6 Week Challenge Mid-Point Weigh-in: Despair

Oof.

We had our midpoint weigh-in tonight, meaning we’ve been at it three weeks and have three more weeks to go. I was so excited as I’ve been feeling well, my clothes are fitting differently and I felt like I’ve been doing really well. I was sure I’d be at least halfway to my (or, the challenge’s) goal of 6% body fat lost in six weeks.

I lost 1% body fat.

Normally I wouldn’t be disappointed about that at all. I lost body fat! And I’ve lost over five pounds. But if I’ve lost 1% body fat, that means I need to lose another 5% in the next three weeks in order to get my $500 back.

Also, with the weight I’ve lost and the adjusted body fat percentage, that means I’ve lost 5.2 lbs, of which 3.3 lbs has been fat and 1.9 lbs has been muscle. Three weeks of intense HIIT workouts to lose 1.9 lbs of muscle. I could cry (actually I’ve been crying most of the evening).

This feels awful. I feel the danger here of falling into a disordered eating trap (I’m still confident I won’t as I’m pretty well set up in that regard), and I also feel like I’ve already lost the $500… so why even bother with the rest of the challenge?

Truthfully I don’t even have that $500 to lose. I took it from a spot I should not have. I was just so determined that I could follow the plan and give it my all, and I’ve done just that. Why should I be penalized for the plan not working to the organizer’s own requirement?

I do like her and I think her gym is good, for workouts. But if I lose my $500 I will most definitely be posting everywhere possible online about this challenge. And yes, if that happens I’ll be editing these posts to give the name of the business and trainer.

Tonight I feel like a failure at everything and have lost all motivation to do anything… exercise… meal prep… write… Ugh.

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6 Week Challenge: Weeks 2 and 3

Things have been going really well, actually! Andi and I have been working out three times a week at the associated gym, doing 30-45 minute HIIT circuit workouts (something like this but with more medicine balls and dumbbells).

Though I remain skeptical of the diet, I haven’t been hungry. I’ve added a bit here and there, like a handful of pumpkin seeds on Halloween or a slice of pizza (oops) last night. Mostly we have been following the plan really closely though, adding only a bit of vegetables at each meal.

My body is definitely changing, with my pants starting to get a bit loose and noticeable definition coming in my butt, abs and arms (and, according to my friends at work, my face).

Speaking of my body, I haven’t been as sore, either. Still sore — still definitely working! But the workouts started to feel more doable after two weeks. That was a very welcome change!

I was under the impression that we should be working out up to six days a week in total and was going for runs or doing yoga on my off days, but was noticing that my runs really weren’t going well. I mentioned this to the trainer and she said that actually, since the diet is so calorie-restricted, we shouldn’t be doing really any cardio at all. She said I can go for a fun run once a week if I want to but nothing more challenging. Our bodies aren’t getting enough calories to recover from extra workouts and won’t be able to successfully build the muscle we’re looking for unless we rest on our off days. She also pointed out that with this few calories coming in, we may just lose muscle since there is not much else around for fuel.

I looked this up and found this blog, which is super helpful. Check out his post, “How to Lose Fat Without Losing Muscle.” I’ll definitely be using this blog as a resource in the future!

Tomorrow is our halfway weigh-in and body fat measurement. I’ll post results!

This week I’ll also share some of the things I’ve been eating that have made our success and happiness thus far possible.

The Simple Joy of Going for a Walk

Here’s a value I’d like to instil in the kids: the simple but unfailing joy of going for a walk screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-11-38-18-pmoutside.

It seems overly simplistic, overly optimistic, easy to brush away as pointless. I know this because unless I’ve gone for a walk recently, I forget just how important it is. But I’m glad that I do know, that my parents valued (and still value) “going for a walk” as a worthwhile pastime and that they passed that value down to me. Continue reading

Running: a Love Letter

Dear Running,

I’m writing to apologize, and to say that I’m so happy we’ve found that spark again.

I know it’s been a journey. And I’m glad you’ve stuck by me, even when it probably seemed like I was abandoning you. I like to think that you’re wiser than I am and that you always knew we’d reconcile. And I’m sorry to relate that there were times I contemplated removing you from my profiles and bios because keeping your name there as part of what identifies me felt like it was becoming a lie. Continue reading

Why I’m Loving DailyMile Again

I’ve used DailyMile to track my runs since I started running in 2009. I started with the Couch to 5K program (also available in a great app) and had DailyMile recommended to me by the same friends who had recommended that. For years, it was just a website. For the first year or two, I would log on when I got home, plot my run on the map and find out how far I had gone. The mystery! Now it sounds a bit absurd (oh how quickly we adapt), but at the time it was great. I was just thankful the map was so accurate.

Then, I got a newer phone. I searched for a DailyMile app to no avail. Continue reading

Tonight I Ran Instead of Writing

Well, at least when I was done I had a big breakthrough on the rewrite of my novel, so I’m excited about that. The thing about running (or exercise in general) is that it’s necessary for inspiration and brain function, and yet tonight it used up my writing time. How does one find time to run *and* write?

Day 7 of 28 Days to Simplify My Life a la Pinterest: Move Every 45 Minutes

Today, via Buzzfeed, we have “Get up every 45 minutes and move around. When you sit back down you will feel greatly re-energized.”

This is from the post 23 Ingenious Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder. Not bad. I do agree that it’s a good idea to get up and move periodically if you have a desk job. I only have a desk job 1-2 days per week, but on those days I do need to remember to move in some way at least once an hour. In fact, some days at work, I get up and hula hoop for five minutes every hour. That’s fun! I’m lucky enough to work in an office in a heritage building, with wood floors, high ceilings and large classrooms in which to hoop.

Hula hoop... check!

Hula hoop… check!

I went into work today intending to get up and move every 45 minutes. But then I noticed that between coffee trips, bathroom trips, walking up to the store front to check a product, and searching for my boss to have a quick chat, I was moving far more! I got up and walked around at least every half hour. I do think it’s important to get up and move, and it does help, but this tip didn’t change anything I was already doing. Oh well. It could still be useful for someone else! Maybe try hooping at work!

Original pin is here.

And once again, the dedicated Pinterest board for this series.

I’m Running Again (!)

I’ve waffled on whether to write a post about running, as this isn’t a fitness blog. However, running is one of my loves, and here is my rationale for including it as a topic on an “unschooling, unjobbing” blog: this blog is about simplicity, and simple solutions to life’s big questions. Going with the flow. Loving what you have, enjoying your surroundings, doing what just makes sense instead of striving to live up to someone else’s standards, or getting in over your head.

Running is all those things. With a pair of running shoes (or barefoot, except not in a Canadian winter), you can get in a workout, a therapy session, some stress release no matter where you are. No special equipment required. It’s affordable, it’s simple, and it’s good for you. And really – Neko is already in love with running, and we count it as a large part of our “unschooling phys. ed.” She ran the Calgary Kids Marathon last year and will again this year. It makes me so happy and proud to see her learning a love of running at such an early age, as I know it’s a love that will serve her for the rest of her life.

Anyway, I run. Sometimes. I also go on long breaks from running. I have only been running for about two years. I mean, I did run track a bit in junior high and high school, but never for pleasure. I had tried to get back into it a few times throughout my 20s, but it felt awful. Then a friend told me about the Cool Running Couch to 5K program. I downloaded the iPod app (which is awesome!) and took a whole… I don’t know… five months (?) to complete it. It’s supposed to be eight weeks, I believe. But I finished it, and at the end, I could run 5K without stopping – and it felt awesome!

Since then, I’ve run on a regular basis, most of the time. However, during especially busy times, I take breaks… and getting back to it after a break of a month or more is HARD. This is what I’m doing right now. I hadn’t run since late October, and right after Christmas, when all the craziness of the season was over, I was determined to get back to it. The first run out was horrid. The second was even worse. I felt defeated. However, something very important (and obvious) dawned on me on that second run – this is why I can’t quit! I can’t take so much time off, because coming back hurts! Even running a few kilometers a week, taking an hour or less out of my entire week, would keep me conditioned – and of course, help me in myriad other ways as well.

The past two weeks, I’ve learned about the importance of icing muscles after a hard run, stretching, not pushing myself too hard, running through the pain (not injuries!) to break up the lactic acid, and taking walk breaks as needed. Also, positive self talk. It’s amazing how repeating “You’re strong, you’re fast, you’re doing this, you’ve come so far,” etc, in your head can get you through that last kilometer. But I’m up to 25-27 minutes of running and just over 4 km. By the end of this week I should be up to 30 minutes, and nearly 5 km.

I’ve decided to set monthly goals and rewards for myself all this year. In January, my goal is to run 60 km. My thinking was that if I run 5K, three times a week, that would be 60 km… Now to reach 5K! It’s going to take a lot more runs at 3-4K per run! Still achievable, though. My reward for reaching 60 km is to go out dancing with friends. Yes, it’s something I would do normally, but I haven’t actually gone dancing in months, so at this point it would be a fun reward. And healthy! And cheap.

In general, I like to keep my fitness life simple. I feel like running and yoga plus pushups (and some other strength moves mixed in) is the perfect regimen, at least for me. I really enjoy adding stairs every week or two as well. There is a set of 167 steps in Sunnyside here in Calgary, and ten sets of those is a great workout for the quads and butt! One of the best parts is that Neko and I can go for runs up to 1K together, and do yoga together (I recommend the YogaKids DVDs)!