Saturday, January 29, 2011

An argument about muscle

I want to do a freewrite about a conversation I had with a friend. She's known for a few days that I've been dieting and exercising, and I don't generally divulge my techniques, mainly because dieting and exercising only have one real technique and I didn't think it was relevant. I mentioned that I often visit for inspiration, and even have a picture of Zuzana from the site on my phone. This picture to be specific:

I showed her this image, and she seemed more than a little upset. I won't quote her directly because I don't want to misrepresent her words, but basically she told me this woman looked starved and overworked, and I believe she used the phrase "that's some beefed up dyke shit." At first I felt really angry, and defensive, but I realized it's not that big of a deal, I knew already that not everyone finds muscular women attractive. I do, and I told her this, I told her if I could, I would look like this woman. I know I won't, because my body is different, but I'd love to build some muscle. She seemed even more distressed, and said that Zuzana only had muscle definition because she's cut all fat and sodium from her diet. I argued back that although she eats little fat, her diet and her workouts are very safe and very healthy. I made the arguments that she doesn't take supplements, and even told her about Zuzana's past, which if you aren't familiar with is on her website. My friend didn't believe me, just like I wasn't believing her. I tried to reassure her, but she insisted that she had trained as an athlete and she knew what athletes were supposed to look like. I didn't want to argue, and I valued her concern (although not her comments) so I let it drop.

I feel like this is a common reaction among women to this kind of physique. Yes, I am aware that Zuzana is very unique, but I'm very confused as to the extreme concern for my well being when I am currently killing myself with extra weight. I know very well that it's possible to obsess and under eat, but I'm not that stupid or naive, and I was hurt that someone assumed that about me. I can't get too mad, as I had a sneaking suspicion my friend knew someone who'd gone down a very bad version of this path. But really, I can't look at that picture and think that Zuzana is anything but a pinnacle of health.

my friend tried to tell me what she thought a healthy woman should look like. She mentioned a flat stomach and a healthy amount of curve and fat. I tried to find an image that I found best fit this description:

This is a victoria's secret model, and this company is known for NOT pushing their models to eat less or get unhealthy. This woman is beautiful, thin and has the features mentioned in my discussion with my friend. However, I want muscle. I'm still uncertain as to how the viewpoint started that women can't have this and be healthy. Is it because so many women are stupid enough to go to unnecessary extremes to get what they want? Last time I checked, a woman who said she wanted some definition didn't mean she wanted to be in the strongest woman competition, and really, so what if she did? I understand the concern with bony thin, with starving yourself and taking chemicals you aren't familiar with, but I'm very confused about the fear of muscle.

As far as I know, it's physically impossible to support muscle unless you lead a healthy lifestyle. If you didn't, your body would feed on your own muscle. If you didn't get enough fat and protein, your muscle would break down, so wouldn't a muscular woman suggest that she is extremely healthy?

my friend mentioned jillian michaels, saying that she used her workouts to lose weight when she was my age, suggesting that I do the same.
Is there really a huge difference between this ^ and this:

Really, the only difference is that zuzana is a little more cut, but they're pretty  much the same. This comment made me even more confused, because now I didn't understand why jillian michaels was an appropriate role model, but not zuzana. Perhaps being on television makes it acceptable to be build and cut as a woman. I'm still going to try to build muscle, and I'm eating to support both weight loss and muscle build. I find this to be a very desirable look for a woman, and I guess I just have to accept that not everyone will feel this way. I want to look good and get healthy for me first, and then my husband as a close second. I have to put aside other opinions and just run my race.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Middle of week five

I feel so much better today. I think I had a really good day. I may start posting my food intake daily, it might help me and maybe help someone who's looking at this blog. I swam for 30 minutes, and actually got my freestyle stroke down pretty good. I'm getting much better at it. I find I enjoy how much faster I swim doing that stroke versus other ones. I ate healthy all day as well, and as I said, I'm not counting calories. My food was mostly veggies, some fish, a little rice and some oats in the morning, but overall very balanced and just the way I've been trying to get it. I still have a problem with increasing the size of my meals toward the end of the day, so I'll have to try to stop that... but other than that I'm happy with how today went. I want to do a post about a specific topic, which came up in a discussion with a friend of mine regarding muscle in women and what crosses the line between healthy and detrimental. I may do this tomorrow, I'm going to relax for the moment.

Oh one more thing, if anyone is wondering, the main tools I've been using to track my food and my workouts is from the makers of cardiotrainer on my droid. They have a branch app called weight loss and one called calorific which is free. I use all three, and love them.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A little motivation image for myself :) If anyone stops by this blog, and is interested in weight loss, I would encourage you to check out Zuzana is a great, inspiring workout coach with some fantastic workouts. I used to do these and enjoyed them, unfortunately I can't anymore since her workouts are full body, and my knee is still injured, perhaps permanently so. I do enjoy going to the site just to get in the mood to workout though.

Week four in review, difficulties and new ambition

I haven't posted here in a while I know. I think I had a brief desire to abandon this blog, which is something I often do when things aren't working out. I have another blog on this account that suffered that fate, but will soon be revived for a different purpose. When it comes to weight loss, I have often quit, often wanted that feeling that comes with starting over. The excitement of a new plan, however is not what I should want. I should want what comes after that. And so although it's mentally unappealing, I can't abandon this blog, and instead of always trying to post something positive, I have to admit to my failures.

In week four I wasn't dieting or exercising, in fact I would say I had no plan at all for my weightloss. I gained back the weight I've already lost and then some, bringing my weight to an even 150 lbs. I wasn't writing down what I ate, and I've stopped going to the pool on a regular basis. But yesterday, something woke up. Joe and I had a mild argument about me being messy. He was being somewhat unreasonable, and the stress of his new schedule was coming out, but underlying the exhausted complaints there was truth. I was slipping, and he woke me up. I can't quit like I have before.

So in week five, which is what I'm in the middle of now, my plan is still here but a little modified. I have to figure out what will work for me and I'm very close to having that. I'm only making one change this week, which is a change in the way I track my food. In the past I have counted calories, but since I'm very aware of how few calories are in certain unhealthy foods (certain sodas, cookies and salty snacks) I've been eating an appropriate amount of useless calories. So instead of writing down numbers, I want to track my food with the intention of only eating things I know are nutritious and good for me. Instead of thinking I'm not losing weight because I ate 200 more calories yesterday, for example, I want to instead say that I ate an item that I know is unhealthy, and I can replace that with something healthy. I want a vegetable, fruit and fish heavy diet, and I get discouraged from cooking meals and making complex things because they're difficult to track in calories.

I need to start swimming more. I've started to become slightly embarrassed because I'm getting better, and therefore trying harder in the pool, and sometimes I choke up some water or breathe very heavy when working on my freestyle stroke. I can't quit just because I look silly. I have to stick with this. I also want to incorporate weights and upper body gym cardio into my plan, since I've abandoned those and there's no reason not to get back into them.

I'll post back here, hopefully on a daily basis with updates, and hopefully this is a second wind to my regimen.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Week 3 in review

This week didn't feel good at all, and I gained a pound. My schedule has been rocked since joe has just started work, and his schedule is so unusual. We've had a friend over and we've been making food I don't normally eat, and I've been trying to accomplish things I should have done when we first got here.

HOWEVER, I have reason to believe week four will be better, much better. Since I started this journey I haven't worked out fully in a week yet, and I think I'll be able to this week. Joe works four days on, four days off, switching after his first two day shifts to two nights. It's a really rough schedule for him. I could probably work around his day schedule and get in a swim before the pools close, but who wants to do that when you don't have to, especially when your husband just came home from a 12 hour shift?

The time he has off puts me in a good position, however. He works nights tomorrow and thursday, meaning I can use the car in the daytime and go for a swim. Then he has four days off, making it very easy for me to workout anytime. My goal is to swim four days a week and do yoga once a week. This week, I'll be swimming tomorrow, thursday, friday and saturday. This should help a lot with weight loss, especially since I enjoy lap swimming so much. With my house getting cleaner I've been more motivated to count calories again as well. So I'm optimistic, maybe I can make up for the pound gained by losing two this week. I'll post here again with progress on my plan later this week.

Friday, January 14, 2011

friday of week 3

I haven't posted in a few days, so I figured I should poke my head in and give an update. I've lost 2 pounds so far, and I'm hoping to lose another pound this week, but I haven't been keeping to my regimen like I'd like, and there are some reasons for this.

I was trying to find a good way to workout, and I found one. Swimming in the lap pool is never boring for me, makes the time seem to fly and I feel great afterwards. I have to drive to get to the pool, so I was trying to find out how I was going to work around joe's work schedule. His schedule is going to change soon, and he'll be working four days on, four days off, which is good in one sense, but bad in that he works twelve hour shifts and alternates from days to nights. This makes having a constant regimen impossible. I have to wait a week or two to see how his schedule stays to find out if I want to bring him to work and pick him up, and I have to find out if there's a way for me to swim before he goes to work, which would be crazy since I'd be coming BACK home at 5:30 am. So this is a snag in my plan, and I find at the moment I'm just keeping my eye open for opportunities to go to the pool and taking them when I can get them.

The other problem is the mess in my house at the moment. I'm fighting a losing battle with our dishes, and I just unpacked the rest of them making a bigger pile than before. Having a messy kitchen makes me discouraged to write down what I eat and take the time to make better meals. I am making progress though.

I forget sometimes that this is why I've struggled with my weight. It's not just diet and exercise, it's changing many details of my life, changing my motivation and outlook even in the small areas. I am improving, and I have to focus on that. Weighing in Monday, I'll post back here then.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Week Two in Review

I lost another pound! That's some good news. This week was pretty pathetic, I worked out once, I only counted calories two days and I was stressed for part of the week, it's actually surprising that I lost another pound. I think it's mainly because my new diet habits carried over regardless of whether I was counting. I still want to up my weightloss to two pounds a week, but I'm happy with one pound.

So this week, week 3, I'm going to swim for 30 minutes each weekday, and I already did today. I'm going to try to count calories again, and keep myself around 1200. Basically it's more of the same, and the reason is because I need to get my schedule down, and make this stick. I think changing something or challenging  myself too much will make me stop. This plan will encourage me to keep going.

Also my house is getting cleaner. I finally got through all the kitchenware and I'm almost done with that area, and most of the house is just normal cleaning until I get to the playroom, where I'll need to go through all of my art supplies.

So things are improving, and that's good. I think tonight I'll relax and play WoW or watch some stuff, I feel like an easy day is a nice reward for another pound lost.

I hope week 3 will be just as good as my first two!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Weekend, week two, problem solved continued

It's been a couple days but I'm posting again. Yesterday I went to the doctor and found out my knee has a potentially chronic issue that I'll have to deal with for the rest of my life. I'm getting further tests done and we'll see what they say, but the diagnosis was kind of hard to take in. My whole family has really bad knees and none of them are athletic at all, and I think these are connected. I really want to be not just in shape but athletic, I've been wanted to get back into things I used to love, like soccer and hiking. I was pretty depressed yesterday, and I allowed myself to just feel sad for a while, and then I came to the only decision there was to make, which is that I'm going to do everything I can and work hard to fix my knee as much as I can, and I'm going to be ok with ignoring the pain that comes with it, since the physical therapist has told me that pushing through that discomfort is a good thing. Today I felt much better, and I got back on my diet and I was pretty productive.

I'm still trying to figure out my workout schedule, which depends on the pool hours on base and the bus schedule, as well as the distance of the bus stop from my house. It's pretty hard to figure out, much more complicated than the Bart system. I may call or visit the office and ask them what I can do.

Stats: ate 1283 calories
no workout

I'll try to stick with my diet this weekend since I haven't been working out this week, and hopefully I can knock off another pound. My workouts and my schedule are something I want to focus on keeping consistent next week. I may just have to wait for joe to come home to swim, but we'll see.

Anyway, I haven't given up yet! I'm still trying to make permanent changes, and we'll see if it pays off.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Problems to solve

So I'm going through week two with considerably less motivation than week one. I didn't workout yesterday and haven't worked out yet today, although yesterday was mainly due to reading the last 300 pages of the Count of Monte Cristo, which is a little difficult to put down once you're at the end. Today there really isn't an excuse, and my mindset I think is more on "OMG my house is dirty and I've been ignoring it" and "OMG I need to take out a loan for the spring semester" and "OMG I need to call the maintenance guys about my ice maker and I have a doctors appointment at 8 tomorrow and WAAAH!" So working out just doesn't sound appealing, because I don't feel relaxed enough to be able to do it. I know that sounds really backwards, but unlike most people working out doesn't calm me down in a good way. I usually feel calm enough not to do anything else productive, so sometimes if I want to get a lot done I avoid working out, knowing that it will eliminate the GOOD stress that keeps me going.
What's the point of all this? I think two things need to happen. I need to get my house clean, because it's affecting me seriously now, and I need to get on a sleep schedule that promotes working out. Tomorrow will be a good excuse to start waking up early. To have breakfast and go to my appointment I'll probably need to wake up at 6 or 6:30. that way I have enough time to eat, get ready and leave with a few minutes to spare. I really want this to be something to stick to. I always had trouble keeping a schedule because I could never figure out what was the "correct" time to wake up. Should I wake up with joe? No because his schedule is going to be flipping around all over the place when he starts work. Should I wake up at 6? Possibly but why 6 instead of 7 or 5? Right now the sun rises at 7 am, and this time will gradually get earlier and earlier.

after looking at a sunrise calender, I think I've made a decision. The sun rises at 7:12 on the shortest days, and at just before six on the longest, so waking up at 6:30 means I can wake up with the sun pretty much any time of year. that's a good time to start with. I think waking up with the sun is a good idea too.

To emphasize, I'm not dwelling on my sleep schedule as a distraction, I think setting a specific time to workout is very important to consistency. The next problem is figuring out a transportation situation with Joe. I'd love to swim every morning in the Lap pools on base, but I just don't have a way to get over there. I may be able to figure something out though, Sometimes it's surprising how public transportation can help.

Anyway, I'll post back on here sometime with an update, right now I'm trying to fix the problems with my regimen. Ciao!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Week one in review

So at the end of this week I've lost one pound. At first I was happy, mainly because the weekend and friday I pretty much abandoned any hope of actually dieting, although some of the habits I've adopted carried over, but I really didn't workout like I'd like to. So to see a pound get knocked off the scale was actually nice. Then my head started feeling dissapointed, I started to feel that this was going to be a very slow and very painful race I'm running with myself. After that little period of self loathing I was back to feeling happy with myself.

I know some people look at this blog sometimes, especially those just searching for weight loss tips, so here's a small encouragement. I lost one pound in a week, and at first that seems like nothing. It seems meaningless, like this is a race that can't be won, but don't lose hope. take a look at this:

This is what one pound of fat looks like. this is what I've just eliminated from my body, so it's not a small task, it's actually very difficult. For those of us who are overweight but not obese, weight loss can seem daunting when you see 300 pound people dropping 20 pounds at a time on biggest loser. at 148 pounds now, I have to be ok with losing one or two pounds at a time.

So now we move onto ways to improve. This week was rocky, and I think I can pinpoint some of the problems:
1. Diet. I stopped tracking my food, and most of that was just laziness, which is easy to fix. I also had a lot of bad food in the house, which I've gotten rid of. No more oreos, no more goldfish, no more pie. I have healthy, low calorie deserts stocked in the freezer, lots of healthy snacks around the house and a slightly cleaner kitchen, which is still in progress.
2. going to the gym everyday to move my arms in circles for 30 minutes isn't working for me. After three days of doing it, it's become incredibly boring. The solution? vary up my workouts, and get creative to work around my injury. I can swim, which is probably very good for my knee anyway, and that's something I'll be doing today for my workout. I can do weights and of course do the usual cardio I do. Varying the workouts I think will help me a lot in staying consistent. I won't plan workouts this week, instead I'll shoot to burn at least 300 calories each day, with whatever workout I decide to do.

So onto week two! I'm feeling pretty good about today, so I'm not worried about getting stuff done today, but we'll see if I can stay consistant, and not let my moods and cravings get in the way this time.