Monday, April 30, 2012


I've been MIA for a few days (or longer) because the family and I took a long weekend trip to Nebraska for my niece's confirmation. It was a nice trip.

I did so well in trying to keep my diet as clean as possible. But there are just some instances where you can't be so obsessive about it. And I find it easier to just go with the flow in these types of situations than draw unwanted attention to myself.

This was a celebration with a lot of close friends and relatives. I was not about to refuse to eat or bring in my own food. Plus, it's not like I'm prepping for a competition or something. If I were, I would have had a proper excuse.

When you are a guest in some one's home and you are there for a special occasion, I think it a tad awkward to bring your own food instead of eat the wonderful food they have prepared for everyone. I mean, they took the effort to make delicious food. They don't care about macro nutrient mumbo jumbo. It's a celebration. So I happily ate what they so graciously had made. It was delicious!

At the hotel, I ate as smart as I could. It was one of those free breakfast bar deals where they have quite a bit to choose from. I chose eggs, toast, banana, milk and coffee while I watched everyone else eat pancakes, sausage, bacon and cinnamon rolls. I discovered this morning (our last day there) that they even had plain oatmeal! I could have eaten that instead of the toast....oh well. And I splurged today. I ate a cinnamon roll and had a burger and fries on the way home. It's a six hour drive for us so it can be a challenge to eat perfectly, although not impossible. On the way there, I did awesome. I was prepared. But today, I decided it had been such a long time since my last "cheat meal" that I would go ahead and relax a bit.

I even worked out in the tiny fitness room at the hotel one of the days. I saw they had weight lifting equipment and got so excited you would have thought I'd won the lottery! It's so funny how just the sight of it makes me giddy. It's familiar territory. It's like home.

Tomorrow I will thankfully be back to my regular routine. My gut will thank me.

I am having my first boob squishing session (mammogram) tomorrow and I'm NOT looking forward to it. But my doctor recommended I do it. I said, "But I'm not even 40 yet!" He said I probably should have had my first one at 35. "Oh...."

And guess what I found out, I might have exercise induced asthma. Is that not the craziest s#*t?! I mean, exercising is a HUGE part of my life! I was telling my doctor that I wanted allergy testing because I get this throat closing feeling now and then, usually when I get my heart rate way up during exercise. I feel stuffy and the skin of my throat feels like it sticks together. He thought I might have exercise induced asthma and prescribed an inhaler. I can't wait to see if it works. If it does, I will be relieved to find help for the problem but totally bummed out that I have the problem to begin with!

I don't know.....we'll see how it pans out once I get my inhaler. And it's not like it happens every time I work out. I think it's more panic related, since I get anxiety and I'm afraid of having more panic attacks. When I do things that gets my heart beating faster, my body responds the same way it does during a panic attack (where my heart rate also goes up) and I have that throat closing feeling. It's such a drag to have this condition. But I've finally got new medication for it and I'm looking forward to seeing how it helps. But that could take up to a month. This particular med is an anti-depressant but it is also used to treat panic disorder and (get this.....) obsessive-compulsive disorder! Haha....BINGO! Is that me or is that me?!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

the skinny

I woke up feeling rail thin today. It just happens to be the part of my cycle where I am the least bloated and so I look really lean. Actually, lean is too good of a word. Because when I think of a "lean" person, I think muscular with no fat. What I should say is too skinny. Blech, I hate it! Scale said 110 again. Sigh.....

Yet, I have to remain in a lower calorie range so that I can get rid of the lower body fat. It's such a hard thing for me to wrap my mind around. Looking in the mirror, thinking I look WAY too thin, yet having to continue to diet all because my body is holding onto thigh fat for dear life!

I'm actually looking forward to summer's end so I can focus on building muscle again. I'm lifting heavy enough to maintain right now because my calories are so low, but there's no way I'm adding muscle.

The other day when I said my legs measured bigger, I remember something I read. (of course I'm going to quote a book....what else?) In this particular book I read by a woman named Sue Heintze, she said that there would be a stage during fat loss where you would actually feel squishier and softer. Supposedly, the "squishy" feeling is a good thing because it means that the fatty deposits are shifting. I don't know the science of it all, but I'm trying to trust her! She also mentions that your body won't touch the "stubborn" fat until ALL the other fat is gone. (which is why I will look like a skeleton with big hips for a while) This has something to do with the effectiveness of fat mobilization. And that depends on the type of receptors in the fat cells. She states that research has shown the "stubborn fat" - which in women tend to be the butt, hip and thigh area - has more of the bad receptors, which is why it is so difficult to lose it.

I'm trying to follow the advice that I've taken from the Nutrient Timing book. I'm trying to keep my calorie intake to 1415 a day now! That just seems ridiculously low, especially considering that I have to factor my pre-workout drink, post-workout drink & banana and evening caesin drink into the total calories! And that can be almost 500 calories right there! But I HAVE to fuel my body for training and recovery. It is essential to my success.

I am starting to get used to it now I guess. I just want to start seeing some positive changes from all the time I've spent in the gym and all the researching I've done. I've put in a lot of time on this because I'm on my own. I don't have anyone helping me or coaching me. I'm my own personal trainer, nutritionist and researcher. 

I shouldn't say that I don't notice any positive changes, because I do. I can see little things that others wouldn't notice. I can feel that my legs are firmer. I can even feel some hamstrings now. And I have seen a lot of positive things happening in my glutes. Even though the original problem still remains, I can see small improvements slooooowly happening. I'm in it forever. Whether it happens this year, next year or 5 years from now, I'm never going to quit until I get what I want. I BELIEVE in the law of attraction. I BELIEVE that everything I do moves me closer to my goal. I BELIEVE that it is impossible to fail. I BELIEVE I can do it, and I will.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday measurements

How did measurements go? Haha....don't ask.

I am so frustrated right now, I'm about ready to choke every single person who's ever written anything I've read about fat loss. Because I have yet to read a book that says, if you do everything you are supposed to do, you will not lose fat. Which would be the truth in my case.

This whole thing of improving my physique is turning into quite the scientific experiment. My kitchen has turned into a lab and my body is the test tube. It has taken me deeper than I EVER expected to go. And what I mean by this is that I have calculated and counted and weighed and calculated some more every single day for the past 8 days so that I KNEW my macros and I KNEW how many calories I was taking in. I wear my heart rate monitor for every workout anymore so I KNOW how many calories I am burning. And on paper, it looks real good. Yet....

If you came to my house and looked on my counter, you would think I was taking college classes or something. There are two large notebooks, 3 small notebooks, a couple of binders, books and a calculator. Most nights, my family is waiting for me at the table while I'm measuring and weighing food. I'm ALWAYS sitting at the counter, calculating. When my kids ask me to go outside with them, I say, "Just a minute, I have to do my calculations first". It's insane. And I don't intend to live this way forever. But it is sure taking forever to figure this out. Figuring out what works for ME, at least.

I don't know what is so different about my body from everyone else who can follow a plan and drop fat. I can't say I workout too much. In fact, I'm most positive that my workouts are the ONE thing that isn't hindering me. Therefore the key lies in my diet. Still.

According to calculations recommended by a highly regarded health/fitness expert, my maintenance level of calories is about 2000 per day (14,000 per week). I've calculated that in the past week, I've eaten 11,453 which is far under my maintenance. Factor in calories burned through exercise this past week (2,193) and I've got a net calorie intake of 9,260. Which then translates to a 4,740 calorie deficit. And if 3,500 calories is a pound, I should have lost a little over a pound. But when I measured myself this morning, I was actually BIGGER! How can this be?????

My scale shows a 6lb loss, of course. This is why I NEVER rely on the scale for much other than keeping track of bloat. I was totally bloated at the beginning of last week. So I can't ever tell if I'm losing fat or water. My caliper seems to not be much of a help anymore either, because it's ALWAYS on the same setting. I'm so lean in my upper body that I don't think it's an effective way to measure my body fat, since mine all sits on my bottom half. Don't get me wrong, I still have a certain amount of extra fat I need to lose around my middle if I wanted to get into "competition shape".

Stay with me....

This book I've been reading also has calculations to determine caloric needs. And I've never seen anything like them before. They are quite unlike the mainstream calculations you seem to find all over the internet. According to their calculations, I'm SERIOUSLY overestimating my maintenance level of calories. Which I had been wondering all along.

Also, their recommendations for macro nutrients are a lot different. The protein amount is surprisingly less. But according to their studies (remember, these guys are scientists) they found that while the recommended daily allowance of protein is enough to maintain muscle, it doesn't put you in a positive nitrogen balance, which is needed to build muscle. That doesn't mean that eating protein protein and more protein is going to build you more and more muscle. There is a certain point at which adding more protein beyond necessary does not mean more gains, it just means you are eating more than you really need. In other words, adding protein over and above the RDA is necessary for muscle gain, however, adding too much doesn't equal even more muscle.

And, carbohydrates are good! They help fat metabolism. Although if you overeat them, they are easily stored as fat. I think my carbohydrate consumption has been far too low for far too long. It's something to think about I guess. My problem lies within finding the right amount for my needs. While I've been trying to cut back carbs and cycle carbs, I still may not be getting enough. Therefore all my efforts have been wasted because I'm still not properly fueling my body.

Anyway, in conclusion, my last week, carb cycling in this pattern:


...proved to be ineffective for me. Unless I actually have lost, but just don't know it. Perhaps internally? It sounds stupid, but I've read that it takes a while for us to see a loss because it happens from the inside out. While someone who could stand to lose weight might notice something right away, someone like me is probably going to have to be more patient. Not sure how much more patient I can be. This is becoming ridiculous.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Yesterday I tried the "sprint 4 minutes a day" idea, as per a couple of posts ago (part 3). Instead of my usual 30 second sprint, 30 second rest intervals, I did this:

5 minute warm up walk/jog
SPRINT (10mph) - 1 minute
walk 3 minutes
SPRINT (10 mph) - 1 minute
walk 3 minutes
SPRINT (10 mph) - 1 minute
walk 3 minutes
SPRINT (10 mph) - 1 minute
walk 3 minutes

Then I walked another 4 or 5 minutes before cranking up the incline on the treadmill and hill walking for 20 minutes.

Both of these exercises are supposed to burn FAT and build a better butt. I'm hoping so! Because I enjoy doing them.

The sprinting intervals were great. I could definitely have gone faster than the 10, but that's as fast as my treadmill goes. However, I could tell I was fatiguing during the last 10 seconds of the last set. Still, I really enjoy interval training. The time flies by. No time to get bored. I'm definitely a sprinter.

I'm replacing my usual HIIT routine with this from now on. The recommended amount was 4 minutes a day, 3 days a week. I'm scheduled to do 2 HIIT sessions a week already. I'll just add in that extra one after a weight training session (replacing the 20 minutes on the elliptical). YES!!

Now, ALL of these exercises and diet habits that I'm implementing are supposed to be sure fire ways to lose fat. Ok, let's see it happen!

Oh, and I switched protein powders (again). I wasn't impressed with the flavor of the OnlyProtein chocolate. I did love the idea of it being super clean and organic. BUT, it was so blah. I decided to go with Prograde. I LOVE the chocolate flavor! Really rich and delicious. And it has more protein.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I'm nervous

I have spent that last week meticulously tracking every crumb that has gone into my mouth. Actually counting out the macros and portioning it correctly before I eat it. I've even been weighing my meat. This is something that I've never done before. I've always just eyeballed it.

If I grill flank steak, I can eat a LOT of it. It's so tasty. But if I weigh out 3 oz of it, YIKES, that's a small amount.

So anyway, I'm nervous because I have to weigh and measure myself on Monday. I was so certain that because I have eaten more perfectly than I ever have in my entire life (not even joking) this past week that there is just no way I won't see improvement when I measure my thighs. I've done every single workout and given it 110%. I've still got a HIIT session today, but that's an easy day for me. Yet, I still have that lingering doubt, that fear that I will see no change. And what then?

Seriously? What the heck do I do if that happens? Does that mean that I need to eat more? This is what has sort of lit the fear fire. In this book I'm reading [Nutrient Timing - John Ivy, Ph.D. & Robert Portman, Ph.D] the calorie count I should be consuming is far greater than what I've been doing in the past week. They suggest, for fat loss, to decrease calories by 100-200 below maintenance. So far, I haven't heard anything about carb cycling. I haven't finished the book yet but I'm over half way.

They seem to be pretty pro carb in the book so I'm going to guess that there will be nothing on carb cycling. And if that's the case, and I only go 200 calories below my maintenance level every day, It's going to be slooooooooooooow going with the fat loss. In theory, it would take me over two weeks just to lose a pound! But then again, it's not like it's just falling off me now anyway.

I wish I could just find something solid that worked for me and trust in it and follow it without doubt and skepticism. I wish I wouldn't scare myself by thinking what I'm doing isn't working when I still have two days to go until I measure myself.

But, for kicks and giggles, I thought I would show you my daily macros and ratios.

SUNDAY: Carbs: 67.5g  Fat: 53.3g  Prot: 139.8g  Calories: 1259.8 - carb 24%/prot 36%/fat 40%

MONDAY: Carbs: 197g  Fat: 41g  Prot: 171g  Calories: 1827 - carb 41%/prot 38%/fat 21%

TUESDAY:: Carbs: 65.2g  Fat: 60.9g  Prot: 135.6g  Calories: 1312 - carb 19%/prot 40%/fat 41%

WEDNESDAY: Carbs: 171g  Fat: 65.5g  Prot: 113.9g  Calories: 1747 - carb 40%/prot 26%/fat 34%

THURSDAY: Carbs: 61.4g  Fat: 55.4g  Prot: 102.2  Calories: 1183 - carb 21%/prot 37%/fat 42%

FRIDAY: Carbs: 332g  Fat: 62.1g  Prot: 129.6g  Calories: 2445 - carb 55%/prot 22%/ fat 23%

I think I did good in terms of how the carb cycling was supposed to go. There were a couple days that were slightly off but for the most part, fat and carb percentage went every other day in respect to being the higher macro. Which was the plan. And I had planned for a high carb day on Friday, and as you can see, I did that!

If anyone can offer any helpful suggestions, I'm willing to listen!

I would type out exactly what I ate but that would just take way too long. If only I could import MyPlate somehow...

Have a great weekend!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Part 3: Why all that cardio isn't helping you lose fat

Here's something I stumbled upon. If you are a cardio lover looking to lose fat, you might want read this:

"Excessive cardio, like a hurricane wind, blows out the fat burning flame because it causes the body's hormones to "bottom out" and metabolism goes south. This response is even more severe if you "go on a diet" and the same time. Most people fail because they focus on burning calories. Who cares about burning calories? We want to burn fat, not calories.

Here's why Eat Less + Increase Activity DOES NOT EQUAL Weight Loss:
  1. Phantom weight loss: some fat burning yes, but more muscle wasting and dehydration.
  2. Weight loss plateau after 2-3 weeks due to your body developing a tolerance to what you are doing.
  3. You gain all the weight back plus more once you quit due to a depressed metabolism."

The more you cardio yourself to death every day, the more you are setting yourself up for future fat gain. Hey, it happened to me. (see part 2)

But cardio is so good for us, it must mean the more the better....right? Nope.

"Some years ago I met Clinical Nutritionist Mark Smith who is a health expert and a PhD from an accredited university. He explained to me that doing one minute burst training instead of lengthy cardio exercise would turn my life around. As an example – he suggested that instead of jogging on the treadmill for one hour, [and he presented evidence to back up his statement], I should sprint as fast as I could for one minute, four times a day, three days a week. He explained that this practice would burn more fat than one hour of cardio a day, seven days a week. He was right!"

"Research in exercise science has shown that growth hormone levels in the body rise with burst training and also with hard high intensity weight lifting."
"If you want to go on the path of accelerated aging do lots of cardio. You will age faster by joining a spin class. Look at the faces of long duration cardio kings and queens, old and dried up. It’s no joke. Raise stress hormones and age fast....."

I am SO going to try that! Imagine it....burning more fat in 12 minutes a week than you can doing 7 hours of boring steady state cardio in the same time frame!

And, another tidbit fer ya:

"Studies have shown that too much, long-duration cardio raises cortisol levels (cortisol is a catabolic, tissue destroying, steroid) and therefore, hinder the natural anabolic hormones. The human heart is made of muscle. Smooth muscle, unlike our biceps and quads which are striated muscle, but can still be affected by catabolic processes."

To be fair, I did want to add that cortisol is released during intense weight training also. Which is why strength athletes reach a plateau. Continuing on with the quote...

"After reading sport medicine journals and exercise physiology journals I was floored to read the science behind it all. Go to your local library and ask for "Strength/endurance training vs. endurance training in congestive heart failure. Delagardelle, et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc. Dec, 2002."

Wow, I want to check that out! My dad had congestive heart failure. When it's in the family, I think there is a responsibility there to be on the preventative side.

Ever heard of Jim Fixx? Fixx wrote“The Complete Book of Running” and it was credited for helping fuel the running boom of the 1980’s. Fixx died of a heart attack while running. He was 53. Not that running caused his death, but he was obviously an avid runner, having written a book about it and all. Yet he still had elevated blood cholesterol and blockage in his coronary arteries.

You can help prevent elevated blood cholesterol, however, with proper nutrient timing, as I am learning in my new book that I'm reading. What you eat before and after you workout, whether you are an endurance athelete or a strength athelete is VERY important to your performance and your health!!

Look, I'm not saying, stop doing cardio or you'll die. There are people who (gulp) LOVE it. I would love to eat chocolate as steady state, long duration sport. That doesn't mean it's good for me or is going to get me the body I crave. My point to this spiel is this, if you want to look muscular and tight, the best way NOT to get it is to be a cardio junkie. Chances are, if you are reading a fitness blog, you have some interest in improving yourself by either looking better, feeling better, or being healthier. Or, you just stumbled across my page while looking up cheese on the internet.

And here's more of what I think (in case you're still reading):

I think cardio is the first choice for some people because it's easier. [Unless you are training many long hours for marathons....holy crap, nothing easy about that!!] Let's face it, it doesn't require a lot to watch the clock sloooolwy ticking while on a treadmill. And if you can read a magazine while exercising, it probably isn't hard work. You'd be surprised by how many people actually do this at the gym. Or maybe you wouldn't. I was.

When I'm on cardio equipment, it gives me too much time to think: about EVERYTHING. I think about how much stuff I need to get done today, how much stuff I didn't finish yesterday, how much I'd rather be doing anything else in the world than be on this treadmill....thinking, thinking, drives me crazy!

With weight training, you don't have time to think about anything except the muscle you are training, the moment you are training it. Catching your breath, and moving on to the next exercise, where you will again be so focused on your form, your breathing, and the muscle, that you don't have time to stress about everything else. And it's hard. Your muscles burn. You feel like you are accomplishing something. Because you are! You are building and defining muscle. You are strengthening your bones. You are becoming stronger and healthier.

I would say 'anyone can do cardio' but that isn't true. My mom can't. But she can lift weights! Get out of your comfort zone. Pick up some dumbbells.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Progress Pictures

Part 2: My Butt Hurts really REALLY hurts! My glutes and quads are screaming every time I move. They were hurting yesterday too. I was playing "toilet tag" with the kids [again] last night after dinner and I'm surprised I was able to run.

Just as a fun side note: toilet tag is different than regular "tag, you're it". When you get tagged, you have to stand there with your arm out, waiting for someone else to come "flush" you so you can run around again. It's so much fun. Except for that we have a giant Newfoundland and for some odd reason, whenever I am running around the yard with the kids, she chases after me and tries to tackle me. Every. Single. Time. Which makes it hard/scary to play. She weighs more than I do!

Anyway, I have weight training today. I am scared because my muscles hurt so much. Yesterday was HIIT day. My working intervals are at 9.8. I don't know why I don't just go all the way to 10, but for some reason, 10 just seams so fast. Anyway, I do 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off. I do this for 10 minutes, then I do some form of steady state cardio for 20 minutes. Usually I switch it up. Yesterday, I did hill walking. The treadmill goes up to 15% (I don't know if that is the typical max of a treadmill, mine at home inclines but it doesn't tell me the percentage). I started out on 12%. Then I kept backing down every couple of minutes by 2% until I was satisfied with 8%. I was only walking 3.8mph at 8% but it was HARD on legs that were already sore! I was sweating like a pig. It was literally pouring into my eyes. I was sandwiched between two guys who were both running and I felt like I was getting a way better workout. At least for my butt, anyway. I have read that incline walking and HIIT are far better for your backside than just plain running. Here's where I read it:

This is not what "part 2" of my long-ass post was going to be about. The second part is actually about cardio. But it's STILL really long so I'm going to break it up. So there will be a part 3...hehe. I bet you are on the edge of your seat, right? And I STILL want to get a post in about how my meticulous diet has been working.

Ok, so I'm not a big fan of cardio. Truth be told it just isn't enjoyable to me. Small doses are fine. But longer than 30-40 minutes and I've lost all interest. I want to exercise yet it has to be something that doesn't make me dread the thought of doing it. Hats off to the marathoners who log many hours running. I will be supporting you from the sidelines. I have a great friend who is just as passionate for running as I am for weight lifting. I don't want to demean or belittle her chosen sport or why she does it. I cannot even begin to comprehend the satisfaction is gives her. Not everyone was made to run marathons. It's an admirable quality, to be so dedicated and determined as to train for and run in them. The only knowledge I have is my one experience in running a half marathon. The actual race itself was a total high., not so much.

People train for a goal. If your goal is endurance, you train for that. If your goal is building muscle, you train for that. If your goal is fat loss, you train for that. Now, I may not enjoy cardio but I'm also not a super huge fan of squats. Heavy squats in particular. Because they are hard. In fact, they scare me. Yet, I know that for what my particular goal is, I need to do a lot of them. I need to get low and lift a pretty heavy amount of weight. It's hard, yet I know it will be over in a short amount of time. Time is relative; a short amount of time is 4 sets of squats in relation to an hour of cardio. But, if my goal required me to do an hour of cardio, I guess I'd have to do it, even though I don't particularly like it. Like squats.

My purpose for this post is to shed light on the wrong ways to go about losing fat. Not to make people who enjoy doing cardio feel bad. And not everyone runs to lose weight. Although I'm sure, at some point, most have.

So, one of the things I'm always on the lookout for is information about what I should really be doing for fat loss. There is so much conflicting information and it usually depends on who you talk to or what you read, everyone has a different theory or found a study proving one way or another. My opinions are based on my own experience and personal preference. On this blog, I don't hide the fact that I am NOT a lover of cardio and don't do tons of it. Yet I'm very lean. How can that be? Well, I'm a firm believer in weight training for fitness, fat loss and overall health. I'm also proof that it works.

I'm sure you would also find a good number of folks who are leaner than me and claim to have gotten there through cardio and cardio alone. BUT, I used to do cardio exclusively, years ago. Back in the days when I was probably 25% or higher bodyfat. Based on my experience, you can get smaller with cardio, for a while. But you'll never build sexy shapely muscle on the treadmill ;)

I wish I had someone telling me this stuff back when I thought if I ran for 45 minutes every day, I would lose the fat on my legs and along with it, cellulite. I did lose fat, I did get smaller, but I was still very "bottom heavy" and I still had tons of cellulite. Little did I know that I actually had to BUILD MUSCLE, for the skin to be taut. Instead, I was stuck with that skinny fat look, like a deflated balloon. EW! And how was I to know that I was wrecking my metabolism by dieting along with the cardio? (more about why this is in Part 3) It seemed like common knowledge that the more I moved and the less I ate, the more the fat would disappear. But I found out the hard way, it's just not that simple.

True story: I had to stop exercising for a period of about 2 months and I instantly ballooned. It was incredible! I had spent a year shrinking from all the cardio I was doing, but I ended up gaining 9lbs of FAT in 2 months! I wasn't laying around, I wasn't pigging out, I just couldn't workout. And back then, working out for me meant cardio dvds and running. What would you do if you got injured and couldn't workout? Is your metabolism good enough to see you through it? Mine obviously wasn't!

If you are doing cardio day after day after day, your body adapts. And it clings to what it's got left for survival, because it knows it's going to have to expend a lot of energy in the coming days with more cardio. Again and again and again. Supposedly with weight training, if you alter your routines every so often, it never has a chance to adapt because you are always changing a component. Whether it be more reps, heavier weight, more sets, different moves to hit the muscle at different angles. It's all about causing confusion.

Charles Poliquin's blog says that cardio training stops working after 6 weeks. "the type of exercise you are doing is too low of an intensity to elicit the right hormonal output to burn body fat effectively" - in reference to this woman who was doing just tons of cardiovascular training every day, and her legs were getting bigger. The argument was that she was creating a stressful environment in her body causing water retention and so forth.

I just purchased a book called "Nutrient Timing" (thanks, Kristy) and one of the things it talks about is cortisol levels. (stress causes us to hold on to fat) I've only started reading it last night but I think it's going to completely change my body. I'm SO excited.

Anyway, I'll continue with "Part 3: Why all that cardio isn't helping you lose fat"...tomorrow.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Part 1: counting macros

I was in the process of writing a blog post a few days ago, but it got so big, I decided it would be best to split it up into parts.

I wanted to mention that after being about 5 weeks into my 12 week timeline, I have not seen the results like I had hoped [yet]. SOooooo, that means it's time to tweak the diet. Ugh...

I had listened to a video by Jimmy Smith, [he has a top 50 fitness blog], and he was talking about how most people get it wrong trying to count calories because it's not really about calories. It's about MACROS. When you lower your calorie intake, you are lowering numbers across the board. What you need to be doing is specifically lower certain macros (say carbs) while raising others (like fats) and still be in the calorie range for losing FAT.

Hmmm....ok, I'll bite.

I had planned on carb cycling if reducing calories didn't work anyway. I've done it before but I've never actually sat down and planned everything I was going to eat and meticulously counted every gram and totalled every meal. Well, guess what I've been doing? That's right. Meticulously and painfully planning, down to the last gram, every macro nutrient that I eat. BEFORE I eat it.

The biggest portion of my calculations happened over the weekend when I didn't have anything pressing to do. First, I figured out HOW I was going to cycle my carbs. In the past, I'd done 3 low days, 1 high day, repeat. There are two reasons I don't like this pattern; one being that the high day falls on a different day every week and the other being my low days are bound to fall on some training days. And by the third low carb day I'm so hungry and void of energy. Not to mention crabby.

So this time I set it up to where I'm doing 3 low carb days, 3 moderate carb days and 1 high carb day per week. Not in that order though. It's going to follow my training schedule.

Monday: weight training followed by 20 min. cardio (mod. carb day)
Tuesday: HIIT training followed by 20 min. cardio (low carb day)
Wednesday: weight training followed by 20 min. cardio (mod. carb day)
Thursday: Rest (low carb day)
Friday: weight training followed by 20 min. cardio (high carb day)
Saturday: HIIT training followed by 20 min. cardio (mod. carb day)
Sunday: Rest (low carb day)


*It might look like I'm doing an awful lot of cardio here but keep in mind that it's AFTER weight training, when I'm depleted so I can burn FAT. And it's a short amount, only 20 minutes a crack. So there won't be any muscle wasting. Plus, I refuel the second I hit the locker room with a protein drink, L-Glutamine and a banana.

My moderate and high carb days will always follow weight training days and my low days will always fall on rest days and one HIIT day. So it will work out good in terms of keeping energy levels high for the training that counts. My high carb day is always on a Friday, which I love because that is the night we most often like to have pizza night with the kids. And I'm not doing "cheat" days anymore. I think I over eat and it cancels out any progress I make during the week which is why I am not seeing results. Instead of cheating and binging on crappy foods, I'm going to eat more, but healthier. And when you are cycling carbs, having things like bread and pasta seems like a cheat anyway.

I had to figure out just what the heck my macros and calorie intake should be for each day. I'll be honest, it was a pain. And I'll have do redo them EVERY week [if] my weight changes. I found a good website about carb cycling and why it works. If it didn't, bodybuilders and figure competitors wouldn't use it. I was able to figure out my caloric needs, and macros for each of the three types of days. Then, I just divided it up into how many meals I plan on eating during the day, making sure to count my bedtime protein shake and post workout protein shake on weight training days, to figure what I can have at each meal.

I've been writing EVERYTHING down so that eventually, I won't have to think so much about it and do all the calculations. Especially if I'm in a hurry. I can just look back to a particular day (low, mod. or high carb) and pick a meal that sounds good and it will already have the right ratios of carb/prot/fat. I usually eat pretty much the same stuff every day anyway, so it'll be easier the more days I have behind me.

A little while back, I was wondering if the fat content in my diet was too high. Even though it was from good fats, I thought it might be one of those 'too much of a good thing' deals. Hey! Like cardio? cardio *wink*

But look at this gem I found:

"Fat is needed by every cell in our body, as it is a crucial component in building the cell wall. Furthermore, body fat is stored energy. When your body needs energy, it turns to your fat cells. But when your body isn’t getting enough fat in its diet, it will try to conserve what it has, turning instead to muscle, and endangering that tricep definition that was finally starting to show up. Your actual weight may decrease, because muscle weighs more than fat, but chances are you won’t be as strong or as shapely. "

And this is why it's good to eat protein and fat before you workout. I workout in the morning, so the good fats and protein I eat at breakfast will sustain my workout and my body will go burn stored fat instead of the carbs I might have eaten for breakfast.
Hooray for natural peanut butter and avocados!!

This was an important piece to the puzzle that I was missing before when I tried carb cycling. I was so focused on taking in minimal starchy carbs that I wasn't taking into account that I needed to up my fat intake to keep my energy up. NOW, I know better. On my low days, I am only taking in 60g carbs BUT I'm eating around 55g fat to make up for it. Protein, for the most part, stays unchanged every day. I keep it around 130-140 grams. That way I am ensuring that I don't lose muscle.

On my high carb day, I can take up to 270g carbs and still keep my calorie level below maintenance! (around 1888 - which is my highest calorie day of the week also). And it's those days that I will lower fat intake. Genius! Within one week, I will have eaten a substantial amount of carbs/protein/fat to fuel my workouts and feed my muscles, yet still be in a caloric deficit to create over a pound of fat loss, and that's not even counting exercise! There is just no way this can't work!!

I've only made it through two days so far, but I've done it with laser precision. I actually figure out my meals before I eat them (making sure I have the right ratios - it's kind of like a puzzle). I absolutely KNOW that I'm eating properly this way. This is something I have never done. So I have actually met my calorie needs so closely to the predetermined goal that I was literally like 2 calories away today. Man I'm good!

Today, instead of eyeballing the pasta and sauce for dinner tonight, I weighed my whole wheat angel hair pasta dry before I cooked it. After I cooked the extra lean ground beef, I weighed that too, to make sure I got 3oz. and then I added tomato sauce (home made). It creates more dishes because I can't just get it from the "family pot", but this is about being precise. I have been spinning my wheels long enough, it's time to get down to the nitty gritty. It's time to get serious. 7 more weeks - I can do this!

I'm a bodybuilder

Train Intense:I'm sweating, panting, grunting, giving it all I've got. One more rep. I can do it. And I go home feeling like I've worked out, not worked long. I've got the endurance and the strength. Speed means nothing to me.

Discipline:Abstinence from some of the pleasurable indulgences in life - like certain foods. Working out, even when I don't feel like it. Being smart enough to know when I need to rest. There is a difference between pushing yourself and over training.

Commitment:If I wasn't committed, I wouldn't be in the gym most days. This lifestyle wouldn't consume me. And I wouldn't be able to show off my efforts. I measure food. I weigh food. I track food. I plan.

Enthusiasm:It's all I think about. It's what I like to talk about. It's what I post on Facebook about. It excites me. It drives me. I live for it. I was meant for this.

I'm a bodybuilder, and you can SEE my commitment and discipline. You can SEE my passion and enthusiasm.

How 'bout you?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I want to be her

I have a big blog post a'comin. Whoa Nelly!

But for now, I just wanted to let you know what my goal is.

(I copied this picture from Islandgurl's blog....I hope she doesn't mind)

You see the girl on the right? THAT is how I want my body to look. Of course the girl on the left has an awesome body too, those abs are quite something. But the girl on the right....look at her arm, her butt, her legs. This is the visual goal in my mind. Perfection (in my opinion). And it's not going to happen by summer. That is going to take more work. More heavy lifting, more eating properly....etc. I'm in no hurry. Just so long as it's before I die.

These are Victoria's Secret models. Most women want to look like them. Me? Nope. Don't get me wrong, they are gorgeous, have nice bodies and all, but it's not a look that says I work hard for my body. It says, I do cardio and eat two grapes a day. No muscle definition to speak of, barely any abs. Flat belly, maybe, but real abs, no. With exception to the girl on the left. If you've ever looked at the catalogs, there is maybe one model with abs and the slight beginnings of muscle definition in her arms.

You see, most people would be happy with skinny. I'm skinny. I'm not happy with it. I want better. Anyone can get "skinny". Do enough cardio and that's what you'll get. But you won't look muscular. You'll never be this girl:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

seeing a dietitian

My mom went to see a dietitian yesterday. So today, she wanted me to go see her and look through all the papers she got about how she should be eating.

She isn't a full on diabetic, but she does have "food controlled diabetes", which I don't totally understand, but what I am assuming is that she can control her condition through her diet.

Good. I was pushing for her to eat a better diet anyway. Not good that she has this condition, but at least now she has her doctor basically echoing what I've been telling her all along. Which is, eat better.

I've learned some interesting and shocking things today. One being, I don't want to become a dietitian. The thought has crossed my mind more than a few times, as I try to decide what I want to do with the rest of my life now that all my kidlets are in school. And since I'm nutty about nutrition, I thought that might be a good career choice. But, I obviously don't share the same beliefs that the dietitians are trained to have. One being, you can drink pop.

Yes. I was BLOWN AWAY by this. My mother, is allowed to drink diet soda. It's actually in a category called "unlimited" - meaning, she can drink as much as she wants.

Another little tid bit that fascinated me (because I didn't want to use the term blown away again, although I was) is that she is not supposed to count total sugar grams. What they have her doing is controlling her carbohydrate intake, which is all fine and good, but they aren't really teaching her to stay away from high sugar foods by telling her to ignore total sugar. Yes, the pamphlet actually says "ignore total sugar grams". Wait, what?

Yes, keeping a limit on the amount of carbs you eat is limiting sugar (I guess) to a certain degree, but it says nothing about the fact that you probably shouldn't be eating a particular food if the sugar content is higher than 6g per serving.

She is supposed to "count" carbs. For instance, she can have 3-4 carb "choices" for main meals and 1 carb "choice" for both snacks. Her breakfast should be around 30 carbs, lunch around 45 carbs, and I hadn't looked at dinner so I don't know that number. But all they want her to do is pay attention to TOTAL carbs.

I get that they are solely trying to eliminate the problem with her condition (in this case, too many carbs) and not forcing her to eat a totally clean and perfect diet. Because not everyone is into that. Even when faced with a food specific disease. But you would think that they would preach a little bit about sugar intake. And certainly not tell her to ignore it all together!

Nothing about staying away from white breads and pastas. Nothing about fat intake or protein. Some of their OK'ed snack choices even included Doritos. Really? I figured there would be a much more balanced and holistic approach.

So, I went through her meal options and picked out some healthy choices for her. I even went through her pantry and we got rid of everything that had partially hydrogenated oils (aka trans fat) and I plan on taking her shopping tomorrow. Once she has a good solid foundation of what is ACTUALLY healthy for her and starts eating properly, I have no doubt in my mind that she will not only feel better, but have more energy, lose more weight and be happier.

I'm not trying to put down this dietitian in particular or the profession as a whole, because they probably know many many different diets for all different situations. They are trained professionals and I am not. I was just very....very surprised by a few things. That's all. No offense intended here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I love ya, tomorrow

So, the healthy diet sort of went bye bye over Easter. I've been not so careful about what I'm eating, when I'm eating, getting enough protein, etc. And do you know what? I feel LOUSY! I honestly can't wait for tomorrow. I hate to say that because tomorrow the kids go back to school and my husband goes back to work. Although I love having them here, it's just so hard to adhere to my "special" diet (which is nothing other than simply eating healthy foods) when no one else really cares much about eating for health.

I have been dipping into the Easter candy quite frequently over the past 5 days and I can REALLY tell that it negatively effects my body. I get dizzy. I get headaches. I get gut aches. And I feel lazy. But it's not just candy, it's other things that I normally wouldn't eat: fatty bacon, buttery potatoes, bread, etc. I'm getting that euphoric effect while I'm eating it, because it tastes good. But literally within minutes of eating it, I feel horrible. And the horrible feeling lasts and lasts.

I know why my husband always wants to lay around on the couch. In fact he's laying there now, napping, and it's almost 5pm. He never has energy. He always wants to nap or lay on the couch or the bed. Do I think it's his diet? No. I KNOW it is.

When I talk about the importance of eating healthy, it's not just because I know it will help me reach certain body goals, but I know the difference in how it makes you FEEL. It is monumental!

You can deny it all you want. My husband does. He might know that his diet causes him to be lethargic, but he would never admit it. That would imply he's doing something wrong. And it's not in his nature to admit to being wrong....ever. But deep down I think he knows. I just don't think he cares all that much. And he doesn't care because he's not obese. Therefore, it's not doing him any harm.

But he knows. Just today we were at a pizza place for lunch and he was coaxing me to eat the last couple squares of his pizza. I asked him why he was practically begging me to eat it and he said to me, "Because your cholesterol levels are awesome and your skinny."

I was working out in my basement yesterday because, for whatever reason, I didn't want to go to the gym. And I did a different weight routine, it wasn't circuit based, it was straight sets. After weights, I did 20 minutes of cardio. According to my heart rate monitor, I only burned somewhere around 350 calories (usually at the gym, it's about 550 - but that is when I do a circuit based routine and 20 minutes of cardio after). And I was thinking to myself how sad it was that I worked out for an hour and ten minutes to burn off 2 cadbury eggs worth of calories. Something that would take me about 2 minutes to eat. Do I really want to spend that much time working out to burn off something I shouldn't have eaten in the first place? NO! It's not worth it.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Sadly, I'm not looking forward to measurements because I know that nothing will have changed in the past week. But even so, I look ahead to the future and see success. I have not yet failed because I have not yet given up.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Oh how holidays are hard to live through when you are trying to eat clean healthy food.

I wasn't going to let it effect me this time. I am too serious about this goal. But then the devil on my shoulder starts whispering things in my ear like, "But you've been so good for so long, you deserve to be a little naughty."

To which the angel on my other shoulder will whisper, "You've worked so hard and come so far, don't slip up now"

It's a battle. Not every day. Not all the time. But I have triggers, and they are difficult to get past.

I've got an addictive personality. At least I can admit that. I know that for the most part, I can stay away from sugar and nasty food, but I am also aware that after a while, abstaining becomes so overwhelmingly difficult that it's ALL I think about.

And it's usually around the month mark. This week has been slightly difficult for me. And it's mostly due to the fact that there were some naughty foods in the house. That's one reason I make it very clear to everyone in the house that we just can't keep things like chips and chocolate in the house. ONLY on the day I intend to have a cheat meal. But, sometimes I feel that is unfair to them.

So I baked bars. Some of my favorite bars in the world. The last time I made them we lived in Denmark. That's how long it's been since I've had one. It's just too dangerous. They are called Hip Padder bars, and they will pad the hips if you eat too many!

Well, I made a pan. Everyone has been thoroughly enjoying them. I brought a couple to my mother, who has been sick with a really bad cold all week. She asked me how they turned out. Had I tried one? Nope. I was holding strong. And I did. For a few days. Then I thought, oh really, what could one half of a tiny bar do?

Well, it makes me want MORE, that's what it does.

So over the course of the week, I've had about 4 hip padder bars, finished off a bag of tortilla chips that were left over from cheat day and then yesterday, I wolfed down a bunch of Easter candy.

And I still have 4 more days of Easter vacation to get through. The kids are all home. Bigs is taking some days off of work. This is usually where the eating clean goes out the window. It's just so hard. And I'm hard on myself. It's a constant struggle.

I really hate it.

Andreas said something to me about a week ago that made me laugh. Because I had thought the exact same thing myself. He was answering a question Emma asked. She asked why mommy wasn't eating [whatever it was] like everyone else. And he said, "so she can wear a bikini twice a year".

While he was underestimating how many times a year I am in my bikini, he did have a good point. And something I think of regularly. But it's not JUST about the bikini. It's shorts, gym pants, skinny jeans and a lot of other things that I wear all year long. It's about confidence. It's about being able to walk around in front of him in cute little things that will make his heart race. I don't want to be worrying about whether or not I'm jiggling or if my cellulite is showing.

I need to refocus.

You know what? I AM passionate about this. I AM serious. I AM dedicated. But I am also human. And to err is human. I will get back up on the horse and ride it hard. That's what I do.

Fall down 7 times, get up 8.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

grilled pizza

I just DEVOURED a home made grilled pizza. I was SO hungry and it was SO darn good. Now my belly is happy. I usually don't like to eat a huge amount of calories in one sitting but I had so many calories left to fill today and hardly any carbs so far so I went for it. I ate about 800 calories worth of pizza, but it was mostly the crust. Little bit of mozzarella - the kind that comes in a ball shape - love it. Slice some of that off and a few dollops of natural pizza sauce (no added crap) and some fresh basil. So simple. So good. Thanks to this website:

how to grill your own pizza

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Progress pictures, week 4

Progress pics for this week.
I can see improvement but I also see
that there is quite a bit of work to be done still.
I'm confident I will get there.

I'm on my 4th week of the 12 week timeline.

I am getting firmer and leaner each week. It's very exciting!
My gym pants don't feel as tight.

I have been diligently keeping track of my measurements from week to week.
Diligently tracking every morsel (21 days straight as a matter of fact).
Diligently tracking my calories burned at the gym, as per my
Polar heart rate monitor.
And most importantly, eating according to my diet
and diligently getting my workouts done
Except for rest days of course.
I get 2 of those per week.

I'm in the zone!

My scale weight was 112 as of last Saturday (down from 118 on March 11th).
My hips have gone down to 35.5 (down from 36)
My thighs have gone down to 19.75-19.5 (down from 20)
Although these numbers appear to go down, it has a lot to do with how accurate
I am with my measuring from week to week. It's not uncommon for my thighs
to hover between 20 and 19.5.
What I REALLY want to see is 19. Then I will know for CERTAIN that
I'm getting movement.
My goal is 18 inches. Yikes! I've got a ways to go.

Why 18 inches? Well, I am speculating that it will take that much for the thigh fat to be gone. It seems like a small number, but I have a small frame.
With lots of extra padding on the lower half yet.
And I'm going to get really skinny in my upper body before the fat
comes off the bottom half. That's just the way it is for me.
I can't do much about it. My body fat is going to have to get pretty low.

Not all women are like this. Some are luckier in their proportions.
We have to work with what we were given.
So that's what I'm doing.
To the best of my knowledge and ability.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Dream squashers

I just read something that really hit home for me. It was called "Beware the Dream Squasher".

The author basically described a dream squasher as someone who feels compelled to tell you why you can't or won't achieve your goals and dreams.

I have come across a few dream squashers. They live to annoy. My husband, unfortunately, seems to be one of my biggest dream squashers. He has made it clear on many occasions that he isn't into my passion for fitness/muscle/health/etc. And that's fine. We don't have to agree on everything. But what really gets to me is that he is so negative about it.

A few examples of this are when I was so proud of how my lower abs were finally starting to become visible. I mentioned it to him and his response was, "I'm not into visible abs." Fine. To each his own. Another time, I talked about muscle separation in my legs. He said, "I'm not sure that's a good thing." I don't know if he thought I meant my muscles were actually separating or just that he didn't think that being able to see muscle definition in my legs was a good thing. By the way, when I said muscle separation, I was referring to being able to see the different heads of the quadriceps.

Yeah, this coming from a self professed "leg man". You would think he would love the fact that I'm trying to improve the shape of my legs instead of letting them go to flab.

Not that I'm trying to drag my husband through the mud, he is a good man. I just wish he would show me some support. Even when I bring it up, he claims he does and it's end of conversation. So talking to him about it gets me nowhere.

He isn't the only one either. There are others (one in particular, whom I won't name) who questions EVERYTHING I am passionate about. It drives me crazy. You may not agree with everything I do, say or believe, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong and you're right. I feel literally picked on at times and I just want to say shut the hell up and leave me alone!

Anyway, getting back to this article, the author goes on to give tips on how to deal with people like this. One that sort of opened my eyes was this:

"Realize they don't understand your dreams." - well, that's an understatement in my case. It seems like I'm alone in this world when it comes to my aspirations. I know there are thousands upon thousands just like me, I just don't know any personally. I know a few fitness fanatics, but no women who want to build muscle the way I do.

Another tip was: "Be selective about who you share your dreams with." Well, in my case, I have a husband who doesn't particularly share an interest in nutrition and fitness. And when you can't share a huge passion with your partner for the rest of this life, who do you go to? Mom? She's too biased.

There is no real balance in support. On one end, I have my mother who (like any mother) thinks her child can move mountains and is beyond perfect. Then I have my husband who is ever so happy to be overly critical of every thing I do, all the time.

"Don't expect universal support". I don't. I totally understand that when it comes to the topic of women having muscle, there usually isn't a grey area. You either love it or hate it.

And my personal favorite: "Succeed." (Oh, I will!) "It will annoy the crap out of the Dream Squashers."

Sometimes I think that is part of what drives me forward. The negative feedback I get from a certain few people really makes me want to shove my success in their faces. God has put these dream squashers on this earth to motivate me and push me onward. He doesn't throw anything at me I can't handle, right?

p.s. I'm "into visible abs" and I LOVE mine :)

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