Tuesday, March 4, 2014

We Fall Down

A few evenings ago, I found myself in a heap on the floor of my new apartment, trying hard not to completely fall apart as my boyfriend knelt over me. As he held and comforted me, I tried to steady my breathing, to stay present, and to relax. I was in the midst of a panic attack, an experience that I am very familiar with. I have suffered from panic or anxiety attacks for over a decade. There was a time when I would have them as frequently as once or twice a week. Nowadays, they are infrequent. I know most of my triggers, usually highly emotional situations like funerals or intense fights. But they can also come about after stress has built up, like a pressure cooker, slowly but surely coming to a head.

The past few weeks have been a slowly- building stressful situation. I have been moving from one apartment to another as I have taken on new, highly demanding duties at work. I have not been able to consistently do the self-care that helps me manage stress, namely exercising consistently, sleeping adequately, and eating appropriately. I have known for a very long time that doing these things are good not only for my physical, but also my mental and emotional health. Yet I let life get in the way of living the way I know I need to. And I paid for it.

I’m not angry or ashamed about falling down. I’m human and I have weaknesses, as all humans do. The panic attack was a wake-up call, of sorts. It reminded me that while I am all about getting the tight body and being stronger, faster, and more flexible, I also need to be more kind and mindful of myself and my needs. I am very goal-oriented, and I have signed up for a number of races and even another marathon this year (more on that in another post). I also have booked numerous sessions with yoga and fitness studios to help me stay on track with my health and fitness goals. But I also have to know when to say no mas; that’s enough. I can’t let my ego and the need to be successful in fitness or in my career take precedence over my mental and emotional well-being.

So with that said, there is no update this month on my progress. I think that I have regressed a bit, and if I document that now, it would only be to punish and shame myself. I don’t think I need that right now, so I hope readers will understand. Next month there will be updates, with numbers and photos. In the meantime, I will try and write more about this lifelong journey that I’m on…I think things will brighten up as March commences and we thaw out from this brutal winter. I can’t wait to see what Spring brings, can you?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Month Two

Happy February! I have been going strong with my health and fitness plan, Eating Clean and Getting Lean in 2014. I have consistently worked out 5 or more times every week, with a pretty much even amount of lifting weights, doing core work, hitting the mat for yoga, and running. The snowy, icy weather has kept me off my game a bit, but I have done quite a few home workouts on those mornings that I couldn't bear to leave the house.

My diet has been, well, okay...I mostly eat clean, but between my boyfriend's birthday, our 6-month anniversary, and the Super Bowl, I have had my share of party food and libations. I need to re-focus the diet for February, and get back to my meal planning.

I am beginning to realize that I need to get more sleep. I am really going to try to get to bed between 10-11 p.m. during the week so I can get up at 5:00 a.m. for my workouts. I may have to make an special exception for Thursday night, AKA, Scandal Thursday!!

So, since this is the first of the month, I have my scale and picture check-in, so here goes...

February 2014

Height: 5'5
Body Fat%: 33.3
Muscle %: 32.5
BMI: 28.1
Waist (at belly button): 30.5 inches
Waist (bellow belly button, my pooch): 33.5 inches
Hips: 41.5 inches
Chest: 35.5 inches
Thighs: 23.5 inches
Arms: 11.5 inches ( I measured this myself, so it may be off a little)

From January to February, I gained 3.6 lbs, and lost 2.5 inches (in my hips, chest, and waist). My body fat% went down .1% (lol) and the muscle % stayed the same. I typically gian weight when I start lifting, so I am not too worried about that right now, but I would like that number to go down soon. Probably once I really get my fat % down, I will start to see my lbs. go down too.

These numbers are one way to measure the changes in my body, but there are things that are not measured. My upper abs and my shoulders are leaning out a bit too. I also am getting much more flexible. Is there a visual difference? My boyfriend says so (he's such a good boyfriend!!!) but you be the judge!

Mimi January 2014
Mimi February 2014


Mimi January 2014

Mimi February 2014
Mimi January 2014
Mimi February 2014
I may see a very slight difference in my arms and maybe my stomach. I am not expecting big changes immediately, especially since I have not been 100% on point. The sports bra isn't the most flattering; my arm fat and back fat is accentuated due to the compression in the bra, but hey, there is one way to fix that, lose the fat!

Posting these pics is definitely motivating! I want to see some real difference by month three, so I guess I better work harder on staying true to my plan...right after I have my evening beer!!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Booty Don't Lie, But the Scale Sure Does!

The scale is a liar! Well, not totally. But, maybe it is. I guess it just depends on how I choose to interpret what the scale is telling me. Right now, my scale is telling me that I have gained a few pounds since I started my Eating Clean and Getting Lean in 2014 journey. In the past, looking at the numbers creep up would have depressed me, especially since I have been working out and eating “really well” since I started #ECGL2014.
But I have been working out and eating well. And I know this, mayne! I have worked out almost every day this year so far…I am averaging 6-7 days a week. I’ve been preparing my meals and even though I have had a couple of non-clean meals, not days, for the most part, I am sticking to my guns on the eating front.

So what is going on? What is my scale really telling me when it says that I am gaining weight? Well, to its credit, the scale also tells me other things, like body fat, muscle, and water composition. It also gives me my BMI and the amount of calories I should eat to maintain my current size, or something like that (I obviously don’t pay too much attention to that feature).

The big thing for me is the body fat composition. Two weeks into this journey (notice I am calling it a journey now, not a challenge) the scale tells me that my body fat composition has gone down from 33.6% to 31.0%. I’m sure that there is a corresponding gain in muscle, but I don’t remember the number offhand (I’m supposed to be recording this weekly, but I gotta get consistent with it).

So I am losing fat…I’m getting less fat and more lean! Even if the scale is a liar, which I am not so sure it is now, my booty, or rather, my upper body, isn’t. My upper abs are definitely becoming more defined, and my shoulders are as well. I know from experience that my shoulders build muscle rather quickly, so I expect that I will be looking like Xena, Warrior Princess in the next month or so.

My booty I am not sure about, I just like that line from Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu’s song, Queen.  But my legs are also getting firmer and less jiggly. And my dresses ain’t telling no tales either. Today, I wore a dress that I wore about three and a half years ago when I first interviewed for my job. It was so tight then, and I remember being uncomfortable in it. It was very loose today, and I may have to give it away, if it can’t be altered. Another dress that I used to only wear as a tunic cause it was so tight actually fits well now; I will be wearing it to work tomorrow. So I am definitely getting smaller, tighter, and leaner, even if I am getting heavier.

I needed to write this, cause I need to remember to trust the process, trust the work, trust the practice. Like I said, this is not a challenge, it’s a journey. The metrics, my body, my mindset, and so many other tangibles and intangibles are going to change along the way. I have to decide in the midst of all of this which truths I’m going to listen to and believe. Ase.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What a girl eats

One week into the new year and I am freezing my huevos off! Actually, not really...as a Detroit transplant currently living in the DC area, single digit temperatures are not really bothering me so much. Never mind the fact that I worked from home today and stayed nice and cozy with the fireplace going...IF I had gone outside today, I could of handled it. I'm used to worse; remember, It's so cold in the D! 

What I have been doing is going strong with my Eating Clean and Getting Lean in 2014 challenge. I prepared meals for last week and this week, and so far, I have not had a restaurant or cafeteria meal at all. I want to share in more detail what it is that I am doing to prepare these meals, as well as my successes and challenges.

The biggest task is picking, purchasing food for, and preparing the entrees. At the end of last month, I tentatively decided on a few entrees to prepare each week. So far I have made taco salad, lasagna, seafood pasta, and turkey polish sausage with greens. I also have been buying two precooked rotisserie chickens from Wegman's. The taco salad, seafood pasta, and lasagna were all new recipes that I got from the resources shown in the previous post.

So, what were my successes? The turkey sausage with greens has been a consistent hit. I just cut up some turkey polish sausage or other type of large sausage (turkey or chicken) and along with some onions garlic, and this yummy Moroccan spice blend sauté the sausage for a bit in some olive oil. Then I add kale to the skillet and let it sit for a while until the stems are tender. Easy and delicious!

Urban Accents Brand Moroccan Road...not sure what is urban about it, but it tastes good.

The lasagna was another dish that I kicked arse on. I promised a FB friend that I would post the recipe, so here it is, adapted from The Eat Clean Diet Cookbook by Tosca Reno.

Veggie Lasagna

2 ½ quarts of water
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic (I used minced from the jar)
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Black pepper
4 cups spinach
1 pound dry whole grain lasagna noodles
2 cups tomato sauce ( I probably used a bit more)
2 ½ cups cottage cheese
6 cups grated lowfat mozzarella cheese
1 ½ cups goat cheese

1.     Preheat oven to 375. In large skillet, heat olive oil. Add onion and garlic. Cook 5 minutes until veggies become soft. Add mushrooms and sauté for another few minutes. Stir in soy sauce, pepper, and spinach, let spinach wilt.
2.     Bring 2 ½ quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large saucepan. Pour some olive oil in the water to keep noodles from sticking. Add noodles and cook al dente. Drain noodles and cool them under cold water.
3.     Spread ½ cup or more of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the lasagna pan that’s been pretreated with non-stick cooking spray. Place a layer of noodles on top. Spread ¾ cup of cottage cheese, along with 1 ½ cups of mozzarella and ½ cup of the goat cheese. Then add 1/3 of the veggie mixture. Repeat layers until you are out of ingredients. End with tomato sauce on top.
4.     Bake in hot oven for 35 minutes. Sprinkle more mozzarella on top and return to oven to cook for additional 5 minutes. Take lasagna out of oven and put in the bottom for a few minutes if you want it to be more golden brown on top (I did not do this, but my girlfriend gave me that tip, so I am sharing). Remove from heat and let sit for 20 minutes so that it cools and settles. Then cut into it and eat!

Mimi's Eating Clean Veggie Lasagna

Now the challenges. The seafood pasta, that I added canned salmon and octopus to, was all right. It got eaten up, but it wasn’t something that I was just dying to eat. I think I had too much pasta and too much seafood. More veggies would have been good. I have to rework that recipe and try again. The taco salad was okay too, but I made it as a weekend dish on Friday and tried to eat it on Saturday and Sunday. Taco salad does not hold well. Lesson learned.

Also, I have a lot of leftovers. I still have sautéed veggies from last week, plus veggies that I had planned on cooking this week. I plan on making some roasted sweet potatoes at some point this week, but I am trying to finish the food from last week first (I hate to just throw cooked food out). I have to learn how to modulate my dishes depending on whether my boyfriend is hanging out in my neck of the woods (which he thinks is the sticks) or if my son is going to eat at home or at the myriad restaurants that surround our house (Chick-fil-a; Five Guys; Moby Dick; Taco Bell; Panda Express; Kraze Burger; Panera Bread; I-Hop; Chipotle; Pizza Hut, and those are just the chain restaurants that I could get to in under five minutes of walking or less, depending on the traffic).

That being said, I have had a pretty good go of it so far. I am mainly eating healthy snacks like apples with almond butter or avocado and rice.

I seriously crave a chilled Fuji apple with almond butter at times...try it!

I could eat mashed avocado with brown rice all day every day...if I was not a little allergic to avocado...Don't judge me!
I did have a bowl of golden grahams with soy milk and I enjoyed every bit of it! My challenge will come this weekend, when I have an event at Dave and Buster’s, a restaurant get together, and a brunch to go to. I am going to try to eat healthy home cooked foods on the days that I will be eating out, and choose something light at the outings. I also have to still keep on my exercise and meal prepping schedule while hanging out this weekend. I will report on how it goes next week. Wish me luck!!!  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Challenge: Eating Clean and Getting Lean in 2014

Happy New Year! I am extra hyped right now cause not only is it the start of a great year, but I also finished the holiday running streak of running 35 days in a row from Thanksgiving 2013 to New Year's Day 2014, AND my beloved Michigan State University Spartans just won the 100th Rose Bowl!!!! Go Green! Go White!

I am also hyped because this is the "official" first day of my Eating Clean and Getting Lean in 2014 #ECGL2014 challenge. It is a personal challenge/experiment to see what transformations I can make if I commit to eating a mostly clean diet and focusing more on lifting weights and getting lean. I will be chronicling my progress on this blog as a way to document what works and what doesn't. I also hope that it can serve as a bit of inspiration for anyone who comes across it.

Last week, I started my planning process by collecting all of the reference materials that I wanted to use to help me make a plan. I have a number of books and magazines already, but I also purchased a couple of new things that I thought might be helpful.
Tools of the trade

I came up with a meal plan for the month,  finding 3 entrees and 2 lunches that I was willing to make each week, along with my standard dishes that I have, like curried chick peas with tofu and spinach salad with shredded chicken and tomatoes. I also decided on the types of snacks I would eat, like nuts, fruit, and tea. I will give more detail about my meal planning and prepping process in a future post, but basically I come up with a monthly plan, then shop and prepare weekly, making adjustments as I need to.

My workout plan is going to be pretty basic for this month. I will get up early on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to go to the gym and lift. I am using the New Rules of Lifting for Women program. I used it before and definitely got stronger. I did not incorporate the diet portion though, which led to less than satisfying results. This time, I will keep my diet tight!

 On Tuesdays and Thursdays I will get up and do yoga and meditation. I have been saying that I really want to develop a yoga practice. Now is the time to do it. I have a lot of books and videos at my disposal, so I will make use of them. I do want to take an actual class, but for now, a home practice will have to do.

 On Saturdays and Sundays I will run with my BGR running group. I am not focusing on time or distance for January, just as long as I get the runs in. This will be a way to reconnect with the joy of running, since all of 2013 was about achieving running goals. This month, there is no goal, just the run. That does not mean that I won't push myself during my runs...I just am not going to wear my GPS watch or even put my mileage into my Daily Mile profile. I am pretty religious about tracking my mileage, so this will be a "challenge" haha. But I think this bit of a "running break" will be good for me.

I am also going to be really brave and post my numbers and progress pictures on this blog. I ask that you don't copy or publish these without permission...I can't see why anyone would, but I figure I better state that.

So, for January 2014, here are my stats:

Height: 5'5
Weight: 165.2 lbs
Body Fat Percentage: 33.6
Muscle Percentage: 32.5
BMI: 27.5
Waist (at belly button): 31 in.
Waist (bellow belly button, aka, my pooch): 33.5 in.
Hips: 42.5 in.
Chest: 36 in.
Thighs: 24 in.
Arms: 11.5 in.

And here are my January 2014 pictures:

Mimi 1-2014 Front

Mimi 1-2014 Side

Mimi 1-2014 Back
I know that I have made a lot of progress in the past year, but I am ready to take it to the next level. I am looking forward to slimming down, leaning out, and getting that super fit body that I have always desired. Wish me luck!!!