I've learned that music is essential to my work-outs, but Sunday night I re-realized this in an almost comical way.
I worked out on the elliptical, first, and listened to a podcast, as I usually do. Then I started my walk/run, and I switched over to my workout playlist. As I started my walk, the right ear bud started shorting out. The left ear bud was just as loud as ever, but the right one either had crackly noises or was silent. I actually almost tripped, that's how disturbing it was. It was weird! I could get it to work well enough while I walked, but when I ran, the right ear bud would go in and out every time my right foot hit the track.
So, yesterday, I bought a fresh pair of ear buds. Nice! Bless my old ear buds, they've held up through almost constant use since August. I hope these new ones hold up longer.
Anyway, this brings up my point: what do you listen to while you work out?
The elliptical is kinda boring, so I need something that will make me think. Most of the times I'll listen to a podcast.
My favorites include (click on the titles to go to their websites):
PotentialCast (a "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" podcast)
Geek Out Loud (self-explanatory, really)
I'm also checking out lectures on iTunes U. I downloaded an entire lecture series from the Universty of Alabama about zombies in literature, and then a really awesome series from the Metropolitan Museum of Art on superhero fashion. These are all available for free on iTunes.
If I'm not listening to a podcast or lecture, I'm usually listening to Girl Talk. His music mashes up basically the last 50 years' worth of pop music into incredible dance music. It's hard not to move when you listen to any of his albums, and it makes me think, since I'm constantly deciphering the samples. (click here to download his new album for free)
But when I walk/run – definitely my favorite workout right now – I have to have my workout playlist on. And that workout playlist is VERY specific – basically nothing but rap and punk rock. I need something that will get me moving, and this playlist does.
Here's a sample of some of the songs on my workout playlist (click links to watch videos!):
(these are just a few! I have lots more!)
So, what do you listen to?
So long, Thanksgiving; hello, Christmas.
As I said in my last post, I planned to enjoy my Thanksgiving and forget what the scale said.
Well, I did just that.
I've been sick for about a full week now, with an annoying cold that doesn't want to let go. So, I haven't been to the gym in a week. On top of that, I enjoyed a lot of super carb-y dressing and my (low fat, but not low sugar) cheesecake at Thanksgiving.
Total damage: three pounds, says the scale.
If that's all I've done, well, I can live with that. I was nervous that I'd gained closer to five, but three? I'm totally OK with that!
I spent last week enjoying time with my family and eating what I wanted (and not focusing quite so much on how to eat healthfully), but I only did this for a few days. I say those three pounds were worth it. Those are three pounds I can easily shed, by eating well and working out. There have been many, many times during this losing weight journey that I've gained a little bit of weight here and there, only to lose it later. Sometimes I knew why I was gaining: because I wasn't working out hard enough, or because I was just eating too much (even of the healthy stuff!). Sometimes I had no idea why. Still, I've managed to lose it. And I'll lose these three, too, and get back to losing more.
And, even though I didn't eat perfectly during Thanksgiving, I tried a few things to keep the pounds off. For example, when I made my turkey sandwiches (and I made A LOT), I ate it the way I eat every sandwich these days, with only one slice of bread. I just take one slice of bread, top it with everything I want, and eat it that way. I do this even when I'm eating whole wheat bread. It's a little messy, but worth the effort. Just use a fork, or get really good at balancing!
This time off has really made me miss the gym and my healthy eating. Sure, the "bad" stuff I had was yummy, but I miss my fruit smoothies and salads. Eating fresh food is just so much better than anything processed, or from a fast food joint. I can't wait to go shopping and go work out when I get off work tonight.
Here's to another couple of healthy weeks.... before Christmas! :)
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
As of yesterday (er, today, too, I guess), I've lost 34 pounds (at about 37 pounds I will be half-way through to my goal!).
I've lost two sizes, so I'm down from a size 16 to a 12. Just this past weekend, I bought my first medium-sized T-shirt. When I was in high school, I could occasionally wear a medium, if they were cut large; now they fit great. I won't lie: I totally cried when I tried it on, and it fit perfectly.
So, I'm doing well. I haven't been to the gym much lately, but that's because I've had this yucky, annoying cold. I'm starting to feel better, so hopefully I can get back in there soon. I really miss it.
And tomorrow's Thanksgiving. Lots of folks have asked me what my plan is. Well... I'm gonna eat. A lot. And, yeah, I'm gonna eat kinda poorly. Isn't that what the holidays are about? :)
Seriously, really, a lot of my choices are already made for me.
Once you switch to a healthy way of eating, your body basically rejects anything bad for you. I never knew that would happen, but it does. After going for about a month or so on "clean" food – ya know, lots of fresh fruits and veggies and lean protein, no or very few sweets, nothing fried, little oil/grease, etc. – your body just basically rejects this stuff when you eat it, or at least mine does.
Occasionally, I've tried to eat poorly – a lot of fried foods or sweets – and I'll be sick for days after. I just feel yucky, run down, slimy – if there's a word for it, I don't know what it is just yet. It's not emtional. It is purely physical. Sometimes, it will make me physically sick, so I'll have a sick stomach for at least a day.
So, sometimes I'm tempted by fried foods or something else that's just really bad for me, but I know it'll make me sick, and I just don't want to do that. This horrible feeling/sick tummy makes it very, very easy to say no.
That being said, my contributions for my family's Thanksgiving tomorrow are certainly not that healthy:
baked turkey breast (OK, so this is actually pretty healthy. this is also my first time to do this! very excited)
sweet potato bake (apparently this also called candied sweet potatoes... all I know is, my dad has asked for this, so I'm going to try to make it)
spicy/sweet pretzel sticks
I can have a little of all of this, but not a lot, obviously – except for the turkey.
My biggest worry is how my body will react to the very carb-y dressing. But I plan to eat a lot of it, anyway – after all, we're using my grandma's recipe, and this is our frist Thanksgiving without her. Not having any just wouldn't be right.
So, I'm going to eat, probably pretty poorly, and a lot. If I gain a little, I'll gain a little. That's what the gym is for. I'm going to try to listen to my body and eat when I'm hungry, stop when I'm full, and try to make as many healthy choices as I can.
And I'm going to give thanks – for my family, my friends, the food, for my body, for everything else that's good. :)
How are you handling Thanksgiving?
Weight loss is all about eating healthy foods and working out, right?
Not even close.
The first lesson of the weight loss game is that losing weight is... well... I'm not sure on the precentages, really, but mostly mental, and only a little physical/diet.
I am quite sure of this.
To lose weight, you really have to shift your thinking and your priorities. Sometimes, it's harder to change how your brain works than it is to get to the gym.
A part of that shift in thinking has to do with your feelings. For better or worse, a lot of us are stress/comfort eaters: we eat when we're stress or need to feel comfort. I used to never think I was one of those, until my grandma died last winter. Suddenly – I mean, literally, five minutes after she passed – I wanted to eat every single thing I could get my hands on. I didn't care what it was. I didn't care that I wasn't hungry. I just wanted to eat, because all of my comfort was gone, and I was stressed and hurting.
So, if you're like me, you'd eat – but would you really feel any better afterward? I never really did, but I thought I did. Not only was I in denial, but I also had huge hefty feelings of guilt and regret.
I used to go through that back and forth all the time with my eating, even when I wasn't under a stressful situation. I'd get fast food, thinking it was what I wanted (NOT what I needed, obviously, but I wasn't even thinking about what nutrients my body needed), and then I'd feel so much guilt and regret after eating it. Or, I'd have an insanely lazy day, sitting around watching TV all day, and I'd feel guilty about that, too. I knew I could've been up doing something physical, so I'd regret that entire day.
I got so tired of feeling that regret and guilt all the time, every single day, most of the time after every meal. It gets so old.
When you start taking care of yourself – the working out, the eating well – that guilt goes away. It's like magic.
You're eating better and working out, so you're proud of your choices.
You just feel free.
I saw this on a weight loss blog once (again, sorry, I can't remember which one), and it completely changed my thinking (and, yes, I'm bolding this for extra emphasis): You'll never regret a workout.
So now, any time that I feel like cheating – running through a drive through or skipping a workout in favor to watch TV – I think about that phrase. There is no doubt I would encounter those old feelings again, guilt and regret. If I ate well and worked out, well, I could think about anything else, feel anything else, other than focusing on feeling bad about myself and my choices.
Time spent at the gym or preparing a good meal is not time wasted, not even in the slightest.
So keep that idea in mind: by taking care of yourself, not only are you losing weight, but you're also losing those old nagging feelings of guilt and regret.