Caitlin's Real Journey to Health

A lot harder than it sounds

Now Mother Nature Wants to Interfere

Well, the gym has been going pretty well. Up until the last couple weeks anyway. We’ve been meeting as a group with a personal trainer the last several Fridays and we’ve gotten a bunch of different exercises. I love working with the trainer because I can go and lift some weights and do some cardio but I really like having some direction. I feel like a trainer is going to give me a workout that maximizes the benefits of the time I was there, which I always worry about. Since time is not something I have a lot of, I want to make sure that when I’m there, I’m getting as much out of it as I possibly can. This gym is also very particular about who they hire. Any trainer has to have particular certifications in order to be hired. This just makes me feel like I really get everything out of it that I can.

So as for the last couple of weeks it’s been pretty crazy. We live in Ohio and had that huge storm come through the weekend before 4th of July. Needless to say, we were among the million or so homes that lost electricity. The gym also lost power so we couldn’t make our usual Friday appointment that week. They were without it for about a day and got it back, but we were down at my grandma’s helping clean up the farm from the storm damage. (Which if you think about it, was working out. I mean 90-100° heat, no air conditioning, and cleaning up tree limbs.) Then we had another round of storms move through Sunday night so they lost power again. Then of course, you have 4th of July and all the fireworks and all that. So it ended up that we had over a week where we couldn’t get into the gym. I tried to do some easy stuff at home, even just to get a little cardio in, but it isn’t the same.

So this past Friday, we were able to have our normal appointment again. We did a workout that concentrated on the upper arms. I knew I’d be a little sore so I stretched a couple of times once I got home and ate a couple bananas. I was fine on Saturday (just that good slight post-work out sore) and I stretched some more. Well I woke up on Sunday and I couldn’t straighten my arm to save my life. I could barely get it past 90°. Needless to say, it has not been fun the last couple days. I have a little more mobility this afternoon but I have had a heat wrap on it all night and into the morning so that loosened up the muscle quite a bit.

I haven’t seen much of a difference in the scale yet, but that is also heavily due to the fact that I haven’t completely adjusted my nutrition level yet. I’ve been doing better but the storms and holiday haven’t helped much either. I’ve really been trying to work on my portion size and having leftovers if we do go out so that has been a slight improvement I suppose. I’m gonna try and hit the cardio harder this week since I can’t do any weight lifting with my arms for the next couple days at least so hopefully that will really start to help me see a difference. I have had a little bit more energy with the exception of the 100°+ that I have been in the heat most of the day, but hopefully I was sweating some pounds off. :)

July 9, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Getting My Gym On

Well, I was finally able to join a gym. I even got my parents to join in with me. A couple weekends ago, we set aside the day to check out several of the gyms around us. Ultimately it was my mom and mine’s decision. Dad would do whatever we decided to. The biggest issue for my mom and I is the hours, which I know I’ve mentioned before. Between my commuting and her work schedule (which she inherited from me), we need somewhere that offers later hours. Another big thing for me was the equipment (again, stuff I’ve said before, but it’s important). I just hate walking though a place and feeling like I’m right on top of somebody else as I’m doing my workout. The last thing that I didn’t think about being an issue, but actually is really important: joining commitments. I realized that I can’t join a gym that would require a year long commitment. My boyfriend and I are looking to buy a house, and depending on where we end up, it just wouldn’t logistically make sense for me to drive way out of my way to work out. I use enough gas as it is.

 

So basically, we centered on 3 gyms. We went through what was in the area and crossed some out based on location and hours. Then we took a few more out based on reviews. So we ended up with 3 main gyms to check out and a couple others to keep in mind if we really didn’t like the main 3. Well, with 2 out of the 3, I definitely had that feeling of being right on top of the person next to you while working out. 1 was especially bad. That gym also had year-long commitments. So gym number 3 turned out to be our best bet. And I am definitely happy with the choice so far.

It’s affordable, and they offer incentives for members to help bring the cost of the monthly rate down even more. Of course, they offer certain services that would really help you develop a good plan of action to lose weight. But I can’t really afford those right now. But they have a wide variety of equipment and it’s spaced out so I feel like I can work out and not run into people.

So far, I had my initial “Fit Point” assessment. They do that for all new members. They get all your stats (height, weight, etc.), use a machine to get your body fat percentage, do your sit and reach flexibility, push ups and find your VO2 max level. Then they figure out what your goals are  and everything that you want to accomplish and give you ideas as to what you can do to accomplish them.

Well my starting weight was 180 (2 lbs more than I was that morning) and my body fat percentage was 38.6%. They want me to get back to lower 20s for my fat percentage. So we’ll see.

I also tried out their Zumba class. It was different going to that versus what I’ve gone to before, but I still had a good time and got my ass kicked. Tonight is my first normal session with the trainer. My goal is just to get a workout to follow. I can work the equipment and everything just fine but I want a workout that it going to maximize my efforts and make the most out of the time that I’m there. Even just to have something to rotate between would make me happy.

June 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Funerals

Again, life decided to throw a wrench in my plans. My boyfriend’s dad passed away suddenly last week. So I spent the latter half of last week with his family helping out with getting things together and ready for the service and just helping out with the little things I could do to make things easier for his mom.

So needless to say, I missed a few Zumba classes and workouts. I’m not complaining about it. Being there to support your family will always trump going to the gym. I just never truly realized how much food people send you. The closest family member to be that had passed away previously was my grandpa. He passed right in the middle of my finals so I was really only able to come back quickly for the funeral. So this was my first experience with all of the food and people stopping by. We really had way more food than we knew what to do with. And of course, a lot of what people bring is comfort food. Or at least not-good-for-you-in-the-least food. We had at least 8 buckets of KFC, 3 meat trays, and several pizzas, all in the course of a couple days. Plus people brought tons of cookies and chips too. No one ever really got super hungry or got hungry at the same time. I think it just became more of eating just because it was there and it was something you could do to occupy your mind for a few minutes. So we ate at weird times. Although I never ate a lot in one sitting so it was a lot like having numerous small meals throughout the day. I just could tell I was eating greasy and not good for me food.

But now that we’re home and everything, I have been lacking motivation big time. I slept terribly last week between the super late nights and not being able to sleep. And coupled with sleeping on the couch and the floor, you can see where I would be tired. So I’ve wanted to crash every night but I’m trying to get everything caught up. I didn’t get to do laundry so I had an extra load to do. We had some raw chicken in the fridge that went bad and was stinking up the whole place so we had to clean that up and air the place out. The list goes on and on. So I haven’t been able to go to bed much earlier than my normal time but I’ve still been having trouble falling asleep. So I sleep through my alarms in the morning and then I don’t have the time to go to the gym during the day. So it’s a cycle. I’m hoping this weekend I can get more caught up on sleep and finish up with everything else I need to catch up on so my pattern can get back to normal. I am a little worried though. I’ve battled insomnia for several years and it does not take much for me to get off my patterns and when it gets back, it gets really bad. And with commuting now I really can’t afford to have it flare up.

I’m hoping that things can get a little more on track next week and that I can get back to my workout schedule and get some good stuff for me to eat. *fingers crossed*

April 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Goals

I decided something over the weekend. I am going to run a 5K. And I’m definitely going to run it. It’s called the Color Me Rad 5K. It just looks like a blast. And I think making running fun is the key to making it something that people want to do.

It’s not until August so I have plenty of time to get myself up to it. I know it’s only just over 3 miles but I’ve never run 3 miles consistently in my life. I’ve walked/hiked way more at a time, but never run. We would always just get timed for 1 mile in school and other than warming up for cheerleading practice, I pretty much preferred to do a sprint.

So I need to set some goals for myself. I looked at this program called Couch to 5K. I’m probably gonna try it but I feel like I could already skip the first couple weeks of it because I can already run 3-5 minutes no problem so if I start it from day 1, I’ll end up being bored.

But as I’ve alluded to before, I hate goals. They’re on the same vein as New Year’s Resolutions for me. I feel like I’m setting myself up for failure. My life is so hectic that every time I try to put long term goals in place for myself, I end up not being able to achieve them and I feel terrible and look at myself like I failed in some way.

So I got to thinking about something. I’ve tried long term goals but I’ve never really tried short term goals for myself. And by short I’m thinking week long goals at a maximum. If I can set a goal at the start of the day, something really simple and easy to fit into my day (even as simple as run for 5 minutes), then I can have a sense of satisfaction at meeting my goals and it will make it easier for me to achieve things. As I hopefully start feeling better at making goals, I can start making more concrete long-term goals for myself.

April 16, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

My BMI Rant

One thing that I’ve developed a deep hatred for over the years, especially recently with all the media focus on obesity in our country is the Body Mass Index (BMI). If you’re really interested in the background of it, you can go to the Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_mass_index) which has some good basic info and some links. But I honestly think most of us know what it is.

Here’s my big problem with it: they’re basing your “thickness” or “thinness” solely on your height and weight. And that is just complete and total bull. What body type is this based on? I have curves. I definitely inherited the European genes from my family. I have a friend that it a stick. And she can put down some food. So already I have a disadvantage against her due solely to our different body shapes and the added density that comes from a curvier figure. So immediately there is a flaw in the system.

Also (and along the same line as the body shape), I have a chest. There’s no factor to account for the weight that I have there. I mean, I can’t really do anything about them or the fact that they are essentially a fat and tissue deposit. They’re there and not going anywhere. So how do you balance that against a guy who doesn’t have them. Or a girl with smaller ones?

Another issue: what about people with lots of muscle? It’s a given fact that muscle weighs more than fat so if you do work out a lot or are just athletic, you gonna have a higher BMI than someone with the same body type who doesn’t have the muscle definition. I have another friend whose sister is crazy athletic. She plays a lot of different sports and has a 6-pack. She is constantly going. By the BMI’s standards: she’s obese.How is someone that is fit enough to have a 6 pack obese?

But of course, the media has to latch on and sensationalize everything to make a good story. And studies use it all the time. I mean, I understand the goal is to make people try to be healthier, but telling me I’m obese only makes me depressed because I do try. I can’t help my body shape. I had no control over my genetics so I almost feel like I’m being punished in some way for having curves. And I love my curves so I don’t want to feel that way. I just feel like there needs to be a better indicator that can take into account more variables because our bodies are all so different and height and weight alone can’t say for sure if you’re overweight or not.

And I realize that you can get a complete body “work up” that can determine your % body fat and all of that information. And that is definitely the better indicator in my mind. But the problem is you have to have it done by a specialist and it costs a pretty penny. And that isn’t exactly something that insurance companies are going to be okay with paying for.

So it ends up being a slippery slope. Go by the BMI and feel depressed and discouraged by your weight or spend a fortune to get the true analysis of your body. Or try and ignore everything that the media throws out there, which is increasingly difficult to do…….

April 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Holiday Dinners and Breakthroughs

So I have sucked with updating this. To be honest, it’s hard to find the motivation to knowing that no one is reading it anyway. Aside from that it’s been a crazy last couple months. To sum it up and make a long story short: crazy and ridiculously hard class, the death cold that wouldn’t go away, and a family member in the hospital. So yeah, crazy. Plus spring decided to arrive a touch early and the weather has been pretty wonderful as of late so I’ve been spending a lot of time outside. I mean, wouldn’t you rather be outside when it’s wonderful out than cooped up?

And yesterday was Easter (look at me stating the obvious). You know what that means: holiday dinner again. I think for most people it isn’t as big a deal as Thanksgiving or Christmas but it’s a holiday dinner all the same. In my family, it’s just as big. My grandma could probably feed a small third world country with all the food she makes. And don’t even get me started on how many times we’ve told her that she makes way too much food. We honestly have leftovers for weeks. Yet, she still makes all this food. And she definitely encourages you to keep eating. You know that person that takes it as an insult if you aren’t completely stuffed or go back for seconds and thirds? Yeah, that’s my grandma. So I always end up eating WAY too much and then I feel uncomfortable for the rest of the day. Now shock of shocks, we didn’t have that much food this time around. I was amazed. We had the ham, of course, and a potato side (baked hashbowns mixed w/ sour cream and some seasonings – YUM!), two vegetables, deviled eggs, cottage cheese, and rolls. Oh, and desert. All in all, a very small holiday dinner. I still got full but I didn’t feel horribly uncomfortable. It was kind of amazing. I still got some leftovers, but just enough for a couple of days, which is nice.

I had what I deemed a small breakthrough the other day. Knowing I was gonna get some leftover ham, I didn’t see the point in going to the store and wasting money on lunch meat, so I had to go get some lunch. The dining center I like to go to on campus was absolutely packed so my friend and I decided to go uptown. We just ended up going to Wendy’s and I just got a burger since it would be quick and I wasn’t feeling a salad there (they’re so watered down it isn’t even funny – at least every time I’ve had one at this particular Wendy’s). Well I started eating my burger and I was honestly grossed out by the grease. I just felt disgusting eating it. And that was almost a good feeling for me. Granted I didn’t like being grossed out by my food, but I have never just had that strong desire to NOT eat fast food. So hopefully I can keep it up. I do still love the fries though, which will make it a little more difficult.

I’ll do a weigh-in later in the week. I can guarantee it won’t be too different but that’s a post for next time I suppose.

April 9, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Weigh-In and Super Bowl Parties….

So I didn’t do a weigh-in last week because it was that time of the month and I figure there’s no reason to weigh myself when I’m bloated and know I’ll weigh a couple pounds more than I should. So for today’s weigh-in we have:

 

Current Weight: 174.2 lbs

Change from Last Weigh-In: +0.6 lbs

Overall Change: +2.2 lbs

 

So I’m not doing as great as I’d hoped so far. I really only have myself to blame. I keep putting myself in situations where I don’t eat as healthy as I should. Case in point being this past weekend and the Super Bowl. I ended up having 7 people in my apartment including myself and my boyfriend so we had quite a bit of food. I made potato skins but I roast the potatoes versus deep frying them so they are a bit healthier but they’re too delicious for my own good and I kept eating them. Plus we got some pulled pork from this amazing barbeque place that’s close to us. My mom made some lasagna and brought all the fixings for some salad. So I just ate small throughout the day and we spaced the food out throughout the game so I wasn’t eating that huge amount of food all at once but still. Not the best thing I could have done.

But that’s what happens for sporting event get-togethers I think. I can’t say I’ve been to or hosted one that had a lot of healthy food. It’s rare to even find a veggie plate it seems like. But I guess I look at it like, these things aren’t an every day occurrence. They’re kind of like holiday meals. Yeah you eat way too much and eat a lot of the unhealthy stuff but it’s not like you do it every day our of the year. I feel like you can have these occasions if you plan accordingly. So I made sure I had a lot of the leftover salad the next day versus some of the other leftovers. I have also eaten smaller portions the last couple days. So I think by making some smarter decisions and concessions in the days surrounding these kinds of parties I can have a day where I don’t eat as well and not feel terrible about it.

Luckily though, I have my double whammy of Zumba and Pilates on Friday at the rec to look forward to. But I’ll get into that in my next post. I have to get back to studying at the moment.

February 8, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Weigh-In For the Week

So I’m short on time today but I wanted to get the weigh-in information in. I’m gonna try and get a longer post tomorrow.

 

Current Weight: 173.6

Change from Last Week: 0

Overall change: +1.6

January 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Weigh In and The Paula Deen Situation

So I will preface this entry by saying I’ve been having internet issues. First the home internet decided to go kaput and then I’ve been having issues with the wireless internet at school. The couple times I was able to get on, I’ve had to address school work first so this had to take a back seat.

So here’s the weigh in information for this past week:

Current Weight: 173.6

Change from Last Week: +1.6

Overall change: +1.6

Not what I wanted, but when I can’t really work out much cause of this cold, I can’t do much about it.

So Paula Deen came out this week and announced that she has Type 2 diabetes. I can’t say that I’m overly surprised by this. But here’s my thing. I think that she’s getting a bad rap to a certain extent. The people who blame her diet and the type of food she makes, either haven’t watched her show or are a bit naive. I’m a Food Network junkie, and I have always enjoyed watching her show. If you’ve ever watched it, you know that she always says that the food should be enjoyed in moderation or on special occasions. She has never in any way encouraged eating that way for every meal.

And think about your grandparents. What kind of food do you think they made a lot? People have been eating food like that for generations but the difference is the activity level. Our generations are lazy as all get out. We rely on cars to get us everywhere and we don’t compensate for it with any type of physical activity. Our parents and our grandparents didn’t have the luxuries that we had and we are lot more active because of it. So they burned off a lot of calories and it wasn’t a big deal. I remember growing up and going to my grandma’s and we would make pizzas, rolls and biscuits, cookies, fatty , etc. We didn’t skimp on the fat and calories, and my grandma cooks the same way now. And she’s perfectly healthy. Because she works around the house. She doesn’t sit around all day. And she eats in moderation. She doesn’t go back for seconds and she doesn’t load her plate down.

And you get people that try and blame celebrity chefs like her for our nation’s obesity problem, especially that of children. But how is that fair to place blame on one person? Why not blame the parents who let their kids sit around and play video games instead of forcing them to go play outside or taking them to play in youth sports leagues? Why not blame school cafeterias for serving a bunch of preprocessed and unhealthy food? And why not blame ourselves for letting it happen? Or for stopping at McDonald’s and letting kids get the fatty foods instead of forcing the fruit cups? We are so quick to place the blame on everyone else when a lot of the fault is our own.

So, is Paula Deen the poster woman for healthy eating? No. But should she be placed on a cross for it? No.

Now I can’t comment on the manner in how she came out with it. But I can buy her delaying coming out with it so she could adjust to the diagnosis. I have a friend that was suddenly diagnosed with diabetes (and she is a super healthy twig by the way), and it took her months to really get used to adjusting her diet and changing everything. It was a huge lifestyle change for her, as active and healthy as she was. Now waiting 3 years does seem a bit extreme, but maybe there’s some ulterior motive that we aren’t aware of. There’s really no way to know for sure.

January 22, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Weigh-In #1 and The Lunch Debacle

So I actually did my first weigh-in on Wednesday. School being what it is, I’ve been kinda busy the last couple days with classes and meetings. So I plan on laying out the weigh in results as follows:

Current Weight: 172 lbs

Difference from Last Week: n/a

Total Difference: n/a

Other than listing the weights I really don’t plan on saying too much about them since I’m not trying to obsess over the numbers themselves. If I come across something with it that really warrants commenting on, I will but for the most part I’ll do the stats and then move on.

So, for the first stumbling block I’ve come across but knew I would sooner or later: waking up late. I’m nursing a nasty cold right now so I’ve been taking medicine for it. Needless to say, I woke up late Thursday and Friday. The main downside to waking up late is not having time to make a lunch. I know I could pack it up the night before but to be perfectly honest, I hate doing that, especially if I’m packing a sandwich.The bread just gets all saturated and I HATE a soggy sandwich. For the most part packing sides and things like that are okay to do the night before but I usually forget or I’m just too lazy (that’s for another time).

Anyway, as you can imagine, being on a college campus, my options for lunch aren’t exactly the best. We have  a ton of bars/pubs, fast food, and just crappy food. And the places that have salads I swear sell couple day old salads. Browning lettuce is just disgusting. So it doesn’t exactly inspire someone to make better eating choices. There is a cafeteria in our student union that has a really nice salad bar and some really delicious pre-made salads but they are really expensive.

So I typically have a not fun decision to make: eat food that isn’t as good for me but is a lot cheaper or pay a lot more to eat better. Being on the budget of a graduate student, I can’t always afford to take the healthier route. This is probably the biggest obstacle on the day-to-day efforts: eating healthy costs a lot. I’ll get into my thoughts on that in another post. I know the simple answer is just to make sure I pack what I can the night before and if worse comes to worse just take the individual elements for the sandwich with me. And the only thing I can really offer is excuses.

My only hope is that once this cold goes away (which if the weather patterns keep up their current trends won’t be anytime soon and will most likely be bronchitis before it’s over) it’ll be a lot easier to keep up with lunch.

January 7, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

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