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Posts Tagged ‘weight loss’

Despite a general aversion to most things mathematical, I sometimes have a thing for numbers.

(And before anybody goes all “girls can do math, too” on me, I didn’t say I wasn’t any good at math. I made a B in college calculus, and I totally rock a balanced checking account. I CAN do it, but sometimes I’d rather not calculate the square footage of my back yard. You know how big my back yard is? TOO big.)

I have to be careful with numbers in the fitness arena, however, lest my “thing” for them becomes an obsession. I don’t weight every day, or every week, usually, as I’ve learned that constant monitoring isn’t very helpful OR very accurate.

Cue my surprise earlier this week, when, after a two-month regimen of running and relatively healthy eating in addition to a slightly downscaled weightlifting routine, I found that I had actually GAINED two pounds since February.

Nothing fits more tightly, mind you, and at least one pair of jeans actually seems a bit looser in the upper leg area. I can only conclude that my body packs on muscle more efficiently than I knew it could.

More muscle in the same amount of space — or slightly less space — equals two pounds. Fine. But it’s not exactly making me feel dainty.

Then again, maybe it’s simply time to redefine the definition of “dainty.” Or simply forget about feeling dainty in favor of feeling strong.

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How weird to be in the middle of a food trend and not realize it.

I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of processed food in my family’s diet for the past few years. I was unemployed for a few months when we first moved to Huntsville, so I started cooking a lot to try to save money and fill time. And not Hamburger Helper-type cooking, either. I’m talking from-scratch cooking, as in grate your own cheese (melts so much better than pre-shredded) and making your own meatloaf spice mixture (because have you READ the ingredients on those little flavoring packets?). The salad spinner became a permanent resident in the fridge, always filled with fresh (and local, when available) greens.

We didn’t give up EVERY processed food, mind you. There may or may not be a multipack of frozen pizzas from Costco in my freezer right now. The peanut butter that the husband eats every day is incredibly hydrogenated (I’d go bankrupt trying to feed him the real stuff). I don’t make my own mayonnaise, although I should make my own salad dressing.

So I’m not claiming that we’re dietary saints. But we’ve both maintained our weight for the past five years despite some substantial lapses in workouts, and we’ve put a significant dent in the number of colds and other odd viruses that haunt so many households. Coincidence? Maybe, but I’ll take it.

We find ourselves in the middle of the Real Food Movement. Come on in. It’s delicious.

I rescued a copy of The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite from my mom’s Goodwill box a few months ago and just got around to reading it. Author David A. Kessler explores, among other things, how utterly processed the average American diet is. The food industry exists to sell us cheaply manufactured goods that make us want to eat more, no matter how much sugar, fat and salt it takes to get us hooked.

I spotted a title at Barnes & Noble this weekend that actually distracted me from the Harry Potter table: Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food: Kick Your Fake Food Habit, Kickstart Your Weight Loss. Author Christine Avanti explores factory food addiction and how her move to fresh, real foods helped her lose weight and, more importantly, maintain her weight. I didn’t pick up the book because, I told myself, I’m not trying to lose weight OR fill up my bookshelves right now, but I’m very curious to read Avanti’s findings.

The thing about (who knew?) being part of the Real Food Movement for the past couple of years? I can now often taste the difference between processed foods and real foods. For example, I can taste the excessive sugar in jars of spaghetti sauce — there’s only one variety I can really stand to eat now, and the husband’s not fond of it. The flavor of salt in canned soup is getting overwhelming — heck, I can taste salt in one variety of CHEESE now, prompting me to replace it with another.

So, as anticlimactic as it may be, my New Year’s Resolution is to keep following the Real Food path. I’ll also be changing up my exercise routine (more on that later), but mostly I’ll continue figuring out how to feed the husband and myself quality, delicious foods and get further away from the “better living through chemistry” theme that has overtaken our food industry for the past few decades.

To that end, I’m afraid the pantry is about to lose two longstanding residents. You’ve been handy, jarred spaghetti sauce and canned soup, but I can taste your additives, and I can make you better without them.

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First of all, guess what? I’m totally going to boot camp. At 5:30 a.m. Three days a week. During the kickoff of the holiday eating season.

I’m not trying to lose massive amounts of weight, although a little trim-up here and there wouldn’t go unappreciated. I really just need to get out of my fitness rut — working out by yourself often means that you stop really challenging yourself. Three sets of three different lifts, 30 minutes of cardio … meh. It turns into an uninspired check mark on the daily to-do list.

I’ve been lucky enough to inherit my maternal grandfather’s height (not ALL of it, but I’m taller than most other female relatives) and his tendency toward the slender end of the spectrum. I’m not stick-figure thin, mind you: I have curves that will grow curvier if left to their own devices.

What I want is muscles. Not big muscles, but toned muscles. And not just for display purposes. I like it when my muscles can DO things, like effortlessly move piles of books or march up the stairs two at a time. I like it when I can SEE the muscles outlined on my back and stomach, not because they’re making me look skinnier, but because they’re making me stronger.

They’re also helping me have better bones. Having watched my grandmother suffer with advanced osteoporosis, I want to do everything I can to prevent my own diagnosis.

So back to my first day at Madison Adventure Boot Camp: It was fun and difficult, very reminiscent of the workouts I completed the year that I was on the basketball team in junior high (note: tall girls may not be aggressive enough to play basketball – they may just be tall).

A workout with variety will draw me in me every time. A little jogging here, a few side squats there, some shoulder work (wait, MORE shoulder work?) … boot camp is the workout for those of us with fitness ADD.

Tomorrow’s going to be an achy-muscle kind of day, but in that good way where you can picture little bits of muscle breaking down only to rebuilt with better, stronger muscle.

One advantage I’ve already noticed: a general aversion to the office bowl of leftover Halloween candy. After all, I’m not counteracting all that early-morning work with cheap milk chocolate. (Expensive dark chocolate … maybe we’ll talk.)

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Yesterday, I discovered that I can no longer safely wear my wedding rings. Four weeks of stress has led to weight loss, and my fingers are too skinny. I haven’t seen this weight since I had a tonsillectomy at age 20.

Lucky me, I guess, except I hate shopping for clothes and don’t want to get these rings resized.

It’s not that much weight, mind you. Just enough that pants fall a little farther than they should on my hips and the rings slip right off my finger. Not that they’ve ever wanted to stay on my finger. I’m forever finding myself in the car, halfway to a destination, with the realization that the rings are back at home in the knife drawer. My ring finger, apparently, longs to be free of the bonds of matrimony, even if my heart does not.

Now that I’ve gotten used to tiny portions, my body doesn’t want much more. Add to that the fact that I work at home by myself and consider eating more of a social activity than a physical necessity, and you’ll see that I have my work cut out for me.

The journey back to ring-wearing starts today: I’m having lunch with a friend. Tomorrow, perhaps, I’ll work on getting my pants off the ground.

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