Monday, May 29, 2017

How to Stay Motivated


It's been a couple of rough weekends!!! I manage to keep my nutrition on point during the week and I kill my 7 workouts, and then the weekend comes around and I undo all my hard work.

So what changes have I made to stay committed and focused? Mostly by writing it all down. Everywhere. My workout schedule is posted in my bedroom, on the fridge, in the workout area, and at work. I mark off each day with an X, and it's my countdown to my vacation! I'm working my butt off to get to vacation.

How do you stay motivated? Here's some tips to keep on track, keep focused, and keep going! 

*After figuring out WHAT you want to accomplish, you’ve got to find your WHY’s.
  • Set weekly goals and visualize the outcome.
  • Don’t beat yourself up for a missed goal—it happens.
  • Take breaks when you’re feeling burned out.

While I want to be a skinny mini (what girl doesn't?), I don't actually see that as a realistic goal. However, what I do plan is to be a good example to my sons. I want them to see us working out and know that's it's normal. I want to lower my cholesterol and keep it out of medication range. And most importantly, I want to eliminate my risk of Type II Diabetes. I might not ever be able to do that, I had gestational diabetes with both pregnancies, both my parents have it, I am considered "obese". I'm kinda screwed. BUT, if I can eat right and exercise, I will keep my blood sugars at a decent level and not be diagnosed and require medication. 

My short term goals are to keep working out and feel good. My workouts, while having a physical benefit, are mostly a mental benefit. Working out actually helps my anxiety and depression the most. It's the endorphins. They make me happy. :)  

I had some short term goals about being below 200 pounds by May 1st (didn't happen) and fitting in a certain dress by June 3 (not going to happen.) But I am NOT beating myself up. I could have been there had my nutrition been on track, and it wasn't. But I have been happy and content. And the dress, eh, I might not ever fit in that dress, it was pre-babies and my body has changed. 

I'm on a strict 8-week workout, but I listen to my body and have taken a Rest Day once a week. My knees are really hurting and I might have to switch a workout (Hammer Power) if it shows up again in the next few weeks. 


*Post Your Goals - Tell everyone about your Goals 
Posting your short-term daily goals in a place where you automatically see them each day will help you to stay focused, motivated, and committed to staying on task. You can post them on your bathroom mirror, or like me, I keep my workout calendar with vacation countdown in multiple places. I also keep my goals on a huge whiteboard in my bedroom.

Share your goals with your friends and family. Let your spouse know what your goal is -- they can help you stay committed. Talk about them on Facebook so your friends can encourage you and then you are accountable!

Join a Challenge Group! It's daily motivation seeing other women working out and eating right and helps me stay motivated to keep up with them. :)

* Prepare Daily for “What-Ifs”
Before your day begins, ask yourself if there are any challenges that may interfere with your daily goals. For example, what if you get invited to a last-minute lunch meeting? What if your child asks you to read one more book at bedtime but you need to go work out? What if you’re going out to celebrate a friend’s birthday? For each what-if, make a plan to cope with the challenge while still staying committed to your fitness and nutrition. Of course, there are plenty of uncontrollable distractions, but strategizing on how to cope with your most common challenges will set you up to deal with anything that happens during you day.

Right now both Jason and I work out in the evenings, and on Friday nights we discuss when we'll get in our weekend workouts. Whether it's going to be in the morning, afternoon, or evening depending on our plans.

Some things can be planned and saved as your cheat meal. We have a wedding this weekend and I know it'll be my cheat. While I was doing the Ultimate Reset, in order to stay 100% true to my commitment, I turned down a couple free lunch opportunities. And this girl doesn't turn down free lunch. Meal planning and knowing you schedule (and friend's birthdays) is important to staying on track. And if you're invited out to lunch, do your best! 

Journal Your Effort
There is no doubt that tracking your nutrition and fitness improves your chances of achieving your goals. But I also recommend keeping a diary in which you answer the following question each day: Did I exert every ounce of effort to achieving my goals today? If your answer is yes, great! If your answer is no, write down one thing you can do tomorrow to be better than you were today.

I've been journaling for over a year. Sometimes I write down my emotions, sometimes I write about my exercising or nutrition. I found the best accountability I had recently was when I did a photo log of everything I ate. I felt a lot more accountable since I was posting my food.

Writing my blog is therapy for me too - I don't really do it for my readers, I do it so I can see how far I have come! It's also why we do before and after pictures, taking measurements - it's the best way to see how your effort is paying off!

So write it down. For yourself or for others. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

21 Day Fix Extreme Summary

After coming off the Ultimate Refresh, I wanted to focus on getting my butt to the basement to work out. I didn't want to gain weight after all the hard work I put into completing the UR.

I'm really proud of myself - I managed to accomplish 19 workouts in 21 days! 
My nutrition was 80/20, and I had good and bad days.

And I lost 1.4 pounds. And NO inches (in total). 

Wow. What a reward for all my hard work. 

Can you feel my eye roll? My sarcasm? Because WHAT THE HELL???? I just... I can't... I blogged my past three weeks, I discussed my "bad" days, nothing was out of control wild, and I really did burn my butt off. So yea, I'm angry!!!! But I'm NOT going to let this affect my future plan. We all have setbacks during our fitness journeys. This one is mine. I did lose another pound, and my clothes are looser and I've moved into smaller pants. So I'm really serious when I say this won't affect me. It actually motivates me to work a little harder! To really focus on the meal aspect since I obviously have the workout part down!

I wanted to mix up the workouts while sticking with the overall theme of each day (Cardio or Arm or Legs). I tried all the extra workouts that are available on Beachbody On Demand. I really liked the ABC Extreme. The Dirty Dozen was a sweat fest, and if you want a death defying workout, try the Fix Challenge. I had to keep pausing it and letting my heart rate come back down. 

During the second week my right knee started to give me trouble so I had to do a little more modifying and go easy on it during lunges. Even though I'm not seeing the numbers change much, I'm still happy with what I accomplished. 

Moving forward, my goals are to have enjoy a cheat meal once a week, and something I really want, like an Gryo or Sushi. I have 55 days until vacation. I want to make sure I get in my 55 days of workouts and eat well.

I started an 8 week program on Sunday. A mix of Core De Force and Master's Hammer and Chisel. It's my countdown to vacation, and the mix will keep me motivated to stick with the workouts.

One of the goals I didn't meet (yet) is to be under 200 pounds by May 1. I'm very very close. I also have a wedding to attend on June 3 and I have this amazing dress hanging in my closest that I want to wear. If the dress doesn't fit I'll be ok, I have other dresses, but I'd like to fit back into *this* dress.

My goals for the coming weeks:
  • 6 workouts in 7 days. (I might need a rest day and will play it by ear)
  • Burn 300+ calories per workout
  • Lay off the tortillas (I'm currently having some issues.)
  • Write down my meal plan. On paper!! (I've been winging it...) 



Sunday, May 7, 2017

Setting Weekly Goals - Sticking to Weekly Goals

My 5 goals this week. I thought I'd keep it simple. If I can stick with these on a daily basis, I will get results where I really really really want them (the scale.) 
  • 7 Workouts (Monday through Sunday)
  • Burn 400+ calories for at least 5 of those workouts
  • Stay within my "Yellows". (I overdid it a few days last week.) 
  • One cheat meal - Saturday night. 
  • No cheese this week. None. Zero, Zilch. 
Day Count: 
X/21 - Day X of the 21 Day Fix
X/42 - Day X since starting the Ultimate Reset. 

I will start my day count over on Sunday May 6th as I begin my 8 week program AND it happens to be my countdown to vacation! 

On Sunday I made 5 burrito bowls for my lunches: 1 Red of Chicken, 2 Yellows of Brown Rice/Black Beans, 1.5 Greens of Peppers & Onions.

Monday May 1 (Day 15/21; 36/42) After making some not so wise decisions over the weekend (yet again!), the scale showed me some redemption this morning. So that motivated to really stick with it. Even after a really horrible night's sleep, I stuck with my meal plan today. And I got in my calorie burning workout. And then I ate a little Halo Top ice cream. The peanut butter one is amazing!!! AND at only 80 calories a serving, with 5 grams of protein, it's like eating an egg... with a sprinkle of stevia. 

Tuesday May 2 (Day 16/21; 37/42) - One of the reasons I wanted to complete the Ultimate Reset was to get back to basics. Get away from junk food and bad eating habits. While some things I would probably still devour if placed in from me (M&Ms), I don't crave them. And I know those things are bad for me. But the lack of cravings is still with me. And it's all mental - it's not a true craving of needing to eat. I notice it mostly at work. I'm not wondering aimlessly looking for processed crap. The Halo Top ice cream really did satisfy me.

Today was another great day - meal plan on point! Workout was Upper Fix and before starting I did Day 2 of the Monthly Motivator. Afterwards, I hit the treadmill and then completed some more mountain climbers to reach my 400 calorie goal. 

Wednesday May 3 (Day 17/21; 38/42) - Woke up with big plans. And Benjamin had a fever. Nooooo!! Mostly because of work. I have a lot of reports due this week, and everything was in final edits. I stayed home with Benjamin until 10 so Jason could have his 8am meeting, then I headed into work. I was starving and even took two lunches. I ate first lunch at 10:30am. I never ate my second lunch - I ate it for dinner around 5:30pm. I took a rest day, mostly because as soon as the boys got to bed I cracked the laptop open again to get some more work done. Usually I would feel guilty, but I've been working really hard with staying on point with food and fitness, focusing at work, and everything going on at home; so I actually don't have time to waste feeling guilty for missing a workout. This is part of New Me too, not beating myself up over missing a workout. I'm juggling a lot and getting done what I can get done. 

Thursday May 4 (Day 18/21; 39/42) - Fever free this morning! I got into work and stayed 100% focused. I was secretly sad my coworker didn't bring the donuts he mentioned. But also really happy because I would have eaten one (or two). This is one of the weeks it would be really hard to resist. I've been struggling to avoid stopping at Starbucks since my sleep has been lacking.

My food was on point today and I got in a 400 calorie workout - 21 Day Fix Lower Fix. My right knee has been aching during leg day, so I toned it down to the less strenuous leg workout today.  

Friday May 5 (Day 19/21; 40/42) - I was woken at 3am today. Benjamin was coughing a lot and had a fever. I stayed home with him. He slept from 5am to 8:30am and I got in my workout (Cardio Core Extreme!) and got some work completed. I still wanted to do one more read thru of the big reports that were going out today. And I'm glad I did because there were some little errors. I then ran into work. AND THERE WERE DONUTS. And I had no willpower. I was hungry when I got there, and two donuts later... well... yea... 

Then for an afternoon "snack" I had some leftover pizza that was hanging out in our fridge. Being home is the hardest way for me to maintain my diet. We don't usually have temptations even... just was a bad day overall. But I didn't let that kill my evening. After a healthy dinner (steak and asparagus), I walked on the treadmill for an hour to keep myself moving. 

Saturday May 6 (Day 20/21; 41/42) - Another weekend. I will not mess this up. I will not mess this up. I will not mess this up. I need to write on my arm in sharpee "DON'T MESS UP!!" Important realization -- you can't blow your diet in your sleep. So take a nap! 

My cheat meal
I completed the 21 Day Fix Extreme "Fix Challenge" workout during the afternoon. (Another good reason to workout later in the afternoon? Don't want to eat junk before it!) It was a challenge and blew my mind how hard it was! 

The weekends are the hardest and I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired from eating crap during them. I did super well on Saturday - Shakeology, Panera Lunch, dinner at home. My cheat was Time For Dinner enchiladas with rice, and broccoli. The enchiladas had cheese. I added the broccoli to get some green in me. And my true cheat -- a dollop of Daisy (sour cream.) I haven't had sour cream in a long long time. Overall I felt really good about my Saturday.

Sunday May 7 (Day 21/21; 42/42), Day 1/55 - Today I am making more changes. I completed the 21 Day Fix/Extreme (will post my results later this week) and plan to push myself and challenge myself these next 8 weeks. I am fed up. I've constantly yo-yo-ed with my workouts and nutrition. So I'm done with that. The Ultimate Reset was my jump start. Then 3 weeks of the 21 Day Fix (and I accomplished 19 workouts!). Now I'm going to really really challenge myself with 55 straight days of working out and following nutrition. It's time to make this a permanent lifestyle change. 

Overall - how did I do sticking to my five goals? 

  • 7 Workouts (Monday through Sunday) - I completed 7 workouts in 7 days, since I did the double on Friday after skipping Wednesday. 
  • Burn 400+ calories for at least 5 of those workouts - Check!! And this makes me feel really good. It wasn't a huge goal to meet, but I did succeed and 6 of my workouts were actually 400 calorie burners. 
  • Stay within my "Yellows". (I overdid it a few days last week.) -- Except from the donut fail, I did very really with sticking with my allocated yellows.
  • One cheat meal - Saturday night. I enjoyed the enchilada meal. It felt indulgent and was a healthier choice than going out to eat. 
  • No cheese this week. None. Zero, Zilch. This was a lot harder for me to handle. I used to add cheese to my lunch Burrito Bowls (no longer do), or enjoy a sprinkle of cheese on a few things. There was cheese in the Pasta Primavera I ate for lunch on Wednesday. And I sprinkled a little parmesan cheese on my dinner one night too. The cheese on the pizza, and then the enchiladas on Saturday night. However, I used to eat a LOT of cheese. I would be making Liam a mini pizza or quesadilla and I would eat a handful of cheese. Or two. So I have gotten away from that habit. It's about the little baby steps to help me lead a healthier lifestyle. I don't think I could ever go 100% cheese free, but I am working on making small changes so cheese isn't a "food group" in my daily meal plan. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Skillet Pasta Primavera


WOW. I love this dish. So much that I have decided before eating it that I would be making it again. 

And it's only a two pot dish. Super quick and easy. I recommend having everything diced and prepped before turning the heat on the skillet (get your water boiling while chopping veggies.)

I chose to use Red Lentil Spiral pasta. I really liked it. You could make this dish vegetarian/vegan by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. I chose chicken broth because I had it available. 

 Skillet Pasta Primavera
4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into ½” half moons
  • ½ pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2” pieces
  • 1 (8oz) pasta of choice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan, optional
Directions:
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the zucchini and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a colander. Add the asparagus and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to the colander. Add the pasta and cook until tender, 8-10 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add flour and stir until onions are coated. Add broth and stir until thickened. Add peas, tomatoes, cooked zucchini and asparagus, pasta, and Parmesan. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
I added chicken sausage to mine. I diced it up and threw it in the pot to cook. I would recommend grilling some sausages to go with this dish. I *love* the Sam's Club chicken sausages. My favorite is the Mozzarella & Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage.