Friday, March 27, 2015

I rocked workouts this week!!!

So, my determination to break this freaking weight loss plateau is at an all time high right now. I was able to fuel that motivation to get my butt to the gym this week, even when I didn't feel like it.

It is much easier to sit on the couch with a soft blanket and scowl at your husband for taking unflattering pictures of you.

We hiked last Saturday, then took Sunday off. Monday I did 35 minutes on the elliptical (my activity tracker picked it up as "vigorous" exercise vs "moderate", so I was working hard), and 10 minutes on the StairMaster. I also walked for a half hour that day. Tuesday was my circuit training class. I usually get there early enough to warm up on the elliptical for 10-15 minutes. That day I got 15 minutes in on the elliptical, followed by the 45 minute class. Actually, looking back, my total activity level on Tuesday was insane- an hour and 27 minutes of moderate activity, and 31 minutes of vigorous activity. I definitely didn't try to get 2 hours of exercise, but it can't hurt. Wednesday's workout was like Monday's, with the extra walk again. On Thursday, the gym was the last place I felt like going, but I dragged my ass in there, and of course I felt great. Class totally killed me! We did a ton of weighted squats, deadlifts, squats with overhead lifts, and other exercises my mind has blocked out in the haze of muscle pain.

no but this picture is killing me

I was toying with the idea of going to Zumba today and taking a rest day tomorrow, but I was so sore and my husband wants to go work out tomorrow, so I gave my body a much needed day of slothliness.

a sloth's still gotta eat healthy

Workout goals for the coming week? Get my butt to Zumba at least once. I also want to break my 11 minute barrier on the StairMaster. I mentioned in an earlier post that it's my new favorite exercise machine. That may be a bit hyperbolic, but I am amazed at how such a simple concept/machine can get the heart rate up so effectively! Even at the lowest level, I am working HARD- which is my number one goals when working out- I don't see the point in driving all the way to the Y only to put in a half-ass effort. When I'm there, I'm there to sweat my butt off!!!

Anyways, I found an interesting blog post about starting on the StairMaster- this guy started a virtual skyscraper collection, creating a list of buildings around the world equivalent to the amount of floors he climbs in his workouts. My max so far has been 20 floors, but I definitely think this is a really cool idea!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

My favorite kind of meal

Since becoming vegan, I've fallen in love with cooking. Out of all the things I cook on a regular basis, my favorite is very simple: bowls. Some people call them buddha bowls. They consist of a grain/carb, veggie, protein, and sauce. You don't have to be vegan to make bowls using this formula (although you should definitely try them the veg way sometime). I'd been making them for a while when I read about them in Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. She also has an entire chapter devoted to bowls in Isa Does It (aka the best cookbook ever).
The combinations are endless and so easy, even for the laziest of cooks.

Here are a few of my favorite combos:

Sprouted rice blend, sauteed cauliflower/carrots, dry-fried cubed tofu, and a curry peanut sauce (sauce recipe from Isa Does It)

Looks gross, oh so good. Israeli couscous, lightly breaded tofu, steamed broccoli, and Trader Joe's goddess dressing

Burrito bowls. Rice (I usually use jasmine or basmati), black beans, salsa, and some kind of veggie (and crunched up tortilla chips on top, of course). The second bowl is the burrito bowl from Isa Does It (again). 

I love recipes with basic formulas like this because it really lets my creativity flow. Sometimes I steam the veggies, sometimes I roast them. I like to vary the way I cook the protein too. And there are so many grains out there! Quinoa, barley, couscous, millet, brown rice, black rice, wild rice. 

Apparently this is how I feel about grains

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Checking in!

I really tried to stick to my goals this week. I did succeed in working out every day except for Wednesday, but even then we did some walking around Goldfield (an adorable ghost town/tourist trap in the Superstition Mountains).

I stuck to the elliptical and stairmaster, and did strength training Tuesday and Thursday. It came out to 45 minutes to an hour for each workout.

The only goal that I epically failed on was tracking my food. Not so much because I ate horribly or anything, but because we ate out way too much and I couldn't always find the nutritional info.
This week I want to keep the eating out to a minimum- 2 times (including lunch) is my goal. It's always such a balancing act. When I am rocking the workouts, I struggle with the eating. Even with my fairly clean diet, there's nearly always room for improvement.

What do you struggle with the most when it comes to health, exercise or food?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Goals for the week

My mother-in-law is in town visiting for the week, and my husband is off, so my regular routine will be basically non-existent.

It's the perfect week to set a few fitness goals to stick to, so I have some kind of road map to stick to so as not to get too off track. Last time I set goals here on the blog, disaster struck (mild over exaggeration, whatevs) and my foot started giving me problems, setting off a shit storm of panic inside my head.

I am ever the optimist, however, and both feet and ankles feel great right now, probably in part due to the fact that most of my working out has been low impact. In fact, I was amazed at how great my ankle felt during our epic hike on Saturday. The first time we attempted that trail (2 months ago), the hike back down was extremely difficult on my ankle. This time it felt really good (better than my hamstrings + head + stomach, ha).

My health/fitness goals for this week:

Work out for an hour at least 3 days.
Track my calories as closely as I can at least 3 days.

My goals will get more specific again when my schedule gets back to normal. For now, I'm going to enjoy this time with the family... and try not to gorge myself on yummy restaurant food too much.

I still really really miss running. I told my husband the other day that running and I are like star-crossed lovers... it's the only form of exercise that I can become truly obsessed with. I think about it and read about it and plan events around it. But the minute I make any progress and am running on a regular basis, something happens. This bad luck where running is concerned goes back YEARS, as I've always had weak ankles/feet with a history of sprains. A less determined (or smarter) person would take that as a hint that they're maybe not meant to be a runner and focus on alternative forms of exercise. But I haven't gotten to this point without determination and I'm planning to add running back in after losing another 10-15 lbs, with the hope that less weight on my joints = less chance of injury.

Do you have a form of exercise that you love as much as I love running? Hiking is a (very) close second for me.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Workout log for this week!

I am super proud to report that I worked out for an hour or more every day this week (taking today off)!!! I am loving having a place to go work out in with multiple options- it helps me not get too bored (#adhdproblems).

Here's my workout log for this week:

Monday: 30 minutes on elliptical/30 minute walk
Tuesday: 20 minutes elliptical/45 minute circuit training class
Wednesday: 40 minute bike ride/30 minute walk (couldn't make it to the Y)
Thursday: 15 minutes elliptical/45 minute circuit training/20 minute walk
Friday: 35 minutes elliptical/10 minutes Stairmaster
Today: My husband and I decided to tackle a really difficult hike that we'd attempted once before. We had to cut that hike short because we had our son with us and it was really, really challenging. We were determined to get to the top this time.
This trail is all uphill and winds around the mountain. It took us 2 hours, around 3.68 miles. I had a horrible headache and an upset stomach the entire time but we just took a lot of breaks and stayed hydrated- I was NOT going to turn around!!!

The view from the top was pretty amazing.

On a clear day, you can see downtown Phoenix on the right

I have adorable pictures of my husband and I at the top but he wants to stay off of my little corner of the internet. :(

I kept my calorie intake right around 1400-1500 calories every day, so I'm really happy with how this week went!

What are your proudest achievements health wise this week?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Try all the workouts!

So I am loving having a Y membership. Our YMCA is less than a year old and is a really nice facility without that "gym" feeling (you know what I'm talking about).

I have definitely been taking advantage of it, though. So far, I have used the elliptical, stairmaster (my new love/hate workout of choice, more to come later), taken a Zumba class, used the weight machines, and taken my first of a twice weekly, 8 week circuit training class. I am determined to get the rest of the weight off this year, and I feel like I've got a good head start on the workout front.

I can't believe I've become the sort of person who actually enjoys working out. Old Julie would've never felt confident enough to walk into a Zumba class. Actually, that Julie had a gym membership for *gulp* a year that she never used.

Me circa 2013

I've been a little down about how freaking hard and time-consuming weight loss is lately. Even reminding myself how far I've come is getting old because although, yes, I've lost a good chunk of weight so far, I still have a loooong way to go.

That being said, I was pretty happy when I stumbled on this old picture of my dad and I at the Hoover Dam in 2010. This was at my heaviest weight. I definitely like this year's picture better!

Friday, March 6, 2015

I'm back!

When I don't work out (which, aside from some walking, I didn't do for two weeks), I start to feel a bit...ragey. 

And depressed. I feel better when I know I'm working towards my weight loss, and I swear I start to look and feel like Jabba the hutt when I don't work out.


After a weekend of gluttony in Las Vegas (my husband, son, parents and I met up with my aunt and cousin), I finally joined the Y. Yesterday I did 30 minutes on the elliptical (with backwards intervals every 5 minutes), 10 on the stairmaster (holy crap did that get my heart rate up), and I did upper body strength.

It felt SO good.

Today I went to Zumba, and although I am an uncoordinated mess, it was a blast. I got a really great workout!

Pretty sure this is what I look like

Ever been to Vegas? Are you a Strip or Fremont kind of person?