Eat small meals. 5 times per day.

When I joined a gym last summer I was given a personal training session and a personal nutrition evaluation as part of my startup fee. The nutritionist had me track everything I ate one day along with the times that I ate them. My list looked a little bit like this:

7:00 am – 20 oz coffee
1:30 pm – a peppermint Luna bar
5:30 pm – four slices of pepperoni pizza, two Sam Adams Pilsners
7:00 pm – a slice of birthday cake. A corner piece, for optimum frosting ratio.

The nutritionist told me that this simply would not do. First, this diet is void of nutritional value, and secondly, the carb-loading at the end of the day goes straight on my ass. Breakfast, she said, was essential. Then just eat about 300 calories 4 times per day. Seems simple enough.

So I tried it, and it’s difficult. You’re not really hungry, but you’re never really full either. And usually 300 calories does not look like a meal. How about a quarter-cup of granola and a glass of milk? It looks very small. What about a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich? Sure, but you only get one slice of bread. Messy. But it worked, and it helped go from 170 to 150. At one point along the way I can distinctly remember realizing – slowly, and painfully – that “I can never eat like that again.”

And it’s true. I can’t eat like the other kids if I want this to work. I can’t eat four slices of pizza, and I can’t eat cake every day even though I really like cake. But it’s ok – I’ve discovered Bambino pizzas from Trader Joe’s.

They’re only 290 calories and oh so delicious. Even if you burn them.

John Basedow told me I’m bad

johnbasedowfridge.jpg This is on my fridge right now. I bought two of the Fitness Made Simple DVDs from the infomercial on TV a few years ago, and this lovely 9 x ll glossy was a free gift with my order. I gave John a voice and he’s been taped to my fridge ever since.

John told me that I’m bad today. He says that I need to start exercising if I want this to go anywhere, preferably with his DVDs. And I agree. I actually have four John Basedow titles: The awesome hour, six pack abs, the fat burning workout and another one that I can’t remember. They’re pretty good. The exercises are real and aren’t gimmicky, and John Basedow seems like a very driven guy. I did notice that he’s a lot nicer to us fatties on the fat burning workout DVD than he is on the awesome hour – which is clearly geared toward men. And they shot the awesome hour it what appears to be John’s house, which is amazingly 80s. I’m talking pink carpeting, seashell details, glass dolphins – the works. And there’s John Basedow, working out on some sort of staircase landing with two ornamental dogs running around. Inspiring.

But the workouts are solid, and I imagine that if you did them religiously, or even frequently, you’d be successful.

My arms hurt and rice cakes are awesome.

So my arms hurt from all of those fake pullups.  That’s a good thing, right? I did do a whole chin-up by today though.  Score.

My weigh-in day was today.  I gained a pound because I ate so much breakfast for dinner last night.  It’s weird though because I really didn’t overeat last week at all.  You need some history though – the machine has been tracking my weight for the last 7 weeks.  Check it:

2/18 — 146.5

2/ 25 — 145

3/3 — 144

3/10 — 143.5

3/17 –138.5

3/24 — 136.8

3/31 — 137.6

I got a really bad cold on the week of the 10th, so I think I might be evening out from losing 6 pounds that week.  I guess it was too good to be true.  Why the heck does that happen? If I keep gaining I’m going to freak out.  I will.

I found the best rice cakes from Trader Joe’s.  They come in sketchy blue packaging and they’re stored above the freezers.  They’re only 25 calories each and they’re salty and delicious.  Every time I eat one I feel like I just ate a bag of chips – but really I only ate 50 calories that have no real nutritional value.  Yes!

Super Healthy Bran and Berry Muffins

I’m going to a breakfast-for-dinner party tonight and I’m bringing some super healthy bran and blueberry muffins. I invented these while trying to learn how to make those expensive vitamuffins. This recipe makes 12 giant muffins or 24 smallish muffins:

1 cup wheat bran
1.75 cups wheat flour
.75 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
.5 tsp salt
3 tbsp white sugar (optional)
4 tbsp butter (half stick)
.5 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 large eggs at room temperature
.75 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 + cup frozen berries

2 tbsp butter
.25 cup old fashioned oats
.25 light brown sugar
1 tsp white sugar

Preheat over to 375. Combine dry ingredients (bran, flour, baking soda, baking powder, white sugar, salt) in one bowl and wet ingredients (butter, apple sauce, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla) in another bowl. After whisking the wet ingredients together, add the wet into the dry in three pours, stirring as little as possible after each pour. Seriously, the whole thing should only be stirred about 12 times, max. Around stir number 8, add in the berries. The resulting batter will be lumpy and barely combined. Divide evenly into muffin tins lined with paper cups. Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle a little bit on the top of each uncooked muffin. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Nutritional lowdown:

Yield of 12:
230 calories per muffin with topping
177 calories per muffin without topping

Yield of 24
115 calories per muffin with topping
89 calories per muffin without topping

Nothing says dinner party like some whole grains. I can do a full chin-up by myself now. I know that chin-ups are cheating, but I’m working up to it. Eventually I’d like to be able to do behind-the-head pull ups. Word!

Pullup Bar!

Today I bought a pullup bar for $26. I got a sweet deal on it from TJ Maxx because the box was open and it was missing a bolt. I was afraid that it wouldn’t fit in my doorway, but check it! It’s pretty awesome.

Now I just need to find a bolt that fits the screws so that I can use the wide grip.

The hard part: I can’t do any pullups.  Actually I can almost do one chin-up.  I learned from a P90X infomercial that I can just help myself do pullups with a chair, so I’m going to try that.  Today I did 10 assisted pullups.

Also I ate: 10:00 coffee with skim milk (30), 10:30 a bowl of plain puffins with skim milk (90+80 = 170), 12:00 some dried pears (50), 1:00 a small wheat pita (80) half of a can of tuna (85) a tsp of mayo (35) some shredded cheddar cheese (100) and a mustard blend (0), 3:00 a rice cake (35), 6:30 some pea soup (200) and two popovers (200)

Total = 985

and the machine tells me that I get to eat one more small thing tonight. Yes!

Should I buy the perfect pushup?

7:00 AM coffee with skim milk (~30)
10:30 AM Soyjoy bar, Berry (130)
1:00 PM half of a weird smoked turkey wrap in a wheat tortilla w/mustard, lettuce and tomato (~350)
Poland Spring Selzter Water (0)
4:20 PM1 bag of light popcorn (60)
7:00 PM Pepperoni mini Bambino Pizza (290)

Total = 860.

The machine tells me that I get to eat one more thing today – we’ll see.

I’m thinking about buying the perfect pushup. You know, those handles mounted on six-inch lazy-susans from the Target ad? They seem like a pretty good idea; you can rotate your hands to get a fuller range of motion, and the elevation of the handles lets you drop below floor level like traditional pushup bars do.

I actually like doing pushups – the real kind too, the kind on your palms and toes. I can still remember a rare moment of athletic pride from my high school lacrosse days. The coaches were making the whole team do pushup during an indoor practice one day, and when one of them walked by me as I was straining away on the floor with the other girls I overheard “Hey look at that! Katie does a perfect pushup. Everybody watch Katie…” It’s one of the few athletic maneuvers I’m good at, and it’s always easiest to start at the easiest part of a hard task, right?

I think they cost somewhere around $40. I’m going to wait for a sale and see if I can score a five dollar gift card

my most fabulous diet

Here’s how this is going to go down: I’m going to list what I ate today day and you can go ahead and tell me how terrible I was. I’m going to preface this by saying that my diet is designed for me by a certain online food tracking program and I sit down at a computer all day long. I’ll include the time I ate it and the (calories).

7:00     – coffee with skim milk (30)
9:20     – Kashi cherry dark chocolate chip granola bar (170)
12:00 – Jocolat bar by Larabar (190)
3:00     – Wheat thins 100 pack (100)
4:00     – single serve pre-bagged light popcorn (60)
6:00     – a lovely pasta / chicken medley that Erin made for me (345)

– 1/3 cup white, macaroni-type pasta (80)
– 1/2 cup homemade tomato sauce (50)
– 2/3 chicken breast – 4. 0z (150)
– green bean, asparagus, shallot, and onion mix (25)
– 1 tsp olive oil for the sauté (40)

9:00 one serving of No Pudge brownies (120)

Grand total = 1015 calories.

Now I know what you may be thinking – that’s not very many.  But that’s what the machine has been telling me to do, and so far it’s worked.  I must also add that the machine gives me a little bit of flexibility, so I don’t have to eat this way every day of the week, but it’s recommended.  Also I do not exercise right now.  I pretty much wake up, sit at my computer for a while, then I go to work and sit and the computer, and then I come home, eat dinner, and sit at the computer or in front of the TV.  And then I go to sleep.

But – that’s why I’m here.  And this morning I did 20 push-ups in two sets of ten.  It’s a start.

The Pilot Episode, or, The Deal

I want to get jacked. I’m 23. I’m 5’2”. I’m going to do it. You should come.

Here’s the back story – it’s the last time that I’m going to say it. I know that this is a fresh blog and that you probably don’t care about my past, but I’m going to put it out there because I want to move forward from here. Honestly, I’ve been a little bit of a chunk my whole life. I’ve weighed in at everything from 130 to 185 during my teens. Most of the time I fell around the heavier end of that spectrum, but there was a period toward the end school of high where I got to be semi-fit by playing lacrosse. Of course, I undid all of this progress in college. I went to a swanky private college on full federal aid, and after 4 years of beer and thrice-daily all-you-can-eat buffets, I graduated 50 pounds heavier and $50,000 poorer.

So there I was. Unemployed in the heavyweight division. I had stopped weighing myself during that time, but I’m going to guess that I was pushing 185 pounds. Definitely not good for a girl of my height.

Outside of the collegiate playpen and forced to fund my own food supply, I lost a little bit of weight just because of the change in food availability. I also moved in with Erin, who is really skinny and into organics & raw soybeans. Her habits started to rub off a little – I stopped drinking soda and tried to start watch my sugar intake – and I lost a little bit more weight.

I was eventually able to land a sedentary office job and the weight loss stopped. I waited for it to come back. And waited. And waited. I began to realize that it wasn’t getting any better by itself so, in a moment of motivation, I joined a gym last summer.

The gym I choose was very close to my apartment and offered a couple of personal training session as part of the startup package. They gave me a discount on the intro fee and I took them up on it. Part of the train sessions included a weigh-in and bodyfat analysis: I weighed in at 173 pounds on July 17th of 2007. They designed a fitness plan for me and it worked while I followed it. I lost 10 pounds the first month, and I got down to 155 by the end of the summer.

The gym had one problem though: I had to actually go. Not only did I have to go, I also had to do cardio. Which I hate, always have. I let the gym activity wean off until I could no longer justify the expense, but I was able to keep my weight hovering around the low to mid 150s for the next several months. After a while I started to miss seeing the scale fall and I went in search of another plan.

I found an online food & exercise tracking program that I’ve been using since. I’ve been on their plan for about 6 weeks and I’ve lost another 10 or so pounds, which takes me down to a much better 138. Still more than I’d like to be, but better. And that’s what brings me here. I want this to become a permanent part of my life. I want to take the good that I feel about going from 185 to 138 and keep it going. I want to become very muscular and very lean, and I don’t ever want to be the person described above again.

This blog will share my journey.