Yes, I Would Like Some Cheese

I’m done with one month of PiYo. I did the calander, start to finish. I did all the workouts. I’m supposed to tell you now how amazing and life changing it was, how fantastic I feel, how I’m never going back to eating 4 oz of goat cheese and an entire box of triscuits on the couch while heckling American Ninja Warrior in my pajama pants.

Well.

Truth is, I don’t feel great. Let me do a quick run down of how my month went.

1st Week: Ok, I can do this, not too hard. Feels good to workout a bit, definitely feel it in my arms. Her “modifier” lady could probably bench me I am so out of shape.

2nd Week: YEAH MAN. I’M A BEAST! WOOOOO!!! THAT’S RIGHT, CHALENE, WE ARE AWESOME!

3rd Week: I’m still doing this! Look at me! Sticking with a program for longer than 2 weeks! Don’t really feel like I’m ever going to be as ripped as bald guy there, but hey, it could happen, I’ve still got a week left.

4th Week: I am so tired of these workouts. Say that smarmy thing one more time and I will KARATE CHOP YOUR FACE.

Tonight, final workout: Yeah, you’ve all got your six packs and half of you have had children or are over 40 or a Nobel Prize winner or WHATEVER, OK, I GET IT. I GET IT. It’s 9 o’clock my house has passed disaster and moved right into “need archaeological dig to find kitchen floor” I feel so flippin’ bloated (thanks PMS) and it’s RAINY and has BEEN RAINY so the boys are nuts and I’M GRUMPY and I don’t want to hear you tell me how great I feel because I DON’T FEEL GREAT. STUPID PIYO!

PiYoEnd

Yes. I would like some cheese with my whine.

That said, I lost 3.25 inches total spread out over waist, hips, and thighs. So it wasn’t a total bust.

Honestly, working out and eating well can’t be JUST about end goals, although those are really important to keep you motivated. You’ve got to examine your priorities and place your health near the top. You have to understand that everyone needs to exercise regularly. Not just the obese, not just athletes. Everyone.

That’s the only thing that keeps me going on days like today, where everything is a disaster and I feel like I will never make any progress. Even if I never lose one more pound or one more inch, my body needs exercise. My immune system, my skeletal system, my digestive system, my cardiac system, my nervous system…no matter if I DO get a nice 6 pack and killer thighs-I will STILL need regular exercise.

So I did it. I’m not feeling on top of the world, but I am glad I finished.

Tomorrow starts p90x3.

It’s More Then Weight Loss – An Update

I have this wary relationship with scales and measuring tapes. Growing up with a mom who was (among the many hats she wears) an eating disorder specialist made me keenly aware of issues like self image, the media’s portrayal of normal, photoshop, food relationships and assumptions, etc., etc., etc. And for that awareness I am truly thankful. I have a little voice in the back of my head that checks my “healthy binges” to remind me not to overexercise, to cherish the body I’ve been given (its lack of curves a source of much angst in high school), and to wear what makes ME feel pretty-societies fashion opinions be darned. But it also makes me leery of scales and measuring tapes.

So. With a mild sense of concern I “taped”  and weighed myself within the first week of starting PiYo and recorded the measurements. I’m in the middle of the last week of the first month (how’s that for precise, ha) and I’ve been sporadically weighing myself throughout. Anyone who weighs themselves consistently knows that your weight fluctuates from day to day- your “water weight”. And you are also heavier or lighter at different parts of the day so you should weigh yourself at the same time and the same place to get consistent results. I didn’t do any of that, I weighed myself whenever I both remembered and there were no kids present. It came as no surprise that at one point I had lost three pounds from my starting weight or that recently I had gained a pound, but even though it isn’t a surprise-it’s still frustrating. You workout daily, you want to see results gosh darn it!

Tonight I casually took a few measurements just to see if that made any difference (even though my weight “loss” was only a few ounces according to the scale) and I was VERY surprised, and gratified, to discover I’d lost an inch around my natural waist, and half an inch around my legs. Progress! Measurable progress! I LOVE progress!! It’s not so much that I have a lot to lose (5-10lbs max), more that I want to redistribute the weight-get me some muscle, lose me some fluff. 😉 I’m actually really glad I taped.

I don’t have target numbers-maybe I should, but I don’t. But I did take a “Before” picture. I want to be fit and toned, I want my body to be sound, my immune system strong, my energy levels high, I want to physically be in excellent health. And thanks to my mom, I know that doesn’t mean just numbers on a scale or on a measuring tape. Tonight, however, that measuring tape was a nice concrete reminder of progress in my “weight redistribution effort”.

I s’pose measuring isn’t so evil after all.

P.S. It also holds me accountable. Maybe one of the reasons I shied away from “Before” pictures or measuring in the past was then I couldn’t rely on the, “Well my jeans feel a bit looser I must be doing ok” as a measuring stick. That’s a pretty subjective measuring stick and one that didn’t really hold me to my efforts. If I really want this, I need to admit I want it, ESPECIALLY to myself. Pics and measurements are a good place to start.

Drinking the Beachbody Koolaid

I keep trying to find ways to write a blog post that talks about Shakeology, should I ease into it a bit guiltily? Laugh at my absurd obsession? Try to be all inspiring and stuff? Truth is, any of those perspectives would work but I am a bit frazzled with all the move chaos so my creative juices aren’t in full flow.

I do feel slightly guilty for how much I am enjoying Shakeology because I usually just don’t like shakes or smoothies. They’re ok, but I rarely seek them out, even milkshakes or malts are just  “eh, take or leave it”. And I’ve had my fair share of health drinks/meal replacement shakes/protein smoothies and they all leave an after taste of dried feet. Gross. So, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I like the taste of Shakeology-I look forward to drinking it. Not the vanilla flavor-gag me with a sock-but the tropical strawberry and vegan chocolate are very palatable and absolutely not feet tasting. At least, when you add over a cup of various fruit to your blender along with the powder, haha. To be fair, I can drink them just shaken in water, but I don’t like them as much that way.

It may have gotten a bit out of hand, though, because I was without it for over a week and when it finally arrived in the mail I was so excited I almost Instagramed a photo of the box. Then I was like, whoa, that’s a bit much, nobody cares about your box of nutritional powder. You’re welcome, Instagram followers.

I don’t know how to be all “light a fire under your butt” inspiring, but I WILL say that as a meal replacement Shakeo is quick and easy, doesn’t make me hungry 30 minutes after drinking it, it’s quick and easy, it tastes good, it’s quick and easy, and I think it may actually help keep me from snacking the rest of the day while giving me a nice boost in energy first thing in the morning. Did I mention it was quick and easy? Or that my two year old likes to push the buttons on the blender and my one year old thinks my Shakeo cup is just the coolest thing ever to lug around nonstop? You can’t beat a drink that is ALSO child entertainment.

ShakeoZ1 ShakeoZ2 ShakeoZ3

After we finally move and get settled I’d like to write a post comparing Shakeology with Soylent since Brian drinks Soylent as his meal replacement (I couldn’t stomach the taste day in and day out but he doesn’t mind it). They’ve got very different back stories and different ingredients and serve slightly different functions but kinda have some similarities, too. Biggest difference is Shakeology is entirely real food ingredients and Soylent uses synthetically derived chemical components for some of it’s nutrient sources. And the taste, they definitely taste different.

ANYway, anyone else have a meal replacement drink they like? Have you had any luck losing weight or gaining muscle or dropping blood pressure/improving lab levels or boosting immune system, etc., etc., etc.? This is only my second month on Shakeology, and the biggest thing for me is it seems to balance out my blood sugar in the morning so I don’t crash and get all woozy mid morning. I tried drinking Ensure during a race (I think it was a race? maybe just a training run?) once. It was rough. I kept burping up that nasty aftertaste. It did provide me with nutrients but, ugh. Almost bad as trying to eat those racing GUs gel packet thingies. Blech.

There you have it, I am totally drinking the Beachbody koolaid. I’m one of them now (cue horrified screaming in the background).

Eat Your Cake…and Enjoy it for Pete’s Sake!

I know there are some people out there who identify so entirely with their food lifestyle that they not only must share with everyone in the room, they also imply a weird sense of superiority if you aren’t on the same page. You know, like the mom raising an eyebrow at me while I let my 6 month old lick frosting off my finger from the giant sheet cake in the room. The mom went on and on about what her little one did and did not like and what they did and did not allow her to have, naming all the toxic ingredients in processed foods and the dangers of sugar, all the while seemingly perplexed at why her three year old daughter was shooting daggers at her hummus sandwich (she usually loves hummus!) as the other kids ate cake.

Now you, reader, are a grown adult. If you love your cupcakes and ramen, then eat your cupcakes and ramen! The thing is, the crap that a steady diet of cupcakes and ramen does to your system isn’t going to change just because you would prefer it that way. For example: soda is toxic. It just is, people. Not only does it inhibit weight loss and increase weight gain, it’s been linked to so many diseases it’s ridiculous. But if you really like your Diet Dr Pepper, then drink your Diet Dr Pepper. You don’t have to feel guilty or shamed by it, just understand the risk and make your decision with your eyes open. Don’t try to justify it, either, with “Well, I had OJ at breakfast so I can have my soda now and be fine.” Nope. It’s still toxic poison. Own it and move on. I’m not about shaming or guilt-ing anyone about their food choices-but I’m not about lying about its effect on your body just so you feel better about your choice. Alcohol is a poison and I consume it on occasion knowing this. I’ve got my big girl panties on, I’m ok with it.

Nutrition is just one reason why we eat food. Pleasure is a big reason for eating food, and so is social companionship. They are ALL valid reasons for food. Now, I like feeling energetic and healthy and not have as many annoying headaches and weird spells of foggy headed lethargy, so for me the cutting out preservatives and processed foods has made a difference and continues to do so. It is totally worth it for me. But you know what else is totally worth it? Sharing birthday cake with my boys. Licking cookie batter. Cheese fries with friends. I don’t do those things frequently, and even my “unhealthy” choices are getting healthier because my taste is changing and I’ve become a lightweight when it comes to processed sugar, but I do them, and I enjoy every last minute. I don’t have “cheat days” or “cheat meals”, this is a lifestyle choice. I choose to eat birthday cake with gusto and guilt free-just not everyday.

I would challenge you to keep track of what you eat for a couple of days. Read a few labels. Do some google searches on some of those preservatives that have health nuts up in arms. You might be surprised with how much unhealthy stuff you consume without realizing it. The first step is knowledge. This isn’t about a diet to get you to squeeze into a pair of skinny jeans, it’s about making intentional decisions about what you’re eating and enjoying your life-and food!- in the process.

Let’s Talk Chemicals

You guys, I love chemistry. I’m not a chemist. I don’t have an advanced degree in it, and I’ve only had your standard chem classes in college and two semesters of Organic Chemistry, so I am not claiming to be the bee’s knees when it comes to all things chemical. However, you don’t need a PhD to understand the very basic premise that EVERYTHING is chemistry.

I know, it’s borderline pedantic to pick on the clean eating community for using, “NO CHEMICALS!” as a rallying call, but yeah, I’m the voice in the back going, “Well, actually, everything is a chemical…” My issue with processed food then clearly isn’t that chemicals exist, but rather which chemicals are present (Potassium Bromate in bread *shudder*) and also how those chemicals were made.

For example, THE GREAT NITRATE DEBATE! Sodium nitrate is a preservative in almost all sausages, bacon, hotdogs, and deli meat. Synthetically created sodium nitrate has been linked to cancer. Naturally derived sodium nitrate from celery powder or liquid, on the other hand, doesn’t cause any problems. This confused me to no end at first, because I was looking for “uncured” meat that was actually not uncured at all, just cured with celery powder/liquid (ie naturally occurring sodium nitrate).

Wait, wait, wait. So one sodium nitrate is ok and the other isn’t? That doesn’t make any sense!

Actually, it does. There was this drug called Thalidomide used in the 60’s to treat morning sickness (among other things) with great success! Except for the side effect of horrible birth defects in many of the infants. The problem? Isomers. The molecule came in two forms, mirror images of each other. Until the scientists figured THAT out, and then figured out how to separate the isomers, the toxic isomer was causing birth defects while the non toxic isomer was just doing it’s job.

Get it? The scientists didn’t know (Yeah, stricter drug testing may have been a result of that fiasco…).  I am not claiming sodium nitrate is an isomer, what I’m saying is we still don’t know a lot. The cool thing about science is there is always more to explore. The crappy thing about science is it can lead to some pretty stellar ego problems. I, for one, don’t assume that even though all known tests rule a synthetic compound as identical to a naturally occurring one, that identical is really what they are. They could be different at a level that right now is too subtle for science to understand and identify. So forgive me, scientists, if I don’t jump on board the “Oh it’s fine” band wagon just because it looks the same. There are those other scientists doing studies that seem to indicate that some of these chemicals really aren’t “fine” at all.

I don’t know, you guys, I don’t know all the facts about all the chemicals. I don’t believe the food industry is necessarily out to poison us all or that there is a health insurance conspiracy to make us all sick. I do believe the idea of preserving food for longer was based predominantly on money, but it seems ridiculous to accuse people of functioning typically in a capitalist economy.

The increasing rates of not just obesity but disease in this otherwise 1st world country makes me nervous. The fact that the FDA still allows additives and food colorings that are banned in other countries alarms me. And I am doing the research, as slow and tedious as it is, to read the studies that link all sorts of additives and preservatives with all sorts of issues. Until I KNOW which ones are ok and which ones aren’t, eating clean at least 80% of the time just makes sense-ounce of prevention equals pound of cure and all that. AND it has already made a difference in my health. I have more energy now with two small children and sporadic sleep patterns then I did when living with just my husband and my dog. My moods are more stable, not less so. I was back into my pre first pregnancy jeans by 6 months post partum with my second child even though I wasn’t working out as much.

In a nutshell, every food is chemical, but not all chemicals should be added to food.

Embarrasin’

So I signed up to be a “Discount Coach” through Beachbody so I could get…wait for it…a discount! My discount is on Shakeology (a meal replacement type drink that I am cautiously enjoying but it’s only been a week so I’m waiting to give it my complete seal of approval). One of the most cost effective ways to become a coach is to purchase a “Challenge Pack” which you customize for what you want, and for me it was my ShakeO order and the exercise pack for “CIZE”. It’s a dance program exercise thingy, and I got it so that I could maybe get Cade and Zane to join in because I want them to witness me exercising as a normal part of life and dance is fun, right?

Oh man. It was disastrous. Cade was thrilled when I turned on the TV mid morning instead of one of the usually scheduled “TV times” but his excitement quickly turned to puzzlement at the appearance of Shaun T with a bunch of back up dancers and thumpy music. His puzzlement rapidly became disapproval as I started flailing around tripping over my feet in my attempts to follow along. He flung out his hand and yelled in horror, “STOP MOMMY STOP!!” repeatedly.

Sheesh kid, way to bolster my pasty white girl hip hop confidence.

As a nice counterpoint, Zane was giggling madly at the dancers and flinging his own arms up and down and twirling his wrists. Super cute and I wish I had my phone set up to video him, but I was too busy relearning my left and right feet.

Well, Cade finally ran to the couch to watch in scowling disapproval (so much for me getting him to join in) and Zane became so enthusiastic that he wrapped himself around my knees with the tenacity of an octopus (future parents take note-small children develop an uncanny ability to utilize phantom limbs that make it impossible to pry them off of you). I finally gave up when Zane started wailing because I wasn’t picking him up-but I made it to the last 8 minutes out of 30!

At the end of the workout I was definitely sweaty and tired, my heart rate nice and high, but it didn’t surprise me. I knew dance was stinking hard work, I’d watched my sister dance for years. What surprised me is how sore I am ALREADY even though I did nothing but the easy basic for beginner program and the moves did NOT seem that difficult physically, the challenge mainly seemed to be the whole “arms do this while feet do that independently but in rhythm” thing. It hurts just sitting here typing this.

Anyway, I’ll give it another go tomorrow. Maybe Cade will warm up to the idea with enough repetition? (HA!)