The Argument Against Scales

Yesterday, when I was weighing myself at the gym, a woman was standing behind me. Usually this bugs me. If I’m weighing myself, I probably want some space and not for someone to be looking over my shoulder.

I got on the scale first and I saw that I weighed 142 pounds. The woman behind me looked at me and said “where do you keep that! I’m bigger than you and I only weigh 130″. At the time, this was not a flattering statement.

I don’t really like the fact that I weigh 142 pounds, three months after I stopped taking steroids. I’ve been working out and eating really well so I keep getting upset when I notice that the scale doesn’t even slightly budge.

I’ve noticed that I look like I’m making progress and I definitely fit in my clothes better, but I was still bothered by my weight staying the same.

Then, this morning I took my body fat percentage.

Three months ago I weighed 144 pounds and was 27% body fat. I was in the “acceptable” range, even if it didn’t feel like it. Today I am 142 pounds and 21% body fat, putting me in the “fitness/athletic” range.

Realizing that I put on about 6 pounds of muscle made me feel a lot better about the weight on the scale. While I’ve been trying not to weigh myself for the most part, sometimes my curiosity gets the better of me and I check anyway.

Taking my body fat percentage today made me realize that there really is no point in weighing yourself to determine your progress, especially if you’re lifting. From now on, I’ll be tracking my body fat percentage, with a goal of 18%.

So today I say goodbye to the scale once and for all. Wish me luck!

KBF

Healthy, Not Jacked

Every time I start to diet, I get into the same rut. I’ll restrict myself so much that I get sick of what I’m eating and I end up binging. That binge will result in me diving face first into a tub of ice cream, never to be seen again.

What I’m realizing lately is that there needs to be a balance between “I’m going to be so strict with my diet” and “eat all the carbs!”

The biggest problem that I’ve had so far with my “dieting” is that I force myself to eat things I don’t like. It turns out that I really hate eggs. I hate the smell, I hate the texture, and I hate the taste. There are very few things that I can put in eggs to make them taste good, and after forcing myself to eat them for about a year now, I just can’t eat them at all.

I ate eggs because I felt like they were the only breakfast food that was packed with protein. Now that I’ve pretty much sworn off eggs, I’ve been drinking protein shakes for breakfast with yogurt and peanut butter. I’m usually sort of nauseous in the morning, so drinking my breakfast is probably the best option anyway.

I also was eating a ton of plain grilled chicken and vegetables. I like grilled chicken, but it’s by no means my favorite food. Besides being bland, raw chicken freaks me out and slightly overcooked chicken is rubbery and gross. I’m not a bad cook, but I’m also not overly attentive when grilling.

My new solution has been to find alternative protein sources that don’t disgust me as much. Chicken sausage and chicken meatballs have been a pretty solid option, especially because you can buy them precooked from awesome brands like Applegate naturals.

Chicken also started to get kind of played out because I was ordering it in restaurants. Billy doesn’t eat seafood, so I never make it when we eat at home, but I’ve been ordering more fish and shrimp when I go out now to mix up the protein I eat.

The biggest thing that I’ve been trying to do is to not deprive myself, but to not just say “screw it, I’m eating this”. I used to not eat hummus because I felt that it was too high in carbs, and now I basically eat some every day. I also wasn’t eating fruit because it’s high in sugar, but I’ve been buying more lately to get extra fiber and nutrients.

I still eat dessert sometimes, and probably more often than I should, but that’s okay. I was so focused on losing the most weight I could, as fast as I could, as I wasn’t enjoying the process. Every workout was calculated and every meal was selected meticulously.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I won’t have a six pack in two months, or maybe not even ever if I don’t want to. I would rather eat food that tastes good and be in good shape, than eat boring, bland food and be shredded.

KBF

Working Out Shouldn’t Suck

Everyone thinks that working out and losing weight should be a miserable activity. We should go to the gym, feel the burn, and leave soaked in sweat and slightly nauseated. 

Most people even classify a “tough workout” as one that leaves you unable to move for the next three days or one that results in throwing up or bleeding. I think the main reason for tumblr_m54orvFGpm1r566gro1_500that is shows like The Biggest Loser, where people are worked until they’re sick or in pain. It makes for better television, but it’s not healthy in the long term.

As someone who likes to be comfortable, I’ve never much liked this mentality, but for a while, I sort of believed it myself. I would run on the treadmill even though it was the most boring and painful thing that I could possible force myself to do, all for the sake of a “tough workout”.

Recently though, I’ve decided that working out should be something that’s enjoyable, if not just flat out fun. I made a list of things that I like to do, and have been switching

photo-62up my workouts to include those things.

By adding in things that you really like to do, you’ll be less likely to get stuck in the rut of going to the gym every day and doing the same thing. I’ve also found that trying new formsof exercise can be really fun.

As much as I hate running, I’ve decided that maybe I’ll sign up for a 5K for a cause that I like or a fun obstacle race. It’ll give me a reason to train, and if I still can’t stand it after a few weeks I’ll be fine knowing that running is just not for me.

To get out of the routine of going out to dinner and sitting around on the couch, Billy bought tennis racquets and we’ve been going to the nearby court to play on weekend nights. It’s fun and competitive, and it gets us both moving when we would normally be watching TV or eating.

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Losing weight and getting in shape is hard enough as it is, there is no reason to make it harder than it has to be. Pick something you like to do, and stop doing the things you hate. With so many options, there’s no excuse to be miserable while working out.

KBF

How a Change in Priorities Can Lead to Progress

When I first started to work out, my main goal was always “skinnier. get skinnier”. I mean, isn’t that what everyone’s goal is at first? 

I got down to 114 pounds from taking about 8 spin classes a week and being a vegetarian.  I thought I looked great, but I’ve heard that at that point I was too skinny and even looked unhealthy at some points.

Between taking steroids and not going to the gym frequently for a few months, I was pretty discouraged at what I looked like. Actually, at one point I was up to 148 pounds, a realization that made me cry in the gym.

As I keep working, I’ve come to a few realizations. The first is that my priorities have definitely changed. If I was trying to get down to 110 pounds again to be as skinny as possible, my method just wasn’t going to do that.

But I don’t want that again. 

I want to be strong and look strong. I want to be able to sprint and pick up heavy things and move like an athlete, even though I’m not one. How many athletes do you know (besides long distance runners) who are just skinny? I don’t know many.

My second realization is that I am not built to be skinny, truly skinny. There are girls out there who are long and lean and who can get away with being thin girls. I’m not one of them. I have bigger legs and an overall “thicker” frame, as much as I hate that word.

People can tell you all they want that everyone is built differently, but until you’ve seen your body at all stages, you’ll never actually believe it. You’ll continue wanting to look like whichever Victoria’s Secret model is currently dating Leonardo DiCaprio, even though you’ll never be 6 feet tall with a 26 inch waist.

It’s once you become realistic about how you’re built and what your goals are that you’re able to make the most progress.

I will never be 114 pounds again, and I’m damn proud of that.

KBF

A Short Workout is Better Than No Workout

This weekend was definitely a disaster in willpower to say the least. Although I ate everything, the only day that I did not complete a workout as planned was on Sunday.

Usually Sundays are my toughest lifting days, but this week I just felt sick from eati

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ng so bad and couldn’t do it. The fact that my eating choices effected what I did so much was definitely an eye opener. A year ago I would have been able to eat that way and feel fine, but now my body is like “Hey! What gives!”

On Monday we forced ourselves to do two workouts to kind of jump start our week back up. I noticed how hard it was from the very beginning. 25 kettlebell swings with the 35 pound kettlebell made me so winded that I thought I was going to throw up. That’s not normal for me.

 

Everything about the first half of the workout was exhausting and nauseating, and needless to say I took a lot of breaks. That’s not how I like to work out, so it was just anotherdownside of eating so much crap.

The kettlebell workout we did at night was a little easier on me. I kept it short with 35 swings with the 35 pound, 25 swings with the 25 pound, and 15 swings with the 15 pound.photo-59 It was tough and fun, and if I had more energy and wasn’t getting eaten by mosquitoes I probably would have done more rounds of it.

After Monday’s workout from hell, I decided not to let things catch up to me again. Although I had planned to workout before class yesterday, I ran out of time and promised myself that I would do it when I got home. This time, instead of just saying I would do it, I made sure that I actually did something when I got home.

I was tired so I did a short workout of 100 kettlebell swings and 4 minutes of jumprope. The entire thing lasted about 10 minutes.

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Usually when we are short on time, the decision ends up being to not workout at all. It becomes an all or nothing mentality. However, a 10 minute workout isbetter than nothing, especially if it becomes a consistent thing.

 

I got right back into the gym this morning and actually deadlifted 135 for 5! It was another short workout (30 minutes) but it was tough. Not every workout has to be the best one you’ve ever done and it’s not a contest of who can spend the most time in the gym. The most important thing is how you use your time, because that’s ultimately what counts.

KBF

Eating Crap Will Make You Feel Like Crap

For the past few days, I’ve been a little more lenient with what I eat, and by lenient I mean I just ate whatever I felt like eating. I actually danced the entire way to Carvel last night for an ice cream cone. It was bad.

I somehow passed up the bag of bagels on my mom’s kitchen table this morning, only to go to brunch and have donuts for dessert. In my defense, they were homemade donuts. Then I went to my aunts house and ate EVERYTHING there as well.

As much as I regret eating poorly these past few days, I realize that it needed to happen. I needed to feel like absolute crap to realize just how important it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

I’m exhausted, bloated, extremely thirsty, and kind of a jerk. I also get hungry a lot more frequently. The sad part about this whole thing is that I realize that this is what I used to feel like all the time and it’s a very real every day for a lot of people.

The way I feel now shows exactly what it feels like to be undernourished and overfed. It’s not always about what you look like. Sometimes it’s about not wanting to feel like you’re food hungover and wanting to punch everyone in the face, because trust me, when you start to feel bad enough, the rage monster just comes out of no where.

Having a great body is awesome, but it’s hard to have one if you eat crap all the time. Eating junk food sometimes is great, especially in moderation but it’s when it starts to become a more consistent thing that it starts to effect you.

Food is supposed to give you energy so why consistently eat something that’s actually going to take your energy away? It doesn’t make sense and yet we continue to do it just because it tastes good or feels good in the moment. It’s after that moment passes that it starts to catch up and you start to feel the effects of a poor diet.

Looking in the mirror and not liking what you see sucks, but so does being tired all the time and not feeling full from the food you eat. Although these things aren’t fun, they have an easy solution: eat good food that makes you feel good and the rest will fall into place.

KBF

 

Quit Lying About Your Body

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot about body image and how every woman should love her body just as it is. I’m all for female empowerment and self-love, but the whole “just as it is” part doesn’t sit right with me.

Where is the desire for better in that sentence?

By saying “I love myself just as I am” we cut off an entire part of ourselves that seeks better. If we applied the “just as I am” to other parts of our lives, chances are we would be really disappointed.

Think about it. “I love my career, just as it is”. “I love my house, just as it is”. Chances are we can think of some improvement for both of those things but when it comes to our bodies we’re suddenly the female Mitt Romneys regressing women’s rights back to a pre-suffrage era, and who wants that?

To say that we’re satisfied with our bodies the way the are is basically saying “I am too lazy to fix what I don’t like” but saying it in a way that makes other women not only agree with us, but respect us. It makes gives the impression of “wow, she’s so brave. I wish I could do the same”. Well, why should you have to? Why shouldn’t you want more than you already have? If you wanted to make a certain salary a year or get to a certain level in your company, chances are you would work your ass off to get to it, instead of just saying “I love my life, just the way it is”.

But when it comes to our bodies, most of us are more than satisfied to lust after the bodies of Victoria’s Secret models while claiming “I love my body, just the way it is” and never doing anything about it, all in the name of feminism. Women spend hours every week putting on make-up and picking out clothes, but the second weight comes into the picture, you’re an asshole for suggesting improvement. I think this is the most ridiculous thing ever.

Spending time to improve ourselves, for ourselves, can be the most empowering thing a person can do. The last time I checked, just saying that I was comfortable with my body didn’t make it true, and being truly unhappy about it wasn’t a very empowering feeling.

But looking at the improvements I make in the gym every week is crazy empowering. I feel pride looking in the mirror at abs and muscle cuts and thinking “hey, look what I did!”. That’s what empowerment is. It’s deciding you want something and stopping at nothing to get it. It’s saying “I am going to be the best me I can be” and actually doing something about it.

It’s not slowly putting on weight while saying you’re happy with yourself as you are then getting upset when swimsuit season comes. 

Your body doesn’t have to be your identity, but it can definitely be a part of it. Your weight doesn’t have to define you and it shouldn’t define you. But by refusing to admit that your appearance matters to you, you eliminate the desire to be better and who really wants to stay the same?

KBF

Badass, Not Bulky: The Argument for Lifting Heavy

Today has been a lazy week, but I’ve pushed through it so far. Although almost every day I’ve come up with some excuse not to go to the gym, I’ve gotten there on all of the days I had originally planned to go.

My new plan for what to do when I don’t feel like working out is to tell myself that I only have to go to the gym for 15 minutes, and if I still don’t want to be there I can go home. By the time you get moving, you don’t want to leave!

Yesterday was a pretty awesome day and I’m definitely feeling it today. I went into the gym planning to do a kind of lame workout, just some swings and maybe a few Turkish get-ups.

As soon as I walked in, I remembered that on Sunday I had originally planned to do some heavy deadlifts and an overall heavier lower body day. Once I remembered this, I felt like a failure for not wanting to do it anymore.

I started with some heavier swings than I’ve been doing (40 pounds) and then went over to the trap bar to deadlift.

I put a 35 pound plate on both sides and did three sets of 5. When I told Billy about it, I told him that my 95 pound deadlift felt a lot harder than it usually was. Well, that’s because I photo-55can’t do math and it was actually 115. Yay for accidental improvement!

The funny thing about deadlifting yesterday was seeing a girl that I know from high school in the gym. We had talked a few times before, but we don’t really know each other very well. When I saw her, she had just gotten off the treadmill after an 8 mile run, something that the very thought of makes me want to cry.

She took one look at the trap bar and said “Don’t hurt yourself! Girls shouldn’t lift heavy”. I think this is a really interesting (common) belief for a lot of women. We’re told that we aren’t supposed to lift heavy because we might hurt ourselves.

Well, a lot of things can make us hurt ourselves, but we do it anyway. Wearing heels can damage the length of your calf muscle, but there are girls who wear them every day. That kind of muscle damage is deemed acceptable, but lifting up 115 pounds seems insane to a lot of women.

It’s another side of the whole “you’re going to get bulky” argument. It’s all said with good intentions, but a lot of it stems from a lack of knowledge. How can we know all of the benefits of lifting weights if no one explains it to us? For so long, lifting weights has been for319903_la men and scary looking bodybuilder women.

Most girls don’t want to look like that. So instead, they use the argument of getting bulky or getting hurt to justify hours on the treadmill that don’t accomplish the goals they had in the first place. 

I was one of those girls for a really long time. I would go to back to back spin classes and strictly do yoga even though I thought it was boring and somewhat a waste of my time, all because I had an image in my head of what I wanted to look like and a skewed idea of what would get me there.

That doesn’t mean that lifting is for everyone. I know a lot of people who just flat out hate it and actually enjoy long, endurance sessions on the treadmill or the elliptical. I’m not one of those people.

However, I do think that it’s so important that we talk about why lifting can be so great for women, instead of focusing on what it used to mean. My favorite conversations are with friends of mine who tell me that they want to look like specific celebrities or Victoria’s Secret models and are completely dumbfounded when I tell them that those girls all lift.

Being strong is awesome. It allows you to be independent in ways that you might not have been able to in the past. One of my favorite moments I had recently was helping my dad shovel piles of rocks and wood chips after we had a tree removed. A year ago, I wouldn’t have been able to do that, but now I can.

You can be a badass without looking like a She-Hulk or ending up in a body cast. You just have to take the first step and trust yourself.

KBF

Health Shaming: Don’t Let Others Guilt You Into Eating Garbage

Does anyone else ever find themselves apologizing for eating healthy? I know I do.

A few days ago I saw this photo that summed it up perfectly: “Eat a whopper, large fry and soda…No one bats an eye. Eat chicken and brown rice out of tupperware and everyone hohpr1loses their mind.” It resonated at the time, but the more I think about it, the more I see the truth in it.

When I bring my own food to my classes, everyone seems to be looking at me funny. Meanwhile, the kid a few seats over with the value meal from Wendy’s isn’t getting a second look.

I remember in one class, a girl sat next to me who was very overweight. She had a bag from McDonald’s and she was talking to me about all of her various health problems. During that time, I took out my lunch: spaghetti squash and meatballs. Without skipping a beat, she looked at me and said “I could never eat like that”.

At the time, I felt uncomfortable that she had said that. My food was delicious, but was there something wrong with me for not eating what everyone else was? No. Quite the opposite actually. We’ve all been so programmed to eat overly processed, high carb, high fat meals and overlook the fact that it’s actually killing us.

The girl sitting next to me that day had such bad asthma from her weight and was Type 2 diabetic starting at age 16. She had a million reasons for why she was so sick, but the real answer was that her food was killing her and that she either didn’t realize, or more likely just wasn’t willing to stop.

When someone makes a decision to not eat these things, especially in public, people look at them like there’s something wrong. I believe that it’s because when someone choses the healthy option, it exposes just how unhealthy others are being.

The best way I can describe it is like being the only non-smoker in a smoking section. The people who make up the majority of the group feel like it’s the outlier who is doing the wrong thing, but deep down it’s a response to what they feel is judgement. It’s almost like they are saying “if you’re not with us, you’re against us.”

For a while, that mentality bothered me. It made me feel uncomfortable and often led to me making less healthy decisions for the benefit of others. But how stupid is that? It’s just like everyone’s mom always said “if everyone else was going to jump off the bridge, would you do it too?” Obviously not! So why do we let the pressure from those being unhealthy impact our own wellbeing?

I think the best answer is that no one wants to be an outsider. If everyone else is doing it, it really does make you want to do it too. It’s just easier to say no when the stakes are higher, like jumping off a bridge or doing drugs. When it’s food, it’s easy to just say “screw it, how bad could it be?”

This is not an argument to miss out on great, delicious food at a party or other kind of social gathering. It’s a declaration of our ability to make our own choices. The food may be killing you, but you’re ultimately the one putting it in your mouth. Don’t let others make that decision for you, and especially don’t apologize for not letting them.

I’m sick of being treated like there’s something wrong with me because I don’t want to eat junk food that I wouldn’t enjoy all that much anyway. If I eat fast food, I tend to feel sluggish and just downright sick after. For me, food should taste good and make you feel good, and I see no reason why we should sacrifice one for the other.

Food is fuel, and it’s time that we start treating it like it.

KBF

Carboholics Anonymous Made Easy: Recipes and Tips

If you’re anything like me, saying no to bread, pastas, and desserts is one of the hardest things that you’ll ever have to do. There was actually a point in time where I HOPED to develop Celiac’s disease so I physically could not eat those things. Sick, right? I know.

But it actually turns out that it doesn’t have to hurt to give up (read: consume in moderation) these things. There are a ton of delicious ways to change up your carb heavy meals and keep them delicious, actually delicious, not kale chip “delicious”.

Recently, I discovered that I LOVE barbecue. When this passion developed, I have no idea. While barbecue is usually dripping with sauce and just flat out artery clogging, I’ve found a few ways to make it lighter on your heart and the scale.

Hickory Bourbon Pulled Chicken Tacos with Vinegary Slaw

Lets just say, I love these. The only thing that they were MAYBE missing was some chipotle aioli, but they were thoroughly delicious without it. The best part was that it took me probably 5 minutes of active cooking time and just as little clean up time.

Aside from the fact that they’re so easy, they’re also pretty good for you. The Stubbs BBQ sauce only has 40 calories for 2 tablespoons and 8 total carbs. For a while I had been buying Mission Carb Balance tortillas for tacos, but decided to change it up with corn photo-43tortillas instead. These are lower in calories, have less ingredients over all, and just taste better.

Recipe:
Pulled Chicken
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (you can use breasts too, I just like how these shred)
1 bottle of Stubbs hickory bourbon BBQ sauce

Vinegary Slaw
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Warm corn tortillas for serving

Place chicken thighs in the slow cooker and cover with BBQ sauce. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours, or until the chicken shreds easily.
Mix cabbage with vinegar and oil and let sit for at least an hour.

If you want to crisp up the corn tortillas to make them even better, add a little butter or coconut oil to a frying pan, slightly wet the tortilla and heat on medium high for about 30 seconds per side. I highly suggest opening a window while doing this if you don’t want to irritate your smoke alarm.

Zucchini Linguine

I love pasta. I have tried every single alternative to the real stuff that you could possibly imagine. Gluten free, Dreamfields, spaghetti squash. With the exception of the Dreamfields, none of the alternatives are as satisfying as the real thing.

Then I came across zucchini linguine. I first had it in a restaurant that prepared it in a really watery sauce so I didn’t really feel the need to make it again. Soggy noodles are gross no matter what they’re made out of apparently.

Then, a few weeks ago, my grandmother called me to say that she bought a container of zucchini linguine from a local farm stand. The best part? She got me my own!photo-42

I had no real plans for how I was going to make it, until I got really hungry yesterday and decided to have it for lunch. I just sauteed it in olive oil in a frying pan until it was hot, then added some left over grilled chicken, spicy tomato sauce (Classico), and sprinkled some feta on top because I was out of parmesan.

It was exactly what I’ve been looking for. Apparently there’s a contraption for making the linguine, so tracking that down is going to be my next project.

Eating cleaner seemed a lot harder in theory than it is in practice. That being said, I have not had a cheat meal in two weeks now, but we are changing that in about an hour. Our favorite restaurant just reopened after being closed for expansion for about six months and tonight is opening night!

KBF