Saturday, December 29, 2012

Today's Workout

Because I finished my 25 mile goal yesterday, I decided to take the day off from running to let my joints re-coop. Today, I focused on CARDIO. And I moved around to different machines for a better calorie burn.

I did:

Stair Master - 10 minutes - Aerobic Training program - Level 10
Elliptical - 28 minutes - Weight Loss Interval program - Resistance 4 then 8
Exercise Bike - 15 minutes + 3 minute cool down - Around the World Hill program - Level 10
Stair Master - 8 minutes (I was supposed to do 10 minutes, but I had to quit early) - Same as above

Then, before my stretch, I did some ab work.

1 minute plank
40 bicycle crunches
10 wiper planks
20 clamps
20 jack knifes with exercise ball
20 leg lifts
10 rolling side planks (This was a first for me! Found these in a fitness magazine last night)
10 wall curl ups with exercise ball
10 side wall crunches (10 per side)

And boy - I was SWEATY.

I'm super excited about a new toy I ordered. It's called the Polar FT7 and it's a heart rate monitor that tracks progress and records your calorie burn. A lot of the fitness blogs/instagrams I see use them and they look pretty useful. According to DHL, it's on the delivery truck today so I should get it tomorrow when I go into town. I'm pretty excited to learn how to use it! It was a late Christmas present from me to me. I'm always so thoughtful when I give gifts to myself.. I'll let you guys how I like it once I get it all figured out.

Even if you don't have an hour+ like I did today, you can still accomplish a good workout with 20 - 30 minutes. And you don't have to be in a gym with fancy machines, either. The most important thing is moving and getting your heart rate up for a period of time - 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes... Whatever.

I used to say that I never had time to commit to exercising and that's why I never developed a routine. But now that I look back, I realize how much time I wasted watching TV, checking Facebook, shopping online, whatever. While it doesn't feel like it, that time really can add up. I could have cut out some really useless time spent and gotten in a small workout each day. But, hindsight is always 20/20. And it doesn't matter what happened in the PAST, the present is all I have and I'm going to use it for good!

Have a sweaty day, ya'll.

Friday, December 28, 2012

25 Miles of Running - December's Goal

I like to run. I don't love it. I'm not great at it. But I like doing it enough that I enjoy 5k's and sometimes think about running 10k's. At the beginning of the year, before I left for this job, I crammed in about four different 5k's in a span of three months. It was really fun. I even conned one of my non-runner friends to do a few with me. And hey! She liked it, too.

Once I got out to Wyoming, I kind of forgot about running. I was going to the gym regularly and doing the elliptical or exercise bike, but due to my hatred of treadmills (it just doesn't feel natural!), I wasn't really doing the whole running thing any more. That is, until I saw that my gym was hosting an annual Turkey Trot 5k on Thanksgiving Day. I thought about it for a few days... kind of went back and forth about whether or not I should do it... I mean, I hadn't run in MONTHS! And this race was in two weeks. But then I saw the t-shirt you get for doing it. And it was super cute. And I'm a sucker for race t-shirts. "What the hell?" I thought. It's not like I really know anyone in this town. If I totally gave up after the first half mile and walked the other 2.6, who was going to judge me? So I signed up. And I'm glad I did.

Wouldn't you run a 5k if this cute shirt was involved?

The Turkey Trot was the hilly-est (?) run I've ever completed. It was cold (around 30 F) and my legs were kind of mad at me at first. But once I got almost to the 1 mile mark, my body kicked it into gear and I enjoyed the rest of the race as much as I had the 5k's before it. I had a friend who ran with me, err, he ran the same race I did. But he dusted me by like 10 minutes. Oh well, that's what happens when you're a runner with little legs. Regardless, it was a fun experience and it really turned my running switch back on.

After this Turkey Trot, my running legs were back! I wanted to do more of it. So I set a goal for myself. I wanted to run 25 miles in the month of December. And I did it. And I kept a log of it. 

1.20 miles - December 5th
2.26 miles - December 6th
0.77 miles - December 7th
2.08 miles - December 11th
2.38 miles - December 12th
2.70 miles - December 13th
1.00 miles - December 15th
1.36 miles - December 17th
2.67 miles - December 18th
3.07 miles - December 19th
1.25 miles - December 23rd
1.76 miles - December 24th
1.80 miles - December 27th
2.62 miles - December 28th

Total so far (and December's not over, yet!) = 26.92 miles

2.25 miles - December 30th
2.17 miles - December 31st

***UPDATE: Final mileage count - 31.34 miles. Hell yes.

The green runs happened when I was home in North Carolina. Obviously, I like running at home a whole lot more than I do in Wyoming, especially this time of year. At home, I get to run outside in 50-60 degree (mostly) weather while enjoying a beautiful riverside scenery at SEA LEVEL! In Wyoming, I get to stare at a treadmill screen until I'm so cramped up that I can't take it any more. I blame this on the single digit temperatures and everlasting presence of white stuff the locals call snow. I'm sure I'll love running in Wyoming once the winter is over and I can run outside. But whether home or in Wyoming, I had a goal to reach! So I sucked up the treadmill thing and got it done, anyway.

I'm so excited that I accomplished this goal. It seemed so crazy and unreachable when I thought of it at the beginning of the month. And now that it's done, I just sit back - look at my log - and think about how awesome I am.

And now I'm ready to think about a January goal. I think in the month of January, I'm going to try to bike 100 miles and run 25 again. What do you think? Is this possible? What's your goal for January?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Why I want this.

Christmas is over. New Year's is right around the corner. The Biggest Loser season premier starts January 6th. We all know what time of year we're approaching right now - Resolution Season.

A lot of people this year, like every year before, will resolve to lose weight. They'll purchase new workout clothes, renew their gym memberships, and crowd fitness facilities all around the country and/or world. How long will it last? It depends on the person. Thankfully for people like me who go to a very small gym, 80-90% of these resolution makers will drop off of the fitness truck by the middle of February - leaving behind the same low key, quiet, and open gym that existed in December. But how can I make sure that I'm not one of those people who drop out so soon? How can I be one of the those in that 10% that really change their lifestyles for good instead of faking it for a month? I think motivation has a lot to do with it.

And for me, it's about remembering WHY I want to be healthy.

I want to be healthy
  • because I want to be able to wear tight fitting shirts without feeling self concious. 
  • because I want to have energy and be in a good mood regularly.
  • because I want to look sexy for my boyfriend.
  • because I want the people who saw me when I was overweight to notice how good I look.
  • because I want to not only be able to lose this weight, but maintain a healthy weight for the rest of my life.
  • because I want to have my picture taken in a bikini on the beach and NOT hide it from my friends.
  • because I want to fit into that pair of Express jeans that used to make my butt look so good.
  • because I want to be able to wear shorts in the summertime without my thighs giving me a perpetual wedgie.
  • because I want other people in the same situation to have inspiration that a normal girl with ordinary tools can achieve her goals.
  • because I want to wear those hipster mid-drift tops and rock those skin tight dresses that are popular right now.
  • because I want to extend my life.
  • because I want to be in EXCELLENT shape and do fun adventurous stuff without thinking that I'm not fit enough.
And I'm going to do this. 

Why do YOU want to be healthy?

How did I get here? How I went from skinny to unskinny in one semester

I was always tiny growing up. I danced ballet from the moment I learned to walk until the day I graduated from high school. I was ALWAYS dancing. When I wasn’t in the ballet studio, I was dancing on my high school’s dance team. And when I graduated from high school, I strutted across that stage weighing a mere 95 lbs. Then came college.

The Freshman Fifteen is a widely known phenomenon in which college freshman gain 15 lbs in their first year of college due mainly to diet and lifestyle changes coupled with stress. It’s just a fact of life that most freshman know about going into school.

What I didn't know, however, was that the sudden halt of my constant dance extracurriculars along with my love of Bojangles, Ice Cream, and cheap beer would land 35 lbs on my body in the first semester. And it didn't hit me until I went home for Christmas.

I couldn't figure out why people were looking at me so funny. Yes, my clothes fit differently and, in fact, I had to abandon my 00’s for a 6, but I didn't really feel the change until after everyone else had noticed it. I remember looking through pictures of me with my family that Christmas and being horrified. Me? Fat? I didn't know the two words went together. I had never worried about my weight. I had always assumed I would be one of those lucky bitches who are skinny forever regardless of what they did. How did this happen?

Lucky for me, my serious boyfriend broke up with me a few months later. And thus began the “starve myself and listen to Dashboard Confessional because I'm depressed” diet. And boy, that worked. I was down to 115 lbs by the time summer rolled around. But, like all quick fix diets, my results didn't last long and I would continue bouncing around between 125 and 140 lbs until now.

I didn't know what to do with this added weight. I tried layering extra tank tops to cover it up. I tried wearing bigger jeans to my legs didn't look as fat. I started wearing more jewelry to take the attention off my growing body. But none of it worked. I still felt huge and my self esteem was falling fast. 

Surely, it had nothing to do with all of the crap I was shoving into my mouth on a regular basis! Lack of exercise?! I did the elliptical with my friends once a WEEK sometimes! I felt like I was being pranked.

It took the next three years to learn about and understand nutrition. It took the next year after that to understand what REAL exercise and cardio and calorie burning meant. And it took me until now to put everything together and stop making excuses for why “I know how to lose weight, I just don’t have time/money/a gym partner/motivation for it right now.”  

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Introducing Healthy Little Me!

I'm jumping off the cliff and doing the one thing I've wanted to do for the last few months: start a fitness/weight loss blog. I finally broke down and created Healthy Little Me because my horoscope told me to follow my gut. But the truth is I lacked support for this idea from some of the closest people to me. My best friend was totally supportive, but everyone else wasn't so into it...

“Why would you write about something like that?”

“Aren't there a billion of those blogs out there already?”

“You should go back to writing personal essays like you used to.”

“Why don't you write a blog about the adventures of your cat?”

My cat is interesting and so are my personal essays about Halloween and the local ice cream truck. But that's just not who I am right now.

Five months ago, my life changed a lot. I took a job across the country and left everyone and everything I knew and loved. I now live in a remote town in Wyoming and work 12 hour shifts every day. This might seem like a nightmare to the average person, but to me it was a blessing in disguise. Number one: I have a job right out of college that is relevant to my degree. Number two: I have no distractions or excuses for not being healthy.

I've been struggling with my weight since my freshman year of college. I'll write more about this in a later post, but for the last six years I've been secretly battling body images and weight issues and I always wanted to do something about it but could never find the time to commit, until now.

In the last five months, I have created a routine. I work for twelve hours, sleep for eight, and work out for two before doing it all over again. Routines to some people seem mundane. But for me, my new ritual has given me the chance to make the transformations in my life and body that I always wanted to do but never could.

And now the number talking begins. I thought about leaving these pesky little details out but half of the reason I wanted to start this blog was for accountability and the other half was to inspire others, so here goes:

July's Statistics:
Age: 24
Height: 4’11”
Starting Weight: 142 lbs
Starting BMI: 28.7

For reference, here’s the BMI categories from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute:
Underweight = <18.5
Normal weight = 18.5 – 24.9
Overweight = 25 – 29.9
Obesity = >30
Yep. That's me. Right there in the overweight category only 1.2 BMI points from the obesity range.

For the last five months, I've done a lot of work. But I still have more work to do. Before getting screwed up by a two week visit home complete with deliciously over-proportioned meals and minimal running (But I DID run!), I was down to 128 lbs. But constantly eating out with my boyfriend and hitting up the night life with my friends wasn't very forgiving so here I stand:

Current Statistics:
Current weight: 135.1 lbs
Current BMI: 27.3

And, drum roll.... my goal is:
Goal Weight: 110 lbs
Goal BMI: 22.2 (Right SMACK DAB in the middle of normal!)

Whew. Why is the sharing of such personal numbers so liberating? I don't know, but it is.

But don't get this twisted: being 110 pounds isn't what this is all about. This is about being healthy and feeling good in my skin and the clothes that I wear. I might never reach that weight but if I can learn how to live a healthy lifestyle and own the best possible version of my body that I can, I will have succeeded.
Too often we women get caught up in numbers. Our weight, our height, our jean size, our age, our income. We define ourselves by such objective ideas because it makes for an easier comparison. These numbers allow us to measure and compare ourselves to other people. These numbers let us know how far off we are from being in the "normal" range.
Look, measuring ourselves isn't a bad thing. Numbers keep us accountable. But that's not what it's all about. Regardless of the number, if you feel better about yourself today than you did yesterday – you’re doing something right. And if you don’t feel better today, regardless of that number, something needs to change.
I would be lying if I said I didn't want to be skinny. Plenty of women do. And it's okay to be honest about our own quest for personal vanity. This is how the whole idea started out; it's tough being overweight during the return of the "mid-drift" top and "super skinny" jean. But over the last five months of reading about fitness, seeking inspiration from others on a similar journey, and questioning my own plan, I've discovered that being healthy is so much more than being skinny. It's about having energy, being in a good mood, enjoying relationships with other people, having a physical and mental well-being, taking care of your heart, and extending your life. And what the hell - if I can rock some "super skinny" jeans in the process, all the better! Am I right?