Friendly Competition: Update

I realized today that I haven’t talked at all about how our friendly competition is going.  It has been about a month, and it seemed an update was only appropriate.

All in all:  Okay.  It’s been a month and I’ve lost about 3 pounds, which is better than a sharp stick in the eye.  In fact, it’s better than I have done in months, so I dare say I’m fairly pleased.  I noticed yesterday that I was really feeing a lot better too.  Which I followed up with some ice cream.  Moderation, right?

So, this is what I have been doing thus far:

Fitness:  I go to the gym with Simon when I can, which is normally twice a week.  When I’m there I do cardio, normally my 20 minute workout, followed by easy walking on the treadmill.  Simon has gotten much better at the child care, and its nice to have some time to myself.  I really don’t get much out of the additional 20 or 30 minutes.

Two days a week at the gym isn’t going to cut it for weight loss though, I recognize that.  I mentioned in my original post that I was going to start a program at home and…I actually did!  My husband is doing it with me, and we are currently on Week 3 of:  You Are Your Own Gym.

Basically it is bodyweight exercises.  The routine is good, and it changes up enough to make it interesting.  Plus, they also have a really awesome app that somehow makes it more motivating.  When I open it up and see all the little green check marks of workouts I’ve completed I get all proud of myself!  It times everything for you, gives photos and descriptions of the exercises, and lays out the workouts so you don’t have to drag out the book.  Its especially good since we are doing different levels, so different exercises, and we don’t have to share one book.  The app is $1.99; if you somehow ended up here wondering whether or not the app is worth it, it totally is.  In fact, you could probably just get the gist of the program and follow along with just the app.  Just for the record, I have zero affiliation with this book (or app).  I am not getting paid for this (although I’m open to it, if they offer).

Anyway, there are a few things I like about this program.  First, it is bodyweight, so we don’t have to be keeping dumbbells in the house (we have them, but they’re out in the garage).  I get a good workout in under 30 minutes, and while I am often sore the next day, I don’t get all sweaty.  We do this after Simon goes to bed.  I don’t want to shower that late at night, and frankly, I don’t want to change into a sports bra.  Believe me, that’s important.  And even with fitting those requirements, whatever body part is being targeted is wobbly when I’m done.  Today is my arms.  I’m lucky this is even being typed.

Nutrition:  While I can work out all I want, I know that what I eat is the most important.  “They” say that getting in good shape is 80% nutrition.  I might have fessed up to the ice cream, but I really have been trying to eat well.  Not count calories, not follow some kind of diet, just eat the food I know I should be eating.  I have been keeping myself accountable by writing what I do eat in a little notebook.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few entries for M&Ms, Girl Scout Cookies, and of course, the Slutty Brownie Birthday Cake (that may have shown up a few times before it was done), but at least I’m honest.  I’m not entirely proud of everything that goes into it, but its most important function is simple:  to remind me to eat.  If I don’t have something reminding me to eat, I don’t eat nearly enough (I still need to keep up calories while breastfeeding), and then I eat whatever happens to be around when I finally sit down at night.  So I’ve been packing snacks, and trying to eat more during the day.  Just in case, I have an emergency Larabar stash in my car.

Nothing has really changed about what we eat for our regular meals, although I did try a somewhat healthier Mac and Cheese recipe tonight.  It is a Mark Bittman recipe, and it was just okay.  The fact that it used cauliflower instead of milk or cream was a bonus, but it really needed more cheesey flavor to be called Mac and Cheese.

In fact, I think I prefer my favorite vegan version.  It wasn’t bad, we ate it, but I wouldn’t add it to the Mac and Cheese roster.  Does anyone else have a whole slew of Mac and Cheese recipes they make?  This is one thing that I make repeatedly, but I have a few recipes that I like and rotate through.

So that is one month down, two months to go.  If I could lose another 3 pounds both months, that would be awesome, heck, that’d pretty much be my “Last Ten Pounds” I have been hoping for.  No pressure!


Friendly Competition

I’ve been doing a whole lot of talk about losing weight.  To say that it hasn’t happened is really putting it lightly.  While I have recently gotten back to the gym, it still isn’t as regular as I’d like.  Life is busier than it has ever been before, and when faced with the choice of the gym vs friends, friends win.

In Women’s Health last month (another one of my free magazines), there was a little survey about competitiveness, and the majority of women responded that it wasn’t their spouse, or sibling, but their friends that they were the most competitive with.

I love my friends, all of them, but one way or another, this is totally true.  So rather than deny it, I sent my best friend a message suggesting that we put that competitiveness to good use, and have a weight loss competition between ourselves.


The competition: Whoever loses the greatest percentage of weight loss wins.




The timeline: 3 months; from February 27th – May 27th






The stakes: The winner has to visit the loser.






I have been friends with my best friend since High School. We have been friends through college, were in each others’ weddings, and have celebrated 3 babies being born between us. Until recently, one or both of us has always lived near our parents, so visiting was easier. We are currently 1,000 miles away from each other, and that will very soon change to over 4,000. So even though the loser foots the bill, I’m sure you can see how a visit will be a win for both of us.

Our Babies!

That being said, friend. I am going to kick your butt!

The 20 Minute Workout

In the past 6 years or so, I have dedicated a lot of time to working out. I have spent hours running, lifting weights, practicing yoga. I have done crunches and squats, sprints and distance, backbends and bows. There was a point when I would spend 2 hours a day at the gym sometimes. Other days, I would go twice. I thought nothing of piggybacking a 4 mile run with a power yoga class.

Then this beloved little man happened.

Of course, when you become a parent, everything changes. You might be thinking I’m just pressed for time in general, but that isn’t necessarily the case. There is child watch in the morning and the afternoon, I could go twice if I wanted to.

No, instead we are going through something that is referred to as separation anxiety. I call it clingy baby syndrome.

My little cling-on is definitely going through that phase, and it really stopped me from going to the gym altogether for awhile. But the Y that we go to has 2 locations, and a friend suggested that maybe Simon would fare better at the other. So the next day we went ahead and tried it.

He did not do better. Both times that I went to get him, he was in tears. They come and get you after 15 minutes of straight crying, but he wasn’t quite that bad. Yet. He saved that for the 3rd day.

However, after a few weeks of neglecting myself, I decided that he was just going to have to be upset for 15 minutes. So the 20 minute workout was born.

It isn’t anything new, but if you’re a mom (or anyone) trying to pack in as much workout as you can in a little bit of time, this is the way to do it: High Intensity Intervals.

You might have heard of them before, you might have done them before. Maybe you haven’t, or maybe you forgot. I forgot. I forgot because they’re hard! But they are perfect for fitting a tougher workout into a short amount of time. By the end of 20 minutes of steady state cardio, just chugging along on the treadmill/elliptical/bike/stairmaster, I’ve just started to work up a sweat. By the end of 20 minutes of intervals, I am TIRED. Seriously tired. Tired and sweaty. There any plenty of ways to quantify a workout: calories burned, heart rate, distance, etc. But I think the best measures are simpler: the talk test and your perceived exertion. I don’t go to the gym with a buddy, so I have no one to talk to without looking crazy, so I prefer the latter.

My perceived exertion when the child watch provider comes to get me after 20 minutes of cardio, is “Oh darn, I was just getting started”. My perceived exertion when they come to get me after 20 minutes of intervals is “Oh thank goodness”. Intense intervals aren’t meant to be done for very long, so I only do 20 minutes whether someone comes to get me or not. At that point, I walk by, listen for Simon’s screams (because every mom can pick out their child’s screams), and if he is okay, I’ll move on to some lighter cardio, or strength training.

This has been working out so perfectly for me. I feel great knowing that I really got a good workout in, while also knowing that I’m not leaving my baby totally miserable for too long.

***I am not a fitness professional. At one time I thought I would enter that field, so I’ve done a lot of research and practice, but in no way am I a professional. If you are looking to start a high intensity interval program, here are some great resources:

Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Program Suggestions
How to Create Your Own Interval Workout
Tom Venuto’s Practical Analysis of HIIT (Really good article)
Cardio vs Interval Training
Interval Training and Increased Percentage of Fat Burning
Want to get really intense?: Try Tabata Intervals

I have been trying to really stick with something. Anything, really. Interval training is going to fit the best with my fitness level, the time I want to dedicate, the time Simon’s wants me to dedicate, and the goals I want to achieve.

I’m not much of a motivational poster type person, but this one really resonated with me, and has been living on the wallpaper of my computer. I’ve really been keeping it in mind as a tool to hopefully help me get through this little bit of wall I’ve been feeling up against.

The Last Ten Pounds – Entry 4: Update

So if you were looking for new posts about the Last Ten Pounds challenge, you noticed that I haven’t mentioned it in awhile. See at first, the holidays were coming. Then, it was the holidays. Then, we had just gotten home and I had a house to put back together. Then, we were super popular and had a ton of playdates. Then, it snowed. Then, I had laundry to do. Then, I needed to buy cat litter. Then, I…well you get the point.

My excuses are getting less and less meaningful. I really didn’t get much done during the holidays, but we did try to get out, and we ran a few times. Since we’ve been home though, I haven’t even seen the gym (!!!). Maybe I’m just waiting for everyone who made a resolution to get back into working out to get over their resolution. Not that I want them to fail. I just want to know I’ll have a treadmill.

My biggest excuse though, is Simon. I hate that, but it is the truth. I started taking him to the gym on a regular basis when he was about 6 months old, because their childcare hours finally fit around his naptimes. I really wanted to get him going early because I was hoping he would get used to the place, the people, and he wouldn’t get terrible separation anxiety. That did not happen. He has horrible separation anxiety.
It isn’t so bad if someone takes me from me and then gives him constant attention, but they don’t always have the staff for that there. So I feel bad leaving him, and making one of them either carry him around the whole time, let him be upset, or have someone come get me to take him home. That last one happened right before Christmas. Its the teeniest bit embarrassing.

Anyway, needless to say, things have not been going well. I’ve been eating a bit better. My plan for eating soup for lunch has been going really well. I haven’t completely cut out sweets, although I haven’t been bingeing on them either. I froze the cookies I made last week. If I keep freezing all this stuff I’m going to need a bigger freezer. But they are so easy to pop out of the freezer and microwave for 30 seconds, and you have a fresh homemade cookie. Probably not what I should be talking about in a post entitled “The Last Ten Pounds” but, it was better than eating the entire batch of cookies over the course of a day or two, so in that, it was a win.

You’ll notice, obviously, that this is a written post, and not a video blog. That is because, I don’t like video blogs. If I go on someone else’s blog, unless I really really like you, I’m probably not going to wait for your video to load. Sorry. I don’t even watch my friend’s Facebook videos (sorry friends). Anyway, I can at least appreciate that people like different things. I don’t mind doing the video blog, so I figured I would put it to popular vote (Vote!  I don’t care if I know you or not, and I won’t know what you’re voting.  You won’t hurt my feelings…unless you don’t vote).

I guess it is time to lose the excuses? I didn’t get to the gym this morning, we had an Army meeting to go to around nap time, so I wanted him to get an early nap, which means no gym. My car wouldn’t start though, so we didn’t end up going. Anywhere. I don’t have any excuses for the rest of the week, but perhaps I just haven’t thought of them yet (I do need more cat litter, actually..). Whenever I do go back, I really hope Simon does okay, because I hate upsetting him so that I can work out. I know it is important for me to take care of myself, but it still feels a little selfish.

Oh, lastly, I haven’t lost or gained any weight, so it is still the last 11 pounds to go.

Anyway, until next time.  Hopefully I’ll be able to update with some actual results.