Get Fit Friday Feed

Countdown to Onederland!

Countdown to onederland

Hey, everyone! I haven't been around here much -- I've been catching up on work that had taken a back seat to getting myself feeling and eating somewhat normal. Some updates:

  • I've been working at the gym twice a week with a trainer because I really, REALLY don't want to lose muscle with all this weight loss. And so far so good: At my 2-month bariatric checkup, out of the 19 pounds I lost from the last time I was at the doctor (6 weeks), 18 of those pounds was fat and only 1 pound was muscle (or technically "fat-free mass") ... which is GREAT! There's really no way to lose 100 percent of your weight in fat; a little muscle loss is to be expected. But my goal is to try and hang onto every pound of fat-free mass that I currently have (which is currently 119.4 pounds) and perhaps gain even more. 
  • Looking more at the printout from the super high-tech Tanita scale at the doctor's office (which is super cool because I love gizmos!), my my target body fat has been adjusted down from 30 percent in February to 25 percent now, and my predicted goal weight went from 172 to 159 pounds. Apparently the scale has a lot of faith in me! Point of reference: I weighed that in college and I THOUGHT I WAS FAT. Yeesh. 
  • My weight loss was fairly slow the past couple weeks because I haven't been working out all that much, and I've been testing my pouch with more calories and different foods. The trial and error can be, frankly, nauseating as I find what foods work and what don't. So far, Tiny Tum-Tum really doesn't like solid animal protein but it does OK with ground-up ones, like ground poultry and even ground beef. I also think that it really doesn't like bread very much, so I should probably knock that off. It loves protein bars, cheese, yogurt and smoothies.
  • I've found myself starting to stay up too late again and wander into the kitchen. But since I have slain the angry polar bear, there's not a whole lot of damage I can do, save for maybe a cheese stick or a quarter of a peeled apple. Still, I need to work on getting to bed earlier and staying away from the kitchen, just to clean up my habits.

But I've officially started my Countdown to Onederland because I'm only 17 pounds away!

(So, yes, that means I'm revealing my weight -- 217.1, as of today. It's been a while since I said how much I weighed.)

And here's a photo update that I did at the beginning of the month -- I'm actually 9 pounds lighter than that now:

Feb to april

 And if you're digging the workout capris in my "before" photo, I'm selling them on Poshmark right now.  They're by Fabletics, size 2X and incredibly comfortable.

The bulk of my too-big stuff usually gets sent to online consignment shop ThredUp because it's a lot easier and the site is desperate for plus-sized clothes, but I thought I'd give Poshmark a try for a few items.

Here is some free money for clothes!

When you join ThredUp through this link, you get $10 to spend on your first order.  I also have a $5 credit for you at Poshmark when you sign up with my username (GOGOGAIL) as your personal invite code on your own device. To earn credit, you will need to enter username GOGOGAIL as the referral  code at the time of registration directly within the Poshmark app.

I've been doing a LOT of closet cleaning, and let's just say my empty hanger collection is now huge. The purging has also extended to my bookcases, and I've been hauling boxes of diet books to the local library. Ain't nobody got time for them!


A thousand pardons

The headline is for my nearly 2-month absence from here and for the following:

Don't be insulted if I don't try your Christmas cookies.

Don't ask me if I want to share your onion rings.

That's right, I'm drinking kombucha at a bar.

When my birthday rolls around in a few months, I will be skipping the cake.

It's time to say "no thanks," "not right now," "just water for me," and "none for me."

I have made this grand pronouncement for years upon years (HERE'S one from 2015!), and I'm jumping the gun on 2018 to say I'm gonna go nose to the grindstone and spend the next year losing as much weight as I humanly can without losing my mind.

What's different this time?

Emoji-questionI pondered this question last night and decided that what will be different this year is that I'm not going to wiggle or stray or game the system or "just this once" or skip a day or any of that stuff that has slowed, stopped, or reversed me in the past.

Yeah, reversed.

Over the past year, perimenopause has finally settled in (seriously, I'm 55; how long was that going to go on? Like forever?) and, like magic, 20 pounds crept back on. Seriously, I didn't have to do a thing! 

(Hmmm ... maybe if I "did a thing" they wouldn't have crept back on but that's water under the bridge.)

My 2018 project needs to address the hormonal aspect of my new normal and attack the symptoms that come with the closing of Ye Olde Baby Factory -- like slowing metabolism, the need to get to sleep earlier (circadian rhythm FTW!), and the threat of bone and muscle loss.

Like I have stated countless times, I have been "trying to lose weight" since the age of 10. That is one shitty lifelong hobby, if you ask me. By fully committing to this project in the coming year, I can get the weight off and maybe take up bonsai or knitting or ice skating.

So I am going to read and research and work on a plan these next couple weeks, and I'll report back right before the New Year's ball drops. I'm committing to blogging once a week to document how my plan is working, whether it needs tweaks, and perhaps ask y'all what is working for you.

Deal?


Stuff I Love: Have you seen the db2 dumbbell? It's awesome

I'm now post-cataract surgery on both eyes (20/20 vision, y'all!) and able once again to workout and lift heavy things. We're also in the middle of a kitchen remodel, so getting to the gym can be tricky when people are coming in and out of the house every weekday. 

Aside from sweeping and vacuuming mountains of plaster dust and whatnot from the other rooms of the house, I've been sneaking in some workouts when and where I can. This morning it was an upper-body routine with my awesome new db2 dumbbell, which I found on Amazon. 

Here's the cool thing -- I found it because Amazon has it on sale right now for Mother's Day. Usually it's $26, but it's $14.99 for the moment, and I don't know how long that sale is going to be going on so GET THIS THING -- IT'S AWESOME.

It's like an inside-0ut dumbbell -- instead of the weight being on the ends, it's in the center, so it's like a hybrid of a dumbbell and a kettlebell.

This morning, while babysitting the dog, who is stuck in his crate so as not to annoy the workers, I grabbed the db2 and alternated bicep curls with overhead tricep curls. Then I did front arm raises and finally wood choppers. I'll probably throw in some Russian twists after I'm done with this and find some more exercises to do with the video below:

 I bought the 8-pound db2 but it comes in a bunch of sizes -- it's just that the 8-pounder is on sale right now. 

(I love that Amazon featured a hand weight for its Mother's Day sale.)


The tough-love letter, revisited

Finger-waggy-woman
Oh, geez, the finger-wagging woman is back.


I've been swirling this post around in my head for days now. The first draft had me sounding like a raging bitch -- here's now it started:

Don't blame a planet. Don't blame a bagel or the sugar in your coffee. Don't blame jetlag.

Problem was, I wasn't talking to myself. I was wagging my finger at others.

The assignment that we were given at FitBloggin' 14 was to call ourselves out for our own nonsense (and yeah, I do believe that Mercury in retrograde stuff is nonsense).

#justtrollin

What does that snarky #justtrollin hashtag mean? That's one of the "love taps" our Tough Love for Fitbloggers group came up with, the other being the much more snuggly #tribelove. Trolls are part and parcel of blogging and especially nasty if you write a weight-loss blog, cuz what's more hilarious than a "Hey, Fatty!" comment, huh?

But we liked the #justtrollin tag as a tongue-in-cheek way of saying "let's not be all full of head pats and sympathy." Sometimes we need to be called out on our cupcake dinners food choices.

But back to that assignment. I mentioned a post I did a couple years ago, which I called A Strongly Worded Letter to My Metabolic Processes and Hormones. I reread the last sentence to my friends in the FitBloggin' session:

I will be checking in with you on a weekly basis to see how you’re doing, and I hope you take this criticism the right way because I love and respect you and want you to do better. I’d also like to keep you around as long as humanly possible.

That's how the "self call-out" assignment came about.

So I decided to revisit my first call-out.

Back in 2012, I totally put the onus on my body's chemistry lab. Total excuse making right there. Sure I have a slow metabolism -- always have. I've been popping a daily Synthroid since 1988. Why did I not call out my love of late-night ham slices? The errant handfuls of nuts? 

But there are upsides to the last post. I did break that plateau -- now I'm on a brand-new, lower plateau! I'm definitely working out more -- at least 5 days a week -- and I have added strength training three times a week. I'm tracking like a BOSS, using My Fitness Pal and the Pact app.

As for the late-night eating and eating less, they go hand in hand. And while I am MUCH better at cutting out the late-night food trawling, I still have work to do because that's the only "eating less" that I need to do. I have learned since that last post that constantly cutting your calories lower and lower will only slow your metabolism even lower and leave you a hungry, cranky monster. 

So I'm calling myself out again. Get out of your comfort zone, and by comfort zone I mean the kitchen.

  • Read a book.
  • Organize your workspace.
  • Write a DVD review.
  • Go to sleep.
  • Brush your teeth.
  • Brush the dog.
  • Plan the next day's menu.
  • Meditate on how awesome you are. 

I'll end this post the same way I did the first one:

I hope you take this criticism the right way because I love and respect you and want you to do better. I’d also like to keep you around as long as humanly possible.

XOXO,

The Management

Want to read other tough-love call-outs? Here are some from:

 

Please, click over and check out these posts because we're not afraid to dish out the tough love.

 


Whose summer vacation is it anyway?

Summer_time
I keep having to remind myself that I'M not the one on summer break -- it's my kid.

Tough to do when you work from home -- OK, at least for me. Who doesn't want to spend the day in their jammies playing video games and binge watching Netflix?

So I gave myself a reality check a few days ago. He's the one on summer break, you're not.

Not on break from exercising, eating right or getting stuff done.

I'm taking him to the gym with me three times a week (that's one of the perks of having a Planet Fitness Black Card membership) and we're exploring new machines at the gym. Today it was the assisted pullup machine. I did three sets of 8 at about a zillion pounds of "help." But hey, at least I figured it out.

We're making room for occasional "field trips" -- today we're going to see "22 Jump Street" -- but I need to stay on point.

This summer is all about making progress.


Can I lose weight ‘for free’? Let’s see…

Ever since the age of 10, I have been paying something or someone to help me lose weight.

This has been going on for four decades.

From storefront meetings to online meetings, meal delivery plans to psychologists, I have been feeding the coffers of the weight loss industry for far too long.

Can I do this without paying?

I’m going to try.

There are so many great, free resources nowadays – My Fitness Pal, SparkPeople, Lose It, RunKeeper – that it’s easy to have an arsenal of great no-cost tools on your smartphone. And there’s another one that actually pays YOU to do the right thing.

Pact screenshotI know it’s been around for a while but a few weeks ago I signed up for Pact, which used to be called GymPact. You make a pact with the app to log your meals, eat so many servings of fruits and vegetables, and go to the gym or walk at least 10,000 steps on Fitbit. The food logging Pact is connected to My Fitness Pal, the gym uses GPS to find where you're at, and the fruit and veggie logging is done by taking a photo of your food and having the Pact community give you a thumbs up or down on it. (My teenager calls it "Tinder for vegetables.")

I’m already up to $35 on Pact, and every week I make the stakes a little higher. You choose how many things you’ll do for each Pact and how much you’ll give up if you miss the mark.

I have learned a lot from all the things I have paid for, but it’s time to cut the purse strings and do it for free.


Get Fit Friday: What's in my gym bag?

Since I have officially become a gym rat, I thought I'd share my gym bag essentials. I used to run into the gym, workout and leave all sweaty. But I now do humanity a favor and clean up after I'm done.

So, what's in my gym bag?

In a word, a lot. I need a bag to hold my shoes, a change of clothes, towels, shower necessities and workout gear. I'm also a bit of a gym bag hoarder -- always on the lookout for the holy grail of bags. It has to be big enough and sturdy because those gym lockers are small and a lot of squishing goes on.

My latest "holy grail bag" is the Live Well 360 Luxx bag. It's big, good looking and really well made inside and out. That can be a problem for a lot of gym bags -- the companies make the outside sturdy but skimp on the bag's lining, and that's where all the stuffing goes on. It's pricey but I have a feeling it'll last for years and years.

 

Whats-in-my-gym-bag
That's the Luxx bag, above.

What goes with me into the gym: I love that Camelbak Groove water bottle. It's super sturdy, holds a decent amount and there's a built-in water filter so I can refill it virtually anywhere (and it's purple!). I'm also not a fan of calloused hands, so I wear gloves. These are by Under Armour and they're not particularly well padded in the palm but they're ventilated and serve the purpose (and they're pink!). I also have my trusty iPod Nano loaded up with Rock My Run mixes and podcasts. My favorite earbuds right now are Sol Republic Relays, which sound great and stay in my ears comfortably. And the piece de resistance -- my pink Gatorade towel. First, it has my initials all over it, it's the perfect size for draping around my neck or on a machine (and it's pink!). 

(I know -- it's like "Rainbow Brite goes to the gym.")

In my gymbag3 master lock speed dialI made a point of photographing my lock because I've had questions about it in the locker room. I bought it years ago at Home Depot and I love that I don't have to stash a key anywhere or memorize a bunch of numbers. It's the Master Lock 1500 iD Speed Dial. Instead of a numerical combination, you set up the lock with a series of directions. It also comes in a bunch of colors, so I can spot my big blue lock in the locker room.

In my gymbag2Before I get into the workout room, I make sure there's not a speck of makeup on my face. I'm not interested in looking fiiiine while working out, and not having mascara running down my sweaty face probably looks better than the alternative. So if there's any makeup to be removed, I keep a pack of towelettes in my bag. These are new ones by Biore and they're thorough yet gentle.

In my gymbag4
After the workout: Shower time! A couple of things that are key for me are a good-looking pair of flip flops and a beach towel. Sure, it makes you feel like you're going to the beach but the flip flops keep your feet from catching athlete's foot or MRSA (!) and the beach towel is big enough to use as a privacy shield when removing your workout clothes. I then roll up the stinky clothing in my Gatorade towel and stuff it in the bag, and if I forget other shoes, the flip flops go with everything. (I snagged those Havaianas for half price at TJ Maxx.)

In my gymbag5
In the shower: Here's where I think I should win some sort of multitasking Nobel Prize, so follow closely. First off, I tried using travel sizes of shampoo and conditioner but they're just too small and I was constantly replacing them so I settled on 8-ounce sizes of each. I do use travel sizes of shower gel because you don't need as much, especially when you're using a disposable facial washcloth (the dry ones, not the premoistened ones), which doubles as an everything washcloth. Here's what you do:

  1. Shampoo your hair, rinse and condition. Leave the conditioner in.
  2. Wash your face with the facial washcloth. With some of that cleanser left on the cloth, add just a little dab of shower gel to the cloth and wash the rest of yourself.
  3. Rinse everything.

I dunno -- I think it's ingenious. You can waste a lot of shower gel by just pouring it into your hand and you don't work up a good lather without some sort of puff or cloth.

I also use travel/sample sizes of mouthwash and I picked up a few of my fave at BlogHer Food last weekend. (Apparently food bloggers are more interested in food samples than mouthwash samples, and Colgate had a lot of extras.) I also have a tube of my new favorite toothpaste -- Crest's Be Adventurous, which is CHOCOLATE MINT. (I know!) Don't worry, it's not like brushing your teeth with chocolate frosting -- it's got a mild chocolate flavor with more of a mint base. But c'mon, chocolate toothpaste? It's also great for evenings when all you want to do is dive into a pint of chocolate ice cream. 

So that's what's in my gym bag -- what are your gym bag essentials?


I am succeeding on my own terms

Sitting here, clearing out my inbox, watching basketball and arguing with myself about going to the gym.

I've been going to the gym like clockwork three times a week (I'm still the mayor of Planet Fitness!) and walking/jogging twice a week. 

All that work, plus a major tweak to my eating has produced great results in the past couple weeks. I had been stuck around 235 for months and months (and MONTHS).

As of Wednesday, I'm at 231.8, a number that I honestly can't remember being at AT ALL. I got married in 1992 at around 180ish and before I found out I was pregnant (late 1997) I was 235. Somewhere in those years I was this weight. 

image from www.shrinkingsisters.com
I made this graphic a couple years ago, when I wanted to smash another plateau.


I smashed that plateau, and I don't ever want to be back on it.

Every single thing in my closet fits me, save for a pair of jeans I bought when I was feeling emboldened. I tried them on yesterday and stuck a Post-It note on them with the number "225?" I'll revisit them then.

Oh, that major tweak to my eating? I've really cut back on starches. I'm trying to get the bulk of my carbs from plants, and I'm not missing the starches, because AVOCADOS! I love those nubby little suckers. I have a bag of chunks of Florida avocado in the freezer, ready to plop into a smoothie. I keep a few California avocados on the kitchen counter, ready to add a half into a big salad, as a snack with chopped tomatoes or as a side to my dinner. (I tried that egg baked into an avocado half but I don't really dig it.)

I can't really call what I'm doing Paleo, because I'm still using dairy products, like Greek yogurt, cottage cheese and whey protein. I'm also eating some fruits that are a little higher in sugar than berries, like bananas in my smoothies, fresh pineapple and apples. 

I guess I'm on a Gail-eo plan.

But, yeesh! I feel so guilty if I skip an exercise day. That's what I'm working through right now in my head (and here). I'm tired and sore and I would like to be not tired and sore. 

I've gotten MUCH better in the sleep department. I've gotten 8 hours of sleep consistently since last weekend and since the teenager is on spring break next week I'm sure I'll keep that up. 

But there's still that lingering tiredness and soreness. I have been working really hard in the gym and I think I need to rethink the upper body stuff I'm doing because the way my head is screwed onto my shoulders (ie, badly), I already have extremely strong neck and shoulder muscles. Too strong, really, so I'm making an executive decision to move the upper body work down a bit to my mid and lower back and abs. I think that might ease the achiness. Evenings shouldn't have to end with an Aleve.

Yikes -- 4 o'clock already. Think I'll do "what I can when I can" and do one of the many workout DVDs on my "to review" list.

I used to get really nervous when I'd get my weight down to an "all-time low" but this time I don't feel that way. I'm more than a couple pounds under the plateau and I'll be damned if I gain that much weight to go back. No -- this plateau is DONE.


Brought to you by the letter P: Progress, Paleo, packet pickup, Planet Fitness

Welcome to my Friday Brain Dump! Here we go:

Progress: After having a hissy fit yesterday in the shower because the scale hasn't been moving, I slapped myself upside the head and reminded myself that I've been hitting the gym hard and that I am losing fat and gaining muscle, which is okee-dokie with me. The scale will move, sooner than later. I'm working on having two decent snacks in the afternoon and evening and GETTING TO BED EARLIER (oh, why is that such a problem for me!). I feel great, I can physically feel things getting firmer (my knees? yeah, my knees), so I know I'm making progress, healthwise.

Paleo: Today was my last day of a 5-day special deal from DeliverLean, a meal delivery service based in South Florida. I've had the opportunity to try probably every meal delivery service out there and DeliverLean is by far the best. The prices aren't crazy, the portions are decent, the food is really fresh and they offer a variety of eating plans.

A year ago, I wrote a sponsored post about them and stayed on their mailing list, so when I got a "5 days for $99" email, I couldn't pass it up. I chose the Paleo plan and it was really eye opening. 

(I hereby apologize to any and all Paleo eaters who I've mocked in the past. I love eating this way.)

I felt great, the meals were filling even though they averaged around 300 calories each, my stomach didn't make weird noises like it often does and my eczema cleared up. 

I had been cutting back on grains since I did Dr. Mark Hyman's Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox, so this plan was not a huge change. I plan on finally using the almond and coconut flours in my pantry and replicating the awesome blueberry-almond pancakes and Chunky Monkey muffins that I had in a couple of DeliverLean meals. But don't get me wrong -- I know that those are foods that I'll have sparingly.

Biggest loser runwalk race shirt 2014
Is that a cute race shirt, or what?

Packet pickup: I hustled on down (oh, if only it were that quick!) to Miami this afternoon to pick up my race swag for tomorrow's Biggest Loser Run/Walk 5K in Miami tomorrow morning, which is also my birthday. What a great way to celebrate year 52! The Biggest Loser Run/Walk is one of my favorite races, in that it's extremely inclusive. People of all shapes and speeds take part, either walking or running, and get loads of support along the way and at the finish line. The Miami race, which is at Sun Life Stadium (where the Dolphins play), is one of the first races in the series, which includes 5Ks, half marathons and off-road challenges at Spartan races. (There's a Spartan Race coming up next month in Miami but I am far too clumsy and mud-phobic to take part. But if that's your thing, then knock yourselves out!)

Planet Fitness: The inclusiveness of the Biggest Loser Run/Walk series also is why I love going to Planet Fitness. (Have I told you I'm the mayor of my Planet Fitness on Foursquare? Well, I am. I've never been the mayor of anything, let alone a GYM.) I've been going three times a week, pushing myself hard on the strength-training equipment, something I haven't done in awhile. It feels good to push myself and to see and feel the results (Did I mention my knees? Oh, I did?).

Gotta go. I need to get up at the buttcrack of dawn tomorrow for my birthday race!

Disclosure: I was given a race entry to the Biggest Loser Run/Walk. All opinions are my own.