I’m The Next YouTube Sensation

I like the exaggerated titles to my posts. It made you click on it….didn’t it?  😉

So I FINALLY shot some workout/exercise demo videos this weekend. I will be posting those as soon as they are edited but I would like to post them all at once instead of only as they are done. My goal is to do about 40 total. We shall see…

In the meantime I asked my friend/camerman to shoot me discussing my long term goal.  After watching it a few times I have come to a few conclusions:

1. Filming yourself and watching it back, no matter what size you are, will always end with “Well the camera DOES add 10 pounds.”

2. I used to cringe watching myself on camera or listening to myself talk…I STILL do, but I must have a case of “I just don’t care what anyone thinks” or I’m just finally getting old enough to realize this is who I am because I am over it.  A few years ago I would NOT have posted anything like this.

3. The double thumbs-up at the end is so cheesy that I think it’s actually cute.

Enjoy!

Accountability for the Unaccountable

I bought myself an accountability partner today – A Jawbone UP.  It’s very similar to a Fitbit tracking device that you wear on your wrist.  This particular one was on sale and marked down significantly at Radio Shack, plus I had a coupon (that’s a sure fire way to get me to buy something, gotta have a coupon) for $10 off. A steal!

Today is day #1 with this little gadget. I bought the warranty too because I heard how easily these things can bend and break.

You would think since I’m somewhat anti-tracking when it comes to food that I would be against using this tool. But really, I’m anti-obsessive when it comes to tracking. I would hate for any of my clients to become a slave to numbers and tracking incessantly and worrying about each and every bite of food that they take.

So when I first started tracking my intake on this, I estimated for the most part. For example, I probably had more than a cup of greek yogurt. It was maybe more like 1 and a quarter. But I logged it as a cup. Big whoop.

I also put about a dozen craisins on my salad today. (Maybe it was more like 20, I have no idea). But I logged more than that. I also logged less cheese than I had on top of it. I would never sit there and measure each and every piece of food. Not unless I was planning on competing in the near future. For all intents and purposes, it’s fine to just estimate.

Now as for my biggest vice, peanut butter.  Yeah I was accurate with that one. :/  I mean, one tablespoon is considerably different than 3 tablespoons (don’t judge me, you know you love PB as much as I do!!).

As for activity, I know these things don’t track heart rate so it’s not really possible to get a good idea of how many calories I’m burning when I’m lifting or doing cardio but again, it’s nothing to be obsessed about. I’ll enter in my stuff and see what it spits out at me.

So here’s the biggest update since the beginning of this month: My measurements aren’t too terrible.  I say “aren’t too terrible” because I’m not about to cry looking at them. I didn’t pick the best day of the month for a female to be measuring herself (sorry TMI) so I’m taking that little bit into account. But, although this isn’t indicative of someone who has been dieting, it’s okay. Because I haven’t been dieting! HA! If I’m being 100% honest I really haven’t been cutting too many calories at all, so this isn’t a huge surprise to see. This is basically my Bulk Phase 2.0.

I didn’t even flinch at 4 INCHES gained in the stomach. I have to laugh…I mean, what can ya do?

IMG_1050

Can you guess what I’m happiest about in this? The HIPS/BUTTOCKS! 1 more inch! YEAAAAHHH!!!! 🙂

NOW, with my little Jawbone UP tracking tool, and a new goal of another photo shoot in the FALL, I think I should be able to lose a few inches. I think maybe finally I will start taking this seriously. I have definitely enjoyed my summer haven’t I? Ph well…moving on…yet again. At least this time I have a little buddy holding me accountable. Jawbone_Up_35536649_05

Putting the fork down…and getting up off the couch. Moving on!

When All Else Fails, Stop Trying So Hard.

Three-feet-from-gold

You know how many times you have to fail at something in order to be successful? I don’t know the exact number, as I’m sure it’s different for everyone. But let’s just agree that it’s probably a very high number. Most people just stop and give up at whatever it is they are shooting for because of numerous failures.

But what would happen if you just “sorta tried?”  Like a half-ass attempt? You’d probably get half-ass results. But wouldn’t that be better than NO results?

Here’s where I’m going with this argument:  What if people just stopped trying SO hard to be perfect all of the time with reaching their goal?

For some (relevant to this blog and myself) it’s always about diet. And eating and maintaining perfectly 100% of the time. I know this isn’t possible so I usually shoot for 90% of the time. But for others it could be their mission to find the perfect mate. Or for others, they really want to get a promotion at work. So we try and we work really really hard and we might have a good week or a good month or just a good day and what happens? We get zero results. We don’t lose an inch. We go on a ton of dates and find no matches. Our boss doesn’t notice all the overtime we put in. No change, nothing.

Now most people give up completely. Throwing in the towel after just a few attempts. Others might try again and and again and come up short again and again. But what if we just stopped trying SO hard. And we tried just a little bit? I’m talking minimal effort.

For the dieters – we aim for for even lower – 80% adherence. For the workaholics, we don’t stay at work until the wee hours of the morning. We just stay long enough to what MUST be done and nothing more. For the serial daters, we cancel our online dating profiles and just hang out with friends.

So see, once the pressure is off to be 100% all of the time, you can relax and let the process happen organically. The point is, you can’t possibly aim to be 100% perfect all of the time because something else in your life with lose attention and will fall apart – lack of sleep due to staying at work late, less money in the bank by going out on all these dates looking for Mr/Mrs Right, no social life because you can’t stick to your diet when you’re out with your friends.

When your energy is focused solely on this one goal, the rest of your priorities get a little lost and put aside. But when you step aside and relax a little bit, the pieces fall into place. This isn’t about giving up – it’s about giving just a PART of you to your goal and not your entire self. Just a piece of you. And when you start to get on a roll (losing an inch or two here, getting kudos from the boss once in awhile, having a few nice dates) you’ll be glad you never gave up completely.

Sometimes, all it takes is just a little bit of effort to make a noticeable change. It doesn’t have to be full steam ahead the entire time.

Hit the Reset Button

reset_button.jpg.scaled500

 

It’s been one of those months.  Not days, not weeks, an entire month of being way too liberal with my diet.

I had booked a just-for-fun photo shoot for June 28th but told my photographer I need much more time. If I would have stuck with the original date, I would have been miserable. I probably would look “okay” maybe even “good” to some people, but I’m setting my standards higher than just “good” and “okay.”  I will in no way look like I’m ready to hit the stage in a competition, but I aim to look my most FIT this year. That’s my goal.

So, today is day number 1. Again.  We’ve all been here I’m sure:

“I’ll start tomorrow.”

“Just one more party and I’ll get back on my diet next week.”

“I can’t possibly say no to birthday/graduation/wedding cake, so just one more cheat weekend.”

I consider the past month a mini-vacation for myself. I didn’t go nuts but NOTHING was working to get myself motivated to lean out. My usual tricks just weren’t cutting it. No motivational sayings posted on my phone or pictures of my favorite competitors helped. Writing about it didn’t help. Watching other people workout didn’t do anything for me. Taking progress pics didn’t do it either. Even pushing my own clients to work hard, which almost always works for me, didn’t make me want to take this seriously this time around.

I think I realized the problem: I believe it was a combination of stopping the coaching with Erik as well as having become USED to all the food during my bulk phase. I think my stomach was just like, “Ummm….what happened to all that food you were feeding me?”

Trust me, the food that’s on my diet phase of this plan is PLENTY of food for me. But of course, who wouldn’t just a little bit more? Just an extra bite here. A little more spoonful there. Oh just a few more grams won’t hurt.

The nice interesting part is that the scale doesn’t show any significant change. I didn’t completely undo all my hard work. So this tells me my cheats really weren’t that bad. This is more of a psychological RESET button I’m hitting. Because my mind and my heart were NOT into it this past month at all.

But that’s changing today.

No more slacking. Time to get serious.

So let’s this be a lesson to you boys and girls:

Even when you set goals, be ready to put the work in. Admit when you’re hearts just not into it, and hit that reset button when you are ready. It’s never too late!

 

 

Peak Week Jitters

This week began what’s called Peak Week for me, the week of the competition.

My plan from Coach Ben was not such a big difference when I first looked at it.  The one big thing was that I got to do cardio!  I even sent him a message saying how I was kind of excited at the thought of doing HIIT training the next morning in addition to my usual weight training.

Hey guess what I realized very quickly the next day???  I don’t miss cardio.

Considering that I had done my weight training and then an hour of cardio afterwards for a grand total of almost two hours at the gym, I was TOAST.  It was great to work up a huge sweat like that but I cannot believe people voluntarily go to the gym and workout for that long on a regular basis.  Hell, I can’t believe I used to RUN (okay JOG) for that long and even longer when I trained for my half and full marathons.  No Thanks!

I only have one more cardio session on Thursday morning and that will be it.

The other big change for me is staying at my low-carb amount for longer than I’m used to.  I used to switch off (kind of like carb cycling) with high carb and low carb days.  Well, today marks day number 4 of low carb.  Let me tell ya, I’m not used to this.  I was very foggy on Monday morning after my workout and I was kind of out of it again this morning with my client.  But, it went away after awhile and although I like telling people “Oh yeah, it’s my lack of carbs, that’s why I forgot (insert ditzy mistake here).”  It makes for a really good excuse but I can’t help but wonder that it’s just because I’m having more than my usual blonde moments. 🙂

Tomorrow I can only drink water…no more crystal light crap or my energy drinks (yes, I became addicted to some of them i’m ashamed to say).  But I can do this…I survived most of my adult life without them, I can certainly handle a few more days of not having them.

Then Friday…..The FUN begins.  I get to carbo load.  And omg I’m SOOOO looking forward to that.

Prepare for a slew of Instagram pics of all my carbo loaded meals.  Nom Nom Nom!!

Possibly one more update before the show.

In the meantime, here are some shots from the posing seminar I attended two weeks ago with some fantastic ladies who I may be competing with.

Top is a little low...oops.
Top is a little low…oops.

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I say “with” and not “against.”  I feel a sense of camaraderie with my fellow figure gals.  Especially the ones who are like me, having never done this before.  Cannot wait to hang backstage and get to know them better.

Off to bed…One more update coming your way Thursday…maybe a quick one on Friday.

-Michelle

 

 

 

Quick Update

I’m 14…er…13 days…well, actually, make that 12 days out if you don’t count today since it’s almost over…Yikes!!!

Things that are done:

  • Registered for the show
  • Posing seminar/dress rehearsal
  • Suit ordered and fits perfectly
  • Tanning booked
  • Photo shoot booked
  • Make up person booked
  • Tickets for family purchased

Things still to do:

  • Get the hair done/scheduled for the morning of the show
  • Get some cheap bling (I think I see a trip to Claire’s in my future)
  • Schedule mani/pedi

As for the diet, Coach Ben says I’m in the best position possible considering he’s adding food to my plan.  YAY for more carbs!

Here are some pics I took last night; I still have to work on the posing and I’m sure it will not be 100% by the time I hit the stage but I’m okay with that.

14 days out!
14 days out!

Now I must go to bed because I got up way early this morning and if I stay up any longer I will be tempted to raid the cupboards.  And I can only eat so much Jell-O (gelatin) in one sitting…I think my new record is 4 cups in one day.  Yeah I don’t think any human being should eat that much.  It’s just plain wrong. 🙂

Good night!  Next update from me will be just 6 days out.  Unbelievable!

Stranger in the Mirror

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Such a dramatic title for the blog post today but it’s something I’ve been meaning to write about for awhile.

A quick update before I get into the nitty gritty: I had my photo shoot this past weekend and the photos are here: Photo shoot pics

Just scroll to the bottom.

My photographer was Jason of J.Dell Photography so be sure to show him some love as well.  He was wonderful to work with and seeing as though this was my first time in front of the camera for something like this, I gotta say I felt completely at ease.

I’m also quite surprised by the number of compliments on my page and in person that I’ve been getting from the shoot.  People I don’t even know are giving such great positive feedback and that really does make this all seem worth it!

Which brings me to the subject at hand: Getting used to the new ME.

Let me preface this by saying I’m not going to sit here and pretend I’m like this completely different person when I look in the mirror these days.  And I have 16 more weeks left before the competition so my “transformation” is not complete.

But even still, I’m down to 115lbs from 142lbs just 8 months ago.  That’s quite a bit of weight for someone, especially someone like me that never really worried about my weight too much most of my life.

So now there are some things I need to get used to.

It’s kind of alarming.  It’s almost disturbing in a way, to view your body day in and day out and each time you glance in the mirror you see something new.

The first time I noticed a significant change was back in January.  I was doing abs and  I remember putting my hands on my hips to rest them in between sets and I felt my actual hip bones.

Having never felt these before it was really strange to me.  Almost frightening.  Not “Wow I’m so skinny my bones are protruding” type of frightening, because that wasn’t (and is still NOT) the case.   No, it was just the position I was in and the unexpected feeling of “Wow, I had a layer of fat over that area before, I guess this is working!” type of feeling.

Almost disbelief.  Like I couldn’t believe it was ME.

It happened again as I was just reaching behind my back to scratch an itch and felt muscle where there was no muscle before.

And again when I went to put make-up on and felt my cheekbones.  I kept touching my face and staring in the mirror as if to say “Is this real life?”

It wasn’t always frightening or disturbing.  It was fun one day when I saw ABS.  I literally ran downstairs to show my Mom and my brother, “Look!! It’s an ab!  I have ab muscles!!”  Granted at the time it was just two little muscles popping out, but still.  I had NEVER seen abs before on me in my life.

Yes there are still parts of me that I wish were a little bigger or a little more defined or a little more this or that…But I think that’s why they call this a transformation:  It’s a process that takes time and little by little, it’s great to see the small yet amazing changes your body takes when you lose a large amount of body fat/weight.

And now that I’m putting on some muscle, it’s even better!  Still scary though.

A girl that I post to on a message board for Figure competitors had something interesting to say about one of my posts that I think is appropriate for this topic:

I had said “I just wish my Mom could see me now.  I like to think she’d be proud of me and really happy for me.”

The girl responding also lost her Mom and replied: I’m honestly not sure what my Mom would think of my lifting.  She’d probably be totally weirded out, ha!” 

As simple as that comment was, it made me think:  Are there people “weirded” out by how I look now?  Not that I care of course, but I find it interesting.  I mean, I was weirded out by how I looked.  Legit freaked out.  I’m getting USED to it now, but even looking at those pictures, I can’t believe that’s ME.  

It’s exciting, it’s thrilling, it’s motivating, but it’s still a little scary and alarming.  I’m sure I will get used to it but something to remember if you’re going for a certain look as I am for this competition: 

Be prepared for how your body responds.  Be prepared to ACCEPT your new body when it DOES respond.  And try not to freak out when you see your TRAPS in the mirror.

Yeah that’s right..I have traps now. 🙂

Thanks for reading tonight!  As always, feel free to comment!

Random Tweet of the Week from @MILLERNATION6  in response to one of my Photoshoot pics:I am a born again christian since jan of this yr and those pics show Gods beauty:)”

I don’t even know this person and it MADE MY NIGHT!

5 months to go

Or 159 days to be exact.   I wanted to have a special little “anniversary/countdown/I-can’t-believe-I’m-doing-this” post at the 6 month mark but life got in the way.

So much to update everyone on starting with the most exciting news:  I have booked a photo shoot for early June.  I’m really excited about this opportunity to showcase my progress so far.  I was feeling very unmotivated in March and earlier this month and this really was the goal that I needed to kickstart back into action.  Of course the photos will be posted as soon as it’s done and available. 🙂

Secondly, I joined a BLT Challenge courtesy of Nicole from Curls & Whey Training.

What’s BLT you ask?  Well it stands for Bites, Licks and Tastes.  Those little cheats, as little as they may or may not be, do add up.  For the average person just trying to shed a few pounds, do they make a difference? I would answer that it depends.  For someone like me trying to compete and get ready for a photo shoot? They absolutely matter.  Because in my mind I might say “Just one dark chocolate square won’t hurt.”  But guess what? I don’t have just one. I might have two or three or half a bar.  So what happened to “just one bite?”  Yep, it adds up and makes a difference probably more mentally than physically.

The challenge consists of teams of 3-4 people who pay a small fee that will go towards the prizes for the winning team.  You must record every BLT you have over the course of 2 weeks.  Just two weeks.  If you do have a BLT, you must pay a $1.  What’s just $1?  Well, again, small price you might say.  But after a few bucks, they add up to more $$$ correct?  Hmmm…are you getting the point?

The challenge officially started today and so far I am at 100% compliant with my plan.  Speaking of my plan, I’m trying a new plan out from a difference coach for now.  This particular plan incorporates what’s called Carb Cycling.  Two days of low carbs, 1 day of moderate carbs and one day of high carbs.  Then you start over with your low carbs.   I’ve done it for just a week and feel incredibly better.  I’m not feeling inclined to cheat (nothing to do with the challenge), I feel fuller longer, I’m not staring at the clock wondering when my next meal will be and I feel more alert than before as well.  I’ve also changed my workouts slightly to incorporate less steady state and more HIIT.  I think the combination of both of these is starting work very well.

Speaking of temptations and lack of cheating, one of our members at the studio brought in THESE the other day.

The Devil.
The Devil.

Ummm…Hello there sugary deliciousness, nice to see you again. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Home made.  Soft batched. Free.

I somehow managed to have zero of these.  But here’s the best part – I didn’t exactly want them.  Yes, I told one of my male co-workers to eat them so I wouldn’t.  Yes I smelled them.  Yes they were described to me as being AMAZING tasting.  But perhaps it helped that they were brought in to work when I was just a couple hours away from the end of my shift.  Or maybe it helped that I had JUST finished eating Meal #3.  Or maybe it was the carb cycling taking effect.  All I know is that I avoided them and they were not at work the next day to stare at me for 6 hours.

This is what we call a Non-Scale Victory, or NSV.  This was a huge NSV.

Lastly, I’ve been getting some really sweet feedback on this blog as of late and I just want to say thanks to all of you who read my stuff.  I know alot of you read it without commenting and that’s quite alright.  I’m happy to inspire as many people as I can!

Not to close on a negative note but I must share that yesterday morning I was surrounded by cancer.  Three items were on the kitchen table – The Plain Dealer, Experience Life Magazine and a letter addressed to my Mom from the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.

The Plain Dealer headline was about Cancer Clinical Trials and showed the journey of a 58 year old brain cancer patient, EL Magazine has a story about “A Healthier Way to Fight Cancer,” and lastly the piece of mail.

I hadn’t read the article in EP…I skimmed through the PD article…but I did open the letter.  I’m not sure what I was expecting to see or read but nothing could have prepared me to read the words “Dear Cancer Survivor.”

It was like a punch to the gut.  I was literally surrounded by all this literature that was a stark reminder of my Mom’s struggle and passing.

As much as it sucked to read all of this, especially at a time when I wasn’t expecting to read it, I had to look at what the message really was:

That there is hope (trials), there is a more holistic way to prevent it (integrative oncology according to the article you can find here) and there are survivors out there still raising funds for a cure (Relay for Life).

So to end on a positive note – Here’s to hope, health and happiness.

-Michelle

Inspiring the Uninspired

It’s been quite the rough road for me this past month.  But with all the stress, sadness, negativity, and de-motivation, came moments of hope, renewal, reflection and restarting

After lamenting and complaining and having a big pity party for myself, I emailed my coach to ask for some advice.  What I needed was a short-term goal to get me through these next 3 months before my prep begins in mid-July.  It’s been suggested to me to maybe do a photo shoot, just for fun.  I have heard many women do that if they don’t want to do a competition.  Unfortunately it’s just as costly to do a photo shoot as it is to do a competition so it’s not exactly a money-saver.  BUT, it follows the same premise as a competition:  Tanning, makeup, hair, prep, purchase of clothes to wear to the shoot and most importantly, the fee for the actual photographer/session.

So since $$$ is a factor and I still would like to do the comp in October, I have just refocused and took some advice from one of my three bosses (yes I have three jobs ha!) and decided each month or every 2 weeks or whatever, I will pick a certain part of my body to actually work on.  I’m still going to focus on all muscle groups for my workouts each week but spending a little more time on the problem area(s) will be the goal. 

Plus I’m going to take progress pics every weeks instead of every 3 weeks.  It’s just another way to stay motivated and accountable. 

I love this plan already (Thanks Mark for the idea!)

If I am focused on one thing, it’s so much easier to accomplish it, right?  The same rule applies to anything in life I suppose.  Multi-tasking is the enemy. 🙂

Short term goals are good, but I was still feeling de-motivated and lazy and even irritated that I decided to train for the show.  I kept using the excuse “It’s not until October, let me just eat this crap right now, who cares!” everytime I thought about cheating.  I was taking all my emotions and putting them towards food.  I found any junk food in the house/cupboards and proceeded to devour them like never before.  Almost as if I would never eat again.  Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your attitude towards carbs) the most unhealthiest food we have in our house is Ritz crackers and Jelly.   

That didn’t stop me from eating an entire SLEEVE of Ritz crackers and an entire JAR (okay it was the small ones but still) of jelly, by the way. Several nights in a row… The guilt was minimal (I had more of an “I could care less” attitude), but the feeling in my stomach afterwards told me that was a BIT too much sugar. 

So I needed some inspiration, some motivation, something a little more tangible than just some words on a Facebook page or a quote from a book.  I really needed to get back into the spirit of things.  

Ironically, the Spring version of the competition took place this past weekend.  And one of my friends’ daughters was competing in the bikini division.  I never met her, didn’t know her at all. But I was SO excited for her!  Here was a small connection that I could latch on to.  Although I really wanted to attend the show itself to cheer on this complete stranger, I couldn’t attend.  But, speaking to my friend afterwards was great because his daughter placed 7th in her first ever competition! Talk about motivating!!!  This chick is a MOTHER and looked amazing on stage.  I gave her dad my email address so I hope to have her discuss her experience on the blog soon.

A few days ago, the pictures from the competition came out online.  Here are the links:

The NPC Natural Ohio

RX Muscle Contest Gallery

Just looking at the pics of the Figure competitors was inspiring to me.   It shows how far I have to go, but it also shows me that it’s attainable.  Kind of like looking into a crystal ball…a picture of what “could be.” 

Lastly, being on Twitter does have it’s perks.  I was able to get in contact with a woman named Callista, who is ALSO training for the same fall competition!  She just started a blog Run Lift Like a LandShark as well as an FB Page.

I couldn’t help but notice our similarities (except for that whole kid/husband/attorney thing) so I’m really excited to follow along in her journey too. 

Just goes to show when you think you’re hitting rock bottom and you’re ready to give up, there are people and things all around you to get you back on track. 

So here’s to a week(end) to getting back to YOUR goals.  Whatever they may be!

-Michelle

Random Tweet of the Day courtesy of myself: “Umm I put make-up on for the @Indians game tonight in the #SocialSuite so it HAS to stop raining. I didn’t clog my pores for nothin!” –

The game got rained out by the way; so yes, I DID clog my pores for nothing but $25 wasted on parking and an hour of sitting in a suite watching the jumbotron air two random MLB games.  Not fun.