March 8th – March 14th, 2021
Increasing my movement ring threshold has been excellent for my mental and physical health. I feel the effect in my muscles, which are substantially more defined. Moving more has helped me sleep better, with a sense of physical exhaustion contributing to that effect.
However, not everything on my journey is going to plan. My main quandary right now is that I’m not eating as cleanly as I should. Too often, I reach for a snack or a convenient, sub-healthy option. What I have found is that if it fits in my budget, then I will eat it. I think it’s time to make a change.
After seeing little progress, I decided to adjust my plan on Lose It. I’m switching to a 1.5 lbs per week weight loss plan from a 1 lb plan. I will still have a generous budget of over 1500 calories, which easily accommodates my meals. What it will hopefully restrict is the amount of chocolate I am eating. It will also force me to be more mindful about how I spend those calories and hopefully help me make better decisions going forward.
This week will be tough as I move to the day shift, meaning I now start work at 6 AM rather than 2:30 in the afternoon. It’s going to be tough going to bed before I’d normally be finishing my shift. Let’s see how my exhaustion, along with my reduced-calories plan, plays out this week.
Highest Lifetime Weight: ~225lbs.
Week’s Beginning Weight: 181.4 lbs.
Week’s Ending Weight: 181.0 lbs.
Body Fat: 31.6 %
Muscle Mass: 117.3 lbs.
Workout and Movement:
Active Calories, AF+ Yoga: 94 Avg. HR: 105
Exercise Ring: 39/30
Move Ring: 657/650
Total steps: 5,540
I am new to yoga workouts, but I’ve been giving them a go using Apple Fitness+ recently. Today I selected a 20-minute session with Molly. It was getting close to my new bedtime, so chill vibes were the exact ambiance I needed. However, chill it was not – yoga is hard! I used to wonder how it counted as exercise if you just seemed to stretch. What an ignorant stance from someone who hadn’t tried it. My muscles and balance aren’t strong enough yet for yoga flows, and I felt those effects trying tonight. My heart rate climbed to 142 BPM. If you don’t incorporate yoga into your workouts, I’d highly recommend it.
I needed to do this workout to close my rings for the day – but there was a secondary motive. To earn the International Woman’s Day Badge, you needed to do a 20-minute workout. I’m a sucker for awards, so of course, I complied. You can see how the Apple universe is helping me on my journey. Proud of myself for doing this instead of marching to my goal, which would have been far easier. The badge is beautiful too.
Calorie Intake: 1425/1533
Fat: 20 %
Carbs: 64 %
Protein: 16 %
Breakfast is going to look a bit different from now on. Instead of lazily drinking coffee and munching on some toast when I am ready for food, I will need to fuel my body before I get to work. Today, I went for a mint chocolate Pro Bar. These protein bars are some of the largest out there and will cost you 280 calories. On the plus side, they are delicious and usually need two sittings to finish – so they last a while! This morning, I added a Land O Lakes chocolate supreme hot cocoa to make a mocha of sorts into my coffee. I reasoned that I’d need sugar and caffeine to get me through the 6 AM start. All in, I had 420 calories to get my body and brain functioning.
I relished a half portion of my chili con carne and a 1/2 cup of rice for lunch. Cutting down the rice to half a cup meant that this meal was surprisingly low in calories, coming in at 305. It certainly helped keep me in my new budget after such a calorific breakfast.
Dinner was an unusual creation, and you’ll have to hear me out because, at first, you’ll think I am insane. I had a Fresh Express honey pecan salad kit. I prepared it and thought the flavor was overpowering. So, I mixed in some jasmine rice to mute the intensity a tad. I swear I am onto something here. What a creation! I ate half the salad with a cup of rice for 350 calories. I had sufficient calories remaining, that I had a delicious mini ice cream (like a Drumstick) for 180 calories.
A few hours later, I ate 3/4 cup of blended strawberry Chobani Greek yogurt with 3/4 cup of sliced strawberries. An amazing snack for 170 calories. What an impressive day of eating, and I stayed well under budget doing it.
Workout and Movement:
Active Calories, AF+ Yoga: 136 Avg. HR: 138
Exercise Ring: 43/30
Move Ring: 759/650
Total steps: 8,023
After such a wonderful yoga workout yesterday, I decided to repeat the feat today. I again went with a Molly Chill Vibes flow (March 1st) as I really like her as an instructor. She worked me hard! My HR maxed at 167 BPM, which seems really high for yoga. Then again, I have to work hard to get up and down for the poses and then hold myself in positions that my body isn’t used to. With stats like these, you cannot argue against the physical benefits of this exercise. How I wish I’d been doing this for years!
My workout earned me my yoga badge (earned for burning the most calories during a yoga workout)! The badge is adorable – if only I had the flexibility of stick figure in the picture. I sense that if I tried that pose, I’d be on my face before I got the leg up. Perhaps Apple is giving me a goal? 😂
Calorie Intake: 1395/1533
Fat: 16 %
Carbs: 71 %
Protein: 13 %
Time for another on-to-go breakfast. I continued with my hot chocolate in my coffee plan: the sugar boost helped me get through yesterday. For substance, I had a cinnamon raisin bagel. I toasted it while I was getting ready and then ate it during my short commute to work. The coffee? I have that at my desk during the morning. Eating breakfast like this is quite the adjustment.
I had the same for lunch today, loving the 305 calorie serving size. Chili con carne with rice is a wonderfully warm and filling meal to have on a cold winter’s day. Eating this between 10-11 AM is something my brain is still struggling to compute, though!
Dinner, too, was a replica of yesterday. I had the other half of my honey pecan salad mixed with a cup of jasmine rice. I had my ice cream when I got home from work, rather than as a dessert, but I’m still classing it as dinner.
Not a chocolate bar in sight in this snack diary! Nope, I went for another portion of strawberries and yogurt, and I can’t complain about how delicious these 170 calories were.
Workout and Movement:
Active Calories, Outdoor Walk: 198 Avg. HR: 117
Exercise Ring: 37/30
Move Ring: 698/650
Total steps: 9,808
Today marked the first gorgeous day of the year in Buffalo. It appeared that everyone in the city was out and about! My intention was to take my bike for the year’s inaugural ride around the park. Once I got there, I realized my tires weren’t optimal and pump them up with the automatic pump that I have for the car. Alas, It appears that over the winter, without use, it died. Long story short, cycling was canceled.
Instead, I walked around Delaware park (left). I would have made two loops, but I was wearing my cycling trainers, and my feet hurt after one loop! Anyway, I listened to some beats and relished the sun on my face. It was inspiring to see the park filled with people making the most of the one blessed sun day. Rollerbladers, cyclists, joggers, and fellow walkers filled the path. There was even a queue for the basketball courts.
During my walk, my HR hit 134 BPM, and my pace was 19’16″/MI, demonstrating my actual walking pace compared to marching on the spot! It might not have been what I had planned, but it was 35-minutes well spent.
Calorie Intake: 1618/1533
Fat: 14 %
Carbs: 57 %
Protein: 29 %
Starting to get into the swing of these early mornings, so I didn’t need the sugar boost from the hot chocolate this morning. Breakfast was still substantial, though, with a 290-calorie Thomas everything bagel. I eat my bagels, toast, and dry, so I keep the calories in check by not adding cream cheese or butter.
Lunch was a slightly larger affair as I took a portion of a chicken, vegetable, and tomato dish that I made a few weeks ago. Each portion 330 calories. I served it with 1/2 cup of rice, and it was delicious! I followed this up with a 100-calorie chocolate brownie mini Clif bar an hour later.
Dinner was the same as lunch, except I had a cup of rice and didn’t have a Clif bar. What put me over the calorie budget was a larger snack, as I added a banana to my strawberries and yogurt today. I seldom exceed my budget, and I dislike it when I do. However, as this is a week with many adjustments, I’ll allow it this once without self-hatred clouding my mind. 🤗
Workout and Movement:
Active Calories, Functional Strength Training: 119 Avg. HR: 104
Exercise Ring: 51/30
Move Ring: 662/650
Total steps: 9,100
After a couple of days of yoga, I wanted to focus on building muscle with my weights. I took on many moves that I’ve learned from Apple Fitness+ to develop a bit of a routine. I love doing compound exercises, e.g., squats with raises, as you work several muscles in one movement. I didn’t hold back either. My HR hovered around 140 BPM for several minutes near the end, showing that my session was strenuous. I used my 5 lbs weights for most exercises, switching to the 8 lbs for bicep curls and a few overhead presses.
After my workout, I did some nice stretches to prevent soreness in my arms, shoulders, and back. I followed that up with a delightful shower to prevent any soreness tomorrow.
Calorie Intake: 1583/1533
Fat: 24 %
Carbs: 58 %
Protein: 18 %
I toasted a cinnamon raisin bagel for breakfast again this morning. I wrap it in a piece of kitchen roll (that I reuse for several days to help the planet a tad), as this stops it from getting cold and sweating. My drive to work is around 7 minutes, and I can somehow eat an entire bagel in this time frame. Previously, that would’ve taken me at least fifteen. When needs must, I suppose.
I had the same meal as yesterday for lunch — a portion of my chicken and vegetable dish with 1/2 cup of jasmine rice. I also had a mandarin mid-morning as a delicious 40-calorie snack. When I got home from work, I treated myself to a 180-calorie ice cream cone before relaxing and taking a nap with my cats.
Dinner was not an impressive culinary feat. Instead, it was a microwave embarrassment after eating so well this week. I had a Tai Pei sweet and sour chicken frozen meal for 470 calories. Not the healthiest option, I confess, but at least it’s better than getting take out. What really killed my day was having second ice cream for dessert. Due to this decision, a further 180 calories were consumed, and that’s what pushed me over my budget for the day.
Workout and Movement:
Active Calories, Indoor Walk: 199 Avg. HR: 81
Exercise Ring: 34/30
Move Ring: 734/650
Total steps: 10,932
The early starts are starting to take their toll on my energy levels! I’ve been having a nap when I get home from work due to utter exhaustion. That’s helping but not completely. I needed exercise minutes today to close my rings, and I did opt for a 23-minute walk right before bed. My HR was pretty steady for the duration, with a small 96 BPM spike halfway through. I must’ve decided to jog a little! It wasn’t much, but at least I did something.
Calorie Intake: 1519/1533
Fat: 26 %
Carbs: 58 %
Protein: 16 %
I start my day off strong with a Thomas cinnamon and raisin bagel (270 calories). A few hours into my shift, I enjoyed two mandarins, adding 80 calories to my day.
At work, I swear they’re determined to kill all their employees with heart disease. They have a tendency to provide lunch when something good happens, and that lunch is always pizza. While I understand this choice, it isn’t the most helpful thing on a weight loss journey. You may be thinking, “Just don’t have any,” and that would be a fair comment. However, the eternal student in me has been conditioned to never say no to free food. What made it worse was that it was served with cookies.
I had two small pieces of pepperoni pizza, equivalent to a single normal piece if I were estimating. I logged it as 400 calories. I shamefully grabbed a cookie too. It had chocolate chips, and we know how chocolate is my weak spot.
There was so much pizza leftover that I took a further two pieces home and made my dinner. The problem was that wasn’t much food. Calories yes, food no. I felt hungry by 7 PM and calculated how to spend my remaining calories wisely. I opted for my go-to snack this week: strawberries and yogurt. Didn’t have the budget for a banana, even though I wanted it. That’s the price I pay for carelessly using my calories earlier. 😞
Workout and Movement:
Active Calories, Indoor Walk: 116 Avg. HR: 110
Exercise Ring: 30/30
Move Ring: 652/650
Total steps: 6,187
What a lazy day! I put in a mile walk just to move at all. I exaggerated my movements to get my heart pumping a bit, which is why my HR sat around 100 BPM for the 20-minute duration. At one point, I did hit 136 BPM. I always maintain that something is better than nothing and today’s effort falls squarely in that mentality.
Once again, the power of gamification and having a daily target that you hate to miss comes into play. I want to close those rings no matter what, and I’ll force myself to move to achieve that. You can tell that I wasn’t walking around the lab today as my step count is considerably lower!
I spent the night on a Zoom call, and it was only then that I realized the clocks go forward, so there was even less time in my weekend. After that week at work, I felt exhausted most of the day watching television and then playing games with friends at night. It was a good day mentally, so I won’t complain.
Calorie Intake: 1448/1533
Fat: 23 %
Carbs: 54 %
Protein: 23 %
Began my day strong with a bowl of oatmeal with 1/8 cup of raisins. I make my oatmeal with water and pop it in the microwave. Simple, easy, effective. A delicious 170 calories to kick things off.
For lunch, I had a portion of a creamy chicken dish I created. I need to tweak this recipe before I share it, but essentially it’s chicken breast, onion, carrots, peas, mushrooms, bouillon, and Greek yogurt, prepped in the slow cooker. For just under 300 calories, it hits the spot. I served it with a cup of jasmine rice to bring my lunch calories to 503.
For dinner, I made tuna mayo and served it on a toasted everything bagel. The items in this meal are calorific (180 calories for the mayonnaise and 270 calories for the bagel), but it is very filling! Worth it.
My meal choices meant there was plenty of room for a couple of snacks. I had 100-calories of chocolate and a medium banana. Delighted that I could have my chocolate and stay on budget! Far better day than yesterday. 😊
Workout and Movement:
Active Calories, Indoor Walk: 66 Avg. HR: 100
Exercise Ring: 51/30
Move Ring: 669/650
Total steps: 9,267
I got a lot of steps in today! Most of these were from doing housework, including cooking for the week ahead. I lost an hour overnight (unexpectantly), so it was a struggle to fit everything in and then get to sleep at a reasonable hour for my 5:15 alarm.
My walk was only 10 minutes, explaining why the calories burned are so low. I started off with a 5-minute “jog,” only to lapse into a relaxed walk. It wasn’t a great hurrah to my week, but I did keep those rings closed.
Calorie Intake: 1480/1533
Fat: 9 %
Carbs: 69 %
Protein: 22 %
I wanted to end the week strong, so I hit up my low-calorie breakfast option of a bowl of instant oatmeal with 1/8 cup of raisins. I felt a bit hungry about an hour later, so I had a couple of mandarins for 40 calories each to take me through to lunch.
For lunch, I had a serving of my creamy chicken dish (same as yesterday) with a cup of rice. I added a Dannon light and fit strawberry yogurt to my meal to finish it on a slightly sweet note. All in all, my lunch took 583 calories from my budget.
Today was a meal prep day, and with it, another batch of chili! I had 1/2 serving of my chili con carne dish with a cup of rice. I made it with a little more fluid this time to help it stay moist during the freezer-thaw process. Fair to say I know what I’ll be eating this week!
I settled down to watch a movie to end my week with a Land O Lakes hot cocao and a 100-calorie Twix. Delightful.
I’m pleased with my ability to do a few workouts this week, despite my overall fatigue. I found myself struggling to stay awake until 9 PM, so finding the energy for a yoga workout is something I can be proud of. I enjoyed yoga immensely. It’s a great balance between strength, cardio, and balance. These are all areas I need to work on.
Food-wise this was a bit more of a challenging week! I reduced my daily calorie budget by 250 calories for two reasons. First, I wanted to see some progress on the scale, and secondly, I noticed I was filling my day with snacks because I had the budget to do so. I didn’t have to make better decisions to stay within my goal. I’m happy with how things went this week. The importance of meal prep was vital to my success. There was little chance I was getting through my new work schedule without food to grab in the morning.
The biggest take-away from this week was that I don’t have to eat more. That, I like working the first shift.
Well, I’m going to have to adjust to the clocks changing on me, right after trying to adapt to starting work at 6 AM! Other than that, there’s not much standing in my way. The pandemic is helping in that respect. St. Patrick’s day is next week, and under different circumstances, I’d be attending a parade and having a drink or two, I’d imagine.
Keep mixing up the exercise options is a big desire of mine. The more variety I can add to this, the more rounded I feel I am working myself. My legs are strong from biking and walking. I noticed during yoga that my upper body is still frail comparatively. A specific weak point is my shoulders. That was why I focused on the upper body when I did my weight training session this past week. A big thing for me will be to develop a habit/routine for getting a workout into my day now that I finish work at 2 PM. Ideally, I could forgo a nap and work out right after work. This is a good thing to aim for.
This week’s cat is Toodles! She loves to snuggle next to me any chance she gets. Sometimes she sneak sleeps next to me and I don’t know she’s there until I hear her snoring! 🤣ᓚᘏᗢ
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