The Shred, Day 3.

First, let me say hello to my newest followers!  I saw a while ago that there are 14 of you, but I haven't welcomed the newbies.  So, welcome!  I hope you enjoy visiting my little corner of the blogosphere.  : )

Day 3 was hard today.  Once I actually got down to it, it went by CRAZY fast.  My endurance is definitely improving.  I only had to pause it during the strength and cardio sections, and there were a few strength sections I actually did all the way through!  Yay me!  I'm already seeing some fairly drastic changes in my body (like some very slight muscle definition in my thighs that is totally new to me).  I can't wait to see how I'm going to look and feel 27 days from now.

So about two weeks ago I sent in a resume for a Philanthropy Assistant position with The Nature Conservancy's office in Chicago.  I was really hoping they would call me because I think they do great work here in the State and abroad.  And they called me!  I had a phone interview today.  I have no idea how it went, but I feel like it went pretty well.  The lady did say "perfect" and "terrific" about seven times while I was describing my experience and skills, and I even made her laugh once.  I did let a couple unprofessional phrases slip out of my mouth (like "y'know" and "oh man"), but overall I think I did pretty well for my first ever interview!  I really hope they select me for an in-person interview.  If they don't, I will probably cry.

Well, that's all for me today.  I hope everybody out there is doing good with their goals today!  Have a great weekend, ladies.  : )


Falling in Love with Jillian Michaels

I've just finished day 2 on level 1 of the 30 Day Shred, and I'm officially in love.  Of course, it's not your typical butterflies-in-the-tummy love.  It's painful, sweaty, and accompanied by a lot of panting and grunting on my part, but it's love nonetheless haha.

There are a lot of reasons I'm loving the 30 Day Shred.
  1. The music.  It's upbeat, is perfectly timed with the exercises, and changes depending if you're warming up/working out/cooling down.  I have to say that at the end of the circuit when I hear that music change to cool down music my heart literally skips a beat.  Although it may just be giving out from all the intensity.  Hmm.
  2. Jillian's pep talks.  There are certain things she says during level 1 that really strike me.  Like when she talks about how we've been told to just take the stairs or some such wimpiness and she says "That's a message of lethargy" that doesn't help us at all and that we CAN work out and work out hard.  How true.  I know I definitely didn't realize how strong I actually am until I started doing this.  I also like near the end when she's telling you to just keep going and don't quit and she says "I want you floating off the ground right now.  This is easy.  Nothin you can't do".   At that point I actually yell out "EASY" and "NOTHIN I CAN'T DO" because I feel like I'm about to die but I KNOW that I am so awesome I can keep going.  Jillian makes me believe in myself, and I love that.  
  3. Insta-progress.  I know I'm only on day 2, but even just from yesterday morning I'm already seeing a huge improvement in myself.  I love that each day is an opportunity to see improvement.  My issue with weight loss has always been that results don't come fast enough for me to stay encouraged.   But when I know that each day I'll finish the circuit a little faster and a little stronger than the day before, it really makes me want to do it again the next day to see how much better I'm getting.  And since right now I can only use the weights half the time (probably because I'm starting with 5 lbs because I don't have 3 lb weights) and have to pause every minute or so to catch my breath and drink some water AND I'm only on level 1, I've got a long way to go.  There's a lot of improvement in my daily future, and I LOVE that.  
  4. It's 30ish minutes of really spectacular me time.  And it's probably the best way to spend my me time that I've ever found.  I love making myself feel AWESOME.
So yesterday The Shred took me 39 minutes and I burned around 470 calories.
Today The Shred took me 32 minutes (although I forgot to unpause my HRM for about five minutes there, so really it probably took me about 37) and I burned 406 calories (but with the five minutes of very intense activity unaccounted for, it was probably more like 456).

So, my time has already improved!  I wasn't working quite so hard today because I did drop the weights for half the sets and I was focusing on proper form in the leg exercises so as not to hurt my already tender knees.  But that's okay!  400+ calories gone in under 40 minutes is still hella impressive.  I know I'm impressed with myself.

But now I have to take the fastest shower ever and get my ass to work on time, so I shall update tomorrow with The Shred day 3!  Adios amigas!


Look What I Found!

Holy crap, you guys.  I love the internet.

30 Day Shred

That's a link to the ENTIRE Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD that somebody in China put up on the internet.  Levels 1, 2, and 3, the whole shebang.  I know I've been wanting to try but didn't have the cash to put down for it.  Who wants to do it for a week with me?  Anybody?  :D

Also, I've added a few links to my Exercise page.  Check it out!


Just finished level 1.  Nearly threw up, can hardly type because arms so weak.  Took me 40 minutes for the 20 minute circuit, kept having to stop and catch my breath.  Burned 472 calories.

In love.

The Sweet Spot

I've come to realize something over the past couple of days spent at home, bored, waiting to be called for a job and hoping to not be called by the credit card people.  I've been feeling down lately about this whole weight loss thing.  Looking at my past "performance", so to speak, all I was seeing was that I lost a few pounds, gained it all (or more) back, lost it again, gained it back, lost a little more, gained, and so on and so forth.  I was thinking, "Why am I doing this?  Why do I try again every day or week just to have the same cycle of loss and gain happen?"  I chided myself for not working out enough, for being lax in my eating, for not wanting it enough to make it happen faster.

But I've come to realize that I have made a difference in my life.  I've lost nearly fifteen pounds since this time last summer, and I know in the deepest part of my heart and mind that I will never go back to 216.  I won't let that happen.  It really just is not an option in my head.  This morning I weighed in at 202.5, and got upset because I was hoping to be back to 201.5.  But the number doesn't matter.  The loss matters.  The fact that even when life had gotten to be too much and my old habits took over I was still able to recover, to take the weight back off (and in a pretty timely manner, I think). 

Of course I'm going to gain weight back sometimes.  Shit happens.  But what I want, what I started this new blog for, is to change the way I think about my weight.  To address the underlying emotional issues, to find that sweet spot where eating and life, with all its shit, are in balance.  And that's what I've done.  That's the difference I've made.  The number doesn't matter.  What matters is that I now eat about five servings of fruits more per week than I did last summer.   That I eat about six or seven more servings of veggies per week than I used to.  That I have kept my weight off (save for those five pounds of wiggle room), and that I have changed my habits.  While I still feel the need to seek out less-than-healthy food when I'm upset, I'm now able to limit my intake to one cookie or such.  Yesterday, when I was so, so emotionally wrecked, the worst thing I ate was a falafel from work.  And I even had intentions of going home to make something healthy, but was starving and already downtown so I decided it was okay.  Because that's life.  Give and take. 

I am not a failure.  I'm a success.  I'm doing this, as slowly as I need to so that my habits can fall in line with the way I want to live my life.  I am making changes every day.   And if I only lose fifteen pounds by the next summer, then so be it, because I can guarantee that my mind and my response to food will be completely different.

I think I've found my life's sweet spot.  And now that I see it, I couldn't be happier to be here.

So here's to my success, to your success, and to all of us doing this together.  Because I know I couldn't have made it here without your support and friendship, and I won't be able to keep going without you either.  I once thought I didn't need this community, and I have never been more wrong about anything in my entire life.

I promise to be more present and supportive to all of you like you have been for me.  And I want to thank you for being the biggest part of my success.  : )

Have a beautiful day, everyone.  <3


Almost Entirely Not Health-Related

I apologize in advance for this ridiculous post. I'm really suffering right now, and since I have no money to put on my prepaid phone and thus can't call anybody to cry on their shoulder from a distance, I have to let my feelings out here.

I'm sure I've talked about how broke I am / my one-job-but-it's-not-enough situation here.  I work two days a week at my favorite restaurant in town, and I love that job.  But I make less than 80 dollars a week, and have rent, credit card payments, utility bills, and other things to pay.  The past few weeks have been really hard on me.   I've had to borrow ridiculous amount of money from my loving family.  None of them have ANY money to spare, and I feel so, so awful every time I have to call with another request to help me with rent.  They always help me, but having to ask and knowing that them helping me means they can't pay their own bills makes me sick.  And since I can't afford to put more minutes on my phone, I can ONLY call to ask for money, which makes me feel even worse.  In the past month and a half I've had to borrow upwards of $700 (and I intend with every molecule in my body to pay it all back). 

I can't find a second job.  I've put in at least fifteen applications around town and sent out three resumes to companies that are hiring for positions I qualify for.  My major credit card payment is two months over due, and they've been calling me nonstop (but I can't answer to work something out, because there's no money on my phone).  My lease is up at the end of July, my grandparents are moving to Kentucky, and I haven't found a real job/have no money to save so I can't afford to move OUT of my apartment, much less into a new one.  My boyfriend doesn't want to stay together.  I have nowhere to go, and literally no options.

Every time my life starts to work right, shit like this happens.  And yes, I made the decision to quit my job at the beginning of last semester even though it paid really well. It was so stressful, and I wanted to be HAPPY, not stressed all the time.  Now I feel like I'm being punished for wanting to be in a healthy mindset.  Although I've finished college (a major achievement), my BA in Anthropology is pretty much useless.  And since I had to work all through school, I didn't have the time to gain any leadership experience with outside organizations, do an internship, or volunteer much at all - all those things that employers look for.  So I also feel punished for going to school for something I loved to learn about, because even though I have a degree I can't get a job.  I'm nearly $30,000 in debt and that number just keeps growing and growing with every week I don't find a second job. To make matters worse, I spilled a full glass of juice on my computer night before last and now it won't turn on (currently using the boyfriend's). 

Depression has hit me hard.  I think I've cried every day this week, and I never let myself do that.  This morning I could feel myself giving into it, giving up on everything.  Even eating right.  I had a bowl of cheerios with THREE heaping tablespoons of sugar, just because I felt like eating right didn't matter any more.  But I have lost a little weight (back down to 202-203), so I thought maybe I would go to this store Maurice's in the mall, where I have a store credit card, and let myself buy two new things to cheer myself up a little, to make me feel like at least my efforts to be healthier haven't failed.  I found a pair of shorts I loved and a summer dress I felt comfortable wearing without a bra (which would be SO nice to wear).  I handed over my Maurice's credit card, but it was declined.

Declined.  HOW?  I hadn't used it in almost six months!  SIX MONTHS.  The sales girl called customer service and they said that LAST NOVEMBER I was two months behind on my payments.  That's true, I said, but I paid off that balance in full as soon as I remembered I was behind.  Customer service lady said it didn't matter.  Because I was late they had taken my credit back down to $0 so I couldn't get anything. I asked if I could get a credit increase now that it was SIX MONTHS LATER, but she said no.

Why?  My income's not high enough.

I lost it.  I all but ran out of the mall and by the time I got to my car I was sobbing.  I cried all the way home.  I'm still crying, right now.  I don't want to sound like a five year-old here, but how is any of this fair?  I have worked SO HARD to improve myself, to be independent, to help myself be a happier person.  And every time I get ahead, money bites me in my pasty white ass.  Money is literally the only thing wrong with my life.  How fucking ridiculous is it that BILLS are preventing me from being happy and reaching my goals?  It's total bullshit.  And all I can do is sit in my apartment and cry about it.

But there is something I CAN control.  I can control what I eat and when I exercise.  I have equipment here at home - I don't need to pay to go to the gym.  Our kitchen is stocked with fruits and veggies.  I'm going to do my best to hold on to that fact and manage my health even if I can't manage my finances.

Deep breaths, Self.  It'll be okay.


Real Talk

Normally on this blog I refrain from speaking the way I usually do (ie, with a lot of expletives) and I generally adopt a more positive tone than usual.  I do this for a couple reasons.  I don't want to offend anybody with my language and if I write in a more positive tone, even if I don't feel it, it helps me to think more positively.

But I think it gives you, my lovely readers, the wrong idea of how/who I really am.  Sometimes I blind myself to how I really am by writing this blog, and I don't want to do that anymore.  I'm tired of presenting one persona to the external world and another to myself, no matter how little difference there may be between them.  I just want to be me.  This healthiness journey has to be one of self-acceptance before it can be one of change, so please allow me to engage in some real talk, for at least this post. 

I don't understand why it's so goddamn hard for me to do this thing, this eat-right-exercise-lots-lose-weight thing.  The thing that kills me is it's not hard now like it used to be.  I know what I need to do (eat only when hungry, exercise at least three times a week, no sugar no cheese no pop) and I'm tired of making excuses for not doing it.  Yes, I am a little afraid of how it might change my life but I know it needs to happen.  Do I want diabetes, heart disease, and arthritic joints?  Fuck no.  I have to lose this weight.  It must happen. 

I'm pissed off with myself that I'm not making it a priority.  I'm pissed off with myself that I'm more afraid of change than I am of the aforementioned health disasters.   It's bullshit, and I am certainly worth more than bullshit.  

I've realized that living with my boyfriend has turned out to be a huge roadblock for this weight loss.  I have always been a people pleaser, and part of that means doing what everybody else does so that I'll fit in/be liked/whatever.  My boyfriend doesn't feel the overwhelming need to lose weight like I do and therefore doesn't want to eat only healthy foods or get exercise every day.  And whatever he does (or doesn't do), I'll generally do too.  He's certainly supportive of my desire to be healthy, but it would be so. much. easier. for me if he jumped on the bandwagon with me.  But I can't make him want what he doesn't want and it would be stupid of me to try, so I need to get over it.  I need to learn to say no - no, I don't want that pizza; no, I won't sit on the couch all night and watch Netflix; no, I won't buy those cookies because if they're in the apartment I'm absolutely going to eat them. 

What I want is to get down to a healthy weight and ask myself, "Self, did you seriously put in all that work to lose weight and change your life?" and be able to answer, "FUCK YEAH I did!  I'm so fucking awesome!"

I want to be proud of myself.  I am seriously fucking tired of constantly letting myself down.  I want to discover what it feels like to accomplish my goals, and I want that act of discovery to change my life.  It's about damn time I did it already. 


Summer Lovin' Challenge: Weeks 3 and 4

So, if I've been paying attention correctly, this concludes week 4 of the Summer Lovin' Challenge and phase 1. 

Although I asked for a weigh-in pass yesterday, I take it back.  Instead, I will take responsibility and accountability for my actions, eats, and lack of exercise.  My week 3 weight (last Wednesday) was 203.5.  My week 4 weight, taken this morning, is 206.  So in the last two weeks I have gained back 4.5 pounds, but I know it will be gone in no time if I put in the effort that I did the first two weeks. 

I spent some time last night thinking more about that identity thing I talked about yesterday.  I'm at a special time in my life.  I've graduate college, am just about to make some decisions that will really affect my career path, and this is the perfect chance to reinvent myself.  Hasn't this whole weight loss thing been about reinventing myself from the beginning anyway?  There is an identity I want to craft for myself.  I want to be a strong, independent, loving, responsible, and fun young woman.  I also want to be physically fit, unhindered by extra weight.  At 201.5, I got a taste of how unhindered my life could be, and I sure as shit want that more than I want 208, 206, or even 190 for that matter.  Being happy, healthy, and optimistic every day is so worth more than sitting on the couch and eating shit food. 

So, at the end of phase 1 of the challenge, I have realized that while reducing my calories can certainly help me lose weight I need to include some exercise as well.  The beginning of phase 2 happens to fall on the week after I've finished school, and since I don't work enough I have plenty of time to devote to making healthy choices and working out.  At the beginning of the semester, I signed up for a 12-week weight loss exercise program via email newsletters from an exercise expert lady at About.com.  I let all 12 weeks of workouts and nutrition tips float into my email inbox.  Reading over them, they're very similar workouts and goals to what I would be doing anyway, so I'm going to jump on the wagon a little late and start their 12 week program.  I love the momentum this challenge has given to my desire to shape up, and perhaps another program aimed at exercise will help the end of phase 2 of Alexia's Summer Lovin' Challenge be much happier and successful than the end of phase 1.

I was supposed to start the 12 week exercise program yesterday but ended up enjoying the night on the couch with my boyfriend (excuses).  I shall merge days 1 and 2 of the program into today since I had all kinds of excuses yesterday.  So, today, I shall do 20-30 minutes of interval cardio training and full-body strength training routine. 

I'm ready to get back on the horse.  With your support, I know I can stay on it for a little longer than two weeks this time.  : )


Holding Myself Back

Hello friends (and a special hello to my new followers!  So glad you're here!).  I hope everybody is doing okay.  There seems to be a lot of bad things going around lately.  Just stay strong, keep your chin up, keep your goals in mind, and everything will work out. : )

It's obviously been about forever and a day since I last posted.  You can pretty much guarantee that when I'm not blogging, I'm eating too much/exercising too little, and that it exactly what's been happening over the past two weeks.  It started the Thursday after my last weigh-in, when I had a falafel and fries at work.  I ate them because I believed I deserved them from my great losses, but also because I knew my family was coming in the next day and that my eating would be screwed for the weekend, so I did the worst thing - I said, "Why not?"  And I ate, ate, and ate so much more until I literally felt sick.  I had wanted to work out the next Monday, but I didn't.  Last week was finals week, and although I only had two exams I took it as an excuse to eat, eat, and eat. Now it's the week before my period, when I always feel ravenously hungry and never feel full, and I just can't seem to reign myself in.  I feel like my mind and body are two entirely separate entities and although my body says "do right by me, reach for the apple" my mind (or the brat within) gives it the finger and picks up a cookie. 

And it's not just that now I've gotten into the habit of eating bad things again I can't stop.  There's been a mental component too.  The day after my last awesome weigh-in of 201.5, I remember walking around thinking "It is so much easier to move - this weight loss can only make my life better".  But then, when I looked at my body in my full-length mirror and tried to imagine what I would look like after another 10, 20, or 30 pounds shed, the fear hit me.  It seemed to me that the bones of my hips were in fact much narrower than the fat on them and that with time, if I lost more weight, I would lose my curves.  This simple, almost fleeting thought really freaked me out.  Even though I have always, always, always been overweight I have also always had a lovely, almost perfect, hourglass figure.  It's one of things I'm really proud of (even though I did nothing to earn it).  I'm not a feminine woman, and sometimes my curves are the only thing I have to remind myself that I'm beautiful and sexy.  Which, I think, is almost half the problem (shouldn't I be relying on my own thoughts and confidence to feel sexy?  But I have body images issues and need to find things about myself that I like to boost my self-image, so how could my curves and my confidence ever be unrelated?). 

Basically, I was freaked out because of the ways I thought weight loss might change me, of the ways it might alter some very simple things that are hugely important to my identity (like my curves).   I know that I am who I am no matter what I weigh and that there are certain aspects of my personality and worldview that could never shift.  But yet I've been afraid of change for the past two weeks, eating myself almost right back up to my starting weight.  I've been letting my fear hold me back. 

So, I would like to request a weigh-in pass from madame Alexia this week, and spend next week getting back to eating only when I am hungry, drinking only water, and working on not letting fear hold me back from ANYTHING.  Not from eating right, working out, losing weight, or changing for the better.