A typical day working out with Fitness Blender

I think I already mentioned that I totally love Fitness Blender these days. I just thought I’d share a typical day of working out with their free YouTube videos. Usually I go for a warm up, some HIIT routine and/or strength training and a short cool down.

Image

Here is what I did yesterday:

All in all it took me 32 minutes to complete this. The estimated calorie burn lies between 158 and 274. You are going to need an exercise mat and a set of dumbbells and of course a good internet connection. Otherwise Fitness Blender workouts are great because they have a great effect on your body’s appearance and you can do them at home for free.

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Why do I or don’t I blog?

I have issues with blogging consistently. I started this blog because I thought it would be fun to share my journey from fat to fit with people who are interested in the same thing. And I started it because I wanted it for myself, to keep track of what happened when and why. This journey is not yet over and still… I am an inconsistent blogger.

The main reason for this is that writing posts does not always come easily. Sometimes the words just flow. But there are also the other days when  you know you should post something and either you have no idea about  what or you have trouble to find the right words. Also we all have busy schedules and next to inspiration finding the time is often an issue.

Thank god, it’s only blogging I fail to have time and inspiration for, because I still like to do fitness and try healthy recipes and read other peoples’ blogs, too.

But I want to get things going on here again. Because yesterday I took the time to read some of the old posts I did back in March and it’s interesting for me to recap how far I have come. That is why I want to post stuff I do and share it with you guys again.

There are already two months of updates missing on here. That is why I will include one right away.

On the 8th of July I posted that I had overcome a long-lasting weight-loss plateau. I weighed in at 75 kg that last time. Last week I weighed myself in at 72.8 kg (or 160.5 lbs), which means a loss of 2.2 kg in the last two month. I am happy about that and about the fact that I soon will hit the 150ish lbs region.

ALSO THIS IS OVER 10 KG or 22 lbs DOWN SINCE MARCH! YEAH! 

What did I do to reach this? I may have told you already but I took up a new job in June. I am very happy with this job as a sales person because it’s a very active job. I don’t sit all day long as I did in previous jobs or in university, which also upped my activity level from sedentary or lightly active to very active. In conclusion I also burn more calories because my Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) increased. And although I haven’t been good eating-wise the last two months I still shed pounds. The reason for my bad eating habits are practically a time thing, because I have to take food to work and sometimes I don’t have time to prepare something healthy. Besides a lot of people I know are happy enough to celebrate their birthdays in summer, like BFF, father, brother, mother and other friends. There was practically no weekend without a party and a cake.

I have gone to taking my measurements once a week and working out at least three times a week. My newest obsession is Fitness Blender’s 8 week fat loss program. I like it because it is so versatile and their workouts include a warm-up, some sort of routine like HIIT, Barre, weights, kickboxing, etc and a cool-down and sometimes even yoga or Pilates. Their workouts mostly take about 45 to 60 minutes and keep my body guessing (great for not hitting that plateau again).

To sum things up and bring this very long post to an end: I am still on track and I miss blogging and that is why I want to share more with you again.

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?

Eat Clean Recipe: Avocado Pasta

Today I had a craving. I wanted pasta combined with a creamy sauce.  But having such a craving doesn’t really align with the eat clean principles. EXCEPT you are going to use an avocado to make your pasta dish a creamy and healthy sensation.

Avocadopasta

This recipe is prepared in no time and only needs a small amount of ingredients. This makes it easy for beginners and is good for your wallet as well.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 200 g whole-wheat pasta (Spaghetti)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 40 g or 1.4 oz Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • the juice of one lime or lemon
  • 2 gloves of garlic (crushed)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

1. Cook the pasta according to instructions on the packaging using a pot. Don’t forget to add some salt to the water.

2. Meanwhile peel the avocado (using a spoon) and add into a deep bowl. Add Parmesan cheese, lime or lemon juice and garlic. Blend the mixture using an immersion blender until you have a fine paste.

3. Add salt and pepper to taste as well as two tablespoons of pasta water. Stir together.

4. Strain the pasta of the water, e.g. using a sieve. Put pasta back in the pot and add the avocado paste. Fold in gently.

That’s it! Serve and enjoy your easy, fast and healthy meal.

 

Preparation and cooking time: 12 minutes, calories per serving: 390 kcal

Want to add a little protein? Use shrimp or salmon to serve with this dish.

A little side note on avocados: Most often they are not yet ripe when bought in the store. But don’t worry just put them in a paper bag at home to help them ripe quickly. But don’t forget to use them. 😉

Who doesn’t like pasta with a creamy sauce? Well, I do.

Health Bites #3: Boosting Activity

Health Bites 3

Many people want to incorporate time for fitness and exercise into their daily routine but do not know how to do this. This post will give you some ideas how to boost your activity during your day.

The time people spend sitting is enormous. Adults with a desk job sit about 16 hours daily. This is the time commuting to work, sitting at a desk at the work place, commuting back home, sitting in front of the TV or in front of a computer screen to wind down. Thus we need to actively make time for exercise and activity. This will improve health and mood and will help in weight-loss or maintenance.

Here are some ideas of how to improve your activity level during your day:

1. Schedule time for exercise in your planner. When you actively make time for exercise you are less likely to skip it. Also if you work out in the morning your are less likely to omit it due to changes in your schedule.

2. Commit to a friend to exercise. If you are going to meet up with an exercise buddy you will be more likely to show up and work out as you don’t want to stand him/her up.

3. Train for a sport you enjoy. This is actually self-explanatory. If you train for something you enjoy doing you are more likely to pull it off more often.

4. Plan active activities for the weekend. Go for a hike in the surrounding nature or take your bike and cruise the neighborhood. Meet-up with family and friends to spend a good time.

5. Wear a pedometer (many smartphones apps are able to count steps, too) and set a goal for number of steps for the week. If you are able to get to your goal up this number the next week.

6. I can’t emphasis this enough. Take the stairs whenever your path crosses some. In your apartment building or office take the stairs instead of the elevator. This will give you quick activity boosts throughout the day.

7. Sign up for a race. Even if you are new to running you can do this. Train with the Couch to 5K training plan and after nine weeks you should be able to run a 5K race. The best way to commit to this is to sign up today for a race in nine-weeks time.

Don’t feel intimidated though. Whatever your current activity level is, incorporating even one of the above ideas will improve your fitness and will boost your activity.

How to you boost your activity? Do you actively make time for exercise in your busy schedule?

Eat Clean Recipe: Red Lentil Dal

Today I prepared one of my most favorite dishes for lunch. It’s a red lentil dal with some delicious Indian flavors and coconut milk. What’s not to like about that? Now I want to share the recipe with you.

Ingredients (serves 6):

  • 500 g red lentils
  • two cans diced tomatoes
  • one can coconut milk
  • 4 spring onions
  • 2 gloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • about a thumbs length of ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin, turmeric and curry each
  • 600 ml vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • plain low fat yogurt and chopped parsley to serve

lentil_dal

Directions:

1.  Heat the oil in a big pot. Chop the spring onions, garlic and ginger and add to the pot. Reduce heat to medium and add the tomato paste and then the lentils. Stir occasionally for about three minutes.

2. In the mean time prepare the vegetable broth and add to the pot. Put on a lid and let simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally so that the lentils won’t burn. If necessary, like when the lentils soaked all the broth, add more broth.

3. Add the canned tomatoes and the spices. Let simmer for a few more minutes until the lentils are soft enough to eat (Just try a spoon-full). Add the coconut milk and stir under.

4. Add pepper and maybe salt to taste.

5. One serving corresponds to two scoops of the lentil dal. Serve with plain yogurt and chopped parsley. Enjoy!

Cooking and preparation time: about 45 minutes.

Do you like foreign cuisine like the flavors of the orient or the spicy Thai kitchen? I certainly do!

Weekends are the hardest and goals for June.

Weekends are the hardest days in a week to maintain a healthy diet because we all want to enjoy our free time. We spent them with friends or family or both. Last weekend I visited my best friend from Friday to Sunday. I didn’t make the healthy choices I use to make because I ate with people who don’t really care what they are eating and how much they are eating (how can they just be so slim then?). And although there are tons of advice out there how to eat healthy with company or when eating out, I just didn’t. Here are three reasons why:

  • my friend’s kitchen is not as healthily stocked as mine
  • eating with friends usually animates me to eat more because in groups it is totally a socializing thing
  • food choices for the weekend were already made before I arrived and I didn’t want to make it harder

A list of unhealthy things I munched on Friday evening through Sunday:

  • M&M’s with peanuts
  • salad with pasta and fatty mayonaise
  • a hot dog at IKEA
  • fruit salad with added sugar (what?)
  • salty crackers
  • small Magnum ice cream bar with caramel
  • some Kinder Schoko Bons (little German chocolate and milk thingys)
  • some more ice cream

I also ate regular stuff at too big portion sizes. The scale does not show a difference but my body does. I felt bloated from eating things I regularly wouldn’t eat and eating too much. I carried a food baby with me most time.

So what is left to say?

goals

I won’t beat myself up about it. I just will go back and eat healthy again. What will help me is all the good people doing the dietbet with @blogilates. They motivate me and inspire me although I don’t officially do the challenge. I want to try and do it on my own. The goal is to lose 4% of my current body weight until the end of June. For me that is about 6.8 lbs or 3 kg.

I took pictures of myself wearing nothing but underwear today. One from the front, side and back each. I’ll do so again at the end of the month to track my progress. To achieve my goal I’m going to follow Cassey’s June calendar the best I can. This month it is all about losing weight with focus on cardio training three days of the week to slim down. I’m happy Cassey provides this calendar which is really ideal for people who want to shed some pounds.

Apart from that I’ll start a new job with H&M next week. I’ll surely face some time issues this month, because I will have to learn how to make time for workouts and food prepping. Working in a big shopping mall with lots of food stands will be a temptation to eat unhealthy and just because. Goals for June will include time management and staying on track with clean eating.

Have you joined Cassey’s diet bet? Or do you follow her June calendar? What are your goals for June?