Spring is here!

It’s been a really long time since I’ve last posted something in here. My last post was definitely about how gloomy February is and how unmotivated I feel. Well, March is here, and with Daylight Savings Time today and the change in weather, I feel much better.

I keep a small calendar on which I mark off my work out days and other important timelines (i.e. changing contacts, lady times, etc.). This is something that I did in college which kept me motivated to go to the gym. Somehow, seeing those color checkmarks in the corner of the days encouraged me to go the gym often. I guess the gold star system really works for me.

So, to recap, out of the 29 days of February, I worked out/went to the gym for 21 of them. That’s a lot of working out! Needless to say, I feel like I’m in pretty good shape as far as my stamina and endurance goes. Now, how many of those 5 pounds that I wanted to eliminate in 2012 did I lose? -5. That’s right, I gained 5 pounds in February. How is that possible when I worked out almost daily for the entire month of February? Well, I could sit here and blame it on muscle gain (which there has been) and bloating and all of that. But I’m not going to. The truth of the matter is I felt burnt out and stressed in February (which seems to be the trend almost every single year–I need to figure out what the source of the problem is so I don’t keep relapsing). I rarely had nights where I slept for more than 4 consecutive hours. No matter how early I went to bed or aides I took, I could not stay asleep for more than 3-4 hours per night. I even tried napping during the day and I found myself just lying in bed or on the couch tired but still very much awake until my alarm went off. I was just so exhausted from the lack of sleep and pressures of the job. As a result, I reverted back to my high school days where I would eat to gain energy. I don’t remember sleeping in high school, but I remember being tired and eating all the time. The heaviest and largest I’ve ever been in my life was junior year of high school because of that habit. Luckily this time around, I exercised my face off (much different from high school me) which has negated some of the enormous calorie intake so I haven’t had buy bigger clothes or anything. But I’ve definitely gained weight and it’s because of my work off then pig out habit.

So, what do I need to do? I need to sleep more and stop eating so much sugar. My sweets craving kicked into high gear last month which is the main culprit of my weight gain. Yes, I’ve gotten stronger. Yes, I’m in better shape, but I haven’t been seeing results because of my sugar and simple carb intake.

Last weekend, I took a long weekend to just lock myself in my apartment and sleep during random parts of the day. I literally did nothing. I even took a week off from working out. But it was exactly what I needed because when I showed up to work after the long weekend, I felt incredibly refreshed and like my usual self. I returned to the gym on Tuesday and I’ve had some amazing workouts since. I’ve gone in every single day and my workouts have all been incredibly productive. And now the weather is warming up (we’re supposed to have a few days in the 70s this week), we’re getting more sunshine, and I’ve rested, I feel wonderfully rejuvenated and inspired. Despite my two hour work out today (totally by accident. . . I got carried away because I was very much in the zone and it was completely empty at the gym), I went for a quick post-dinner run. I think I’m going to do that more as long as the weather cooperates–go for a brisk post-dinner walk/jog just to get some fresh air and to distract myself from crazy chocolate cravings.

I’ve decided to actively reduce the amount of simple carbs and refined/processed foods I eat. No, I’m not going to eliminate desserts or go organic or anything like that. I’m just going to make a more conscious effort of stay away from pastries, breads, and white anything. Hopefully this will help me actually see the results of spending hours at the gym.

On a girly-er note, I spent lots of gift card money on cute workout clothes today. I bought some fun colored sports bras and cheap t-shirts. I’m completely stocked up and set for a long time now. I’m looking forward to my next workout now simply because I want to try out my new sports bras! So silly.

Ok, I think that’s long enough for now. 🙂

’tis the season of bloat

I find February to be the most uninspiring month of the entire year. Other than the fact my birthday happens in this month, February has always been the dullest month for me. Usually everything is covered in snow around this time, freezing cold, and extremely difficult to travel; it’s the perfect formula for SAD. But, it’s confusing this year because it’s felt like spring every other week. Normally I’d welcome this semi-warm weather, but the inconsistency has been really messing with my body–specifically my sinuses. I feel like I have a headache every other day and I feel incredibly lethargic (which is typically what happens when my sinuses start bothering me). First-year-teacher syndrome is starting to wear off and I’m counting down the days until Spring Break just so I don’t have to work. I haven’t been eating like crazy at night (with the exception of this past weekend), but I’m still not sleeping well which is causing me to bloat. I’m not going to weigh myself anymore because it’s messing with my mind. My regular clothes are getting looser, but my scale keeps telling me I’m gaining weight. I’m seeing muscles again and my core has gotten much stronger, but the scale keeps telling me I’m getting fatter. NO MORE WEIGH INS. I think I might just store it away altogether so I’m not tempted.

On the plus side, I’ve definitely developed a habit of working out. I feel weird on my days off because I didn’t exercise. I’ve gotten significantly stronger and more tone. My personal training sessions are all over. And until I start making twice what I currently do now, PT has been completely cut off for me. But, that’s ok because I’m using equipment and machines that I either was afraid to use before or just simply didn’t know how. Plus, I know how to check myself for good form and all that other silly stuff. Just for that, the money was worth it.

I find out early next month if the school has enough money to keep my position. If not, I’m back on the job search. I’m not going to dwell on it because I know for a fact that administration is very happy with me. It’s just unfortunate that my job is always the first one to go if the school is short on cash–especially since I’m not a full time teacher. I’ve been hoping they’ll bump my position back up to full time, but at this point, I’m just hoping they won’t cut my position altogether. Ugh.

On a happier note, my friend from college is visiting this weekend which I’m really excited about. I haven’t seen her in almost a full year!

I’m at the point where going to the gym everyday has become a habit. I think they say it takes about 6 weeks to form a habit. Turns out them scientists are correct. I’ve gotten back to the point where I really enjoy exercising and I’m seeing the results. Now, my weight is a different story. No change. Still. I’m having a problem with bloating. I think it my be directly correlated to my sleeping. I guess I’ve been stressed out because I haven’t been sleeping well the last couple of weeks. Melatonin gets me there, but my body keeps waking up after 4 hours. I don’t feel well rested, but I’m wide awake.

What could be causing the stress?

Cravings

I went to my parents’ house last Sunday for a few hours to do laundry, pick up a few things, and to catch up with my mom. Naturally, my mom packed for me all kinds of Korean food–specifically two different types of marinated meats (aka Korean BBQ): beef (bulgogi) and spicy pork. I’d mentioned previously that I haven’t been eating much meat lately and I might have been trying to satisfy that craving elsewhere (i.e. sweets, cheese and crackers, etc.). This entire week for dinner, I made some kind of Korean food. I kept my rice cooker full of rice (some days white, others brown) and had mini Korean BBQ dinners by myself with lettuce wraps and everything. It turns out that that was exactly what my body needed. My portion control at night was significantly better this week and I didn’t have much of a sweet craving until yesterday (I may have indulged in a [shared] giant slice of red velvet cake and pomegranate cosmos at Kona Grill. . .). I had been avoiding Korean food a little bit since moving out because of its sodium content; I’ve been trying to cut back to prevent bloating which is recurring problem that I have. In case you didn’t know, Korean food consists of lots of healthy ingredients, but is relatively high in sodium because everything is meant to accompany rice. As it turns out, I can’t deny my roots and I need to include Korean food in my diet because it keeps me in check and satisfies a craving that I can’t completely satisfy through other foods. It’s a complete source of comfort that distresses me as well. Without even trying, I lost a full pound this week–all because I added Korean cuisine back into my diet. I guess I should take this as a sign and revert back to certain eating habits.

Long time no post

Hm, I guess I should post something since I haven’t in like a bajillion years. Oops.

I have successfully gone to the gym 5-6 days a week during the month of January. Now, has there been much a difference? As far as weight and size goes, not so much. BUT I’ve developed more muscle (which is visible in my eyes) and I’ve gotten much stronger. I’ve tried to count calories and omit white junk from my diet, but the truth is I love all different kinds of food too much. One of my goals was “everything in moderation”. A restricting diet simply doesn’t work for me because I need variety in my food. By limiting myself too much, I seem to indulge elsewhere (in terms of food) which has a much more negative consequence. Here’s the thing: I’m going to stop weighing myself after next Wednesday (my last personal training session so I’ll have no choice) for the remainder of February. Focusing on a number is stressing me out too much. The thing is I’m currently at my desired pant/dress size; it’s just that my clothes have gotten slightly tighter over the past couple of months. But I haven’t gotten big enough to move up a size either. I’m going to gauge my progress (after next Wednesday) solely on how my clothes fit. I’m not looking to drop a million pounds nor trying to implement a completely new lifestyle. Therefore, I’m going to think back to the mind set I had my senior year of college which was to stay as healthy as possible so I wouldn’t be sick for my senior recital. Basically, I was worried that I would catch the plague right before my senior voice recital so I made a conscious effort to get 8 hours of sleep every night, took my vitamins, went to the gym 5-6 times a week, and ate very well. I really worked out like crazy then simply to ensure I had the stamina to perform a full recital by myself. I also knew that I would be living it up most days/nights since it was my last year in college and I didn’t want to leave having finally gained the Freshman 15. That mindset of “must stay healthy so I can survive my senior recital” helped me lose weight and drop down a size–all organically. I made no conscious decision to lose weight. So from here on out, I’m going to have the mindset of “must stay healthy so I can survive the remainder of my first year of teaching” because I know that’s what will work for me. Checking the scale and trying to count calories seems to be backfiring at the moment. Like I previously mentioned, I’m at the same size I was my senior year of college (which is what I refer back to as my happy size/weight), but things are a little tighter in certain areas. I’m not going to count calories, have weekly weigh-ins with myself, or follow a strict, restrictive diet because it simply doesn’t seem to fit my lifestyle and personality. I honestly believe wholeheartedly focusing on staying healthy so I can survive the school year is a much more obtainable goal for me. Let’s see how it works!

When TOM comes to visit

The week leading up to TOM’s visit is killer. I have a ravenous appetite, bloated, and sleepy. I hadn’t eaten much sweets the week before, but this weekend was bad. I needed lots of chocolate otherwise I would’ve gone crazy. I mean, if crying on a treadmill at the gym in public doesn’t wave a flag for some comfort food, I don’t know what does. So, basically I worked out like a mad woman this week, but I couldn’t stop eating because I was famished every 2 hours (even after I drank lots of water). But, of course, when TOM arrives, I lose my appetite. Which is exactly what’s been going on these past couple of days. Being a girl is so annoying sometimes.

I had PT today. I wish I make about twice what I make now; I’d have a PT session weekly. Now I understand why people dish out all that money to have someone make work out like crazy for an hour. Sadly, I only have two more sessions left and I’ll be done. Perhaps in the summer I’ll purchase just a few to tune up. Or hopefully the district will pay me more next year? Here’s hoping. This week’s was slightly less intense compared to last week’s. Or maybe it’s because I’ve gotten stronger? I don’t know, my trainer is pretty disappointed by the fact push ups are absolutely the death of me and they need to be modified so much. Anyhoo, during today’s session, he took out the boxing gloves. I got to hit him and a bag which was awesome! It made me miss Cardio Kickboxing at Lifetime like crazy! I absolutely loved doing the boxing stuff. My trainer said he was completely impressed by my form and was honestly expecting me to wimp out. Thankssssssss. . . I requested that we do more boxing because I loved it so much. 🙂

My trainer had warned me last week that we would weigh in this week. I wasn’t anticipating any major changes especially after this past weekend of eating. To be honest, I was hoping he’d forgotten because I knew I’d be disappointed. Well, as anticipated, my weight hasn’t changed at all, BUT my body fat percentage went down about 5% in two weeks! According to this chart, I’m in the Athletic/Lean category for women which made me really happy. Going to the gym almost daily is paying off. Now, if only I can get my appetite and my stop-eating-because-you’re-full trigger in my brain under control, I’ll actually drop some pounds. Whatever, I’m going to fixate on the body fat percentage because that’s telling me that things are looking good on the inside.

Other than the sweet/chocolate cravings, my diet has been very good. Although, I’ll need a real burger soon. Mmmm. Yummy.

MLK

I have to say the best part of working in a school is having these random days off. Except I went into work today to catch up on stuff and redo my lesson plans for the week because I was an idiot and forgot there was no school today when I did my planning last week. We’ll see how this week goes because I’ve essentially lost a day and the semester ends on Friday. Wah.

The last couple of days have been much better! I’m back on track. My sleeping is still not great, but hopefully that’ll improve. Basically, I’m having a really hard time falling asleep, and when I do finally fall asleep, I’m unable to stay asleep for more than 3-4 consecutive hours. Why?! I did some catching up on my sleep this weekend, but I’m hoping this week won’t be a repeat of last week. Must. Get. To. Bed. Earlier. And. Stay. Asleep. Once I get my sleep schedule regulated, my eating and portion control should fix itself since I won’t be grazing and bingeing to make up for lack of energy.

I did some major grocery shopping this weekend; I think I have enough food to last me through the first week of February!

I had two fantastic workouts yesterday and today. I went in the morning both days and worked my face off. I prefer working out around 10 AM because I can actually stay focused and be super productive because I’m well rested and awake. Stupid adult life getting in the way of that.

My dinners have been pretty fancy these past couple of days with very simple breakfasts and lunches. I’ll talk about my dinners since they were more exciting.

Yesterday: mustard/maple syrup (aka generic pancake syrup) glazed pork chops with sautéed veggies and barley. Delicious.

Tonight: homemade sweet potato gnocchi cooked with dark green veggies, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, garlic, turkey bacon in a totally improvised sauce made from chicken stock and a little butter; side salad with Italian dressing

Tonight’s dinner was such a success. Actually, turns out making gnocchi is really fun. It was an impromptu decision last night to try some because I was bored and couldn’t fall asleep. I’ve got a few batches sitting in the freezer. From now on, I may be making all kinds of gnocchi as a stress reliever instead of baking.

I’ve also decided that I’m going to cook batches of stuff for the week on Sundays because that’s when I generally get my big cooking kick. It’s been getting harder and harder to cook decent meals for just myself each week. Which is why my meals sound much cooler on the weekends. I really love living by myself now, but I miss cooking for and eating with roommates. :-/ Oh, nostalgia.

Meat

I’ve been unable to control my appetite this week and it’s been all after 6pm. Needless to say, I’ve gained a couple of pounds this week despite my workouts. I reflected back on this past week and I can pinpoint two distinct reasons why this week was such a huge setback:

1. I hadn’t slept much all week long. I’ve been getting only 4-5 hours of sleep each night so I’m exhausted and moody all day. I didn’t have much of an appetite all day because I never stopped drinking fluids with caffeine to keep me awake. So, when I come home, I relax and eat my face off.

2. I hadn’t eaten any meat in over a week. I’m not a vegetarian nor do I plan on ever being one. However, I have mentioned that my meat consumption has decreased significantly since moving out. This has been completely unintentional. I think I just don’t have a lot of meat around the apartment and I never really plan out what I’m going to eat. I just kind of throw all the healthy shit I have lying around and whip up something that tastes good in that moment. The meat that I do have available to me is all white. I can’t remember the last time I ate red meat. I’ve been getting plenty of protein through eggs, beans, quinoa, etc., so that’s not the issue. I’m clearly just depriving my body of something it craves and I’m trying to make up for it in another way.

So, what do I need to do to make improvements this week? I’m going to try really hard to get to bed at a decent hour and get enough sleep. I’m going to need to make conscious efforts to wind down so that I can fall asleep faster and STAY asleep (which has been a HUGE problem for me lately). I’m also going to need to be more conscientious of my protein intake and its sources. I’m going to treat myself to some delicious meat every now and then.

One positive that I’ve noticed this week is that even though I’ve put on a couple of pounds, I’ve definitely gotten stronger. I can handle more difficult workouts and make them last longer. Now, I just need to get my eating under control (which I guess has been my issue since day one).

Ooops

I know, I know! I haven’t posted anything the past two days and I don’t have a good excuse!

Anyhoo, I relapsed on some late night binge eating on Sunday. I don’t even know why that happened. I’m going to get back on track!

I’ve been super good about working out though. I’ve gone to the gym every single day except Saturday. Were they all super hard and productive? Not necessarily. But, after organizing my calendar for the rest of the school year, I anticipate a major stress hit around mid-February. Last time I had a stress attack, I drank a bottle of wine every night for an entire week then half a tub of ice cream every night for the next week. That’s when I peeled myself off the couch and thought to myself that I can’t live like this anymore and purchased a gym membership. I’m forcing myself to go almost every single day even though I don’t want to because I’m hoping that I’ll develop a habit by mid-February and deal with my stress by working out rather than drowning myself in unhealthy habits. That’s the plan so far!

TGIF

Friday could not have come at a better time. Getting up super early for week these last three days has been really hard after sleeping in everyday for two weeks. School has been good, but stressful. It’s also been hard to focus.

Ok, onto the good stuff:

Breakfast: Scramble with two eggs, onions, garlic, kale, turkey bacon with a glass of milk

Lunch: I had to resort to my stash of almonds and granola bars at my desk because I forgot to pack my lunch!

Dinner: Today’s dinner was a complete experiment; I definitely played “Chopped” by myself. Baked tilapia marinated in Italian dressing; random dish on side with pearl barley, lentils, potatoes, garlic, onions, kale, and mushrooms. Somehow it all worked and felt incredibly healthy.

Work Out: 10 min warm up on elliptical, various leg machine stuff, squats and lunges using Bosu ball (my new favorite piece of exercise equipment), various arm/shoulder stuff while sitting on ball, various core exercises (by far the weakest part of my body), 25 minute run on treadmill (I figured this was ok since the last time I did any significant cardio was Monday)

My meals and work outs have been decent this week, but I haven’t slept much. I definitely need to sleep more. My face keeps breaking out and I know it’s due to lack of sleep and regular exercise. I’m hoping that if I make a habit of the regular exercise, I’ll start sleeping better and my skin will clear up. I’m so tired of acne. 😦

Looking at my schedule for the rest of the school year, I foresee a lot of stress hitting in about three weeks. My goal is to go to the gym most days right now so that it’ll become somewhat of a habit by then. Last time I hit major stress and anxiety, I spent everyday completely eating my feelings away and sleeping on the couch. I will handle it differently this time around!