Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Me and Fitness

For this lovely "Whatever Wednesday," I'm sharing my (very shaky (pun intended)) beginning to a new Fitness Challenge.

Song stuck in my head: "Shake it Up!"

So, last summer, my physical therapist suggested that I start running. I did and loved it! My ultimate goal weight has always been 175, but at 185, I was feeling great, had a lot more energy, and was happy to be easily fitting my 5'10" frame into a size 14! I actually like how my body carries weight and was generally happy with how I looked, even at a size 16.

But 14 felt all-around wonderful. Winter came, and I kept up with my old eating habits and gained 20 pounds. I'm now at 205lbs (no fibbing, no rounding). This was what the scale said the last time I stepped on it at the doctor's office, last week.

Since then, I've been trying to eat better, but in all actuality, I want a plan to live better and healthier as Spring and Summer approach and I have more opportunities to get outside with my daughter. I also want to go into warmer weather with more energy and motivation to pick up where I left off last year!

My biggest struggle lately is eating better, so I'm trying the Beach Body 21-Day Fix Challenge. What I love about this challenge is that it's more about portion control and eating the right foods. It's also only 21 days, 3 weeks. That's short enough to be doable for me and long enough to get me into some healthy habits that will last beyond those 3 weeks.

The pack was about $50 and came with cardio workouts, portion-control containers, and I also invested in the Shakeology ($130). I've heard so much good about this product that I had to at least try it.

I expected everything would come in the mail Friday (that I would eat like a king through the weekend and start on Monday), per the tracking information on the site, but it came early! Yesterday, I got home to find the box on my doorstep.

"Whoa, there! I'm not ready," I thought. I glanced sideways at the box, left it on the doorstep, then went out a few minutes later to bring it in. I opened it to get my first impression -- but E tried to steal my colorful portion-control containers.

I let her play and explore just about anything, but I could already see her throwing the containers and lids all over the house and me spending three mornings trying to put them all back together.

"These are Mommy's," I said firmly. She screamed, but I tucked them back in the box and put the box in my room. Like a baby someone left on my door step, I was protecting it but not quite sure I wanted to keep it yet.

Truthfully, though, I had been preparing myself all week. I even started eating significantly better the last few days except for 2 tablespoons of French onion dip and a half-bag of BBQ chips. I paid for it by being violently ill the last 2 mornings.

"When are you going to realize that you're too old to be eating and acting like this?" I reminded myself. I continued the self-instruction: "Indulging sometimes is okay, but you've been sick off and on since October. You can't keep putting your body through this."

I also have a follow-up appointment with the gastroenterologist next Wednesday, and I'd like to be able to tell him that I'm actually feeling better!

This morning I got up early and sorted through the challenge box. The different-colored containers were a little overwhelming to me. I pored over the 21-Day Fix book and took it all in. I love challenging myself to adhere to a system or schedule, and I love figuring out all the details. This plan was a little confusing to me, so this is how I eventually worked it out. It took me about an hour:

The initial information focuses less on an actual meal plan and more on the individual foods you should be eating. I just wanted someone to tell me exactly what to eat for each meal, but as I read on, I began to see the beauty in this system. It's similar to the Weight Watchers Points Plan, but instead of calculating points all day, you pick the foods you want to eat (off the list provided) and go by what fits in your containers to control portions, NOT the exact number of calories. Less daily calculating! Alright!

I think this might work better for me, because the point is to pick good, healthy foods... NOT try to eat one tiny piece of chocolate cake (which, let's face it, that's what I did on WW!), which ultimately just makes me want MORE chocolate cake. The program does allow you to indulge in some healthier sweets 3 times a week, but these "treats" are made with raw, natural sweeteners like raw honey or maple syrup (which we VTers always have on hand).

So. I calculated my caloric intake per the plan which is about 700 more calories than My Fitness Pal suggested (because the idea is to work out on this plan) -- 1905 calories per day. This is just a guide to know how many containers of each food you should eat per day.

This number equated to these numbers of each container. As you could probably figure out, the green container is for veggies, purple for fruits, reds for proteins, yellow for starches, orange for oils, blue for fat, and then you get a certain number of "teaspoon" foods which could be olive oil or a nut butter.

With my calorie goal, I should eat daily:
5 Greens
3 Purples
5 Reds
4 Yellows
1 Blue
1 Orange
5 Teaspoons
Spices and certain mustards, vinegars, you can use freely to flavor the food.

I immediately put this system into my planner, which was the very first step in admitting that I was doing this. Really doing it. My planner goes with me everywhere and has become my life-line. If this plan is in here, I will do it.

The next thing I did was go through each page of the book that lists the foods for each category. Then I made my own list of the foods I would actually eat. I was glad to find out that we had a lot of these in the house already! I highlighted the foods I would need to pick up at the grocery store.

Then I made a list of the times I should eat throughout the day -- every 2 hours from 8am-6pm, and I spread out the colors throughout those times. I knew I would want to eat a Purple (fruit) in the morning. I knew that I would have a hard time wanting something sweet in the evening, so I added a Purple to my 6pm meal. Per the number above, I made sure I had 3. I did this for each category and started jotting down foods from the list that I would like to eat at each time of day.

If I found that the categories didn't really go together, I moved them. For instance, I had a Yellow in my 10am snack and was having a hard time picking a Yellow food that I would want to eat at that time of day, knowing I would be at work. I moved that Yellow to my 2pm snack.

Of course, I can change this at any time, but I had to do it this way to make sure I covered all my categories. It felt like a lot of advanced-level mathematics, but once completed, I had a visual of what I wanted to eat during the day, and I actually am looking forward to it! This food sounds good!

I'm starting the plan tomorrow, after a run to the grocery store tonight. If I started now, I'd already be behind, but I am going to try to eat the foods from the plan that we have in the house as much as possible today.

In the mean time, I have a 4-week supply of Shakeology. Last night, I stuck my finger in the mix to try a taste. I was skeptical, but it was good. Really good. This morning, I figured that I could at least start with a Shakeology breakfast shake until I officially start my 21-Day Fix tomorrow.

I mixed a scoop with about 12oz. of water (didn't measure), a half banana, and about 1/4 cup of chocolate soy milk. And I reached for it at every stop light on the way to work and devoured it once at my desk. It is slightly chalky but not enough to bother me at all, and I'm a texture person. The flavor is great -- comparable to any chocolate milk on the market.

Also, I did not get sick this morning. For the first time in a week. Was it the Shakeology? Who knows, but it's the only thing I've changed in the last week, so I have to wonder! I'll definitely try it again tomorrow!

Thanks to Ashley for getting me started. I'll post a "before" pic today and keep you updated over the next 3 weeks! I'll probably be in my sports-bra (cringes). You won't want to miss it!

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