Tag Archives: health

Learning from Mistakes

24 Mar

Everyone makes mistakes… that’s life. And throughout my fat-loss journey, I’ve done things (or neglected to do things) that I wish I hadn’t. I thought I’d take a moment to collect my thoughts on what I wish I’d done differently. The point isn’t to dwell.. but to share advice and reflect on mistakes so I can learn from them (and maybe help others too). Here we go:

1. I wish I knew exactly where I started.
When I tell people I’ve lost at least 100 lbs, I am a little annoyed with myself for not knowing my true start weight back in April 2012 when I started this whole thing. The 100 lb weight loss is based off a weight that my doctor recorded in 2010. I am pretty certain I gained weight since 2010, so I may have started off at 300 lbs or something. Now, I know that weight is just a number, and the importance we bestow on it is from our own minds. But I still wish I had honestly recorded my starting weight and starting measurements when I finally decided to make the changes.

Lesson learned: If you’re serious about making changes… be honest about where you are starting. I know this can be straight-up fucking scary. In fact, I’m pretty sure the reason I didn’t record my starting weight/measurements is that I was in denial about where I was, and I think I also expected myself to fail. I didn’t know how seriously I should take myself because I never followed through in the past… so I didn’t approach my journey in the organized, honest way that I wish I had.

2. I wish I did a better job at recording my journey.
I wish I posted in this blog more throughout this process. I’ve gone through a lot of changes, done a lot of things… but I did kind of a lazy job of posting in here. I had visions of this blog being way cooler and more filled with helpful/exciting things than it currently is (I AM SORRY, READER).

This is kind of similar to #1 in being honest about where you’re starting… but this goes beyond the starting point and requires honesty in the rest of the journey. I really admire people who take body measurements at regular intervals to track their progress. I wish I did this as I worked through my weight training program.

Lesson learned: If you want to have a good, clear view of your progress (or realize when there might be a lack there of), plan weekly weigh-ins, take regular measurements, take clear photographs (at various angles), and set goals for yourself on recording other things like food/calories, or thoughts in a blog/journal.

3. I wish I got more sleep

If you’re trying to lose weight, not getting enough sleep can really screw you over. I usually get around 6 hours a night during the week. This isn’t enough, and I really need to put a little more importance on getting at least 7 (preferable 8) hours each night. Too bad I love the internet so much.

Those are the three I’ve got so far. I’ll probably add more.


The New Rules of Lifting for Women – Phase 1 re-cap

6 Sep

So here’s a post where I talk about progress and numbers. Get ready to be bored!

I started to work-out regularly in the beginning of June when I first got my membership at my current fitness facility. As I previously mentioned, I mainly stuck to cardio activities for the first month or so — alternating swimming and Zumba classes throughout the week, and Saturday I worked in a pilates barre class that catered to my inner wanna-be-ballerina. I was seeing the weight come off nicely, but I think part of that reason was that it was still towards the beginning of my weight-loss journey, which is when the weight falls off most rapidly/easily anyway. I did the cardio-only thing for about 1.5 months.

I kept seeing mention of how important weight lifting was online whenever I’d be reading up on fitness/health blogs and materials. It seemed like a lot of the paleo/primal crowd was also into things like crossfit and generally lifting heavy. I felt like I had been neglecting a pretty important part of being a healthy human being: strength-training. In fact, I think a lot of us (especially women) don’t realize how important it is for fat-loss. Or we’re so focused on being thin and slender that we don’t really care about strength and muscle tone. At least I wasn’t… I just wanted to be thin.

I decided to start incorporating lifting into my fitness regimen, in hopes of speeding up the fat-loss process. I really didn’t have any clue about weight lifting (reps? sets? what?). So I bought a book called The New Rules of Lifting for Women. I liked the tagline: Lift like a man, look like a goddess. I was sold.

The book has info on weight lifting of course, but also diet. I don’t care much about the diet information — I feel pretty happy with what I’ve been doing (eating paleo). But the program has been interesting and has pushed me out of my comfort zone. Whenever I had lifted weights in the past, I shy’d away from free weights and kept to myself on the machines. It was intimidating when I first started, but I’m glad I did. I have a lot more confidence in the gym (and in my own strength abilities) than I did when I first started. I can ask other lifters (dudes) at the gym if they have more sets on the squat rack, and I listen to myself and think: wow — I sound like I’m a lifter too!

With all this said, it’s time to record the progress of Phase 1. Phase 1 alternated 2 work-outs (A & B). I’d do a work-out 2-3 times weekly (usually Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday). Time to post the progress!

Stage 1 Re-cap:

Workout A:

Barbell Squat

Starting weight: 85 lbs (including bar) ( 2 sets of 15 reps — I couldn’t even do all 15… I think I did like 12 or less each set)

Ending weight: 145 lbs (3 sets of 8)

Special work-out: I was able to do 1 set of 30 reps of the original 85 lbs


Not much progress to report here… I still do kneeling push-ups like a chump. I’ve always just done however reps it calls for.

Seated Row:

Starting weight: 45 lbs (2 sets of 15)

Ending weight: 80 lbs (3 sets of 8)

Special work-out: I was able to do 1 set of 36 reps of the original 45 lb

Step-Up (with dumbbells)

Starting weight: 15 lbs (2 sets of 15)

Ending weight: 25 lbs (3 sets of 8)

Special work-out: I was able to do 1 set of 30 reps (each leg) using the original 15 lb dumbells

Prone Jacknife:

Starting: 2 sets of 8

Ending: 3 sets of 15

Special Work-out: I was able to do 1 set of 17 reps (not very impressive)

Work-out B:


Starting: 95 lb (2 sets of 15) — I couldn’t even do all 15… started with set of 10 reps and then 12 reps.

Ending: 115 lb (3 sets of 8 reps)

Special Work-out: I was able to do 1 set of 19 reps with the original 95 lbs

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Starting: 15 lbs (2 sets of 15)

Ending: 25 lbs (3 sets of 8 reps)

Special Workout: I was able to do 1 set of 20 reps with the original 15 lb dumbbells

Wide-grip lat pulldown

Starting: 50 lbs (2 sets of 15)

Ending: 80 lbs (3 sets of 8 reps)

Special Workout: I was able to do 1 set of 26 reps with the original 50 lbs


Starting: 15 lb (2 sets of 15 reps — but I could only do like 10 reps anyway)

Ending: 25 lbs (3 sets of 8 reps)

Special Workout: I was able to do 1 set of 20 reps (each leg) with the original 15 lbs

Swiss ball crunch

Starting: 2 sets of 8 reps

Ending: 3 sets of 15 reps

Special workout: I was able to do 1 set of 23 reps.

Overall, Phase 1 was pretty good. I dipped my toe in the pool of weight lifting. I have more muscle tone in my arms and legs, and as you can see from the numbers above, I’m stronger now.

I’ve been glancing through what’s coming up in Phase 2 and I’m intimidated all over again… but I know it’ll be okay. And I’ll feel even more badass after that’s done too. Now I’m on a 1 week rest period (from weight lifting, but I’m still swimming) until September 10th.

Week 1 Goal: Getting Enough Sleep

13 Nov

I hate getting up in the morning. I’m not a morning person, and never have been. When my morning alarm goes off, I wake up with a startle and then feel pissed off. Pissed off at what? Well, myself. I’ll be angry that I was too busy internet-ing and having fun watching re-runs of Scrubs that I neglected to give myself enough time for sleep. How much time should I be giving myself? Well I keep hearing the magic number 8 floating around on what’s ideal. Generally, I think I  get about 6 or 6.5 hrs on a weeknight. If 8’s what I should be getting, it’s no wonder why I’m not happy when I wake up in the morning. So with a goal of 8 hours a night, and with a 6:30 wake-up time, that means I need to be asleep by 22:30 (badasses use military time, fyi). To be asleep by 22:30, I should probably be in bed to allow myself time to relax and get sleepy. So “bed-time” should be 22:00 at the latest, and I should stop using all electronics at 21:00/21:30. Yeah… that’s pretty early. And no, I’m not thrilled. Nights are my playtime, and my favorite toy happens to be my laptop. But life’s a lot more than playtime. I have to start thinking about the bigger picture, and what’s really best for myself and my health. And getting enough sleep (or not enough) affects pretty much your whole life. Not getting enough sleep is linked with weight-gain, anxiety, stress, fatigue and problems with focusing/paying attention. I don’t want to sabotage the good things I do for myself (like eating right or exercising) by choosing to ignore sleep requirements.

So my goal this week is simple: get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. I figure it’s best to start off with a goal that shouldn’t be painful to achieve…but will still make a big difference in the rest of my life. Here’s to getting enough zzz’s… and 21:30 bedtimes.