Weekly weigh in: End of week 1

Our newly formed BFF-ship is paying off (for me anyway)! It’s totally helping me stay focused knowing that my love handles are on display for the world to see. There’s no way in h@!* that I’m going to let these pictures of me be the last pictures you ever see of my midsection. I guess there really is something to having enough skin in the game. Pun totally intended!

Anyway, I’ve made it through my entire first week of this project! That feels like an accomplishment because there was some serious focused work involved, which wasn’t always easy. I’m trying to ignore the fact that I still likely have 3-4 months in front of me. But good things have happened this week, and I’m really happy with the end results. I’m also happy that I didn’t have any “oopsies” that I was going to be embarrassed about sharing with you! Before I get to the results, I want to tell you about just a few things that have helped me to stay the course.

Both diligence in measuring all of my food, and tracking it in the myfitnesspal app were key activities to knowing exactly where I ended up in my macronutrient and calorie target goals. I will say, I veered a bit from the meal plan that I posted here the other day (I never ended up making the turkey meatloaf), but I stayed where I intended to with my macronutrients, and I actually landed well below my intended daily calorie target of 2150 cal.

Here are the snap shots of each day’s actual food consumption with my nutrient and macros end results (Day 1 results are included directly below, for the remaining days, you can find them at the bottom of the post). Please note that each of the foods that I ate are listed with the amount that I consumed. I also did an intermittent fast on both New Years day, and on Sunday. I only hit the 1800 calorie target range twice throughout the week. The rest of the time I was between 1200 (those are the days I fasted) and 1852 calories. Except for when I was intentionally fasting, I was never left feeling deprived. I did feel hunger between meals, which is actually a good thing for me. Binge eater Amy rarely lets herself feel hungry before eating again. But this version of Amy is learning to utilize that tool in order to learn her body’s needs vs her emotional eating wants.

A few notes:

  • The foods listed on my myfitnesspal app log may not have been consumed in the exact order they were listed. I also added back in my veggie smoothie because I’ve found that to be the most simple and quick way for me to get all my veggies in.
  • I don’t track my water consumption because I’m already well in the habit of drinking 1 gallon of water a day. I buy a gallon of spring water at the grocery store, about once a month, and simply refill it every day. Wherever I am in the house or in the car, my gallon of water is there with me (kind of like the old My Buddy and Kid Sister commercials. Anyone remember those?!).
  • I’ve been working really hard to remember to take a multivitamin supplement and an iron supplement. If you look at the food log pictures from myfitnesspal, you’ll notice that almost every day, I didn’t meet my iron needs through just my food consumption.

End of week 1 before and after pictures:

(Why can’t the loss of almost 4 (3.8) lbs. look more obvious!?!? It’s going to be so awesome when we can visibly see the changes occur!)

Week 1 bioelectrical impedence assessment results:

Breaking my total body weight down into different categories of body composition:

My total body weight: 139.3 lbs (That’s 3.6 lbs down from last week!!! This quick drop happens, sometimes, in the first couple weeks. But I guarantee this will slow down as the weeks progress).

  • Total Body water: 78.5 lbs. (This actually increased by .2 from my first weigh in. I wasn’t expecting that! I actually thought It would be water weight that would be first to go. But I guess I didn’t drop my carb intake very low, so the water weight will likely decrease later on.)
  • Dry lean mass: 29.1 lbs. (Same as first weigh in)
  • Body fat mass: 31.7 lbs. (3.8 lbs less than first weigh in! Notice that I lost 3.6 lbs total, but I lost 3.8 lbs of fat. That means I built some muscle to replace the fat! Boom!) 
  • Skeletal muscle mass: 60.4 lbs. (+.4 lbs from last week. Check this out, I lost 3.8 lbs of fat and gained .6 lbs of muscle!)
  • BMI: 23.9 (This decreased by .6!)
  • Body fat percentage: 22.8% (This dropped by a whopping 2%!).
  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): 1423 calories. (This stayed the same)
  • Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE): 2199 calories.  (I didn’t workout as much as I originally intended to, so I’ve decreased this from 2454 to 2199. Remember that this is the daily calorie target that I should consume if I want to maintain exactly where I am right now.)
  • Calorie target range for weight loss: 1800 calories. (I decided that since I only hit this number twice, last week, this is a good top amount of calories to consume each day (unless there’s a day that I’m extra active or even extra hungry).  

Week 1 measuring tape results:

  • Right calf (measured at widest part): 14 5/8 inches (-1/8 inch from first measurement)
  • Right thigh (measured at widest part): 22 7/8 inches (-1/8 inch from first measurement)
  • Hips (measured at widest part): 39 7/8 inches (-3 1/8 inches from first measurement. You guys, I re-measured this -no joke-7 times to make sure I had it right, and that I wasn’t seeing things wrong. I honestly don’t know if this is typical. Perhaps I was carrying the whole -3.8 lbs of fat right here? Or maybe I measured wrong at my very first measurement. At this point, I won’t know if that was a typo from my first measurement, or not. So we’ll continue to watch this area and see what happens in future weeks. From all of my training, the idea of “spot reduction” is a flawed idea, because the body burns fat from everywhere at once. It doesn’t pick and choose which spot it wants to reduce first. If you are reading this and you understand this process better than me, please feel free to educate the rest of us in the comments. Moving forward, I’m going to make sure I have a second pair of eyes to help make sure that I’m avoiding any mis-measurements or typos).
  • Butt (measured at widest part): 38 1/2 inches (-7/8 inches from first measurement. So I mean, almost an inch off here. Maybe the above scenario is real and believable?)
  • Right below my muffin top: 35 3/4 inches (-1/8 inch from first measurement)
  • Waistline (measured across belly button): 34 3/4 inches (-1/2 inch from first measurement)
  • Chest (measured at widest part): 37 ¾ inches (no change here from first measurement)
  • Shoulders (measured at widest part): 40 ½ inches (no change here from first measurement)
  • Biceps: (measured at widest part): 11 1/2 inches (this is my first bicep measurement since I forgot last week).

Look at these things that I chose not to eat. They’ve managed to last on the counter all week long because I didn’t even have a lick (you’re welcome family)!

Progeny #1 (12 years old) decided to bake chocolate cookies just for fun, and Progeny #3 turned 3 years old on Wednesday and he wanted cupcakes with sprinkles!

What my workouts were really like:

Do you remember, in my very first post, where I told myself that I was going to workout for 90 minutes for 6 days a week? Ha! There were a couple days that I came close to that, but that was it. There were a few days where I did two workouts in one day because my gym is on a reservation system which only allows 55 minute sessions (dang covid, insert fist shake here! But I’m so thankful they are open, since that doubles as my place of employment!). But most of the week’s workouts were way shorter, and guess what? They were completely enough! Here are the snapshots from my ‘myzone’ heart rate monitor belt readings from each of my workouts:

That’s it for week one. I’m feeling empowered to stay on the course! I can’t even tell you how much I want to win at this experiment! Yes, it is a ton of work, and requiring some major focus on all the tiny elements that make weight loss successful, but I know it’ll be worth it!

Talk to you soon!

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If you really care to look, here are the rest of the logs from my daily food consumption.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Monday, January 4, 2021

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Friday, January 8, 2021

Nutrition Jargon: What you need to know about calories and macronutrients

The nutrition world really does have its own language. If you’re newer to the scene, you might find yourself hearing something that leaves you with a blank stare, not sure what it means. There are some major buzz words floating around that you might hear as you’re contemplating adopting a new eating strategy. I’m going to help you to understand these along the way. So lets jump in and demystify the world of nutrition starting with calories and macronutrients.

Calorie related terms:

Calorie: If you want to get technical, one calorie is the measure of heat needed to warm one kilogram of water by one degree Centigrade (snoozer). But that is not what is usually understood when you hear the term calorie. More simply put, a calorie is a unit of food energy. When broken down in the body, different foods produce varying amounts of energy as heat. This energy is what is known as a calorie. Carbohydrates and proteins provide four calories per gram, fat has nine calories per gram, and alcohol contains seven calories per gram. To explain this a little bit further, we’ll use the example of a serving of chicken breast weighing 4 ounces. According to the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) who regulates aspects of food quality, safety, and nutrition labeling, there are 26 grams of protein in 4 ounces of Chicken. We then multiply 26 grams times 4 calories which gives us 104 calories. But we know that chicken breast also might contain about 1.5 grams of fat, so we multiply that by 9 grams and get 13.5 calories of fat. Add our protein calories (104) and fat calories (13.5) and we find out that the total calorie content of our serving of chicken breast is 117.5.

Calorie Deficit: This can be accomplished two ways. First, through exercise, where your body is burning calories. Second, through diet, where you reduce your caloric intake from your daily required amount. When you intake less food energy than your body requires, your body draws on the fat it has stored to burn the extra energy it needs, resulting in weight loss. As a general rule, to lose 1 pound of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories. Couple these two strategies together, and you have yourself a sweet weight loss plan!

Empty Calories: These are the foods and beverages which provide energy but little to no nutritional value. These are void of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, essential fatty acids, or fiber. These food items are made up of sugar, fats or oils, or alcohol containing beverages. What’s your favorite empty calorie? Mine is cookies, hands down!

Macronutrient related terms:

Macronutrients: These are the largest nutrition components of food which provide energy for our body and aid in the body structure, functions and systems. There are three categories of macronutrients: Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats. Our body needs each of these to function at it’s best, but each individual person may feel their best and succeed in weight loss at varying ratios of macronutrients quantities.

The acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges (AMDR) set forth by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommend that people get :

  • 45–65% of their calories from carbs
  • 20–35% of their calories from fats
  • 10–35% of their calories from proteins

The best macronutrient range for weight loss is the one that you can stick to! (For example, for this journey, I plan to land in a high protein, low carb, high fat range, but I’m slowly easing myself into that since my carbohydrate intake was super high before starting out).

Protein: Like carbohydrates and fat, protein is one of the three macronutrients. It is commonly characterized as the building blocks of the body. Proteins are made up of large, complex molecules that are essential for sound structure, regulation and function of our organs and tissues. Within a protein, you’ll find large chains of smaller units which are known as amino acids. There are 20 different types of amino acids that can be combined to make a protein. You’ll find dietary protein in foods like beans, dairy products, eggs, fish, meat, nuts, poultry and tofu.

Carbohydrates: Carbs provide a significant source of energy for the body. They break down in the body into blood glucose, which is used to make energy for cells, tissues and organs. When we consume excess carbohydrates, our liver might further break down the sugar and stow it away as body fat.

The two categories of carbohydrates include simple carbs and complex carbs. There are only one or two sugar molecules in simple carbs, (sometimes referred to as simple sugars). The body digests these sugars quickly, and utilizes them as a quick energy source. You’ll find simple carbs in table sugar, honey, candy, jams, soft drinks, and other sugars that may be added in processed foods.

Complex carbs are formed from lengthy strings of sugar molecules and they typically digest at a slower pace. You’ll find complex carbs in starchy vegetables, legumes (beans and peas), and whole grain cereals and breads). Complex carbs are a far better choice over simple carbs because of the higher nutrient content and the excellent source of fiber they provide.

Fat: This is the third component in our trio of macronutrients. Like carbohydrates, fat provides energy for the body. It is also instrumental in the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are known as the fat soluble vitamins. There are multiple types of fats that we find in food. These include monounsaturated fat (MUFA), polyunsaturated fats (PUFA), saturated fats, and trans fats.

Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are dubbed as the “good fats”. You’ll find these in nuts, avocado, olive oil, peanut butter, almond butter, and seeds. They’re considered good fats because they help contribute to lowering blood cholesterol levels, which in turn reduces risk of heart disease. They may also aid in appetite suppression because of their role in blood sugar stabilization. They also minimize risk of developing diabetes.

We find saturated fats in red meat, whole milk and cheese, and coconut oil. The jury is still out on what role saturated fat might play in increasing both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol which is known as the “bad cholesterol” for causing complications with the heart and arteries. More recent research has caused experts to be less than convinced of the relationship between heart disease and saturated fat. Until science and researchers get completely on the same page, it’s still in your best interest to trade out the saturated fats for the MUFA’s and PUFA’s.

Trans fats are highly processed and turn oils from liquids into solids. This process in known as hydrogenation. Scientists agree that the amount of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) is increased and “good” cholesterol (HDL) is reduced in the bloodstream with the consumption of foods which are high in trans fats. Inflammation, which is linked to conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions has also been shown to occur because of consumption of trans fats. The Food and Drug Administration even estimates that a whopping 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 premature deaths per year can be prevented by eliminating trans fats from our diets! You’ll find trans fats in foods such as shortening, stick margarine, processed baked goods, microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, refrigerated dough (biscuits, and rolls), fried foods (including French fries, doughnuts, and fried chicken), and non-dairy creamer.

Since we as humans really only have an 8 second attention span, shorter than that of a goldfish, I might have already pushed my luck at holding yours with all the science. I’m going to go ahead and stop here for today. There’s still much to share of the nutrition lingo, so don’t you worry, I’ll be back with more installments at a later date!

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Workout Plan (and other lessons learned)

Holy Moly! I had grand plans to do it all today! I was going to go to work for a couple of client’s personal training sessions, get in my own workout, get my grocery shopping done, all my food prep done, write an epic post for you with a beautifully designed workout plan that came completely from my own programming, and get to sleep by 8:30 p.m. (since I wake up at 4:30 am). Unfortunately I made it all the way through grocery shopping and a teeny tiny bit of food prepping from the meal plan that I put out yesterday and then stalled out. I decided to make the creamy chicken pot pie soup, and double the recipe so that my family could have some for dinner too (check it out here). So, if you set out to make this soup, let’s just say that I now have a few pointers to pass along.

*If you’re roasting your own chicken, choose a bigger whole fryer chicken from the store and roast it yourself. Then keep the bones in your freezer until you’re ready to make bone broth. (I’m obsessed with bone broth! We’ll talk about that soon.)

I learned this next tip the hard way:

*Steam your cauliflower and cut up all of your veggies, before you are ready to actually make your soup. This isn’t really a measure and prep the ingredients as you go kind of recipe. If you do it like that (like I did), you’ll end up with a hint of burn’t flavor (which is super lame since I made a double batch)!

*Don’t forget to stir frequently!

*If you don’t already have one, I highly recommend that you purchase this veggie chopper. It’s an absolute game changer in speeding up the chopping process!

Let’s change subjects…

Given the current COVID environment, and the impact it has had on gyms, rec centers, etc. I want to tell you about some of my favorite exercise equipment that I have here at home. A majority of these you can find fairly inexpensive, but will still be able to get in a killer workout (especially if your gym is operating at limited capacity and on a first come first serve reservation system…).

First, resistance bands. These bad boys are so awesome because you can get many of the same muscle strengthening and building movements that you’d find on the expensive equipment at the gym. They’re effective at targeting calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, chest, shoulders, and arms.

I also love using these resistance cables will effectively replace the cable machines you’ll find in the gym. The variety of exercises you can do with these cables are huge! They’ll hit every muscle group, and you can increase or decrease the resistance simply by adding or subtracting cables to the handles.

The newest addition to my own stash of home workout equipment are these gliding disks. I love gliding disks, so much! There are some really killer core, chest, and leg exercises that you can do with these!

Yoga balls are so great to have around. They’re awesome for core and stability strength. I’ll show you some fun core and gluteus exercises with these in the not too distant future (and your kids will love playing with them too!).

The next items on the list are a bit more spendy, starting with my most favorite piece of at home exercise equipment: The TRX (thank you Santa for bringing me mine)! This is a form of suspension training and with it, you can target every single muscle group with these cables. You can also get an awesome cardio workout with these!

If you’re comfortable going even bigger with your spending, these adjustable dumbbells are the best to have at home! My hubby gifted these to me a handful of years ago, and they have been one of my most favorite gifts ever (If you want to save some monies, see if you can’t cash in on someone who has already given up on their New Years resolution and check to see if you can find them used, think Facebook Marketplace).

I will be highlighting different exercises that can be performed with all of these pieces of equipment in the coming weeks.


As for this week’s workout, I’m going to do this a little bit different than planned. I’ll show you what I did for my own workout, this morning, and what I’ve planned for Tuesday. But then I’m going to highlight other awesome trainer’s workout program creations for the Wednesday through Friday’s workouts. I mean, good sleep is a very important part of the weight loss journey so sometimes a girl’s got to prioritize that over digging deep to create her own original workouts. But don’t worry, that which I’ll be pulling from the World Wide Web to show you will be workouts that I am going to commit to completing for myself those days as well!

Here’s what I did for my killer leg day workout this morning. I did this at the gym, but it can be done at home with some weights.

Monday:

30 minutes cardio (get your heart rate up! A good measure of if your heart is pumping is it should be difficult to carry on a conversation)

Leg day:

  • Equipment needed: Dumbbells

Superset 1

Superset 2

Superset 3

Tuesday:

  • 30 minutes cardio, including 15 minutes of HIIT 
  • For 15 minutes of this cardio session, rotate between 1 minute of really high intensity (think above level 9 on your cardio machine, can barely get a word or two out between breaths), and 1 minute of really low intensity to get your heart rate back down.

Chest and abdominals day: (yes, even women need to strengthen their chest muscles)

  • Equipment needed: Dumbbells
  • Repeat each superset 1-4 times based on current conditioning level 

Exercises:

Wednesday:

  • 30 minutes cardio(get your heart rate up! It should be difficult to carry on a conversation)

Back day: (repeat this video 1-3 times based on your current condition level)

Thursday:

  • 30 minutes cardio, including 15 minutes of HIIT 
  • For 15 minutes of this cardio session, rotate between 1 minute of really high intensity (think above level 9 on your cardio machine, can barely get a word or two out between breaths), and 1 minute of really low intensity to get your heart rate back down.

Arm day: (repeat this video anywhere between 1-4 times based on your current condition level)

Friday:

  • 30 minutes cardio (get your heart rate up! It should be difficult to carry on a conversation)
  • Shoulder day: (repeat this video anywhere from 1-4 times, based on your current condition level)

That’s it for tonight! I’m practically falling asleep at my keyboard! I’m looking forward to finishing my weekly meal prep tomorrow, (hopefully without any additional burn’t foods that are going to have to last me all week), along with getting these plans in motion.

Also coming tomorrow, watch for a new post where I break down some of the nutrition jargon that you hear floating around out there (and that I’ve even used here in my posts).

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Weekly Meal Plan #1

I’m so happy to say that I’ve made it through the first three days without the derailment that I typically experience by this point. (I totally wish that read “the first 83 days”, but, a wins a win!)! I successfully stayed in an acceptable weight loss calorie range all weekend long, and I got in a killer workout Saturday morning. As planned, I used today (Sunday) as my weekly rest day from exercise. Aside from one extra heightened emotional moment where I wanted to gravitate toward the processed sugary snacks to eat my feelings away, I’ve been pretty void of food temptation. Don’t worry though, instead of eating my feelings in that moment, I let myself feel and process my feelings. The frustrations passed and so did the call that was coming from the pantry! Amazing how that works when we address the real issues which cause emotions, instead of looking for temporary comfort from taboo food sources!

Shifting focus, formulating a meal plan for myself that other people may or may not follow is tricky business! I mean, if I were working this up just for myself there would likely be meals on there that would raise an eyebrow. For example, I was listening to a podcast a little more than a month ago where the guest speaker was a woman who grew a successful career through teaching people to make smoothies loaded with veggies. I was so intrigued that I tried it, and actually kind of fell in love. So for the last month, before beginning this blog, I was making a daily smoothie which was absolutely loaded with a whole days worth of different types of veggies: carrots, celery, cucumbers, onion, tomato, broccoli, bell pepper, collard greens, spinach, romaine lettuce, and the weirdest addition which I tried once and only once was mushrooms (never again with that one!). I was throwing a different combination all in my awesome blender, each day, and making two giant cups of it. I’d keep it in the fridge with a straw and sip on in throughout the day. I mean, if you’re up for trying weird things, you should definitely give this one a try sometime. For the most part, I really really liked how it tasted, but mostly I loved knowing that I was getting a boat load of nutrients in my body, and I felt really good doing it (side note, isn’t boat load a funny unit of measurement???). Anyway, I will do my best to avoid projecting my appreciation for the super weird healthy foods on you as I assemble these weekly meal plans.

As I was saying before I side tracked myself with veggie smoothies…. My objectives for this meal plan were to 1. Choose foods and food combinations that I know I like, and won’t get bored of eating for a whole week straight. 2. Make sure that there was enough variety. I mean, I could be happy eating cottage cheese 3 or 4 times a day, but once again, I’m working on not projecting my own weirdness. 3. I wanted to show that you really can eat delicious foods while losing weight, and a lot of it, too. There really is no good reason to feel like you’re starving yourself. Or to feel like you’re in food prison. 4. I wanted to keep the protein high, fat and carbs moderate. The first week isn’t really a great time to go all in on a low carb approach when your body is used to the high carb diet you might have been consuming before. Also, for those of us who struggle with binge eating, going all in on low carb too quickly is an invitation for disaster. I do plan to gravitate in the direction of a low carb approach (between 50 grams and 100 grams of carbs daily), because that is a state my body feels so good in, but, I’m easing into it, by cutting out 25 grams of carbs per day as the weeks progress.

Before I give you the meal plan, here are a few tips for success (Also, I dropped some links to Amazon to make it easy for you to snag the items you may not have):

*Have a food scale and plan to measure everything! This food scale is similar to the one that I use and you can pick it up for cheap.

*Take a day and prep all of your food in one day. Yes, it may take a good chunk of your time upfront, but when you aren’t sure what to eat, just snag a meal you have already made, and – Pro Tip – you’ll even thank yourself if you pick up some individual serving containers and separate your meals right off the bat.

*This meal plan is just for one person for a week. If you plan to make the same meals for your family, you’ll have to plan accordingly to increase the quantity that you make.

*Meal-1 doesn’t include a sweetener in the oatmeal. If eating un-sweetened oatmeal is too big of a new idea for you, feel free to add in a little bit of monk fruit sweetener. But try it without, you may come to appreciate oatmeal’s natural flavor.

*My local Costco has been carrying a keto bread, which I’ve really come to appreciate. But I’m not sure if you’ll find that in every location. You can try to track down a keto bread at your local natural grocer, or even attempt to make your own (if you do, I’d love to hear how that goes!) If you can’t find keto bread, you can substitute for Dave’s Killer Bread, either the 21 Grain loaf or the Good Seed loaf (Make sure you get the thin slices, though). Also be aware that the carbohydrate intake will be higher with the Dave’s bread than a keto bread, but I’m sure it’ll taste amazing, because have you tried Dave’s killer breads? Seriously delicious!!!

*Lastly, chia seeds. Have you had chia pudding before? I’m fairly new to it, but I’m completely converted! The first bite or two might be weird because there is a bit of a crunch. After that, let yourself fall in love with the tasty treat you’re allowing yourself which is actually so nourishing for you! They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, rich in antioxidants, and they provide fiber, iron, and calcium. Who’d want to pass up all that goodness in their dessert along with not having to eat fish?!

Alright, here it is, The meal plan for week 1:

According to MyFitnessPal, these are the macronutrients for all of the above (if you find the keto bread):

This whole meal plan comes to 1806 calories. (This allows for an additional 344 calories, if I feel the need.  Quite honestly, I’m going to do my best to stop eating at this point. I’m anticipating this amount and quality of food to be plenty satiating.  But it leaves the option of a little more food if it feels necessary. What I won’t do if I decide to use those extra calories, is eat processed foods or anything with more than 5 grams of added sugar).

And there you have it!

*Be watching tomorrow for the workout plan I’m going to be following this next week.

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