Cleanse Day 1 {Check}

Day one of my 7-day cleanse is complete.  I learned last night hotter water makes the Acacia fiber *much* more tolerable.  I mean *hot* water, like you would use for tea.

I did Zumba last night for one hour.  Maybe it was just me, but I feel like I sweat *much* more than normal.  I mean *a lot* more than normal.  I sweat so much, in fact, that my entire neck was dyed yellow (my hair is yellow right now), which never happens.  Luckily it just wiped off…for the most part.  I did feel great, though.  Even after I was finished with Zumba I still felt as though I had a great deal of energy.

This morning I woke up without an alarm at 7:30.  That *never* happens.  I feel like I slept better than normal.  There might be a chance this is just psychosomatic, but I do feel quite great.  I have done the first part of my cleanse for today, which has made me develop a slight headache again (same as yesterday).  Although it is nothing intolerable by any means.

The scale showed no movement today…in either direction.  So, I am neither happy or sad about that.  No change is just that…no change.  We shall see for tomorrow.

-Erica

I Should Be Fired…

…of course no one “hired” me to do this, though.  I have been horrible lately.  I seem to have a lot of personal drama getting in the way of things, my blogging especially.  Here is an update, though:

My weight has been remaining pretty steady over the last couple weeks.  Up a pound one day and down 1.2 the next.  Then back up 1.4 the next and down 1.2 after that.  Frustrating.  This morning I finally have seen a lower number!

194.0

This is the lowest number I have seen on the scale, so thank everything holy for that one!  I needed some happy news in my life, really.  I also began a 7-day cleanse today.  I bought the Renew Life Total Body Rapid Cleanse.  The first thing I have to say is the Acacia Fiber tastes *horrible* – and that is no exaggeration!  I had a *very* hard time getting that down (and keeping it there), and I am really not looking forward to doing it again this evening.

I have never done any kind of cleanse before, so I am anxious to see how things go for me.  I have already developed a very mild headache and my tummy is definitely feeling a little more active.  My goal is to share with you guys how I am doing day-by-day with the cleanse (especially for those of you who have never tried one either).  The product claims say that you could lose between 5 and 20 pounds if you do the cleanse the right way (IE follow all directions, drink plenty of water, exercise, and eat well).  I would certainly be happy with even just a few pounds, though.  So, we shall see.

I will get back into the swing of things starting this Sunday, too.  So, a weigh day will be coming.

How have you all been holding up while I have been MIA?

-Erica

It’s A Process…Here’s Some Progress

Facial comparison – May 2011 to August 2012

So, I have been taking pictures today.  I try to take progress pictures at least every other month (probably should have done monthly, but oh well).  Of course, I am late (nearly a month late at this point).  At least I am getting to them now, though.

I still hate taking pictures of myself.  I still think I look strange in photographs…and that I probably just should not be in them.  This is something I really have to work on.  Not that I want to be one of those folks who takes pictures of themselves every day, but I would love to be alright with my picture being taken.  Maybe someday, right?

I busted out the pants today…

Side Comparison – November 2011 to August 2012

I can definitely see some changes taking place even between May and August.  That makes me feel good since the numbers are not always working in my favor…at least this proves other things are still happening (such as building muscle which is replacing some of that fat).  This helps me feel better about losing only 14 pounds in those nearly three months.  Ick.

Here is something interesting…

I am almost half the gal I used to be…so close.

Once I dipped below the 200-pound-mark, I knew I was officially thinner than I had ever been as an adult.  However, rummaging through my basement proved something else to me:

My senior pictures – age 17

I am actually thinner than I was in high school!  Those are two of my senior picture proofs…look how puffy my poor face is!  I honestly cannot believe it.  I did not realize I was already *that* big in high school.  Wish I could have the kind of confidence I had back then…since I know I now look *so* much better.  Ironic, isn’t it?

Do you take progress pictures?  If so, how often do you take them?

-Erica

Weigh Day (week fifty-seven)

This week has been a strange one.  In some ways I am feeling stressed beyond belief, and in others I am finally feeling relaxed.  Odd, right?

The strep is clearing up nicely…after I took a couple days off the gym (and, of course, the antibiotics are helping).  Thursday my bestie (Leslie) stole me away for an overnight trip in a fancy hotel.  That gave me some much needed refreshing relaxation…which I desperately needed.

The biggest stressor for the week is something I have had serious internal struggles over.  I have even contemplated whether or not I should blog about it.  In the interest of not censoring, and of helping others overcome obstacles related to weight loss/health, I have decided I will blog about it:

I have been a member of Fitworks since last August.  I also began training at that time.  My original trainer was Don…then Vanessa…and then Ebony.  All of them seemed nice enough.  When Ebony left I went to Dorsey (manager) and requested someone he thought would be around for a while so I could actually build a relationship with someone.  That is when he gave me Denise.  I loved her from the moment we met.  She was energetic, sincere, and ambitious.  She was excited to help me reach my weight loss goals, which made me even more excited.  Over the last 10 months Denise has gone above and beyond for me (many times over again).  I owe a great deal of my success to her efforts and passion.  Aside from that, though, I have also come to love her as a person…outside of my professional relationship with her.  She really is amazing in many ways.

This is when things get tough.  Obviously my weight is not coming off like it did this time last year.  Every pound is so hard to lose anymore…and the weight is just creeping.  Although I knew logically this was going to happen, I find I am growing frustrated.  So, Dorsey and I were talking about it and he suggested considering training more than once per week…and maybe even seeing what I could learn from another trainer.  The problem is not that the other trainers are not good, or that I do not trust them.  The problem is that Denise is my trainer.  Period.  I felt like even considering another trainer was some sort of ultimate betrayal.  Dorsey assured me, though, that it is “no big deal.”  Despite my initial apprehension, I agreed to start working with Aaron as well.

Aaron is a trainer I have worked with before (and I know I have mentioned him here previously).  So, I already knew he was super brilliant and a fabulous trainer.  He was excited to work with me one-on-one, though…and brought a whole crap-load of information to the table.  He suggested the IF (mentioned previously) and a few other things to get things moving.  He put together a pretty intense schedule for me (which I wish I could have started without being sick), too.  Despite only working out four days this week (two lifting, two cardio), I lost 1.6 pounds since last weigh in.  Excellent!

195.2

I must admit I am excited to learn new things from Aaron, but I still feel pretty crappy about the arrangement.  I certainly intend to keep training with Denise as well, but I have to figure that one out as she switched and reduced her training days at Fitworks this week.

As a side update…the studying continues for my personal training certification.  I have read through 13 chapters (out of 30) so far.  I am taking my time, though, really absorbing and learning the information.  I hope to have everything finished by the end of September, but we shall see.  If it takes me longer to *truly* know the information, it takes me longer.  The whole program is quite expensive, so I really do not want to have to pay for a re-test because I rushed.

Another side update…Grumpy’s Coffee Mug Challenge is chugging along…and I am not doing well – still.  Some of those people have dropped an insane amount of weight already.  Good for them.  Bad for me.  Oh well, though, we have until October…and even if I do not win, I will still be losing.  Every pound off is a small victory right here at the home front, right?

How was your week?  Anything stressful or amazing going on?

-Erica

Loving Whole Foods

I have recently fallen head over heels in L-O-V-E with Whole Foods.  I mean, I had been in there a time or two before, but not with the same drive.  My cousin, Maggie, and I went in there a couple weeks ago looking for a product not sold in other stores, which left us wandering a little.  On top of the wandering, I had read in a few books that purchasing things like nuts are often far cheaper at places like Whole Foods (in their bulk aisle).  So, I decided to check it out.  Oh. My. Goodness.  If they would set up a cot for me, I would live in the bulk food aisle.  Really.  Nuts *are* far cheaper if you purchase them this way…by about *half*…no joke.

Then there is the granola.  Granola…yum!  I have yogurt almost every day.  I typically put a small amount of granola and some walnuts (or pecans…or almonds) on top.  In case you do not already know, though, organic granola at Kroger or Bigg’s is ridiculously expensive!  It runs about $6.00 to $7.00 per pound!  At Whole Foods (in the bulk aisle, of course) granola is $3.99 per pound.  That is *so* much cheaper…and the flavors of granola are amazing!  My favorite is the Vanilla Macaroon.  It is heavenly.

I also switched to buying my eggs from Whole Foods…and my yogurt.  I usually purchase Dannon Light & Fit for $2.99 (32 oz.).  Whole Foods carries an organic vanilla yogurt made with milk from cows without hormones for $2.49 (32 oz.).  Better deal!  I will admit; however, that the eggs are slightly more expensive at Whole Foods.  One dozen eggs runs about $1.60 at WF and about $1.40 at Kroger.  However, the WF eggs are free range, antibiotic-free (which makes me happy to pay the little bit extra).

Another thing I love about WF…they have samples over by the bakery area…and man are they good!  I usually pass right by the sample kiosks at other grocery stores because it is all ucky processed junk.  I feel better about trying the foods at WF because I know they have higher standards about what they will sell/serve.

Ultimately, the purpose of this post is to debunk the whole “Whole Foods (and places like it) is always more expensive than Kroger/Bigg’s (and places like them).”  That is not necessarily true.  Yes, some things are  more expensive, but not everything.  I would say it is definitely worth it to take a stroll through WF and see what you can find to save your family some money.  I bet you will love the bulk aisle, too!

Do you currently shop at Whole Foods (or another store like it)?  If so, are there things you have found to be cheaper there versus a Kroger/Bigg’s/etc?

-Erica

PS) As I was re-reading my post before publishing it occurred to me that you all might think WF is paying/bribing me to say such nice things about them.  I assure you I have been in no way compensated for this post…although they could give me five minutes alone with the bulk food aisle and I would be one happy girl.  🙂

Weigh Day (week fifty-six)

So, week one of Grumpy’s Coffee Mug Challenge is finished…and I am not doing so well against some of the competition.  Some of these folks dropped *serious* weight this week (congrats to them!)!  I can only hope (for my own personal sake, of course) that they cannot sustain that kind of loss every week…or I stand no chance at all.

The scale is still moving down…ever…so…slowly.  But, down is down, so no complaints here.

196.8

That is 0.4 down from last week.  Part of me is frustrated with such a small loss…part of me is just glad it is a loss.  I mean, after all, any kind of loss is certainly better than any kind of gain, right?!

So, I was talking to Aaron at Fitworks this past week and he was telling me about intermittent fasting.  He is doing a daily 16/8 split.  This means he eats for only 8 hours a day and fasts for 16.  He is in great physical shape already (believe me…he looks like he could be some sort of god…really), but has lost three pounds of fat in a week doing the IF.  The issue for me is that I workout in the evening, so I would need to fast *all* day in order to workout at the optimal time of the fast.  Obviously, I cannot do that.  So, I am looking into a once weekly (or possibly twice weekly) 24-hour fast.

This might be just what I need to see some good movement on the scale each week (as in an average of 1.5 to 2 pounds per week again)…and give me at least a shot at winning Grumpy’s competition.  Have any of you out there done any kind of fasting?  If so, how did you decide your “schedule” or were you under the supervision of a physician?

If you are interested in reading more about IF, I found a couple links:
Precision Nutrition – Dr. John Berardi
The “IF” Life

I have not decided just yet if I will be doing IF for sure.  This is just something I am considering.  I still have some more reading to do to see if this may fit into my life effectively.

Beyond that, the only thing going on this past week was sickness.  Strep, to be exact.  My older daughter picked it up and was given antibiotics on Wednesday.  By Friday, my younger daughter had swollen tonsils and blisters.  My throat feels like I am trying to swallow glass (uncomfortable to say the least), so I am pretty sure I picked it up as well.  Both my younger daughter and I were put on antibiotics today.  Thankfully, other than swallowing glass, my body feels perfectly fine…no aches or fever.  That means, of course, it is life as usual (meaning Zumba with Michelle tonight).

-Erica

Weigh Day (week fifty-five)

I am feeling *far* better this week than last.  All of my “extra” weight went away, and I finally saw the downward trend I have come to know and love.  I do still believe that I need a new scale (or new batteries) because I am still running into some inconsistency issues…which are frustrating!

I began my new routine (designed by Denise and Dorsey) this week.  It is more regimented than I am used to, but change is good, right?  This is what my week looked like:

Monday – Back & Biceps (weight lifting)
Tuesday – Spin (cardio)
Wednesday – Legs (weight lifting)
Thursday – Zumba (cardio)
Friday – Chest & Triceps (weight lifting)

Thankfully, the issue with my left foot seems to be improving quickly.  I was still able to do spin on Tuesday (without standing on the bike, though), and leg day was no problem.  Even Zumba went off without a hitch (although about 3/4 through it I cut back on the amount I was jumping).  I have been consistently icing it and keeping it elevated when I sit down.

So, my weigh in for the week:

197.2

Not too shabby, huh?  That is a full four pounds down from last week, and two pounds down from my previous lowest weight.  This makes me happy.  Especially since I am in Grumpy’s Coffee Mug Challenge.  I need to kick some butt, folks.  The challenge runs until October, so I have some time to really ramp it up…which I will be doing.

-Erica

Another Anatomy Lesson?

I have learned quite a bit of anatomy over the last 18 months.  Some I am learning from reading through my texts in preparation for my personal training certification.  That is the stuff I enjoy learning.

However, other stuff (like this lesson in particular) is coming from various injuries.  Yes, another injury for me.  Sigh.

Last March I learned all about the tendons in the dorsal aspect of the foot.  I damaged the achilles, the peroneals, and the plantar fascia in one fell swoop.  Earlier this year I learned about the rotator cuff in my left shoulder and all about patellofemoral arthritis syndrome (which later resulted in a diagnosis of osteoarthritis).  Now I am learning about the tibialis posterior.

I woke up yesterday morning to find that my foot/ankle was really sore to just the slightest touch.  It was fine when I went to bed Sunday night, I should mention.  I could barely put my shoes on (in fact, I ended up wearing different shoes because my normal shoes hurt too bad).  I went to Urgent Care and found that the whole inside of my foot (and all the way down into the arch) was severly swollen.  Ugh.

They just did x-rays and informed me it was not broken.  I pretty much knew I probably did not break my foot in my sleep, though.  Seriously.  So, I paid a visit to my physical therapist.  Guess what, exactly where my pain and swelling is runs a tendon.  The tibialis posterior.

The two of us were talking and I happened to mention running on the treadmill Saturday.  The more we were talking about it, the more certain she became that that is how I aggravated the tendon.  See, I am not sure I have mentioned it here before, but I am *deathly* afraid of the treadmill.  I. HATE. IT.  So, Saturday when I was on the treadmill…running…I was panicky.  Actually, at one point I almost had to stop running simply because I was crying so hard I could not breathe.  I know.  Crazy.  How Denise deals with me, I will never know.

So, my PT says it was not so much the act of running itself that aggravated the tendon.  It was more so that I was running so tense and (most likely) awkwardly.  As nervous as I was, there is a good chance my gait was off.  Running like that could easily make a tendon (or two) angry and inflammed.  That is precisely what happened.

That means lots of ice, elevation, and rest for this foot.  No running of any kind until it has calmed down, and probably no running on the treadmill for a *very long* time.

On another note, though, I just *have* to share this with you all:

198.6

Yup, all of that “extra” weight is already gone.  This is my lowest weight to date, too.  So, maybe it was water…or something else.  Considering that means I have dropped 5.8 pounds in 3 days, I am willing to bet it was not truly fat.  Thank goodness for small miracles.

Oh, one more thing…while you are here, you should enter the giveaway I posted on Sunday.

How is your week starting out?  Are you feeling optimistic about the week?

-Erica

Weigh Day (week fifty-four)

This week…sigh…this week has been rough.  I am finding, though, that inspiration/motivation lies everywhere…and sometimes in the least expected places.  I will even be passing along some inspiration/motivation for all of you, so read it through, pretty please.

After yesterday’s melt down over being 5+ pounds over my lowest weigh in, Denise and I sat down to create a new plan.  That starts tomorrow, and I cannot wait.  This morning gave me a little relief (if I am being honest) because the scale reflected a loss.  A pretty substantial loss (for one day), too.  I am still up for the week, but not over 5 pounds – like I feared.

201.2

That is one pound up from last week, and two pounds up from my lowest weigh in.  I would be lying if I said I was okay with that.  I am not anywhere *near* okay with weight gain.  I know it could be muscle.  I know it could be water.  I know it could be a million things *other* than fat.  It still bothers me…terribly.  It keeps me up at night (and, yes, I am aware that lack of sleep can also be a contributing factor here).

Hopefully with my new plan in action, I will shed that 2 pounds (again) by the end of this week.  That would help me feel better…and sleep better…going forward.

As for inspiration/motivation…

I joined Grumpy’s challenge (as I mentioned yesterday), and I hope some of you will take it on as well.  I was also approached by SlimKicker.  Honestly, I had never heard of them, but I was excited to check them out.  They take weight loss and add some fun twists to it (because we all know, it is not always fun).  They offer weight loss/diet challenges (some created by other users, and some sponsored by SlimKicker) to keep your life interesting.

Signing up with them is free.  You enter some initial (general) information, and they provide you with some recommended nutrition goals. They based the recommendations on what I currently weigh, what I want to weigh, how active I am, etc.

These were my recommendations:

Once you have joined, you can log food, exercise, find groups to join (for extra support), and join challenges to earn points.  You can even create your own challenges!  Additionally, they have other helpful tools to use, such as their Calorie Calculator.

Here is a screen shot of my main page:

The navigation is pretty straight forward, and it has a clean layout to keep everything organized.  I think I would enjoy tracking with SlimKicker more than LoseIt! (which I rarely ever use, honestly).  I know you can earn badges and such with them, but challenging other people…that I can dig!  There is nothing quite like competition to keep you motivated, right?

Right now SlimKicker is on the hunt for new, fun, creative ideas for sponsored challenges.  They want your help.  So, if you have a fun or creative idea for a weight loss or diet challenge, please feel free to post it in the comments below.  Each comment will be entered into a drawing to win this:

SlimKicker will choose the winner one week from today.  Exciting, right?!  So, get those wheels turning and share some of your best ideas for weight loss or diet challenges!

-Erica

A Challenge To Get Things Moving?

A challenge has been set…and I have decided to take it on.  Maybe this will be some extra “oomph” to get things moving in the right direction again.  Shonnie and J are both in, too…so it should be tons of fun!  The challenge is open to anyone, so you should join in with all of us!

This morning was rough…and that is putting it mildly.  My scale is *still* not complying with my efforts for the week, so I am pretty sure I am going to be UP (by a whole lot) for my offical weigh in tomorrow.  That makes me *angry* (and that is putting it mildly).

I was hysterical this morning.  Really.  I texted Denise (and honestly, in my hysteria, I could not even tell you right now what I said to her).  She must have been able to pick up on my complete melt down because she told me to meet her at the gym.  I did.  She yelled at me for stressing over five pounds…which I needed.  She gave me some extra motivation and support…and Dorsey picked my nose (long story, but it means he loves me unconditionally…apparently).

After all my blubbering and whining was through, we worked out.  I ran on the treadmill (and I lived to type about it – go figure).  We did more pushups than I would have liked, and then did KB swings…and other things.  After that, we sat down and organized a plan of action (a new one) and set up some new workouts for me.  So, my new agenda starts Monday.  I feel better now (not happy, not great) that I talked to Denise and Dorsey about it.  I also feel a little silly for stressing so much, but the trauma felt so real this morning.  I am still feeling that sting of *gaining* weight.  It stinks…and I will never like it (or get used to it).

Days like today…when Denise and Dorsey take time out of their day to reassure me, to spend time with me, work with me, encourage me, and just love me…are what keep me going.  The support I have from them is amazing.  I have said it before, but I feel like I have to say it again, “Without Denise (and Dorsey…and everyone else who supports/encourages me) I would *not* be nearly this far.”  I owe a great deal of my success to them.

Who in your life supports you the most?

-Erica