Sunday, June 30, 2013

Weekly Goals

Last week I conducted an experiment to see how much, if any, weight I would lose when I did not exercise. I did lose ounces, but I like to lose pounds (don't get me wrong, I will take ounces, any loss is a welcome loss). This week, my goals pertain to what I want to achieve overall. I have been on this journey for over 6 months and it is time to step back and re-evaluate what I have been doing.

  • Exercise - I am starting Bob Harper's workouts this week and my goal is to workout for at least 6 days (including today). My workout schedule is available and should give you a general idea of what I am going to be doing. I am at the point in my journey that I have been asking for; I have more time on my hands and I need to utilize them better. I started off this journey on such a high note, I was geared up and ready to go then as time got away from me, I started to slack a little on my workouts at home, but push myself in the gym. Since I have more time I don't have one valid excuse as to why I cannot workout. 
  • Water - I am going to push myself to drink more water, I have to push myself if I am going to be successful. My goal this week is to drink at least one CamelBak Eddy full of water each day. I say at least, because it might be a stretch to get in that much, but I am going to try. 
  • Balanced Eating - When I started this journey, I was geared up and ready to go (second time you have read that in this post). My eating was balanced, but as time got away from me, I was eating what was convenient all while making sure I was staying under my calorie budget. I would eat a bagel, fruit and soup for lunch because I was on campus and it was convenient for me to grab. It wasn't the healthiest of foods, but I was staying under my calories for the day which made me happy. Right now, I am ready to take a 360 and make a change. More protein, fewer carbs. More veggies, fewer starches. This weekend I indulged in some of my favorite foods. Part of me is ashamed to say that, the other part isn't. I have dessert sitting on my counter right now that I will be eating. Part of me is ashamed to admit that I will be eating it later,  but that is the only way to get it out of my system. 
I have hit a point in my journey where I can look back and see the areas that I could have succeed in but didn't. I was eating under my calorie allotment but not eating the healthiest of foods. I was taking weekends and special occasions off.  

It wasn't until recently that it hit me, I am cheating myself out of what I deserve. I deserve a healthier me and although I am still counting calories and working out, I am cheating myself. I have a lot to improve on and I have a long journey ahead of me, longer than what it should be because I did cheat myself in the process, but long enough to show me what I deserve. 

I can't keep cutting corners, I can't keep taking weekends off, I can't keep taking special occasions off. Don't get me wrong, having a cheat day every once in a while won't kill me and it can be helpful if I am in a plateau because it allows me to shock my system, but every weekend can't be a cheat day. 

I can't keep cheating myself. I won't keep cheating myself. 

Everything changes tomorrow.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Weigh In Day

This week I did a little experiment of my own. I wanted to see how my body would react at my weekly weigh in if I didn't exercise for the week (the only day I exercised was on Monday). I wanted to see if I would lose, gain or maintain my current weight. My allotted calories through MFP are enough to allow me to lose weight as long as I stay under those calories each day.

This week I lost 0.8 pounds. My running average for the past two weeks has been losing 1 pound per week. That means MFP is right, the calories I am allotted each week, still allow me to lose weight even if I don't exercise. I may have lost a pound if it wasn't for all of those french fries I was eating yesterday, but the main thing is that I still lost something.

Total loss this week: 0.8 pounds
Total loss since the start of this journey: 17.6 pounds

Head over to the progress page to see how my measurements changed from the beginning of the month to the end!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Week In Review

Looking back on my week, it started off well but I decided to switch things up around Wednesday. Here is how I did on my weekly goals.

  • Exercise - I did fine with my exercise on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I decided to take a rest day, then as an slightly unfortunate coincidence, Thursday followed suit. I can say that today will also be a rest day. Why? For the past two weeks I have lost 2 pounds (once each week) by exercising and eating some of my exercise calories back. This week I want to see if I lose anything and how much, by not exercising. 
  • Water - I am not sure what went wrong in my water intake, but I don't think I managed to get anything more than a couple of bottles into my system this week. Drinking water is always a goal that I will have every week because it is something that I have a yo-yo relationship with. I love water, some days I am in the mood for it, other days I am not. That's just how life goes I suppose. 
  • Monitor snacking - I am proud to say that I monitored my snacking very well this week. My snacks usually consisted of peaches, which lately have tasted like they were picked right off of a peach tree and lightly sweetened, they were just that good! (thanks Dole!).
  • Focus on balanced meals - my meals were pretty balanced, typically consisting of one carb, one veggie and a meat. That is something that I am proud of because I have been trying to limit myself to one carb per meal. 
The only thing that was different this week was the fact that I made the choice to give up three days of exercise to see if I would gain, lose or maintain any weight. That may seem like I am sabotaging my own weight loss journey, but according to MFP, the calories that I am allotted each day, are calories that would allow me to lose weight without exercise and tomorrow I will see if that is true or not. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summertime Recipes Pt. 1

Everyone equates summer time with grilling out. Why wouldn't you? Beautiful weather + great food = winning combination. Foods that are thrown on the grill can still be low calorie and guess what, no one will know but you! Here are a few of my favorite recipes for the summer time (more will come as summertime progresses). Some of these recipes can be found on the internet, therefore, I will be giving credit where credit is do. Some of these recipes will be low calories, others will not; simply for the reason that everyone deserves a treat now and then.

Roasted Vegetables (South Beach) - Servings Per Recipe: 4, Calories Per Serving: 155 - 160 
What you'll need:

  • 1 Squash
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 pounds Asparagus
  • Bell Peppers (any color, I normally use red and yellow)
  • 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450
2. Cut veggies into bite size pieces (I actually do them a little larger than bite size)
3. Toss veggies in olive oil, salt and pepper mixture
4. Spread in single layer on roasting pan or cookie sheet
5. Roast until tender and lightly brown, about 30 minutes

My variation: I use additional veggies, when I was first introduced to this, it was by the recipe above. The second time my cousin fixed it for us, she threw in a few carbs (such as sweet potatoes). But, this can also be done with eggplants! Instead of roasting it in the oven, during the summer, throw it in some aluminum foil and place it on the grill. It makes it even more delicious! 

What you'll need:

  • 1 trifle bowl, punch bowl, baking dish, individual cups, etc. (just to hold your masterpiece)
  • 1 package brownie mix (the brownies will be crumbled after baking so use your judgment as to size of box)
  • 2 packages chocolate pudding (3.9 ounce box)
  • 1 package Oreos (any kind that you like)
  • 1 container of cool whip - any flavor you like (again, this will be divided amongst layers so use your judgment as to the size)
  • Any additional toppings you would like (I have heard of people using thin mints, Hershey's candy bars and of course gummy worms!)

1. Bake brownies according to package directions and let cool; once cooled, crumble
2. Prepare pudding mix according to directions
3. Crush your 'dirt' mixture (Oreos and any other additional topping you chose)
4. In your dish layer your ingredients, starting with brownies, followed by pudding, cookie mixture, cool whip; repeat
5. Garnish with gummy worms if desired

My variation: Nothing can go wrong with fixing this recipe because it is a chance for you to express your creativity. Whatever chocolate you like, throw it in there. It is meant to be sinful, but the best part is that you can make it lighter (lighter cool whip, reduced fat Oreos, etc.). This should serve around 12 - 20 people (depending on how much they take and who wants seconds)

Summertime Sangria
This recipe is one that you can't go wrong with, therefore everything is a variation.

What you'll need:

  • 1 bottle white wine (I have used Chardonnay before, but have a bottle of Moscato in the refrigerator that will be used soon)
  • Any fruit you like (this is why this is perfect for the summer time: use peaches, mango, pineapples, oranges, strawberries, etc. - any fruit that you like)
  • Optional: brandy or schnapps
  • Optional: sugar (depends on how sweet you want it)
  • Sparkling water, ginger ale, club soda etc. (your preference)

1. Mix wine and fruit and let chill in the refrigerator
2. When ready to serve, add in your choice of either sparkling water, ginger ale or club soda
3. Serve

My variation: this is really a time to clean out your refrigerator. I use pineapples, strawberries, grapes, peaches, orange juice, pineapple juice, white grape juice, etc. Anything can be included in this recipe and make this drink a success, especially if you give it time to chill and let the flavors mix.

Stay tuned for more recipes! In the meantime, what are some of your favorite summertime recipes? I am eager to find out! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Final Thoughts: MyFitnessPal vs. LoseIt!

I have been losing MyFitnessPal since June 12, 2013 and in those two weeks, I have dropped 2 pounds. That is an amazing accomplishment for me since I was either gaining or maintaining a weight I didn't want to while on LoseIt!. I am not saying LoseIt! can not help accomplish your goals, I am saying that at the moment, it wasn't helping me achieve mine like I wanted it to.

Since these are my final thoughts of both, there are a few things that are worth comparing, essentially some last minute pros and cons. Ironically, what is a pro for MFP also serves as a con for LoseIt! and vice versa. 

Pros of MFP:
  • You can log multiple days at a time. Therefore, I can log all of my meals for the week on one day versus having to wait for that day to actually come, like I would have to do on LoseIt.
  • Gives you your projected (just an estimate) weight loss in 5 weeks view. 
Cons of MFP:
  • Can only change your username once, so choose carefully!
These 3 pros and cons may not seem like much, but they are things that I search for. The only way that I can log multiple days on LoseIt! is to pay (upgrade to premium), but why should I have to pay for that? Luckily, MFP includes that. 

At this time, MFP is my choice and one that I was happy to make. MFP is working for me at the moment and I hope that it continues to do so in the future. As long as I keep logging, stay motivated and determined, I know that I will be successful. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Stretch Marks

I have always been self conscious of my arms, hips, thighs - basically anywhere where my stretch marks can be seen. It seems like I have had stretch marks for the majority of my life, which is probably true. Although I have probably had them for most of my life, you would think that I would be comfortable with them, but I am not.

Two of my fondest, and most cringe worthy memories, of my stretch marks came from a comment at the hands of someone younger than 10 year old; don't worry, I was slightly younger than 10 at the time too. To keep my busy during the summer, I was enrolled in a day care program run by my mom's job. I looked forward to day care every summer because, in my eyes, it was more of a way to get you involved in activities than a way of having someone watch you 24/7. We would play games in the morning (both for fun and educational), go outside after lunch and play basketball, swing on the swings, and every Friday we would go to the pool (I enjoyed this even though I couldn't swim).

Field trips were also part of our weekly activities and on this particular field trip we were also celebrating our summer close out. We went to a lake, which isn't an ordinary lake, because it doubles as a swimming pool (they treat the water with chlorine and it has a sandy bottom). Along with the lake there are paddle boats, fishing areas (not in the chlorinated water), horseshoe pits, mini-golf, and more (it is basically a water park based on everything they offer).

My friend and I (at that age, who isn't your friend) had just gotten out of the pool and were going to get some lunch. We sat together and I kept my towel around my arms because of my self consciousness, I couldn't even escape that at such a young age. Unfortunately for me, my towel fell when I went to reach for something and the first thing out of her mouth was 'what happened to your arms'. I was really embarrassed and didn't want to explain what they were, so I told her it was the way water dried on my body (in lines) and once I put on lotion they would disappear. Other than in today's society, what child less than 10 years old would ask a question like that (and that was over 11 years ago!).

My second memory once again involved swimming. Every Friday we went to the pool and we always got dressed in bathroom. The only problem is that there were so many girls you had to split up which bathroom you went to and even then you may have to share the handicap stall (we weren't handicapped, you could just get 3 girls in the stall at a time, which made the process easier) with someone. We were changing into our bathing suits (sometimes parents would dress their kids in their suits before they left so you could go straight to the pool) and one of my friends (again, who doesn't have friends at that age) asked what happened to my hips and legs. I immediately knew what she was talking about and this time my response was, 'bugs bit me in lines all over my body'.

The more I look at it, I was pretty quick on my feet at the age when someone asked about my stretch marks, but looking at it now, my answers would never pass now.

Fast forward over 11 years and I am still self conscious about my stretch marks. I don't like wearing anything sleeveless. For years I avoided it at all costs. My mom and I would be out shopping (one of our favorite pass times) and she would see a shirt that would look nice on me and once I saw that it was sleeveless, I would quickly disagree and use the same excuse 'I don't like my arms'.

That is the same excuse that has stuck with me for years. I just don't like my arms because of my stretch marks.

Since I have been working out and increasing weights into my workout, my arms are slowly getting defined and that is something I don't mind showing off. Any definition is a welcome change to help combat my dislike of stretch marks. I have been wearing more sleeveless shirts and because my arms are getting a little more defined I haven't been as self conscious as I once was. There are still times when I find myself crossing my arms in an effort to hide my stretch marks from the world. There are even times when I will just wear a short sleeve shirt just to avoid having to hide them.

I have heard this statement numerous times when it comes to having stretch marks, 'either you were small and gained weight or your were large and lost weight'. Either way it came from a change in your body. I have also heard this statement about stretch marks, 'your body is not ruined; you're a goddamn tiger who earned her stripes'. Both of these statements are meant to make women comfortable about their bodies but there will always be negative people who are so focused on bringing you down and ruining your self confidence.

My problem is more psychological. Society has always instilled that stretch marks are not beautiful and that is how I have treated mine; like something was wrong with me. I always feel like people are only starring at my arms when they see me, which makes me feel worse.

Where do I go from here?

I have tried coco butter several times, lotions meant for stretch marks and many more products that haven't worked for me. I am on this journey to feel better about myself and in the process I want to prepare myself for my upcoming college graduation. I want to wear a sleeveless dress under my gown (I know it will still be under my gown but I won't be wearing that all day) and feel good about myself when I take my gown off, regardless of if I have stretch marks or not.

In order to prepare myself for that, I plan on doing more with weights. I use free weight because, honestly, the thought of me trying to bench press anything scares me. Increasing the pounds of the weights, more reps, anything to tone my arms up, is my initial goal for my arms. More definition and toning is what I am working towards. In the process, I want to work on feeling better about my arms and my stretch marks.

It will take a long time for me to fully accept my stretch marks but I am a work in progress. Each day I get stronger on this journey and feel better about myself and no matter how long it takes for me to feel good about my stretch marks, it will be well worth the wait.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Biggest Loser Update

When I made the decision to end my gym membership, it was one that luckily was not made in a rush. I didn't have the time to commit to going to the gym that I did when I was in school. Therefore, the next best thing are workout DVDs. Unfortunately for me, I forgot (how silly of me) that I don't like doing the same thing over and over.

Don't get me wrong, I love my two Biggest Loser workout DVDs. When I first started Cardio Max, I was addicted; same with Power Sculpt. But now that I have been doing them for nearly two months, it is getting both repetitive and a little boring.

My body has been so tired lately. All I want to do is sleep, not workout. Again, don't get me wrong, I love to workout, just not the same repetitive motions over and over again. I had two rest days last week from the Biggest Loser workout series (on those days I did Zumba instead).

I have talked about joining another gym, which is definitely a possibility because not only is it closer, they offer discounts for college students but I do want to finish out my two Biggest Loser DVDs. When it comes to the DVDs, I only have two weeks left on Cardio Max and four weeks on Power Sculpt. I have come too far to give up on the DVDs. I have been seeing some results with the workouts but know that I will see more if I continue to push myself. I just have to give my body the time it needs to rest from all of the repetitive motions.

By saying repetitive motions, I am not implying that in a negative way. Those same repetitive motion are essentially what achieves results but the same motions can tear down muscles which need time to repair themselves.

I have tried switching up the order in which I complete the workouts. If the DVD plays in this order - warm up, 1, 2, 3, cool down; I will complete the workouts in this order - warm up, 2, 3, 1, cool down. Changing the order gives my muscles more time to warm up which helps me (section 1 feature lunges, which are my weakest point because I have injured my knees before, doing the sections out of order gives the muscles in my knees time to warm up) in the long run because I avoid an injury.

One of the biggest improvements I have noticed while completing the workouts is that my endurance is up. When I started I would often do two or three reps of an activity and then watch as everyone else completed the rest on the DVD. Now I am not only able to go longer (essentially completing more reps) but I am able to transition into the next portion without stopping for a break. This definitely comes from those repetitive motions in the workout.

So where am I?

Right now I am torn between taking a week off from the Biggest Loser to give my body time to adequately rest and substituting something like Zumba. But, I know how I am and if I take a week off from Biggest Loser, it will take me forever to get back in the swing of things.

I'm leaning more towards completing the various sections out of order (still completing them all) so that I can finish the DVDs on a strong note. That way my body is not used to the same thing and I am still getting in the workout that both my body and I deserve.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Weekly Goals

This weeks goals are identical to the ones I had last week, which can be found here. On another note, here is whats to come:

  • Final thoughts on MFP vs. LoseIt!
  • Favorite summer time recipes
  • My thoughts on stretch marks
  • Biggest Loser update
And more!!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Weigh In Day

I always get nervous before I weigh in. I am not sure what it is about it, for years I feared the scale. When I went to the doctor, I would always turn my head so that I didn't see the results on the scale. Luckily, all of the nurses caught on to what I was doing and wouldn't tell me what my weight was. Now that the scales are digital, I just close my eyes and never look down.

Part of me still feels that way now. I slowly look down at the numbers to see what they are; see if there is any loss, gain or if I am maintaining my weight for another week.

For the second week in a row (haven't been able to say that in a while) I am happy to report that I have another loss in the books. I was stuck in a rut for awhile using LoseIt! and since I switched over to MFP, I have had two losses in two consecutive weeks. If I have another next week (making three weeks in a row) then I will definitely know that MFP is a winner.

Total loss this week: 1 pound
Total loss since the start of this journey: 16.8 pounds (the MFP ticker to your right rounds up to the nearest number)
Total loss needed until I hit goal: 46 pounds

Friday, June 21, 2013

Week In Review

Looking back, my week started off rather well. The scales worked in my favor last week and I can only hope that they will work out in my favor this week, but I am not 100% sure about that.

When it came down to exercise, I managed to get in 4 days. It wasn't 5 like I had hoped, but thanks to my GERD, I had to abandon my Biggest Loser workout on Thursday in favor of Zumba (at least I still got something in). On top of that the weather has been too nice outside to workout inside so I don't mind missing a few days of the Biggest Loser to take advantage of the beautiful weather outside and workout.

MFP gives you a daily goal for both exercise minutes and calories burned. My weekly goal for workout minutes is 120 minutes (4 workouts per week) and so far I have surpassed that goal with 171 minutes completed. As far as calories burned, my goal is 1090 but I have only burned 1055.

My water intake has been sufficient. As always, it could have been better but it was not my worst week by far for water intake.

I manged to monitor my snacking very well this week. I stuck to eating Luna bars when I really needed a snack and when I didn't necessarily have to have a snack, I tried to focus my mind on things that did not revolve around food.

When I look back to my meals for the week, some have been higher in calories, some haven't. I try to eat my higher calorie meals on Monday or Tuesday and lower the calories as my week goes on. For some reason, Thursdays have always been my higher calorie days.

On the other hand, I have noticed that when I eat higher calories on Fridays my weigh in almost always results in a gain. If I eat a lower amount of calories, it almost always results in the gaining of a few ounces. Therefore on Fridays, I have to eat nearly all of my calories but eat them in low calorie foods (more fruits, more vegetables, etc.). The best thing about this week is that I had another successful week staying under my calorie allotment.

I don't know what to expect for this week and that is mainly because when my GERD acts up, I become bloated (a true TMI moment) and the scales are not my friend. If I lose a few ounces, a pound, etc. then of course I will be happy but if I don't, or gain, I won't beat myself up about it because I know in advance that my GERD flare up has paid a small part.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Look In the Mirror

One thing I hope to accomplish while on this journey is the confidence to do what I want and be what I want. I want to show younger girls that even if you aren't a size 2 you are still beautiful and you can be anything you aspire to be. 

Society has a habit of isolating people of a certain size. While I have learned to accept that I will be looked at differently based on my size , it breaks my heart to see young girls binge eating for comfort because they are isolated and because they don't feel beautiful by societies standards. 

Nothing eats at me more than to see a young girl sitting by herself at a table and forcing mass amounts of food into her mouth, one right after the other because it is the only comfort that she will get. It doesn't just have to be at a table, it may be in a room, huddled in the corner; stashing food under the bed, in drawers, etc. It is not that she is not loved, it is because society has shown her that the only thing that will never turn its back on her is food. 

As a child, I had the habit of eating things because they were there (I have referenced this in a previous post). I would eat foods because they were there. It wasn't because I was hungry it was because I saw food as my friend, my friend who wouldn't turn its back on me. It's not that I was not active as a child (I loved to ride my bike) it is just that when I got bored, my friend food was always there for me.

My pediatrician tried to help me with my eating habits. She would show me my chart and explain that girls of my age should be in the "curve" instead, I was the outlier, I sat way (and I do mean way) outside of the curve. My pediatrician (one of the sweetest people in the world) recommend to my mother and I that I start eating weight watchers from time to time, eat yogurt instead of ice cream, limit bread to once per meal (example - one roll at dinner instead of two). Each of her suggestions are things that I have tried in the past but it wasn't until I really buckled down that I saw the value and importance in these suggestions. 

Back then, how did you tell a pre-teen / teen that she had an eating problem? You said it in the nicest way possible, just as my pediatrician did. That was during a time when kids weren't cruel but all of that has changed now. How do you tell a pre-teen / teen that they have an eating problem now without hurting their feelings or making them feel like a bigger social outcast?

I am not on this journey to make people notice me, I am on this journey to improve my life and ultimately feel better about myself; but in the process, if I can inspire someone younger (or older) than me to take a look at themselves in the mirror and see how beautiful they are based on their character or personality, then I am fine with that. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

LoseIt! vs. MyFitnessPal Update

Last week I decided I would compare LoseIt! vs. MyFitnessPal to see which one was a better fit for me. Of course, one week is not going to be a huge determining factor in which one is better, so I will continue to compare both and give my final update next week.

This week I want to focus on what I have noticed (difference and similarities) between the two programs.

Both weight loss programs operate online and through an app. The homepage for LoseIt! has a simple layout with everything in an easily identifiable location. Information such as your daily totals, weight progress, activities, meal breakdown, etc. are all on the home page. (Image shows only half of homepage)

MyFitnessPal (MFP) runs adds on their home page, which I don't like, but it doesn't kill me to go on there. The homepage for MFP gives your daily summary, diet tools, news feed, weight loss progress, etc. (Image shows only half of homepage and to protect the identities of those on MFP, their names and pictures have been crossed out)

Mobile App
The mobile app for LoseIt! also has a simple interface. When you first bring the app up it brings you to your daily log, similar to the homepage on the website. MFP just released their update to mobile app yesterday (and trust me, it is much better than what they were working with before) which has made everything even more simple. You are taken right to your summary (essentially a mini website homepage) but the design is more user friendly. 

Food Database
When it comes to logging "brand name" foods into LoseIt!, you have the option of choosing between supermarket foods or restaurant foods. Supermarket foods are based on names (example - 100 calorie, Birds Eye, Lean Cuisine, etc.). Whereas restaurant foods are broken down by restaurant name (example - Arby's, Bojangles', Chick-Fil-A, etc.). 

When it comes to logging "brand name" foods in MFP, you have to literally type the name of the restaurant or supermarket food to get results. 

Luckily both LoseIt! and MFP have barcode scanners which makes scanning non-restaurant foods much easier. 

Calorie Allotment
At this stage in my journey LoseIt! is allowing me 1783 calories, while MFP is allowing me 1780. A deficit of 3 calories doesn't seem like much of a difference, but at the end of the week, one program is giving me 21 additional calories. 

Your calorie allotment is based on the information that you put into the database (it may be your age, height, current weight, goal weight, the pounds you want to lose per week, etc.). Everything is calculated for you, the only thing you have to do is log your foods and exercise.

Weight Loss
I had been stuck in a rut, and gained a little, while using LoseIt!. When I switched to using MFP I lost a pound in my first week! I don't know if that should be attributed to MFP, clean eating, exercise or all three; but what I do know is that I was pleased with what I saw and hope to see it again. 

Support System
Both programs have great support systems, known as communities. You have the chance to connect with so many people who are going through the same things that you are going through. 

Both have groups that you can join, which offer additional support. There are challenges on LoseIt! and MFP (you have to search through groups on MFP) and MFP gives you the option of creating a blog on their site!

Initial Thoughts
Right now, I am really enjoying MFP and once I have used it for another week, I will be able to give my final thoughts on which program I like the best and which one really works for me. 

If there is something I didn't cover in this review that you would like to know about, let me know and I will jump right on it!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Non-Scale Victory: Collarbone

I used to have an obsession with collarbones. It was something about the way a necklace fell across someones collarbone that intrigued me so much. Therefore, I was obsessed with my own collarbone.

As I began to gain weight, my collarbone slowly disappeared. As I began to lose weight, my collarbone began to slowly reappear. My collarbone has quickly become one of my biggest non-scale victories. It may not seem like a lot to most people, but it lets me know that I am losing weight and my body is shrinking (all while gaining muscle). That further reinforces the fact that something I am doing is right.

This is a long journey. Some will lose weight rapidly, others (like myself) will lose it slowly. One thing that both people have in common is the fact that they are losing weight. The numbers on the scale may not always go down, but non-scale victories will always be apparent.

There are so many non-scale victories that mean different things to everyone, the main thing is that it means you are working towards what you desire and achieving success along the way.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bye Bye Old Gym

Today, I delivered my official notice to my gym (they require you write a letter) declaring that I want to cancel my gym membership. I was going to die if I didn't join a gym closer to my house. I made a list of pros and cons and ruled out every other gym that existed before I joined the one I did.

My county converted part of the "old high school" (as we call it since it hasn't been in use since the 1960s I think), into a gym. That gym would run me about $5 a month. Perfect for a college student. But, I couldn't go there because I told myself there would be too many people from my county there and I have a thing about working out around people I know.

Now that I look at it, that is the place that I should be. What better deal can I get for $5 a month? Ironically, the more I think about it, there are more machines at the gym in my county than are at the one I joined. When basketball and football season rolls around I will more than likely have to share the weight room with the "jocks", but hey, you have to start somewhere and I am sure they can give some great tips on building up muscle. So I simply tell myself, 'suck it up buttercup'.

Don't get me wrong, I am not giving up hope on the gym at my university, I just don't want to drive the 40 minutes to get in a session, when I can drive 10 minutes to get in one.

 Right now I am focusing on finishing my Biggest Loser workouts and then I will set my sights on a gym. When the time is right to join another gym, it will definitely be the one at the "old high school".

The purpose of this post is this (and to anyone reading this, do not take it out of context in any way); don't let added amenities fool you when you can get in a great workout right in your neck of the woods. You have to do what is right for you and only you, not anyone else.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Weekly Goals

The scales definitely worked in my favor last week and that is something I am pleased about. I have said it before and I will say it again, I am not getting too excited about this loss because lately, I have not had two consecutive losses in a while. Therefore, I am bracing myself for whatever is going to be thrown at me this week.

My goals for the week are very similar to the ones I had last week:

  • Exercise - I managed five out of five days last week and I plan on getting in another five days of exercise this week. Having a calendar has definitely helped me and it has shown me how much I have accomplished. The calendar simply pushes me to do more because I have come too far to turn back.
  • Water - My water intake was good last week and I know that it will be good this week too!
  • Monitor snacking - My snacking habit has gotten better. I did have a bit of a sweet tooth last week which happens every so often but I do hope to improve on that this week. Keeping my snacking habit to a minimum. 
  • Focus on balanced meals - It's summer time. Fresh vegetables are growing and I am ready to incorporate those into my meals. Fresh grilled vegetables are my favorite and this week I hope to incorporate more fresh vegetables into my meals. 
I am hoping that the scale will be in my favor this week as well and I know that if I keep my meals balanced, stay focused and keep to my workout schedule I should be fine. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Weigh In Day

I felt very good about this week. My eating was under control and I exercised all 5 days, even making changes to my schedule to make sure I had time to fit my workout in. Last week I had, what I believe, my highest gain on this journey. This week I am happy to report I had a wonderful loss.

This weeks weigh in revealed a 1 pound loss (I am not sure what is going on with how MFP reports that but I think I entered something wrong when I signed up and that is why they are only reporting a 0.8 pound loss - but the ticker to the right is correct). With that loss comes a huge sigh of relief.

Lately, I have been incorporating strength training into my workouts and I am starting to feel stronger, which means that I must be gaining muscle, which does put a little weight on you. Hopefully, my body is on the rebound from that weight gain last week but I am not getting to overly excited because my body doesn't seem to have two significant losses each week (only time will tell).

Either way, I am celebrating for today because the numbers are moving down once again.

Total loss this week: 1 pound
Total loss since the start of this journey: 15.8 pounds (I'm back above 15 pounds lost!!)
Total loss needed until goal: 47 pounds

Friday, June 14, 2013

Week In Review

At the beginning of the week, I always think "oh, this week is going to go by so slow" and at the end of the week my attitude has changed to "oh, this week went by so fast" and there are times when I wonder where did all the time go. Did I accomplish all that I wanted to? Did I have an unexpected rest day, when I could have moved my workout to earlier in the day and got it in?

After last weeks 4 (yes, 4!) rest days, I was determined that I was not going to have another week like I did last week.

When it came to exercising I feel that I did pretty good (and that is not to toot my own horn). I worked out all 5 days this week, like scheduled. Yesterday, I knew a terrible storm was going to blow through that night and that we would probably lose power (which we did) so I moved my workout to the morning. That was the best decision I could have made because it proved to me that I am truly dedicated to changing this lifestyle.

I can't help but be proud of myself because I did make it all 5 days, adjusted my schedule and I even beat a couple calorie goals I had.

My water intake has definitely improved. Numerous bottles a day, plus refilling various water bottles has left me a happy (not dehydrated) camper! This is something I have definitely been struggling with lately and I hope to only improve on that.

When it comes to stopping the useless snacking, I could have done better. I seem to have an obsession with Otis Spunkmeyer bake-up brownie rounds. One day I successfully ate 4 of them! I am not proud of that number, nor am I proud that all four of them combined is a whopping 600 calories! The only good thing about that is that I had enough calories at the end of the day, even with eating them and I have burned those cookies off. Now, I limit myself to just one cookie per day, if that. When I have a sweet tooth, I have been eating grapes to satisfy that (normally 18 - 20 grapes) instead of over indulging on junk foods.

I would say that I focused on round eating this week. For three straight days I had a tuna fish sandwich at lunch (I can't say that I won't fix another one for lunch today) but it was better than a high calorie meal. Dinner has been pretty good as well (yesterday was an exception) with most of my dinners being my higher calorie meals. Breakfast has also been balanced.

Overall, this week was very good. The numbers on the scale have fluctuated so much recently that I don't know what to expect. Some weeks I lose, others I gain. Two weeks ago I lost over a pound, last week I gained over two. It's a never ending battle but I am here to push through that. If I gain weight this week, it doesn't mean that I will be giving up, it means that I have a few more adjustments to do. If I lose weight this week, other than being happy, it means that I am doing something right and need to continue on that.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Too Big to Fit?

Because of my height, I carry my weight evenly. Looking at me, you wouldn't guess that I weigh as much as I do, but in reality I do weigh what I weigh. Although I carry my weight evenly, there are still times when I have to ask myself ,"am I too big to fit?"

Some instances where I have had to ask myself that question:

  • Getting in my car when someone parks way to close
  • On an amusement park ride where there is a lap bar that sits right on top of my muffin top
  • Through small spaces
  • In the bathroom stall!
Yes, you read that correctly. There have been times when I have wondered if I was too big to fit into the bathroom stall. For some reason, my university thought it would be a wise idea to make the bathroom stalls so small that you have to go in sideways. Talk about uncomfortable!

On more than one occasion I have been in a bathroom stall that is so small that you have to turn sideways to enter. I know that everything in the world is getting smaller. Portion sizes, cars, clothes, etc., but of all things, a bathroom stall! Really!

Not being able to fit into certain areas is not a pleasant feeling and it really makes me slightly self-conscious about what else I may or may not be able to fit into. But, that is why I am on this journey. So that I can walk right into the bathroom stall with no problem. So I no longer feel self-conscious about where I can and cannot fit. 

So I can show society that although you make things smaller for us plus size girls, we will beat you at your own game! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

LoseIt! vs. MyFitnessPal

I successfully used LoseIt! last year to drop 30 pounds. Then, unfortunately, I successfully gained it back when I stopped using LoseIt! because I thought I had everything under control. Yesterday, I decided to check out MyFitnessPal (MFP) for the first time in about 6 months.

For the next few days I will focus solely on MFP (while still logging on LoseIt! as well). If you follow me on Twitter, you will notice that updates based on my day (ex., finishing under my calorie budget & exercising) will appear on my feed from MFP (note: LoseIt! will do the same thing if your Twitter account is enabled). These updates are yet another way to keep me focused on the goal that I am trying to reach.

Aside from minor details, I will be looking to see which calorie counter gives me more calories per day, how large their food database is, user friendliness, calories per food, calorie deficit at the end of the day, etc. Ultimately, I am looking to see which counter helps me drop the highest amount of weight per week. Both LoseIt! and MFP state that my goal is to drop 2 pounds per week. Lately, based on my performance, I have been struggling to lose a few ounces much less pounds, so I figured I would switch up what I was doing a little.

Through this process I am in no way trying to persuade anyone who is reading this to switch from one of these counters to the other. This is simply an experiment that I want to conduct to see which one works better for me. I have heard phenomenal reviews about both and after my success on one, I want to see if  will be successful on the other.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Out of Your Control

Some things are out of your control. That may sound like an excuse but stick with me and you will see what I mean (at least I hope you will).

Last year, late July to be exact, I started having these weird symptoms. It was constant pressure in my abdominal area, nausea, weight gain, etc. I was in excruciating pain for almost two weeks. I was constantly bloated. I had to sleep propped up or on pillows and have ice packs nearby. My primary care physician ended up running several tests. When every test came back negative she had me come back in and she decided to feel around my abdominal area for anything.

The first thing she thought (based on where the pain and discomfort was coming from) was that my appendix was getting ready to rupture. She gave me strict advice that if it should happen, drop what I am doing and get to the emergency room and have them call her. The only problem with this was that I was leaving the state the next week and didn't have time to postpone my plans.

Soon after my visit, my doctor lets me know that I was being diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or better known as acid reflux. GERD is a slight step up from acid reflux, in that they symptoms are more intense (and trust me they are).

Now, on to the part that relates to this weight loss blog.

I was placed on Nexium, which I slowly weaned myself off of because my symptoms became less and less noticeable. When you have GERD there are trigger foods that you are advised to stay away from. Chocolate is one and anything that is heavily greasy (burgers, fried foods, etc.). The only thing about that is those are the foods that consumed all weekend. On top of that, unfortunately for me, my symptoms came back in full swing last night.

One of the few things that truly help me out when my symptoms pop back up is a soda that isn't diet or ice cold water (so cold condensation forms on the cup). The ice cold water soothes and the soda relieves pressure (although you would think it would contribute to more pressure).

Again, on to the part that relates to this weight loss blog.

Knowing what my trigger foods are have helped me on this journey. I know what I should stay from and I know what I can eat in moderation. Yesterday, it was that cheeseburger and fries I had at lunch plus the brownie sundae with chocolate sauce I had as dessert after dinner. These are foods that I have told myself I shouldn't be eating, but when that craving hits, I eat them. When that craving hit yesterday, I paid for it.

What I am trying to say is that there are some health conditions that are out of your control because they may be based on hereditary conditions (i.e., diabetes, GERD, high blood pressure, etc.) but there are ways that you can control them (healthy eating, exercise, etc.).

It may seem tough but you can get through it if you remember that slow progress is better than no progress. Although some things may be out of your control, don't let them ruin what you want to achieve.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Updated Workout Calendar

Since my week was so off schedule last week, I had to update my workout calendar. When I miss a workout, it puts my further behind in my schedule. Missing a workout doesn't mean I quit and give up on this journey. I have come too far to turn around and go back.

Yes, it is taking me a lot longer to lose weight this time around. Last year around this time I was down almost 30 pounds. This year, only about 14. Still that is something to be thankful for. The only thing that I am doing differently is working out. Last year I lost the weight without working out and this year I am eating my workout calories (still on the fence about that).

I try to make time in my day to workout but lately my days have been starting later (more like early evenings) and the time in the morning is spent finishing group work or attempting to get ahead. Time just slips away from me and then by the time I realize it, I am too tired to do much of anything (this is starting to sound like an excuse).

Either way, making this schedule has helped me keep on track with what I have to do and what I need to do. If I miss a day, I just take note of it and fit it in when I can. Mainly because I know that in order to be successful I have to fit it in somewhere.

Check out my workout schedule page to see what's new and what is going on.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Weekly Goals

Unfortunately I had two unexpected rest days for the week. I know that is not something to beat myself up about but I was doing so well when it came to working out that I don't like taking days off when I don't need to. This week my goals pertain to getting back on track. 

  • Exercise - I have decided to cancel my gym membership. Mainly because during the month of May, I may have gone to the gym 3 times. Other than that my days were full and didn't leave time to drive to the gym and still fit everything into my day. I have found that I do okay working out at home and although I don't have access to every machine in the gym, I have my Biggest Loser DVDs and I am looking for a bike so I can ride around in my back yard (I might as well put all that space to good use) or use the bike trail (my county spent millions, also known as that good ole' tax payers money,  on a bike trail and I have only walked on it once - we've had it for years). Therefore, I am focusing on working out at home. Through my university I have access to their gym (yes, at the current moment I belong to two gyms) and they have better stuff than my more local gym so I will stick with that and then decide what needs to be done after graduation. 
  • Water - It is hot out and I need to drink more water. I need to drink as much as my body will allow. I did very well yesterday, taking down at least 4 bottles, but as always, I can do better.
  • Stop useless snacking - Lately I have gotten to the point that on the weekends I tend to eat what I want and tell myself that I will make up for it later. That eating includes useless snacking which needs to stop as well. I can be a little more lenient with myself on the weekends but not as lenient as I have been. 
  • Focus on 'round' eating - I always told myself that I needed to log everything to be successful and that may be true because it has helped me so far. One thing I can do is focus on eating round meals. Incorporating more fruits and vegetables into my meals gives me useful calories that I need and those are calories that I don't mind filling up on. 
  • Be thankful - I have lost 15 pounds so far on this journey. I have struggled to lose the same 3 pounds for the last month or so and while my highest weight loss has been around 17 pounds I tend to gain a couple of those pounds back so my weight fluctuates. I am thankful for how far I have come on this journey and I know that I have a ways to go but I can do it as long as I stay motivated and continue to  have a great support system. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Weigh In Day

I have struggled to lose the same 4 pounds for over a month now. I am not sure what I am doing wrong, but I am obviously doing something wrong. Maybe it isn't enough calories, maybe it is too many calories. Maybe I am building muscle in the process and the weight will come off later. There are so many factors that may contribute to this but I have yet to figure out what they are or the best way to approach them.

Today's weigh in revealed a 2.4 pound gain. To date, this may be one of my largest gains (if not the largest) that I have had on this journey. There are plenty of reasons why this 2.4 pound gain should bother me but then there are plenty of reasons why I am not surprised.

I have to ask myself a series of questions. Was my eating under control this week? How was my exercise? Did I truly monitor my calories or just take an estimated guess? What about beverages, they can pack some calories too. Should I or shouldn't I be eating my exercise calories? Do I need to do protein shakes after I workout? There are so many questions that I have to ask myself that pertain to this gain.

I am not surprised that there was a gain, I just never thought it would be this significant. On weeks where I lose over 1 pound (like last week) my next weeks weigh in is almost always a gain. I don't think I have ever had two weeks where my weight went down by significant numbers.

It will take some serious thinking to figure out why this is happening and to also figure out how I can continue to lose weight each week versus have a battle with losing and gaining, then losing and gaining.

Total loss/gain for the week: +2.4 pounds
Total loss/gain for the month: +1.2 pounds (+2.4 gain this week - 1.2 loss last week)
Total loss since the start of this journey: 14.8 pounds

Friday, June 7, 2013

Week In Review

This week wasn't my best but it also wasn't my worst. After a birthday weekend full of good eating (by good eating I mean not counting one single calorie) I had to buckle down and get back on track.

So far, I have managed to exercise three days this week (not counting today since I am writing this before I would even begin exercising). Three, out of the four days that have passed, is not too bad at all (although I still struggle with my rest days). Relay for Life is coming up and if you are familiar with the event then you will know that it is hard NOT to burn any calories. If I do have another unexpected rest day today, I still have Sunday and Monday to catch up.

I did manage to limit the amounts of sweet I consumed. I think I had birthday cake & ice cream one day and an ice cream cone on another day. Still, 2 days isn't too bad either. My water intake was also better. On some days it seems like I cannot get enough water and that is probably my body telling me that I am dehydrated. Logging everything went pretty well this week too, but as always there is room for improvement.

I am not sure that I will see a loss this week, more like a gain. I say a gain simply because on a week where I lose more than 1 pound, I tend to gain some of it back (if not all and more) and then I have to work twice as hard to get it off.

Tomorrow may be a weekly measurements or non-scale victory day depending on how my body feels when I wake up in the morning. Either way, I know I have to face the scales some day and hopefully these 3 pounds I have been fighting to lose will come off before the end of the month.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Rest Days

One thing I have to learn on this journey is that rest days are acceptable and necessary on a weight loss journey. I have trouble working out for 'X' amount of days then having an unexpected rest day. I feel like it throws my entire schedule off. On the other hand, my body needs those rest days because my muscles need a time to rest.

It is taking me a little longer than I would like to adjust to this but everything takes time and above all it takes patience. This week I have worked out for 3 straight days and gave my all yesterday so I shouldn't feel to bad about taking this rest day but I know that I cannot have too many because it becomes hard to get back on track.

Tomorrow I am supposed to start doubling up on my workouts anyways, so I hope to make up for this unexpected rest day.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

It Only Took A Photo

It took a picture on Facebook to kick me in the rear and get me back on track. Last night was spirit night for my Relay for Life team and our community manager (who loves taking pictures) came by one of our tables and asked if we would mind having our picture taken and if we didn't mind, would we mind having it on Facebook.

I am not the type of person who processes compliments on command. People always tell me that I am photogenic but the photos that they are taking and or seeing are normally from the chest up. It wasn't until last night that I saw, before my own two eyes, that when I sit down to take a picture and have my hands in my lap, I look like I am nine months pregnant!

I just looked at that picture and was in utter disbelief. I know cameras add 10 pounds but it seems that these new HD cameras add about 20 pounds! It's either that or that is truly what I look like sitting down.

Either way, that photo inspired me in my workout this evening. I am on my fourth week (I can't believe it) of The Biggest Loser's Cardio Max workout and during my 40 minute session, my goal has been to burn 400 calories. I came close to that one day last week when I burned 397 but it wasn't until today (and seeing that photo) that I burned 401 calories.

That has been the greatest workout achievement I have had since starting the Biggest Loser workout series and I pushed myself harder that I ever have today because of that photo. One day, I hope to use that photo as my before and take another one sitting down as my after (one where I don't look like I am pregnant and ready to go into labor at any moment).

Small things can lead to something bigger. That picture (something small) is going to lead to something bigger (more motivation and determination to change) and although it will take some time, I am eager to see what comes next.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My Own Worst Enemy

I have no idea what is going on with me this week. I wrote down my weekly goals, identical to the ones I had last week, in hopes that I would continue on the right path. For some reason, this week is getting off to a rocky start.

I tried to squeeze in my workout yesterday because the only way that I will see results is to do the work. I stopped my workout early because I did have a deadline to meet. I told myself that I would double up my workouts today in hopes to take care of yesterday and today. Unfortunately, my Polar FT7 was not on the same page that I was. I had to restart my HRM at least 3 times because it would not register my heart rate.

Each time I paused my workout, reset my watch, started my watch and started my workout. A minute later, I had the same problem. It got to be so frustrating that I stopped my workout and vowed that I would continue tomorrow, especially since each day I completed at least 20 minutes of the workout I was doing.

Time is working against me, my workload is getting heavier and the deadlines keep coming. I am losing my appetite for a lot of foods, which means I eat things because I have to get the calories in and a lot of times they are not the healthiest things. By the time I start eating, I no longer want all of the meal and only eat half of it.

Maybe it is because I have so much on my plate that my mind is not staying focused on one activity. I am vowing that tomorrow I will restart my week and really buckle down to follow and reach my goals. I have come too far to turn around now and this journey is something I knew was going to be rough. I would reach plateaus, I would gain, I would lose, I would have cravings, I would lose taste for foods and so on.

Hopefully, tomorrow will change things because it is a new day and I have so much to look forward to on this journey. I like losing weight and in order to continue doing that, I have to stay focused and make time for what needs to be done.

I want to leave on a quote that explains what is going on with me at the moment. I am my own worst enemy and I need to stop that.

"As long as man stands in his own way, everything seems to be in his way" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, June 3, 2013

Softball Shorts

I had a non-scale victory a week ago that I meant to post on Twitter but never got around to doing so. I played varsity softball for 4 years and when playing softball your uniform can be anything from sweat pants to baseball style pants to hot pants.

We had these old dusty baseball style uniforms, I am convinced they were baseball uniforms because we looked just like the boys. The following year we raised money to get ourselves some new uniforms. We eventually upgraded to mesh shorts (we were supposed to wear hot pants that year, but those of us who were plus sized, my friend and I, were strongly against that and subsequently the team did not wear those hot pants) then baseball style pants which flattered the female physique.

My non-scale victory came when I tried on my mesh shorts a week ago and they fit me and didn't ride up my thighs! I didn't even realize when I put them on that they were actually comfortable until I started walking around and realized that they were no longer riding up.

You can imagine it was horrible running bases when your shorts were riding up. I always had to do a slight jiggle when I reached the base or lunge forward as I was taking my lead so it didn't look my shorts were forming a triangle shape with my thighs. This happens to me on a regular basis when I tend to wear shorts, but not anymore.

Whenever I have a non-scale victory it lets me know that I am still playing the game and that I am well on my way to winning. It takes time and patience but reaching a goal is attainable. I tell myself that because I am still working towards reaching my goal. These non-scale victories just serve as more motivation to keep doing what I am doing.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Weekly Goals

After a fun filled birthday weekend (also known as a weekend of no calorie counting) it is time for me to get back on track and focus on the weeks ahead of me. Last week was successful and I was able to finish an entire week of working out and am looking forward to crossing off another week. Friday I start doubling up on my workouts and I must admit that I am a little apprehensive about that but I know I can do it if I put my mind to it (especially since Relay for Life is the next day and my schedule is going to be packed on Friday). At this point, I have no excuses because excuses don't get results.

My goals for this week are:

  • Exercising - this proved successful last week and I hope that it will prove successful this week. Thanks to my schedule, I plan to make my exercise very productive this week.
  • Maximize water intake - last week was okay but it could have been better. The main thing is that I am getting more water into my system and that is what I need to focus on. 
  • Limit the amounts of sweets eaten - ironically I lasted the entire weekend on one piece of birthday cake which is a record for me. I plan on limiting my sweets for the week, similar to last week.
  • Logging everything - this weekend was a break from recording calories and it seems that on the weekends when I don't record anything, I lose weight during the week. I am not sure if that makes much sense, but it just happens like that. 
Looking at my goals this week, they are identical to the ones from last week. I was successful last week and as long as I drop at least a few ounces this week, I should be fine. My goal is to always drop at least a pound but when I don't set a specific goal, I tend to do better.

I am just excited to see what this week brings. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Weigh In Day

My weigh in today has just made my birthday even more special. According to the LoseIt! and the scales I am down another 1.2 pounds from the last time I weighed in!! This just shows me that when I really buckle down and focus on what is in front of me I can get the ball rolling again and the numbers will keep coming down. For this month my ultimate goal is to drop 5 pounds. Not sure how reasonable that is, but as long as I lose something I will be happy.

Total loss for this week: 1.2 pounds
Total loss for the month: 1.2 pounds 
Total loss since the start of this journey: 17.2 pounds

Since I was already thrilled with the numbers on my scale, I decided to see if there were any changes in my measurements.

Since today is the first Saturday in June, these measurements will serve as my end of May measurements as well as beginning of June measurements.

Neck - 14 1/2
Bust - 45
Chest - 41
Waist - 43
Hips - 50 1/2
Thighs - 26
Calves - 16
Upper Arm - 14
Forearm - 11

Overall I lost inches in my neck, waist, hips and thighs which is pretty good for me.

Since today is my birthday, I have vowed that I will not focus on the calories consumed but will focus on the good time that is scheduled with my family today. Since I am not counting calories, that probably means that today will count as my cheat day and the second one I have had on this journey.

Either way, thanks to my hard work this week, my day is already off to an amazing start.