Monday, July 28, 2014

End of week three results

I can't believe I've already finished three weeks!  I'm a third of the way through and I'm loving the results!
  • Weight: -3.8 lbs
  • Inches:
    • Waist: -1
    • Hips: +0.5
    • Right arm: -0
    • Left arm: -0
    • Right thigh: -1.5
    • Left Thigh: -0.5
 Seeing these results makes the really intense 60 min workout worth it.  It also inspires me to keep going bcause I'm working so hard for these results it would be a shame to mess them up!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Getting into shape isn't just about working out.

It is a life style change.  I never believed people when they said that to me.  I was always under the impression that all I had to do was work out and eat okay and everything will be fine.  And that is way I wasn't successful before.  Trying to get into shape requires you to change one's lifestyle.  Before I committed to this program, I probably cooked once, maybe twice a week.  The rest of my meals consisted of take out or microwavable meals.  To give myself some credit, I have also tried the cooking of a week's worth of food in a day.  Lots of stews, spaghetti sauces, and grilled meat.  This is all great, except when I would put in the calories for these recipes, I am shocked by how many calories I was eating.  Also restaurants are depressingly caloric.  Even salads seem like a ridiculous amount of calories (hint: it's mostly the dressing, so if you don't mind dry salads, it's doable).  The microwavable meals in the supermarket seem to provide a decent solution.  They are convient, and they are packaged in pre-set calorie amounts, but they are full of chemicals and the processing them go through greatly reduce their nutritional value.

Working out is a huge part of trying to get fit, but the nutrition aspect is just as important.  I'm not going to lie having to prepare five meals a day is a bit of a drag, but I'm starting to develop a rhythm between prepping food (mostly dividing things into portions so I don't have to do it each time), preparing, and cleaning.  Shopping for food also eats up a lot of time.  Because my diet has transitioned from lots of processed foods to a lot of grilled meat and fresh fruits and vegetables I feel like I have to go to the grocery store way more often.  I also really don't want to overbuy the fresh food because it's a waste of money and good food, so planning is key.  Mike said he is going to join me on this fitness journey starting tomorrow so now we will definitely eat through the fresh food supply.  We have limited refrigerator and freezer space, so managing those spaces will be the next challenge!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Adventures in new food - quiche

The hardest thing about the Les Mills diet is the lack of starches from the diet.  I'm only allowed 4 portions of starches a day.  Now if these were SERVINGS it wouldn't be so bad, but as I said in my spaghetti squash post, it is 80 calorie servings of starches which is so minimal.  Also having to cook five meals a day from scratch was started to wear on me.  So I decided I would try to cook some quiche.  This way I could cook something once and have breakfast for four days!  Perfect!  Also quiche is essential eggs and cheese baked into a crust.  Another benefit of quiche is that you can mix in meats to up the protein and add vegetables to get that quotient in.  The down side of quiche is the crust (pie crust is very caloric) and the heavy cream.  So after some research I learned that it is possible to make crustless quiche and the greek yogurt is a perfect substitute for heavy cream.  Because I didn't have a pie tin, I decided to make quiche-cakes in cupcake tins.  Also I was leery about the greek yougurt substitute, but I had enough in my fridge so I decided to go for it.

Okay so they aren't the most beautiful things in the world, but I know that my second go will be better.  I decided to use zuchhini slices on the bottom of the quiche to aid in scooping the quiche out.  I put them in raw and the result was pretty watery.  I think I might try grilling them slightly or salting them to get the water out.

Another major benefit of quiche is the ability to adapt a basic recipe.  Here was my basic recipe and it filled 20 cupcake tins

3 eggs
3 egg whites
1 cup of greek yougurt
1 cup of shreded cheese
6 oz of meat (ground meat, or chopped deli meat work.  If you are doing ground meat, cook it with the onions first!)
1 tsp of oil
1 cup of chopped onions
3 cups of raw vegetables (mushrooms, bell peppers, squash, spinach, really whatever you want)

1. cook the onions and vegetables in the oil.  This releases the water in the vegetables and prevents soggy quiche.  If you are using frozen spinach, thaw it and strain it.  If you are doing ground meat, add it to this mix and cook it thoroughly.
2. Mix and blend the eggs, egg whites and greek yogurt.  Add the cheese and vegetable mixture.
3. Spoon into cupcake tins and bake at 425 F for 20 minutes until quiche is set.  Allow to cool and then spoon quiche out.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Holy Sh*t, that was the most intense hour of my life

Okay, so the 30 minute workout is done in a flash, the 45 feels like I'm pushing my body, but it is totally doable.  Today was the first day of the 60 minute Ultra Cardio Fighter workout.  The sets seemed less intense than the 30 and 45 minute sets, but damn there are a lot of them.

I really like how Les Mills Combat reves the intervals up.  they start each set with the basics and then they build the combos, and then repeat, repeat, repeat.  they also seems to really know the limits of the average person doing this workout.  They repeat the sets and right when I feel like my leg is ready to give up we switch sides and work the other leg.  Because it is such an excellent buildup in intensity, by the time you hit the thirty minute mark, you are revved up and the second half of the hour just flies by.  I'm not going to lie and say that I feel like going for a run, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, but it was intense.  I think I'm really going to be feeling it tomorrow!

Monday, July 21, 2014

End of week two results

Two weeks down! These changes are from the previous week.  Check out the progress tab for the overall changes.

  • Weight: +1.8 lbs
  • Inches:
    • Waist: - 0.5
    • Hips: -1.0
    • Right arm: - 0
    • Left arm: - 0.25
    • Right thigh: +1.25
    • Left Thigh: + 0.25
So not the best results, but I've know lost an inch off my waist!  That is awesome!  Also even though I gained a little bit of weight this week, I'm still at an overall deficit :).  I think that I might have been overlly excited about getting to eat the foods I want so I stayed within the 2100 calories budget (except for one day :( ) but I didn't eat the type of food the program wanted me to eat.  I ate a lot more carbs than I should have.  Also I am on my period, so that tends to translate into some weight gain.  I'm not going to get discouraged and I'm going to keep going.  The upcoming week comes with an exercise switch in the program and I plan on sticking to the nutrition program a lot more so we shall see what happens!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I had a moment of weakness

Okay, so I feel ridiculously weak willed. Today we had our opening night pizza party for our show Fiddler on the roof and I specifically planned not to eat dinner so that way I would be able to eat at the party. Well, my body was not having any of that and I was STARVING at 5:00 (the time I normally eat dinner). Mike and I had decided to go out to eat and I wanted to go to a restaurant where I could actually eat something and have calories left over for the party. Our choices where Fuddruckers (a burger joint for those of you guys who have never been to the best burger restaurant ever!) or Pasta Pomodoro. I decided on Pasta Pomodoro because they have an amazing soup that I love and Mike could still get a great meal. I should have just gotten a cup of the braised beef tortellini soup (281 cal.) but based on how hungry I was feeling I decided to get the bowl (562 cal). That meant I only had 380 cals left over for the party. Not a big deal, except it was an all you can eat pizza bar and I wasn't about to pay $8 for a slice of pizza. I didn't go as crazy as I could have. I only ate 2 slices of pizza and a piece of cast cake. Still that pushed me over by 200 calories :(.

Again not bad, but I am a little disappointed in myself.  However because the party was at 11:00 p.m. I just skipped breakfast the next day and I came in at 300 calories under for the day.  It all balances out eventually, but I'm going to work hard on sticking to my guns on this diet.  2100 calories a day is a LOT and there is no reason I should be going over.  I think the best thing I can do is to keep myself out of potentially bad situations, like TGIF's $10 all you can eat appetizers.  The Asian in me wants to get my money's worth, and the American in me wants more fried food!

I can do it!

Warning dudes- this post is about lady issues

Ladies, I don't know about you, but when I'm on my period exercising is the last thing in the world I want to do.  I still pushed through, but I know for a fact that I did not push myself as hard today because I felt like my body was breaking apart.  Once I got moving it was okay, but I'm exhausted, crampy, and generally uncomfortable.  To compound the issue, the digestion system has decided that it hates raw fruit and vegetables.  The cramps are RIDICULOUS when I eat my fresh salads, fruit, and juices.  This is the majority of my diet!  I know that my body would be very happy eating nothing but steak and chocolate cake right now, but I won't let it be an excuse.  Time to bring on the advil and just get through the next few days. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Pets are lovely, but they make working out at home hard.

I love my cat Silk, but he is a mjor source of distraction throughout the day.  He loves nothing more than to sit on my lap and get in the way of what ever I am doing.  He usually leaves me alone while I'm doing the more active parts of Combat, but he is all over my sweaty face when i have to do push-ups.  My favorite thing he did was to curl up in my lap during one of my cool down stretches.  I'm glad to know I'm not the only one:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Adventures in new food - chia seeds

Part of the nutrition guideline to Les Mills combat is servings of fat.  When I think of fat, I normally think of oils and butter, but fat comes from a lot of different sources: egg yolk, nuts and seeds.  I have no trouble including fat servings in my main meals, but the snacks were giving me some issues.  I don't really dig nut butters, and it depresses me to only have five almonds.  Even though the snack includes so much more, counting out five almonds is just sad.  I am not adventurous enough to add a raw egg to my shakes (shudders just thinking about it).   Also I tend to get bored eating the same food all the time, especially with nuts.  Then I noticed that chia seeds count as a fat, seeing as they are seeds.

I had seen some of my coworkers rocking the chia seeds in water and I knew from them that they were high in fiber which is great.  If you have ever changed your diet significantly, you gastric system can get backed up.  Fiber is really useful in cleaning you out and stabilizing your digestive system.

Les Mills says that 2 Tbsp = 45 calories, but the package of Red Mills chia seeds say that 1 Tbsp = 60 calories.  For my first attempt I mixed 2 Tbsps with 16 oz of water.  I ended up with this bizarre pudding like goop that had to get mixed with I want to say another 32 oz of water.  The seeds themselves are flavorless, and man do they absorb water!  They get this sort of clear gel that surrounds them and it gives the water an interesting texture.  My second go around, I followed the package and I loved the surprise that the seeds give the water.  Water can get really boring, so adding something like mint leaves, cucumber or chia seeds can really give it some variety.

OMG, buzzfeed actually has some good lists on it!  I'm excited to try all of these recipes!

Chia seed recipes

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Adventures in new food - Spaghetti Squash

If you have ever tried to only eat one serving of pasta, you know that crushing disappointment of eating two bites of pasta and that is it.  One serving of pasta is 2 oz dry which equals 200 calories.  This is NOT the same a one starch for Les Mills Combat.  One serving of starch is 80 calories = 0.8 oz!  I've tried everything to get the most out of one serving.  I only eat the small pasta like orzo or shells so it seems like I'm eating a lot.  The gluten free alternative have MORE calories per serving.  The whole wheat ones just have more fiber and tend to be denser so you actually get LESS piece per serving.  I LOVE pasta and when I did this calculation, a little part of me died.  I want to be good and follow the plan, but carbs are going to be my downfall.  I had to find an alternative that would be filling and give the illusion of pasta for my really amazing spaghetti sauce that I had JUST made!

Enter the spaghetti squash.  I had heard about this squash and I must admit I was dubious.   I like squash, but I haven't really worked with them a lot.  I though squash was a vegetable, but they count as a starch :(, but one serving = 8 oz!  ten times that of pasta.  So I decided to go for it, and you know what, I like it BETTER than spaghetti!  the squash was super easy to prepare and it added a lightness and deliciousness to the sauce.  I got about four servings of "spaghetti" out of one squash.  I am actually really excited to buy another spaghetti squash and try it in other pasta dishes!

Preparing your squash:

  1. cut your squash in half and remove seeds.
  2. roast halves in the oven for 30 minutes at 375 F.
  3. use a fork to separate strands from stem to stem.
Please feel free to comment about your love or hate of spaghetti squash and if you have any recipes working with this amazing squash!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Time to eat!

Now that I'm done with the first week, it is time for my regular calorie budget.  There are four different levels, 1200, 1500, 1800, and 2100.  To find out which level to use, you take your weight and multiply it by 12.  Then chose the bracket that is closest to your number.

I get to have the largest calorie bracket.  This is almost double of what I have been eating during the first week.  I think it is going to be a shock!  The five meal idea will be kept, but this time there are certain types of food to eat at each meal, the focus is mostly on protein and fresh produce.

The food divisions are:
Breakfast: one starch, one vegetable, 2 fruit, 5 protein, 1 fat (470 cal)

Lunch: 2 starch, 1 legume, 2 vegetables, 1 fruit, 5 protein, 2 fat (685 cal)

Dinner: 1 starch, 1 legume, 1 vegetable, 5 protein, 2 fat (520 cal)

2 snacks: 1 fruit, 3 protein, 1 fat (225 cal each)

I plan to bounce between the type breakdown and the calorie break down.  I'm really looking forward to being able to cook food ahead of time that is ready to eat now, especially as I get closer to the school year.  I need food that is going to be easy to pack and eat whenever.  Salads shall be my friend.

I'm also not going to force myself to eat the whole calorie set if I'm not hungry.  I should continue the five meals a day, but really only eat when I am hungry.  So now it is off to the grocery store to buy a lot of staples that I can mix and match so I don't get bored.

Monday, July 14, 2014

End of week one results

One week down!

  • Weight: -6.8 lbs
  • Inches:
    • Waist: -0.5
    • Hips: -0
    • Right arm: -0.5
    • Left arm: +0.5
    • Right thigh: -1
    • Left Thigh: -0.25
I'm pretty sure the weight loss is mostly water weight, considering how much I sweated this week!  I'm also pleased with the inches lost.  As I continue on in the program I'm pretty sure that as fat gets replaced with muscle, I won't lose as much weight, but instead I will be shedding the inches.  

Now I get to go to a higher calorie diet for the rest of the program.  I actually get to eat a luxurious 2100 calories.  I don't know what I'm going to do with myself!  My plan is to still eat five meals a day and try to stay in the portions and dietary guidelines listed in the nutrition guide, but I also feel like I can eat the food I want to eat.  I'm motivated to make changes, but if I can't eat some of my favorite things, my motivation will evaporate. I also don't want to mess up any of the hard work that I'm doing or have done, so I got to put my head down and plan out my meals!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

How eating less more often is more

So this is how the nutrition side of this program works:

For the first week you are on a 1200 calorie (1800 calorie diet for men) full of fresh food that will kickstart your metabolism.  At first I freaked out when I saw the calorie limit because I had been trying to stick to an 1800 calorie diet and failing miserably.  The trick with the Les Mills program follows the idea of eating five small meals a day.  I will admit I was highly skeptical since I tend to like eating until I full and then rolling about the house until the next meal comes up.  But I have to say it pretty much works.

Breakfast is about 200 calories and usually consists of a shit ton of egg whites.  200 calories is EIGHT egg whites.
Remind you of anyone?  There are other options besides eggs, but I love egg whites and I've forgotten how good eggs are in the morning.  Then about three hours later you have a snack of 150 calories.  The snacks are all about the protien, so the shakes are featured heavily here.  after a few hours, then you have lunch which is about 400 calories.  My favorite so far is the brown rice bowl.  Then in a few more hours is another snack of 150-160 calories, then finally in a few hours is dinner, which rounds out at about 300 calories.  By spreading the calories out and eating a little something when I'm actually hungry, I noticed that I'm not that hungry.  I'm not going to lie and say that I wasn't hungry, or had some moments of weakness, but overall I dig the five meals a day plan!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Surviving the holiday - July 4th

When I think of July Fourth, I think of fireworks and barbecue and classic comfort foods like pasta salad and chips. Holidays = eating copious amounts of food with friends and family.  In the past, I've considered holidays as free days, but not this time.  I want to be successful with this program, and so no cheating!

What has always been the hardest for me is the longing to eat what everyone else is eating.  The resentment I feel as I eat my salad and everyone else is gorging themselves on burgers and fries.  Luckily, the people who designed the nutrition guide for Les Mills Combat knows what type of food people like to eat.  There is a burger recipe!  At first I bemoaned  the 4 oz lean sirloin patty, but after measuring it out and shaping it to  fit on an English muffin, it was a sizable patty!  So while I grilled Costco patties for everyone else, I got to have my gourmet burger and filling side salad instead of chips.  I had made some appetizers for everyone and this is the one place I cheated.  Instead of having one of the predetermined snacks, I ate the calorie equivalent of the appetizers.  It wasn't a lot but it was enough to satisfy the longing.

So the key for surviving the holidays if you are on a restricted diet and are hosting (that's pretty important), plan to feed everyone else foods that are similar to what you need to eat.  I wouldn't have subjected everyone to the smaller portions, but the fact that I was eating a burger cut down a lot of the questions and guilt people felt at eating potato chips in front of me.    If you aren't hosting, it will be much harder, but try to use a smaller plate to cut down on your portions.

And on the fourth day I rested

I really like this program!  The workouts are exciting and I am drenched in sweat each time.  I am literally dripping after each workout.  I'm actually sad that I don't have to work out today, but I need to rest my body.  Les Mills Combat works these recovery days in because they know that  your body needs a chance to recover from the beating it is receiving from the program.

Speaking of recovery, in P90X program, they kept talking about their recovery shake and how great it was.  I never partook in it, but I remembered how tired and beat I was after every workout.  This time around I still am not being swayed by their specially formulated organic protein powder, but I am making sure to drink a protien smoothie after every workout.  The ice and liquid cool my body down and the protein powder replenishes my tired muscles so I don't feel like all I can do is sit on the couch!  I am using EAS Lean 15 protien powder.  It seemed like the best bang for the calories of the choices at Target.  I was waffling between chocolate and vanilla, as I wasn't sure how chocolate would combine with the other mix ins when I remembered that chocolate tastes good with EVERYTHING!!!.  I've tried both recipes in the fitness guide (green tea and greek yogurt / raspberry and grapefruit juice) and I like the fruit one WAY better.  What can I say, I have a sweet tooth!

No matter what, I'm loving the shakes and they are a fantastic reward at the end of the workout!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I don't like oatmeal

or cottage cheese.

The grapefruit is growing on me, but I prefer grapefruit juice to the actual fruit.

Luckily all their other recipes have been delicious.   Lots of salads, but that makes sense since lettuce is the most volume for the fewest calories!

But yeah, oatmeal is so not worth the calories or the texture!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Les Mills Combat-day one

So I've been lapsing hardcore on my goals.  Instead of losing half a pound each each I've actually gained quite a bit more.  So I decided that it was time to get some help.

About five years ago Mike and I attempted Beachbody's P90X program and while I did not complete the program we were getting great results.  The downside to P90X is that the workouts are really long and require a lot of equipment (pull up bar, weights, etc.).  I wanted a program that would push me like P90X but contained shorter workouts and less equipment

My co-worker had been talking about Les Mills Combat and had successfully completely the program and looked GREAT after doing it so I decided to give it a go.  The program consists of 30, 45, or 60 minute high intensity intervals of mixed martial arts.  Not only do I love martial arts but I know that I can really push myself for  thirty minutes!  I also love that there are two rest days in the week! In short this feels like a totally do-able program.

In addition to the workout program there is a diet guide that "takes the fight inside".  the first week is a very specific 1200 calorie diet to kick-start your metabolism.  It includes a lot of favorites like raspberries, eggs, and familiar meats.  It also includes some stuff that I'm not quite sure about like grapefruit, oatmeal, cottage cheese, and tempeh.  Again I'm willing to try anything once!