Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fruits & Veggies: A Question

The other day I weighed myself.  I do this a lot.  Not as much as I have in the past, but still, you know, regularly.  I like to know where I'm at.  And where I'm at is a comfortable, cozy 155.  It must be comfortable because that is exactly where my body likes to be.  Sometimes it'll take a little vacation up to 157 or down to 152 (hooray!), but home is 155.

Since about July I have been trying to move away from home.  As in, away from 155.  Down from 155.  A couple years ago when I got really serious about losing weight after Olivia was born, counting calories and giving up desserts for a few months and exercising regularly really worked for me.  It was hard work, but I was consistently losing weight, which was just encouraging enough to keep me going strong.

My goal was 125.  I got all the way down to 128 by Thanksgiving of that year and then something in my head switched off.  I felt like I would never ever meet my goal.  I gorged on holiday goodies and gave up.  It's really sad when I think about it now, to realize I was only 3 pounds away from my goal (I was basically at my goal!) when I gave up all of my good habits.  But it really was hard work and I guess I just needed a break.

I've fluctuated up and down (mostly up) since then and then in July I decided I was tired of feeling pudgy and it was time to get serious again.  A huge part of the reason I bought my iPod was so I could use MyFitnessPal on it.  So for a good while I was religious about counting calories and eating healthy foods and exercising regularly.  There were days that I was running in the morning, going on walks in the middle of the day, riding the exercise bike for an hour at night, coming in under on my calories (not way under, but, you know, not over) and still nothing on the scale would budge.  For weeks.  So not what used to be normal for me.  So frustrating. 

So, after a couple months of that, I gave up the calorie counting.  It was exhausting and to be doing it without any encouragement from my body was too much from me.  It just didn't feel like it was working like it had before.  Boo.

Luckily, I've still been able to keep going running with friends a few mornings a week.  And I do try not to gorge myself and eat little bits of things throughout the day like I used to.  But I haven't really been all that careful about what I eat.  And having Olivia start preschool has meant more morning doughnuts at the swanky grocery store and less morning walks with our friends.

Then, the other day when I weighed myself, this funny thing happened.  I got on the scale, waved at the familiar 155, and realized that I don't care if I continue to weigh 155 for the rest of my life.  I honestly don't!  What really bothers me is not my weight, it's my belly flab.  If I could choose between weighing 125 and having a flat tummy, I'd choose a flat tummy.  Hands down.  Because my clothes fit fine at my shoulders and really everywhere except around my tummy.  Grrr.  I am so, so tired of looking like I'm in my first trimester of pregnancy when I am not.

So I've been trying to shift my goals a little.  I'm still looking at the scale because I think it's a good prediction of whether or not things are working.  But I'm trying to focus more on toning my core instead of shedding pounds.  (Though, let's be honest, hopefully they'll both happen simultaneously.)  I've been pinning things on my Healthy Living Pinterest board to help me work on my abs.  I tried this one the other day and I'm pretty convinced that it must be legit, because after trying like 5 (not five sets, just five) of one of the exercises, I, uhh, kind of gave up and decided to try it again later.

Do you have favorite ab/core strengthening exercises?  I'm especially interested in a good, short-and-to-the-point ab/core exercise video.  Extra points if it's free and online.  In many ways I'd much rather go out running for 30 minutes with my friends than do a 10 minute exercise video at home, but the running just isn't giving my body what it needs.  So I've gotta supplement with a little something.

Also, I've been thinking a lot today about trying to eat only fruits and veggies (preferably fresh) for a week.  Well, not only fruits and veggies.  We're in a dinner group, so I'd still eat whatever's on the menu for dinner.  And I'd still take my vitamin and drink a lot of water, of course.  So I guess what I really mean is that I want to try eating only fruits and veggies for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.  We always get a lot of carbs and grains and protein at dinner, so I think I'd be okay on those things.  Have any of you tried this before?

I kind of want to try it for two reasons.  First, I'm hoping it would kind of work as a cleanse or detox sort of thing.  (I know there are a ton of detox things out there, but this just seems simpler and more my style.)  Second, I'm hoping it would help me make some good habits regarding fruits and veggies after the week is over.  I'm also hoping that if I did this while working on my core, I would actually see results a little more obviously.  Don't know if it'll work that way though.

Anyway, I am nowhere near being a health expert.  So please don't go out and do all the things I said I want to try.  I have no idea how good it really is for you.  But, ya know, I feel like strengthening your core and eating lots of fruits and veggies is usually a pretty good thing.  Right?


Lauren @The Little Things We Do.... said...

I started back up on Weight Watchers in July and lost about 8 lbs and then gave up for a bit because we have 3 wks of house guests and lots of eating out so it was discouraging and hard to plan around....BUT...I started back up this week and have already lost 3 lbs!

They revamped their program from when I did it in college (remember that during the day camp days?) and I like it so much better now! Fruits and Veggies don't count as any points (they adjusted the rest of your points to accomodate this) so I find myself eating a ton more of them than I normally do, because they're filling and FREE of points. It's also made me eat less carbs, because they're so high in points. The points are also not based on calories (based instead on fat, carbs, protein and fiber) so I don't eat a bunch of low calorie diet food that leaves me unsatisfied and that isn't even healthy. I don't go to the meetings or anything...just do the online tracker and it's been great. I think it's like $15 a month, but it's totally worth it to me, especially since they have tons of foods already in the log so you don't have to look up and calculate everything.

ok...novel. just wanted to chime in :).

good luck friend!

Marilyn said...

Hurrah! So glad you are going to try the one meal a day plan! Whenever I am motivated to lose some fat (which always wants to settle on my torso) I eat fruits and veggies during the day and a normal dinner at night. It is so easy....and I never feel deprived. Go for it! :)

Holly Mayer said...

We recently read and started trying to follow the rules of the book " little sugar addicts" . I have always known sugar was not good but I am finally ready to embrace how bad it really is for our bodies.
You should check it out.

kati said...

I love the book, The Flat Belly Diet
It targets belly fat with eating the right foods with omega 3's and the right fats at every meal. Super easy to incorporate and it worked for me. I have found that exercising, while super good for us to do, has very little impact on losing weight. The food we eat everyday has a much bigger impact on our health and well being overall.

Kristie said...

After my second child I was able to loose a bunch of weight. I gain about 60 to 70 pounds with each kiddo. This go around I lost it all. I did pilates videos, a 15 minute bikini body video from Netflix, and focused on eating proper portions. I let myself have any fruits and veggies that I wanted, and then I worked really hard at eating only the proper portion of the main dish. And somehow it worked. I got back to a pants size I wore in high school. Which felt so good.
Good luck. This gives me motivation to work on myself, especially after baby #3!

Mego said...

Ummm...I've heard of this really great video called tighter assets....
No but really, I probably am the last person to take advice from since I'm right where you are, lost what I wanted to on weight watchers, then gave up and now I'm right back to where I started.
I really enjoy the Jillia michaels dvd though. She has a few videos, and I don't know that any target just the belly, but she always incorporates ab moves into the workout because you can't build lean muscle with just cardio, you have to have strength and core training in there too. The 30 day shred is my favorite.

Jennifer said...

I hear ya, girly.
I wouldn't have what you'd call "great luck" with P90X -- but I don't hate it as much as I thought I would and it really does work. In fact, I kind of like it. It's different everyday and you don't have to follow it religiously. The exercises are good even if you don't follow "the program" -- and I don't. I've lost weight on this and I'm able to keep doing it for months -- which is huge.
Good luck. This is just hard.
Oh, and if you /do/ decide to do P90x, don't buy it new. There are tons of used ones on ebay.

alee said...

Um if you figure out the secret, I would love to know! I am right where you are- my body wants to stay at its home weight and I want to relocate to last-year-of-college-ville. The flubby tummy is my problem too :(

I have no great advice other than to stick to whatever it is you pick...sadly I have come to realize that you can't see results in a week or even a month...and if you do you know they won't last. I've been on my latest "I'm going to do it this time" workout/eating plan and I am finally seeing the scale move here in week 13. Good news is that I feel pretty great even if I do still have to think twice about wearing any empire-waisted shirt! :)

Good luck!

Dagny said...

I really doing the 10 minute routines. I do the 10 minute target toning that you can watch on Netflix. Even though it's only 10 minutes it totally kicks my butt, er, my abs. Good luck.

Tiffany said...

The best results I ever got from exercising was doing p90x (I have it if you'd like to borrow it. If nothing else it has a rocking abs video). That said, that was a lot of work and commitment. I also have the Jillian Michael's 30 day shred. Its a 28 minute workout that really works you. I got really good results from that too. You can borrow it, but I'm going to start it again on Mon.

What I've found from my own workout endeavors is that no matter how much cardio I do, if I want to lose weight (or make my body look fit), I have to do some form of weights/strengthening exercises with my workout. Brian often reminds me that going running burns calories while I'm running, but lifting weights burns calories while I do it...and all throughout the day. So its win-win. :)

Patty Walsh said...

If you have not discovered Kristina Carroillo Bucaram yet check her out. She is really an inspiration to me to eat more fruits and veggies. Her recipies are amazing : )!/KristinaCarrilloBucaram

krebscout said...

Pop Pilates - free on Youtube.

Also, mixing protein with complex carbohydrates will help keep you fuller longer, like an apple with peanut butter for breakfast, or almonds and a smoothie.

krebscout said...

Also, I strongly recommend the book Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy. It's Harvard Medical School's distillation of all the nutritional science and research out there. It's about being healthy, not losing weight, but I think it's a very important read, especially for anyone who's thinking about experimenting with their own personal nutrition.

Jaime said...

The best exercise for your core is using a balance ball. I'm sure you know somebody who has they aren't using in a closet somewhere. I had really good results with the (super cheesy looking and sounding) book "Bounce Your Body Beautiful." It was written by my college nutrition professor, Linda Applegate, so I felt I could trust it. It's been a while since I did it but, if I remember right, it only takes like 20 min.

SewJillian said...

Hi! Great to hear you want to take care of your health! I hate to put a dampener on things, but you won't really get a flat belly or see any abs (6 packs etc) without actually burning some fat, no matter what exercise you do. I am a pilates instructor and exercise physiologist and let me assure you, the fat sits above the muscle. If I was being flippant I could say that you might in fact have a "6 pack" underneath the cuddliness, but you won't see it till you get rid of the cuddliness :)

Eating only vegetables and fruit except at dinner might in fact lower your overall calories, keep you eating "clean" and make you feel like you are detoxing, but may hamper your ability to get all the required nutrients throughout the day. And for this reason is not a healthy long term option. Quick fixes are also never particularly helpful or have any long term sustainable effects.

Diet is 80% of the key to weight loss, and exercise makes up the rest. So please get a balanced diet that is healthy, attainable and sustainable long term. Your body will thank you :) Oh and supplement that with getting at least 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity exercise, most days of the week, ideally with a few sessions of high intensity exercise thrown in for basic fitness. If you want greater results you gotta work harder.

If there was a quick fix we'd all be on it and the obesity crisis wouldn't exist (that's not you, you're not obese!!!). Oh and I'd be out of a job...

It's really quite easy, if you want to lose weight, energy in (food) must be less than energy out (activity).

Good luck!!!