Update: travelling, weight loss journey and life in general

October as well as the beginning of November have been exciting. Because it was vacation time! I spent three weeks in Singapore and Malaysia backpacking with my BF. It has been a blast. We went to Kuala Lumpur and fell in love with the city. Also we went to the Cameron Highlands, hiked in the jungle and visited a tea plantation. We enjoyed the clash of different cultures in Penang, where we did not much else but enjoy Indian, Chinese and Malay food. A highlight was Langkawi, a beautiful island where we spent very relaxing hours at the gorgeous beaches.

Langkawi

If you want to experience Malaysia, you have to experience it with your taste buds. Unfortunately most things on offer came with little to no vegetables and very many things are fried. Also for my daily coffee fix I went for the Malaysian national drink iced kopi, which is iced coffee with a lot of sweetened condense milk, a real lot. But you can get fresh fruit. Mangoes, pineapples, rambutan, everything is in season all year round.

But although I came prepared (a sheet of paper with different exercises written down) I only worked out once after a lazy day on the beach, when I felt like I had to spend some energy immediately. And of course keeping track of my progress without a scale was really difficult, too. All the time I felt bloated from the unfamiliar food and like I gained a few pounds, but while on vacation I couldn’t confirm that.

Malaysia is a great country. Everything went smoothly. Next vacation will be somewhere in South East Asia again, I am toying with the idea of Vietnam in May or June next year.

Back home everyday life set in immediately as I took every single day of leave I still had for this year. So I went to work showing off my tan and caught a cold next thing. That means as I am still curing that I still do not work out. But I did take the chance and got my nutrition back on track after the vacation. Which basically means I am back to oatmeal in the morning, a healthy lunch with loads of vegetables and a salad in the evenings, a few cookies or dark chocolate for snack. And I had a chance to step on the scale. Yesterday I came in at 70.8 kg (which is 155.8 lbs), so I lost another 2 kg since the beginning of October. I am really happy about that and I feel great too.

I remember when I started back in March with 83 kg (or 182.6 lbs) my initial goal was getting fit and under 80 kg. Now I am not very far from being under 70 kg, which I was last time more then 10 years ago as a teenager. Apart from feeling great I also look great. Here is proof:

Image

I lost especially around my chest, tummy,arms and thighs as well as hips. Or in short around everywhere. I can wear horizontal stripes without them making me look bulkier.

Another success is, though I didn’t eat that well during my vacation and I didn’t work out except for the occasional hike in the jungle or swim in the ocean, that I am able to at least maintain my weight.

As this is already a very long post I want to finish up sharing what my next posts will be about:

1. 12 week new body makeover with Cassey from blogilates starting December 1st

2. clean eating recipes

3. weight loss updates

4. goals

That is my update. What do you think?

Fourth Weigh-In and Weight-Loss Plateaus (7-8-13).

My last weigh-in was on the 31st of May. And I didn’t do one at the end of June. That’s for a good reason. I had nothing to report. My weight had stalled since Mid-May. Nothing was happening to the numbers on the scale not down and also thankfully not up.

I had hit the well-known weight-loss plateau everyone who goes on a diet and an exercise regimen hits sooner or later. I have read a LOT about weight-loss plateaus since then. One very interesting piece of information says that this plateau happens to most people when they have lost about 10% of their original weight. I started at 83 kg and stalled at 76 kg. That’s pretty close to those estimated 10%. Most important reason for this is that your body takes that stalling time to adjust. Adjust to what I asked myself? To your new healthy way of living, eating and exercising, and your new metabolism regimen due to your previous weight lost.

Nonetheless I was discouraged. I wanted to lose again. I read tons of tips to break the plateau. Most were reasoning about changing your workout regimen in order to keep your body challenged. I incorporated some Tara Stiles yoga, walking and even jogging, and cycling to my exercise. I also read that keeping a food journal could help to identify some pitfalls in my diet, like maybe I was eating way more than I thought. I already kept a journal at my fitness pal (MFP) and couldn’t find a reason for my stalling weight-loss there. I ate 1200 calories a day and worked out five times a week. Other tips included to be patient and stick to your healthy habits. Sooner or later one would start losing again. That was not what I wanted to hear. After all I had consistently lost about 1 kg per week over a period of 7 to 8 weeks. I didn’t like it to just stop.

Two weeks into June I started a new job. I am a Sales Advisor with H&M now. I am walking and moving things about all the time during my working hours. My activity level increased from moderately active to very active.

Ultimately I think that increasing my daily calorie intake did the trick. I stumbled across a very informative post on MFP about weight-loss and the caloric deficit that is necessary to achieve this but also how important it is not to eat too less. Now this is where my problem may have been. With the 1200 calories and working out five times a week not eating back the calories I burned during exercise I was not nourishing my body correctly, although my primary goals was to be healthy not slim. I upped my calorie intake to 1700 calories per day (still creating a deficit with that) and monitored it closely until I got a feeling of how much food I could consume to reach this number.

Now I banned counting calories as well as the scale as it was driving me crazy. I have hid the scale in my wardrobe and told my BF I was not allowing myself to step on it twice a day anymore. I work out only three or four times a week, as with the new job this is easier to maintain for me.

I measure myself once a week on Monday morning. I step on the scale and take measurements of my neck, biceps, waist, stomach, hip, thigh and calf. I realized I cannot force my body to shed the pounds, I will have to be patient and stick to my habits. It’s been hard to come to this realization. I will have to trust my body that it will start losing again, when it is ready.

So today, when I stepped on the scale there was this number: 75 kg. I already expected it as my measurements with the tape the last two weeks signaled in this direction. It means a sudden 1 kg or 2.2 lbs down after 6 weeks waiting patiently. I am happy about this. And I hope my body has adjusted and will keep shedding weight some more. I hope this is the break of my first weight-loss plateau. If I understood correctly, there might be some more to come.

I have no pictures for you this time because as you can imagine not much happened to my appearance. Nonetheless I hope you will not let yourself get discouraged of your healthy way of living once the scale does not show the effect you expect anymore. Keep doing what you are doing. Be patient. I know, I know. It’s not what you wanted to hear. But still.

Have you had similar experiences? How did you break your weight-loss plateau?

Third Weigh-In after not working out much but eating clean and healthy (5-31-13).

This month went by so fast. Nonetheless I want to share with you how I got on with my goals to live a fit and healthy life and my weight-loss journey. As you can imagine from the title I was not able to work out that much this month as I would have liked. I wanted to follow Cassey’s May calendar but due to a cold and feeling weak I only completed 11 out of 31 workout days. Pretty bad result indeed.

I caught a bad cold at the beginning of the month. I didn’t do any workouts for one and a half weeks and concentrated on eating clean and healthy instead, as this was all I could do. I dropped weight very fast (about 2kg). After that I picked up the workouts. The objective of the May calendar was to make the POPsters muscles pop, I experienced some strange things happening to my body. I really developed a lot of muscles in only a few days time. I worked out six days straight and felt the muscles being all hard beneath the fat I still want to lose. As a result I put on some weight (about 1.5kg)  instead of losing some. I felt angry. Shouldn’t workouts support the weight-loss, I wondered. As I was still eating clean, the diet could not be the problem. My mindset shifted, I felt like working out was bad for me making me weigh more instead of less. I stopped working out then. And hallelujah, my weight dropped again.

Nonetheless it was hard for me to experience something like this. Because I wasn’t able to think about working out as something positive and healthy. I had to think about my goals again. Yes, I want to lose weight but I also want to get fit and live a healthy life in general. Workouts are very important to make that happen. Weight-loss I decided should happen with it not without it. As a result I just recently picked my workouts up again, concentrating more on cardiovascular training than on strength training.

Here are some pictures of me in March (the two on the left) and May (the two on the right). I wore the same clothes.

weigh-in 31stMay

In terms of weight-loss I reached my goal for May. I wanted to shed another 2 kg and I did. Actually I was at 78.6 kg in April and now am at 76 kg (or 167.2 lbs). Which makes a difference of 2.6 kg (or 5.7 lbs). In total I lost 7 kg or 15.4 lbs since Mid-March.

Other May goals included to keep a food journal at MyFitnessPal. I wanted to track my food intake for about two weeks to get a feeling for how many calories I am actually consuming, because I read oftentimes it is much more than what one would think. But I think I am doing fine. Eating about 1400 calories a day, sometimes a little more and sometimes a little less. It’s okay having in mind I still want to lose some pounds.

How did you do this month? Have you met your goals for May? I for one did and that is possibly also due because I set some realistic goals. Seeing that weight-loss is finally really happening for me is great. And as it is ongoing for more than two months now. I might as well think about what I want to reach in numbers. More on that in another post about goals for June.

Second Weigh-In after April Calendar and getting used to clean eating (5-2-13).

I already pointed out that for me leading a healthier and fitter life is also about weight-loss. This is because I am overweight. I started this journey at 83 kg (that is only a few kg short of obese for my height).  On April 1st (after only two weeks of workout and eating clean) I already noticed a drop of about 2.2 kg.

So my new goal for April was to lose another 3 kg. Did I meet my goal? Well, not quite but I still managed to lose some weight. I am now at 78.6 kg. That means I lost another 2.2 kg. I am happy about that, although I did not make my goal. It is already a big deal for me to finally weigh under 80 kg again. And a 4.4 kg total in only 6 weeks is a lot (9.7 lbs for everybody who is not as familiar with kg).

weigh-in 2So I promised some pictures. And this time I’ll give them to you, although I am a bit uneasy about them. This is of course because I am ashamed of how I looked like November last year, when I was in South East Asia. I would have preferred pictures like the one from today as souvenirs. I pulled out the same clothes as I wore in Laos. And no doubt one can see the difference. The trousers do fit better and my belly does not bulge over like last year. There is still so much fat to lose but I am proud about the change and all the beautiful muscles I have beneath the fat. I look taller, too. But maybe this is because I am taller in the right picture. 😉

So how did I do this? People who have read my past posts know that I follow Cassey’s workout calendar. And the one for April was REALLY challenging. You don’t know Cassey? Well, she is the most inspirational and bubbly person I know, she is a certified Pilates instructor and shares workout videos on you tube, she is my personal workout buddy, she is a motivator and health advocate. She is doing Pop Pilates at Blogilates.

About the workout calendar. Cassey posts one for each month on her page. You can then follow along her workout routine. It’s about 5 workouts per day that usually take me 1 to 1 1/2 hours to complete. And afterwards I feel so pumped. It’s just great. In April Cassey challenged us (the Popster community) to do all of her 127 workout vids. Well I did about half of them. Again I did not meet my set goal but nonetheless I feel great about what I accomplished. You can see the change, can’t you?

I also wanted to get to know the fitness and health community out there. I did so reading other people’s blogs and commenting there. I follow people with the same interests in Twitter and tweet about my progress. I think I accomplished something here this past month.

Have you got a blog I might be interested in? Let me know in the comments.

Now as this post is already pretty long, stay tuned for my May goals and another Health Bite where I share how I get along with eating clean and what to do to stay on track. Also check out my first Health Bite, where I talk about how to stick to your healthy resolutions.

Have you accomplished your goals in April? Let me know.

First Weigh-In after two weeks of exercise and clean eating (4-1-13).

In my first blog post I wrote about how I would like to obtain a healthier life style to help myself to a healthier body and a healthier mind. Weight-loss was also a topic as I brought 83 kg on the scale two weeks ago. So weight-loss became my primary goal for now. So before I tell you what I achieved the past two weeks let me describe what I did first.

First of all I started exercising. I wanted to do something effective that I could do at home and thus save the money for a gym. I found Cassey and her blog Blogilates, which is all about exercising hard to achieve the body of your dreams while doing Pilates. I started this and although it was really tough at the beginning I can keep up with Cassey while working out watching one of her many work out vids on you tube  Also Cassey introduced me to clean eating which I since try to incorporate into my life. I think it’s a success so far although I don’t deny me everything. I will still have my daily dose of caffeine with sugared condense milk or a piece of chocolate here or there. I just follow the rules of clean eating as best as I can. The main differences so far are that I started to eat breakfast ever day (no skipping!), drink a lot more water or unsweetened tea than before and banned white flour as well as sugar from my diet.

As for the results. I lost 2.2 kilograms in the past two weeks, which is 4.4 lbs. I am impressed. Because usually losing weight was difficult, because I did exercises I didn’t enjoy or tried diets where I had to deny myself from things I love, which made me feel frustrated, especially when I was not able to keep away from them. I also measured the circumferences of my belly, butt and thigh. I lost 6 cm around the belly, which is my problem zone since forever. I also lost 2 cm around my butt and one cm around my thighs.

For now I love to do my exercises with Cassey, she is such a great inspiration. And sticking to my healthy eating is also easy, because it tastes great and I eat a lot of fresh produce, which kind of makes my skin glow. I love it. I also already have a new favorite dish Clean Quinoa and Avocado Salad with Exotic Chicken.

I think I will give you some before and after pics next time, which will either be in two or four weeks. I haven’t decided yet how often I’m gonna do the weigh-ins.

Other than that I will keep you updated on the workouts I do and the healthy food I’m cooking.

I’m in for a Treat.

I'm in for a treat.

I want to treat myself. You might think, well go ahead then. But it’s not a cookie or a piece of chocolate that I want. I want to treat myself to a healthy body and a healthy mind. Because right now I weigh 183 lbs (or 83 kg) at a height of 5 feet and 6 inches. That is not yet obese. It still scared the wits out of me when I realized that I’m only 2 kg short of this nasty word: obese.

So what am I going to do? I want to reduce my weight. I want to exercise regularly. I want to eat healthy. I want to start right now. This is the place I will come to to track my progress, my successes and my defeats (I’m sure there will be some!).

What are my goals? Hmm. I guess for now it’s weight loss and a healthier life style in general, like eating more veggies and fruits, drinking more water, climbing those stairs rather than taking the elevator etc. I am positive I can come up with more. Maybe you have some suggestions for me, too. If so, spill the beans.

But why am I going to keep this blog? To keep track for once. But also to connect with all of you. Sharing tips and tricks and the latest achievements, doing the happy dance with you and also for moral support. Feel free to join me in my plan to reduce weight and live a healthier life. I can’t wait to hear from you all. Really.