My own little cardio challenge

I frequently participate in various challenges on weight loss blogs and in real life, but it seems as if I have more success when I avoid them. I don’t quite understand it–especially since I’m a pretty competitive person. Here’s a brief history of the weight loss challenges I’ve participated in my life:

  • Summertime bets with my grandmother–whoever lost the most weight by our annual August beach vacation would be treated to a fried dough by the other. Success: don’t really remember, but since I was 10-14 at the time, I doubt I accomplished too much. This always makes me laugh because what’s more ridiculous than rewarding weight loss with sugar coated, carb loaded, grease laden fried dough?
  • A Biggest Loser-type challenge at my gym: A group of four of us were buddied up and given a trainer who provided us with nutritional and fitness-related information and had us try a new type of fitness class or workout each week. I lost weight throughout the 8-week long competition, but my weight loss slowed (and even stalled on many weeks).
  • Krissie’s Photo Food Blog challenge: This was one of my favorites because it allowed me to focus on my food, but I think in exchange, my time at the gym decreased. Photo food blogging is time-consuming, yo! Still, I intend to continue this periodically to make sure I’m accurately tracking my food intake.
  • Various challenges to exercise for 30 minutes every day, meet specific food goals or just plain ol’ lose weight. Total lost in the past 2 months that I’ve done these challenges: 2 lbs.

I think what happens is that when I do a challenge, I substitute it for my own weight loss plan and sometimes even sacrifice additional things that I know work for me in favor of whatever the challenge goals are. Or I become more focused (and stressed) about the number on the scale instead of the progress I’m making in other health-related ways. And we all know that more stress=weight GAIN.

 My plan for few weeks/month/whatever is as follows:
  • Stick to a 1500-1700 calorie a day diet
  • Burn at least 3000 calories 4-5 days out of the week
  • My two “rest” days will still involve low-intensity exercise (a walk, light elliptical, etc.)
  • Review the food plan (carbs, protein, fat, calories) I previously got from the nutritionist and follow it more carefully.
  • Build in treats when necessary.
  • 8+ glasses of water daily.
  • Spin 3x a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and sometimes Sunday)
  • Abs & weights 3x a week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday)
  • Log every bite of food!
  • Do photo food journals at least once a week.

Rewards for good behavior:

  • Pedicure
  • My birthday (May 9) is a free day.
  • Trying out new recipes
  • Build in treats (part of the plan AND the reward!)
  • Listen to more Jillian podcasts
  • Find and listen to other weight loss or health-related podcasts
  • Buying a new weight loss related book (either a memoir or instructional book)

I’m really struggling to get to my 20% loss (3-ish lbs to go). If I can get to that weight and stay below it for a full month, I will reward myself with an hour-long hot stone massage.

Time to get serious, peeps!! I’m on a mission.

This weekend’s farm excursion was fun and peaceful. I found an organic farm just a few minutes away, I discovered 3 new places for nice, long and peaceful walks, I bought organic free range eggs that came in various colors (blue, green, brown, white, cream), I purchased fresh arugula, beets, ginger and scallion. Thanks to the purchases, I plan to make the following this week:

Tuesday: arugula salad with poached egg, homemade bacon dressing, fresh tomato and roasted potatoes.

Wednesday: a ginger-scallion stir fry with shrimp, red peppers, broccoli, mushrooms and Shirataki Tofu Noodles.

Thursday: arugula salad with roasted beets and feta. Maybe some grilled chicken or fish for protein.

I felt really good yesterday. Even though it was a cold, wet, windy, dreary day, I felt like I accomplished a lot and did a great job at work. The best part: my supervisor commended me for two things. I know he appreciates my work, but it’s not often that he praises people. As an eternal gold-star seeker and *blush!* validation needer, I really appreciated hearing it.

Spin class was really good. The spin instructor was okay (chipper, elementary school teacher-type) and the music was decent (nonstop club-mix medley of various oldies, Motown, 80s Top 40 songs and 90s dance hits). My performance was what rocked my socks off. I had complete focus, I competed against myself and continued to challenge myself, I maintained a heart rate in the 150s, and I made sure to keep perfect, perfect form throughout the 50 minute class. Now THAT is a feeling of success. Best part: I’ve done 3 spin classes in the past 4 days, and I feel great (strong, healthy, energized, sore). Perhaps, it’s a bit overkill, but it was just due to my own scheduling limitations. I’ll definitely ease into the schedule I outlined above, so I have rest days in between classes.

Now… off to work and another busy day. Work, walk, dinner, writer’s group meeting, Fat Bridesmaid’s Biggest Loser Liveblog and more cupcake baking and decorating for a colleague’s 50th birthday tomorrow.

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