Making A Visualization Board!

I met up with one of my friends today to make visualization boards! She printed off pictures of body types and quotes she loved that inspired her. I’m going to do the same soon. Just remember I make goals for YOU and YOUR body type.

Having a place to record my measurements every week and being able to see the next three months is also really encouraging! I plan to make one of these every 3 months πŸ™‚

20120729-201232.jpg

I also decided to see my overall progress. I’ve lost 10 inches off my waist since October 2010. What a difference! It’s hard to believe my waist used to be so much bigger.

20120729-201417.jpg

You got this!!!

Advertisements

180 Calorie Afternoon Snack

Went to Trader Joe’s today and picked up some Mediterranean hummus (70 calories in 2 tablespoons) and some pretzel thins (110 calories for 23). Now I have an awesome afternoon snack to eat while I watch the Summer 2012 Olympics πŸ™‚

20120728-162821.jpg

The Scale: It Really Is Your Enemy: What You Need to Know About What’s Inside Your Body

Remember how I keep saying I’m going to do a rant post soon about why I hate the scale? Well, here it is. Is the scale accurate? Sure, it tells you how much you weigh and that’s a fact, what it does NOT do is tell you what’s in your body and why you weigh what you do. This leads people to constantly be upset with the number they find out.

Common things I hear my friends say after they weigh themselves:

I’ve been working out non-stop and the scale hasn’t budged!

How come I weigh MORE now than before I started dieting!?

Guess who drank 8 beers last night and now weighs LESS? YEaaaah! Beer diet!

Here are the things you WANT to know about your weight:

  • Your muscle mass
  • The amount of visceral fat on your body. This is the internal fat that sticks to your organs, like your omentum, that can be extremely dangerous.
  • Your body fat %
  • Other factors like water retention and bone density

Muscle Mass, Density, Weight, and How it Affects Your Body

Let’s get things straight. Muscle does NOT weigh more than fat. 1lb of muscle weighs the exact same as 1lb of fat. The difference is the amount of space it takes up. Muscle also acts much differently than fat in your body. Not only does it make you stronger (and look more cut when you have a low body fat %) but it also burns an average of 7-10 calories a day per pound where fat typically burns only 2-3 calories a day per pound. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your BMR (Basal Metobolic Rate) will be. In essence, this is why men (typically having more muscle mass than women) can eat more.

So back to the scale. Ever get extremely frustrated and demotivated because you’ve found out you’ve GAINED weight after all this working out instead of losing it! UGH! I had a similar feeling last night when after 14 days of the shred I’ve gain 1/2 lb. But I knew better. Not only are you gaining muscle when you workout, but you will also start to lose fat the more muscle you gain. Fat just can’t survive in that kind of badass environment!

When working new muscles or starting a new weight oriented workout program your body and your muscles have toΒ  adjust and adapt. Part of this chemical process involves your muscles replenishing glycogen stores. Glycogen not only attracts and holds onto water but is also required for muscle maintenance during and after a workout. This means that the more muscles you use (some I didn’t know existed until I started doing 30DS) and the more active you are, the more your body will need to replenish these glycogen stores. If your body runs low on these, it will begin to turn carbohydrates into glycogen. This is another reason why it’s important to eat carbs. Ever feel super faint or dizzy after or during a workout? You should be eating healthy carbs to help your body.

So stop feeling so discouraged the next time you weigh more or the scale hasn’t budged after working out. Eventually, your body will adapt and as fat comes off, your weight will drop. Don’t use the scale or the number you get from it as the only indicator of your progress.

Visceral Fat and the Omentum

You may have heard Dr. Oz talk about the omentum in the past. It’s actually an organ for catching fat. This is one of the most dangerous places you can store fat on your body! And unfortunately, men are most susceptible to it as they get older. Beer bellies, you know what I’m talking about, scary stuff.Β  The omentum is also acts as a cortisol (the stress hormone) storage point. A good way to take a ballpark estimate of your omentum health is to look at your waist measurement. Typically women under 35 inches and men under 40 should have a decently healthy omentum. I’ll do another more in-depth post on this later.

Visceral fat is stored around your liver and can actually threaten your liver functions if too much is in your body.

Water Retention & Alcohol

I’ve been guilty of bragging out how much less I weigh after a weekend of drinking. Thinking I’m all magical and a total badass for being able to keep up with my weight-loss progress while still going out with friends. Truth is, you’re not making any progress. Alcohol does a great job of dehydrating you. This means that your water retention drops, you’re losing water weight and nothing else. Ladies, this is also why your weight will go up and down ALL month. The uterus actually produces glycogen when women get pregnant to help retain more water.

Point and Case

Scales don’t tell you your muscle mass, your visceral fat, how healthy your omentum is, or know that you drank 3 beers the other night and just started your period. There are scales out there that can send an electrode through your body and give you a more accurate reading but I’m not really for these, either. You shouldn’t be weighing yourself constantly and judging yourself off of these numbers. Go off of how you FEEL, how your clothes fit, what’s your mood like, how much energy you have! A scale can be a great place to start and check in on, but don’t obsess about it!

11 Great Ways to Keep Yourself on Track!

I’m on day 14 of the shred and there are some days where all of this is just plain HARD! I want to eat brownies and gorge myself on pringles and not move and never workout, but I can’t do that and I won’t do that because it will only leave me upset, out of shape, and depressed from all that bad food. So what are some things to do to keep yourself on track, especially in those desperate moments of confusion and cravings? Here are some of my secrets:

  1. Plan and Be Prepared – if you don’t have a game plan it’s going to be a LOT easier to eat that pizza at your friends party or sneak a doughnut from the break room. Pack your lunch the night before. Stock your pantry, fridge, and freezer with healthy options AND choices so that you have a pretty good idea of what you want when you get home. Choices are important because they give us options to make us feel like we are in control and not being “forced” into eating a certain way. An example, I planned on having a giant salad the other night but then really wanted something sweet by the time I got home, good thing I had frozen tilapia and coconut shred ready to go! This weekend I’m going to a friends bday BBQ and there’s going to be TONS of burgers, beers, and pasta salads. Before I said “omg I won’t even be able to go!” I put a game plan in place. I’m going to pre-make an amazing salad and bring my own little cooler of sparkling water, Zero Vitamin Water, etc. This way I’ll be eating with everyone else and will still be able to have a beverage in my hand at the same time. All that extra effort means I’ll probably have room on Loseit for a s’more by the end of the night πŸ˜‰
  2. Portions! – Make the effort to get familiar with what the serving size is of the most common foods you eat. Ask restaurants to box up half of your meal before they bring it out to you. (Also – never be afraid to ask them to cook your meal healthier or without an ingredient, it’s a restaurant and they are cooking for YOU!) Buy smaller plates, bowls, etc. I even find that when I eat with dessert forks instead of the bigger ones, I eat slower, get full faster, and end up eating less overall.
  3. Never eat out of the container! – You’d be amazed at how many chips you actually ate out of that bag in front of the TV. If you REALLY want to have something like that, portion it out. Put a serving size of chips or whatever you’re about to eat in a bowl or make it pretty on a plate. Enjoy your food, let it nourish you, be aware of how it makes you feel as you eat it.
  4. Get rid of your Kryptonite – goldfish crackers, dove chocolate. What is it that if it’s in front of you, you just HAVE to eat it. Don’t think that hiding it in the cubboard will help, either. It always finds a way to talk to you. “Hey! Sarah, up here, behind the oatmeal, I’m chocolate, and you waaaant me!” Don’t make your efforts any harder by keeping bad things around. If you have roommates, try to agree on making sure bad foods are kept hidden. I don’t want to come home to a bowl of cookies if I don’t have to.
  5. Know your goals and track them – I’m not saying you have to use Loseit or track/count ALL of your calories ever. But do make sure you know where you’re at and what you should be doing/eating in a given day.
  6. Stock up – keep meal replacement bars, almonds, and healthy snacks that keep for a long time in your purse, trunk of your car, or some place in your apartment/house where you can grab them quick on the go. There are going to be unplanned times when you get swamped, called to a meeting, a last minute get-to-gether and you won’t have time to prep a meal or have healthy options. Having a healthy snack or something like a Cliff bar with tons of fiber/protein will keep you feeling satisfied and better suited to make a healthier choice later.
  7. Don’t Let Yourself Get Hungry! – sure, you are going to feel hungry that first week or so as your stomach shrinks and you get accustomed to eating less, however, you shouldn’t EVER skip meals or wait too long to eat. When this happens ghrelin builds up in your system (the hungry hormone) and makes you want to EAT. Staying full and eating lots of fiber and keeping your blood sugar at a healthy level will help you head home for that healthy meal instead of ending up at a drive-thru. I always keep low-fat cottage cheese in my fridge and eat a couple spoon fulls before I cook dinner. This keeps me from over-eating or deciding to go get ice cream instead.
  8. Drink More Water – often times we think we’re hungry when really we’re just thirsty. Get in the habit of drinking LOTS of water daily and you’ll find yourself with more control of what you’re eating.
  9. Stop Eating When You’re Full – learn what it means to be full. This doesn’t mean eating until you feel sick. Eat SLOWLY and enjoy the food nourishing your body. You’ll often find that once you stop eating, you’re already fuller than you thought. It can take a while for the message to get from your stomach to your brain. Be inspired by toddlers. Ever notice that kids will often eat just a bite of a cookie and then put it down and walk away
  10. Get Accountability Buddies! – have friends join you in your exercise regime and healthy eating ways! Keep each other on track by motivating each other and promising to help push each other to make that workout class even if you’re tired. Help them up when they have an off day and remind each other that you can’t fail if you never give up! If one of you loves the gym but also loves ice cream and the other one never wants to work out, find ways to inspire each other. Social media is also a great way to share progress and find other people to keep you accountable. Also make sure to measure success in ways other than the scale!
  11. Stay Motivated! – Find people, books, site, pictures, and blogs that keep you wanting to keep being a badass trailblazer for your body and your mind!

I Can Haz Avocado: Calorie Dense Foods You Shouldn’t Be Afraid Of

A lot of people immediately shy away from foods high in calories, that’s usually a good rule to go by. However, there are some foods (especially the natural ones) that are PACKED with nutrients, fiber, and other amazing ingredients that can really help speed up your fitness progress and your overall health. Moderation for anything is key, but here are a few reasons why you should incorporate more of the following into your diet:

Avocados: Did someone say guacamole!?! Believe it or not, there ARE other uses for these delicious things. Most people steer clear of avocados because 1 typically packs around 320 calories, which could be a sandwich or a lean cuisine. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat them. Lately I’ve been having 1/2 of an avocado almost everyday (we’ll see how long my wallet likes this idea once we get into Fall/Winter). An additional 160 calories on my salad along with shrimp and other veggies adds soo much flavor (and fiber) that it really completes the meal and leaves me completely satisfied without wanting anything after.

By far, the best thing about avocados (besides improving your hair and skin due to vitamin E) is that they can actually help you better absorb nutrients! Today I even made a tuna sandwich with 1/2 an avocado instead of mayo and it was amazing! There’s plenty of other reasons out there to eat these guys.

Peanut Butter: Mmmmm this stuff is good! It’s hard not to eat a lot of it. After an intense workout or on the weekends, I love toasting a piece of whole wheat bread and spreading 1tblspn of peanut butter on it. 1tblspn may have 80 calories but it will help keep you feeling fuller longer and is soo yum when its over a warm piece of bread. Peanut butter also contains healthy mono-saturated fats! Plus with only 3g of sugar (most brands) it gives you that sweet taste without messing up your blood sugar. Another cool thing? Peanut butter also contains resveratrol, which helps your body fight viruses, molds, bacteria and gives you an overall stronger immune system! So go spread a little over some apple slices, make a PB&J, or dip some celery sticks in it.

Nuts: Calories in nuts are actually absorbed by the body differently than most. Eating 1-2 oz of nuts a day can drastically improve your heart health and help keep you feeling full, avoiding those cupcakes in the break room. I’ve written another more in-depth blog post about them here. πŸ™‚

Day 10 of 30DS and Outstanding Results!

Friday was a rough day and my body was exhausted. Instead of doing my daily 30DS workout, I took a giant 3 hour nap and stayed on track on Loseit. I was feeling slightly guilty that I missed a day but all it means is that today is day 10 instead of 11 and I’ll just keep on trekking πŸ˜‰

I did my starting measurements on day 4 last Sunday and decided I will do them every Sunday. A good way to keep myself on track for the rest of the week.

What I wasn’t expecting was to find out that I’ve already lost 3.5 inches off my body!!

1″ off my waist
1″ off my hips
0.5″ off my thighs
1″ off my arms

That’s incredible and quite frankly I can’t wait to see what day 30 will bring! I didn’t want to take those starting measurements because I didn’t want to see the numbers but I’m so glad I did!

Stay motivated! You got this!!

20120722-155144.jpg

20120722-155151.jpg