August 15, 2013

Ab Ripper X (or why I hate Tony Horton)

So, as Hubs and I have increased our stamina and fitness, we decided to up the intensity of our workouts. Hubs did P90X a few years ago and was some kinda buff.  Then he got the flu, took a week off and that was all she wrote.  He held on to the DVDs though, so when discussing our exercises he suggested we start using the Ab Ripper X workout every other day to help prepare ourselves for when we jump into the full P90X workout schedule.  Of course I thought it was a brilliant idea.  We could continue to improve our fitness and throw in some intense ab workouts to better prepare for the next step.  I have been feeling super enthusiastic about my workouts, and I know I have gained stamina, strength and endurance.  Surely I was ready for a 15-minute ab workout.  Should be no problem, right? 

Wrong.  So, so wrong. 

The P90X guy, Tony Horton, is super fit.  Like Chuck Norris before his Walker, Texas Ranger days.  Like Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator.  Like Sly Stallone in Rocky.  You know, FIT. He's also really enthusiastic.  He talks a lot.  Like, a whole lot.  Although his words are that of encouragement, you can't help but get pissed when you're sweating like a pig, out of breath trying to do the 117th variation of a sit up and this guy is Chatty Kathy-ing it up about spandex or feeling good or something (I'm not entirely sure, I wasn't listening. I was trying not to think about the remaining seven minutes in the workout). 

I won't lie, I feel like a beast after completing the workout.  But it HURTS. LIKE. HELL.  My abs were so sore the next day that I could have cried. I did it again on the second assigned night and it was just as torturous as the first time.  My abs weren't quite as angry at me the day after that, though, so I'm hopeful that after I fight through it tonight my abs will have adjusted and be able to forgive me.  

All in the name of being fit and sexy. 

August 14, 2013

Little victories

Yesterday I had some girl time planned with some lady friends, and as I haven't put on a pair of jeans since Spring, I reached automatically for the size 26 (yes, internet, I just admitted my pant size) jeans, the 'ol reliable off-brand-because-popular-clothing-companies-refuse-to-use-that-many-yards-of-fabric-for-one-pair-of-jeans-because-if-they-did-it-would-cost-$200/pair.  When I put them on, I was delighted to find that they were way too big.
I WISH my stomach was this small (it will be). You get the picture. 

I had a couple of other size 26 jeans and one pair of size 24, but in my peripheral I saw hanging in my closet a pair of Mossimo 22s I bought back in 2005.  Yes, I've been hanging on to them for eight years.  When they no longer fit, I told myself that someday I'd be able to wear them again, after one of the MANY diets I attempted.  Each time I went through my clothes to toss out stuff, I never threw them out.  Despite the fact that when I tried to put them on I looked like this:
This tummy picture is much more accurate.

I still held on to the hope that someday, somehow, I'd start losing weight and I'd need them in the in-between sizes. 

Yes, 22 is still a quite large size, but since I haven't been able to FIT into them in over eight years, I figured being able to get them on again would be a small victory of sorts.  I debated internally for a few minutes, then decided to give it the old college try and see if I could squeeze myself into them.  I pulled them up with a fair bit of ease, then took a breath and pulled the waist together to button.


The buttons snapped with no pulling, no struggling, no sucking in or laying flat on my back.  Those puppies not only fit, they were LOOSE!


I just stared down at my waist for a second, then started to giggle.  Yes, I giggled in my closet.  For a good two minutes.  Then I just felt such pride.  You dropped two pants sizes, I realized.  Two! That thought was followed by, If you can drop two sizes, then by God, you can drop more!

Of course the little nagging witch in my head (I call her Myrtle) was there to try and convince me that it's impossible to lose that much weight, but I shut her up easily this time.  I CAN do it.  I can get down to a size that I'm comfortable and confident in.  I can, and I will.

Just sit back and watch me, Myrtle.

August 13, 2013

Yes I can. I can!

Sometimes I feel like Eddie Murphy in the Nutty Professor, after Sherman gets motivated and starts eating right and jogging up a ridiculous number of stairs.  You know, when he gets to the top and does the Rocky dance thing.  Yeah, that's how I've felt lately. 

Before I started getting fit, though, I felt like this: 

I thought it wouldn't matter how many miles I walked/jogged, how many crunches or jumping jacks or cardio workouts I did.  I felt like I would always be fat.  I have always been overweight, so maybe I was just one of those people who would stay overweight their whole life.  

I have quickly learned that it does, indeed, matter how many miles I walk.  Every day that I walk gets me more in shape than I was the day before.  Every time I do a Chris Powell workout, that's 30 minutes of cardio and core strengthening I've accomplished.  Getting healthier, day by day, matters.  

It matters that I'm eating better.  It matters that I'm drinking water instead of sweet tea all day long.  It matters that I eat more fruit and vegetables than pasta and bread.  It matters that by getting healthier, I can look forward to watching my kids grow up, instead of worrying that I won't make it to see them become adults.  

It matters.  

So, with that in mind, I'm sharing this video of poor Sherman from The Nutty Professor, and how he started off feeling down about working out, but got better and better at it.  Progress, guys.  Progress. 

August 12, 2013

Monday's Meal

Happy Monday! (Yeah, right.) 

Since I've been eating clean, I spend a LOT of time searching for recipes that don't include butter, sugar and other no-no items.  The best recipes I've found have been thanks to Instagram and Pinterest.  There are many great accounts posting fitness motivation and recipes.   

I have designated Mondays as recipe day.  Each week I'll share a new recipe that I've found and tried.  Up first: 

Garlic & Lemon Chicken
 posted by Key Ingredient on Pinterest 

4      chicken breasts
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced, 1 juiced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ pound trimmed green beans (I used 2 cans)
6       red potatoes, cubed or quartered


Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a large baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer in the bottom of the dish or skillet.
In a large bowl, combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper; add the green beans and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the green beans and arrange them on top of the lemon slices. Add the potatoes to the same olive-oil mixture and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, arrange the potatoes along the inside edge of the dish or skillet on top of the green beans. Place the chicken in the same bowl with the olive-oil mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the chicken, skin-side up, in the dish or skillet. Pour any of the remaining olive-oil mixture over the chicken. Roast for 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the dish or skillet. Place the beans and potatoes back in oven for 10 minutes more or until the potatoes are tender. Place a chicken breast on each of 4 serving plates; divide the green beans and potatoes equally. Serve warm.

This recipe is super-easy and something that takes very little prep time.  Best part: it was DELICIOUS! Even Hubs and the kiddos were fans.  I only ate two bites of potato, but had my fill of the green beans.  

If you try it out, let me know what you thought! 

August 11, 2013

Progress is a process

Hey, guys.  Hope all is well in your lives and summer has been a fantastic one filled with lots of sunshine, love and happiness! My summer has been great, though not quite long enough.  I (finally) graduated in May with my Bachelor of Arts in History, and I will begin my first graduate courses in just a few weeks as I pursue my Masters in History.  I am equal parts excited and terrified at taking on graduate school.  My oldest daughter starts kindergarten and my youngest starts pre-k on the 19th.  Basically, this month is going to be jam-packed with new adventures for all of us.  I welcome the challenges! 

I last posted back in April and was attempting, yet again, to cut back on bad food and be more active.  This has been an off-and-on thing since I fell off the wagon last Spring. In June I jumped back on the wagon in full force, and have since created a great fitness routine that I'm  proud to say the Hubs has joined in on, and I have changed my meals to strictly clean foods.  My mindset has become less about weight loss and more about fitness.  I want to be fit and healthy.  I want my kids to see my husband and I eating well and exercising - and enjoying it - so they can learn good habits and being healthy will just be a part of life for them, and not something they have to struggle with. 

What really boosted my motivation recently has been Extreme Weight Loss with Chris Powell.  I saw a preview for an episode, so I went on YouTube and found several episodes from seasons past.  With each episode I watched, I found myself thinking, man, if people 400 and 500 pounds can find the willpower and determination to do this, then I certainly can! I went on Amazon and found a workout dvd by Chris Powell featuring some of the previous participants.  I saw that it had three levels, and one could progress as their fitness improves.  I bought it, and two days later it arrived.  I put it in and set level one, which was only fifteen minutes.  I did it easily and without much sweat.  The next day I jumped to level two, feeling confident.  Needless to say, it kicked my butt! I pushed through and 25 minutes later, as I was going through my cool down stretches, I felt SO proud of myself.  I felt strong.  I felt optimistic.  

A few hours later I found myself excited for the next day to come so I could do the workout again.  Now THAT was a first.  I have never looked forward to exercising, save for basketball and softball practice as a teenager.  The second day, I did the workout, and felt the same sense of accomplishment and excitement.  I made a commitment to myself that I would workout five days a week and eat clean seven days a week.  I did the video workout for a couple of weeks and then decided I should change it up a bit so as to keep from getting bored. I decided to do the video three days a week and treadmill/weights two days. 

Before long, I could feel myself getting stronger.  I had more energy, I had greater endurance.  I found myself choosing to do activities with my kids that I used to dread doing.  If we were going somewhere within walking distance, I set out with the kids and made it an adventure.  I was surprising myself! Then one night, Hubs came in from work and declared he was ready to start working out with me.  Well, imagine my delight! I had a workout partner! Woohoo! 

So, since then Hubs has worked out three days a week with me, and I have actually RAN on the treadmill - something I haven't done since high school - and have demolished 24 pounds.  Tomorrow Hubs and I are moving to the third level of the video workouts, which we plan to do for 2-3 weeks before starting P90X.  It's gonna get real! We did the Ab Ripper X earlier and it was serious business.  Sheesh. 

Anyhoo, that's what's been up with me and what's going on now!  I'll leave you guys with my new motto:

Finish what you started.