Food, Recipes, Weightloss

Namely, it’s Spaghetti Squash

So you know those forty-or-so extra points that Weight Watchers gives you for treats and stuff throughout the week? Well, yesterday I used A LOT of them. Twenty-two to be exact.

To give you some perspective, Continue reading

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Uncategorized, Weightloss

A muffin is okay if I have enough points

Let’s skip the whole “I’m sorry, No Moore Muffins, that I ignored you for a whole month and a half” thingy. Because I don’t want to make excuses. But I will throw out a few.

In my absence, I managed to get a job at Bally Total Fitness and then get my hours cut down to diddly squat, move out of the house where I grew up, go on a fabulous trip to Seattle, win football tickets to the Ducks vs. Missouri State, run a 5k in Race For the Cure, and attend my first baby shower. I live and work in Portland now. There, now you’re all caught up.

What I really want to talk about is Continue reading

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Exercise, Health, Mind and Body, Weightloss

My heart is smiling

Okay, so I’ve been busy. Busy working. Busy working out. Busy with life.

Between work, errands, chores, and a social life, it can be a struggle to squeeze in a fitness class that you’re not familiar with. But despite life’s many complications, I would like for everyone to make a solid effort at taking a hot yoga class. I did, and I couldn’t be more pleased with my decision.

Call it what you want: hot yoga, Bikram yoga, Continue reading

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Food, Recipes, Weightloss

A good weird

Even though I’m only five days into my summer weight loss journey, I feel like there’s so much I could talk about. So in order to keep this post focused, let’s just discuss food for today.

Cutting out junk food really feels like a cleanse. Of course I’ve been drinking more water, snacking on fruit, and eating smaller portions, but what has been so significant is making the distinction between wanting to stuff my face and actually being hungry. I had become so used to regularly allowing myself things like pizza, burgers and ice cream, so now it feels kind of weird restricting those foods again. But it’s a good weird. It feels good to make healthy choices at restaurants and pack myself a healthy lunch to take to work. And It gives me a reason to come up with and try new recipes.

Since I remembered having Continue reading

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Food, Weightloss

Vacation’s over

It seems like it always takes until frickin’ June to fully shed the Holiday weight. Just me? Okay.

Well in my experience, there always seems to be an excuse to keep on those last few pounds between the months of January and April: “It’s Christmas.” “Screw it, it’s Spring Break.” “To hell with it; I’m on vacation!” Well, I’ve got news for you: vacation’s over.

I recently got back from a weekend family trip to San Francisco and, as it turns out, that city is fully awesome. Also, sea lions are silly creatures.

The last time I was there I was fifteen (fifteen!), and I don’t remember the city being nearly that phenomenal. The people. The architecture. The food. It’s all great. There are good vibes flying all over that place.

After spending some much needed time there with a couple friends of mine, I have determined that I must live there someday. Hopefully, when I reside there I won’t eat in the same excess that I did last weekend. There’s just so many good  restaurants! It’s foodie heaven. (I highly suggest a place on Columbus street called Colosseo…get the Penne in pink sauce with crab meat and asparagus). In just three days, I managed to cover all the no-no’s of eating options, including a cheeseburger from a place called Sally’s and a sourdough pizza from the Boudin Bakery.

I don’t regret these choices at all, for they are just a necessary element in my annual weight loss slash gain cycle. You know how it goes:

JANUARY: Self loathing and resentment due to holiday poundage. Vacation?

FEBRUARY: Acceptance of holiday weight + Valentines chocolates.

MARCH: Pretty much fed up with residual Holiday weight. Vacation?

APRIL: Realization that Holiday weight must soon vanish.

MAY: Panic and chaos reigns in this month as Summer hints at its existence.

JUNE: Comfort foods are no longer sought after since it’s too hot to be comfortable and we must now minimize layers.

JULY: Eat watermelon only. Play outside.

AUGUST: Eat watermelon only. Play outside.

SEPTEMBER: Feel good about self because you are thin from the summer.

OCTOBER: Same as September, but add leftover Halloween candy.

NOVEMBER: Same as October, but add Thanksgiving. Pounds start to add on.

DECEMBER: Fat and happy.

My goal this year is to be beach ready by the time summer starts. Last year I spent the whole summer getting in shape for summer. As you might guess, that’s not actually all that satisfying since the summer was over by the time I was in proper shape. But not this year! This means that in a couple weeks it will be high time to start kicking my own ass into shape. I’m actually quite excited and motivated for this next part of the weight loss cycle.

Another exciting thing that’s coming up is a career-related opportunity that has presented itself. I was selected to be a blogging intern for Cliché Magazine. I even have my own email! It’s jenni@clichemag.com. I’ll be blogging about fashion, music and entertainment for the Cliché website! So it seems that I have not only been on vacation from being in shape, but also from my school/career life. But in a week or two, vacation’s over and Spring is looking up.

I hope that the same goes for everyone else’s season. Until next time…

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Exercise, Weightloss

It’s been Insanity

Photos by Ryan Mowery

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone! Christmas has really taken it out of me. With all the shopping, baking, and working I’ve been doing, my week has been insanity. Literally! I started the 60-day Insanity Workout program last week, and I haven’t had the energy to do much else.

The Insanity Workout is one of the most, if not THE most, difficult workouts to be put on DVD. Apparently it is so strenuous that you have to be insane to do it. My friend Beth was gracious enough to let me borrow her DVD set, so I’d like to give a big thanks to her here. Now a week and a half into the program, I can attest that I do indeed question my own sanity while doing these videos. More evidence for why I might be clinically insane lies in the fact that I have only EVER done this workout after the hours of 1 am. I think it’s because I did the first one late, and have consistently needed at least 24 hours to recuperate before I can muster up the energy to do it again. To be honest, I’m not sure how I muster it up each night because it really is extremely exhausting just to think about it. I’m actually getting a little exhausted right now.

It’s common for me to look up at the TV from my sweaty, breathless exhaustion and gasp the words “you’re insane” at the digital image of workout instructor Shaun T.

The program, so far, is mostly an ongoing and extensive series of high intensity sports drills and power moves, with very little rest in between reps. Imagine doing sprints for 40 minutes straight…with push-ups and lunges and frog jumps. That’s what it feels like. I consider myself to be a pretty fit person, but after doing the Insanity Fit Test, my eyes have been opened to an entirely new level of fitness. Phil and I nearly vomited after day one. Even a week and a half in, I get pretty tuckered out just doing the warm-up…sometimes I have to take a brief rest.

Despite the extreme difficulty level of this workout, there is a lot about it that I enjoy. First, I like that it actually works. I have been eating a notable amount of cookies on a daily basis for the last week or so (give me a break, it’s the holidays!), but have still managed to lose a couple pounds. In fact, both my Mom and my friend Ryan told me that I look thinner in my face. Hearing those affirmations made me more motivated to stick with the program, and loathe it less. Second, I like that I haven’t really experienced any soreness. During each workout, Shaun T guides you through two stretching sessions: one after the warm-up, and another for a cool down. I believe them to be preventative measure for the soreness and stiffness that I often feel after working out. I think it’s also because the workouts are every day, so our muscles don’t have the chance to rest long enough to get sore. It’s nice.  Thirdly, I really enjoy the way the workouts are constructed; it’s no muss, no fuss. The entire workout is a good use of your time, and you definitely feel like you’re getting somewhere. You will sweat in places you never knew you could, and there’s an overwhelming sense of accomplishment after you finish. I imagine that it feels somewhat similar to running a marathon, but I really wouldn’t know.

Right now, I think that Insanity is doing a great job of helping me get into great shape, and lose a couple pounds while eating Christmas cookies. But after today, I will no longer be using the Christmas spirit as an excuse to indulge freely in sweets and things. I expect that for the next three weeks before Maui, my body’s changes will become more significant since I’ll be eating much (MUCH) leaner.

What’s really convenient is that there’s a week-long break for recovery between month 1 and 2 of the Insanity program, and it’s scheduled for the same week that I’ll be in Maui! A week off from work, a week off from Insanity, and a week off from Oregon rain. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about.

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Weightloss

It’s all about balance

 

I hope you all had a Happy Halloween.

There I said it.

Please don’t criminalize me, I did my part. I carved that pumpkin up there, for one thing. I put on my red devil horns and tramped around town in the pouring rain. Now that that’s finally over with, I’d like to shift your focus on to the quickly approaching Thanksgiving, which ultimately is a sign that it’s CHRISTMAS TIME!!!!!!!!!

Excuse my enthusiasm, but I just can’t understand how anyone can find mediocrity in days like these: waking up to the smell of sausages sizzling in a skillet, delivering diverse cookie plates to my closest friends’ doorsteps, circling around the table in pursuit of our prey–a seafood feast made complete by Mom’s all-bran roles. You might notice that all of these events involve stuffing my face.

My whole year revolves around Christmas, or rather Christmas Eve (I like the anticipation). If every day were Christmas Eve, I would be the happiest of campers.

In my small family of three, Christmas is a big effing deal. We don’t waste time getting a tree, although we do spend an awful lot of time picking one out. Last year, we spent about 4 hours, went to three different farms, and criticized more Christmas trees than is probably healthy–for us or the trees.  Too tall, too small, too fat, too lop-sided, and too perfect are all serious issues that we mow over each year until we find the right one. And even after all that trouble, the poor tree will inevitably end up getting a haircut in the middle of our living room. Then it’s time to do the lights and the ornaments, and that’s just a whole new ballgame.

So as you can see, we take a lot of pride in the details of our Christmas, and making sure that we are consistent in our traditions. My priorities are mainly that we get the perfect tree, rearrange the presents on a weekly basis, make lots of Christmas cookies, and have our seafood feast on Christmas Eve.

Here’s the conflict: I want to lose a sizable amount of weight in time for my mom’s wedding in Maui on January 22nd. However, I refuse to deprive myself completely of the joys of Christmas…namely, eating treats. So my plan for my next goal, which I will announce in a mere moment, will begin today on November 1st. In this plan I will not swear off any foods (besides the obvious) until after December 25th. (I know that this sounds like it goes against my title of No Moore Muffins, but bear with me.)

My goal is three fold: 1) To not gain one pound of holiday weight. 2) To lose at least 15 pounds before January 16th. (I would just like to note that I initially put 12 pounds, but changed my mind. Losing 15 would mean I was the smallest size of my life). 3) To feel comfortable — not just fine–being photographed in a bikini.

And there you have it. I am going to be losing weight while simultaneously eating Christmas cookies. I know it sounds insane, but I have a pretty specific tactic of how I’m going to manage my holiday needs while still getting results. I figure if I allow myself just a couple holiday treats a week and balance that with extra cardio and strength, I can indulge while still getting beach-ready.

It’s all about balance.

  • I will workout every day, 6 days a week, alternating and combining strength, cardio and yoga. I want to be toned.
  • I will be on a low-carb diet in general, and eating mostly fruits, veggies, and protein.
  • For every day that I have a Holiday treat I will workout extra hard. (The only exception to this rule is Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.)
  • On days that I have more than one Holiday treat, I must workout twice, no exceptions.
  • After Christmas, I will have a little less than a month to be freed of cookie season. The dates between December 26th and January 22nd will be treat-free.
  • I will weigh myself at the beginning of each month. If my results are not where they should be at the beginning of December, I will need to adjust in one way or another.
  • The key to this is to enjoy small amounts of Christmas goodies. Small portions, diligent and diverse workouts, and controlled decision making. I will be calmly tasting the cake, if you will, for the next two months. There’s no need to eat 7 cookies, when I can just have one or two in a calm fashion and enjoy them just the same.

I’m now double excited for the Holiday season, can’t wait to get on that scale tomorrow, and into a bikini in January. The journey starts today, and I will be posting my healthy solutions along the way.

Wish me luck!

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Exercise, Weightloss

My Spin on Cycling

I’m not a pro at bicycling by any means. My boyfriend Philip will tell you that I ride like a girl. Maybe he’s right, but then again, he hasn’t seen me in spin class.

Cycling, also known as spinning, is one of those activities that is really hard if you’re not in shape. So even though I was in a hurry to get out of town yesterday, I decided to squeeze in a class before hitting the road. And as usual, I’m glad I did.

The experience of a cycling class is always fun–and also amusing. I can always count on the one or two newbies–usually a guy and a girl–that hide out in the back. Right off the bat, they’re recognizable by the way they aimlessly wander around the seat-less bikes. About 10 minutes into the ride, they look to the instructor with fear, as if pleading for a break. It’s funny to me now–watching the noobs. But I vividly remember being a clueless wreck when I entered the room of my first cycling class.

Maybe it’s the fact that I knew overweight people don’t look all that attractive on a bike. Or maybe it’s that I was conscious of the way my butt would look on that groin-smashing bicycle seat, bouncing up and down in the saddle for the person behind me to observe. Or MAYBE it’s the fact that my instructor was a very blonde, very lean woman in a hot pink tank top whose genuine hardcore-ness practically attacked me at the door. Either way, I was particularly nervous to try this thing. Her name was Jackie Brooks, and she is the most intense fitness instructor I have ever had. In fact, she was more of a coach than an instructor. When I think of her, I envision her large eyes, full of fire, drilling intensely into the back wall, (I like to think she was envisioning a race track ahead of her). She would yell things like “Don’t you quit on me! Gear-UP!” and “On a scale from 1 to 10, you better be at a sixTEEN!”

Since I took her class, no other cycling teacher has been able to come close. I’ve had enough bad cycling teachers to know how to value a good one. The worst one was an old hippie lady, very Eugene. She played awful music that seemed to make me sleepy rather than energized.  She forced us to put our cycles in a large semi-circle, so we we disabled from checking ourselves in the mirror. But worst of all, the hippie lady did not challenge us one little bit. Instead, she provided us with excuses to take it easy. “Don’t push too hard now,” she would say. Why on earth would I pay 5 dollars per workout so that I can take it easy? I’ll give you a hint: I wouldn’t.

I’ve also had a couple 20-something brunettes who put on a decent, but not spectacular, class. The first one was pretty tough, but she was also really interested in making sex noises while she egged us on. She was always moaning and saying things like “stay with me, and I’ll stay with you,” in a breathy voice. The other brunette was a peppy and talkative girl who was probably my age. She pushed us and gave good instruction, but she couldn’t compare to Jackie Brooks. She kicked my ass.

After that first day of cycling, I was hooked. I had never felt more victorious after a workout, and I couldn’t have been hungrier. I could physically feel the impact of this phenomenal activity. A massive amount of calories had been sucked from my system, and were replaced by void in my stomach. (Now I like to eat peanut butter granola bars immediately after class.)  According to Glamour Magazine’s handy health calculator, one can burn anywhere from 750-915 calories from doing 50 minutes of moderate to rigorous spinning. So it’s really no surprise that I have found cycling to be the best cardio workout I have ever had in my life. Yes, even better than running.

Similar to running, cycling is the kind of activity that you don’t want to push yourself too hard at. If you do, you could end up sitting in a pool of your own sweat while dizzily hovering over a toilet in the Student Rec Center bathroom…or something. (I think I was dehydrated). So as tempting as it is to push it to the max, it is also important to prevent yourself from hurling. Drink plenty of water throughout your day, so that when you show up to class you are ready to sweat it all off. Also, you should use proper form to protect yourself from injury, AND to get the most out of your workout.

I can’t stress enough just how important it is to bring a water bottle and sweat towel to class. After each drill, whether it be a seated hill or a standing run, you will be panting heavily and desperate for agua. (Luckily, your instructor will be blasting the music loudly, and masking everyone’s heinous breathing sounds.) I usually go through a whole bottle of water in one class, and there is frequently a decent amount of sweat on the floor when I’m done.

My recommendations are:

1. Take a cycling class.

2. Really listen to what your instructor says about proper bike set-up, and proper cycling form.

3. Push yourself hard, but not too hard.

4. Drink lots of water before and during your class.

5. Use a sweat towel.

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Food, Weightloss

Goodbye Summer, Hello Life!

At the end of the third month of my plan to get bikini ready, I realized that I have actually missed bikini season altogether. As I was looking at the weather report for the last days of August on the Oregon Coast, I found that it was actually predicted to be rainy. Translation: I will not be able to enjoy even one day at a warm and sunny beach this summer because our hot summer days are done for. Consequently, I will not be engaging in your stereotypical summer activities which usually involve being half-naked in a body of water. Am I upset by this fact? I’m not entirely sure.

Mom on the grill for one of the last times this year.

My first emotional reaction to this fact is to be bummed that my efforts, specific to summer, have been pointless. Why make a plan to get skinny in the summer when I’m not even going to be squeezing myself into a bathing suit? But the other part of me is a little relieved. Shopping for swimwear is stressful and grueling to say the least. Trying on swim suits usually tears down my self esteem when my body isn’t quite where I’d like to be. And since the hot weather forces us to wear revealing tank tops and short shorts, I still had reason enough to slim down in the summer. And it’s not like I have to be in a bikini in order to enjoy results.

And beyond the demands of the summer season, I was ready to shed the 10 or more extra pounds that I have been carrying around since Christmas. Furthermore, this has been a lifestyle change that will help me to maintain the weight I’ve lost so far (I’m not entirely sure of the exact number of pounds).

While we’re on the topic of a lifestyle change, I would just like to add that I am aware that in my life I will make mistakes with my eating. I will have days that I do not work out, and my weight will most certainly fluctuate depending on the week. But life is about making mistakes and overcoming them.  I’m a bit nervous for what my next number will be, as I have been a bit lax on my eating lately. I don’t know if it’s because I feel  liberated by the spirit of summer, or if I just need to be reminded of why I don’t eat fast food, but I definitely have not been strict about my food rules. Obviously, I still make healthy choices and am not binge eating, but my diet hasn’t exactly been low-carb. Oh, and by the way, the other day I allowed myself…REAL LIVE ICE CREAM. And a week later, BURGERVILLE.

I’m not excusing my behavior, but my cheek and gums were sore from my dental appointment the other day (I had a filling replaced), so this was the justification I repeated to myself as I allowed Philip to treat me to Baskin Robbins. As for the Burgerville, I really have no excuse. I was desperate, weak, and completely out of line when I had the Seasoned Turkey Burger and a regular serving of french fries. I have taken the liberty of researching the nutritional content of my order, and I’m not happy with my findings: A grand total of 880 calories, 37g of fat, 1060g of sodium. Yuck.

It’s strange because I find that summer is a relatively easy time to go light on fatty foods and fill up on fruits and vegetables instead. All the best produce is in season: peaches, corn, blueberries, raspberries, summer squash, nectarines, lettuce, pineapple, rhubarb, and watermelon!

But sometimes shit happens.

I’ll reach my potential when I get there. I’m in no rush. Besides, my ultimate goal is to figure out how to get to a weight that I am happy with, that I can maintain in the long run, and to figure this out by the time I go to Maui in January.

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Uncategorized

A new place

Photos by Ryan Mowery

I’ve been putting off blogging for more than a week because I didn’t think I had anything informative or insightful to say. Since my weigh-in, things have gone awry. I drove from Eugene to Seattle and back in two days, which exhausted me to say the least. Since it’s finals week and I am in the process of moving into my own apartment, I have been desperately trying to find some sort of balance between packing, exercising, studying, and relaxing. However, the exercise bit has been the most neglected for the past week.

I did manage to get myself up early for a 2.1-mile run on a pretty (and damp) Seattle trail. While staying in the lovely state of Washington, I did surprisingly well with my food rules. Still, I felt guilty for not working out as diligently as I was the previous week. My aunt Kim, who used to be a female body builder and now settles for daily 6am workouts, assured me that once I was in my own environment again I would get right back into the swing of things. I believe her.

The problem is, I’m still not in my own environment even though I’m back in my own city. Sure, I’m home. But having my belongings in two different places is hardly stable. I am a person, as I’m sure many of you are, who is very affected by their environment. If I’m not comfortable in my environment, I get very anxious, overwhelmed and emotional. So when I’m halfway between two places, it’s difficult to go on as normal, working out everyday and doing workout DVDs in my living room.

Both my house and my apartment are in a state of chaos; neither place is complete. My workout clothes are in boxes, my DVDs are packed, and my schedule is all over the place. With all the packing and moving and cleaning and studying going on, I can barely figure out how to live life as normal, let alone squeeze in an hour of cardio.

And speaking of ‘normal’, my eating habits are anything but normal at this point. Since I haven’t worked out every day this week, I have also needed much less food for energy. I’ve been eating very little during the day and haven’t really had a problem with it. I suppose it balances out the not exercising part. To my surprise, when I weighed myself this morning (Oops!) I found that I have actually lost about 2 pounds since August 3rd. I was rather confused when I discovered this because I have not been working out nearly as much as I should be. Despite my two-pound loss, this is not the way in which I roll.

After I get completely moved in to my new place (my very own new place!), I’ll be able to get back in to my tedious  routine. But until then, I think I’ll just do what I can with the circumstances I have. For instance, I’m going to use all my empty space in my new living room to give Yoga a sincere try. After reading Eat, Pray, Love, I just have to see if it’s right for me. Additionally,  today was grocery shopping day. Now that I’ve filled my empty fridge and cabinets with produce and whole foods, I’ll be cooking my first nutritious meal in my apartment tonight.

This entry marks the transition into a new beginning for me. I’ll be living on my own, and discovering a new part of my individuality. I think Yoga will be a rather appropriate new practice  to take on in such a solitary state. I’m taking a deep breath, and diving in to this new stage of adulthood. Can’t wait to share my lessons with you all.

Here we go!

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