Plan of Action: Friday

So, my plan of action is not turning out the way I had hoped.  I am still up this morning…in fact, I am up even from yesterday.  That puts me a full five pounds over my lowest weight (199.2).  This girl is getting more than a little ticked off at this point.  Every day that passes, I am finding it harder and harder to take this lightly and make myself believe it is just muscle and/or water weight.

I have eaten well all week (which includes logging everything).  I have been in the gym all week.  I have lifted weights.  I have done cardio.  I have been a stretching fool (which is another element I usually push to the back burner).  This has been a great week…except the scale is not complying with my efforts.  Why?

Yesterday’s plan of action workout was changed when I hit the gym last night.  I was standing near the front desk talking with Dorsey for a minute.  Out of nowhere, Dorsey says, “Erica.  We should go do Zumba!”  And so we did.  We popped on into the class and danced.  I always loved Zumba (despite the pain)…but my love affair was cut short by the osteoarthritis in my left knee.  Boo.  Last night was the first night I wandered back into class since.  Michelle (instructor) was happy to see me, but quickly called me out in the middle of class as I was jumping along with her.  In a way it is nice that they all take time to know me (including my ailments/injuries) and care enough to remind me about being careful.  In another way I find it frustrating…like, “Leave me alone and let me have fun.”  I know they have my best interests in mind, though…and I love them for it.

Today’s plan of action workout:
-stretch
-sprints
-lift off lunges
-side planks with arm extension
-tai chi side lunges
-lateral stepups with kick
-glute bridge with tricep extension
-REPEAT
-ab chopper with oblique twist
-leg climbs
-bicycle crunches
-REPEAT
-20 mins either spin or Neil
-stretch

That should give me another hour or so in the gym tonight.  Wish my deltoids were not as sore as they are right now.  I would have loved to truly do a “whole body” day instead of a mostly-lower-body kind of day.  Oh well.

What kind of workouts are your favorite (and why)?

-Erica

Plan of Action: Thursday

There is something to be said about *not* weighing yourself every single day.  Weight can fluctuate quite a bit from one day to the next.  All of that being said, though, I am growing ever so frustrated with my stupid scale.

This morning I was UP FOUR POUNDS from yesterday.  I ate well yesterday – yogurt, whole wheat pita pockets, alfalfa sprouts, orange pepper, oatmeal – all good things.  I did my fitness evaluation with Denise last night, so I moved around, too.  I could scream and throw that thing out the dang window, I will tell you that right now.

Anyway, not focusing on that today…moving forward:

Fitness Evaluation Measurements
Neck – 13.25″ (-.25)
Shoulders – 41.25″ (-.25)
Arms – 15″ & 15″ (-2)
Bust – 44″ (-2)
Waist (natural) – 34″ (same)
Waist (bellybutton) – 37″ (-2.5)
Hips – 47.5 (-2.5)
Thighs – 26.5″ & 26.5″ (-2.5)
Calves – 17.25″ & 17″ (-1.75)

With these recent measurements included, I have lost 101 inches since last year!  That is absolutely insane!  That is almost 8.5 FEET off of my body!  Amazing.

I must admit, though, looking at numbers like that makes it harder to be angry at the scale.  Especially when I know I ate well yesterday.  I know, with absolute certainty, I did not consume an excess of 14,000 calories to really gain four pounds of fat.  I know it.  It does still sting, though.

So, for today’s plan of action workout:

Cardio…and more cardio

I will be dedicating one hour of my life to nothing but cardio today.  That will likely be a combination of spin and Neil.  Although I am really going to try to do one hour on the spin bike.  I think the longest I have gone (so far) is about 35 minutes or so…so we will see.

If my entire body were not sore, I would be lifting weights again tonight.  The legs are still sore from Tuesday, and my delts and biceps are on fire from pushups last night with Denise.

Do you measure?  If so, does that help you cope with any increases you may see on your scale?

-Erica

Plan of Action: Wednesday

I think I need new batteries in my scale…or maybe just a brand new one.  That thing is really starting to frustrate the…everything…out of me.  This morning it could not make up its mind whether I weighed 199.4 or something closer to 202.  I weighed myself probably more than a dozen times and did not get the same reading more than twice.  It was all over the place.  Irritating.  Really.

So, despite that ridiculous thing, I feel good this morning.  My legs are feeling slightly sore…especially my hamstrings and up into my tush.  Last night’s workout was good.  I was sweating like crazy and my legs were wobbly like jell-O by the time I was finished.

I did realize; however, I need to work on balance.  Still.  Those alternating single-leg deadlifts with kettlebells were *HARD* for me to complete.  Only for balance, though.  My cousin was thoroughly entertained as I kept wobbling and teetering through two sets of those things.  Actually, by the second set my legs were trembling – making them even harder – and I quit before completing all reps of them.  I am mad at myself for doing that, but honestly, I was getting no benefit out of them at that point.  I was getting so worked up that my form was going straight out the window.  So, those will be making another appearance in my routine soon – and often.

As for the plan of action workout today…I do not have one.  I actually have an hour-long appointment with Denise tonight, so the workout will be up to her.  I will certainly be sure to share what she has me doing, though.  Oh – and I have my fitness evaluation tonight, too.  That means measurements.  I always get excited (but very nervous) to get measured.  So, I will be sure to share those results with you all tomorrow.

What is your plan for today?

-Erica

Plan of Action: Tuesday

I must admit I am feeling good this morning.  Positive.  Yesterday’s plan of action went well.  I ate great food and I worked out hard.  The scale complied with my wishes and showed a loss, too.  I am still not back to 199.2, but I am ever so close.

This morning I ate a small banana and had oatmeal with cinnamon and cloves.  I harvested a bell pepper from my garden this morning, so I am looking forward to snack time.

As for my scheduled workout:

-stretch
-sprints
-grand plie squats with rotation
-curtsy squat with leg lifts
-deadlifts with barbell
-front lunge with push off
-alternate deadlifts with kettlebell
-glute bridge march
-hydrant extensions
-calf raises on step
-bent leg pumps
-REPEAT
-star crunches
-weighted russian twists
-weighted raised-legs crunches
-REPEAT
-stretch

That will be another hour or so in the gym for me this evening.  I am seriously looking forward to it.

In other news, Maggie (my cousin) finally got a job last night…working at my gym!  She is so super excited (this is her first job…ever), and I am thoroughly excited for her!  She will only be working part-time for now (M-F 5 to 8 PM).  That will; however, give me an excuse to be at the gym Monday through Friday from 5 to 8 PM, though, right?!

How is your day shaping up?

-Erica

Plan of Action: Monday

I was up again this morning.  That is going to get frustrating *really* fast.  Again, though, I know I have not consumed enough “extra” calories to truly justify these pounds.  I still find it completely irritating, though.

So, here is today’s plan of action workout:

-stretch
-sprints
-lunge with shoulder cross
-lateral raises
-bicep curls
-sprint
-plank walk overs with platform
-lat pull down
-cobra pushups
-sprint
-tricep pushdowns (over-hand and under-hand grip)
-REPEAT
-leg circles
-side planks with rotation
-oblique v-crunches
-Pfeiffer scissors
-sprints
-REPEAT
-stretch

That should give me about an hour or so worth of gym time this evening.  I am looking forward to it…all except that Mondays are always packed.  I suppose it is because people eat garbage over the weekend and rush to the gym Monday to try and control the damage.  Maybe.

For breakfast today I had a small banana and vanilla yogurt with almonds and cinnamon.  A snack is in order here in a few…and lunch later.  I bought fresh kale yesterday and some colorful peppers, so I am excited for lunch.  Very excited!

What is your day going to look like today?

-Erica

Weigh Day (week fifty-three)

“There’s a first time for everything.”

That is a saying that comes to mind today.  Today is a first for me (as far as I can remember, anyway).  When I weighed in today, I was UP from last week.  I do believe that in 53 weeks this is the first time that has happened.

200.2

I would be totally hysterical right now, but I have a funny feeling I know exactly why I am up.  Let me count the ways:

1. I lifted heavy weights this week with very little (to no) cardio.

2. I stopped logging my food in my journal (big no-no!).

3. I was in the gym only twice this week (Monday and Wednesday).

4. I ate a very good dessert yesterday at a family reunion…and I do not feel bad about it, nor do I regret it.

I am coming to understand that my body is *extremely* sensitive to lifting weights.  Monday I lifted on my own (focusing solely on my arms and shoulders), and I ate well.  Tuesday morning’s weigh in had me up several pounds.  I knew I had not eaten an excess of 14,000 calories to truly pack on those pounds, though.  So, I was not worried.  Wednesday morning’s weigh in had me down a couple of those pounds from Tuesday.  That night I focused on strength training with Denise.  Thursday I was back up a little over a pound from Wednesday.  I was also *extremely* sore Thursday and Friday…and Saturday.  My legs took a beating with Denise.  Yesterday had me back down a couple pounds (hovering right around 199.6 to 200.6).  After yesterday’s sedentary nature (sitting around with family…and tables full of food), I knew I was not going to drop under that 199.2 from last week.

In one way, I do find it frustrating that I am not down for the week.  However, in another way, I find it almost absurd to beat myself up over this.  First of all, I am up only a bit.  Second of all, I know that at least part of that is muscle…has to be.  So, for this week I am going to cut myself some slack (very little, mind you) and we will see what next week shows (which better be a loss).

My plan of action:

1. I will be in the gym every day this week.
2. I will be careful not to let cardio go unnoticed again.
3. I will start logging food again (seriously cannot believe I stopped doing this).

With those three things in place, I should be back on the road down by the end of the week, and I will be able to take this hiccup in stride.

How do you handle hiccups in your path?

-Erica

Happy Healthy-versary!

Today officially marks one whole year I have been striving/working toward a healthier lifestyle.  What a crazy year this has been!  Excitement, disappointment, anger, joy, desperation, and every other emotion in between has been experienced this year!  I would like to think the happy/joyful moments have outweighed the frustration and anger, though.  I certainly have a lot to be happy about, seriously.

I have gone from 315 pounds to 199.2 in one year (115.8 pounds lost).
I have gone from a size 28W to a 14/16 in one year.
I have gone from being in pain 24/7 to moving freely and comfortable in one year.
I have gone from miserable to pretty dang happy in one year.

This time last year I had a brace on my ankle.  I absolutely *could not* walk without that brace.  My back was *always* killing me.  I was constantly having headaches.  I was depressed and miserable.  My heart condition was running my life.  I wore only 3X T-shirts and stretchy pants.  I thought I would be fat forever.

Today I could not even tell you where that brace is because I have not needed it in such a long time (nor will I ever again).  My back *never* hurts.  I cannot recall the last time I had a headache.  I think it is safe to say I am no longer depressed, and I am certainly not miserable.  My heart condition has improved *dramatically* to the point where I can actually *live* my life without worrying so much about it.  I can wear most large T-shirts (not even XL) and I am actually wearing real jeans right now.  I know I will never be fat again.

I cried today.  In public.  I was out with my cousin, Maggie, and we were browsing through Rookwood Commons.  She was on the hunt for a job, and I was just along for the window shopping.  We stopped into Eddie Bauer, and I looked around while she filled out the application.  As I rummaged through their clearance racks I had a fleeting thought… “This time last year they would have shooed me out of here immediately because there would be absolutely *nothing* in this store that would fit me.”  I found a pair of size 16 jeans.  They were marked all the way down to $8.00 (can you believe that?!), so I just had to try them on.  They fit, folks.  They fit.  Eddie Bauer jeans fit my booty.  It was such an exhilarating feeling to be able to walk into a store like that and actually find clothes that fit. Me.

As I walked to the counter I began to tear up.  I could not help myself.  I turned to Maggie and said, “This is the first time in my entire adult life I have *ever* been able to walk into a store (other than Wal-Mart), pick something off the rack (that is not stretchy), and have it actually fit me.”  The lady behind the counter actually came out and around to hug me.  She said she was proud of me (never met her before, by the way) and she even got a little teary-eyed.  What an incredible moment that was.

The people I have met over the last year have made all the difference.  There is a saying out there somewhere about positive things happening in one’s life if one surrounds him/herself with positive people/things.  That is certainly true.  I have never had more positive people in my life, and I have never had so many positive things going on.  Denise, of course, is a huge driving force in my life.  She has changed my everyday life in such profound ways.  All the other trainers at the gym (Dorsey, Aaron, Ketrell, etc.) have contributed too.  Without them I would not have come *nearly* this far in one year.  I love them, and I am looking forward to another year with them.

I know I still have quite a bit of road left to travel, but I have come *so* far.  I also now know I can do it.  Whatever *it* may be, I have this.  I will get to where I want to be…regardless of what it takes, or how long.

I have only one regret.  I wish to hell and back I would have taken a picture (full body) of myself on this day last year.  I would absolutely give anything to be able to really *see* what kind of changes my body has undergone in a year.  Too late for that now, though, I will just have to take everyone else’s word for it.

Looking back over the last year…how has your life changed?  Are you happy with the kind of changes that have occurred in your life over the last year?  If not, what steps can/will you take to improve your life in the coming year?

-Erica

Weigh Day (week fifty-two)

This is my 52nd week weighing in.  It is absolutely insane to think how much things have changed since my first weigh in.  Of course, today does not mark (officially) one year since I began this journey.  That will happen on Tuesday (July 10th).

This week has been fairly boring.  I went to the gym a few days for cardio, but since Wednesday was a holiday my weekly training appointment was missing.  I lifted a *tiny* bit of weight this week, but nothing that even made me remotely sore the next day.  Bummer.

As for my weigh in…are you ready for this?

199.2

A 2.2-pound loss from last week.  Can you dig that?!  I am *finally* under 200 pounds!  This is the first time I have been under 200 pounds since I was a teenager!  Seriously.  To say I am excited would be the understatement of the year.  Elated.  Speechless.  Excited.  And so much more.

Going forward things are going to change a bit, I think.  I still have weight to lose, of course.  My initial goal weight is 185 pounds, so I still need to lose 14.2 to get there.  However, instead of focusing solely on the weight loss, I may start getting more into lifting weights…building the lean mass.  I know this will (in a sense) stall, or significantly hinder, the numbers dropping on the scale.  However, I want to make sure when the weight comes off, my body looks good…and toned (and strong) muscles is what I need for that.

Over the last couple months I have been lifting less and less…and doing more cardio and endurance exercises.  And I have been fine with that, of course.  I want to lose the weight, and I want my endurance to be high.  Now, though, that I have relatively little weight to lose (compared to what I had to lose before), it makes sense to really kick it up on the weight-lifting front again.

This will also give me an opportunity to put some things I am learning into practice.  In order to build a lean, toned muscle structure, you need to work toward myofibril failure.  That means lifting 80-85% of your 1RM (the absolute most amount of weight you can successfully lift only once).  With such a heavy, intense weight I will be limiting to only 4 to 6 repetitions.  This will do a couple things: build muscle (of course), and strengthen/increase my fast twitch fibers.  That is something I really want also.  As of right now, I am mostly slow twitch (endurance).  I want that explosive, raw strength…and that comes from fast twitch muscle fibers.

Please do not be mistaken…I am not looking to be a body builder.  I am not looking to bench press 150+ pounds.  I just want to be lean, toned, and strong…for a girl.

So, this week I will be determining what my 1RM is for various exercises and developing a plan to maximize my weight lifting.  That is my short-term goal for the week.  Of course, my longer-term goal is still to get these last 14.2 pounds off this body.  My goal is to accomplish that within the next two months (by September 1st).  The other longer-term goal I am working toward is, of course, to get my personal training certification.  That should be right around September 1st as well.

What short- and long-term goals are you working toward right now?

-Erica

Just Checking In

I have had my face buried in books quite a bit lately…not stacked quite this high, of course (thank goodness).  My brain is soaking up so much information…and I have only read through five chapters in my personal training certification manual.  It is a ton of information.  Really.

I can now successfully name all the major muscle groups in the entire body and even smaller muscles (that serve as antagonist, synergistic, or stabilizer muscles to major ones).  I can also successfully name all the bones in the body (that I am required to know).  This girl can even tell you what ribosomes do…and where they can be found in the body (myofibrils, in case you wanted to know where to find them).  Look at me go!

The heat.  It is awful.  I forgot how much I hate the summer.  Hate it.  Here in Cincinnati it is 99 and muggy.  We do not have central air here in the house, so these poor window units are struggling to even take the slightest edge off of that kind of heat.  I will say; however, the summer heat and humidity are easier on my 200-pound body than they were last year on my 315-pound body.  I still feel icky, though, but less likely to complain incessantly about it.

My one year anniversary is coming up on Tuesday (July 10th).  As my fellow blogger, J, mentioned in a recent post, the time has both flown and crawled.  An interesting mix.  I have been reflecting on the past year quite a bit as I inch closer to that milestone.  The changes that have been made are incredible…staggering, even.  I would *never* have guessed my life (my body) would be what it is today.  Of course, I still have quite a bit of path left in front of me to travel as well.  Although, I must admit…I look forward to it much more than I did this time last year.

How is your week going so far?  Any big milestones coming your way?

-Erica

Weigh Day (week fifty-one)

My, how time has gotten away from me!  It has (unfortunately) been two weeks since my last weigh in post.  Life has been *insane* – to say the least.  My 17-year-old cousin, Maggie, has moved in with me to attend college in the fall.  So, we have spent the last couple weeks attending informational seminars at various campuses, filling out applications, meeting with financial aid advisors (and admissions advisors, now that she has decided which school she will attend), scouring Craigslist for furniture for her room, searching for available positions at the local businesses (girlie needs a job), and so much more!  It has been exhausting, but a delight.  I am happy that I am able to help her get her life started.

All of this; however, means my schedule has been seriously interrupted.  Seriously.  I am finding that keeping an accurate food journal is nearly impossible when I am almost never home.  I am finding that keeping up with my regular weigh day posting schedule is nearly impossible when I am almost never home (and completely exhausted when I am home).  Between Maggie and studying for my PT certification…and, of course, working out…and my chicklets…and everything else.  This girl is pretty much tapped out.

I will say this, though, thank goodness I am not still 315 pounds!  I would *never* have been able to physically handle this crazy, busy lifestyle at that weight!  Seriously.

The down side is that I missed my June goal of being under 200 pounds.  Boo!  I was *really* wanting to see 19X on the scale before July 1st.  I was convinced it was going to happen because I was at 201.4 just two days after my last weigh in.  However, the very next day I bounced back up to 203, and 204 the day after that.  Frustration setting in…believe me.  Then I went back down to 202, and then 201.4 again.  Yesterday I even weighed in at 201.2, but this morning I was back to 201.4.  Sigh.

Despite being away from home quite a bit, I have been eating well (meaning eating foods that are typical of my daily life…and not eating out).  I will admit I am probably snacking more than usual…but I am busier than usual (and truly feeling hungry more than usual because of it).  Maybe the heat has something to do with the fluctuation?  Fluid retention and dehydration?  Maybe?  I seriously have no idea.  One thing I do know, though, is I have had enough of the 200’s.  I am ready to see 19X on the scale!

I am hoping this week will bring me closer to my regular schedule.  Now that we have Maggie’s school worked out and she has met with them,  I think life will begin to calm back down.  Hopefully.

How has life been treating you over the last couple weeks?

-Erica