM calculator, and have had a lot of success with this method. In the last 3 months, I've been able to shed approximately 8 lbs, and have reached 142 lbs. My goal was 140 by the wedding. I think my ultimate goal is 135 lbs. I think that is where I would be happy with my body, while also maintaining a healthy amount of fat and muscle for my 5'4" frame. Although that is my ultimate goal, I know I won't reach that goal in just 45 days by the wedding date. That goal is for after the wedding. It's extremely unhealthy to set extreme expectations like that in such a short amount of time.
A lot of people ask me what my secret is for losing the weight. I find the answer to this question to be incredibly convoluted, and in all honesty it isn't just one thing. My success in losing over 45 lbs doesn't get credited to ONE diet or ONE exercise. I tried a cleanse, then I tried eating clean until I hit a plateau, then I tried going full paleo until I hit a plateau, and finally at my last plateau in the final stretch of my weight loss I tried counting Macros - which is by far the most difficult method, but one that if you follow the rules you will find the most success.

Plateaus are a part of the process. It's one of those ways your body shows you how incredible it is at adapting to new changes in lifestyle. In order to continue with progress, change is necessary.

So I guess you could say the secret to my weight loss was my ability to change my routine in order to further my progress. Try things that you think you can handle. Baby steps will get you further than giant leaps in this case.

Currently with only about 7 lbs to go, I find myself at an interesting emotional state of mind. I'm not obsessing over those 7 lbs. I have a goal, and I will reach it eventually, but right now I am just enjoying where I am, versus where I used to be. I am so incredibly thankful I was able to start eating healthier and exercising when I did. I am almost exactly where I want to be for my wedding, and I can genuinely say I love the way I look in my dress. I was able to pick a style of dress that I never would have dreamed of wearing just 2 years ago.
Sure I still have my insecurities. Those will always be there, but instead of those insecurities telling me I CAN'T wear something, I simply look and add that to my goals. "At my next dress fitting, I will make sure my arms are more toned. I will work on more back exercises.... "

Positive thoughts.

Positive thoughts are one of the biggest rewards I've been able to enjoy with this new life. I can see a challenge, accept it, and work on bettering myself - rather than beating myself up.

The main thing I'm taking away from being in "The last 10 lbs stage" is that not matter how long those lbs take, I'm happy with myself. I am proud of my progress and sticking to it. I'm happy with my wrinkly skin that hasn't quite sprung back from the excess weight. It's a reminder of where I came from.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Beach Day

Sunday was the first beach day of summer. It was a glorious day.
It was perfect weather, and the water was actually warm enough to swim in without having to "get used to it" – if you know what I mean.

It was wonderful, but all that time in the sun sure takes it out of you. I swam a lot yesterday and bodysurfed in the waves, which were absolutely HUGE, and it took a lot out of me.

In all honesty I'm exhausted, but in a great way. Monday is getting better, the further along it goes. I'm slowly regaining my energy back.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Favorites...

So there are a few new discoveries I've made during this lovely IIFYM  macro-counting adventure. Amongst all the chicken-and-broccoli eating fests, I've found a few go-to treats that really have been keeping me sane and feeling like i'm getting something truly delicious, without throwing my progress out the window.

You see, coffee and chocolate are the two things you will NEVER see me give up. Okay, when I am pregnant someday I know I know, no coffee... but until then, don't even try to take it away from me!

My newest obsession is this little coffee place down the street from my work called lucky llama. They have almond milk (major kudos to them for having that!!!) AND they have coconut syrup. Um, coconut latte with almond milk every day please!!!!

And then there's the chocolate. Oh the chocolate...

Every now and then my typical veggie and egg white scramble can get a little boring. Just like anyone else, sometimes I need something sweet for breakfast, but I just can't bring myself to eat a donut, so this little concoction was what I came up with: Black bean brownie granola bowl!!

Holy moly is it good.

Basically I use trader joes honey greek yogurt (about 75-100grams), 1-2 black bean brownies, 1/4 cup granola, and 1-2 tsp almond butter.

mix that baby up with a spoon and you've got yourself dessert for breakfast!!

I've been using these two little treats as my go-to sweet fixes or the past couple of weeks and have still been seeing major results in my fat loss progress. I can have my chocolate cake and eat it too? and still lose weight? score!!!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

IIFYM - 4 week progress

It's been about 4 weeks since I started counting my macros. I have to say this system really does work when you take it seriously and do what you're supposed to. I'd say about 5 our of 7 days a week I am hitting my macros within 3 grams - just like I was told to. I am also able to drink water like nobody's business.... and you know what? I'm down 4.7 lbs in 4 weeks. That is more than I could have ever expected. I thought for sure it was going to be about 1/2 lb a week... this has been an excellent experience.
Not to say it hasn't been difficult. I went to a summer solstice parade over the weekend and while everyone else ate pizza, popcorn, sandwiches and funnel cake... I was eating chicken, broccoli and a quest bar out of my tupperware.

But I currently weigh 144.8 lbs.

I used to weigh 185.


I don't care about the pizza, or the funnel cake. Once my lunch was eaten, I went right back to ejoying myself and forgetting that I was any different than the rest of my friends.

Food doesn't own you. Yes it is delicious, but good food is delicious too. You just have to teach yourself to think that way.

Only 5-6 lbs to go, 109 days until the wedding.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

If It Fits Your Macros....

For some time now I have been following some women on instagram that have lost a significant amount of weight and managed to seriously reduce their body fat % by counting macros. When I first saw the hashtag #IIFYM - my only thought was, what the heck are macros anyway? After some research I found a lot of useful information on this site:, and realized that I was doing a pretty similar thing to counting macros, but not quite. After some general guidance and customizing of my macros, I decided to give this macro counting a solid try.

I started 10 days ago at 149.8 lbs and weighed in this morning at 146.2 lbs!! I think it's safe to say this is working. Though I do believe the initial 3.5 lbs is probably mostly water weight... but still.

Here is my one week progress picture.
I realize the lighting is different and I am wearing different clothing, but I can see a difference in definition in my abs, and my clothes are starting to loosen up as well.

Lessons learned from week 1 of counting my macros:

1. Drinking 1 gallon of water a day changes everything!!! I sweat more during my workouts, meaning I am able to flush out more toxins from my body, and I am more hydrated. I haven't touched my chap stick in 3 days!!!

2. Measuring cups work well with liquids, but with veggies and other awkwardly shaped items, weigh them. It is WAY more accurate.

3. There are days where I feel like I'm a little deprived, and then there are days where I feel like I am eating SO MUCH FOOD.... and it's awesome. I find that days where I try to keep the fatty foods (like almond butter and cooking oils) to a minimum, I have a lot more leeway with meals and how much I can eat.

4. Eggs, chicken and sweet potatoes are your BEST friend! Also, anything green!!

5. Carbs are NOT the enemy. This is probably my biggest eye opener. I was clearly not eating enough carbs... and I mean the good kind. I am still trying to eat mostly gluten and grain free, but I will have the occasional quinoa and brown rice pasta or whole wheat tortilla for my breakfast wrap. My workouts are so much better now that I am getting an adequate amount of carbs.

6. Cheats aren't the end of the world. If I go over my calories... I don't beat myself up. I log it and move on. I wake up the next morning like it's a fresh start.

7. 1 serving of 65% Cacao Chocolate chips in the evenings is my saving grace.

* * * * * * * * * *

I will warn any of you thinking that this is easy, it is definitely not. I had to buy a food scale and weigh all of my proteins and veggies.... I am supposed to weigh everything, but I'm still getting there. I've learned so much about how much something weighs and realized just how off I was when I was just eyeballing it before I got my scale. It's hard to weigh certain things, and I am still getting used to preparing ALL of my food, including snacks, coffee and dessert. Also, drinking that much water takes some serious thought for me... sometimes I forget and I end up chugging to catch up with where I should be for the day. It is so much to keep track of, but it's all going to be worth it. I can already tell it is going to be worth it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Arms & Abs workout

Lately I've been really trying to build some shoulder and arm definition. In the past I had always been one of those women that was worried about looking too bulky and lifting too heavy, but after reading countless studies about how women physically CAN'T get bulky like males can due to the hormone differences in our physical make-up, I decided to give this "heavy lifting' a shot... and soon enough, some results started happening!
Now this is the muscle definition I was hoping for! Less jiggle, more tone... :)

Lately my workouts have been a little more weight driven, with a few cardiovascular exercises thrown in the mix, mostly to let my arms and shoulders recover (sort of)

Today, my workout looked like this:

Warm Up:

10 min Stair Stepper

Main Set:

4 sprints up 2 flights of stairs
(I happen to have these at work next to our company fitness center)

10 lateral dumbbell raise

10 frontal dumbbell raise

10 overhead dumbbell shoulder press

5 burpees

10 overhead tricep press

10 dumbbell bench rows each arm

10 dumbbell floor press – elbows in

5 burpees

20 step-ups on bench

10 dumbbell bench press

10 machine rows

10 machine pull-downs
30 second plank
REPEAT 3 times

(Finished up this by doing a few laps of walking lunges and kettle bell swings!)

* * * * * *

This workout had my arms feeling like noodles!! My legs didn't feel too shabby either. I am starting to separate out my cardio on different days so I can fit in more weight training on the days that I lift. So far, I'd say it's been a successful plan!
I followed up my workout with a delicious lunch: Chicken, sweet potato and cauliflower rice!! This was such a good lunch and I was so full once it disappeared. I'm kind of trying out a new eating style.... I've started counting macros, and it's got me eating a lot more food than I am used to in order to build muscle and lose body fat... I plan on doing a separate post about that!

Happy Wednesday!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

CPR / AED Certified!!!!

The other day I took a little trip down to Thousand Oaks to get Certified in CPR and AED. I successfully learned how to resuscitate an adult, child and infant.
I feel so incredibly useful now that I know how to do CPR and use an AED.
There is a BIG reason I went to get certified in CPR and AED... I am studying to become a personal trainer. Yep, I said it. I've been going through the online training course offered by NASM. It's been very challenging, and I'm currently in the home stretch. Only two more months of studying until I take my exam.

Here we go!!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

My new obsession with spinning

I never thought I would ever say this, but I LOVE SPINNING.

I used to go to my old gym and see those poor souls in that room full of bikes and think to myself Why on earth do they do that? It looks like torture! – In a way it kind of is, but it feels so good. Workouts always start very hard for me, but then my body kicks into gear and it becomes hard for me to stop.

A few weeks ago, during all of my ankle issues, I was looking for cardio options that wouldn't put too much strain on my ankle, but would still give me a good sweat and calorie burn. I took to the spin class at my gym, and as hard as it is, I really really love it. I can already see a difference in my legs and it causes absolutely ZERO pain in my ankle. WIN.
Last night I went to my 5:45 spin class and decided, out of mere curiosity, to wear my heart rate monitor to see what my heart is at during this challenging class AND to see about how many calories I am burning during a typical session. I went through an hour of spin, and Dave and I decided to do a little arm workout with the ropes afterward.
We were only messing around for about 20 minutes when I looked down at my calorie burn and my eyes nearly popped out of my head.
900 calories. Holy moly. Now I love Spin even more!!! HAHA
Seriously though, I highly recommend this workout for cardio. It's a great way to get a sweat on without too much impact on knees or ankles that might be hurting... also, you can adjust your own resistance to make the workout as hard or as easy as you want. I like that kind of variety. :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Corporate Games 5K

A few weeks back I participated in our Corporate Games 5K, despite having somewhat of a bum ankle. I figured 3 miles is about my limit, and the faster I run, the better my ankle feels (really body, really?) So I decided to go through with it, of course with no high expectations - especially when I arrived and saw hundreds upon hundreds of participants.

So we arrived, checked in, warmed up and RAN! It was the most exhausting 5K I've ever run because I was running the first half of the race at about an 80% effort (in fitness running terms, 100% is an all-out sprint). By the third mile my ankle was really starting to hurt and I had to come to that realization that continuing to run at this pace just wasn't worth a possible serious injury like a stress fracture or something... so I backed off quite a bit and just went back to a regular jog for the last mile.

As good as my intentions were about backing off the throttle a bit for the sake of my ankle, it turns out I finished 6th overall in my age group. 6th!!!! Then I started to kick myself for not running a little faster for that last mile... I would have gotten a medal had I placed 3rd or higher! Darn!

All-in-all our team did a great job. Four out of the seven BEGA runners got a medal in their age group, which is an awesome result for the team. We are heros in the office now! Hehehe

Update on the ankle: It is still very much injured. I am not limping, but the pain in my ankle during and after running is about a 4, which is not bad, but it's not great. I decided to defer my half marathon entry to the 2015 race, which was very disappointing, but at the same time, a weight is kind of lifted off my shoulders. I can just focus on fitness and rehabilitation of my ankle for now, which is nice.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Injuries, Running and Thoughts on KT tape...

I've had what I believe is Plantar Fasciitis for about 2 months now. I signed up for my first half marathon a few months back and immediately started planning out my running training. I got myself up to 6 miles (which was still at the beginning stage for me since I had already been running a lot) and somehow strained something in my ankle or arch. I've been stretching it, massaging it and icing it for the past 2 months and taking it very easy on the running. Literally for the last 3 weeks I haven't run at all. I've been doing stair climbing exercises in replacement of my running cardio because just about any running for more than 1.5 miles just aggravates the injury. It's been a very frustrating road and I am losing patience with it... especially since my half marathon is in only 4 weeks, and I still can't run further than 3 miles without pain.
So, that led me to KT tape. I've seen so many fitness bloggers and instagrammers and even people at the Spartan Races wearing this stuff and swearing by it... so I decided to give it a try. Heck, if this stuff could help me cross the finish line at my half marathon I was more than happy to spend the $19 to give it a go....
Here is my first attempt at wrapping for Plantar Faciitis according to their website video tutorial. At least it looks cute in pink....
But, I didn't notice a difference. Not a single difference. In fact, about 2 miles into my run, I even started to feel the tape peeling off... separating from my skin... kind of like when a bandaid gets wet. Once that started to happen all the support the tape was providing went out the window, along with my hopes that this was really the answer to my problem. By mile 3, the pain I usually feel at this distance was very much there in my ankle and I finished my 5K run disappointed. My ankle is still hurting in the SAME place it usually does after about 3 miles... tape or no tape.

Needless to say I am a little disheartened at this point. I don't honestly know how I am going to be able to run 13.1 miles in just 4 short weeks, I may actually end up having to transfer my registration to a friend, since I don't want to end up seriously injuring my ankle just trying to finish. I don't know what to do and it is super frustrating. I will continue to give this tape a try, at least until I go through the first roll. May as well use it right?

Has anyone out there ever experienced an ongoing injury like this? I don't like resting, and not being able to run is driving me crazy. I feel like I've tried everything. :(

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Warrior Dash weekend...

Last weekend Dave and I went on a little mud run date. We ran the Warrior Dash in San Dimas - about an hour and a half away from home. Last year we got a promo email to try this mud run out, and it sounded like fun, so we signed up. Well we finally went, and it turned out to be a blast. It went by incredibly fast, we finished the run in around 30 minutes. I remember crawling through the mud pit and turning around to see the FINISH line and said, "That's it? We're done!!" I guess we are getting faster! :)

Dave and I had a blast on the obstacles, which were more challenging than we expected. I discovered I am no good at monkey bars. Something I need to work on. This photo was taken before a pretty nasty-looking fall from that second bar...
 Dave had no issues with them. 
Of course there were the fun obstacles like the slide and the fire jump,
which always make for good photos. 
And then there was MUD.... 
This was probably one of my favorite locations to run. Most runs we have done have taken place in remote, dry desert areas and have been really dusty. This location was lush, green and had amazing views of the nearby lake at the top of the hills we had to hike. I really enjoyed the Warrior Dash and would totally do it again. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

A grand return....

Hello again. Sorry for the absence during the month of March. A LOT has been happening since our engagement, and I feel like we just haven't stopped and relaxed at all.... but I realized the other day that I had completely neglected my blog during a time that I would most likely want to look back on and have documentation. So here I am.... coming back.

Not a lot has changed, other than the beautiful ring on my finger, and the impending nuptials in October, and all the planning of that in between. HAHA. I have a whole new reason to get as fit as I possibly can - the forever photos of our wedding day!

Since our engagement we have found a ceremony and reception venue, which is absolutely amazing. We have also found a photographer... who also took our engagement photos, which we absolutely love!! We designed our own save-the-date magnets and they should be here on Monday....
... You could say that in a month and a half, we've been pretty productive on the wedding front. :)

Other than that we've been staying busy going on hikes, hanging with friends and stepping our workouts up a notch.... hey, it's for the wedding!
I've decided that for the wedding instead of focusing on building muscle, I am going to focus on losing fat, which means a little more high-intensity cardio for this gal. I've been taking my favorite aerobic boxing class a couple times a week and have recently been introduced to spinning, which I love to hate... HAHA
My friends are such goobers.... we almost never take the normal smiley pictures together.... our wedding photos should be interesting. ;)

Dave and I have been so busy and wedding-stressed lately that we've been making a conscious effort to spend some quality couple-time together to NOT talk about the wedding... just to be us, and to remind ourselves of why we belong together. These little dates have been nice, and I highly recommend doing this sort of thing if you are planning a wedding... or really during any stressful time. Wine always helps too! :)

Ok, so I am officially back... and hoping to fill this blog with lots of fun wedding workouts, outings... and OH we are going on a little "mud run date" tomorrow. Hooray!!