Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rest Days

I wound up taking two rest days in a row.  Yesterday was my birthday and I had already planned to take a rest day because Wednesdays are super busy for me.  Today, I took another rest day because I was not feeling particularly well.  I'm not really concerned about it.  I got some quality workouts at the beginning of the week and my Fitbit stats look pretty good for the week despite my minimal activity for the past two days.


I made myself a cauliflower crust pizza for lunch but other than that I spent most of the day tucked snugly in bed. 

Cauliflower pizza crust topped with fat free cheese and turkey pepperoni.

I did manage to make a new playlist for the next time I do workout. I think it will be upbeat enough to keep me motivated for a few runs at least.



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Zombies Run! Review

I am not one of those people who loves to exercise, but I realize that exercise is something I have to do in order to reach my weight loss goals.  When I started running I wanted to download a few running apps for my phone.  When I first started I was using the Couch to 5k Running Plan and Runkeeper, but in the course of my App store perusing I came across an app called Zombies, Run!


At first I thought it was just another iPhone game, but then I read the description and I was intrigued.  It was a running game that you use while you are outside running or on the treadmill and it tracks your mileage using your iPhone's GPS or motion sensors.  At the beginning of your run you choose a mission and from there you set off on your usual route.  As you run, you learn the story of Abel Township, a settlement in a post-apocalyptic society where zombies roam the world.  You become a part of the game as Runner 5 and Abel Township sends you out into the Zombie-infested streets to pick up supplies, rescue people in trouble, or even chase down an escaping traitor.  



As you are running you "pick up" supplies for Abel Township. After you have finished your run you can allot the supplies to various buildings in Abel Township.  The more supplies you pick up, the faster the buildings grow.  


You can still listen to your own music while you play the game.  Your songs will play in between mission updates.  For added fun you have the option of turning on zombie chases.  When you encounter a herd of zombies you have to speed up to evade the zombie and avoid being eaten.  Basically it's like being in an episode of the Walking Dead without all the blood.

Bottom line: The Zombies, Run! App is a ton of fun.  It can be used while running or walking so you can make it work for any fitness level.  I managed to snag the App when it was on sale, but it definitely costs more than most Apps.  Even so, I would buy it again because it did its job: it encouraged me to run more.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Reluctant Tuesday


I did not want to go to the gym today.  I tossed around the idea of taking my weekly rest day, but eventually I convinced myself to get on the elliptical for an hour at a pace that felt easy while I watched CSI on the Netflix app on my phone.  I finished 4.4 miles in 65 minutes and burned a respectable number of calories.  I felt better for having finished the workout even if it took a Herculean effort to make myself get started.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Tough


This morning I pushed myself hard. It was a tough workout, but after 60 minutes on level 8 and a 5 minute cool-down I had done 5.04 miles and burned 769 calories.  As usual I set the elliptical a few pounds lower than what I actually weigh in the hopes of getting an accurate calorie burn.  

As it turns out my tough workout led straight into a tough day.  I woke up in the middle of the night last night and could not go back to sleep.  I eventually got up and did my Evidence reading, but the lack of sleep had me dragging all day long.  I kept spacing out in my first class and nearly nodded off a couple of times.  It took me forever to get through the reading for my second class.  On top of it all I had a ton of errands to run today including picking up my car.  I am exhausted and I have every intention of going to bed early.  Night, y'all!  

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Interval Fail

I had big plans to run 4 miles for the first time today.  I was going to do it in intervals where I run 1 mile then take a brief walk break, run another mile, take another break, and so on until I had run 4 miles.  My legs felt tired, which was a nuisance that I could have pushed through, but 2 miles and 2 walk breaks in and my stomach started cramping like whoa.  I know that lots of runners have stomach issues and most of the time I would have just pushed through the discomfort, but today I just could not convince myself to keep running so I made my way home after only running two miles.  Epic interval fail.


I felt really guilty about not at least running 3 miles.  I genuinely believe that I lost weight last week because I started making all of my runs 3 miles. So after I got home and took a snack/rest break I went down to the gym and pounded out one more mile on the treadmill.  I hate running on the treadmill with a passion, and for some reason i can't seem to make myself run as far on the treadmill as I would outside, but I sucked it up and made myself run a mile and not one step more.


I felt much better after finishing that mile so I rewarded myself with an afternoon of Breaking Bad and general laziness.  It felt good.  I needed a break really bad.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

No Guilt Cookies


I was perusing SkinnyTaste, a website full of Weight Watcher's friendly recipes when I came across this recipe for Healthy Cookies.  The original recipe called for two ripe bananas, 1 cup of oats, and optional add-ins which can be anything from mini chocolate chips to walnuts to cranberries.  I cut the original recipe in half, added 2 tablespoons of mini chocolate chips, and proceeded to have cookies for dinner.  MyFitnessPal estimated that my cookies were only 390 calories.  I don't feel even a little bit guilty.  

Steak Fried Rice For One


Several days ago, I made this awesome steak fried rice for dinner and I thought I would share the recipe.  It's a quick, easy dinner and according to MyFitnessPal my version was somewhere around 634 calories.  Not bad considering how hearty the portion size is!

Ingredients
Spinach, 1 Cup
Diced Baby Carrots, around 1/3 cup
Diced Onions, 1/3 cup
Garlic, 1 clove
Cooked Brown Rice, 3/4 cup
Liquid Egg Whites, 1/2 cup
Tyson Grilled and Ready Steak Strips, 1 6 oz. package
Sunbird Fried Rice Seasoning Mix, 5-10 teaspoons or to taste
Less Sodium Soy Sauce, 4 TBS
Cooking Spray

Directions
Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and cook egg whites.  Set aside.  Spray skillet again and add garlic, onions, and carrots.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions start to turn translucent. Add steak and rice.  Cook the steak and rice are warm then add spinach and egg whites.  Cook until spinach starts to wilt and sprinkle with fried rice seasoning and soy sauce.  Stir until all ingredients are coated and serve!

Finally!

I won't bury the lead here. This morning was my weekly weigh-in and I lost 2.4 pounds! Technically it was 2.6 because there was a .2 pound gain a couple of weeks ago that I could not bear to record, but the point is that for the first time in a month I saw progress on the scale and it was glorious.  Now that my scale and me are on speaking terms again I can stop saying mean things about her behind her back and being all scale who? whenever someone asks me how my weight loss journey is going.  It's good to be back on track!


There was a time in my life when a time for celebration was a euphemism for "a time to gorge myself until I felt like Violet must have felt on Willy Wonka after she chewed that gum she wasn't supposed to chew and turned into a bloated blueberry."  But times have changed, y'all. I have changed and this morning after a quick breakfast of an english muffin spread with chocolate PB2 and some scrambled egg whites, I went for a run to celebrate my small victory.  


I know my time is slower than my last few runs, but I was actually really happy with it because I ran a new route today and it was super hilly, like at least one whole mile was up a fairly steep hill kind of hilly and I was still running sub 14 miles.  If you had told me last Thanksgiving that I would be running up hills by my birthday I would have called you crazy and given you some major side-eye.  Now going for 5k runs is just another Saturday morning and it feels really, really good!

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Good and the Bad

I have good news and bad news.  The bad news is my car was doing this super fun smoking thing and it had to go to the car doctor to have car surgery.  The good news is that because I walked home from the mechanic and did all my errands on foot my Fitbit stats were kind of epic.  From the Fitbit App on my phone:


Ladies and gentlemen of the internet, I walked a grand total of 8.92 miles and part of me (albeit a very small part) wants to get up and take a brief stroll so I can make it an even 9 miles.  When I got home from the car doctor I hit the grocery store to buy groceries.  My most exciting purchase was far and away this chocolate syrup by a company called Walden Farms that has zero calories. You read that right. Zero calories.  


I imagine it is choc full of chemicals that will make me have mutant babies one day, but I bought it anyway and, potential for mutant babies aside, it was absolutely delicious. I made a chocolate strawberry smoothie.  Excuse me while I  recede into chocolate coma bliss.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Accountability

Having a weight loss related blog is a really good way to remain accountable.  If I don't exercise and don't eat right, I will have nothing to post on my blog and since writing leaves me with a great sense of catharsis I am even more invested than ever in working out and eating healthy meals if for no other reason than to generate content for my blog. Plus, there is the audience factor.  If I have not been to the gym in a while anyone who reads this blog will know I am slacking.  Who wants that?


I was feeling crazy ridiculous lazy when I got home from class today so I dawdled for a really long time before finally dragging myself off the couch.  It helped that there was only an hour and a half left on the audiobook I have been listening to (reading?) and I really wanted to finish it tonight.  I got on the elliptical and set off at a challenging but sustainable pace.  An hour and five minutes later I had finished a 4.97 mile workout and burned a respectable (and hopefully accurate) 769 calories.  Now for dinner, tv, and professional responsibility reading.  Oh the joys of being a law student.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Good Mistakes

Sometimes mistakes are really really good, like when you take a wrong turn and find yourself at a great park you did not know about or you grab the wrong spice while you're cooking and rather than ruin your dish you discover that the wrong spice was just the right touch.  Today I realized that due to my own human error in reading the serving size on the brown rice I bought over the weekend the 3/4 cup of cooked rice that I originally thought was 3 servings at 150 calories per serving was actually a single 150 calorie serving.  This is good. This means that I got to eat really yummy, filling meals, and those meals were fewer calories than I originally thought they were.  I wish all my mistakes had such happy results.

Other than that, my morning involved my Evidence textbook and a toasted English muffin with PB2 and a side of strawberries.


My evening involved an hour on the elliptical immediately after I ate a big dinner which was either a mistake of the bad variety or a truly admirable effort on my part to work off a few last minute calories.  In any case I did 3.54 miles at a slow and steady pace on level 8.  I told the elliptical I weighed less than I actually do in an effort to offset the notoriously incorrect calorie calculations ellipticals give.  Hopefully I burned at least as many calories as the machine said I burned.  I need a Garmin (hint hint family members who may or may not be reading this.)


In other news I had a really good day yesterday in terms of activity.  According to my Fitbit stats I climbed so many floors it was the equivalent of climbing Big Ben and I went well over my goal of 10,000 steps. I was kind of proud so I thought I would share :)




Pineapple Chicken Stir Fry For One


This recipe is based on a Taste of Home recipe I found when I was trying to decide what to do with some leftover brown rice.  You can find the original recipe here.  My adaptation is below.

Ingredients
1/8 cup of light soy sauce
2 splenda packets
1/2 TBSP white vinegar
1/2 TBSP ketchup
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 cloves minced garlic (I used the kind that comes already chopped up)
1/2 cup canned pineapple
3/4 cup brown rice (preferably cooled to make stir frying easier)
6 oz. of cooked chicken breast cut into strips (I used a whole package of Tyson fully cooked southwestern chicken strips)
handful of baby spinach 
1/4 cup of onions
Cooking spray

Mix the first 6 ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Spray a skillet with cooking spray and add garlic and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally for about a minute or until the onion begins to get translucent.  Add the chicken, spinach, and pineapple.  Stir until the spinach has started to wilt.  Add the brown rice and stir until all the ingredients are well mixed and the rice is warm.  Add the sauce and stir to coat everything.  Serve and enjoy!   

I was a bad dieter lifestyle changer and I failed to measure some of the ingredients, but I did estimate the calorie information for my version of the dish. I did not include the ingredients like Splenda and white vinegar that do not have calories.  Here is a screenshot from the MyFitnessPal app.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

This Evening


I made some brown rice a couple of days ago and I have been trying to use it up all this week.  As a result, this week has involved a ton of stir frying.  Fortunately I love stir fry.  Recipes for both yesterday's pineapple chicken stir fry and tonights steak fried rice coming later this week!

This Morning

This morning I woke up, did my evidence reading, and finished just in time to make the following happen:


I try to go for 1-2 midweek runs and I used to keep them at 2.5 miles or below because I was so slow that I was afraid shooting for 3 miles would make me late for class.  Well, after I saw my time on Sunday I decided to push for 5k on a weekday and I did it!  


My splits were less than stellar and my overall time was slower than this weekend, but I was more worried about the distance than the time today.  I took a route with more hills than usual and my legs felt super tired the whole way.  Considering that, I am happy with that time.  The faster I get the easier it will be to work longer and longer runs into my schedule midweek.  Anyway, I got home from my run just in time to shower, change, and walk to class.  It was close, but I was in my seat before class started. #Winning

Monday, February 18, 2013

Trying Something New

Admittedly, I'm not much of a cook.  Normally I'm a diehard Lean Cuisine fangirl and I am not ashamed.  But this week I have been trying to cook more of my own meals.  Why, you ask? Because for the last month my scale has not budged.  I have this thing called a Fitbit (more about that in another post) and it estimates your calorie burn based on your activity level, age, weight, etc.  


I have definitely had better weeks in terms of calorie burn and there are days when I ate a few calories more than I burned, but overall I am at a calorie deficit of 2886 this week.  It takes a calorie deficit of  around 3500 to lose a pound.  I have been seeing similar deficits all month, but the scale has nothing for me but fury and disappointment.  

Pineapple Chicken
In an effort to make my body and scale start cooperating again, I have been having an unofficial make my own meals week where I try to eat generally healthy meals that I prepared myself just to see if the problem is the Lean Cuisine.  I have no idea what the scale will do at the end of the week, but if it goes in the right direction I will know I need to be a little less reliant on the frozen food section.  



Today was a rest day which means that my only activity was walking to and from my classes and daily errands and taking the stairs.  As soon as my Securities Regulation class let out I made a quick pineapple chicken stir fry, curled up on the couch and watched the latest episode of Lost Girl.  I thought about going for an elliptical sesh, but I decided to skip it because I want to run tomorrow without my legs feeling like they are going to fall off.  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Healthier Tuna Melt


Lunch today was pretty yummy so I thought I would share.  I made a healthier tuna melt.  So easy and so yummy. I entered the meal in MyFitnessPal and the tuna melt came out to around 370 calories.  Recipe below.

Ingredients
Two Starkist Tuna pouches (mine were 80 calories each)
Oikos Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt (I used half of a single serving container)
Shredded Cheese (I used Veggie Shreds, but you could buy a light cheese to cut the calories)
Spices of Choice (I added a bit of cayenne, seasoned salt, garlic powder, and onion powder)
Thomas Light English Muffin

Instructions
Mix the tuna and Greek yogurt.  Open an English muffin and split the tuna and greek yogurt mixture between the two sides.  Top each side with a small pinch of shredded cheese.  Broil on high until cheese is melted.  Enjoy!




Sunday Morning 5k Done

This morning, I woke up and dragged my butt out of bed to go for a run.  It felt really good today. Definitely better than yesterday and I hope this distance will get easier and easier in the coming weeks.


I turned on my new playlist and got down to business. Thirty nine minutes and forty two seconds later I had run 3.1 miles, realized that Holy Ground is probably the best song on Taylor Swift's new album, and I even ran my fastest mile to date in 11:55.  Basically, I feel like a boss right now.  


It was cold and my legs were tired, but I pushed through the urge to quit and I'm glad I did because it gave me a chance to see how much I have improved since the first time I ran a full 5k in January.


Since January 26, I have shaved 2 minutes and 27 seconds off my total time and 44 seconds off my average pace.  Not bad considering I was not able to run for a whole week this month when I contracted the plague and basically used every tissue in the whole universe.  If I keep this up I might actually reach my goal of running a ten minute mile!







Saturday, February 16, 2013

Press Play

I get bored with my running playlists really quickly and I realized on my run this morning it was time for a change, so I spent the last hour making a new playlist.  I'm happy with the result.  The current plan is to shoot for 5k-ish length run tomorrow and finish before the music runs out. We'll see how it goes...


Actually Sartre, Hell is a Hill

I took French all through high school and college. I still can't speak the language worth a damn, but I started thinking about this book we read in Intermediate French called Huis-clos.  Roughly translated it means "no exit" and there is this line that I still haven't forgotten years later because it resonated so deeply with me.  The author wrote, "L'enfer, c'est les autres."  Basically it means "Hell is others."  In college, I totally agreed with Sartre, mainly because I had a series of awful suitemates who made my life miserable, but this morning in the middle of my run I realized that hell is not other people.  Hell is every last bitch hill that pops up in the middle of what would otherwise be a pleasant run.  But I digress.


This morning I got up bright and early and knocked out a couple of miles.  I have only been running for a few months and I'm still trying to build my speed and distance.  I know that an average pace of 12:24 is turtle slow to most runners, but for me it is a huge accomplishment to run a sub 13 minute mile since I could barely run a full minute when I started.  It's all about the small victories.  Now if I could just convince myself to get off the couch and go get my car fixed we would have a full on Saturday morning win.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Lifestyle Change

Last semester I came across a website that had a basal metabolic rate (BMR) calculator. Ashley, what do those fancy words you just used like you know somebody who knows somebody who knows something about it even mean? Well, my understanding is that your BMR is the number of calories you burn just by being. Even if you don't move a muscle all day, your body will still burn a certain number of calories and that number is your BMR. From the same website I learned how to calculate my caloric needs and I learned that in order to lose a pound, you need to create a deficit of 3500 calories.  There I go again with that complicated talk. In plain English, I mean that to lose a pound you either need to cut 3500 calories out of your diet or you need to burn 3500 calories through exercise.  

One hour of incline walking at 3.2 miles per hour
Having been overweight for most of my life, I am no stranger to diets, but after I did my research I decided that this time I was not going to go on a diet. I was going to make a lifestyle change.  And unlike the other times I was going to make it stick. For reals.  Having made up my mind, I got to work.  I started tracking my daily calorie intake on MyFitnessPal and actually using the exercise room in my apartment and...six months later I have lost 23 pounds.  


When I started my journey last year (Holy 2013, batman!) I wanted to lose 50 pounds and maintain the weight loss at a healthy weight for someone my height.  I also had the lofty goal of losing two pounds per week and being at goal by my 26th birthday this month, but unfortunately that part did not work out. I am okay with that.  

These days I am still working hard to lose the last 27 pounds. I have come to realize that losing weight is a slow and arduous process.  I am taking it day by day and trying to focus less on the number on my scale and more on how I feel and how my clothes fit.  This blog will serve to document my journey, from workouts, to meals, to outfits.  As my size has gone down my sense of accomplishment has gone up.  I am excited to  reach my goal and I hope you will follow me as I change my size, and perhaps more importantly, my life.