Don’t Give Up

20140123-115001.jpgI have been rather down on myself since I had my surgery a little over two weeks ago. My body did exactly what I had feared during the time that I wasn’t able to exercise. I put on a few pounds, I felt gross and I was extremely unhappy with how I looked.

All I wanted to do was ignore what my doctors told me and go to the gym. I am visiting my boyfriend in a few short weeks and I needed my beach body at its best! However, a few little birdies reminded me that doing so would hinder my recovery and make my wait even longer. Longer? Hell no!

I know this meme is in reference to not giving up on your workout when it gets tough – but I thought that it fit how I have been feeling lately. Despite the set-backs I have experienced, in the end you are better off not giving up on yourself and your body no matter what circumstances you might be in.

Surgery Set-back

20140114-140122.jpgThe gym is REALLY waiting for me. In fact, it probably thinks that I don’t exist anymore.

Having serious gym withdrawals and it’s not due to laziness! I had a personal surgery last Monday and I haven’t been able to workout at all over the past week because of it. I’m going on 8 days straight of no exercise – the longest I have gone without working out since I started my journey to get fit. Not only is it physically affecting me but it is mentally as well!

Going. CRAZY.

Will I gain weight back? Will I lose my running momentum? Will it be easy to ease back into lifting or hard? How long will I be out of commission? Do I have to start slow when I am ready or can I haul ass and get back to where I was? WHYYYYY?

20140114-141152.jpgMy surgeon and every nurse I have spoken with strongly emphasized no exercise for at least two weeks post-surgery. TWO WEEKS? I can’t lift, I can’t run, I can’t do anything but like… walk. And even that is too much sometimes. I came up with the grand idea of swimming but that was quickly shot down by my mother’s nurse friend who overheard me thinking out loud.

Between the pain meds and being sedentary, I feel like absolute crap. I’m extremely sore, I can’t move a fraction of an inch without searing pain, and I am bloated as hell!

Unhappy.

I guess you really can get hooked on exercise because now that I don’t have it, I am a super crank.

Keeping it up over the Holidays

I am happy to say that I managed to keep up with my exercise over the holidays!

The end of December is notorious for excessive eating, drinking and vegging out – all of which I am admittedly guilty of. However, this time around I did not fully neglect my body. Throughout any kind of fitness journey, we all must remember that it is OK to spoil yourself now and then. Countless times over the last two weeks I heard people say they couldn’t eat this or that because they “always gain weight over the holidays”. Umm, hello? We all do. It’s normal!

Multiple occasions filled with socializing with family and friends over holiday snacks, meals and drinks are crammed into one week and they are not typical of our regular diet.  Unless you are used to mimosas, baked brie and holiday cookies on a daily basis (invite me over), of course your body is going to react differently!

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Two of my holiday gym workouts were nothing short of loco. I typically have designated muscle days – one day will be squats, lunges, leg presses, etc. another will be shoulder presses, military presses, front raises, etc. – but I just went at everything. One day I did shoulder presses, curls, military presses, bench presses, a few ab workouts, squats and lunges. I attempted a post-lifting run and pretty much ran two steps, laughed at myself for even trying and crawled to the locker room. So, rather than depriving myself of or kicking myself for having that holiday treat that I really truly wanted, I just made some time to squeeze in my runs and gym trips. When I couldn’t do either of those, I improvised at home. I not only allowed myself to enjoy myself, but I also felt much better.

My other crazy workout was similar in that it had a lot of variety, but I targeted different muscles and tried some lifts that I don’t do very often, such as pull ups and dips. I used to do those on a regular basis and now I almost never do.

Oh, and yes… that IS 270lb leg press, thanks for asking. Multiple sets of 10 reps – cake! Pretty soon I will be adding more plates!

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I made a trip to Montreal between Christmas and New Years with my family. Obviously we had a lot of beer and poutine (which, by the way, is unbelievable). My body hated me after that poutine, but it was so worth it.

One morning while everyone was still asleep, I rallied myself out of bed and went on a quiet run. I almost didn’t go because it was freezing and I was exhausted, but I told myself that I would regret it later if I skipped out.

The streets were absolutely dead – I saw maybe three or four cars drive by – and totally slushy from some overnight snow accumulation. Despite the conditions of the roads, it was awesome, peaceful and felt great. I wasn’t running for time, wasn’t looking to maintain my average pace… I was just running. I went just under 3 miles and shockingly came in just about 20 seconds more per mile than what I typically do. I thought for sure it would be much slower as I was slipping and sliding and navigating my way through unfamiliar streets.

Along my way I came across a beautiful cathedral which was a nice find, and it was really cool to check out the neighborhoods and cafes along the way.

You can always make time for exercise! No excuses!

Patience is a Virtue

20131118-192848.jpgLast time I posted a physical progress photo was back in July so I figured it was time to make another comparison, both for personal and blogging reasons.

Top photo, April;   Middle, July;   Bottom: Yesterday, November

Patience and hard work really does pay off! Between July and November I have experienced quite the roller coaster. I have made steady progress with my weight loss and toning, I have had hiccups where I have gained a few pounds or “lost” my motivation for a bit, I have had injuries, I have hopped back into my flow, and I have lost it again.

However, I have found that when you “lose it,” you don’t fully lose it. Muscle memory is a wonderful thing so long as you don’t fall off track for too long, and patience can prove that even if you aren’t seeing immediate results, your body is making subtle changes that will eventually add up and both shock and satisfy you.

Between July and November, there were MANY times that I didn’t think that my body was changing enough, or at all. But, despite my periodic shortfalls, it clearly was!

Patience, iago, PATIENCE! (high five if you catch the reference)

Where’s That Six Pack???

20131106-144518.jpg I don’t always do sit ups, but when I do, I immediately check in the mirror to see if my six pack has arrived.

Had to share, made me  laugh. Don’t we all, though? Whenever I have a hard workout, I rush home, rip off my clothes and examine my body to see if it paid off with a six pack or a significantly boosted ass. Then I remember that that isn’t how it works!

Just a couple weeks ago I remember texting my boyfriend after spending what seemed like my entire afternoon working on my “abs,” saying that if I didn’t have a six pack after that workout, I would be absolutely SHOCKED.

Waiting for the results to show is a pain in the butt (literally and figuratively), but it’s all about patience – something that I fully admit to lacking.

Hi, my name is Katie and I have zero patience.

But I am working on it, I swear.

A little over a week ago I wrote about needing to get my act together. I have! My weight is back down to just one pound higher than my lowest weigh-in overall, making me just 5lbs shy of a total loss of 40lbs. My goal is to hit 40 by the new year, but I am not banking on it because I turn into a garbage disposal over the holidays. Wishful thinking!

 

Turn a Setback into a Comeback

I am not at my best. I have had a few “cheat” weekends that I haven’t been able to bounce back from yet and it’s a total buzzkill.

It’s so hard to eat clean and train the way you are used to when you are out of your element! The past two weekends were spent out of town with friends and my boyfriend. Plenty of drinking and unhealthy eating. Suffice it to say, I have gained a few pounds and feel nasty. While I was able to sneak in a hard workout on both weekends while I was away, it wasn’t enough!

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Lucky for me, my boyfriend and one of our friends workout the way I do so they were itching to get to the gym just as much as me. So, when I DID workout, they were killers because I had drill sergeants at my side. But, of course, they weren’t killer enough to cancel out the damage done at all the bars and restaurants.

When I haven’t been out of town, I can’t say that I have done my best to eat well. I mean, I don’t have a terrible diet… I naturally prefer healthier foods (with the exception of nachos. I am always down for some nachos), but I just haven’t tried as hard.

Additionally, work has picked up to the point that I have had more off days than I would like. My job requires a lot of late nights making it really hard to get to the gym AND get enough sleep. I suppose I could take it back to my early morning gym trips pre-work, but then I would be running on 4-6 hours of sleep or less. And as we all know, sleep is just as important as exercise.

On top of that, I pulled a muscle in my hip over the weekend (at least it was from exercise – I think) and am unsure how much running and leg work I will be able to do this week.  I finally registered for the Hot Chocolate 5k and need to be running much more than I have been over the course of the last few months. I still have over a month to prep for it but I need as much time as I can get. The pain I am feeling is indescribable. I can barely sleep on it and walking (stairs especially) is brutal. I have been using a heating pad and plan to ice it tonight.

I know this sounds like excuse after excuse. But hey, at least I recognize it. I know that we all have our setbacks – it’s impossible to train and eat perfectly all the time. While I don’t consider a few bad weekends and a couple of pounds a HUGE setback, I don’t feel great which is reason enough to look at all of this as a setback and use it as motivation to kick my ass back into gear.

A ‘Quick & Mellow’ Ride

20130916-141903.jpgMy plan was to have a quick and mellow gym visit yesterday. Quick and mellow? No such thing!

I was too sore to lift weights yesterday, and I am pretty sure I pinched a nerve between my elbow and wrist. So, I opted to hop on the bike and get in some cardio. Ever since my 5k training passed, I have been lacking in that department.

I was GOING to ride the bike for a half hour or so, just to get my heart beating and my body sweating. Well, that half hour quickly turned into an hour as I found myself yearning to see how far I could get and how many calories I could burn.

I maintained a steady pace, slipped in a lot of HIIT, heavy hills, etc., and finished my ride at 16.26 miles and 524 calories. Not great, not terrible. The furthest I have gone in an hour is a little under 18.5 I believe. Given the fact that I haven’t done that in a long time… I will settle for 16+!

I was sweating like crazy, my feet were numb and I was walking like a zombie. So much for an easy day at the gym!

30lbs down!

20130913-125722.jpgLook at that slope! I am officially down 30lbs!

I hit this goal earlier this week, but didn’t want to commit to it until I maintained it for a little while.

I wasn’t sure that I would ever see this kind of progress, and I am so happy that I stuck with my goals and listened to the words of encouragement around me. I have had a lot of support, and I owe a big thank you to my boyfriend/trainer that told me I could achieve anything I wanted if I stuck with it and was patient. I was certain that my body was stuck in a rut and often became disappointed when I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted. But, he constantly told me otherwise. He has pushed, supported, educated and encouraged me to no end, and I honestly am not sure that I would have been able to get this far without him. That’s a great partner. I am forever grateful and I am truly a lucky gal.

Now to tone up!

Skinny VS. Fit

I am a fraction of a pound away from having lost 30lbs. I have probably lost closer to 35lbs of body fat, but I have gained muscle so I stick to calling it based on the scale.

My body has changed in ways that I didn’t imagine it could. When I started this weight-loss journey 6 months ago, I obviously had high hopes… but there is always a slight trickle of doubt that burrows it’s ugly head into the back of your mind.

I’ve realized that how your clothes fit is a much better indication of your progress than the scale is. A lot of my clothes don’t fit me anymore – even things that I fit into before I put on some weight. The other day I wore shorts that I hadn’t worn comfortably in probably 4-5 years. I repeat my work outfits on a weekly basis – a good and a bad thing! Good, of course, because I would rather my clothes be big than too tight. Bad, because getting dressed in the morning is so difficult! A pair of pants that used to be tight are now huge, sagging on my butt and giving me a bit of a MC Hammer crotch!

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People have been noticing my progress much more lately than they ever have. They say “it takes 4 weeks for you to notice your body changing, 8 weeks for your friends to notice, and 12 weeks for the rest of the world to notice.” Well, that has been true for me in a sense. Not those exact numbers, but the concept.

My friends, family and coworkers have been commenting on my weight-loss more frequently over the past month than they have since I began this process – almost as if all of my hard work just started to show. I have been noticing, obviously. My immediate family has noticed. My boyfriend has noticed. But it has taken some time for others to really see the changes in my body.

Hearing that people are taking note of my progress has been such a confidence-booster, especially considering all of the time, energy and effort I have put in. However, many people keep saying how SKINNY I am getting. “Gosh Katie, you’re just melting away,” “Where is your body??”, “You’re so skinny! 30lbs? Maybe you should stop!” While I am sure they mean well, it’s not what I am going for and I don’t want people thinking that.

My goal is not to be skinny. My goal is to be FIT. 

I lift weights. I am gradually becoming toned. I am not skin and bone – which is what I consider skinny. I actually still have a ways to go before I am actually “skinny.” There is a huge difference between melting off the fat by dieting and/or increasing cardio for exercise, and eating clean and doing heavy strength training. I am leaning out, gaining muscle, and getting HEALTHY – not skinny.

Here’s to not quitting!