Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Challenges Continue

Yesterday I wrote about my stress level being really high. At one point during the day I had gone to the supermarket to stock of up on a few items - lettuce, tomatoes, turkey, olives - and although I was craving something to eat, I didn't know what I wanted to eat. I knew that I didn't want to eat junk food though at one point I remember thinking, just grab a chocolate bar, maybe you'll feel better.

Seriously? Where did that voice come from?

Anyway. I ignored it, bought what I needed to get and went home feeling somewhat dissatisfied that I hadn't found away to take the edge off my day ... and I was still contemplating a chocolate bar or a bag of chips.

In the evening, as I was heading out, I asked my dad if he wanted anything. Before he arrived I had made him a small basket of treats to prevent him from going to the supermarket and buying too much junk food. He said that his basket was empty and that he wouldn't mind a refill. (I feel bad that I didn't notice!) So I said sure, but had to grit my teeth because I knew that would take me back to the supermarket aisle and into the junk food section (I bought him some nuts, a few bags of chips, and some 'diabetic-friendly' chocolates -- still, in the same area as all the other junk foods.)

I did not buy anything for myself, but had a nagging feeling that I wanted something. As I headed to the check-out counter I started to have a bit of anxiety which seems to be the case if/whenever I buy any type of junk food, even though it's not for me. Putting junk food into my shopping cart literally makes me anxious! I feel embarrassed putting the items on the conveyor belt, and I know I'd be mortified if anybody I knew saw what I was buying.

It was such a strange mixture of thoughts and emotions.

For dinner dad wanted pizza.

Since I have decided not to argue with him about his eating habits (he's 65 years old; I'm not going to baby him).

So I ordered.

It was so tempting. I really, really wanted a slice, but I didn't have one.

Sure it would have fit into my 'calorie count' and I know that with the activity I do it 'shouldn't hurt,' but  that's not the point of not eating the pizza. That's not the way I look at food anymore.

I know I was feeling emotionally vulnerable. I didn't want to eat because of that vulnerability. If I want to eat something like that, it'll be an active choice that I make because I want the food, not something that I eat with a shrug of my shoulders and think - what the hell, why not?

It was tough because I definitely felt like there were many challenges in my way - so many temptations, but I didn't give into any of them.

All I'm going to say about today is that aside from my workout in the morning (30 minutes cardio, 1 hour weights), my morning revolved around chasing up my brother's paperwork, which involved meetings with the vice-president of the university, the director of my department, and the legal advisor of the university. It was a stressful way to start the day.

Things eased up in terms of stress, but not in terms of how much work I had to do.

Although it's tempting to eat when faced with so many different challenging situations, instead of eating - just face the challenge head on. Do what needs to be done, and if you can't act immediately, write down a plan of attack.

Food will not solve any problems or take the stress away.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Already?

My stress level is off the charts. I haven't had any time to myself, let alone the peace of mind and clarity to write a blog post. There is just way too much going on and I feel my anxiety building.

I definitely used to turn to food before whenever I was stressed/anxious. Now that I'm not doing that anymore (I'm proud and happy to say that), I do find it a bit difficult to find a way to relieve my stress. I already had a killer hour and half kickboxing session, but it just wasn't enough. I feel like so overwhelmed with everything that I need to find something, anything to control -- and I don't know what to do. All I really want to do is lie absolutely still and block everything and everyone out. Hmmm I may try that.

My weight over the past week has gone up 1 kg and down 1 kg. It's so annoying to see. Now I'm hanging at a new low, which is only 1 lb. less than what I weighed 3 weeks ago. What is going on? I'm so frustrated.

I've been so good with my exercise and my food. I've been busy, but I haven't missed a workout; I've been stressed, but I haven't eaten anything bad (and believe me, there's been a lot of temptation). It's so, so, so frustrating when it really feels like you're doing everything right and the results aren't going your way.

I know that this is the time to really hold on and keep pushing forward, but for goodness sake, I can't help but to feel a bit irritated!

Anyway. Just checking in to say that I'm on track with my food and fitness ... it's just the rest of my life that I'm having issues with!

Big tasks for the week:
- prepare my students for their final writing exam (which will be on Wednesday) [this involves hours of consultation and counseling to help calm their nerves and give them the confidence to kick ass]
- get my dad to and from his hospital appointments (mainly on Wednesday & Thursday) [dealing with dad also means somehow surviving our day to day clashes, the biggest of which surrounds food of course; after that it's figuring out how to deal with him giving me advice/suggestions on how to live my life which I just don't want. The 'problem' is that I don't sit back and take it anymore. I talk back, and this just increases the conflict and the tension.]
- get everything planned, ready, and prepared for a bridal shower that I'm throwing on Thursday [I'm a perfectionist; I want this to be terrific. There are so many details to take care of ... it has been tough!]
- chase up my brother's papers with the university administrators [and surviving all the red tape and bureaucratic bullshit that goes along with any type of administration related errand]
- all the usual weekly errands and tasks!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Halting Thoughts

I went to bed late last night, partly because I was catching up on commenting on blog posts. I've been so behind and I really have missed being more active in the blogging world.

I was also getting the house ready for Dad's arrival. I set up his bed, hooked up my old laptop, arranged a basket of munchies, etc.

I didn't get to bed until 1:45 a.m. and I had set my alarm for 3:15 -- his flight was due to arrive at 4:00 a.m.

When I got up, I checked the flight arrival schedule to make sure his flight arrived on time. Apparently his flight had arrived at 2:45! Why did he tell me 4 a.m.?! Of course my sleep immediately disappeared and I rushed to get ready to go to the airport. I didn't want him to be hanging around the airport for that long!

I got to the airport at 4:05 and instead of wasting time looking for him, I just gave him a call ... he answered, and when I asked if he was here yet, he said No. He had missed his connection so he wouldn't be arriving until 8:30 a.m. (The plane ended up circling the airport for half an hour which is why he didn't know from beforehand that it was going to be delayed).

I was so frustrated on the drive back home. I found myself thinking, hmmm I'm going to treat myself to a toasted cheese croissant. That'll make me feel better.

And then I paused, shook my head, and thought - why in the world would I do that to myself? Just because something didn't go according to plan I'm going to continue the cycle and do something else that is not part of my plan??? No!

It's scary how quickly those thoughts come into my head. Will seeking 'comfort' in food ever stop becoming a default thought/action?

I got back home and quickly got into bed. I got 2 hours of restless sleep before getting up again. I saw that my dad's flight was delayed by yet another 25 minutes. I thought I would go to the airport a bit early and grade some papers at Starbucks, treating myself to a tall, skim, caramel macchiato. It's not as bad as a croissant, and it's still a little treat.

As I was walking out the door, I stopped. I asked myself, 'Will this action lead me towards my goals or away from them?' The answer was obvious.

I put my bag down, went to the kitchen, made a cup of green tea and sat down at my desk to mark my papers until it was time for me to leave for the airport.

I don't feel deprived. I don't feel upset. I know I made the right decision, and if I continue to make these decisions, then I will see the results I want to see. I am sure of that.

The rest of the day was crazy hectic. I took my dad from the airport straight to the hospital coz' we had meet up with his doctor (which is why he's come to Kuwait in the first place). We then headed to one of the government offices to take care of some of his paperwork. In the meantime we were stuck in almost 2 hours of traffic.

We didn't get home until after 1 p.m. by which time I was starving! I had not expected to run those errands immediately after picking dad up (I'm so glad I had cancelled my class beforehand) so I wasn't prepared.

I had a banana while I waited for my egg muffins to bake. I had to pace myself as I ate them with my 1/2 avocado.

I was so tired at that point. All I could think about was sleep, so I went and took a 45-minute nap.

Upon waking I knew that I wanted to go workout, but my body just did not want to move. I was meeting a friend at 5 so I kept doing calculations in my head - how long will it take for me to drive to the gym, workout, shower, change, drive to meet her ... it just wasn't adding up. I was feeling so lazy.

In the end, I was texting a friend who also has the same amount of weight to lose and he's really kicking it up a notch and wants to see major progress by the end of May, and he said he was just getting to the gym.

That was enough motivation for me to get up and out. Instead of going to the gym I went for a 5 km walk/jog/run at the track near my house.

I did quite well. I ended up walking 2.5 km and jogging 2.5 km, though the jog was broken up into segments. Overall I felt good, and by the time I got home, I felt great for having done my workout for the day.

I showered and changed and then headed to the cafe to meet my friend.

At this point, I was really hungry again - at this point in the day I had really only consumed about 400 calories (banana + egg muffins). However, looking at the sandwiches and cakes in the display at the cafe was not tempting at all. There wasn't a single healthy option and even though I'm not on the Whole Life Challenge anymore and I could eat whatever I wanted to ... I had no desire to. So, I just had my green tea and got caught up in our conversations versus my thoughts about how hungry I was.

Dinner could not come soon enough!! Baked salmon and a salad for dinner -- it was perfect. A few grapes for dessert, and I was done for the day.

There were so many points throughout the day when I could have used my stress, frustration, and laziness as an excuse to eat something, but I didn't and I'm so happy with my decisions!

Day 1 with Dad complete & we've both survived (with a few near misses).

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Family Members and Food

I grudgingly skipped my workouts at both the gym and CrossFit today in order to take care of errands. I ended up doing my 'go-to' workout at home that I created for myself. I know it's not the same as going to the gym, but it's all I could do today.

I had 23 things on my list of things to do today and I got through all of them except for 2 phone calls that I have yet to make. The phone calls have been more exhausting than the actual running around. For example I spent 37 minutes on the phone with the British Airways office in London. The guy kept apologizing for making me wait and I wanted to just scream at him - stop apologizing, just do them damn work! I finally lost my temper at the end after I had finished all my transactions etc. when he said I just want to check one more thing. I snapped and said, What exactly are you checking? You said everything was already finalized and good to go. You are running up my phone bill for no reason. To which he apologized again and asked if I would mind staying on the line to for a survey. Was he kidding me?! I told him no way. I confirmed that everything I needed was taken care of and then I hung up. I swear I could have screamed!! Ugh.

Anyway. Aside from that my biggest stress has been preparing for my dad's visit. He arrives at 4 a.m. tomorrow. That's right, 4 a.m.

My Dad visits every 3 months for his health check-ups. I love my Dad, but we do not see eye to eye at all when it comes to eating healthy and how to go about losing weight/living a healthier life. He's totally into fad diets (which he doesn't commit to); he preaches about staying away from flour, sugar, and cheese -- the 3 things that he loves to indulge in; and worst of all, he's diabetic and a kidney transplant patient and I know he sneaks in chocolate.

(My blood pressure is rising just writing this!)

During his first visit, I had a meltdown every single day. We argued and I cried because I felt like he didn't respect me and the changes that I had made in my eating habits. As he is eating pizza (that he ordered) he asks me if I want a slice -- and this is after 10 days of him knowing that I'm not eating any flour, dairy, or sugar/processed foods (I was on the Whole Life Challenge).

His second trip was a bit better, but we still clashed. That time, however, I backed off a bit and just let him do his thing. I knew that I was doing whatever I could to make sure we were well fed (quantity and quality of food). When he asked for Burger King instead of arguing about it and stressing myself out, I just took him to Burger King. At 65 years old if he's not going to change his habits, why should I stress over it?

I say that, but the truth of the matter is that I do stress over it because I know it is bad for his health. It hurts me to see him not take care of himself. When I see the way he eats and is around food it is like a traumatic experience - making me think of how I developed bad habits in the first place.

It makes me sad and angry.

I find it really, really difficult to deal with.

I know where I stand in terms of my health and how I want to live my life. I know that if he wants junk food or chocolate or ice cream, I do not need to join him. I am just fine with how and what I eat. I do believe this; however, I also know that it will stress me out though I'm going to try to just breathe through it as much as I can.

Today I did a huge grocery shop. I have loaded up on delicious vegetables and lots of different proteins. I also bought my dad a few little treats - some 85% dark chocolate, a cheese and olive mix that he likes, some bread, and some cheese as well as a few other nibbles. It gave me mild anxiety putting these foods in my cart because they were things that I just don't buy anymore, but I figured I'd rather control how many snacks there are in the house versus letting him go crazy in the supermarket (and he does go crazy in the supermarket - I get both my eating habits  and my shopaholic tendencies from my dad).

The next ten days will be challenging. My schedule will be disrupted (once again) and food will be a bit of an issue.

However, I know that I am strong. I know what is good for me. I know what my goals are. There is no need for anything or anybody to get in the way of that. I have been through enough obstacles over the past 2 years to know how to stay in control, or at least in as much control as possible.

There will definitely be a lot of deep breathing going on over the next few days.

Today's Workout:
Workout at home

Today's Food:
Breakfast: Banana + 1 T peanut butter + 1 date
Lunch: Baked fish in tomato sauce, chili, and bell peppers
Dinner: Baked fish and vegetables (wasn't feeling too creative today)
Snack: 1 cup green tea; 1/2 cup grapes

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Confidence in the Weight Room

I knew I was only going to have time for one workout today so I made sure to get to the gym early and make it count.

I warmed up skipping rope - I'm so happy with how much progress I've made in this area. I went for almost 5 minutes without stopping, and when I did it was only because the rope got caught on my shoe, not because I was tired. I'm able to hop on one leg then switch to the other, shuffle around (boxer style), and even throw in a few double unders (by the way, on Monday I managed 12 consecutive double unders! Doesn't sound like much, but definitely a big achievement for me!). After skipping for 10 minutes, my heart rate was definitely up and I was warmed up and ready to begin.

I did weights this morning. It really feels amazing to see improvements in so many areas. It's not just about lifting a lot of weight, but it's also about getting your posture and technique right. It's also about being able to do the movements with control and focus.

I found myself moving around the big weights room with confidence and ease - how different from where I was just a few months ago. It was a moment that made me smile.

Getting to the gym early meant that I had time for a 45 minute cardio session after my weights. It felt good to just zone out to some music and get my sweat on!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Getting through Monday

To say that today was a beautiful day in Kuwait is an understatement. The sun was shining, the sky was clear, a slight breeze was blowing ... it was so tempting for me to skip work and stay at the gym and lounge poolside.

The view from the kickboxing studio this morning

After warming up on the treadmill a bit I headed to the studio to do some kickboxing practice. I worked out barefoot for the first time & I also used my shin guards for the first time -- they'll definitely help minimize the bruising on my legs. I worked out for about an hour and half before having to rush off to work.

Work went well today though I now have a huge stack of grading to do, which is always a bit of a downer. Still, the semester is almost over!!! Can't wait.

This afternoon I headed to CrossFit. Due to a last minute schedule change (and me having a previous engagement for after CrossFit) I had to leave early. I was a bit annoyed because of the time change - but as always, you've just got to make the most of it.

I felt some improvement in my pull-ups, though I'm still working with the thickest resistance band. My WOD was 7 minutes of AMRAP alternating 10 thrusters (w/a 10 kg plate) and 10 burpees. Think you can't get much of a workout in 7 minutes --- think again! I was drenched in sweat by the end of those 7 minutes!

I had a meeting with a potential private MMA instructor right after CrossFit. The meeting went well though nothing has been confirmed. Will have to see how it all unfolds.

My night ended with a girl's night out with some of my girlfriends who I hadn't seen in quite some time. It was a nice relaxing way to end what turned out to be quite a hectic day!

Today's Food
Breakfast #1: Banana, 2 dates, 1 T peanut butter
Breakfast #2: Tuna fish salad (like yesterday)
Lunch: Fish & vegetables (leftovers from last night's dinner)
Dinner: 1 cup of yogurt
Snacks throughout the day: 1 cup green tea; 2 peanut butter date balls; 1 oz dark chocolate

Today's Workouts
Warm-up: 2 km on the treadmill - easy walk
Main workout: Kickboxing (1 hour)
Burpees: 120 (I'm so behind in my challenge)
Squats Challenge Day #7: 80 squats

Sunday, April 21, 2013

New Routine and Being Confident

For the first day of the week, I have to say today didn't go too badly!

I started my new weights workout this morning, featuring chest presses, rows, and shoulder presses - all of different variations. I kind of start off a bit timid when I start a new program. Even though I keep track of what weights I lift, I'm not always sure which weights to start with. Just because I can do a 50 kg (110 lb) chest press (my 1 rep max) doesn't mean that I should start with that weight. In any case, it took a bit of time to warm-up to the routine, but I think it should be fine.

Class went well. We're nearing the end of the semester (less than a month to summer vacation!!) and I think my students are doing quite well. They've got their final writing test next week, and while I'm happy with their progress, I do feel a bit nervous - have I taught them everything they need to know: when they say they understand, do they really understand or are they just saying it? In any case, these are university students; they do have to take responsibility for their work.

This semester in class I've been making a lot of analogies between their approach to studying & my approach to my workouts. Just like I need to approach the gym with a positive attitude, that's what they need to do as well with their assignments. I told them that sometimes I look at my plan, or I look at the amount of weight I want to lift, and I have to muster up a lot of courage and energy into finding that belief in myself that I can do it. That's exactly how I want them to approach their assessments. Even if they think it's tough, they have to take a deep breath and just go for it ... and believe that they have all the tools necessary to do well.

So far the analogy has been working well. They like hearing about my progress in my workouts, and of course I love seeing the progress in their work!

I had a lovely leisurely lunch with an old friend today. We ended up chatting for almost 3 1/2 hours! It was great to just sit, talk, laugh, and relax. We went out for sushi -- I think sushi is one of those tricky foods in terms of ordering healthy. Overall it seems like a healthy choice, but there are many ways to get it wrong - soy sauce is loaded with sodium (though I've found some restaurants do offer low sodium versions); the white rice in rolls can add up in terms of calories and carbs; the 'special sauce' that is in a lot of rolls and salads often has a lot of mayonnaise and sugar; and of course tempura is deep fried crispiness over what could be healthy piece of fish.

Anyway. Sashimi and mustard (instead of soy sauce) have become my new friends at sushi restaurants. Today's ordering was half on point and half on the naughtier side, which is when portion control definitely comes into play!

Right after lunch I headed to the gym. My intention this week is to try to get 4-5 hours of solid cardio in. Although I was going to RPM 3-4 times a week, I didn't feel like it was enough or that I was working out properly enough for it to be as effective as I wanted it to be. So my new cardio routine is going to involve going to the gym earlier (around 4 pm) and doing my cardio. This way I should be home by 6 p.m. (versus staying for RPM class, which would get me home closer to 8 p.m.) - this gives me a bit more time to work and get things done around the house, especially prep for the next day!

I had my new playlist for my cardio - and it felt great to just be me, the music, and my workout! The only challenge was trying not to dance while I was on the treadmill!

I'm pleased with my start to the week -- just gotta keep it up. Busy days ahead!

Loved this quote! 

Today's Food
Breakfast #1: 2 dates; 1 T peanut butter
Breakfast #2: tuna fish salad (just 1 can tuna fish, 1/2 bell pepper; 1/2 tomato; 1/2 avocado + balasamic vinegar & some olive oil + dash of salt and pepper)
Lunch: sushi
Dinner: grilled fish (hammour, a local fish) and a veggie mix - bell peppers, cauliflower, and sweet potato
Snack: 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (cherry); 1/2 oz' dark chocolate

Today's Exercise
Morning - Warm-up: 1 km jog + Weights (1 hour)
Afternoon - Cardio: 45 minutes cross-trainer; 20 minutes treadmill

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Something's Gotta Give

I'm glad that when I had to change up my routine today I didn't panic or get angry - well, I was a bit irritated that one of the reasons I had to change my plans was because I had a ton of grading to do -- but   this is how things go sometimes, right?

Anyway. I had a good yoga session on the beach this morning. I'm gaining more and more control with my headstand.

Attempting a headstand on my own

I then went to RPM class. Although I am enjoying the class I'm thinking of changing it up. I don't think I'm pushing myself as much as I could. I think I'll get better results on the cross-trainer or the treadmill/running outdoors. I'll see what I can do.

I couldn't make it to CrossFit unfortunately, but I had a really productive afternoon. As the title of this blog post says - Something's Gotta Give!

Trying to figure out how I'm going to fit everything into my day is tough! I just gotta take it one day at a time. Being busy makes it ever so much more important to make sure my food is on point and that whatever time I do spend at the gym counts.

Today's Food
Breakfast #1: 2 dates, 1 T peanut butter
Breakfast #2: fresh fruit salad
Lunch: shrimp avocado salad
Snack: 1/2 cup coconut Greek yogurt
Dinner: Grilled salmon with steamed carrots and broccoli
Snack: Papaya & 1/2 oz. dark chocolate

Today's Exercise
Yoga (1 hour)
RPM (1 hour)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Five - An Unusual Week

This week was a bit strange in terms of both my eating and my workouts.

First of all, I didn't workout as much as I usually do. I've had a niggling pain in my left knee as well as one in my right shoulder. I know that both these joints are extra-sensitive ones from previous injuries/accidents. So, with that in mind I wanted to take it kinda easy.

I didn't do any of my afternoon workout classes (RPM or CrossFit) and though I missed them dearly, I also enjoyed having a bit of extra time at home to take care of other things and relax a bit. On some days I worked out at home - mainly doing Body Combat practice.

In terms of eating, I don't think I ate more than usual, but I definitely ate differently, especially given that I've just come off the Whole Life Challenge. I enjoyed everything I ate, but I also realized that eating all those different foods (e.g. curry) was not something I missed. They are definitely not part of my regular eating regime, and I'm happy with that. I feel like I am extremely happy eating clean 95-98% of the time, which means that the other 2-5% of the time that I may eat something I don't normally eat (e.g. rice or something that has potato in it) that it's ok. I've found that eating those foods doesn't act as a trigger to eat more junk/carbs/sweets. I eat. I enjoy. I move on.

That said, I have also realized that being so close to goal weight means that I really need to watch what I'm doing and what I'm eating. I don't want to get careless or sloppy. As one trainer said - this is the time to turn it up a notch because it will get more difficult to lose weight. Difficult, but not impossible ... and turning it up a notch is a challenge that I look forward to!

So, a few highlights of my week.

1. I'm loving studying the choreography for Body Combat. It is challenging! First of all, learning the moves, the putting it to the music, then trying to do the moves & explain them -- wow! It's quite intimidating, but I've been practicing almost everyday.

2. I got several new books this week related to training and MMA fighting. I've already finished reading the one on dynamic stretching and I've got a few new stretches that I'll be adding to my regular routine.

3. During one of my weight training sessions this week I realized how far I've come in terms of strength. There was a time when lifting a 2.5 kg (5 lb) dumbbell to do a shoulder press was a huge struggle for me. That day I warmed up using 12.5 kg (27.5 lb) dumbbells. I was so proud.

4. I know I probably didn't need a new pair of sneakers, as I have several pairs ... but I couldn't resist. I'll admit it, I like having my gym outfits coordinated. I know some people see that as shallow or unnecessary or even a sign that the person is not committed to working out, but come on, I don't think you can say that about me! Just coz' my shoes match my top and they both match my gym bag doesn't mean I don't give it 100% at the gym!

5. I went to a new MMA store that's opened recently in Kuwait. It's actually the first store of its kind that I've visited here (I don't know of any others). It was alright. They had lots of clothing, but none for girls!! That sucked. My favorite part, the boxing bags and the cage they had up ... hmmmm wouldn't mind one of those in my place if I had the space :)

One thing is definitely clear -- my life has changed. Almost everything in my life now revolves around health and fitness. I enjoy it with an enormous amount of passion. I still do other things - I still hang out with friends, go shopping, veg in front of the TV, etc., but I know that the one thing that really, really makes me happy is fitness. I could tell that things have really changed for me when I sat down one afternoon and started my Personal Trainer studies. It's been AGES since I sat down and read a research article, but this -- I didn't give it a second thought. It was quite a revelation!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Egg Muffins - My Breakfast of Champions

This breakfast recipe is based on one that is in Oxygen magazine. I've modified it to suit my taste. I usually prepare the vegetable mix on Saturday night and combine it with the eggs on Sunday morning (my weekend is Friday & Saturday) and then pop it into the oven. By the time I'm ready to leave the house, it's ready and I've got breakfast prepared for the week. I eat them cold (after I finish my morning workout). They're filling and tasty. I eat this pretty much every single morning during the week. 

2 whole eggs
2 cups of egg whites
1 zucchini diced
1 1/2 tomatoes diced
8 mushrooms diced
1 orange bell pepper diced
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
dash salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger powder
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1. Sauté the vegetables in the olive oil; add spices and a dash of water to let it all mix together; sauté for about 10 minutes
2. In a bowl, mix the 2 whole eggs plus the egg whites together
3. Add in the vegetable mix (after letting the vegetables cool for a while - about 15-20 minutes)
4. Pour into lined muffin pans (spray the muffin liners w/a non-stick spray); bake for 30-35 minutes at 200 degrees C

I eat 3 muffins with half an avocado and 1 tablespoon of walnuts every morning for breakfast during the week.

Nutritional Info per egg muffin:
50 calories
6.25 g of protein
3.3 g carbohydrates (0.8 g fiber)
1.5 g fat (0.43 g saturated fat)

Calorie breakdown for 3 egg muffins + 1/2 avocado + 1 tablespoon of walnuts
320 calories
21.25 g of protein
18 g carbohydrates (8.75 g fiber)
19.8 g fat (3.3 g saturated fat

New Rules Phase II Complete

It feels like it took me a really long time to complete the Fat Burn II Phase of the New Rules of Lifting. This is not the same as New Rules of Lifting for Women; since I already completed that program I'm using this one which I guess is intended just for men, but I see no reason why I shouldn't/can't do these routines as well.

I have mixed feelings about this workout. Overall, I am pleased with my increase in strength and muscle tone/definition. However, I don't think I did the plan justice. Part of the Fat Burn II phase included HIIT training after each weights workout. I didn't do that part because I didn't have time in the mornings. As a result, I don't think I got the results that I should have gotten by following the workout routine to the T. This brings me to my second problem - I didn't follow the routine to a T. I did all the exercises, but sometimes I didn't do them in the order as prescribed. Other days I only did half a routine on one day and continued the rest of it on another ... again, totally my fault. Has nothing to do with the program at all. I think my overall disjointedness with the program plus just knowing that I didn't complete it in the manner that it should have been done annoys me. Still, I got it done and I'm ready to move on to the next weights routine.

My progress:

Feb. 17, 2013
April 18, 2013

3 sets; 12 reps
3 sets; 8 reps
Front squat
30 kg (66 lb)
55 (121 lb)
Wide-grip cable seated row
27 (60 lb)
72 (158 lb)
Barbell push press
20 (44 lb)
35 (77 lb)
Dynamic lunge
20 (44 lb)
50 (110 lb)
Snatch grip deadlift
50 (110 lb)
85 (187 lb)
Split squat w/overhead press
5 kg/hand
8 kg/hand
Chin-up (assisted)
47.5 (104 lb)
34 (75 lb)
Deadlift/bent-over row
30 (66 lb)
50 (110 lb)

The next workout, called Hypertrophy A, looks tough! I can't wait!! :) I hope to start on Sunday.

If you're a woman and you're not lifting weights - what are you waiting for?! Work with a trainer to establish a good strength training program. You'll be amazed at the positive impact weight lifting will have on your life.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Getting Ready for the Next Phase

Now that the Whole Life Challenge is over, and I'm just one workout away from finishing Phase II of the New Rules of Lifting program, it's time to start thinking about what I'm going to do next.

There are, of course, a few things that I really want to do but I can't just yet for various logistical reasons. Thinking about all those things was starting to get me down but then today I decided to focus on all the things that I can do. I still have so much work to do in terms of getting in shape that there really will never be any shortage of workouts to do/good habits to follow/clean foods to eat! So, with that much more positive attitude in mind, I'm moving on to my next phase, which I hope will last until I travel in June.

My materials from the ISSA arrived yesterday so I've got everything I need to start working towards my Personal Trainer certification.

My good friend K, who is a LesMills instructor, has been encouraging me to do my training to teach Body Pump and Body Combat. I've already practiced studying the choreography for Body Pump, but it's the first time I'm looking at the Body Combat choreography. It's definitely more challenging than Pump. It's an exhausting class; add to that the whole speaking while teaching/jumping around and you get to a whole new level of fitness! Still, I'm up for the challenge. I started practicing day before yesterday and I spent quite a bit of time on it today. We'll see how it goes.

In terms of weight training, I'm just going to move on to the next Phase in the New Rules of Lifting book. I'm happy with how I've progressed through this phase. The more I lift, the more I love it!

Those are the three main things I'll be getting into. In the meantime, I'm still continuing with CrossFit, my MMA training (though it's not nearly as intense as it was before), my yoga/balance classes, and my cardio ... and of course Eating Clean!

Today's Food:
Breakfast #1: 1 teaspoon of peanut butter & 2 dates
Breakfast #2: 3 egg muffins, 1 cup of grilled vegetables (cauliflower, sweet potato, and bell peppers), and half an avocado
Lunch: grilled chicken with 2 cups of vegetables
Dinner: coconut shrimp curry
Snacks: 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt; 3 peanut butter date balls

Today's Workouts:
Kickboxing (30 minutes)
Combat training (45 minutes)
Body Balance (1 hour)
Day 2 of squat challenge: 60 squats

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

First Attempt: Deadlift 130

This is what I tried today:

Attempt #1: Deadlift KG 130 (286 lbs)

I couldn't lift it all the way; I was really, really close, but I couldn't do it. It bugged me all day. I know that I'll keep trying. I know that it's a lot of weight. Still, I really wanted to do it. Now I have something to work towards. I'm hoping to achieve this by the middle of June before I travel for my summer holiday. Gotta strengthen that back!

Today's workout:
Cardio: 20 minutes on the cross-trainer
Strength: focused on deadlifts - did several sets of different reps at different weights

Today's food:
Breakfast #1: banana
Breakfast #2: 3 egg muffins plus 1/2 an avocado & 1 tablespoon of pecans
Lunch: fish cooked with green bell peppers & tomato sauce
Dinner: salmon with cauliflower and sweet potatoes

Monday, April 15, 2013

Motivation Monday

I often see a lot of blog posts on Monday starting with the resolve to make it right this time ... that the weekend had too many temptations, but that last chocolate chip cookie will indeed be the last one. Monday is when all the determination, will power, and good intentions seem to take over the internet.

After seeing several posts today that reflected this, I thought that maybe people didn't really need any motivation on Monday. The motivation, encouragement, and reminders seem to really be important over the weekend.

I think the bottom line is that you need to keep your goals in mind all the time.

I'm not saying that you need to obsess or freak out over what you're doing all the time, but you do need to be vigilant. It's not supposed to be a punishment. It may take some getting used to, but that's all.

Staying disciplined takes practice. It takes time and effort. Some people say it gets easier, some people say it doesn't ... the truth is, it doesn't matter. If you want to lose weight, then you have to make the effort to do so. Don't think of it as a sacrifice. Think of it as doing something incredibly good and positive for yourself.

Living a healthy life is worth the effort. You are worth the effort. Let's get moving!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Walking the Walk

One year ago, I weighed 12 kg more than I weigh today and had 8% more body fat. When I look at that number, 12 kg, it doesn't look like much. When healthy, safe weight loss averages about 2 kg/month, that number really should be 24 in my mind. Well, it is what it is. I'm glad that it's a 12 kg loss that I won't be seeing again (I'm going to make damned sure of that!!!). I'm glad that the habits that I've developed to get to that loss are strong ones that will help me drop the last 9. I also know that despite it being only 12 kg, I'm now wearing clothes that are 6-8 sizes smaller, and that makes me happy big time!!

I think that recently several people have been approaching me about my weight loss because they have seen the change in me. The internal changes I've made in terms of mental strength and attitude (the most important ones) are not things they recognize, but they do see the physical difference. They want to know what I've done ... they've realized that I didn't just talk the talk of wanting to get healthy and wanting to lose weight -- no, I've walked the walk (or what a friend of mine says, which I like better, I've run the run).

I said I wanted to change, and I did.

Now, I have to keep it up.

Getting my Specialist in Fitness Nutrition certification was a big deal for me because it wasn't just about getting the certificate, it was almost like the ultimate level of accountability. I have now committed to being this kind of person, one who lives a healthy life. I want to lead by example.

I am so often disappointed when I see trainers who smoke, who show no discipline in their eating habits, and who live a lifestyle that I don't think matches what they are preaching about. It's not about being a 100% saint, but I think it is about leading by example. I don't think it's fair to expect your clients to eat clean while you eat burgers and fries and other kinds of junk food on a regular basis. It doesn't make sense to me.

I'm not saying these trainers are not able to perform their job. They are. However, it's just not something that I personally agree with or like to see. I know that people have different metabolisms and body types and genetics etc. However, I think until you reach your goal weight/dress size/health target, staying disciplined is very, very important.

Anyway. This post isn't about other trainers, it's about what I hope to do in my new role.

I really want to set a good example. I want to show people that it is possible to enjoy your food, be creative with cooking, and live a fulfilling life while still exercising regularly and eating clean. It doesn't have to be one or the other.

Will sacrifices need to be made? Of course they will.
But being overweight and having unhealthy habits sacrifices your health and quality of life. Are French fries really worth it (and believe me, they were quite the weakness of mine!)? They're not. I haven't had French fries in maybe 9 months ... maybe a year ... I can't even remember. I don't feel resentful or deprived. My quality of life has not deteriorated because I haven't had fries.

Would I still be tempted if a plate of fries was in front of me? Absolutely.
Do I ever not eat clean? Yes. There are times when I have something off plan, but those times are rare in comparison to how many days I stay on plan.

I still have a lot of work to do.

I hope that by showing people that I was once obese with more than 50% body fat that through discipline and dedication I have been able to do this. It is possible. We can all do it. It just comes down to making the right choices and sticking to them.

Today's Food:
Pre-workout: banana, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 1 date
Post-workout: 3 egg muffins, 1/2 avocado, 1 tablespoon of pecans
Lunch: Tuna fish salad
Afternoon snack: 1/2 cup of papaya
Dinner: Tandoori chicken with some rice (First time having rice in about 3 months! I wanted to have something traditional as it's Bangladesh's New Year today - definitely missing home.)

Today's Workout:
45 minutes on the cross-trainer

Major Accomplishment of the Day: Getting my car registration renewed!! It had expired in 2011 - ya, I know. Terrible. Anyway. I'm legal now! :)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

100 Day Weight Loss Challenge/Victory

This is a belated post about the 100 day weight loss challenge/victory that is being hosted by Colie's Kitchen. First of all, this should be a Friday roundup of week 1, but since I'm kinda just starting the challenge, this is my introductory post. If you want to see how my week went, you can check out the Friday Five post from yesterday :)

Our week in Kuwait starts on Sunday (so our weekends are Friday and Saturday) which means that today is the last day of my weekend. Somehow my Saturdays went from a day of relaxation to a day of 2-3 workouts. They're all group workouts so they're fun as well as challenging. Today I only went to 2 workouts - yoga in the morning on the beach and CrossFit in the afternoon.

Here's a snapshot of one of my yoga poses from this morning:

I was practicing the mermaid pose. I obviously have to work on it a lot more! 

We also tried out a few group poses - here was our plank tower. 

Ok, so now that I've finished the Whole Life Challenge and I've completed the Specialist in Fitness Nutrition Course it's time to work on the next phase of this year. The main challenge will be my eating habits. I know that I'll be sticking to my Whole Life Challenge style of eating for the most part, but I want to make sure I'm extra careful about what I'm eating, when I'm eating, and how much I'm eating.

Also, with just 9 kg left to hit my goal weight, I know that I'm going to have to step it up a notch in terms of my workouts. I know it may seem like I do a lot already, but what I want to focus on more for the 100 days is increasing my intensity and perfecting my technique. I want to make sure that whatever time I do spend working out is spent wisely.

So, what are my goals for this 100 day challenge? A lot of my goals will be the same as what I have planned for the 13 in 13 challenge, especially since that is a year long challenge. However, it never hurts to have a few specific targets to work towards.

The challenge duration: April 7, 2013 - July 15, 2013 (100 days)
Just looking at those dates I know that my biggest obstacle will be travel, especially in June and July. Still, I know that I've managed to maintain and even lose a bit of weight while on vacation so there's no need to panic too much. As long as I have a plan, I should be alright.

What I really need to do is focus on planning. I need to make more time before the week starts to do some extra veggie prep and make sure things like my food/menu are planned for the week. I generally do this, but sometimes I slack off. I know that as soon as I slack off things start to get messy.

Goals for this upcoming week (April 13-19): 
1. Have menu for the week planned out
2. Do at least 3 weights workouts (finish New Rules of Lifting Fat Burn II workout this week)
3. Do at least 3 focused cardio sessions (1 hour each)
4. Do at least 1 yoga/balance/pilates class
5. Track my food and note my exercise daily
6. Arrange my Fitness Nutrition files and come up with a plan for actually practicing
7. Post 1 recipe
8. Other stuff: Renew my car registration

In terms of keeping track of my weight ... well, I weigh myself daily. I've found that in any given month my weight can fluctuate quite a bit. My main goal is to end each month lighter than how much I weighed on the first day. So far I have been successful following this plan. From January 1st until today, April 13, I have lost 7 kg (15 lbs). I hope to continue on this weight loss trend. My ultimate goal in terms of weight loss is actually a jeans/dress size. I'd really like to wear a size 8 (US) (I think that's a size 10 UK) pair of jeans comfortably (no muffin top!!). That's what I'm working towards. I don't know at what weight I'll be able to achieve that, but as of right now, I think that's the most accurate measure for me versus a number on the scale.

Let's see how it all goes!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Five - Catching Up

Alright everyone. I think I'm finally back on track in terms of being on a more normal hectic schedule versus a frantic one. I think hectic is my norm. It's ok. It's just the way things are in my life.

Even though Jessee has discontinued Friday Five, I think it's a great way for me to catch up on what's been going on.

1) Whole Life Challenge: I've completed my second round of the Whole Life Challenge. I'm quite pleased with how I did.

2) Nutrition Studies: I completed my Specialist in Fitness Nutrition final exam and scored 90% for the course. I'm ready to practice now! I'm very, very excited about this. New business cards coming up soon - what do you think?

3) Next Goal: Become a Personal Trainer
I've wanted to become a personal trainer for several years. Although I know I could have done it, I didn't feel like I had the body to do it, hence I did not have complete confidence in my ability to deliver 'the entire package.' I think I am much, much closer to doing that now. So, because I like to stay busy, busy, busy (plus I need to maintain my normal level of hectic-ness) I've signed up for the ISSA Personal Trainer certification. The course I've enrolled in is 8 months long. I'm really hoping that by the end of those 8 months I'll have reached my goal weight and have the complete confidence to go forward as a personal trainer. (Sorry about the blurry image.)

4) Training: For the past week and a half I've been training in a new fitness studio that has two big boxing bags and a bunch of other equipment that I can use for my kickboxing practice. I love it! I'm getting in 3-4 hours of practice a week which is the minimum I want to do.

5) My motivation for the week: I'm 9 kg away from my goal weight. I really have to put my head down and just do it. I've been working hard. The progress is slow but steady. I have to remember that no matter how frustrating it may all be, the patience and persistence are worth it.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Trying to Be Smarter

For the past several months I've been trying to just 'go with the flow.' I seem to always have so many things going on - whether it's work, family, health issues, or just general stuff - that it's hard to stick to a routine no matter how much I want to or try.

My workouts take up a lot of my time and that means that I need to be really careful about planning what to eat and when. I usually start off the week really well and then when it comes to the last 2-3 days and the groceries are running low and the work is piling up, that things start to kind of unravel. I don't think it ever unravels in a really bad way (i.e. eating junk food) but I know that my food ends up being something to just get me through the day versus really fuel my body.

For example, this morning there wasn't really any food in the house. Before heading to the gym at 6:30 a.m., I had a tablespoon of peanut butter and 2 dates. I then had a great workout before heading to work ... all I had in my bag was a banana to eat.

It was really stressing me out that the banana was the only thing I'd have to eat until around 2 p.m. I knew that it wasn't enough. I had not planned properly. There was nothing healthy available at work, and I didn't have time to prepare something myself or even stop off and buy something healthy. So I just stuck with the banana and then ate lunch around 2 p.m. once I finally got home.

I survived. It wasn't too bad, but I know that this is not the way I want to eat.

I really want to push through the last 10 kilos by being disciplined and smart. I know that there are ways I could drop this weight quickly, but I don't think those methods are sensible or sustainable. I want to do this right - eat right, exercise hard.

It's a little frustrating that even after all this time of trying to get this right that there is still so much work to be done, but I guess it will always be that way.

Even though my eating is really clean, I'm still not eating the way I'd like to. It's really important to me to get that sorted out ... I'll just have to keep working on it.

In the meantime, I'm trying to push through working on my final exam (it's due on the 12th). I've got most of tomorrow to just sit down and do it. Once it's done, hopefully I'll get a chance to review my fitness/nutrition plans ... well, at least until the next thing comes up!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Monday Motivation

Been working on sorting out my thoughts and finding some way to find some sort of inner peace. It doesn't come easy. Most days are fine, but there are also several days when I have to just push through - blindly, without too much thought - just keep moving forward and hope that my mind and body will both catch up to each other and end up in the place I want them to be. Right now, I know that I just need to keep on going. Although there are lots of thoughts and emotions to work on, at this moment in time, I have to put that to the side in order to get what needs to be done done.

As much as I believe in being happy and enjoying each moment, I realize that when there are so many goals to work on, sometimes you've just got to think of the bigger picture and work through that. You've got to look beyond that momentary frustration and the desire to perhaps skip a workout or eat something that you know will set you back and just go forward. Living in the moment is good; enjoying the present is good ... but it's also important to make sure that what you want right now does not take away from your ultimate goal.