Buried a few lines down in my list ‘o resolutions, I’ve endeavored to lose a few pounds this year. I set my goal at 25, but I am by no means married to that particular number. What I really want to happen is to again fit into my size 10 jeans. Over the last two decades, I’ve figured out that that’s the size I should be, the size in which I’m the most comfortable and confident in my own skin. For a brief while in late 2009 when I was still breastfeeding, that’s exactly where I was, with little to no effort on my part. (Oh, nursing.) Now, I’m at the upper end of size 12, which is not so horrible when you factor in my height of nearly six feet. (Did you know I was that tall? That always seems to take new readers by surprise, I’ve found.) But, I am not healthy. I am out of shape. And my clothes don’t fit. When I catch my reflection in the mirror, I see a schlumpy shadow of my former self. What better time to make a change than January, right?
Enter Jennie and her brilliant idea to rally together with a few other bloggers with similar goals in mind. At first, I was reluctant to throw my hat (and $20) into the Biggest Blogging Loser pool. The thought of weighing myself on a weekly basis sounded downright demoralizing. But I know myself pretty well, and I know that in order to be successful in my goal to lose some weight, I need to be held accountable. Soon, though, the contest attracted the attention of more than 100 people, and the top prize (highest percentage of weight lost over the course of three months) grew to more than $1,500. That’s certainly incentive enough for me to keep track of my calories and start some sort of fitness regime.
We’re about two weeks into the competition, and honestly, I still don’t really know what my strategy is, nor do I think I can actually win the whole thing. But regardless of the final outcome, I’m just really excited to be making some changes to my diet and already starting to feel better about my body. No matter what, as long as I stick with it, I’m going to be a winner in the end.
What I know:
I do not like counting calories.
I do not like the taste of “diet” or “fat-free” versions of foods I love. I’d much rather go without or have very little of the real thing than again drink a Skinny Vanilla Latte from Starbucks. Gack, that was disgusting.
I love the natural high I get from an intense workout. I need to sweat, and a lot. I need to feel energized by the movement. I need to be inspired by an instructor.
I do not want to join or work out at a traditional gym.
I need variety of movement and really good music in my workouts.
I do not drink enough water on the whole, but especially on the weekends.
I hate sit-ups.
I really hate margarine.
What I am doing:
For the first week of BBL, I entered all of my daily calories into an online tracker, but not with the intention of keeping it up for the duration of the competition. Mainly, I just wanted to see what 1500(ish) daily calories looked like (what I need to eat in order to lose an average of two pounds per week), and now I have a good idea what I can eat, give or take a hundred calories.
In a typical day, I am eating for:
breakfast, coffee with raw sugar and fat-free coconut milk creamer (this is actually really, really good — more on that at Food Lush soon), a toasted bagel thin with a light smear of low-fat cream cheese OR a bowl of Special K Red Berries and 2% milk, water
a snack, 3/4 cup trim cottage cheese, baby carrots or a tangerine
lunch, a crisp romaine salad (I buy/slice the hearts) with a few grape tomatoes, half an avocado, 1-2 tbsp balsamic dressing OR toasted pita bread slices with garlicky hummus dip, water
a snack, 100-calorie cookie pack (TJs has some yummy oatmeal chocolate chip packs), decaf chai tea with vanilla soy or coconut milk creamer
dinner, a smaller portion of some protein, usually salmon, pork tenderloin, or chicken, with a side of steamed veggies, and a starch or side salad. The key here, I think, is the smaller portion. And cooking with olive oil rather than butter, as I’m wont to do.
dessert, 100-calorie Skinny Cow ice cream bar (these are quite tasty and satisfy my nightly craving for something sweet) OR a square or two of dark chocolate
So, I’m not going to give up butter. I’m just not. I absolutely detest the taste and mouth-feel of margarine, and like the aforementioned Skinny Vanilla Latte, I would rather have very little or none at all of the real thing. Ditto cheese. I am willing, however, to try turkey bacon, if I can just convince Roth to give it a shot, too.
To inspire myself to drink more water, I’m investing in a new water bottle. I ordered this one, the most I’ve ever spent on a container, but if it helps me with hydration, something I suck at, then it’s money well spent, I think.
I’ve worked out at gyms before, and with great success, but, for the most part, gyms feel sort of clinical to me. I don’t enjoy the lighting. I don’t want to wait for or wipe down sweaty machines. I don’t want to be beholden to a monthly membership. I’m much more keen to try a bunch of different fitness classes until I find one or two methods that really speak to me.
I re-joined the weekly Yoga Mamma class I took in the fall of 2009, and on Thursday nights, I connect with myself and the mat alongside other moms.
I’ve tried two Nia classes over the last two weeks, and so far, I really enjoy the dance/martial arts-inspired methodology. It’s a little out there, in terms of the music and movement (sort of hippie-dippie), but it appeals to the long-forgotten part of memory that used to take dance classes.
I’m really interested in trying a bar fitness class, as Kerri recently wrote about, and just today, I purchased a Living Social deal for a four-class pass at a studio close to my work. I could go at lunch!
As mentioned in my list of resolutions, I’m determined to find a spin cycling class in Seattle not attached to a gym. I lost a lot of weight in 2005 just by spinning (five days a week — I was a leetle obsessed with getting fit before my wedding), and I just dug the vibe of the classes.
I have a Zumba class pass to activate, too.
Under the guise of For His Birthday (he’ll be 33 next Friday), I bought for Roth — but truly, I wanted it just as much — the Xbox Kinect (we already had the Xbox 360). I’d played with the controller-free console a few weeks ago at my company’s holiday party (we’re located right near Microsoft, so naturally, someone I work with is married to someone who works there, and voila! magically, there was a Kinect at our party!), and I really enjoyed the dance-y games. Roth had hinted at wanting it, too, so now we’re Kinect-ed. I hope to incorporate some sort of in-home exercise into my regime, too.
Really, I’ve got lots of varied options to keep me going over the course of the competition. As the weather gets better (oh, ha HA), I intend to do some swift walking, hopefully with Roth and Rowan by my side.
I also want to explore eating less meat, less often — could I possibly eat a mostly vegetarian diet and still feel satisfied?
So, this is my challenge over the next several weeks. I’m curious to know if anyone else is participating in BBL and what your strategy is, if you’re open to sharing. What else should I be doing?