Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I did not exercise today. I had a reasonable dinner, but it was too heavy for the hot weather, and then I discovered a plate of chocolate chip cookies I had forgotten about. I went to throw them out and accidentally ate them instead. After all that, I felt way too full to exercise. I have wanted to switch to exercising in the mornings anyway, so tomorrow I will get up early and exercise then.

Food today:
2/3 Hot Pink Smoothie
11 chocolate covered almonds
Chicken, quinoa, and stir-fry vegetables
1/3 cup M&Ms
a bite of cheese
Rice with black beans, tomatoes, corn, onions/garlic/chilies
2 chocolate chip cookies

According to FitDay.com, this adds up to 1900 calories, 660 of which was treats. Also according to FitDay, my lifestyle of being seated all day uses up 1925 calories. I have absolutely no idea if this is accurate or not. I looked up caloric needs calculations on several websites and got widely varying results. I have trouble knowing if I am actually hungry during the day, as I like to be eating something constantly, and I'm (obviously) addicted to sugar. It's difficult to tell whether I just want something in my mouth, if I want a treat, if I'm thirsty, or if I'm really hungry.

Monday, June 29, 2009

30-Day Shred: Day 6 (Calendar Day 10)

I did not formally exercise Saturday at the family reunion. However, I did go on several walks and traipsed around a meadow/creek all while holding a 30-pound baby.

I ate all kinds of non-optimal food at the reunion -- the best was the white chocolate fountain with graham crackers, Oreos, marshmallows, brownies, strawberries, and pineapple! Second best was the delicious diner breakfast on our way back. Diner breakfasts have got to be my favorite meal in the world. Mmmmm. When we got home, I didn't feel too well. I think that once I decide to start eating better, I'm affected more by non-optimal foods than I would be had I not made the decision to eat better.

I will continue to list the foods I eat each day as a record for myself, even though I'm sure it's boring. I'll just stick them at the end of each post.

Today, most parts of the 30-Day Shred were a lot easier. I was able to get through each cardio section very easily. The ab exercises seemed much easier. Two things still absolutely KILL me. The first is the pushups. I did worse on pushups today than I did last week. Last week I was doing up to 12 in 30 seconds. Today I only got to 8 and that nearly did me in. And of course I'm still using the modified position. The second killing thing is the stationary lunges (one leg forward, one back). I always stretch/pull/hurt the left quadriceps muscle when I start this. The simplest explanation is that I'm just not warmed up enough when it's time for this exercise. Today it was bad enough that I couldn't do any lunges on that leg at all. Tomorrow I plan to stop the video long enough to stretch the quadriceps out for a few seconds before I start that exercise. In addition, I should probably stick with the modified version until I am stronger. I am still using the 2.5 pound weights on everything.

Things my kids did during my workout:
Pushed on my back and feet during pushups (completely killed my concentration and ruined the whole set)
Scattered plastic army guys right under my feet
Wadded my floor mat up
Gave me hugs
Untied my shoes

Food for the day -
corn flakes with milk (I was STARVING within 2 hours)
kim chi
2 tortillas with cream cheese, shredded chicken (very little), & green onions
13 Dove brand chocolate covered almonds (mmmmm, yummy)
(At this point in the afternoon I was going crazy with boredom-hunger -- you know, when you're so bored you just want to eat something?)
chicken (very little again), quinoa, and stir-fry vegetables
1 Hostess Snowball (I have been wanting to show these to my kids, and I finally found a package at a convenience store in Cedar City!)
1.5 mini banana nut muffins (ate them because the kids left them lying around)
some M&Ms (very late night snack)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bra Fitting and Sports Bras

One benefit of never exercising was that I was able to avoid the fiasco of finding a sports bra until the ripe old age of 27. Before children, I wore typical bras that you find in cheap stores. I never owned a sports bra, since you don't really need one if your maximum impact exercise is walking fast.

Last year, I decided that if I was going to jog, I needed a real sports bra. If you wear a normal size, apparently you can just walk into the store and buy a bra. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to do that since I had kids and I learned about True Bra Sizing. If you have not been educated on True Bra Sizing, you need to go check this post and these two. The moral of the story is that unless you've been professionally fitted (NOT at Victoria's Secret, PLEASE), you're likely wearing a band size that is way too big. You should add a maximum of 2 inches to your rib cage measurement when determining your band size. So you probably need a smaller band than you have now. When you go down in band size, you need to go up in cup size. Let's say you thought you were a 34C, but you determine that your band size should really be a 30. Since you went down 2 band sizes, you need to go UP 2 cup sizes. You're probably a 30E (assuming we're counting sizes as A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H. . . and skipping double/triple letters - make sure to always check the sizing, because every company does it differently, of course).

Good luck finding that size in stores (hint: you won't, even Dillard's only has a few bras in a 30 band size). If you find yourself in the 'freakish' category of bra sizes, Figleaves.com is your new best friend. They carry everything from the teeniest bras to the mammoth bras. They have very good return policies, because they know you'll likely need to try several bras before you find the right fit. The best way to do it is order a bunch and return the ones you don't like, but I've never had enough reserve cash to do that. So I just order one at a time and keep returning until I get it right.

Anyway, back to the point. I needed a heavy duty sports bra. Sports bras you can buy in department stores are completely ineffective for me.

Runner's Corner
in Orem actually had a very good selection for my range of sizes. I needed one just one size bigger, and they special ordered it for me. But it wasn't quite right -- too much movement and bouncing. If I was going to spend $45+ on one item, I wanted it to be perfect. I ordered the Shock Absorber Max Sports Crop Top from Figleaves, but it looked really lumpy and terrible under clothes. So I returned it and moved on to the complete Granny-style, but best sports bra ever -- the Enell. The Enell is fantastically ugly. But it will give you the best support of any sports bra, as long as you get a small enough size -- it's supposed to be really tight. The Enell site has good instructions on fit.

So now I have the Enell, and I don't have to worry about bouncing at all. If you have a bigger cup size and are serious about not bouncing, skip straight to the Enell.

Friday, June 26, 2009

30-Day Shred: Day 5 (Calendar Day 7)

I thought I wasn't going to be able to Shred today because I did it last night, and in 90 minutes we are leaving for a family reunion. I may be able to get in some sports or running at the reunion, but I didn't want to try to shred (and pee my pants) in front of everyone. But when I woke up this morning, I was feeling really good, so I worked out. I don't know if it's a good idea to repeat the workout 11 hours later, but oh well. At least I did some form of exercise today. The workout was definitely harder to get through. I had to do all modified lunges (no full lunges). My arms are shaking a bit now.

The food for the reunion is being 100% supplied by a grand-uncle, and I have absolutely no idea what he's making. Most likely your standard home cooked foods - bacon and eggs, sandwiches, hamburgers, etc. I plan to eat whatever is there and however much I feel like :-) I will try to be reasonable though. If I don't *really* want something, I won't eat it just because it's there. I'll be bringing along some dry oatmeal in case my kids just can't stomach the foods, and I can have that for a snack if I really need something.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

30-Day Shred: Day 4 (Calendar Day 6)

I had a great dream last night. I was in fantastic shape -- sleek, fit, and strong. I woke up so motivated. I am supposed to be to work at 8 and I woke up at 7:20. I was so motivated that I considered working out even though it would make me even later to work. I didn't though.

Food today:
- About half of a hot pink smoothie. I added ground flax seed to it today, and it was kind of yucky.
- Tortilla with refried beans, sauteéd vegetables, and Southwest Quinoa (yes, once I make something I try to eat it until it's all gone)
- cookie dough (equivalent of 2 cookies)
- sauteéd chicken breasts, baked potato with a little tiny bit of butter/sour cream, and stir-fry veggies
- several tablespoons of delicious sour cream off of Baby's plate (oops)

Since I didn't have a full Hot Pink Smoothie, I was kind of hungry this morning. All morning I was craving a Las Vegas sushi roll. It's got avocado, cream cheese, fish of some sort, some other stuff, and then it's tempura fried and topped off with a delicious sweetish sauce . . .mmmmmmmmm, YUMMY.

My quads were still a bit sore today. I was able to do more of the non-modified exercises in the 30-Day Shred tonight. I did full lunges, but then when it was time to do lateral lunges, my quads were shot from the regular lunges, so I had to go back to modified lateral lunges. I am still doing all modified pushups. The easiest part of the workout for me is the last 2 minutes of cardio. The cardio in the middle circuit is pretty hard to get through, but then when I get to that last circuit, it's so easy to go all out.

My almost-2 year old is SO precious when I'm exercising. Every time I get down on the floor, he gives me such cuddly loves! It makes it VERY hard to do ab exercises, but the sheer preciousness probably is just as good for my body :-)

My quads are pretty sore right now. They're not painful, but when I try to walk, I'm a little shaky. I may need to go back to all modified lunges until I develop some actual muscles.

Now that I'm finally ready to go to bed, I REALLY want some cookie dough. WANT. I am going to skip it though. No need to eat when the pleasure will last about 10 seconds and I'll be asleep 10 minutes later.

(I'm listening to my favorite Michael Jackson favorites as a little homage. No matter how strange he was, he still had some fantastic music and dance moves.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

30-Day Shred: Calendar Day 5

Today I was a little sore in my quadriceps, but it was quite minor. I did want to exercise today, but didn't get around to it. I got home from work around 6 pm. I had to take a kid to buy water balloons, make and eat dinner, do a couple of hours of work, go to the library, get quarters for laundry, and do 3 loads of laundry. I've finally gotten all that done, and it's 11 pm. I am interested to see if my soreness is completely gone tomorrow, and how that will affect my workout.

As for food today:
breakfast: 2 eggs over easy with sauteéd peppers and onions
lunch: tortilla with refried beans, peppers/onions, and sour cream
snacks: chocolate chip cookie, handful of chocolate covered nuts
dinner: tortilla with refried beans and Southwest Quinoa
snack again: 2 lumps of chocolate chip cookie dough

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

30-Day Shred: Day 3 (Calendar Day 4)

Today I was actually less sore than yesterday. I thought it would be worse since I did yesterday's workout while I was still sore, but it actually decreased. I was still sore in my butt, quadriceps, and chest, but it wasn't bad.

For breakfast I had half a hot pink smoothie (the beets and carrots in the smoothie make it somewhat cleansing, and I felt a little nauseated drinking a whole one yesterday) and a banana. Lunch was leftover Southwest Quinoa. I had two cookies again for snacks. I also had a peanut butter and honey sandwich mid afternoon. For dinner, I had fajitas, which included homemade whole wheat flax (both freshly ground!) tortillas, canned refried beans, sauteéd onions, red/green bell peppers, and squash, and some sour cream. I also marinated some leftover steak in olive oil, garlic, lime juice, and fajita seasoning, and then sauteéd it quickly. I intended to skip the steak, but the marinade was so darn good that I kept snitching some. The kids had some cheddar cheese on theirs. I am a fan of raw dairy, but I know that the typical grocery store dairy products are just not good. I also have congestion pretty much year round, so someday I'll probably go off dairy to see if it helps.

I did Day 3 of the 30-Day Shred. It went pretty much the same as before. I'm still doing the modified exercises. Some of them were a little easier today. I discovered that if you have problems with postpartum bladder control when jumping around or sneezing, you'll have the blessing of experiencing that problem during these workouts. I noticed it a little the first two days, but it was much worse today. I'm not sure if my bladder was more full or what. As for post-workout soreness, now that I've showered and have been sitting around for about an hour, I am VERY sore. Much more sore than I was directly after the first two days of workouts.

Monday, June 22, 2009

30-Day Shred: Day 2 (Calendar Day 3)

Sunday was a rest/recovery day. I was sore, but not terribly so. In the past, I've been sore to the point where I can't even bear the thought of walking. I had a few moments where I'd think, "do I really have to get up out of this chair?" but then I'd do it and it wasn't terribly painful.

Today I was still sore. Even after only one day of working out, I was motivated to try to eat better. I ate a Hot Pink Smoothie for breakfast, kim-chi and a tuna sandwich with pickles, onions, and spinach for lunch, 2 chocolate chip cookies for a snack, and Southwest Quinoa (also a GreenSmoothieGirl recipe) for dinner. Two chocolate chip cookies may be excessive for a strict dieter, but for me, that is fantastic. Usually I would have about 6 chocolate chip cookies plus a few (or ten) huge spoonfuls of raw cookie dough.

I wasn't sure I'd be able to do any of the exercises given my soreness, but I tried Day 2 anyway. I am still doing all the modified exercises. Every time I went down on the floor for abdominal exercises, my baby would try to get me to nurse him. Fortunately there is absolutely no way he would ever be able to get into my sports bra of steel (it's an Enell), so he quickly gave up that idea and alternately laid on me or kissed me instead. I did the workout in our bedroom with the laptop, and that was a good idea. I cranked the window air conditioner up full blast and turned the oscillating fan on. I was still pretty sweaty at the end, but not as bad as on Day 1. I was still shaking after it was all over.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

30-Day Shred: Day 1 (Calendar Day 1)

I started Level 1 of the 30-Day Shred. The workout is made up of three 6-minute circuits. Each circuit includes 3 minutes of strength exercises, 2 minutes of cardiovascular exercises, and 1 minute of abdominal exercises. There are three ladies demonstrating the exercises. They include high intensity exercises for seasoned exercisers and low intensity/modified exercises for beginners. I used 2.5 pound weights and did the low intensity/modified exercises. Doing it this way, I was able to get through the whole video. I wouldn't say it was easy, but it wasn't impossible either. My quadriceps ached badly during the lunges, even doing the modified version.

I waited until my baby (nearly 2 years old) took his nap to start the workout, but of course he woke up and screamed his way through most of it. It was very difficult to stay focused on the exercises while simultaneously trying to avoid bashing him with the hand weights.

By the end, I was drenched in sweat, my face was beet red, and my arms and legs were shaking, so I guess it was a pretty intense workout for me.

Jillian Michaels' 30-Day Shred: Baseline

For a while now, I've been reading accounts of bloggers doing Jillian Michaels' 30-Day Shred and having great success with it. Motherhood Uncensored has a whole site dedicated to the Shred. Back in April, I ordered the 30-Day Shred DVD from Netflix, bought myself a yoga mat and hand weights, and then made a bunch of excuses about why I had to wait to start doing it! Then two of the bloggers I read became Shredheads. Lindsay at Suburban Turmoil began Shredding recently, as did Frema at What Are You Looking At?. Inspired by these two ladies beating me, I finally got around to doing the Level 1 workout today. I took 'before' pictures, and those will NOT be shared here! I'm not that brave yet. I might share them with the 'after' pictures later. If you think there's a compelling reason you need to see them, email me.

I plan to gauge my progress by waist/hip measurements, the way my clothes fit, and improvements in strength and endurance. I guess I will measure the last two by whether I can do pushups or play with kids without feeling like dying. I carry most extra weight between my waist and knees, so I think that measurements other than waist and hip won't show much change, unless I gain a lot of muscle. I took all the measurements anyway, just to see what happens. I don't plan to weigh myself very often, since I am hoping to gain muscle. Also, I don't have access to a scale. I wrote out my weight history in my last post.

My starting measurements are:
Neck: 12.5"
Bicep: 11"
Upper Arm: 11"
Ribcage: 28.5" (bust measurements are useless, since it changes hourly because of breastfeeding)
Waist: 28"
Hips: 37.75"
Upper Thigh: 21.75"
Calf: 12.75"
Weight: 123# (I am 5'3", FYI)

Clothes: Size 8 is not comfortable. Size 6? ha ha ha

Strength: Not much (yeah, I know that's not much of a quantitative measurement, sorry)
Endurance: OK (again with the not-so-quantitative). I 'ran' a few weeks ago, and made it 13 minutes. When I calculated my pace later, I was doing a 17-minute mile. I could probably crawl faster than that, so this is not much endurance.

Gaining Weight?

I've always wanted to get more toned, fit, and trim. I want to gain strength and endurance. But I'm the type that will exercise for a day and then forget about it again. Inspired by my friend Megan who writes Run! Fat Mom, Run! (and Backyard Farming), I decided to run a 5K. I started this blog to document my progress from Couch to running a 5K, using the Couch-to-5K Running Plan. I started in June or July 2008 and kept running (shuffling, actually) through October. I made it from being able to run 1 minute at a time to being able to run for 30 minutes! By "running", I mean that I could walk faster. I was doing 15 minute miles when I slacked off. But I was moving in a jogging sort of motion! It was getting my heart rate up in a way that speed walking has never done for me. I felt so powerful and awesome. My whole life I have been convinced that I am just the type of person who cannot run. But I can! I still intend to write a few posts about that experience, but since it's been a whole year since I did it, the details will be sparse.

From October 2008 through February 2009, exercise remained on my "to do" list, but I never actually did anything. Then, in February or March, my pants suddenly got tight. I had been thinking I needed to get some new jeans in a smaller size soon, and then suddenly my regular size was tight. It seemed to come on suddenly, with no obvious explanation. I thought that people usually gained weight over the holidays and winter, not just as winter was ending! The difference was so surprising that I even wondered if I could be pregnant, even though I was 99% sure I wasn't. A negative pregnancy test confirmed that. I had been attempting to night wean my nearly-two year old and thought maybe he was foregoing a lot of milk (milk production could burn up 500+ calories per day). Or maybe my metabolism just changed. I am nearing 30, so that could be possible. I tracked my eating on FitDay.com for a few days. I thought I was eating somewhat healthfully, but found out I was eating 800 extra calories per day in sugary treats some days! I'd have a good breakfast and then see that someone had brought doughnuts in (300 calories). I'd get hungry for sugar after lunch and have a candy bar (250 calories). I always have homemade treats on hand at home for after dinner. A piece (or two) of cake adds on another 300 calories. But this is how I always eat (I have written frequently about my sugar addiction at my regular blog). As far as I know, nothing about my diet had changed recently. I tend to be extremely unobservant about things like diet and my body, so I could be wrong, but I think I was eating normally. Unfortunately the pants tightening continued, and soon I was back in my post-baby one-size-larger pants. Now even those are a little tight.

At a doctor's appointment on February 5th, 2009, I was 116 pounds, which is pretty typical for me. I don't have a scale and usually only know my weight when I go to a doctor's appointment. I took a health-related class at BYU the week before my Freshman year started, Fall 1999. We were weighed, and I remember weighing 125 pounds at that time. I lost 10 pounds my first semester due to all the walking and cooking on a tight budget. So I have been about 115 pounds since early 2000. After my first baby, I got down to around 105 pounds, due to busyness/stress, a lot of walking, and extreme breastfeeding. My baby didn't eat many solids until he was over a year old. Babies that age need 1000 calories per day, so apparently I was using up 1000 calories per day nursing.

I started using FitDay.com (it is a free service where you can track food, weight, activities, moods, and body measurements, and it is very awesome) back in 2003 when I got pregnant with my 2nd baby, and since then I've recorded the following weights:

August 2003 - 106 pounds
December 2005 - 118 pounds
January 2008 - 124 pounds (5 months postpartum, Baby #3)
September 2008 - 120 pounds
February 2009 - 116 pounds

When I went back to the doctor a week ago (June 2009), I was faced with the evidence that I really had been gaining weight; my pants had not been shrunk in the wash. I weighed 123 pounds. Now, the weight itself is not really a big deal. I have some fat, but I am not fat. I was very concerned by the 7 pound gain in 4 months. If this continues, that's 20 pounds per year. . . not a path I want to head down.

Faced with the reality of the weight gain, I have decided to start exercising for real. I've been wanting to do the 30-Day Shred I've been hearing so many bloggers talk about. I decided I have two options. I can do the 30-Day Shred and keep my diet the same -- try to eat fewer treats, but not really worry about it. Or I can do the 30-Day Shred in the mornings, get serious about cutting out sugar and getting back to the diet I want (all whole foods, a lot of raw veggies, including green smoothies), and 'run' in the evenings. I'd like to do the 30-Day Shred alone to see how much effect it has by itself, regardless of diet. But if I decide I want to get fit fast, I might throw in the running and the improved diet. For now I'll commit to the 30-Day Shred.