Saturday, January 24, 2015

Weight Loss is Only a Side Effect of My Self-Prescribed Lifestyle

Alright! So here we are again. Three weeks into getting back into clean eating and working out again. Down 5lbs, which is a great start! I am turning 25 in less than a month, and I have decided that 25 will be the last year I am overweight in my 20s. I have 52 lbs to lose before I reach my goal weight. But really, it's not about the weight or looking my best or any of those things. It's about being happy and loving my body. It's about getting my life together, and developing good habits that are here to stay. I am so tired of being this lost 20 something year old, phasing in and out of a life of productivity and a life of self destruction. My weight isn't the only thing that's been unhealthy for me this past year. It's been so much more.. my mentality, my self sabotaging, my irresponsibility. It's just time to get my act together overall... and I truly believe starting with a healthy lifestyle is the best step in the right direction.

These past three weeks that I've been working out and eating clean, I just FEEL so much better. 5lbs is barely noticeable physically, but mentally I already feel like I've lost about 20 lbs. I feel more confident, I feel more energetic, more productive, happier, calmer, and more stable. Everything about it has a positive effect on your body and your mentality. As I mentioned in my last post, I severely struggle with depression, and it's really true that a clean diet and exercise can do wonders to alleviate depression.

I tried the anti-depressant route, and although it helped, I didn't want to live with the side effects. I decided to make a change in my life and use diet and exercise to treat my depression instead. And three weeks in? I feel even better than I did while on the anti-depressants. It's not about just being vain, trying to look sexy, it's about becoming a better, happier, healthier person as a whole.

One thing that I am doing different this time, is working out without a trainer or weight loss program or anything of the sort. I have decided I need to learn to do this completely by myself. I am my own coach, because I will always be there for myself. It's not some program that you "finish" when you reach your goal weight, and it's not some trainer you have to keep throwing money at forever and ever because you can't get to the gym by yourself. It has to be YOU. You just have to want it bad enough.

And you know what? I have increased my work outs to 5-6 times a week. Even at my best, I was only working out 2-3 times a week and just eating clean. It was easy to just wait until I had a session with my trainer to actually go work out, and I just didn't really know what to do at the gym without one, so it made for the perfect excuse to only go when I had a session. Being my own "trainer" has made me proactively plan out my work outs, finding routines online, and executing those by myself, as well as fitting in a lot more cardio than I ever did with a trainer.

Currently, my body is still adjusting to the increased work out load, so I am retaining a lot of water and not making much progress on the scale, but I can still just see the difference in my appearance. It's important to remember that what the scale says isn't important. It's what your body says. And my body feels great, so that's what matters!

Where I see myself in the next few months:
I don't put a lot of emphasis on the numbers. I don't get discouraged when my "weight loss" is a slow process. Weight loss is only a side effect of my new prescribed lifestyle, not the focus.  The things that make me feel proud are when I notice a new defined muscle popping up somewhere, or how much more beautiful my skin looks now that I eat only clean food. I feel proud of dripping sweat after a work out, and marking off another "X" on my calendar to show yet another day that I made it to the gym. I've developed a community feeling at the gym where people recognize me and accept me as a fellow fitness junkie that's trying to live a better lifestyle. As I become physically fitter, the biggest difference is the stronger, more confident mentality I have, that makes life much more enjoyable and worthwhile. People take notice at work and begin to respect and admire me for all of my achievements. But the best part of all, is that I am proud of every drop of sweat, or smile in the mirror, or every .1 lb I ever lose. Every step is in the right direction, and no matter the amount of time it takes me to reach my goals, I never stop trying.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

It's a Long Process, but Stopping Won't Get You There

Oh man. So it's definitely been awhile since my last post.. and a lot has happened since then. Through Jan-March, I continued my weight loss journey, making mistakes here and there. Slowly, I dwindled back into bad habits and I lost control. Many people experience this struggle, and it's very easy to feel like giving up and accepting defeat. The biggest lesson to pull away from this is, no matter what set backs you experience, you have to keep trying.

I refuse to let go of myself and allow myself to wallow in bad health, and beat myself up for letting myself get here again. I accept responsibility for my actions, and I refocus myself and start right back up again. When I began this journey, I knew I was setting a long term goal. I knew this would be a big commitment and there would be struggles to face. And just because I have still not accomplished my goal, that doesn't mean I am going to stop trying.

The biggest struggle that I have experienced, and the major cause for "derailing" my progress, is my emotional eating tendencies. Having moved to a new city, started a new job, made new friends, and having to adjust to an entirely new life has taken it's mental toll on me. Even though everything has been going well in my life, the past 6 months or so, I have been fighting a severe battle against depression. And although I am aware that a healthy diet and exercise can be a HUGE contributing factor to preventing depressive behaviors, I found myself in state where I literally could not find the strength to care about my health or my future. The only momentary pleasure in life I could find was food. So I ate, and I drank, and I stopped caring about the effect it had on my body. All I cared about was getting an ounce of pleasure or release from the nothingness that I felt in my depression.

The worst part was that I KNEW that being overweight would only cause me to fall deeper into a depression and to cause myself to be ashamed of my body and my lack of self control- yet, I couldn't stop it. I realized that I HAD to get in a better mental state in order to continue pursuing my goals. I am convinced many people who struggle with their weight, battle with their mental stability as well. In my case, I decided I had to pull  myself out of depression and bring myself to a healthy mind before I could follow with a healthy body.

It's taken me between 2-3 months to accomplish it, but with help from my friends and family, and a conscious effort on my part, I finally feel the strength to begin again. I am two weeks into picking up my clean eating habits, and I hired a local personal trainer to force me into my training and exercise habits again. So, the journey begins again! Like I said, the commitment to a healthy lifestyle is is a life-long process, and a big part of it truly is the mental battle. The important thing to understand is that no matter what struggle you face, as long as you don't give up, you will be able to succeed and reach your goals. Commitment is key.

I will continue to try my best and be the best Nicole that I know how to be- so cheers to a fresh start and the ability to keep a smile on my face again!

Vision for the future-
No matter the emotional struggle I experience, I always confront the issue and seek help and support from those around me to keep me in a healthy state. I do not turn to food for comfort when I feel stressed or defeated; I turn to a hard sweat and a heated work out. When I feel down, I promise myself that instead of wallowing, I will choose to do something about it, and commit to positive, uplifting behaviors. And even if there are moments where I do slip up- I promise to never give up on my health. I promise to keep trying and trying over and over again until it finally pays off. I do not do this out of vanity alone, or a desire to feel attractive, I do this because this is what my body was created to do. Eat for fuel and energy, move and stay active to use and burn that energy, and rest and rebuild myself in order to be the healthiest me I can be. I strive for a long life full of health and happiness so that I can be there in the future and achieve the goals I set for myself. I do it for me and my future.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Don't Eat Like a Savage

Okay- I'm not even going to mention the fact that it's a new year and blah blah I have all these New Years resolutions. Reaching my goal weight is still my top priority still, just like it was all the way back in August last year. 

Sure I struggled a little over the holidays- definitely gave in to some serious temptations; actually one of which I will confess to you because I actually find it to be a really humorous story. It also highlights the temptations we face on a regular basis and how difficult it can be to make healthy choices in our society today. 

So mid-December I was forced to go through some mandatory "On Boarding" training (super basic stuff, safety etc... in other words, mind numbingly boring information). Throughout this training, the trainers understand that no one wants to be there and they attempt to ease their guilt and make the classes tolerable by having hoards of chocolates, cookies, cakes, etc available so you can eat your boredom away. 

Throughout this 5 day training, I must say I almost made it through to Wednesday without "sinning." However, on this specific day, I faced my arch nemesis: a Tres Leches cake. Coming from a hispanic background, a good Tres Leches is pretty difficult to find. This one looked amazing. Not only did I gorge myself on an entire piece of cake, I guiltily wandered off to my father's office (yes he works at my company too) to confess my sins. (I ALWAYS have the worst burning desire to confess my dietary indiscretions.. I need somebody to shame me!) After blurting out my lusty affair with my Tres Leches, my father became very interested. His reply, with a mischievous grin only Satin could have produced, "Is there still some left in the training room?" His excitement quickly rubbing off on me for yet another moment to gluttonously submit myself to the Tres Leches all over again, we scampered off as I led the way back to the damage zone. 

Now, in case you don't know me, I happen to have the last name Savage. Fitting, in instances like this. At first, I watched as my father cut himself a piece of cake in the abandoned training room; fighting an internal battle to attempt to resist the cake yet again. The battle was lost. Sheer pleasure rolled across his face as he bit into his cake, and I lost control. I grabbed for another piece of cake, and without a fork or any socially acceptable mannerisms, stuffed my greedy little mouth full of yet another obscenely large piece of cake. I was in heaven. 

As my father and I shared this moment of an utter loss of control (on both our parts), we laughed and laughed mischievously; envisioning the reaction of someone walking in to discover the two "savages" (literal in both senses) gorging aggressively on the unsuspecting cake in the abandoned room. While this memory is likely to bring a smile to my face for many years; it was a weak moment. I did not leave feeling proud of myself, or even physically happy with myself, mainly because I kind of wanted to vomit afterwards due to the sugar overload. 

That was not the only mistake I made over the Christmas break, however, due to the months of hard work and serious dedication, my body was able to adjust to the abuse and managed to pull through for me. I didn't gain a single pound over the holidays, which speaks extremely highly of how powerful it is to live the low glycemic lifestyle. 

Jeremy, my trainer, always told me that once I got my body in a place where I am physically fit enough and built enough muscle, my metabolism will get much faster and be able to deal with occasional indiscretions. I was very doubtful of this since I have alway been the kind of person to balloon up if I even LOOK at food the wrong way, but Jeremy was right yet again. 

The point is, yes- I am going to make mistakes. I am a Savage. I do savage things, like gorge myself on cake in awkward corners of my office building. But as long as I can always bounce back, get back on track, and move on, my body will be able to forgive me for those moments of weakness. 

Envision of future Nicole:
My body is solid muscle. 95% of the year, it's because I worked for it. But there are those occasional days where there is a monster in me, and if I see cake, I will attack. These days are kept to a bare minimum, because I am always striving to better my self control, but they do occur. Thankfully, my body has the proper metabolism to kick butt and make sure that minor offsets will not effect our overall well being. That way, I can have silly bonding moments with others over a piece of cake without wanting to shoot myself afterwards. I work hard, and sometimes I deserve a little sweetness. I know that my health is what is important to me and I am always able to refocus and better myself yet again; never truly veering off of a healthy lifestyle. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Skinny is Not as Easy in the Cold

Nothing is more demotivating to me than cold weather. No wonder it’s so hard to lose weight during the holidays… my body wants to stay all fat so I can be nice and warm!  Especially now that I’ve lost about 30lbs, I am cold all day, every day. #skinnygirlproblems.

These are my current struggles due to cold, wintery weather:
  1.  I don’t want water... AT ALL. Nothing to make me colder is welcome!
  2.  I don’t want to leave my bed/couch/car/apartment... whatever it be. I don’t want to leave! I have to force myself to work, which is hard enough on its own, and when it comes to making myself go to the gym? Ugh! Why would I do that when I can be at peace all bundled with my puppies at home? (cuz you want to be a fit, productive, non-pathetic human being.. duh..)
  3. Only hot foods allowed. This means NO salads, NO raw nothin’! So much for healthy veggie snacks... I want soups, potatoes and comfort foods.
  4.  On the weekends, drinking tends to help keep the cold away… and I’m not talking about water!

For the first time since I started living low glycemic, I have hit an area in my life where I am struggling. Not only did I just move to a new city, start a new job, and leave my support system over in Austin, it all just happens to be right smack dab in the middle of the holiday season, and paired with my least favorite weather. Talk about a hurdle!

As much as I am mentally struggling, I must admit, it really hasn’t been that bad. Thankfully, I have put all my new practices into habit for several months now, and I am still maintaining a very good lifestyle. It is true that I haven’t been perfect- but then again, nobody is perfect 24/7.  Aside from the cold weather, I am adjusting to a new “office lifestyle.” While I was used to being in the restaurants all day at Schlotzsky’s, I had learned how to overcome those temptations. Here in the office, there is a new set of temptations. Delicious, daily lunches with co-workers, candy bowls at every admin’s desk, nibbles available at every conference meeting, and the worst? Boredom.  Because I am beginning this new position, there isn’t a set “program” or pattern for me to start into. My trainer doesn’t even come back until next week, so there has been a lot of sitting around and reading books and information on petrochemicals. Understand my pain?

I think previously, it’s been easy to resist all the snacks and goodies because I was busy and on the go. The past 3 weeks, the boredom is creeping in and it’s making a terrible chocolate monster out of me! How do people go around without snatching little chocolates off the admin’s desks every time you pass by!? How cruel is that… couldn’t they put up a little bowl of carrots or something? This is an obstacle I need to overcome. I know that soon I will be extremely busy and thankfully, done with the days with my nose stuck in “Petrochemicals in Nontechnical Language” but gosh I am struggling!  

I do know that I will pull through this. I am a full on exercise addict now, so I know that habit is around for the long haul. I have picked up hot yoga, and have started doubling up on my work outs. Hot yoga in the morning, training at night. Not only that, but I walk EVERYWHERE. I am in a place where everything is within walking distance, so I am staying much more active on a daily basis. The best part is knowing that once I cleanse my systems of sugars again, I will no longer have those cravings and it will be much easier to resist the demon office candies.  That’s the great part of having gone through Jeremy’s nutrition class- instead of falling into a lusty black hole of chocolates, pumpkin pies and sugar cookies, I can pick up on my struggle and know exactly what I need to do to fix it. And I know I can do it!

As far as my cold weather struggles, I need some help from my fellow low GI teammates! Tips? Suggestions? What’s working for you? I am cold and missing my world of delicious coffee and pumpkin spice lattes! Let me know what has helped you all in this season.

My vision for this holiday season:

Steamed veggies, baked apples, and hot teas are all the comfort foods I need this season.  My zucchini noodles make for great holiday meals, and a perfect substitute for pasta. Rather than bonding with my family by gorging on gluttonous pies and stuffing, we participate in active bonding activities instead. Going for walks around the lake, family gym sessions, and maybe even some good old holiday shopping. (at least shopping is active!) Just because it’s Thanksgiving doesn’t mean I don’t need to work out; if anything, it’s a time to be thankful for my body and good health, and show my body that I have respect for myself and consideration for the things I put in my mouth. I use holiday seasons as a time to be grateful for my family, my body, my health, my friends, etc; not as an excuse to gorge myself on unhealthy things that make me very unthankful for the holiday season and the decisions that I made during it. I live a healthy life, full of wisdom and good decisions- even if I do sneak the occasional dark chocolate every once in a while!  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

If You're Tired of Starting Over, Stop Giving Up

Alright everyone! Sorry for the lag in posts... but I realized, there really isn't much to write about once you've accepted your "diet" as your new lifestyle. How many times can I tell you how awesome I feel without you getting bored and annoyed with my blog? :)

Tomorrow makes 13 weeks that I have been training with 10 RM Fitness, down a total of 28.6 lbs; an average of about 2.2 lbs a week. Training with Jeremy has been amazing. I have never felt so motivated to accomplish my goal, and I have never had a nutritional plan with such amazing results. Because this plan has been so successful, the thought of "cheating" and sneaking a bite of a bagel or some cake doesn't even cross my mind. My will power is the highest it's ever been, and when people try to get my to break my "diet" by saying "come on, you can break it just for today" I respond with " I didn't ask for your permission." Haha. Sometimes you just have to put people in their place and not allow them to thwart your success!

Here at the end of week 13, I am reaching, what should be, a challenging hurdle in my life. I accepted a position with a new company in Houston. While this is all amazing news for me and the next chapter of my life, it also means I have to leave Jeremy, along with all my other routines and healthy habits in my life. Although this is all very exciting for me, it is also very stressful. Starting a new job, re-finding my friend group (I am originally from the Houston area), living in a new place, learning a new city, it's a whole list of major changes. With all of these things happening, you can see why I would be a little concerned, especially knowing my number one downfall is emotional eating.

However, within my first week here, I have set myself up for success. I joined a fitness challenge on to help motivate me to continue to lose weight (4% of your starting body fat in 4 weeks), I purchased a calorie counter watch with a heart rate monitor to keep track of my physical activity, and luckily, there is an amazing 24 Hour Fitness within walking distance, 2 blocks away from my apartment. First thing I did upon arrival was unpack my kitchen and grocery shop so I could continue preparing my meals and keeping up my good behavior, just like nothing ever happened.

For now, I am going to finish off my last sessions with Jeremy via Bluetooth at the gym, but I know that the knowledge I have gained while training at 10 RM will stick with me no matter what! Even in the upcoming holiday season.. the dreaded diet-breaking season! I still have a least 25 more lbs to lose, but I fully intend to reach my goal come February (my 24th birthday). I refuse to spend the rest of my 20's ashamed of my body! This move is the perfect kick start to get my life going in exactly the direction I want it to be in. New job, new friends, new city, new body.

My vision:
At least 3-5 times a week, I participate in some form of physical activity. Whether it be going on a walk, working out in the gym, or dancing all night long. It doesn't matter how crazy busy I am at work, I always find a way to fit a work out into my schedule. Not eating right is never even a thought that crosses my mind, and making my meals for the week is a religious habit of mine. Because my fitness is a passion of mine, I naturally am surrounded by other like-minded people who have a drive for success and help push me to be a better person. I am at my goal weight, and there is literally not a single item of clothes in my closet that will fit me anymore. Dressing professionally is easy and non-stressful because I don't have to worry about a fat roll hanging out of a certain outfit, or something jiggling during a presentation when it shouldn't be. While traveling, I find time to work out and have no issues modifying my meals to be healthier. I simply don't make excuses for bad behavior anymore. There is no turning back from a lifestyle like this!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Nothing Matters More Than Your Word - Especially To Yourself

Week 8: Complete! It's officially been 56 days and I feel awesome. Down a total of 20 lbs and 14 inches overall! (If you're in Austin- seriously, Jeremy Robinson has an amazing program you should look into) 20 lbs in two months! I can't believe the results I am seeing. Of course, it's a lot of hard work, persistence, sweat and self-control, but it can definitely be done.

 I still have a minimum of 30 lbs left to lose, and currently I am approaching the closest thing to a plateau that I have experienced since I started. Monday I begin my 2nd cleanse, which I am very excited about! This means 7 days of unlimited veggies and 3 fruits a day- not so bad. In the past, if I would have hit a plateau I'd have been extremely discouraged and frustrated. Now, I have the knowledge and ability to kick start my system again and continue back on my path to weight loss.

Not only am I losing the weight, the inches, etc, but I am gaining the confidence. I feel so much better. I'm in the stage now where everyone is beginning to notice the differences and shower me with compliments. It's an amazing feeling! It is, however, a dangerous thing at the same time. The more compliments and confidence you get, the better you start to feel about yourself and the less motivation you have toward reaching your goal. Many people struggle with this- I definitely have in the past. But that's what's so different about my goal this time. My goal isn't just to feel better about myself. It's about commitment.

One of the major things I have learned about myself this year, is that I have a problem with commitment. (ha- like everyone else!) No, I'm not talking about relationships (although I am sure that's the case on occasion...). I am talking about commitments to  myself. I realized I don't have a problem with goal setting, I just have a problem committing myself to the things I say that I am going to do. Ex: I'm going to do laundry today. I am going to go work out today. The list goes on. This whole experience isn't about just getting healthier, feeling more confident, finding a boyfriend or anything like that. It's about commitment to myself. Making a promise, and keeping your word to yourself.

My entire life, I have been taught that the most important thing you have is your word. Do what you say you are going to do. I have always lived my life that way, but I realized, I only do it for others. If I am committed to a friend, a boyfriend, a promise, whatever, I have no problem keeping that commitment because I gave my word. But when it comes to keeping promises to myself? Worthless. Totally unreliable and honestly, probably blatant flat out lying to myself. I'm a skeez! If I were to treat people the way that I have treated myself, I would have no friends. That's an awful realization to have about yourself!

Sadly, I think that is a very common thing for most people. (Although, it's even sadder that there are plenty of people who are not only okay with lying to themselves, but with lying to other people too) Thankfully, I have the self- awareness to realize and admit this about myself, so I am doing everything in my power to change that. See? So it's not about losing the weight. It's about staying true to yourself, not just true to other people. It's about keeping a promise. It's about being a better person as a whole, in every possible form. So those compliments that make you feel all sexy and proud, sure they feel great. And did you reach your goal of gaining more confidence? Yes. But is it about that? No. You don't stop until you have fulfilled your promise to yourself. Hold yourself accountable.

My vision:
When I say I am going to do something, I do it. Whether I said it out loud, or I said it in the back of my mind. It doesn't matter if it's about doing laundry, meeting a deadline, or not texting that ex back like I swore I never would. I believe in myself. I set goals, and I reach them, no matter how small or how daunting they may be. Because of this, I set an example for the people in my life. People believe in me, because I believe in myself. Sure, feeling sexy helps, but I know that isn't what life is about. The more I grow, I grow to be a better person physically and mentally, so that when I'm old, I have a personality and strong morals that will make me a beautiful person rather than just my looks.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Question Isn't Can You Do It? It's: Will You.

Emotional eating is such a horrible tendency! Again, I am reminded of how much more of a mental battle weight loss is rather than a physical one. Sure, for some people there are physical issues that occur and hold back their progress (injuries, diseases etc.) but the majority of us simply struggle with our self destructive tendencies.

This past week and a half, I have been dealing with a lot of anxiety with work, my future, relationships, etc. It's been an extremely emotional week for me. After some disheartening news yesterday, it literally took everything in my power to resist the urge to revert back to my old self destructive habits that have helped cause my weight gain to begin with. My natural instincts were screaming that I go to the CVS on the way home, buy a giant bottle of wine (not the regular size, the big one), a pint of Blue Bell Ice Cream and a chocolate bar to finish off in a single sitting while I sit at home and depress myself.

As much as I am STILL struggling with this idea, flitting around the back of my mind, I made the decision to stay strong and stay committed to my promise to myself to be a better person. So then, my second instinct was still not a very positive one: I just wanted to go to sleep for the rest of the day and shut out every thought and problem in my life. I figured, hey- at least I won't want to eat, right? But finally I decided that was yet another way to mask my problems and not confront the issue. Finally, I invited a friend over to talk it out, focus on the positive things going on in my life, had a HEALTHY sugary snack (an orange) that always helps make me feel a little better, and then I went to go work out with my trainer Jeremy.

The work out was rough. I was NOT in the mood to push myself, and I was still half on the verge of tears throughout my entire work out. Again, thank god I had Jeremy to come to the rescue (as much as I kind of wanted to hit him when he told me to do 100 weighted jump squats followed by a series of [my mortal enemy] burpees). I finished the work out, exhausted and shaky. But in the end, did I feel better? Yes. Did I do something positive? Yes. I felt accomplished, and I felt proud that I had the strength to avoid reverting back to bad habits.

Today marks the start of my 8th week of living low glycemic. It's been 50 days of intense work outs, high activity levels, and a major adjustment of mental attitude and daily habits while controlling what foods I put into my mouth. 50 days ago, I wouldn't have had the strength to avoid those urges I had yesterday. I can truly say I am in a different place in my life now, and I have the strength and self-worth to know that my body deserves to be treated better, despite my mental state. Cheers to those of us working to create a better life for ourselves! We all have our struggles, but in the end, the question isn't can you do it? It's: will you.

Today's vision for my future:
No matter whether everything is going perfectly in my life, or if everything seems like it's falling apart, the one part I always have control over is how I choose to react to those situations. When my life is a mess, that doesn't give me an excuse to disrespect my body. I choose to handle negative situations by dealing with them in positive ways. If I am stressed, I work out my frustration in the gym. If I need to cry, I find a positive friend or family member to talk to. If I crave sweets, I always try to satisfy the craving with a natural sugar like fruit. When met with any difficult situation, instead of purely reacting, I consider the best way to approach the situation, and have the strength and ability to choose the most beneficial option for myself. I always remember that it's better to be strong in difficult situations than to make it worse by making a decision to be weak. By doing this, I am able to live healthily through the worst times and the best, always knowing that the dark times will pass no matter what.