Tag Archives: Weight loss

Strength & Selfies

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“Hey there, ho there, how do ya do…”

Okay, sorry, I just accidentally channeled my inner Lana (Mandy Moore) from The Princess Diaries.

I wish I had more than a few minutes to stay and play, especially given that I have blogged a very sad number of times this month, but I am positively swamped. I’m putting in 20-25 hours per week at my Internship site — which I am absolutely loving — plus I have more than a lot going on classwork-wise. That’s all I’ll say so as not to go on a stress-induced rant… Besides, sometimes life just gets in the way of blogging. Sorry I’m not sorry that I don’t have the mental or physical dedication to get up an hour early just to make sure I post something daily. As much as I love blogging and I genuinely appreciate the feedback I receive, I don’t anticipate receiving this year’s Hardcore Extreme Blogger Award.

Tonight I want to talk about my two self-challenges for October (y’all know I love a good challenge ;-)) — strength and selfies.

[Ummm… what?]

My first self-challenge is to complete three days of strength-training for every one cardio workout. Whether that be yoga, weight-lifting, intensive stretching, or what have you, I am determined to fit more strength-training into my workouts. I’m not seeing the muscle tone or definition results I’d like, and my weight loss has all but stagnated. I’m not gaining weight, but I’m certainly not losing it, either. I’m hoping to take progress pictures to remind myself of how far I’ve come and of the gradual progress I’m making toward the fit woman I aspire to be! I haven’t decided yet whether these will grace the blog. I’m not one of those brave souls out there who can bare all via Instagram for the sake of comparison. More power to ya, but my tummy ain’t makin’ the front page anytime soon!

My second challenge is to take more pictures of myself! This does not literally mean the blog will suddenly be full of selfies, but… Well, I do live alone… So yeah, that’s probably exactly what it’ll mean! In looking through my iPhone recently, I have found that about ninety percent of the photos I take are of food, food prep, grocery-shopping, adult beverages, wedding dresses… basically anything and everything except myself. I realized that what makes me enjoy other bloggers’ sites so much is their photos of them actually doing the things they’re blogging about. This is something I’d like to beef up, too.

That said, I’m off and running! No rest for the weak and weary, is there? 😉

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Thanks for stopping by!

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Lara vs. Luna

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Ohmygosh ohmygosh ohmygosh ohmygoshhh!

I JUST found out – while I was at my Practicum site, no less – that I was selected as one of the Chobani #lovebites winners of a case of Chobani Bite!!! I have yet to be able to taste these coveted little Greek delicacies, so I am BEYOND ecstatic right now. Partially because I never win anything… much less something as cool as a case of Cho!

Now, on to business as usual.

Contrary to the title of the post, I don’t mean for this to be some kind of “showdown” between Larabars and Luna Bars. In fact, I used to have a pretty strict allegiance to KIND bars. Once I discovered those babies, all bets were off. I couldn’t get enough of flavor combos like pomegranate, pistachio, sea salt, dark chocolate, macadamia nut, cinnamon… you get the idea. But eventually, I knew I’d have to branch out, if only for the cost (my grocery store typically carries them for $1.79 a pop!).

I had tried both Larabars and Luna Bars before, but I hadn’t gotten hooked like I immediately did with KIND. Ever since I recorded my per-diem nutritional intake, I’ve been on the lookout for sources of higher protein and higher fiber. I’m hoping that once I finally find the culprit behind my weight-loss plateau, I can get back to being a slow-and-steady loser 😉

I want to just take a minute for Confession Time. I, A.K., admit it – I’ve totally thought about succumbing to the easy and alluring nature of Weight Watchers. I’ve looked into weight-loss programs that boast untold health benefits, such as Whole30 or going gluten-free. I’ve even considered picking up one of those ridiculous “supplements” that Kim Kardashian or someone else as equally flimsy in nutritional advice endorses. The thing is, none of these solutions are me. They all require one or more factors I’m not willing to uphold: drinking 64 ounces of water per day (wildly unrealistic for me), counting points (I’m not hatin’, “because it works”), scouring labels for low-fat or fat-free options instead of seeking out wholesome, natural ingredients, and perhaps worst of all in my mind, severely and unnecessarily restricting my diet (everything in moderation, not moderation of everything). I discussed with my doctor diets that require the elimination of certain foods or food groups (e.g. gluten, dairy, fats) and her take was, if you don’t need to do it, don’t do it. I agree!

Anyway, I digress. So, back to bars. I recently picked up some Luna Bars that have as much as 12 grams of protein in one bar! Many have 9g, which is still impressive to me. Neither variety really has cons, just pluses and even bigger pluses. For example, Luna Bars are tasty, they’re not saturated with fat (get it?), and so many of the flavors are chocolatey goodness. Larabars have a list of ingredients that is both short and sweet (get it?!), plus they’re soft and chewy even after having sat against the ice pack in my lunchbox for a few hours.

I’ll be real with you – the calorie count in some varieties of bars scares me, so I tend not to buy any that have 200+ calories. The fat content can be scary, too, especially because bars boasting some of the yummiest flavors or seemingly “healthiest” ingredients may be as much as 190 calories with 170 calories from fat. Yikes!

I’ve also learned that one has to be careful when buying protein bars; the label may read “X calories per serving,” and there might be two servings per bar. Who would’ve thought that one bar wouldn’t be one serving?! Sugar can also be a tricky animal. Flavors with “real” fruit, oats, bran, and whole-anything in the label can sometimes pack as much as 20g of sugar in one tiny bar. #WTF

I love my Luna Bars, my Larabars, and my KIND bars (almost) unconditionally, for different reasons, but I am also willing to branch out and try new bars. If you have suggestions for high-fiber and/or high-protein bars, I’d be super grateful! I love to throw one in my lunch, eat one at the break during class, or eat one 30 minutes or so before I do a heavy cardio workout.

Question: What’s your favorite variety of bar? Have you tried Chobani Bite yet?

Drawing Conclusions

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My week-long nutrition calculating culminated yesterday!

(Geez, what is with this woman?! She won’t stop talking about protein and carbs! Enough already!)

I know, right? 😉

First, let me just say that writing down every morsel I put into my mouth was tedious and at times, difficult. I found that without actually altering the amount of food I was planning to eat to suit this task, I did measure a number of foods I normally wouldn’t (e.g. number of Wheat Thins, tablespoons of salsa, teaspoons of salad dressing). Without knowing the amount I was eating, nutrition labels would have been all but useless. Also, it was eye-opening to see how many so-called servings of food I actually consume when I bypass measuring and just eat. That said, here are the last few stats*:

Monday — 262.5g carbohydrates, 65g protein (woohoo!), 48g fat, 26g fiber

Tuesday — 231.5g carbohydrates, 76g protein (score!), 56g fat, 28.5g fiber (win!)

Conclusions
To be honest, I can’t draw too many conclusions other than that I’m not consuming enough in any category every single day. I hit my protein intake mark three days out of five, so that’s nothing to scoff at! I only hit my fiber mark twice, so I’ll be looking into how to up my fiber intake per diem. I never hit my carbohydrates or fat marks.

Reactions
I am one hundred percent surprised that I never once hit my RDV fat or carbs intake marks. Before I began tabulating everything, I thought surely I consumed enough fat and carbs to satisfy the RDV requirements (and probably several other people’s, as well). Perhaps this is where the answer to my personal hunger games lies; carbohydrates fuel the body through strenuous exercise as well as daily living, while saturated fats satiate the body and make it feel artificially full. Perhaps if I am not eating enough of either, my body is going into conservation mode because it never detects fullness and therefore feels that it needs to hold on to fat reserves and sources of energy. In a circular effect, my body needs ample fat and carbohydrate intake to signal it to allow me to lose weight through diet and exercise without feeling the need to hold on to those nutrients. This could be the answer to my weight-loss plateau, as well. Many people told me that at the beginning of my weight-loss journey, I would shed pounds like they were nothin’. Further down the road, they said, I would hit a plateau and it would seem as if I’d never lose another pound (for most people, I assume that’s how those “last ten pounds” feel). I’ve been hovering around the same weight for a few months now with little noticeable progress. I think I may have finally found my answer! Now, uncovering the solution to my intake woes is another story… Looks like more research is next on my to-do list!

Typically
A typical day in meals looks like this — Breakfast: coffee + Splenda + a splash of skim milk, Greek yogurt, Kashi cereal + fresh fruit; Lunch: spinach salad with cucumber, tomato, broccoli, baby carrots, and Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing (or) quinoa bowl with shredded lettuce, quinoa, sour cream, fresh salsa, black beans (or) hearty soup (Italian Wedding-Style, Mexican Tortilla, French Onion, Homestyle Chicken Noodle); Snacks: almonds, Asian pears, Wheat Thins, KIND bars, bananas, blue corn tortilla chips + fresh salsa; Dinner: pasta + sauce (or) hearty soup [if not for lunch], fresh tomato + cucumber slices in apple cider vinegar + black pepper; Late snacks: frozen fruit, sugar-free Jell-O, decaf coffee + flavored creamer

*Just as a refresher, I based my “stats” on the recommended daily value for a 2,000-calorie diet; I currently have no precise way to measure how many calories I burn or need to take in per day. Also, I did not include my weekend meals, as they were atypical of my diet, eaten at a restaurant, or homemade sans nutrition info.

HELP! I’d love any suggestions you have for how to increase my intake in any of these nutritional categories! I like to eat as many “whole” foods as possible, without a lot of the processed stuff and without calorie-counting.