Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Weight Loss: Flexible Dieting

I started counting macros (i.e. flexible dieting, iifym) on February 23 when I started training for my race. I wrote a blog about that before. At that time, I had lost six pounds. My experiment worked.

I've now been tracking macros for 17 weeks and two days. I am down about 18 pounds. I've kind of stalled the past couple of weeks because I haven't been very disciplined about my food--not out of control, but not awesome either. I have been disappointed at my lack of progress recently. But knowing it's been 17 weeks and I'm down 18 pounds makes me feel better. It shows me I'm right on track for a healthy pace of weight loss--one pound per week.

I still want to drop another 10 pounds but am not rushing it. I will get there. I'm also trying to focus on clothes, sizes, and measurements. Maybe I haven't lost weight, but I very well could just be losing fat and turning it into muscle with all the weights I've been doing.

After my race, I had Dallas recalculate my macros ( She dropped my carbs and upped my fats, but decreased my overall calorie intake because I weigh less now. It's been really hard adjusting. I'm not going to lie (thus, the stall). I have a hard time hitting my fat and carb goals. In fact, I usually hit the same amount as my macros were before.

But as with anything, this is a learning process. It takes time to adjust and get things down. I recommitted on Sunday to doing better. I've been working my butt off in the gym (like, 90+ minute workouts) and don't want to throw away that progress.

Here are my measurements since February 23, compared with today, June 24.

Neck: 12.5"
Now: 12"

Waist: 36"
Now: 29.5"

Hips: 41"
Now: 38"

Bust: 36.5" (on April 27)
Now: 34"

Chest: 32.5" (on April 27)
Now: 30"

Forearm: 10"
Now: 9.5"

There are pros and cons to flexible dieting, and I wrote about a lot of those back in March. Because I've seen results, a lot of people ask what I'm doing and how it works. I'll try to come up with a quick FAQ...

How do I calculate my macros?
Oh man. Just do a google search, and something will come up. I'll tell you I tried calculating my own using Krissy Cagney's book which you can get {here}. The only reason it didn't work for me is that I calculated too low based on my half marathon training. I'm grateful I had {Dallas} do them for me so I didn't starve or go crazy. The basics are:
- You figure out your maintenance calories
- You want to set protein intake at about your goal weight.
- Your carb intake depends on your activity level, and other health issues. If you're pretty active you'll use the higher multiplier. For example, Dallas added fat to my post-training macros because I have endometriosis.
- Fat is what's left after you subtract your protein and carb calculations.

What if I have a hard time hitting my protein?
Plan better. That's all it came down to for me. It came time to add egg whites to breakfast, chicken or tuna to my salad, along with a boiled egg, and eat string cheese and beef jerky for snacks. It is possible to hit that number every day, just hard to learn how.
- I often have a protein shake at the end of the day when I'm still 20-25g short of my goal (120). I'm about to go make one now.
- Also, these things have been my life savers when I've come up short or been on the go. They actually don't taste too bad.

How do you track your food?
I use MyFitnessPal.

What if you're on the go? What do you eat?
So I usually try to bring food with me like jerky or almonds, to keep in my purse. Also, ThinkThin bars have been serious life savers, particularly the high protein ones.

Oh my, and these are so delicious too (but super high fat)! (190 cal, 12F, 14C 10P)

It's my favorite to check macros on bars to see how they'll affect my macros. My new favorite finds are these:

I found them on clearance at Smiths and then found the coconut ones at Big Lots. 190 calories, 18 carbs, 9 fat, 10 protein in the coconut bar. Perfect for a pre-workout this morning. Sure, fruit is probably better, and that's what I do most days. But sometimes a treat is nice. And honestly, if you're on the go and don't want cold chicken in a bag--look into protein bars.

What about foods that aren't on there?
Guys, you just have to work your way around it. For example, tonight we went to the Food Truck Underground. I got CupBop which was a big a-- bowl of rice, rice noodles, lettuce, and Korean barbecue chicken. So? I added everything independently. 3/4 cup of rice, 3/4 cup of noodles, and chicken bulgogi was in there, and it looked right. Sure, I didn't add the sauce into MFP, so you have to take that into consideration. But you can still get a general idea, and that's better than none at all! We went back to the food trucks to get mini donuts. So, I found a "cinnamon sugar fried mini donuts" in MFP. It looked close enough, and that's what I used. Again, it's better to have an idea!

Your other options are to either go to places that are very macro friendly (Corner Bakery, Chick-Fil-A, Noodles & Co., most chain restaurants, etc.), or eat at home if you don't want to hassle with it.

Isn't it a pain to track?
Um, yes. But to me, it's worth it. I could do a restrictive diet. I might see faster results. Will it stay off? I don't know. Here's the thing: tracking, while it seems restrictive, gives me freedom. I don't have to give up the foods I love and want. I just have to plan and consume in moderation. To stay sane, I'd rather track.

Do you only eat unhealthy foods?
Obviously not. I usually eat an awesome, balanced breakfast and lunch--salad almost every day--and a good dinner with dessert. If I don't eat a good dinner, I usually forego dessert. So it just kind of depends. I have been trying to be better about finding ways to include more veggies. I made caulifloats (cauliflower oats) for breakfast last week. They were so good!

How often do you have to recalculate?
Krissy Cagney's book touches on this.
- If you hit a plateau, that's when it's good to reevaluate.
- If you have big changes in your training plan, you should reevaluate.
- If you've lost a considerable amount of weight, then you probably have to decrease your calories again. Shake things up.
But honestly, not very often. I had my initial calculation, and ONE recalculation in 17 weeks. So, just relax and eat all you can if you're still losing.

What do I need in order to count macros?
You need a food scale. Holy moly, get a digital food scale! My life depends on that thing. We have an unshakable attachment.

How long until you "get good" at hitting your macros?
It took me over a month to feel like "I got this." Be patient with yourself.

What struggles do you have?
- My biggest struggle is probably in my relationship. He has a very lax attitude about food and food choices. I tend to be the one "restricting" us. But I try to stay balanced and flexible, because I'm a "flexible" dieter after all. He has been supportive, and a really good sport, but there have been times where it's been hard to stand my ground.
- I also struggle on Sundays. It's a VERY low activity day, but there's a LOT of good food available usually. So keeping my calories low on Sunday sucks.
- Schedule switches have been hard. It being summer has been an adjustment because I'm using a lot of carbs up in the morning now that I work out in the morning. I am supposed to eat most of my carbs before and after my workout. But I like to save my carbs for dessert later in the day. So it's been hard to try and be balanced, because I feel it if I don't start my day off with enough carbs.
- Not weighing myself. I was doing fine with this until I joined DietBet. I was obsessed with the scale for that time period. I was happy that Patrick took it back. I get on the scale at the gym almost every day lately because I'm just so excited to see it be 20 pounds lighter than I was at my heaviest. I just like to see it.
- Movie theater popcorn. I can eat a whole large popcorn by myself. And I like it completely doused in "butter." So I probably don't need to explain that movie theater popcorn is not macro friendly. ButIloveitsomuchIcoulddie!

I'm a real person. I eat like a real person. Most of my days aren't perfect in terms of macros. But I'm going to stick with it. I'm too far in to give up now! Please comment, email me, or text me if you have questions. I'm an open book.

A Birthday, A Move, A 5K, and More

I like to consider myself a consistent blogger. Then I see one post per month or less, and I feel like I'm a failure. Oh well.

Here is a recap of some things that have happened.

In April, we went to California. And Disneyland. And took our first trip to the temple together as a couple to do my mimi's (paternal grandmother) baptism. And we went to a Bees game.

In May, we celebrated Patrick's birthday Avengers style, my parents sent me an edible arrangement, Patrick's nephew was born, we got engaged, we house shopped, I picked a wedding dress (no picture here!), I ran a half marathon, I moved to my roommate's townhome, we went to another Bees game, and I ran a 5K with an awesome third grader.

He put the balloons on the ceiling.

Bees game with friends

Girls on the Run event with Reagan

Roses at my roommate's townhome
And so far in June... We tried The Chocolate (OMG why didn't anyone tell me about this sooner?!), we went to Ruth's Diner for the first time, I went to the food truck roundup with Randi, I went to This is the Place with my grandma and aunts, we went to another Bees game, we got waffles, we played in Park City, we took engagement pictures, we tried the Q4U food truck, and we saw Ingrid Michaelson!

And that puts us current. If I were actually good at keeping a journal, I wouldn't care so much about updating my blog. I need to be good at at least ONE of these. Ay caramba.

I Trained, I Sweated, I Ran

Well, I committed to a race in February, and I blogged a little about the training. It was a 12 week schedule. And I accidentally started a week early. So I ended up repeating week 8 (or was it 9?).

Anyway, I drove down to Alpine and had my stuff all ready to go. I was pretty disappointed that there were only THREE outhouses. Granted, there were not that many runners, but still. You know that everyone is going to pee before they run 13.1 miles.

I was grateful that the weather, which was predicted as rain, was actually clear and lovely.

I enjoyed my run. I stopped for water several times. I even slowed to take pictures when I was close to the mountain.

One major hiccup was at mile 10. With only 5K left to go, my Bluetooth headphones died. They straight up died. They didn't beep due to low battery. Nothing. Just suddenly the music stopped. I am probably much too dependent on music for my runs. I ended up holding my phone in my hand with the music on speaker so I could finish.

I ended up finishing at 2:15:04, which was over 15 minutes faster than my first half. And I placed 107 out of 189 overall, which isn't that exciting. I finished at 11 out of 39 in my division (females 20-29). And 55 out of 114, all females.

Here are some photos. :)

With my awesome fan club! :) They've come to both of my races. Thank you ladies!

13 days engaged in this picture. 

I got my medal.

When you run 13.1, you get Kneaders after.

I had no real repercussions from this race. It was mostly uphill. My knees were great. My stomach hurt a little when I was done; I only used one packet of fuel (which was baby food, as always). All I lost was one toenail.

I've been running consistently ever since. I think I may try to train for a full marathon when I'm 30. It's not that I don't think I can do it. It's that it takes up so much time! But maybe after settling into marriage for a little while, I'll be able to do it.

I love running.

If anyone ever needs present ideas for me, I need these types of headbands (super thick band). And these shirts are ah-mazing.

Friday, June 12, 2015

11 Things You May Not Know About Patrick

So many people who don’t know Patrick, haven’t met him, or haven’t heard me talk much about him always ask me, “So who is this guy?” How am I supposed to answer that? He’s certainly a guy. And he’s the guy I’m marrying. But here are some facts about him you may not have known. Hopefully he won't be too mad at me for any of this because he is a super private person. But here we go!

1. He loves baths. That’s right. My man who can tear down walls, build, sand, and refinish cabinets, and smoke some yummy pork loves bubble baths. We aren’t just talking about the in and out kind either. We are talking about the kind that involves lavender and menthol bath salts. The kind that involves a bath pillow. That’s right, a bath pillow.

2. He has a very clean car. In fact, clean cars are so important to him that it stresses him out when my car gets dirty. He has cleaned my car inside and out on more than one occasion, bringing his microfiber cloth out and wiping down my dashboard, using window cleaner on the in and outside, and vacuuming it at the car wash down the road. I can let my car get pretty gross, but he won’t let it.

3. He has an opinion. Oftentimes, you can prepare yourself for a soapbox when he starts with, “See, here are my thoughts.” Patrick can get pretty heated over things that get blown up in news media (like Black Friday criticism, the Josh Duggar case, etc.) and politics (health care, new minimum wage, etc.). And here my family thought he was quiet. Not the case. So I’m warning you in advance, if these topics get brought up, prepare yourself.

4. He can fall asleep anywhere, anytime. Sadly, my fiancĂ©e has sleep apnea. This is both central and obstructive. He wears a mask, which doesn’t seem to help much. He had surgery to remove his uvula, tonsils, and back of his upper palate. The only thing this helped with is his snoring (thanks, doc!). He’s constantly exhausted and can sleep no matter what time of day it is.

5. He’s great at just listening. I know a lot of women struggle with men because they want to solve problems rather than just listen and understand. I rarely have to clarify which I want. Patrick is very good at asking, “What can I do for you?” while hugging me and telling me he is sorry I’m having a rough day. He’s also very good at reassuring me that everything is going to be OK.

6. He tells me I’m beautiful every day. That’s right. I don’t think a day goes by that he doesn’t tell me I am beautiful. Sometimes it is multiple times a day. Sometimes I think he says that because he can’t articulate deeper feelings that he has. Either way, I will take it because I’m grateful that he sees me that way and reminds me of it frequently.

7. He’s a fabulous cook. He makes things pretty fancy, buying fresh herbs for his potatoes, “butterflying” his chicken breast, and making his own barbecue sauce. He used to bake chocolate chip cookies and freeze the extra dough so he could make a dozen at a time. And one of his favorite things to make is German pancakes with buttermilk syrup. He makes cooking into a much bigger ordeal than I do, and it’s something I appreciate about him.

8. He likes to spend money. This can be a good and bad thing. It’s good because I am the opposite. It’s bad because, well, saving money is important. But I love that his generosity is evident in every situation. Whether he’s giving a couple dollars to a vagrant or telling me to “get whatever I want” at dinner, I love that he’s not cheap. He doesn’t expect me to pay for anything, and I probably take that for granted. Now that we’re getting married, this may not happen very often. So I’m stating now how I appreciate it.

9. He once had a motorcycle and was hit by a car. I do love riding on my dad’s motorcycle. And I trust careful motorcyclists, but I don’t trust other drivers. I feel like motorcyclists are just in a lot of danger in general. Maybe someday I’ll be more open to the idea, with intense defensive classes and a 100% guarantee of helmet-wearing.

10. He survived a horrific accident. He talks about this as a moment where his life was spared. If you had seen pictures of what was left of his car, you wouldn’t know how on earth he survived, and how he walked away basically unscathed. A huge truck didn’t see the traffic ahead of him was stopped, and crushed Patrick’s entire car up to the back of his seat. It’s pretty amazing that he was OK.

11. He is adopted. This isn’t a secret that he keeps, and he actually isn’t very sensitive about it. He makes jokes with his family and people around him. It doesn’t bother him at all to talk about. It’s even been a topic with us in case my endometriosis complicates our ability to get pregnant. He’s very open to the idea of adopting.

Now you know a little about “this guy.” He’s pretty great, and he treats me very well. I’m a lucky girl and sometimes take his general sweetness, generosity, and love for granted. But I am grateful to have him in my life. If I had to be stuck with someone, then I’m glad it’s him. 

Yeah, super tough guy who loves luxury baths.