May 16, 2011

the plan

Lately I've had a few comments asking what I've been doing to lose the weight (20.6 pounds as of this morning!).  So I figured I'd give you a little run down.  There definitely isn't some genius plan or anything, I've just been going with the burn more calories than you eat and try and stay away from super salty, sugary or carby (that isn't a word, I know) foods.  So original right?

Probably the most significant tool throughout this whole process has been my calorie tracking iPhone app, Calorie Counter PRO by MyNetDiary.  I was able to input my current weight when I started, my goal weight, and when I hoped to achieve that goal by.  The app won't allow you to input a goal date that would have you losing more than two pounds a week, just for the record.  But you shouldn't really be aiming for more than that anyway.  You input some other items and the app spits out how many calories you should be eating a day.  Right now I'm at 1284.  It definitely disappears quickly if I don't think about what I'm putting in my mouth.

You can input your exercise, and the app gives an analysis showing how many calories you have left for the day based on your workout.  So on days I run, I generally earn an extra 400 calories or so.  I still try not to go over my 1284, but I do give myself a little wiggle room on the days I workout hard.  The app does adjust your calories as you start to lose weight, I used to be allotted somewhere between 1350 and 1400 calories.

I still need to work on my actual meals and snacks.  I've figured out how to stay under my calories, but what I'm actually eating still leaves a lot to be desired.  Pretty much every morning I eat a slice of toast with peanut butter, drink 4 ounces of orange juice, and take my vitamins.  Sometimes I'll have a Special K bar for a snack.  Lunch is generally some variety of a chicken wrap, sandwich or salad.  We've gotten pretty good at making healthy dinners, but basically just have meat and veggies.  Not a whole lot of fun there.  Almost every single night I have 1/2 a cup of chocolate frozen yogurt with 3/4 of a cup of raspberries.  I look forward to that all day :o).  Throughout the day I either drink water, or Minute Maid Diet Lemonade.  It should be more water, but I love that lemonade!  Nonetheless I try really hard not to drink my calories.

Generally when we are cooking dinner I try and find recipes that offer nutrition information, so I can get an idea of what I'm eating.  However there is an option on the Calorie Counter app to create a recipe; you input all of the different food items in the dish, click a button, and it totals it all together.  Then you can get a better idea of how much you should actually eat.

Some staples in my pantry lately have been Mission Life Balance Whole Wheat Tortillas, Oscar Meyer Rotisserie Chicken Breast Deli Meat, Laughing Cow Light Garlic and Herb Cheese Wedges, Special K Cracker Chips, Kemps Chocolate Frozen Yogurt, plus fruit, veggies and proteins.  Taste of Home's Healthy Cooking magazine has been pretty good to us.

A good little snack or lunch idea?  Take a tortilla, spread on the Laughing Cow cheese wedge, top it with 4 slices of chicken breast deli meat and roll it up.  You can either slice it to get a pinwheel style appetizer/snack, or if you're lazy like me you can just eat it.  Another tip... Chris has made a chicken rub that we really like (I'll have to try and get the recipe from him).  We usually go ahead and grill up all three chicken breasts that come in a pack, even though we will only use two.  Then I cut up half of the third breast the next two days for lunch, and put it either on a salad, or in a wrap with 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese and some lettuce.

So there you have it.  What I have more or less been eating the last 11 weeks.  We do still go out to eat occasionally, but I try and limit it to places where I can find nutritional information online, and plan what I will get before we go.  Applebees has a pretty decent menu for under 550 calories, and if we want something quick we usually grab Subway.  I can't believe it has been almost three months since I've had a hamburger and fries.  My biggest downfall throughout this whole thing has been sweets.  I CRAVE them all the time still.  I really thought I would be stuck missing chips and fries and things of that nature, but I seriously want to eat chocolate all the time.  And I love baking.  But I am trying to control those habits.

As most of you know, I completed the C25K app on my iPhone.  For the first 10 weeks of this journey I alternated between the workouts on the app, and just making sure I walked at least two miles throughout the day.  We have gone on TONS of walks lately as a family, weather permitting of course.  (Stupid weather, stop being so dreary!)  Now I am doing Bridge to 10K three times a week, and attempting Jillian's Six Week Six Pack the other days, along with lots of family walks still.  Honestly?  I'm not really enjoying the video.  I'm not sure why, it isn't too difficult (although all the time spent in the freaking plank position SUCKS), not too easy, but I just hate doing it.  So I might need to come up with another option.

Random tidbit, my favorite running music includes songs by the Pussycat Dolls, Dog Days Are Over by Florence and the Machine (hello it says 'run fast' in the song), and Imma Be by the Black Eyed Peas.  Just thought I'd throw that out there.

I think strength training is really going to be key for me throughout the rest of this journey (although cardio is still important) because even though I've lost a good amount of weight, I still feel flabby.  I'm not seeing the body that I want, or that I know I can have.  I know I don't have the energy or motivation for a rock solid body, but I know I can be more toned.  If I keep hating the video, I'm not really sure what I'm going to do that can supplement.  I definitely need a plan to follow.

Follow Through
The main reason why all of this is working right now, is because I have adapted the go big or go home mentality.  Since posting that first post, and knowing how many of you out there are reading this, I have a bit more motivation to continue on this journey.  That, combined with the fact that I actually have time and support for this right now.  I am so lucky that Chris has had so much time off over the last couple months.  He doesn't start residency until June 23rd, so now is the absolute perfect time for me get in the habit of taking care of myself.  I think really, the biggest challenge will be when he isn't around anymore.  I so hope I can keep it up.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  This has been HARD.  There are some days that I just want to sit and mindlessly snack, or just freaking eat as much pasta as I want to.  Or have three margaritas because I feel like it.  And I know I'm going to slip sometimes.  And that indulging every now and again is ok.  But I haven't yet figured out how to have the balance between the two, so until I reach my goal weight I am being very VERY cautious about doing things that will hurt my progress (I didn't keep that in mind when I made TWO batches of no-bake cookies this week.  But don't worry, I have only had one a day!)  I think the saddest part about this whole thing right now, is that I will avoid social situations where I know food will be present, because I don't trust myself to make good decisions in those settings.  Again that relates to me needing to find balance.  I'm working on it.  Because attaining my goal of a healthy body, shouldn't cause me to miss out on other things I love.


If you have any fitness/exercise tips or healthy snacks and meals you would like to share, please do so in the comment section.  I'm sure other people would appreciate the help, I know I would!  And if anyone out there is blogging about a health journey, let me know.  I'd love to read about it!  Linking up with Heir to Blair :o)


Sarah and Derek said...

Way to go Ashley! I haven't worked out in a month but I hit up the gym this morning and I am going to try and follow some of your tips. Thanks!

The Domestic Princess said...

We're on this journey right now too! We started three weeks ago and I'm down 6 pounds. Wahoo! If your looking for more recipe ideas try She calculates the calories, WW points, etc for you and the meals are delish.

Nikki said...

You are doing great!

Kelly said...

I signed up with the free calorie counter right after reading your post and found out that I'm already 100 calories OVER what I get for the whole day! Apparently eating a bowl of pasta with Alfredo sauce isn't the best lunch option ;) Time to get serious and pay more attention to what's going in. Thanks for the tips!

Bobi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brenna said...

Ashley- your journey has been completely inspiring. Thank you for sharing this!! I actually copied and pasted your post onto my desk top. I am sure you understand that sometimes it is little things like this that keep me motivated on days I am struggling.
I am in love with the C25K so far!! And I did not even think of adding the Florence & the Machine song- I will be running to that tomorrow!

Meredith said...

I love all your motivational pictures! You are seriously going to get me addicted to Pinterest!

Kalen said...

LOVE the last motivational picture - so true!

Ashley said...

you're awesome girl! keep it up!!!

Allison H. said...

Ashley - my friend Paula is an amazing inspiration and has lost 129 (I think it is) lbs in the last year. She currently has a weight loss challenge that she does via her blog to help others who want to loose weight accountable (those of us without our own blogs :) I did her first challege which started in March and lost 11 lbs. I haven't been so motivated with the new challenge because to be honest I am already pretty pleased with where I am at, but still trying to maintain. Paula is just so honest and makes you think when reading her posts. Check it out here:

Christen said...

I'm a first time follower/commenter! Good for you walking/ working your way to running. I'm trying to tone before summer. I actually just wrote a post about a mud run (5K that ends in a mud pit!) that my friend and I did. Check it out here:

(It's the May 15th post)

Sharstin said...

Way to go chick!! You are doing so fab

Peppermint Bee said...

Congratulations on your success! Way to go! Keep it up!

Shelly said...

love dog days are over :)

you are doing awesome girl...maybe you should plan on running the chicago 1/2 in october ;-)

Rogue Woman said...

Found you through HeirtoBlair. I lost almost the same exact amount you did, 20.5 pounds. I took an adorable photo of me holding two 10 pound bags of sugar and flour to remind myself what that weight looks like . Loved the tips on your post, one thing that my husband and I started doing is eating a protein, veggie and an orange every night for dinner. For some reason the sugar in the orange helps keep those late night chocolate cravings for me at bay.

wallacefamilyblog said...

Im another one just starting the journey. I had lost 40 lbs and then after having a baby gained some of it back and want to lose the pounds. I always learn little things so thanks for posting!

Denise said...

I'm currently reading your McFatty Monday archives, and I am delurking to let you know that Imma Be is possibly the best running song in the history of the universe. It is impossible to not run faster when the song tempo gets faster. I may or may not wave my hands around as well.

Congrats on all of your hard work and the most excellent pay off. You look great.