6 Months

I’m notorious for going for long stretches without posting anything. 6 months isn’t my longest break.. but it is pretty long. So I’m going to jump into my first post in 2016 (Yes I know it’s May) by doing a little recap of my life since November.

Zeus

My puppy (or not so puppy) turned 9 in February. He is officially an “old man” dog, but I’ll always call him my puppy. Unfortunately, he has developed a health issue which has been ongoing for more than a year really, but it’s starting to get worse a lot faster these days. Mike and I have self-diagnosed him as having DM (degenerative myelopathy.) It’s a degenerative spinal cord disease similar in that to ALS in humans. He hasn’t been to the vet for it, so the diagnosis is unofficial. DM is not a disease that can really be tested for, rather it’s diagnosed after other problems are ruled out. It’s also something that can’t be treated, and there is no cure. I really didn’t feel like spending hundreds (thousands?) of dollars at the vet trying to rule out anything else.. and plenty of online sources I’ve read show dogs- including pugs- with DM, and they all look the way Zeus does. He is still himself really… he is not in any pain, still wants to play, still follows us around and greets us eagerly when we come home… but his hind legs have really been hindered. He stumbles when he walks, falls down a lot, and drags his back feet. At least, he did when it started to become apparent he had a problem beyond what I thought was just arthritis and aging.

The fact is.. we have noticed that his degeneration is moving rather quickly, at least in his hind quarters. Around Christmas time, we started to notice him stumbling more, dragging his feet, and walking stiffly. After the New Year, he was falling a lot more and seemed to have a harder time walking out in the grass. Last month we noticed he would fall and get stuck, especially on the tile in our kitchen. He just couldn’t get his legs up under him to push himself up. He was also having a really hard time not falling on uneven and slippery surfaces, like the grass outside and the tile. We decided at this point to look into getting him a wheelchair.

I did some research and found a great cart for Zeus on HandicappedPets.com. They sell doggie wheelchairs that are fully adjustable and customizable- and while they still were a little expensive- it was less expensive than having someone make a custom chair. We settled on a used/refurbished model and saved about $100. It came within a week and was pretty easy to put together. The hardest part was making all the right adjustments to make sure Zeus fit properly and comfortably in the chair.

Once we got him in and outside.. it was amazing the difference! He moved so fast! He no longer stumbled, and what was taking 15+ minutes to walk to the corner and back now took about 7. At first he walked in spurts- it does take a dog a little while to get used to the cart- and his front legs needed to adjust/build strength enough to support the work of walking by themselves. But honestly, he took to it very well. The cart is very light weight, and manuvers very easy. After some practice, he’s walking pretty good in it and sometimes walks ahead of me a little.

I do have to say, he looks a little ridiculous in the cart. BUT, he gets so much attention when we’re out. A lot people feel sorry for him and ask if he’s ok or what happened to his legs. Other people laugh, because it is quite funny looking. Overall though, I know it’s improving his quality of life and letting him stay with us a little bit longer.

Helping Mike change his oil... this is how he sits now.

Helping Mike change his oil… this is how he sits now.

As for me, Zeus is my baby. Seeing him struggle to walk breaks my heart, but being able to give him the wheelchair makes me feel so much better, even as he continues to decline. As of now (actually, we’ve noticed even more degeneration even over the past two weeks) he struggles to walk on the carpet, cannot walk on the tile anymore at all, and gets stuck a lot. He falls flat on his bum with his legs sticking out from under him, and can’t get back up. I’ve been trying to get him in the chair more inside so he can be mobile, but he can’t rest (sit or lay) while in the chair. My strategy right now is to take him for walks in the cart and then let him be in it while we are fixing meals/eating- that way he can come over and walk about the kitchen as he usually does- and then take him out when he goes in his pen, or hangs out with us on the sofa. I know it’s only a matter of time before the disease spreads and starts to affect his front and other body functions, but my goal as his mommy is just to make him as comfortable as possible and let him have a good quality of life as long as he wants it… ok now I’m getting teary-eyed… *snif*

Zeus in his wheels

Zeus in his wheels

 

Still sooo snuggly!

Still sooo snuggly!

Fitness

I think in my last post I mentioned doing the Supreme 90 day workouts. Well, I would like to report that I completed 60 days of the program, but then got distracted. Mike and I planned to stay home in MD for Christmas this past December, but planned a trip to NY to visit with his family for New Years. I had pretty good success completing workouts in my father-in-law’s garage when we visited in October, and I wanted to do something similar in January. I did a little searching for programs and I really got pulled in by Beachbody’s Insanity Max 30 workout program. First- I loved the idea that the workouts were only 30 minutes long. Second- I loved that it was intense, which would make me feel like I got a great work out in the short amount of time. Third- I loved that the program involved no equipment. Which means I didn’t have to worry about bringing anything with me (other than my yoga mat… but even this wasn’t “needed”) when we traveled.

So I bought the program and did my workout s the whole week we were there. I continued the program when I got home and finished all 60 days. IM30 is really tough and at times made me feel like I’ve never worked out a day in my life. I ended up needing to modify a bunch of moves due to my bum knee, but the program had a modifier person in every workout, and I quickly learned which moves I needed to avoid/change to reduce my knee pain. All in all, I got through it pretty good and was proud of myself for seeing the program through.

That said, I did not have very good results from the program, at least from a body composition perspective. I don’t fault the program at all, as I did see a great improvement in my Max-out times and thus improvement in my fitness. I just have a hard time with my nutrition. I love to eat. I’m addicted to sugar… and my body does not do a very good job of metabolizing it. I’m convinced that my nutrition is the #1 thing holding me back from progress.

In an effort to help boost my metabolism, I wanted to incorporate more weight lifting. I backed off a bit after S90D in order to make sure focus on finishing IM30.I decided to go with another Beachbody product, Body Beast. It’s a 90 day gradual weight lifting program. It’s really marketed for men. but plenty of women have done it too. I’d managed to complete the first 3 weeks.. and then life got in the way. The plan at this point is to re-start.. so hoping I can keep up with it.

Weight Loss

Lately, I feel like I’ve lost my mojo and haven’t been going to the gym. I still get my morning workouts done, and have been eating 21DF style, most of the time.. but I’m getting minimal results. I know it’s totally on me and I need to suck it up and pull myself together- but it’s so easy to get into the mind set of “well it’s not going to work, so why try so hard.” Sigh.. I need to get over myself and just do what I need to do. I need to start doing my weight training again, consistently. I also need to be more careful with my nutrition. See, I know the answers… Ok.. whine over.

 

Mental Health

For just about a whole year I’ve been seeking treatment for generalized anxiety and panic disorders. I’d been having pretty bad anxiety attacks since 2012, some of which would last for hours. By the time it would finally fade (usually when I went to sleep and woke up the next morning) I would be so worried about having them again, it would trigger anxiety and the cycle would continue. I also had a lot on intrusive thoughts I could not control… usually involving my untimely death by one means or another. It was exhausting, uncomfortable, scary, and cyclic. Finally, Mike and my doctor got me to seek treatment. I started seeing a psychiatrist who prescribed me medication. It helped a great deal- I was no longer having the intrusive thoughts, and my panic attacks had stopped,  but I was still having breakthrough symptoms of random dizziness and shortness of breath, which didn’t alarm me so much, bu was really annoying to feel that way.

My job requires employees to participate in a special reliability program in order to work with some of the compounds we have. It’s a safety issue, but mostly a security issue- they need to make sure they have the most stable and trustworthy people working with some of their most secure and toxic compounds. As a participant in this program, we are required to self report medical records, changes in health or life status, prescription medications.. etc. I reported my anxiety issues and my medication and was required to seek a formal behavioral health evaluation. Long story short- it was recommended that I be suspended from the program- and thus working with certain classes of compounds- until I underwent 90 days of therapy treatment to address my symptoms. It was a little annoying to have to comply.. but I knew it would be good for me.

So I’ve been seeing a therapist and been working using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques to de-sensitize myself from my anxiety triggers. The methods are quite simple actually, but do require a lot of practice. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve actually been able to taper off my medication and am ready to move onto the maintenance phase of CBT.. which will help keep my anxiety in check, as well as be able to bring it down if I do have a spike. I even have an appointment for a re-evaluation to be re-instated in the reliability program at work.. so happy about that.

Anyways, I wanted to share this because anxiety is a very common mental disorder. Sometimes your brain just gets stuck and chemical imbalances can occur to make you more susceptible to it. Medication really helps, but it’s a band-aid. Plus, a lot of people have a hard time going on or coming off the medications. (Coming off has been, and still slightly is a struggle for me.) But CBT has done wonders for me.. and I wanted to let anyone who is reading this and dealing with these issues know that it CAN be treated! I know how it feels to feel absolutely crippled from anxiety and it’s symptoms. People who have never experienced it do not (and really can not) know how it can affect you physically and emotionally. At my worst- I even felt a little detached and depressed- “why can everyone else live perfectly normal lives while I feel like I’m dying.” But there IS relief, you just have to know where to go. I would start with your general practitioner- see if they have a list of recommended counseling centers you can seek out. You want someone experienced in dealing with generalized anxiety disorders and can help you through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It may seem like new-age hooey when you first look into it (how can just breathing and imagery possible stop my very real and tangible physical symptoms!?!?)  but trust me.. you will start to feel normal again with enough practice! Feel free to message me if you have any questions.. I’ll be glad to help!

Vacations

In April my mom, her boyfriend, Mike and I went down to Orlando to visit my sister’s family. My niece’s birthday was on the 10th, my nephew’s the 18th, and my sister’s on the 20th. We rented a house nearby through AirBnB and it actually worked out really well for us. (Despite some drama in the beginning regarding the air conditioning, which was legit,  and my mom’s over-the-top expectations, which were completely unfounded.) The house had a pool, so the kids could come over and swim, and we enjoyed cooking out on the grill and taking advantage of the mild weather. Over the weekend, my sister held a combo birthday party for the kids at her community pool- which turned out great. Later that week Mike and I joined her, my brother-in-law, and a family friend for a wine tasting and tour at a local vineyard. Overall, it was a great relaxing and low key trip.. which is exactly what we wanted!

My sister's table of goodies.. she made everything..so talented

My sister’s table of goodies.. she made everything.. so talented

 

Happy 7 year old!

Happy 7 year old!

 

Happy 4 year old!

Happy 4 year old!

 

A couple weeks ago, Mike and I booked our fall trip to Europe! We finally pulled the trigger after talking about it for almost a year. It’s been on our “things we want to do before we have kids” list and I’m so excited to finally be able to go!

We designed our independent itinerary through Europeandestinations.com. I was a little nervous about using an online booking company like this, but so far everything seems to be going smoothly. We are able to pay in installments, the last being in August, so we’ll be all set for departure in late September. We are visiting 7 cities in 4 countries over the course of our 17 day trip. Italy was the country he really wanted to visit.. being that he’s half Italian.. and a Catholic.. so we will be visiting several cities there- including Rome and the Vatican, Florence, Pisa and the Cinque Terre. We’re also visiting Dublin to get a taste or Ireland (his other genetic heritage), London, and of course Paris. The booking company also lets us book activities and tours, so we are doing a select few tours through them, and the rest will be done/seen via our city passes ( Dublin, London and Paris.)

This will be my second time abroad, my first being when I was 19 with a group of students from my former high school. On that trip, we toured Paris, Provence, the French riviera, and Venice. For this trip, Paris will be the only city I’ve been to (Paris is my most favorite city ever!) and I’m so excited to explore and share the experience with my husband! I’ve already made a list of things we may need for the trip, watched tons of travel videos on YouTube, and even bought our city passes and guidebooks. Can’t wait!

Behold, the countdown!

Behold, the countdown!

Whew.. that covers a lot… I hope I can blog a little more here and there and not wait another 6 months to update. Anywho.. keep on keeping on people!

Oh yeah.. my birthday was on Mother's day.. we had Mexican.. the margaritas were fantastic ;)

Oh yeah.. my birthday was on Mother’s day.. we had Mexican.. the margaritas were fantastic 😉

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10 Gym Pet Peeves

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I have to admit.. I do read my Kindle on the cardio machines…

I’m being super Judgey McJudgerson today.. but I know most if not all you guys reading this have had some or all of these occurrences while at the gym/working out. I understand that I too have been the exercise newbie and didn’t know the etiquette or have the knowledge base I have now regarding fitness. But sometimes.. you see things.. and you are just screaming in your mind about them lol. Here’s a bit currently on my list…

1- The person who comes into yoga class and puts their mat next to yours and on the same plane.

I understand if it’s crowded and you have to be close.. but really? You can’t stagger your mat in front or behind mine? OR, you have your mat staggered, but choose to stand smack in the middle, next to me.. who is at the TOP of the mat like you’re supposed to be. No, I absolutely have no shame smacking into you when I bring my arms up pre- swan dive.

2- Bad Form

I’m sure my form needs to be corrected from time to time… but honey, you are not getting a full work out laying all over holding on to the treadmill as you speed-walk or run. You look silly… and you might hurt yourself.

Squats and lunges are fun to watch too…  and clean & presses.. you can always spot a newbie by their clean & press. What really gets me is the instructor tells/shows you how to do it (in Bodypump class) and they still do it wrong. Sigh.

3- Believing the calorie count the cardio machine spits out.

“I burned 900 calories on the treadmill today!” Um.. no you didn’t. I burn a little over 1,000 calories during a half marathon.. that’s 13.1 miles.. over two hours of running.. without stopping.

4- Women who come to the gym with perfect hair and make up, and gently stride the lowest setting on the elliptical.

It’s not a beauty contest. If you still look glamorous after your workout.. you were not working hard enough.

5- Poor wardrobe choices.

Pajamas are not work out attire. Neither are scrubs. Or jeans. And yes, you look stupid wearing a normal (brightly colored) bra under your boyfriend’s white wife-beater shirt.. which is too-small for you. OH, and let’s not forget the giant hoop earrings that are so big they sit on your shoulders.

I once saw a woman in cardio kickboxing class not wearing shoes. I think the instructor even looked at her and muttered “oookkkkkk”

6- Back to yoga… wearing socks.

I’m not talking the special yoga socks with the stickies on the bottom.. which I still don’t feel comfortable in, but go for it.. I’m talking the newbie who comes to class thinking they are going to not take their socks off. If everyone around you has them off.. take the hint.

7- People who wear those plastic “sweat suits.”

You will not lose weight wearing that. You will lose water. And dehydrate. And possibly pass out. Not to mention it’s really gross when you take it off.. and whatever pounds you seemingly lost you put right back on the next time you drink a glass of water.

8- The girl running next to you on the treadmill.. wearing Nikes.

*rolls eyes*

9- People who say they don’t want to join a gym because there’s a lot of fit people there.

Fit people got fit GOING TO THE GYM! We’re not there to admire each others “super fit” bodies (well.. most of us aren’t lol) and scoff at the unfit people! We’re there to work towards our fitness goals! I actually feel really good when I see heavier people at the gym.. I admire them for taking their health in their hands and trying to improve their lives through health and fitness.  And you’d be surprised.. most people are so in their own zone anyways, they don’t care or notice what others are doing. So get to it!

10- People not wiping off machines when they are done.

OMG.. eww. Especially the neanderthal men who leave a puddle and their smell behind. REALLY!? I’m guilty of giving the stink eye to people when they do this… I think I’ve even asked people (a lot of the times it’s younger males) to wipe down before they leave. Be considerate people!

I meant to give only 10… but I had to add the bonus-

11- Resolutioner Season.

Encompasses all of the above for a 2-3 month duration at the beginning of every year.. only it adds lack of parking.. and the taking up of space in classes and on equipment. GAH. I even had a woman once move my stuff around in the shower stall I was warming up while I was changing to take said shower. REALLY!? Who touches other peoples stuff in a shower!?!? Obviously it’s in use! There are seven other stalls! Not to mention all the people who take up the lockers without putting locks on them.. so you have to open 10 of them before you find a free one.

If you are going to join a gym.. don’t wait for January. Do it this week, tomorrow.. today! Listen to/read and follow the facility rules.. take cues from other members.. sign up for an orientation to learn how to use the equipment, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Make a plan and stick with it! Everything else is purely common sense. Clean up after yourself.. avoid other people’s space.. don’t take/touch other peoples stuff or equipment they’re using. Not hard.

Welp.. that’s my dose of negativity for the day. Sorry if I offended anyone. But I’m a fairly non-confrontational kind of person.. so I tend to see things and not say anything. I figured I’d use this platform to vent some frustrations. I’m sure there’s a ton of other things out there that have bugged you in crazy ways.. and I’m probably guilty of some of them (Like grammar… or spelling :-p)

This is my CRAZY face!

This is my CRAZY face!

 

 

Motivational Monday: Closer

 

I have something similar to this as my phone background. Never forget where you’ve come from and what it took to get there. Never forget how much closer you were to your goal than yesterday. do the work, follow the road. It’s long, but every day a bit closer.

Motivational Monday: Today is Tomorrow

 

I saw this last week and it struck a chord with me. In 2007 when I first started going to my gym.. I was tired, I was sore, and I didn’t want to go. It’s almost hard to remember what it was like when I had to convince myself to go to the gym. I do remember trying to talk myself in (or out!) of it, but I don’t remember how it felt to even question it. Now, working out is just something I do.. like hygiene. But one particular thing did click one day; I had convinced myself to go to the gym one afternoon, and I really didn’t want to be there. I realized that, yes.. it was hard. Yes, it was boring. Yes, it hurt. But it wasn’t going to get any easier. It hurt yesterday and I survived. It will hurt tomorrow, and I’ll still go. Today is tomorrow. today is yesterday. No matter what, this is what it takes. but if I gave up and just stopped, nothing would get accomplished. It just wouldn’t. So I trudged on. I survived yesterday, I’ll survive tomorrow too.. just keep putting one foot in front of the other and eventually I’ll get there.

So here I am.. and I did a workout yesterday.. and I did one today too.. and I’m pretty sure I’ll do one again tomorrow. Because giving up is not an option. No one can do it for me.. I have to do it.

Motivational Monday: Better Than Yesterday

This is a great mantra when you feel like you are doing your best and you are not seeing a difference. There are differences, even if you can’t sense them. Sometimes I like to peruse sites featuring before and after pictures (MotiveWeight being one of my favorites) just to gain some perspective and motivation based on the success of other individuals. It always amazes me when I read a story about how the person didn’t feel like they had made any progress.. then compared a recent picture to an older one to realize, they had in fact made great improvements. Keeping this mantra in mind will remind you that even though you can’t see it, doesn’t mean you’re not improving. You may be getting in extra reps, or can increase the weight. You might feel less tired on a run, and are able to run that extra mile. You may even be able to hold plank longer, or reach a new yoga pose variation. Whatever you do, keep going, don’t give up! You are better than yesterday.. and think how much better you’ll be in a week, a month, a year! The sky is the limit!

My Weight Loss Story and a Metabolism Test

SO this post is a little tough to put out there. I’ve always been super self conscious about my weight. The only thing that has helped me to overcome it (slowly over time) is exercise and being able to accomplish amazing things with my body, regardless of it’s size. Yesterday I had an appointment with our Wellness Center on post to do some metabolism testing. The Wellness Center is open to active/retired military, friends/family, and DA civilians. My co-workers were talking about signing up, so I decided I would too, thinking it would be a great opportunity to figure out what’s up with inability to lose weight. I feel like I owe a little back story here..

I’ve been trying to lose some excess weight for a while now. I’m no stranger to health, weight loss and nutrition. I grew up a heavy inactive kid, and have lost weight many times. Using various plans. My first was Atkins in high school, where I managed to drop 35 lbs by following a low carb diet. It was fairly easy, and I didn’t have to exercise. For the first time in my life, I felt like I fit in with my peers. I felt on top of the world. Its kind of silly, when I look back at pictures of me then, I see a smaller me, but I’m so unfit and soft looking! And I’m definitely not as small as I thought I was at the time.

Jr. year of HS.. right after starting Atkins

Jr. year of HS.. right after starting Atkins, 170’s

Jr.  Prom, 2001. Probably lost about 25-30 lbs here.

Jr. Prom, 2001. 140’s

After high school, the weight started to creep back on. I stopped eating low carb, and really wasn’t eating healthy at all. I still didn’t know a lot about nutrition and balance, and didn’t exercise. I lived on my own the last two years of college, and looking back, I’m horrified at some of the things I would eat. I rarely ate vegetables at home, unless it was in the frozen meals I bought. I didn’t drink much before I was 21, but after, I was going out with friends and having a couple of drinks and bar food. By the end of college, I was just as heavy as I had been in high school before I lost weight. My clothes didn’t fit well, and I was miserable.

graduation picture.. smiling, but not smiling

College  graduation Jan 2007.. smiling, but not smiling. Definitely glad I could hide under the hair and giant black robe.

At Disney celebrating my college graduation.. ironic that this was the week before Disney Marathon Weekend! If I'd only known then..

At Disney celebrating  graduation.. ironic that this was the week before Disney Marathon Weekend! If I’d only known then..

I started dabbling in some exercise. I had an exercise DVD I would do before work a few times a week. I did like the feeling when I was done, but I wasn’t always consistent. When I got Zeus in 2007, I remember I was trying to take a picture of the both of us to show off my new adorable pug puppy. (A selfie before selfies were cool!) I took several, but I just could not get myself to look good in any of them. I felt disgusted and unattractive. My mom had recently lost a bunch of weight as she took up running on her treadmill. When she started, she could barely run 2 minutes. But now she was running for an hour straight. I decided if she could do it, I could do it too. I started using the treadmill. I remember being so proud of myself the first time I could run 15 minutes straight.

This is the picture that made me wake up

This is the picture that made me wake up

Least Zeus was really super cute!

Least Zeus was really super cute!

In November, a few months after it had opened, my family decided to join the YMCA. I still go there today. I loved seeing my fitness progressing as I used the machines. When I worked in Northern VA for almost a year, I stayed with my grandmother (who lived closer to work than my parents) and would drive half an hour to the closest Y location to workout. SLOWLY, the weight was creeping off. When I moved back home in Spring 2008, I started doing classes at the gym. I loved that it was so interactive and the workouts were done before I knew it. I also started weighing and measuring my portion sizes and that helped a lot. I was tracking everything on a website I found- unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of it.

Late 2007/early 2008- 160's

Late 2007/early 2008- 160’s

Summer 2008, right around the time I met my husband- 150's

Summer 2008, right around the time I met my husband- 150’s

2009- 150's

 Fall 2009- 150’s

2010- 140's

Summer 2010- 140’s

I found SparkPeople in 2011. SparkPeople is a wonderful health and fitness resource with tools to track and measure nutrition and fitness, tools to help manage your goals, a huge library of articles, a blog, recipe calculator and recipes, and even a personalized profile page you can set up with pictures, state your goals, post blog entries and make friends with SparkFriends. The support from the SparkPeople community was phenomenal. I had never met a community so positive, uplifting and motivating before. There is virtually no negativity like you would see on Facebook or other mass social media sites. I was not afraid to put myself out there. It’s all people with the same common goal, to live a healthy, fit and happy lifestyle. I still use the website today to track my food and fitness, make recipes, and help support other members of the community. The website has been invaluable to me.

Summer 2011- 140's. I had been doing the Supreme 90 Day fitness program at the time and toned up quite a bit.

Spring/Summer 2011- 140’s. I had been doing the Supreme 90 Day fitness program at the time and toned up quite a bit.

I signed up with TNT to run my first half in 2011. By April 2012, I got down to my lowest weight of 134- a total loss of 41 lbs since 2007. I felt great at this number, though I feel like I needed to go a little further. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, and I stopped tracking and started indulging a little more.

Halloween 2011- 140's. Half way through training for my first half marathon

Halloween 2011- 140’s. Half way through training for my first half marathon

2012 trip to Vegas- around my lowest weight in the 130’s

Right after signing up for my first marathon

Right after signing up for my first marathon, Aug 2012- upper 130’s/140 ish

I thought I would shed some of the pounds I gained while training for my first marathon, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. I gained instead. I also thought my wedding would be great motivation to lose a few, but I only managed to maintain. After the wedding in late 2013/early 2014, I found myself at 150 after the holidays. This is a pretty uncomfortable weight for me, and I knew I had to get it down. In February I joined Weight Watchers, looking to change some things. I felt like a different approach to eating might kick me out of this maintenance slump I had been in.

Jan 2013, before the marathon. 145ish, and a little bloated from carb loading

Dawn and I

March 2014- at the Rock N Roll Half, not liking the belly bulge too much :-/

I’ve lost 5 lbs since February. It’s been frustrating. I admit that I hadn’t been super diligent at times with my tracking. Mostly because I had a bunch of races to run, and was eating a lot of points due to carb loading. When I hurt my foot in May, I decided to take it a little more seriously because I couldn’t exercise as much and I knew I had to control my eating. I know my metabolism is horribly slow.. and it is very easy to gain weight, while super hard to take it off again. I managed to maintain at 147.. but by the beginning of August, I’m only at 145. and it bounces between 144 and 147.. so essentially, it’s maintenance. This is super frustrating because I’ve pretty careful about what I eat. My calorie intake is usually between 1500 and 1800, depending on the day and how much exercise I do. Most of the time, I’m within my prescribed SparkPeople calorie range, and all the time well within my WW points range (usually using up my activity points, but having plenty of weekly points left) I also strive to eat whole foods and have been shying away from processed (with the exception of my cereal in the morning.) I like to incorporate vegetables into my meals (except usually not breakfast, unless I make an omelet. Although I often include a banana) and fruit for snacks. I drink at least 4-8 cups of water/day. What. Gives.

So fast forward to yesterday.. I had my metabolism test appointment. Basically they did two things; A metabolism test to measure my BMR (basal metabolic rate- the rate at which your body burns calories doing normal bodily functions, like breathing, digesting, pumping blood etc.) and a body fat percentage test, to determine how much excess fat I’m carrying.

The metabolism test was kind of cool. The tech had me strap on a mask and lay down, breathing normally. It took 15 minutes. Factoring in my activity level, my height weight and gender, the tech was able to determine that yes, I had a slower metabolism, and I need to consume 1440 calories/day to lose 1 lb/week. Wow that’s low. Especially considering that I’m marathon training. BUT that’s explains why I haven’t been losing (or rather, losing very very slowly.) I’ve simply been eating too much for sustainable weight loss.

Not me.. but it looked much like this

Not me.. but it looked much like this

The body fat test was interesting too. Using an ultrasound device, the tech determined that I was 28% body fat, that 30 (or so) lbs of it was healthy, and that 9 lbs of it was excess. Although I was considered in the normal healthy range for my BMI (body mass index) She said I should weigh between 120 and 137 to be at an optimal weight. Considering that my goal is 130, I’d say I’m am pretty spot on and in tune with my body and its needs.

My goal is to lose about 15 lbs and reduce my body fat percentage (which I’m guessing will fall somewhere around 20%?). I feel this is fairly important not only for aesthetics and self esteem purposes, but I really want to help out my marathon training and be able to run an injury free marathon. Every extra lb of weight increases the force on my joints, ligaments/tendons, and muscles. The lower the weight, the lower the risk of injury. This is something I definitely need to get a handle on now while I’m still running shorter mileages.

The metabolism test will continue with a class on health/nutrition and metabolism, followed by a detailed one-on-one analysis with a trainer to determine goals and an action plan. This I have to schedule for the near future. After that class, I can also schedule a fitness assessment, when I can have my VO2 max measured and talk about target heart rate training- which is something I don’t currently do, so it might be helpful to learn about. In a month, I’ll have a follow up metabolism test to see if I’ve made progress. It’s really a cool thing to know my exact numbers instead of estimating from a calculator. I’m looking forward to seeing where this takes me!

Zeus is so lucky to have a good pug metabolism!

Zeus is so lucky to have a good pug metabolism!

Motivational Monday: Look to the Future

Ever think to yourself.. “wow.. I wish I did such-and-such better two months ago” or “I really wish I could go back and tell myself to spend time doing this-and-that.. I’d be in such a better position than I am now.” Maybe if we all visualized how what we are doing right now might affect us one, two, three months down the line.. we might not embrace the little failures that makes us want to quit. This is the key to achieving goals. Focus on the end result, not how long or hard it takes to get there. Every step we take towards our goals brings us closer and closer. Setbacks are inevitable, but should not make you lose perspective. The time passes anyways, might as well make something of it!