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Friday, Feb. 26, was truth day – had I accomplished anything in my month of eating better and regular work-outs. I was fairly nervous. I wanted good results, but at the same time, didn’t want to get my hopes up too much. I had been weighing myself and the numbers on the scale had moved – just not that much. But I thought I had seen some differences in my face and calves. And my clothes seemed to fit better. Plus, my energy has skyrocketed. But I had just had a rough week. First, on the previous Friday (2/19) I found out I didn’t get extended an interview for a job I had wanted. And as a good southerner, I turned to fried food for comfort. Bad, bad. I know better, but I just caved. Then I developed an awful head cold. Sunday, I had gone to the gym to do a cardio workout, but I felt like snot (literally) and didn’t really push myself. Then Monday and Tuesday I didn’t even bother because between the sneezing and the nose blowing, I figured it was better to rest. I did go to my session on Wed, but again was weak and got dizzy at the very end, so I skipped cardio once again. So by Friday, I was definitely in the “ignorance is bliss” camp.

Before my session, Jovonn, my trainer, measured me – neck, both arms, chest, waist, hips, both thighs and both calves. Then, he made me go through my ENTIRE work-out before telling me the results. He had estimated I’d lose 7 total inches and 2-3% body fat. Well, I did lose 2% body fat, but the inches were incredible. I LOST 15 INCHES! That’s right double what he had estimated. He said he’s never had a client to lose that many total inches in one month. I lost 3″ from my waist alone! And even an inch from my neck. Needless to say, I was walking on sunshine. Jovonn estimates that next month, the scale loss will be bigger and the body fat % loss will also be bigger, but the inches will be lower. I’m okay with that. Any loss is a good loss.

So, I’m well on my way to losing 12% body fat and lots of inches.

For those of you wanting to know what I’m doing, here it is:

1) Food Journal.
In a basic excel spreadsheet, I right down what I eat, how much, what time it is, and how hungry I was on a scale of 1-5 (5 = I’m going to die in 5 secs if I don’t eat and 1 = I am so full I’m going to explode, but I keep stuffing it in anyway). And yes, Jovonn looks at this weekly. He has given me a lot of advice based on my goals and my activity level. Nutrition is 70% of the battle. And as a picky eater, I can attest to how hard it is, but I have made changes. I make small changes, stick with that for a while, then change something else. For me, I’ve learned the hard way to never make drastic changes and to never completely cut out anything. Here’s where I am now on a typical day:

Breakfast: scrambled egg whites (equivilant to 2 large eggs) w/swiss cheese & 6 oz. skim milk OR Kashi Go Lean w/skim milk (great cereal w/loads of fiber & protein)
Snack: Fiber One Bar (because I’m usually sitting at class at this point) and/or banana or other fruit
Lunch: sliced turkey breast sandwich on whole wheat bread w/swiss cheese, baby carrots, apple
Post Work-out snack: vanilla greek yogurt w/fresh fruit (typically blueberries)
Dinner: 6 oz. salmon or tilapia (I try to eat fish 5 days a week) or 6 oz. baked turkey breast, 1-2 cups of veggies (frozen veggies, especially the ones in the individual servings).
Snack: apple or orange or banana and maybe a piece of chocolate (♥)

I’m trying to eat every 3-4 hours to keep my blood sugar and metabolism from crashing. I drink a lot of water and then some kind of juice. My faves are diet cranberry juice and Simply Orange orange juice.

2) Cardio
3 days a week I just do cardio – my days are Mon, Tues, and Thurs. I aim for 75 min., which typically breaks down to 15 min eliptical, 45 min treadmill, 15 min eliptical. If I’m having an off day, then it’s 15 eliptical, 30 min treadmill, 15 min eliptical

On the treadmill I do intervals and switch between speed and hills & it goes like this:
warm-up (do not count towards min)
0:00 – 2:00: 4.0MPH at 1% incline
2:00 – 5:00: 5.3MPH at 1% incline
5:00 – 7:00: 4.0MPH at 1% incline
7:00 – 9:00: 3.7MPH at 7.5% incline
9:00-12:00: 4.0MPH at 1% incline

Now, I didn’t start out running for 3 minutes or climbing at 7.5% incline. I started running for 1 minute and climbing at 2.5%. As I got stronger & my recovery time decreased, I increased the running time and the incline.

I picked 4.0MPH as my walking speed because that’s what I’m most comfortable with and it’s a speed I can keep my heart rate around 140-145, which is the ideal fat burning rate for my age/weight (per my trainer).

When I’m on the eliptical, I also try to do speed sessions for 2 minutes every 5 minutes or so.

3) Strength Training
On my strength training days with Jovonn, he picks what we do. I love strength training. In fact, life would be perfect if I never had to do cardio again. But Jovonn is really good and has me do a variety of exercises, from free weights and the circuit machines to plyometric exercises and isometric exercises. For instance, on core days, he might have me do as many sit-ups as I can in 45 secs, and then back extensions – 2 sets of each. Then he’ll have me do plank for 45 secs (although, he’s now bumped it up to 60 secs). Then do 2 more exercises, and plank again. Then two more exercises, and plank again. By the 3d time, I can’t hold plank for a straight 45 secs. So, at whatever time I fall, he lets me rest a sec, then I hold again for however much time is remaining – so I’m still doing a total of 45 secs. He also has me do some isolation exercises – where you just work the muscle by itself (for instance, put your elbow against the inside of your leg & do bicep curls – you’ll only be using the bicep), but then he’ll have me use the muscles together (so, bicep curl again, except this time, starting with my palms facing my sides, then rotating my arm to where my palms are facing up). Oh we have all sorts of fun like that.

Why I chose to pay for a trainer? Yes, it is expensive. But I had gotten to the point where I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. I looked at a variety of programs – Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, Jillian Michaels, etc. They are all good programs and all fit someone, but just not me. I know myself. I needed the accountability and going to a meeting just wasn’t enough. And standing on a scale does not motivate me – in fact, it does the exact opposite. Plus, I have specific fitness goals and wanted the exercise benefit and not just the food focus. I love strength training, but I knew I wouldn’t stick with it and wouldn’t push myself. Hence, the trainer. As with any program, you do have to be fairly motivated to stick with it. I am. In fact, Jovonn has complimented me on my commitment and determination because he said I am one of the few clients who will actually tell him when a weight is too light. 😉

So we started right at the end of January and did initial measurements. Friday, Feb. 26, first measurements – so far so good. We’ll do the same at the end of Mar and Apr. Then my last day with Jovonn will be May 14 (graduation is May 15). By then, I hope to have made some great progress, enough to keep me going on my own this summer because I have some big goals to meet!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask! ☺