Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Frustrated, Incorporated

Remember how I said I loved dieting? Confession: I was being insincere. (Gasp!)

It’s not the dieting part. It’s the lack of results. (Duh.) With a few exceptions, I’ve kept to 1200 – 1500 calories a day, and have probably doubled my activity rate. I was easily eating twice as many calories before, if not three times as much, when you add in the alcohol I was consuming on a daily basis. And I didn’t do any exercise beyond walking to and from the subway.

At the end of the first week, I was down 4 pounds. But within a few days, 3 were back! (Mysteriously- I didn’t go over 1500 calories any of those days.) Now I’ve lost one of the prodigal pounds, but I’m currently only down 2.5 lbs.

To put it eloquently, WTF?!?

I think I’m making smart food choices. I’m not just eating Lean Cuisines or simply modifying my old diet plans (it’s low-fat mayo! On turkey bacon!). I’m eating lean proteins, tons of vegetables, and some fruit. I’m even making the bulk of my vegetable choices ones that are lower in carbs: spinach and zucchini as opposed to any type of potato, for example. But still a variety- this week we’ve had carrots, 4 different types of peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplant, sugar snap peas, and string beans plus the spinach and zucchini.

The lack of results is making me all around cranky. I tried to run in Manhattan after work yesterday but the combination of wet sidewalks and leaves made it too slippery, which set me off. Then the idea of cooking yet another meal of chicken and vegetables so irritated me that I went to the grocery store and bought $25 worth of Lean Pockets. (Don’t worry, I didn’t eat them. I regained my sanity once I got home. I’ll try to fob them off on Mike.)
I am aware that the healthiest weight loss is supposed to a pound a week. But let’s get real, people. There’s no way I’m going to be able to keep this up for…. Um… the necessary amount of weeks. (Too embarrassed to post my exact goal right now. Not until I’ve at least made some headway.)

I think the only option is to increase the exercise. To be fair, even though I feel like it should be making more of a difference because I was starting at zero, my activity level is still fairly low. I’m doing the Couch to 5k program, but that’s only 30 minutes of exercise three days a week. On my off days, I’m walking an additional 2 miles. But I’m not actually ‘working out’.

Here I ask for help- I can’t join a gym right now, but I’d like to ramp up my cardio. I need routines I can do solely in my living room. Seriously, even jumping rope isn’t an option. If I went to the postage stamp-sized park across the street and jumped rope, I might as well chant a double dutch rhyme specifically inviting my neighbors to beat me with the jump rope while they empty my pockets and take my shoes. I do have some small weights to work with, but that’s it.

So, can anyone recommend an exercise video I can buy or download? (Yes, I’m calling it a video even though I also said I could download it. Yes, you all know I’m 30 now. Shut up.) I’d love a personal recommendation before I run out and buy Buns of Steel or something. I’d like something with all over cardio, that preferably doesn’t require any additional stuff to buy. Mike does have a Wii and a PS3, so it can be a program of theirs as well. (I’ve already put one of those dancing games on my Christmas list!)

A few years ago I did some sort of ‘walking’ tape that I really liked, specifically because it didn’t require any extra equipment. I am willing to consider buying a step or something though.

So- suggestions please! Does anyone have a program/tape they like?


  1. Lifting weights is the best way to lose weight and boost your metabolism. However, if you really can't get to a gym or buy some weights, I would suggest a video that has intense intervals. Running and walking are good for your health but not that great for weight loss. I've heard good things about the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred.

  2. I'm experimenting with different videos streamed from Netflix. If I find anything good, you'll be the first to know!

  3. Forget cardio, you're already doing that running. You want to do anaerobic stuff on the other days. Build muscle, blast fat.

    Bodyweight stuff, do it to form failure:
    Squats. Squat jumps. Lunges. Jumping lunges. Push-ups. Tricep dips. Arm circles. Planks. Side planks. Crunches. Bicycle crunches. Reverse crunches. Hip thrusts. Bridges. Wall sits. Calf raises. Leg lifts. Hydrants. Kick backs.

    Add in cardio intervals every 5-10 minutes: Burpees. Jacks. Mountain climbers. Jump rope (without the rope). High knees. Butt kicks. Hops (front & back or side to side or both).

    Keep up with the high protein, low carb diet. It's the biggest piece of fat loss. Read this blog for lots of helpful, effective info:

  4. Thank you all! I read some reviews of the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and Netflix should be mailing it out today. Sabrina, thank you so much for that website. I feel like I’ve been reading weight loss advice since I got my first subscription to a teen magazine when I was 11 (appropriately, it was Teen Magazine) and I’ve been so inundated that I don’t know what to think anymore. I think I had the right idea but was going about it the wrong way. Thanks again!

  5. You're eating too few calories! If you were consuming 2 to 3 times what you are not (ie, upwards of 3000), cutting down to 1200 to 1500 a day will send your body into starvation mode. No one should be eating less than a 1000 calories, and at the very beginning of your diet, 1200 is dramatic enough. You need to eat like 1800 - 2000.

    Diet is 80% or higher contributor to weight loss, excersice is only 20% at most.

    Do this: In the morning, have a bowl of cereal: skim milk and a cup and half of bran flakes. Yes, they're like cardboard. A cup of skim milk has 80 calories and lots of protein, you can squeeze in 2 cups and still be at 160 calories, and a cup of any high fiber low sugar cereal is about a 100 calories. Grab a fistful of nuts for a mid-morning snack, and have your 1st cup of coffee (skim milk) with those at work. For mid-afternoon snack, stock up on no butter no salt popcorn and watch the serving size. Nonfat plain yogurt is also a good snack, although not tasty. I'm sure you already have measuring cups at home, so use them. You'd be surprised how much more we eat than what packages recommend.

    Overall, if you're aiming to eat 1,800 - 2000 calories a day, your breakfast should be 300-400 calories, lunch 400-500, and dinner 500. This gives you 400-500 calories to throw around as snacks everyday.

    For exercising, you can't run right now. 5 days a week at least, you need to carve out at least 45 minutes of rigrous activity. 2 miles is sadly not enough. You shouldn't be running because your goal right now is not to do the tough stuff really quickly, its to build up to being that strong. You'll burn out if you start thinking that you can run 3 miles next week. Get some weights (5 lbs to start) and power walk at least that long. You'll probably be burning about 60 calories every 10 minutes, so in 45 mins, you'll burn 250 calories. See? Much easier to cut that 250 out of your food. But you do need the exercise to get stronger. In addition, you should do reps for arms, legs, core in cycles of 3 every other day, preferably after your cardio. You don't need fancy machinery, just a yoga mat.

    Let meet to discuss further. I'll plan us a healthy dinner!

  6. Heck no! Our dinners are my treats :) But thanks for the advice!

  7. i wholeheartedly agree with sabrinabeans and midu. More exercise... and even though it seems antithetical, more calories. 1200-1500 kcals a day is not adequate, especially if you're adding exercise. if you must, cut down to 1800. But i will never advocate "counting calories", because to be honest, counting calories will not help you lose weight. it's annoyingly simple: eat healthy, whole foods, cut out soda and candy for less empty calories (i share your penchant for late-night-reading-chocolates with a beer, so no smugness here), and exercise. keep it movin' girl... does brenda still have that bike? or come visit chico- :)