April and Weight Watchers

So it’s been a bit of time since I posted on here but I’ll spare you all of my excuses.

Regardless of how long it has been – I’m back!

And I’ve got a whole new exciting topic to start writing about – WEIGHT WATCHERS!

About a month ago, I wrote a post talking about how I was thinking about signing up.  I had never done any sort of diet program like that before and I was interested to see if I would be more successful. 

I was so happy when I heard from one of my friends, Laura,  that she was thinking about doing it too!  So we started chatting and agreed, AFTER the holidays, that we would start going to the meetings.  Laura has done WW before so she was already “in the know” with the best meeting leaders available.  Our first meeting was last Friday and I could see why Laura liked this particular leader.  Her name is Adrienne and she’s got the energy of a three-year-old after their nap and I love it!  I was surrounded by about thirty other women all in there for the same purpose – to get healthier!  Adrienne pumped us full of faith in ourselves while talking about her own struggles with her weight.  I’m excited for Friday to arrive because according to the scale, I’m already down 4.4 pounds!  Water weight or whatever it is, it was nice to see a decrease of numbers.

Day One of Weight Watchers!

Day One of Weight Watchers!

Weight Watchers has a new program out called “Simple Start” with a fool-proof plan for two weeks to help newbies get started.  With helpful pictures and easy to follow listed meal choices, it takes away the stress of planning your meals.  I bought most of the food that was suggested but during the past three days that I’ve been doing it, I’ve made a few small modifications.

I don’t want to start eating a whole bunch of chemically made foods because WW suggests it.  The program highly suggests eating things like non-fat cheese, light yogurt, and non-fat dressing but after staring at the ingredient list of these products at the grocery store, I decided I’d rather take the additional points and eat foods with ingredients I can pronounce.

One ingredient in many of these products is aspartame.  I’m just not down with aspartame, as I’ve mentioned in a few posts.  When I lost all my weight seven years ago, I never bought the low-fat or light options.  Jamie, a previous weight loss mentor/nutritionist of mine,  was very clear on her logic of weight-loss marketed foods. She would much rather me have me consume a normal yogurt with 120 calories than a light yogurt with just 80 because the nutritional contents of the actual food ingredients are MUCH better for our bodies than the empty aspartame calories of a light yogurt.

So I bought blue dressing dressing made with yogurt, rather than some weird modified oil. It has only 35 calories and costs me one point.  So worth it.

I also have bread that is 60 calories (or 2 points) per slice.  And it’s not advertised as a “light bread.”  It’s just a simple bread.  And I’m not afraid to eat it.

Those two pieces of bread, a little homemade jam, and two eggs have started me off in a happy way the past few days.   For my other meals, I had to get a bit more creative.  Alyssa and I got to reconnect with one of our high school homegirls – Lisa – who happens to be super smart when it comes to losing weight and eating well since she’s dropped 130 pounds!   After I discovered my whole wheat penne ate up like 15 points on my first day, I tried out one of her suggestions to use shredded vegetables instead of pasta . To my surprise – IT WAS AWESOME!  It was even more awesome when I told Alyssa how I had tried it – and she happened to try it that very same night for her first time!  I just threw some broccoli slaw into a pot of boiling water with some broccoli I had started earlier, covered it with a ground turkey and tomato sauce I had made, and have had a deliciously healthy (and just 4 WW points) for the past two nights.

My typical day of meals

My typical day of meals

What kinds of little tricks have you learned to sneak vegetables into your day?

 

 

Have a lovely Tuesday,

AprilSignatur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The gym.

It’s been months since I’ve been there.  Once I put my membership on hold back in May to prepare for my Europe adventure, I’ve been making every excuse possible to avoid reinstating it again.  My health… my wallet… my busy schedule… All three of them have been rebelling against my extreme need to exercise regularly but now I’m finally getting a grip on all three.  My health is no longer forcing me to stay in bed, losing all the muscle strength I worked so hard to gain earlier this year.   My wallet still isn’t very full but next week I’ll have a new refreshment of grant money so that can help with my lack of funding… and my busy schedule?  Well, that hasn’t changed but I’ll make the time simply for the reason that I NEED TO.

I’m a member at a very popular gym in my hometown and, unfortunately, it has a few qualities about it that I wish I thought it over more when I joined.   The alluring temptation of the membership fee being waived and a $30 a month with no contract easily won my cheap brain over as I was fully aware  that the other gyms in my area cost much more.  ($200 membership fees with $50 a month was the last gym I attended)

Of course I’m not the only one who likes a bargain so probably 1/3rd of my town is a member there too which makes it difficult to get the machines you desire.  There only seems to be about five hours in the time span of the gym being open that it’s not insanely packed.  Sure, the thick and invisible fog of sweat and hot circulated air that engulfs your body as soon as you walk in may be enough to make you want to immediately walk back out, but maybe it has an opposite reaction for you!   Maybe it’s motivation enough for you to get your work-out OVER and done with so you can contribute your essence to the gym’s atmosphere and walk back out to that wonderful reward of fresh air that doesn’t have humidity made out of sweat to it.

I do enjoy watching the people who take the time to wipe down  the machines afterwards though.  The OCD in me watches which areas they spray, which areas they wipe down, and which areas they neglect completely even though their sweaty palms were clutching to those side handle bars for most of the work-out.  It’s fun to play a little game with myself as I swish along on the elliptical on guessing which sweaty people will actually clean their machines after.  If you ever need some sort of entertainment in a gym that offers sanitizing spray for people to wipe down the machines – I highly recommend making guesses on who you think does and doesn’t!  It can be quite surprising to see who does it but it’s always disappointing when you quickly realize the buffet of germs that are on the machines since so few people take the time to clean them off.

Regardless of the cleanliness of the machines or how heavy that air inside the building is, it’s time for me to go back.  I’m thinking about sacrificing my membership and coughing up the $200 and extra $20 a month to go for the other gym I mentioned in town. I loved that gym, it was hardly ever busy and all the classes had enough space in  them that you didn’t have to worry about having anyone’s body parts close to your face.

Do you go to a gym?  How often do you go?  What qualities do you look for when choosing a gym? Do you have any tips to make the time pass by with ease?

Enjoy your weekend!

AprilSignatur

 

Finding a work-out partner

I tend to not be very successful when it comes to having a work-out partner.  With my random schedule, it’s hard to find someone who can match it.  Lately my desire to play tennis again has left me on a mission to find people to play with since I just can’t seem to do that alone.  I started on Facebook and ended up probably hurting my friend’s feelings when she eagerly volunteered to play but I said no because she’d have to take her one-year-old.   Sadly, I told her I was too worried about the baby getting hit by a tennis ball as she just started walking and exploring the world. I still feel guilty about it but my paranoia runs thick and last thing I would want to feel guilty about it pegging this gorgeous little blue eyed girlie in the head!

So I continued my quest.  I started to deeply ponder who I could play tennis with.  There’s still that 19 year old who hits on me that I met in tennis last semester…  hmmm….   I could play with my other young and hot friend but he’s just so much better than me that it’s a waste of time for him…  I could post an ad on craigslist but then I’ll probably end up with some crazy person who collects hundreds of those old glass McDonald’s cups and will invite me to come over to see them after we play or awkwardly stand around after making small talk…

Then out of the blue, my two good friends Megan and Eric said they would be down to play as I expressed my longing at a recent BBQ.  Yes!

I also discovered that two other separate friends are down to go ice skating with me during adult skate at the Snoopy Rink!  Thanks Nicole and Jake!  Yay!

It’s been two weeks of tennis on Wednesdays and I’m so happy to be playing again.  Megan, Eric, and I had a BALL as we played around, each taking turns being the lone person on the opposite court.  Now that was a good work-out, when two people team up on one side it results in the opposite person constantly running back and forth.  It was awesome!  I was SO sweaty.  That’s so rare.  🙂  About half an hour into our tennis playing, I heard the familiar sound of Brahm’s Lullaby, the soothing sound for sugar that many Petaluma people would recognize quickly with perked ears.  It was our local ice cream man, John, driving around the cul-de-sac about to take his break.  Feeling incredibly deserving, I instantly suggested we give up playing to get ice cream.  Megan seemed down for my suggestion while Eric protested that getting ice cream would wipe out the whole point of us playing tennis.   I argued that eating ice cream would not affect our skill level but Eric stuck by his point and I decided against the ice cream, knowing it would give me something to write about on here.  Hah!   I guess he’s a  pretty good work-out partner.  😉

When you all work out, do you choose to do so alone?  Are there any people you love working out with?  How did you find them!?

I hope you all have a glorious weekend and I’ll be back next week with another weekly update on my second week of being back on the wagon.

Ta-ta!

AprilSignatur

 

Turning fluff into firm

I have always been a fan of touching soft things.  Whether it’s my golden retriever’s fluffy fur behind her ears or plush and luxurious throw blankets in the aisle at my local shopping store, I am just simply addicted to the feeling of softness upon my fingertips.

I’ve always been that way too.  As a child, my sister Alyssa and I would constantly be “gully gullying” (our family word for cuddling) on our blankets and huddled up against each other, appreciating our soft blonde hair and soft skin.  Occasionally though we would appreciate soft skin that we probably shouldn’t have.

My sister and I were notorious for feeling up our grandmother’s soft arms.  To us, we loved the way her skin would move so easily with our little hands and how it felt as we squished it between our fingers.  Little did we know that what we were doing was actually setting us up for a future of the same kind of arms.  Now I have the children I babysit for feel up my arms and squeeze the flesh between their little fingers and now that I’m an adult, I know why my arms are so soft to them.  THEY’RE SOFT BECAUSE THEY’RE FAT.

UGH.  I know both of us would like to apologize to our poor Grandmother for always playing with her wonderful arms, to us we never thought of them as fat, we just thought them as the arms of one our most beloved women in our life.  I hope she felt that way too though but if she felt the way that I feel when kids squeeze my arms, I know it hurts way more on the heart than it does on the arm.

Even when I lost the fifty pounds years ago, one part of my body that had no significant change was my arms.  My bingo wings.  The arms that made me “Princess Fat Arms”.  (yes, those are all words that have been used by others to describe my arms, thanks guys)

This time around though on my weight loss conquest I refuse to let my heavy arms keep me from flying any longer!  I’m registered to start tennis in a month for four hours a week for 8 whole weeks so I look forward to the work out my arms will get then.  Until then, my homegirl Melody and I are crafting together a weight-training plan.  Tonight while I was at the gym, I made a make-shift map of all the weight-training machines our gym has and coded them by letter and wrote down which major muscle groups they worked.  This way, it’ll be easy for Melody and myself to make a plan of which machines we want to work on for the day.

Tonight I worked on my legs and chest and was impressed that I could do thirty reps of 170 lbs on the “seated leg press” rather easily.  When it came time to do the “Rotary Incline Chest” machine”, I could barely pull out fifteen reps at 15 lbs.   It’s obvious where my strength lies.  I’m excited to do a fitness test with Melody to see where our bodies are at currently and it’ll be fantastic to see the progress we can make.  Basically what I would like to do is test out the maximum weight of each machine and see which weight level I can do without being too strenuous that it would cause extreme pain.  Once we know what we can handle, we’ll start a routine that targets specific parts of our bodies a few times a week and set goals to achieve.

I’ll let you guys know the results of that test soon!

After I busted out my thirty minutes of cardio and seven machines, I made my way home to enjoy a delicious frothy chocolate hemp protein shake from Trader Joe’s.  I bought this the other week and just tried it with milk and didn’t like how flaky it seemed.  Tonight I mixed it with a banana, some ice, and a little cinnamon and it was AMAZING.  It was JUST like a chocolate milk shake… except it lacked ice cream.  Boo.

About to enjoy my delicious protein shake after my muscle building work out!

About to enjoy my delicious protein shake after my muscle building work out!

But still, I was definitely enjoying it for a solid two minutes before I knocked it over on my desk, spilling all over my exercise planner.  Good thing I planned on redrawing my weight-training map anyway because now it looks like the paper that would line the bottom of a guinea pigs cage.  Oops.

How many of you incorporate weight training in your work-outs?  What are your favorite machines to do?  Which ones do you have trouble with?

I put a big star next to the “Rotary Incline Chest” machine because I felt pretty shameful that I could only do 15 pounds.  That’s going to be one of my big goal machines, for sure!

I hope everyone has a great weekend full of fun ways to burn calories!

I’m going to burn some calories by going on a BEER HIKE thanks to San Francisco Beer Week teaming with the Alaska Brewing Company and Sutro Stewards.  It’s a four mile hike through the city and then after, we drink beer.  I’ll probably only have one (there).  I’ll be good.  Haha!

Click here in case any of you Bay Area folks want to check it out!

PS: We’re hosting a DietBet! We’ll have more information for you next week – but it starts on Friday, February 15 and  it’s $15 to buy in to the pot. If you win 4% of your weight loss, you’ll get your $15 AND split the pot of winnings! We’re also donating 10% of the pot to No Kid Hungry. Join us now!

Lots of love,

AprilSignatur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Weigh In – June 4th

Post-workout healthy treat - frozen yogurt with fresh fruit! Like my "I Voted" sticker?!

Hey everybody! I don’t think I’ve posted about my reality check moment last week, so I’ll start there. I met with my awesome registered dietician last week, and I had maintained my weight…which is better than a gain, but not really what I’m goin’ for. We basically talked about how if I really tried for the next week with tracking and exercise and I didn’t lose weight, we’d need to revisit some blood tests and health check ups to make sure my body wasn’t “broken”. That seemed to knock some sense in to me, and I left her office feeling determined to really TRY for the next week.

So I tracked diligently on MyFitnessPal (Friend me! I’m @lyssacurran), avoided tortilla chips, exercised, and did magical weight loss dances around the kitchen. Maybe I lied about that last part. But basically, I really TRIED last week – and the scale showed that I…

Lost 3 pounds!

This bit of success was exactly what I needed to motivate myself. I have to keep in mind that nobody ever said weight loss would be easy – but the more I do it, and the more I get used to it, the easier it will be to get into a routine and focus on the goal. I’ve been having some good breakthrough moments lately where I remind myself that I’m not losing weight to look cute in skinny jeans or shop in the Junior’s department – I’m losing weight for my HEALTH. It’s not about vanity or beauty, it’s about feeling good in the skin I’m in, and boosting my energy, reducing my risks of heart disease and diabetes, and making sure I take great care of the gift of life. Sounds cheesy, but it’s true! You never know when your number is going to be called – so I want to live life to the fullest and feel great while I do it.

How’s your week going?

***If you haven’t “liked” my Facebook page, please do so for a chance to win an awesome upcoming goodie bag of my favorite things! I like you, will you “like” me too?!

 

Slimmin’ with Simmons

My sister’s visit to Los Angeles meant many things – but among the most important was that we exercise with Richard Simmons! Richard offers classes to the public for $12 at his Beverly Hills Slimmons Studio. The theme on Saturday was MoTown, and as we grooved to “I heard it through the grape vine” and “Twist and Shout”, Richard proved to be his usual enigmatic self and flitted around in his spangled, sequined top.

Richard, Me and April - We're homies!

After a couple of weeks of not exercising slacking off, I was ready for the worst. And while prancing around for an hour and a half was not the EASIEST thing, it was fun, and at the end my body was painfully sore but grateful for a good workout.

Halfway through the class my sister got called out to dance in the circle with Richard! It was fun to see her getting her groove on with Simmons and his famous ‘fro.

One thing I love about Richard Simmons is that he BELIEVES what he’s teaching. While he’s screaming his dirty jokes and simultaneous words of praise, you know he’s doing it for you. He’s not doing it for the paycheck, he’s not doing it for his ego. He’s doing it because he genuinely cares about your health and wants you to be the best you can be. I did my normal boxing class last night, and while it was a good workout, it was just nowhere near as FUN as class with Richard is. Exercise that’s fun is so much more easy to do! If only I could go twice a week!

What do you think – if you came to Los Angeles, would you want to sweat with Richard Simmons?