My New Fitness and Nutrition Plan

Sorry about the cliffhanger in my last post. :) I figured it would be easier to split things up instead of having one giant ramble.

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I’m turning 32 next month. The abundance of advice I have read about being in your thirties all seem to spew the same nugget of wisdom: get your health under control now, because this is when things start going south. I’ve been extremely fortunate to be in good health my entire life (knocking on some IKEA wood right now), but it’s definitely in the back of my mind that my luck will run out if I don’t take better care of myself. Eating right is the first step, but I know long-term health will depend on staying active.

I’ve never been someone who enjoys exercise.* While I grew up dancing, that never felt like exercise to me. I like to walk, but walking outside in Florida during the summer could be used as a torture method. I’ve had gym memberships over the years, but I never really knew what the heck to do with weights and found the cardio machines boring. But I think by far my biggest exercise setback is that I’m a crappy self motivator. I don’t push myself enough to make much of a difference. Plus, my exercise routines were normally only a short-term complement to whatever weight loss quick fix I was doing at the time. Fitness was never my goal.

Given the above, you can imagine my trepidation about trying out Orange Theory Fitness, a high intensity interval workout that uses a mix of treadmill, rowing, and weights. It was once described to me as “Crossfit for women,” but judging by some of the ripped guys in my classes, that is not the case. This is a kick butt workout for everyone. And it’s the type of workout I would typically have zero interest in, because I never thought I could do it.

After hearing some very positive things about Orange Theory from some very fit members, I thought what the heck. Your first class is free so it didn’t hurt to just go see what it was like. I was certain I would cry/faint/get injured/something catastrophic would happen and that would be the end of my Orange Theory experience.

Well, something surprising happened that day. I went to my first class and while I really struggled, I realized if I could stick to something this tough, I would definitely see results. I signed up for a month of Orange Theory (you can just go month-to-month rather than sign an annual contract). My goal was to go 3 times a week for a month and see how I liked it. I was still pretty confident I would weasel my way out of it at the end.

I’m almost done with week 4 of my first month, and something even more surprising has happened. I’ve not only stuck with it, but I’ve totally fallen in love with it. Not only do I leave my classes panting, sweating, and near passing out, but I also leave feeling strong and excited for the next class.

This is starting to sound like a paid infomercial. I promise this is not a paid post, I’m just a raving fan.

In addition to Orange Theory, I will also be walking 2-3 times a week. This is pretty easy to do since I work from home now and like to take walking breaks during the day.

That’s the plan for fitness. I will write a thorough review of the actual Orange Theory experience once I officially finish my first month.

As far as nutrition, I’m using My Fitness Pal to track my food. You input your age, gender, height, weight and how much weight you want to lose and it tells you how many calories you need to eat every day to hit your weight loss goal. My daily calories are 1,300, but with all of my workouts it ends up being a lot higher. After you put in your exercise, it recalculates your daily calories to account for that. For example, after burning 545 calories at Orange Theory, I got 1,856 calories for the day.

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Believe me, that feels like a ton after 26 Weight Watchers points. You can also set daily goals for your “macros” (fat/protein/carbs), so I’m aiming for 40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat each day.

I went a little nuts with protein on this day since I worked out.

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Another thing I like about My Fitness Pal is you can set a notification for it to remind you to track meals (example, I get a reminder at 9:50 am if I forget to track my breakfast, then another one at 1:50 pm if I forget to track lunch, etc.). Since I suck at tracking my food, this is a big help so far.

I can also track my weight in My Fitness Pal. I’m still not sure what I am going to do on that front. I’ve toyed around with the maybe posting my weight here once a month for accountability. I still don’t know if I want to weigh in weekly, monthly or what.

So, there’s my new plan. Nothing crazy, but a much-needed change to keep me focused and motivated.

Have you ever tried Orange Theory or used My Fitness Pal? I’d love to hear your thoughts/tips!

*I do love me some Zumba but unfortunately that doesn’t have a strength component.

The Next Phase

Ready for a bit of a shock?

I cancelled my Weight Watchers subscription last night.

I have spent the last few weeks contemplating whether or not to continue with Weight Watchers. I have barely tracked since the beginning of the year. I have also only attended a handful of Weight Watchers meetings. I’m paying almost $45/month for something I’m just not using. I haven’t gained weight back but I also haven’t been losing any more. I  felt stuck the last few months, so I’ve decided it’s time to change things up.

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Hopefully these biceps will be a little more impressive in the coming months…

 

I’ve lost 32 pounds and dropped two clothing sizes so far. I’m extremely happy about what I’ve accomplished, but I’m still about 15-20 pounds away from the weight I think will be best for me. I’ve decided on my ultimate goal at the end of all of this: I want to be in good shape. I want to be fit. I’ve put so much focus on eating and losing weight, but I have neglected this aspect of healthy living in recent months. Other than walking, I wasn’t doing exercise that would actually change my fitness level.

Lately I’ve been struggling with which matters more: what the scale says or how my body looks? If I’m happy with how I look but never reach an arbitrary “goal weight,” isn’t that OK? For now, my answer to that is a big YES.

I’m still a huge Weight Watchers advocate, but I look at it as training wheels I desperately needed at a time when I was out of control with my eating. It helped me rein in portion sizes, form a healthier relationship with food and my body, and in general give me a lot of structure to lose 32 pounds. Weight Watchers changed my life and put me on a path toward better health. I can’t stress how much I have gotten out of it. But I feel like for the next phase of my journey — getting in great shape — I need to try something else. I’m going to take the valuable lessons and fundamentals I learned from Weight Watchers and apply it to this new phase of my journey.

For one, I can’t rely on Weight Watchers for the rest of my life. Between not tracking my food diligently and skipping meetings, I’ve already proven that Weight Watchers isn’t a sustainable plan for me — despite it working for me for 6+ months. If I’m truly changing my lifestyle, I need to do it in a more self-sufficient way that doesn’t rely on one particular program. This means I will need to periodically evaluate what is and isn’t working and tweak my nutrition and fitness accordingly. What I do today will probably be different than what I am doing in a year or even 6 months, and that’s OK.

My biggest issue with Weight Watchers is it makes me obsess over the scale (this is true for any weight loss program). I had started gaming the system, too. The day before my weigh ins, I’d be perfect. I wouldn’t eat or drink anything before heading to my Saturday morning weigh-in. Then I’d usually be lax throughout the weekend and spend the week “making up for it” so I’d be all set for my weigh in.

I still feel an imaginary finish line looming in the distance. I have to hit that number, or else I have failed. Honestly, it is a little scary to get closer and closer to my goal weight. My big fear about finally getting there is I will obsess about maintaining or I will gain weight back.

At the same time, I do know weight is a tangible measurement of progress. But I’m either on the scale every day or I’m hiding from it. I know this isn’t healthy. I need to wean myself off of using my weight as the ultimate sign of success. By focusing on my fitness, I think it will help me be less obsessed about my weight. In fact, it seems like when I maintain an exercise routine my nutrition falls into place because I don’t want to undo my hard work in the gym.

In my next post, I will share my new plan for getting fit and getting to my goal weight. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know I’ve joined Orange Theory Fitness, so that is a big hint. Stay tuned…

Week 22: Weigh Watchers Weigh In

I got some bling this week…

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For every 25-lb increment you lose on Weight Watchers, you get one of these charms. Yes, I think it’s cheesy, but that didn’t make me any less excited to get it.

It had been a while since I’d been to a meeting, so the 3.6 lbs I was down at this weekend was a cumulative loss over several weeks during January. But I finally got past the 25-lb mark, for a total loss of 26.6 lbs on Weight Watchers and 30 lbs total since the beginning of July.

In the meeting, I was asked to share some differences losing 25 pounds has made in my life. I can’t even remember what I said (it definitely wasn’t eloquent at 9 am on a Saturday), so I’ll be thinking that over and writing a post about it soon.

I Would Usually Quit Right Now

In case you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, I haven’t given up on Weight Watchers or gained back a ton of weight. This month has been a hectic blur between cruising, mourning a loss, flying to NYC for 18 hours to get a new cat (long story), new job stuff (more about that later!), etc. I’ve missed quite a few WW meetings so I haven’t done my usual weekly weigh in updates. My weight is still hovering around where I was during the holidays.

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I was gone for a week on a cruise at the beginning of January. I was up about 4 lbs after my cruise but I have since taken it off. I ate and drank whatever the heck I wanted during the cruise. I did work out a few times and walked a lot, so that may have been the difference between gaining 4 or 10 lbs. [Read more…]

Week 20 & 21: Weight Watchers Weigh In

I haven’t fallen off the wagon! Sorry for the lack of checking in over the holidays.

I’m about to head off on a week-long cruise, but wanted to post an update before setting sail. (Hopefully my cruise tips will come in handy once again).

Last week I was down 0.8 lbs. This was just 0.2 lbs away from my official WW 25 lb milestone. My leader tried to get me to take off more clothes/go to the bathroom, but I refrained. I know I will get there soon enough, no need to try and trick the scale. :)

This week I was up 1.8 lbs. I expected this after eating/drinking a lot on Christmas! This will be good motivation to not go to crazy on my cruise.

In January, I’m going to commit to being better about tracking my food. I have definitely been slacking on that the last two weeks.

Happy New Year and I’ll see ya next year. ;)

Week 19: Weight Watchers Weigh In

BIG loss this week — I’m down 3.2 lbs!

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It is really weird to lose weight this time of year. I’m so used to hitting the reset button every January 1.

I hope to hit my official 25 pound milestone next week. I get a charm for that one. ;)

I had an emotionally draining week after finding out my cat Hank has cancer. Instead of drowning my sorrows with food, it seems the stress made me eat less. So, this loss was a silver lining to an otherwise hard week.

HOWEVER… I did have a moment where I wanted to eat my feelings and go get some french fries and a double cheeseburger when I passed by a McDonald’s. But I knew eating that would only make me feel worse. One moment of mindfulness kept me out of the drive thru. I consider that a victory.

I did eat a few mint chocolate chip Klondike bars that my roomie picked up. We decided those are no longer allowed in the house though! Too tempting. I enjoyed them while it lasted. Still not as bad as McD’s. This may be the only eating plan where two Klondike bars won’t keep you from losing 3 pounds. :)