Monday, March 31, 2014

Meet a Member - Melissa T, Week 7

Week 7
March 25, 2014

Thoughts for the Week…
·        I did it! I surpassed the 20-pound mark! This week I am 2.2 more pounds down for a grand total of 21.6 pounds so far! I was also remeasured and I’ve lost 7.25 inches of my body.
·        I had all stars for the past week, which means I stayed within my calories each day to lose weight. I was a good girl over the weekend and didn’t indulge in any alcoholic beverages, even though I had a sleep over at my BFF’s house. It felt a little weird not having drinks together, but let me tell you, my body was happy with that decision the next day! I felt great! I’m continuing the “NO alcohol” goal…it just seems like the best thing for me.

·        I went to the doctor this morning for a check up. The last time I was there was November. I had blood work done in November and my doctor shared with me today that my cholesterol was just a tad high. I had blood drawn again today to recheck things and I’m hoping that my cholesterol comes down since I’ve been really watching what I’ve been eating and have been exercising.

Wednesday Workout
·        I work out with a group of teachers on Wednesdays and Fridays after school. Below is one of the workouts we did this week:

o   15 minute EMOM (Every Minute On the Minute)
§  5 box jumps
§  7 sumo dead lift high pull
§  9 push press

Ponder this…

·        Pretty simple quote for the week…two words, but they mean a lot! I’ve been feeling just blah lately. Not sure if it’s the weather or because it’s testing time at school and nothing exciting is happening. Here’s my reminder to “Keep going!”. Persistence will pay off. I AM a WARRIOR!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Meet a Member - Arianna P, Week 7

I have a number! ... I think... There's a fancy doo-hickey Square 1 has that somehow measures your body fat percentage and your BMI after inputting your height and age. They use these numbers, put it into the formula, and calculate the calories you should eat to lose weight. When I used the doo-hickey back on February 3rd, I got an error message for body fat percentage and BMI. At accountability today, I met my goal - lost 2 pounds - and was measured again. This time, numbers popped up! 43.1 body fat percentage and 41.5 BMI. I was REALLY happy. I was wondering if my star zone would be different, since I have numbers now, but honestly, I kind of thought it was a fluke. So I used the doo-hickey again. The second time, the body fat percentage came back "Error" and BMI was 56-ish. Hmmm... I'm still happy and proud of myself, I'm just wondering which set of numbers is correct. If the second numbers are right, my star zone will change and I can eat more calories and still lose weight. We shall see next week! As Dory says, "Just keep swimming!"

I also think I'm looking trimmer! Before:

Ladies: Strength Training Will Not Make You Bulky

Women tend to shy away from weight lifting for fear they’ll look bulky, adding to their overall size - a size they are trying to reduce. This misconception is unfortunate; strength training gets a bad rap when it’s exceptionally beneficial for weight loss.

When you eat at a calorie deficit, you lose weight. We know that much. Unfortunately, some of what the body replaces calories for fuel, other than fat, is muscle. You lose muscle as well as fat, resulting in a weight loss on the scale, but your body fat percentage is higher (or the same) because of it.

Strength training tells your body, “okay, we’re using these muscles, so don’t get rid of them when you burn fuel.” Your body will burn more fat than muscle that way, and you can keep your muscles.

You’ve probably heard that muscle weighs more than fat. A pound of muscle and a pound of fat weigh the same, of course, but muscle takes up a lot less space per pound than fat does. Here’s a picture to demonstrate this, thanks to (

The woman in the picture weighs more in each subsequent picture, but is smaller and leaner looking because she strength trains.

This is a great reminder that the scale isn’t the final authority. Measure your body fat percentage, and definitely measure your body in inches (and clothing sizes)! If your scale weight stays the same for a long time, make sure you’re paying extra attention to your size and body fat percentage. I’ll discuss plateaus in the future.

The other great reason to strength train is that it increases your metabolism. That is to say, you burn more calories just sitting around if you build muscle. Just to exist your muscles burn calories throughout the day. Going for a run is great and an awesome way to burn calories when you’re running, but when you stop running, you stop burning calories. When you lift weights, you are still burning calories for the rest of the day because the muscle fibers are healing.

So don’t shy away from it. Lift as heavy as you safely can, two days per week at least. Definitely remember to give your muscles a day in between workouts to heal - the healing is when they’re being built.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Meet a Member - Melissa T, Week 6

Week 6
March 18, 2014

Thoughts for the Week…
·        2.8 more pounds down for a grand total of 19.4 pounds so far! I’m hoping to clear the 20 pound mark next week!
·        Well, I didn’t listen very well to Marty last week. L I decided to drink again on Saturday. We went out to eat and I drank margaritas, which was preceded by beer at home. I made good choices on the food I ate. I asked for a chicken soft corn shell taco, even though it wasn’t on the menu. One of the people that was with us asked me what I was going to do if they wouldn’t get that for me since it wasn’t on the menu. I didn’t have an answer because I didn’t know the answer. I thought I was being prepared, which I was to an extent, but not prepared enough to know what to do if the waitress said no. So, yes, it was a “big fat drunken pig face” night! And just like last weekend, my body felt like crap the next day. My goal for now is NO alcohol. I need to keep reminding myself that the alcohol is not going to get me to where I want my body to go.

·        This week in Train your Brain part of the discussion got off topic and Marty was sharing some of his experience of being on the Biggest Loser. He mentioned that the doctor had told some of the contestants at the end of the contest that if they were to maintain their current weight they’d have to work out x number of hours a week. Marty said one contestant was like, “What? I have to continue to do this?” That’s where I previously failed. I lost weight before and that was the end of it. I didn’t continue to plan my food or to workout and all of that damn weight came back on. It’s not rocket science to figure out that I am going to have to continue to eat well, keep a food journal, and work out several nights a week to keep this weight off, but some days my brain starts going backwards thinking that once I get to my long term weight loss goal, this journey has ended. So not true! This journey can never end.

Wednesday Workout
·        I work out with a group of teachers on Wednesdays and Fridays after school. Below is one of the workouts we did this week…simple, but effective!

o   20 minute AMRAP
§  10 push press
§  10 kettle bell swings
§  10 box jumps

Ponder this…

·        We also discussed emotional eating today in Train your Brain. Eating because you are stressed. Or eating because you are lonely. Or eating because someone makes you mad. When we talked about this I remembered a quote I saw while driving with my husband. “He who angers you, controls you.” I remember saying to him, “I am never going to let you make me mad again because that means I am letting you control me. That’s not going to happen!!” We need to remember that when we are emotional, turning to food is not an option. Emotionally eating makes the problem worse because not only are we avoiding feelings, after we shove our faces with crap food we always feel bad about ourselves because we’ve strayed from our diet, which in turn makes us disappointed in ourselves. One Solution?? Label our feelings - I’m (upset, stressed, lonely, angry, etc), NOT hungry.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

“Long term consistency beats short term intensity.” -Bruce Lee

Better to begin a journey that takes 1000 steps than to stumble on one huge leap. I can tell you why so many people relapse bad habits so easily - because they feel like they’re punishing themselves, they feel deprived, they have low self-worth and think “why bother?” Those are some of the reasons but I’ll tell you what my greatest enemy was: cold turkey thinking.

When I’ve tried before to lose weight, I told myself, “okay, this is the last corn chip I’ll ever eat. This is the last time I drink soda. I’ll go to the gym 14 days a week” (okay, the last one was a bit of a stretch, but you see my point).

Almost immediately, I became the Hare - I was in such a hurry to lose weight because I literally couldn’t wait to reach my goal. I’d become frustrated with my progress slowing from two pounds a week lost to one (as if it’s not its own victory). Because I wasn’t getting results, I’d burn out and quit.

That kind of black-and-white thinking is common among weight-losers or anyone else trying to make a life change and relapsing because they simply cannot take the pressure of a total, 180 degree life change. Few people can handle that kind of stress.

A lot of the initial advice I received from the internet this time told me: exercise and eat less. Oh, and drink more water. Oh, and cut out all starches/carbs/fats/sugars etc. etc. etc. If I were to implement all the necessary changes at the same time, it would have overwhelmed me so much that I would have lasted maybe a week.

This time I took matters into my own hands. I became the Tortoise - slow and steady. First, I cut my calories. When I was comfortable with that number, I cut them a little more and re-evaluated; I asked myself if I was still comfortable, and proceeded.

I decided to drink two 32-oz mugs of water a day, and resolved to only drink water and tea, but only when the idea sounded comfortable to me.

Then, I started exercising. I started with two days a week, then re-evaluated and decided I could do three days. Then four. Now, five.

I’m dropping weight steadily now and at the expense of nothing - I don’t feel overwhelmed because I made one tiny change at a time.

This process still requires sacrifices; there will absolutely be days when you’re taken off guard. A coworker brought donuts? Engage that willpower muscle. Mom wants to enlist your help baking Christmas cookies? Engage that willpower muscle.

But 90% of the time, during day-to-day activities and a routine lifestyle, you can maintain these changes and still feel like you’re going with the flow. Just try not to overwhelm yourself. Give yourself a break and appreciate what you’ve been able to change. You’re in no hurry - your goal sits at the finish line, but that finish line lasts for the rest of your life. You might as well be happy and comfortable when you get there.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Meet a Member - Arianna P, Week 6

Turning Behavior Into Habit

The pros say it takes six weeks for a behavior/activity to become a habit, good or bad. As far as working out and journaling, it's norm for me now (I can't believe I'm saying that! Whodathunkit?) Six weeks ago, without the help of everyone at Square One - trainers, other members, accountability, and Train Your Brain classes - I wouldn't have made the strides to become a healthier me. Making the commitment to exercise had me down another 1.2 lbs this week. Six weeks ago, I would've wanted to stop after hearing that number. But Marty said something after TYB that helps put it all in perspective. He talked about going to the grocery store and picking up 1 or 2 lbs of the fattiest piece of meat in the store (since muscle weighs more than fat). He told us to imagine holding it for a minute and thinking about how every week, that 1 or 2 pounds is no longer on you. It's amazing. I've lost a bald eagle and a guinea pig. I hope that in another six weeks I'm down a total of a two-year old (25 pounds). One area that is still difficult for me is my eating habits. If I eat 1400-1600 calories, that's a star day. 1600-2600 is a smiley face day: not horrible, but is more in the maintaining than weight loss zone. Anything over 2600 is a sad face. It is very hard for me to stay under 1600 calories, mostly because I don't have the resources to grocery shop like I want to. I also am still working on "thinking skinny." It's not a natural impulse for people of size to stop when they're full. Food gives us comfort, support. It's that friend that we've turned to when it seems that no one else understands or listens. Whatever our go-to bad food is, it doesn't talk back or give us grief for feeling the way we do. I know it sounds ridiculous to personify food like that, but it's a problem I face. How can I use food for it's intended, healthy purpose (fuel for my body, not for my heart, mind, or soul)? This is more of a struggle than doing those squats, touch-n-go's, or planks. But I'm still here, still kicking, and keeping to the path, only occasionally running after a pretty butterfly.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Meet a Member - Melissa T, Week 5

Week 5
March 11, 2014

Before and During pics…


Thoughts for the Week…
·        3.8 more pounds down for a grand total of 16.6 pounds so far!

·        In Train Your Brain this week we talked about eating out for social occasions and how our plans go downhill fast when confronted with eating socially. The solution is that we must be doubly planned. We must go in with a strategy…that strategy being one that will better myself. I need to remember that it is not okay to abandon my plan for special occasions. My body doesn’t know it’s a special occasion, it’s my mind that does and it’s my mind that makes exceptions. It’s sometimes difficult to not listen to my mind in those instances. I just need to remember, “This (cake, beer, etc) is NOT going to get me where I want to be.”
·        We also talked about drinking alcohol and how we tend to eat less to make up for the calories we drink, but in all actuality, it backfires. This I know is true! I had several beers on Saturday and thought that since I’m drinking these calories I’ll take it easy for lunch and dinner. Well, once I got home I decided that I was really hungry so I proceeded to eat my dinner leftovers with added sour cream, and top it off with some cookie dough. The next day my body was NOT happy! I need to remember that alcohol is poison and my body doesn’t need it to be healthy.

Wednesday Workout
·        We didn’t work out at school this week because it was Spring Break, but here’s a workout that was sent to us to do. I’ll be honest, when I saw burpees I immediately didn’t like it. Then when I saw I had to do 5 rounds of burpees, I REALLY didn’t like it. Needless to say, this one I didn’t do, but if you’d like to, knock yourself out! Here it is:

o   5 rounds
§  30 kettle bell swings (option is air squats)
§  30 burpees
§  30 v-crunch sit ups (option is regular sit ups)

Ponder this…

·        What a great quote to help us remember exactly what Marty discussed about social occasions. My body doesn’t know it’s a special occasion…it wants to be healthy. It’s my mind I need to not listen to when it is trying to make exceptions.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Meet a Member - Arianna P, Week 5

Week 5: Sick, Tired, But Still Kickin'!

After last Tuesday's weigh-in, I was ready to workout on Thursday. Unfortunately Wednesday night, I ate something that didn't sit well with me and was having stomach issues for two days. Dare I say, I've reached the point where not working out ticks me off. I was SOOO mad that I couldn't go in! I got a smidge out of practice missing Thursday, because I went 5 days without a workout. Saturday was hard, but it was easy to fall back into the routine and sweat it out (have I mentioned that Kim is awesome?)!

Tonight was a personal landmark for me. I finished the first class, and as it ended, I thought to myself, "When will this get easier?" Everything still hurts when I exercise, but not working out is NOT the answer. We were all stretching and I wasn't ready to leave yet. So I stayed for two classes! Sound the trumpets! Send out alarms! I did it. I feel awesome. And you know what? I wanna do it again. =D    

Losing Weight Intuitively

Eating, like anything else we do several times per day, becomes a habit. And like any other habit, it can be incredibly difficult to change without actively thinking about it throughout the day.

If anyone’s like me, remembering to change something is half the battle. I tried to lose weight dozens of times but always failed on day one partially because I would tell myself, “okay, today is day one!” and in the same breath, “ooh, somebody brought donuts to work! I’ll have two!”

In the initial stages of change, part of the struggle is willpower, the boulder against which we push to change our ways. The other part is simply remembering that it is, in fact, go-time.

My one successful time in history (I’ve been at it over 5 months so far) was partially because of what I did to remember to eat better: I wore a bracelet. I had found it laying somewhere in my house; I had probably picked it up at a trade show or on the pavement at a parade.

It said, “One Day At A Time.”

I don’t usually wear bracelets, I don’t like the sensation of something on my wrist. So every time I would start to forget what I was trying to accomplish, the constricting sensation on my wrist would remind me.

After those couple of weeks, I felt comfortable enough to take the bracelet off. I only ate when hungry, and stopped when full. I feed my body when it needs to be fed, and stop when it’s satisfied. This is called intuitive eating and it certainly takes practice.

I used to eat when I was bored, or sad, or happy, or angry, or nervous. Other than reminding me of the fact that I was eating better in general, that bracelet reminded me to ask myself: “are you really hungry right now, or are you just bored/sad/nervous?”

This would allow me a moment’s thought: Am I hungry? I guess not. Rule of thumb: If you’re not hungry enough to eat broccoli (or whatever food you don’t like but is necessary for a healthy body), then you’re not hungry.

Most of the time I’d say, no, I’m not hungry. But I learned to recognize the signs of actual, physical hunger:

  • Weakness
  • Growling stomach
  • Empty feeling
  • Headache
  • Irritability

When I eat, I eat slowly so I can take some time to appreciate my food. I turn off the TV, the cellphone is out of my hand, and my focus is on my food and my food alone. I appreciate the texture, the smell, the taste of every bite. I think about how this particular food I’m eating is going to help my body.

By eating slowly, I recognize when I’m satisfied. I never eat to be full. By the time I’m full, I’ve eaten too much. I sip water between bites to help add volume to my stomach, as well. Feeling satisfied means that I’m not full but I’m no longer hungry. My stomach has stopped growling, and I have enough energy to go on with my day.

If you eat until you’re satisfied, you will likely be hungry again in a few hours - and this is fine, but again, determine whether you’re really hungry, and learn to recognize when you’re satisfied. It helps to plan out several small meals throughout the day, so you’re never too hungry, and much less likely to eat too much.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Meet a Member - Arianna P, Week 4

Workin' It Out!

Still going strong... fourth week in, 10 pounds down. I've been making steady progress at losing weight. I have noticed a few things so far. Positives: everyone at the club is still awesome. I can stand up for longer periods now (20 minutes before my back starts to hurt). I "feel" skinnier. The only real negative I can think of is my knees hurting. I HATE SQUATS! I don't have any cartilage in my knees (my orthopedist said I was born that way), so doing any exercises where I have to repeatedly bend my knees kills me. But I still do the exercises. All of them. I feel like a certain make-up commercial: It hurts now, but in the long run, things will get easier. I'm worth it.

Meet a Member - Melissa T, Week 4

I am a WARRIOR!!
March 4, 2014

Thoughts for the Week…
·        2 more pounds down for a grand total of 12.8 pounds so far! Next week I’ll put up a before and now picture (per my brother’s request!!).
·        Several people this week have mentioned that they can see a difference in the way my clothes are fitting. Those comments make what I’m doing worth the effort I’m putting in to achieve my goal!
·        In Train Your Brain this week we talked about food pushers. Those people that push food on you even though they don’t realize what they are doing (most of the time). For example, a coworker brings a container of cookies for everyone. You want to take one, but know inside you really shouldn’t. You don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings by not taking one, so against healthy eating practices take one anyway. We have to remember that it’s okay to disappoint others. Nobody else is going to advocate our own needs, so we have to do it OURSELVES!
·        Marty talked about being a warrior. Webster’s defines warrior as “a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness”. I need to remember, “I am strong…in mind, in body and in soul. I can do this! I am a WARRIOR!”

Wednesday Workout
·        I work out with a group of teachers after school on Wednesdays and Fridays. I want to share this with those of you who work out on your own for something different that you may not have done before.
·        Here’s one of the workouts we did this week:

·        5 rounds
o   15 dead lifts
o   15 wall balls
o   30 sec plank
o   20 lunges
o   20 tricep dips
o   30 sec plank

Ponder this…

·        I think this quote relates to what Marty talked about communicating our desires. I must have firmer boundaries for the food I eat. Eating things in moderation hasn’t worked for me, so for someone to say to me, “Just this once” I have to be prepared in my response. I have to remember that it’s okay to say NO! I am a WARRIOR!!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

On Not Feeling Deprived - Part 1

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, and many of the 78 million Americans who observe Lent are giving something up for forty days and nights.

Regardless of your beliefs, changing your diet can entail giving things up for much, much longer than forty days and nights.

But does it have to?

When I tried to lose weight in 2012, I lost 20 pounds but gained it back for several reasons: I put all of my emphasis on exercise and not nearly enough on cutting calories. I had been laid off and let my depression get the best of me, so I ate more and moved less. But the main reason I failed is the idea that “I can never eat X again. I simply don’t eat cupcakes/cookies/enchiladas anymore.”

I tried to tell myself, well, this is just how it is. It’s a diet* after all. On a diet* there are just some things you can never have again.

*I will touch on this in the future - but it's important not to think of this as a diet. “Diet” implies temporary changes, when you need to make these changes a permanent lifestyle.

I’d start of my “new diet” with a send-off (by send-off, I mean, I’d tell myself that my “diet” starts tomorrow, so I better eat all the junk in the house today - a goodbye party to all the bad food I can never have again. After all, it’s the last time I can ever eat it.”

Soon enough, I’d wake up the day after my send-off and decide to extend it. Okay, it’s a send-off weekend, not a day. Okay, just one more week. I’ll start next month. I’ll start...never.

When I started over in October of 2013 I changed how I think of “bad” food. This time around, I tried doing something differently. I said, “never say never. You can have cupcakes/cookies/enchiladas, but not right this instant. Those foods aren’t going anywhere. They’ll still be there when a time comes that I have calories for them.”

I still eat the things I want because it’s so important for me not to feel deprived. Though it doesn’t represent the picture of perfect nutrition, I’ve been able to keep my calories in the correct range and often times I still manage to have calories in the evening for a small dessert. I probably have dessert more frequently than I did 36 pounds ago - but I eat it in way smaller portions. I still lose weight, and I don't feel deprived.

As far as a send-off went, I took all of the junk in my house (an unopened bag of chocolate cereal, for starters) and brought it to work. I can promise, there will be someone at work who will appreciate your junk if you don’t want the temptation laying around.


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