Weighing in: Gains, and Gainz, Losses, and Getting Lost

This post is not about how great I’ve been doing or about how much weight I’ve lost this week. This post is about the honest, vulnerable reason why I started this blog in the first place. Accountability, as well as transparency. I want people to know, who see me reach my goals in the future, that this wasn’t without trials or setbacks. I had a great week last week, only to see my progress do a 180 in the following week. I will get back on track, but in the meantime, this is where I am.

This past week has been a bit trying as I have had lots of social situations come up in which I have been tempted and partaken in drinking lots of alcohol, eating lots of indulgent foods, and going to the gym less than I normally would.

As the end of Spring Break neared, I was feeling good about a total loss of 10 lbs in the month of March, as well as a 2.5lb gain in muscle. However, I think I took this information and ran with it a little too much as the weekend approached. I took a short road trip to visit some friends who live an hour and two hours away from me, respectively.

On the first night I visited a childhood friend and we enjoyed a light dinner, followed by drinks and Karaoke. On the second night I drove up to a bigger city to see a concert. Before the show I met with some friends at Buffalo Wild Wings to watch my college play in a March Madness game. Buffalo WW is very hard to eat healthy at, and I opted for a salad but it was definitely still a lot of points. I walked around the city and danced a lot at the concert. At the end of the day I totaled 20,000 steps, but I had also had well over my day’s worth of points in alcohol. Come Sunday morning I was feeling sore from moving around so much, happy that I had such a fun weekend, but also achy and physically exhausted.
I headed back home with a clear vision of health in mind for starting out my week. I did great on Sunday, with 28 out of 30 points. But then Monday was rough with 50 /30 points, Tuesday was decent with 35/30 points, but today I really crashed and burned- Finishing the day at 71/30 points. Much of the imbalance has been due to eating out with friends, being at work during dinner time, and also snacking when I’m not hungry. There have been treats offered and I’ve been bad about saying no. I also, for a moment, lost sight of the determination I had when I first began this journey in January– But I am now more determined than ever.

Truthfully, I think another part of my frivolity has been a subconscious effort to sabotage myself. I think that seeing my body and my mind change in this way is almost frightening because it is pulling me out of my comfort zone. It can be a scary feeling knowing that things are starting to look up if you don’t believe you deserve for them to– but that kind of thinking is what caused me to gain the weight in the first place. I am not going to fall victim to my self-sabotage anymore by ignoring my self-worth. Just like any other person in the world, I am deserving of love, happiness, confidence, and success.

While I am not happy about some of the food choices I’ve made in the last week, I appreciate that I was able to have some fun with friends, enjoy lots of delicious meals, and dance a ton. 

I am honestly surprised that I have made it this far in my journey without having many days that feel like setbacks so if anything this was a lesson learned that I need to reaffirm my goals and recenter my focus more often.

For this week, my goal will be to maintain, and next week I should be back on track to lose some weight. 

Even though I haven’t lost weight this week, and I am feeling down about my choices, I also know that a few months ago I would have been derailed by this and given up completely. I will not let that happen this time.  

So, starting tomorrow, I am going to make a change. I am going to make it a goal to hit my smart points each day and exercise a little extra. I don’t expect to have any loss this week, but maybe I can prevent a major gain by keeping-on. As a way to hold myself accountable even further, I am going to post a screenshot of my progress in the forthcoming week.

I will try to pack my lunches and keep protein shakes handy in case of hunger-emergencies, I will avoid alcohol as there is no room for it in my diet this week, and I will focus on eating fresh produce when I am hungry, supplementing with protein and minimal starchy-carbs. I will plan ahead for when I know I’ll be working, and I will leave my debit card at home so that I can’t make impulse purchases.

I will also focus more of my energy on exercising– I will attend my bootcamp/spin class tomorrow and I will make the gym a priority throughout the rest of the week.

Tomorrow I won’t begin anew because today did, in fact, happen. However, I will pick up the pieces and make the best out of where I left them. Tomorrow I look forward to seeing 30/30 on my total points for the day. The sun will rise again, and again, and eventually the scale will lower.

Bye Bye Muffin Top!

Kenzie

 

My Work Out Plan: Arms & Abs

[ I roll a lot of my work outs into one, but I try to separate, “leg and back day” from, “arms and abs day,” because it’s good to give your muscles at least a day to recover after weight training. This post will focus what I do for arms and abs, my next post will focus on my favorite, which is leg and back day! ]

I start my work out by warming up– for me this means walking to the gym, which is about six or seven minutes from my house. Depending on the day, I pick my poison, and by poison I mean cardio. I am very injury prone, and so I often have to modify or switch up my routine so that I don’t get hurt. On the ideal day, where I am feeling strong and pain-free, I do about 25 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), generally on the treadmill. Other days, I do about 35-60 minutes of moderate to light cardio, either by walking uphill, jogging around my neighborhood, cycling class, zumba, hiking, swimming, or elliptical. The good thing is that I genuinely enjoy all of these activities, but the general rule of thumb is to pick something you will do and enjoy doing regularly. 

After my cardio, I stretch and ease into my arms & abs. I like to incorporate yoga into my stretching, so this can take a little bit longer than your average post-cardio stretch. I found this neat-o video, that does not belong to me, on youtube, which pretty much sums up what I do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAKaKgmn76E

 

AND THEN I WORK IT OUT! 

Since I’m already on the mat, I do my mat routine first. I do a circuit of the following about four times, resting for a few seconds in between each exercise. This usually takes me about ten to fifteen minutes. For example, I do 15 reps of squats, move on to pushups, and eventually do 15 more squats and continue on until I’ve done a total of 60 squats during the fourth circuit.

-Body Weight Squats 15 reps

-Push-Ups 5 reps

-Lunges 10reps (10 on each side) 

-Crunches 10 reps

-Burpees 10 reps

-Mountain Climbers 10 reps

-Russian Twist 10 reps

NOW IT’s TIME TO PUMP SOME IRON! 

I do the following with 10lb dumb bells, but as I gain more strength I will increase to 12, then 15, etc.

Similarly to my mat workout, I do the following in a circuit. Either three or four times.

1. Romanian Deadlift: 10 reps

2. Shoulder Press: 8 reps

3. Bentover Row: 10 reps

4. Floor Press: 10 reps

5. Curls: 10 reps

6. Lateral Raise: 6 reps

7. Overhead Extension: 10 reps

  • When I finish the above, I walk home as a cool-down. Sometimes, if I am still feeling tight, I will foam roll and stretch again when I get home. I also use ice if any old injuries are flared up or aggravated during my workout.
  • I also make sure to eat plenty of protein before and after my workout, as well as drinking lots of water before, during, and after.

 

*Disclaimer: I am not a certified trainer or a fitness professional, I am merely posting what I feel works best for me in my daily routine after participating in team sports for my whole life, as well as working with a trainer in the past. 

Please consult your doctor, so on and so forth, because I am not recommending anyone do or don’t do this, I am just saying what has worked for me in getting toned up throughout my weight loss 🙂

Thank you for reading and feel free to comment if you have any questions about my routine 🙂

Bye Bye Muffin Top!

-Kenzie

Workin’ the Menu: Breakfast Edition

If you have ever even thought about losing weight or making a similar food-related lifestyle change, then you know that one of the most difficult things to navigate is a restaurant!

Ordering can be incredibly tricky; Steamed veggies may actually be coated in butter, servings are hard to measure on giant white plates, and your waitress just might roll her eyes if you ask for more than one substitution– However, one of the biggest things that I have learned on this journey is that you will not make it unless you advocate for yourself! 

To say I love brunch with friends would be an incredible understatement— There is something magical about convening with friends with a bubbly mimosa in hand after an action-packed weekend. The anticipation before the food arrives while you discuss the week that lies ahead, the scent of warm biscuits and gravy wafting through the kitchen. I love being with loved ones as we sit around a table talking and laughing, lingering long after the bill has been paid because we’ve enjoyed ourselves so much. The problem with brunch, however, is that the usual suspects are often laden with calories, fat and other ingredients that may try to derail your successes if you let them.

I have tried out the menus in several different restaurants in my area and realized that even though the dishes may vary, almost all of them have some tasty and guilt-free options lying within.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy breakfast and brunch without giving up the social aspect, or put a halt on my progress:

Beverages: 

-Coffee (easy on the cream and sugar, sugar!)

-Iced Tea (Sweetened with stevia, if at all)

-Mimosa (If you simply must have alcohol before 1:00pm, then mimosas are a surprisingly low-calorie way to do this. One serving rings in at four points!)

-When in doubt, water it out! Zero calories, refreshing, and if you are at brunch on Sunday there could be a chance you could use some proper hydration anyway!

Something Savory: 

-An easy way to get a ton of protein and veggies is a classic egg scramble or omelette. I ask for egg whites only, load up on extra veggies if it’s an option (I love mushrooms, tomato, bell peppers, and spinach).

-I love a side of Canadian bacon– a serving is usually only one point and most restaurants have it.

-If I need toast, then I ask for them to let me butter it myself, this way I can accurately portion and track how much I am putting on it.

-Chilaquiles or Huevos Rancheros are also delicious– I just ask them to skip the sour cream and cheese. If possible, I add extra salsa, cilantro, or lime to bring up the flavor. Both are packed with protein and they usually keep me tided over until dinnertime with a snack in-between.

-I try to skip out on avocado or only have a little bit of it because it is pretty heavily packed with calories (despite the healthy omega-3’s).

-If none of these things sound great to me, then I will try to split something with a friend and be mindful to stop eating when I am full.

Something Sweet:

-Most restaurants have fresh fruit that you can order on the side so this is a really common go-to for me.

-On the back of the menu, under the sides there is also typically oatmeal or cream of wheat as an option. I try to flavor it with cinnamon and stevia, or a minimal amount of sugar. This satisfies my sweet tooth and it keeps me full for a long time due to the fiber in the oats and the protein in the nuts that it usually comes with.

Etcetera:

If these tips don’t fit, try to look for something that you can keep track of easily.

I think my most helpful tip for breakfast out with friends is to avoid foods that are heavily coated in any type of sauce, syrup, cheese, butter, or gravy. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for modifications, nicely of course, and do your best to advocate for yourself. If you feel guilty for being a nuisance, then leave a good tip and thank your server, and yourself, for helping you to make healthier choices that all add up.

Got a good tip for eating out that you want to share? Please let me know in the comments below.

Bye Bye Muffin Top!

-Kenzie

What I Eat in a Day Pt. 1

What I eatA lot of friends have asked me what I have been doing to lose weight and while I accredit Weight Watchers for guiding me in the right direction, the plan doesn’t work unless you make yourself work. With that said, the most wonderful thing about it is that I haven’t had a single day go by where I didn’t get to enjoy my meals, feel overly hungry, or feel deprived in any way/shape/form.

I spend way less money on eating out, I get to enjoy fresher food because I get through it faster than I did in the past, and my cooking skills have improved because I’ve had the tools and incentive to get more creative in the kitchen, and find shortcuts for when time is of the essence.

My favorite part of the plan, by far, is that I get to eat a wide variety of things, but there are certain foods I definitely eat on a regular-semi regular basis because they are good and good for me. I took samples from typical days where I was working, in school, or doing other regular college-type activities and compiled it so that you get an accurate picture of what a typical day looks like for me.

In case you are new to my blog, SP stands for Smartpoints, the Weight Watchers system for tracking how many points/nutritional value is in something. As your body weight decreases, your allotted Smartpoints decrease as well. You are also given Weekly points which are there for added flexibility on the plan, while ensuring that you will still lose weight. When I started the plan, I was given 33 daily Smartpoints and 44 Weekly Smartpoints. Now I get 30 Daily, and 42 Weekly. I have found that as I continue on the plan that my cravings decrease and I get hungry less often because I am fueling my body more efficiently with lots of protein and fiber.

This is a sample day from a typical school week in which I have less than 1/2 hour to make and eat every meal. All of these foods are ready to eat within 10 minutes and they all include a mix of protein, fiber, fat, and carbohydrates.

In addition to the foods mentioned below, I usually go to the gym for a minimum of 30 minutes to walk on an incline, and I drink lots of water throughout the day.

Without further ado, here is What I Eat in a Day (Total is 32sp):

Breakfast (6sp) 

 

1 Thomas bagel thin (3 sp)

3 egg whites (1sp) *Egg beaters make this super convenient in a rush

3 slices Canadian bacon (1sp)

1 Bell pepper, sautéed (0sp)

1/4 cup mushrooms, sautéed (0sp)

1/2 cup spinach, sautéed (0sp)

A few spritzes of spray butter (0sp)

Snack (2sp) 

1/2 cup carrots (0sp)

1 Babybel light cheese (1sp)

1 Wasa cracker (1sp)

Lunch (10sp) 

7 Trader Joe’s chicken gyoza (6sp)

1 Packet Kikkoman miso soup (1sp)

1/2 cup shelled Edamame (3sp)

Soy sauce, vinegar, garlic (0sp)

Dinner (8sp)

1 Trader Joe’s Reduced-Guilt Mac ‘n Cheese (8sp)

1 Cup Steamed Broccoli & Cauliflower  (0sp)

Dessert (Only sometimes) (6sp) 

1 Cup Chocolate Halo Top Ice Cream (5sp)

1/2 Banana (0sp)

2 tbsp Cool Whip Lite (1sp)

*If I have a sweet tooth and I have already used up all of my points from earlier in the day, a favorite treat of mine is a bowl of frozen raspberries.

Other (0sp) 

If, for some reason, I find myself still hungry after all of the above, I will try to decide if I am really hungry, or if I might be thirsty, bored, or anxious instead. If I am in fact, genuinely hungry (which doesn’t happen often), then I’ll have some carrots, celery, or an apple. If it’s the latter, then I will try to go for a walk, call a friend, work on homework, play the sims, or some other method of distraction.

Most of what I have done to find success isn’t veering all that far from foods I ate before, it’s just a matter of finding healthy/low calorie swap-outs for my favorite things. Egg whites instead of whole eggs, reduced guilt mac ‘n cheese instead of regular, Halo Top Ice Cream instead of cookies or regular ice cream, flavoring my breakfast with vegetables rather than cheese and full-fat butter. All of these changes feel so small to me but they have made such a huge difference in my body and how I view food as fuel.

What are some of your favorite swap-outs? Let me know in the comments below!

Bye Bye Muffin Top!

-Kenzie

Protein Packed Pancakes 

If I told you I’ve lost 19 lbs and eaten pancakes almost every day, would you believe me? Well I have! These cakes offer a whopping 21 grams of protein and they keep me full for so long that I often don’t think I’ll use up all of my points for that day. I love to spice mine up with some canned pumpkin or a mashed banana and then top with fruit, cinnamon, or some sugar free syrup. 

To make them I use Kodiak Cakes pancake mix and then I add some things In to mix it up and pack in some extra nutrients. 

The Pumpkin Version (6sp)

1/2 cup Kodiak Cakes Protein Blend

1/4 cup puréed pumpkin

2 egg whites

1/2 cup water 

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cloves

1 tbsp sugar free syrup 
I combine all of the ingredients into a bowl, mix until it’s all blended together.

Put a bit of coconut oil or Pam onto a  non-stick pan that’s heated over medium heat. 

Then pour 1/4 cup of batter on to the pan and heat until the top begins to bubble

Flip and cook until the other side is browned and the inside of the cake is no longer doughy.

I like to top mine with additional cinnamon and eat them as is, but if you want to add more syrup or fruit they are delicious that way too! 

The Banana Version (6sp)

1/2 cup Kodiak Cakes Protein Blend

1/2 cup almond milk 

1 banana mashed 

2 egg whites

2 tsp vanilla

2 tsp cinnamon

1 pinch of salt 
Mix and mash everything together in a bowl– Cooking and serving instructions are the same as the pumpkin ones.

Enjoy!

Bye Bye Muffin Top 🙂