Look Better Naked: Week Six

Well, folks — IT’S OVER! My Look Better Naked Challenge that I was participating in at the Holidays finished up last week, and even though there were many ups and (many) downs, I am sad to see it go. Part of the process was to take before and after pictures in shorts and a sports bra, which I was VERY VERY MUCH NOT INTERESTED IN DOING, but in the end, I’m so happy I did because would you believe it — the scale doesn’t tell the whole story! Weird. :)

(Also that was my sarcasm font, for the record.)

So, I did not post a Week Five update for two main reasons. One – it was the week between Christmas and New Years and I was simultaneously busy and lazy. Two – it would have been a very brief post that said: Holly Ate All The Things. What? I didn’t say they were good reasons, but reasons nonetheless. While I cleaned my act right up for this final Week Six, I felt sort of down about Christmas Mission: Eat The World’s Supply Of Nutella and was really preparing myself to see results I was not very proud of. Speaking of results, let’s get to them, shall we?

Here were my goals in the beginning:

1) 5-10 lbs weight loss over the six week period
2) Do pull ups in a WOD with red band (I’d been working on this for a bit and thought a drop in lbs and re-commitment to the gym would help me nail it)
3) Get my weight loss mojo back!

Here’s how it shook out:

1) Overall weight loss – 6.5 lbs. – I should be happy with this. No let me rephrase, I AM happy with this. What I’m hard wired to feel sort of disappointed about is that in week 2 I was down 8 lbs, so my first inclination because I am a recovering scale-addicted weight watcher is to think: WHY OH WHY DID I NOT KEEP THAT WEIGHT OFF?

But the truth is, there are two reasons my weight loss leveled out at 6.5 lbs in the end (I guess two reasons will be a pattern here today): One – I kicked some serious ass in the gym this month! I made strength improvements, achieved skills I hadn’t been able to do previously, and worked out TWENTY ONE TIMES OVER THE HOLIDAYS, YOU ALL. The pictures I took DEFINITELY showed some body composition change. Obviously. I am confident that not keeping my weight at 8 lbs lost is NOT a fail, but rather an improvement in muscle. I’m okay with that, even though I still have to mentally walk myself through that entire explanation every freaking time I get on the scale. UGH.

Reason Two — Dude, I did indulge. And it was totally worth it! That extra 1.5 lbs would not have been worth resisting Sea Salt Nutella Fudge. Or the Cream Puffs. Or the Cornbread with Honey Butter with my family. I’m sorry, it wouldn’t! That’s reality folks. I had a super awesome holiday season, indulged to the point where I was reminded why I do eat cleanly like I do (ugh, sooooo reminded!) and I’m willing to pay the price for that. End of story. So 6.5 lbs. WOOT! Goal achieved. Also, I feel like — extra gold star for achieving a weight loss goal during the most indulgent time of the year. Huzzah!

2) Pull ups on a red band in a WOD — nope! But I am making great improvements on this one daily in my workouts. I’ve been practicing hard and I’m confident that it is in my reach. I did finally (FINALLY!) get double unders going consistently in WODs — which wasn’t even a goal of mine, so hooray for unexpected victories. The red band pullups will happen shortly. Maybe even in January? :) Which is good because my overall goal is to do an unassisted pull up with no band at all by June. This will be a stretch goal. I’m excited to see if I can do it!

3) Get my weight loss mojo back — Holy Hell, this was a success! This weight loss journey of mine has been a marathon for sure. Highs and lows, ups and down, and all of that together and I’m STILL not at the end. When this challenge started I was kind of at a low point. Not just a physical plateau, but an emotional one. This challenge reminded me that the scale doesn’t tell the whole story, that if I want to keep going I need to celebrate how far I’ve come, and that I’m so lucky to have this space to keep me motivated, share recipes and meal plans, and generally talk about HOW MUCH ASS WE ALL KICK. The blog posts every week kept me accountable (mostly) to make good decisions, the chatter on my Facebook page helped me keep my goals in sight and I feel more excited than ever to have a really awesome and successful year!

The weight loss mojo is back, folks! And I thank you for being a part of getting me back up on that horse! Your comments help, the recipes you share are amazing, and just hearing from someone else that I’m not in this by myself is pretty incredible. I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings!

****Special thanks to AndreAnna for organizing such a fun challenge and also for just being a general ass kicker. Thanks, girl!****

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Look Better Naked: Week Four

Well this week was a bit of a nutritional train wreck, but why lead with that? Let’s lead with this:

With one week of the month left I have already worked out 17 times.

BOOYAH!

And that’s all I’ll say about fitness.

I do not, however, feel quite as excited to give you a nutrition update. Good thing this one involves pretty pictures otherwise it would be painful.

I ate well Monday through Thursday. Well okay Tuesday through Thursday because on Monday night we had dinner with friends that involved just about the best banana dessert I have ever had. And an oreo ice cream sandwich. And…well, you get it.

So Tuesday through Thursday: Gold Star!

Friday, I started baking for Christmas and you know a baker can’t serve something he hasn’t tasted, right? We are on the same page about that. So I made sure to taste everything on this platter:

Christmas Dinner

Including the creme puffs and eclairs that were purchased — just for the sake of quality control, you know? On the back left of the platter there are some paleo cookies that were great though. Kind of like a macaroon but less sweet. I used this recipe. A good treat that I will probably use in the future. Everything was AMAZING, though! I guess if you are going to deviate, you might as well do it up right — even if it was a slippery slope that ended with me eating Nutella straight from the jar. CONFESSED!

Then I prepared a cheese tray Christmas morning that was THE BOMB if I do say so myself.

Christmas Dinner

The only problem is that I usually like to have more green on there (fruit, grapes – SOMETHING) but I ran out of space and just covered it with BREAD AND CRACKERS AND EXCUSE ME WHILE I EAT ALL THE CRISPY THINGS WITH GLUTEN IN THEM…yum yum yum.

We tempered our All Day Menu/Christmas Dinner with some fruits and vegetables (but of course then had to add some Chex Mix!)

Christmas Dinner

I did make some paleo options in Bacon Wrapped Dates and Italian Antipasti Skewers:

Christmas Dinner
Christmas Dinner

Plus I even made paleo chili that was well intentioned, though we didn’t even touch because everyone was too full from all the eggnog pound cake and cranberry white cheddar. The road to hell was paved with good intentions, yes? But the best part of the meal by far was my mom’s Teriyaki Chicken Drummettes and let me tell you, THEY AIN’T SUGAR FREE:

Christmas Dinner

But they were delicious, as was my entire week off before Christmas. And it was pretty damn fun and worth the price of a couple days of bad eating. Make no mistake though, I’m sporting a pretty vicious gluten hangover this morning and ready to get back on track. Fun times with family, but my regular life is calling.

Hope you all had wonderful Christmases as well!
*******

Were you more successful at staying on track. Any awesome holiday recipes you can share?

Look Better Naked: Week Three

Well I am halfway through AndreAnna’s Look Better Naked Paleo Challenge and this week I’m taking the good with bad. Now don’t go getting The Facts of Life Theme Song in your head now, okay? Because that earworm will plague you ALL DAY LONG.

Nutrition

I was super un-organized in the kitchen this week. I made a meal plan and mostly stuck to the meals but not on the days listed. I was scrambling to thaw meat, prep things, we even ended up getting some takeout (Chipotle — so mostly paleo, anyway!) but the major fail was I think I skipped breakfast most of the week.

You know what happens when I skip breakfast? CHOCOLATE COVERED RAISINS HAPPEN.

Also, I felt very drained this week. It’s just too big of a coincidence to think that my random eating, a bit of sugar ingesting, and Friday/Saturday night wine-imbibing had nothing to do with it.

I seem to have a pattern of eating super well all the time when I have breakfast, eating mostly well 5-6 days a week no matter what, but then lately with holiday parties and such it’s just about guaranteed that I will get CRAZY PANTS for at least one meal on the weekend.

I’m looking better and still maintaining weight/losing a bit but I’m kind of feeling like shit. I think January is going to be a welcomed reprieve from crazy food-related socializing! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for 100% compliance 100% of the time ever but I’m just ready for opportunities to deviate to be less often.

Fitness

For the third week in a row I kicked ass on the fitness front, working out 6 times on a goal of 4. (WHAAAAT?)

Monday was Front Squats and a Benchmark WOD
Tuesday was a WOD that made my shoulders want to fall off.
Wednesday was an awesome day of rest!
Thursday was the workout where I *almost* got my Toes to Bar!
Friday’s Benchmark was Cindy. And my armpits still hurt when I put on deodorant 3 days later.
Saturday was 19 min AMRAP in honor of a local police officer who was killed.
Sunday was a leisurely 2.2 mile run with a good friend where we caught up, gossiped and all of a sudden had run a couple miles. AWESOME!

It seems that I can pretty well say fitness is dialed in. I don’t have any doubts about that. Diet and sleep however are where I want to do the bulk of my fine tuning.

Sleep

I just totally sucked on the sleep front this week, getting 5.5-6 hours of sleep per night. This meant I drank a metric ton more caffeine and I felt it.

I only work two days this week and then I am off until January. I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to focus on rest. Not just sleeping, but making sure I’m listening to my body when it’s tired and not using caffeine to help me push through. It should be a fun little experiment. I still plan to be getting out of bed at the crack of dawn because I’m crazy but maybe I will take more naps? Get in bed earlier? I don’t know, but I’m thinking about it.

*****

I maintained on the scale this week but I suspect that has more to do with weighing myself the morning after drinking half a bottle of wine than where I am actually at. I think I’ll try and leave the scale alone this week. Especially after seeing this little nugget of inspiration:

I know there is not a magic number but it is hard to keep that in perspective while I still feel like I want to lose a few pounds. I want to be aware but not obsessed. Haven’t quite found that balance yet. At least I know I’m moving in the right direction, so that is PROGRESS!!! Which you know I’m interested in.

My goals for this week: Christmas is here! I plan to get plenty of rest, so I’m going to lay off on the scale checking and just try and enjoy feeling good and eating well (until Christmas Day where I plan to overdose on all things Non-Paleo. Sorry, but it is one day a year and we have TRADITIONS, YOU ALL!)

***

Are you participating in the challenge? How are you feeling?

Look Better Naked: Week Two

Nutrition

Ate fantastically this week except for a Friday night dinner with friends where I may have done a little excessive imbibing. Sorry, the bottle of wine we opened was delicious. You know what, on second thought:

I didn’t get crazy about food this week and I’m still down 2.5 lbs, about 8 lbs overall which is great. Just going to keep chugging along and trying not to go mental. I think that’s a pretty vague strategy, but it’s working so far. :)

Fitness

Great week of workouts. I hit the gym 5 times, and most workouts were pretty fun.
*Monday was Back Squats and a Benchmark – I wasn’t feeling so great about it, but I’m glad I at least showed up.

*Tuesday was lots of shoulder work and sprint rowing. The rest of the week I’ve been making gun show jokes in my head because my upper body is finally starting to see some results.

*Wednesday we rested. Thank god!

*Thursday was an early one and I challenged myself (ok my coach challenged me) to do wall balls at the men’s height. JESUS that made a difference. I think I will keep doing it though.

*Friday was heavy dead lifts and a Fight Gone Bad style WOD. I kind of love those type of wods. I’m pretty terrible at them, but I love them. Weird.

*Saturday was a fun outdoor workout consisting of just about every one of my weaknesses. YAY! In all seriousness though, it was a great time. Humbling, but a great time.

Sleep

Man, some weeks it is so hard to get enough sleep! I felt it this week for sure, partly because I did two 5am workouts, meaning the alarm goes off at 3:45. I would have to get into bed at like 8:15 to be asleep in time to get 7 hours. That is tough to do! I might just have to compromise and get 6 and half hours on those nights because I don’t like giving up my early morning WODS.

That said, I slept 8 hours on Saturday night and (OMG) 13 hours last night — so hey, at least I’m making it up, right? (Um, wrong. But I’m trying me best on all the other nights and doing okay.)
****

2 weeks down, 4 to go. So far so good and I’m so glad I’m doing this challenge. It’s made all the difference!

Look Better Naked: Week One

So it’s a week into this Look Better Naked Challenge and I have had some wins and some losses.

Nutrition

*Week day nutrition gets an A+. I wasn’t tempted at all to eat crap at the office! I credit this to having a plan for breakfast each day and I fully intend to continue that next week as well. Also, I hydrated like a crazy person! And besides the inconvenience of running to the bathroom every five minutes, it made me feel infinitely better.

*Weekend nutrition gets a pretty solid C. We had our ARCFit Holiday Party Friday night and I definitely had my share of red wine. More than I should have really, but I don’t regret it at all. It was so nice to cut loose with friends that you bust ass with all week long and have a glass of wine (or two, or twenty) while you’re lookin’ fancy!


2011 ARCFit Holiday Party

I also had some very Non-Paleo treats throughout the evening but I also tempered it with some serious vegetable chomping. For a party it wasn’t a total fail!

*Morning After Nutrition gets an F. The morning after that party — well, I was feeling the effects. I didn’t have much but coconut water all day since I wasn’t feeling super hot (Can’t stay out until 3AM like I used to. HA!) By evening, I sure wasn’t cooking so we ended up getting: MEXICAN FOOD. Ah, the hangover cure for everything! Paleo? Nope. But it’s one meal, and I’m over it. On to the next week!

Overall Nutrition Grade: B-

Fitness

Compared to Nutrition, Fitness was a total slam dunk!

*I worked out four times, which was my goal. YAY!

-A Wall ball workout that I didn’t love.
-A serious shoulder burner that I did like pretty well.
-A 5 AM workout that had me actually getting up on the rope a little. And
-A CRAZY WOD that has my ass still sore as I type this.

And also I was chosen to be the December Athlete of the Month at my gym. I just about dropped dead, you all, but it was so nice to get a little pat on the back right when I was struggling, you know?

Overall Fitness Grade: A

Sleep

* I slept 7 hours per night every single night except one and even then it was a good 6 and half hours. What can I tell you — I’ve been enjoying The Hunger Games books. Sometimes they are hard to put down.

*4 nights I slept 8+ hours. Win!

Overall Sleep Grade: A-

*****

One week down, five to go!

My goal this week is to keep up all the good things from last week, plus taper off my food tracking. Last week I was VERY anal retentive about it, which in the end helped me out — I’m down more than 5lbs. But I get obsessive and a little bitchy when I am inputing every single gram of food I eat. NO I DON’T WANT A BITE OF YOUR FUCKING BANANA YOU JERK- DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY CARBOHYDRATES THAT HAS IN IT?

Yeah, I don’t want to be like that.

So this week, I’m going to log everything I eat and how I feel. No grams, no counting, just general awareness. And see how I do approaching things a little more intuitively. Also, I’m going to workout like a mad woman!

Let’s hope it works.

When It’s Time To Change You’ve Got To Rearrange

Here, allow me to really get that ear worm into your head.

Anyway, the time for rearranging some of my priorities is now. I tried on 5 pairs of jeans this morning in order to find a comfortable pair to wear grocery shopping. I am a fan of stuffing and pumpkin pie, but I am not a fan of my pants feeling tight. This is the first time it has happened in 16 months and let me tell you it was a rude awakening.

The truth is my eating habits have been quite…um, lax in the past few weeks. This is to be expected with the holidays and happy hours and dinners out and working in a office where every one feels the need to celebrate with baked goods, and to be honest I find the festivities of the season a good reason to let your diet go off the rails a bit. I am all about enjoying traditions and not being too anal about every single thing you eat when things like Thanksgiving and Christmas only come once a year.

HOWEVER.

Personally, I am having trouble lately drawing the line between enjoying a seasonal treat and eating a mini snickers for breakfast because someone has brought them into the office.  And since I blew breakfast, I might as well enjoy that Pumpkin Spice latte at lunch because the red cups ONLY COME AROUND ONCE PER YEAR!

And the truth is I have been having trouble for the past few weeks.

What makes the situation complex is that I am still kicking ass at the gym.  Fitness is still a huge priority.  I mean, I ran a 5k on Thanksgiving Day FOR FUN!  (And annihilated my previous time!  2011 Goal — CHECK!)  And it was fun.  And I have no doubt that I will continue to workout and prioritize the sanity that exercise brings and continue to maintain my weight in a healthy way.  So what is the big deal if I have a little bourbon egg nog cocktail on a Friday night, right?  No need to be so regimented!

But the problem with this thinking is that I am not trying to maintain my weight right now.   Next year, maybe I will have cocktails every Friday night for the entire holiday season.  But currently I am in the home stretch with my goals and I would just like to get there!  So I need to rearrange my priorities a bit.  I have at least 40 ish lbs left to go (though I am becoming less and less attached to a particular number the fitter I get) and continuing to just maintain isn’t getting me where I want to go.  And you know how much I love checking off lists and achieving goals, so — it’s time for some change.

Enter, AndreAnna. My dietary fairy godmother. Do you have one of those? I recommend it. It’s nice to have someone you can text while you are walking up and down the aisle of Costco thinking to yourself “PEPPERMINT MALT BALLS? THEY MAKE THOSE? I MUST BUY THEM ALL!”  And have her remind you that bulking up on healthy stuff is going to get you where you want t be.  She has put together a Look Better Naked Paleo Challenge and because I need a lifeline with my nutrition right now, I’ve decided to participate.

What I’m committing to over the next 6 weeks:

1) Strict Primal eating (no grains, sugar, legumes, processed foods, only full-fat dairy)
2) Keep dairy to a minimum
3) At least 4 Workouts Per Week
4) Sleep at least 7 hours a night, aim for 8.
5) Keep my carbohydrate intake between 50-100g per day
6) Keep the alcohol intake to special occasions

And here are my goals I’d like to see by Jan 6:

1) 5-10 lbs weight loss
2) Do pull ups in a WOD with red band (I’ve been working on this for a bit and I think a drop in lbs and re-commitment to the gym will help me nail it)
3) Get my weight loss mojo back!

How I plan to get there

1) Tracking food intake, especially carbs at first
If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know that I despise food tracking. I think it is a recipe for mental anguish, food obsession, and frankly it interferes with your ability to listen to your body’s natural signals. Eat when you’re hungry, don’t when you’re not. THAT is a lifestyle. Counting calories/carbs/points is not, in my opinion. ***stepping off soapbox now. sorry**** That said, I need to get back to being able to HEAR my body’s signals so I need a little structure at first.

2) Prioritizing sleep.
This means I need to plan a little better if I’m going to wake up and tackle a 5 am WOD.

3) Reduce the caffeine consumption
I have a tendency to over caffeinate when I’m feeling worn out. Who doesn’t? But I really enjoy coffee black and I think it is one of life’s small pleasures and I tend to use that as an excuse when I’m starting to use it as a crutch. “But you enjoy it, Holly! You don’t even use cream and sugar! Deprivation is not the goal!” And then I drink 5 cups a day without even thinking about it and it wreaks a bit of havoc on my body. A cup in the morning is enough. If it’s not, sleep more, silly.

4) Focus on hydration.
I’ve been super lax about hydrating lately and that is another thing that, for me, really affects the way I feel, perform and eat. It’s time to stop lazing about and drag my ass down the water cooler.

******

So that’s my plan for the next 6 weeks. Re-commitment to healthy habits and to do things that make feel better instead of lethargic and sorry for myself.

It’s the hardest time of year to get this all in check, but I am feeling more dedicated than ever. Um…plus it’s a competition, and no one loves a little friendly competition more than me.

Wish me luck?

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