healthy living

Update on the Bridal Shape Up

As part of my New Year’s resolutions, I vowed to lose 10 pounds and get back down to my pre-CPA weight.  The main drive behind this goal?  My upcoming wedding, of course.  I’m pretty proud of the way I look right now, but I just want to get back my “happy” weight and also look good in a white dress (which, as we all know, isn’t quite as slimming as the color black).

I’m happy to report that I’ve finally shaken about 5 pounds off my frame.  FINALLY!  I was hovering around 142.5 for SO long, and now I’m back to about 137.5-138.0.  My goal for the end of January was 138.2, so I’ve already surpassed that goal.

So, how am I doing it?

The old-fashioned way, of course: hard workouts including heavy lifting, sprinting, and cardio intervals and clean eating.  (Sorry, I don’t have the magic ticket.  There just isn’t one.  Exercise + clean eats never fails.)  Here are some more details about my current routine:

  • 6 days of workouts.  I’ve been working out 6 days per week.  It may seem like a lot, but I don’t have kids, so I really have no excuse.  Like I said in my infamous Staying Motivated to Work Out post, what the heck else am I going to do?
  • 4 days of cardio.  Usually involves running, the rotating stair stepper (that thing is freaking tough!), or a class like kickboxing or spinning.  My runs usually last between 20-30 minutes depending on how I’m feeling or how much time I have.  They aren’t easy though (when is running ever easy?) – I sprint at 7.0 mph every 90 seconds.
  • 4 days of heavy lifting.  I’ve been doing arms, back, chest, and abs.  Heavy.  I am so loving lifting again.  Sure, you don’t see immediate results from lifting, but when the muscle weight gain and the metabolism surge finally level out, the weight just seems to MELT off.  I love it and I love weight lifting!
  • Sprints.  Supposedly really effective for fat burn.  At least that’s what my BFF figure competitor best friend always tells me.  These are super easy and quick, too.  I generally do these after I lift.  On the treadmill, I’ll sprint at 9.0+ mph for 30 seconds and then rest for 1 minute.  Right now, I’m only doing 5 sprints, twice a week, but plan to increase this the closer I get to the wedding.
  • Eating more frequently.  This is seriously a problem for me.  I often forget to eat throughout the day.  Bad, bad, BAD for your metabolism!  Since I switched to eating every 2-3 hours, I have really noticed a difference.  Not only do I feel better and have more energy, it really kicks my metabolism into high gear.
  • Protein, protein, protein.  Blech.  Protein is sooo lame.  I don’t really LOVE protein, but I’ve been eating more of it.  Every time I kick up the protein, I loose weight pretty quickly.  My main protein sources are coming from plain greek yogurt, protein powder, chicken, deli meat, protein bars, eggs, ground turkey, and sometimes ground beef.
  • Protein + complex carbs combo.  Research shows that if you eat these two things together, they work more efficiently in your body to burn fat and keep your energy and metabolism up.  I think it works.  I’m eating about 5 or 5 1/2 meals per day and they’re always a combination of these two things.  (Complex carbs = not bad carbs.  Basically nothing white.  Complex carbs are things like fruit, whole grains. sweet potatoes, etc..)
  • Veggies.  Ughhh, veggies.  I don’t HATE veggies, I just don’t LOVE them.  I love a good side of sautéed asparagus or broccoli, but that’s about it.  Surprisingly, I’m not very fond of salads, either.  But, we’re working on our relationship.

It may seem complicated, but it’s really not.  For example, here’s what I’ve been eating this week:

  • Breakfast:  oats with protein powder, peanut butter, cocoa, and a splash of skim milk (delicious!  I call it No-Bake Cookie Oatmeal and, yes, I’m obsessed.) OR a smoothie with spinach, fruit, plain greek yogurt, and oats
  • Snack:  protein bar (when I’m trying to lose weight, I usually eat Pure Protein bars)
  • Lunch: turkey meatballs in no added sugar marinara sauce (YUM!) with an orange and raw veggies (made some Sunday night and have been eating leftovers)
  • Snack: plain greek yogurt with no-calorie sweetener and a touch of granola & some berries
  • Dinner: ham, egg, and cheese sandwich OR chicken, sweet potato, and veggies OR some other protein/carb combo
  • Snack: if I’m hungry, I might have a glass of skim milk … but generally I’m not really hungry

My ultimate goal for the end of March (when I’ll get my dress altered) was going to be 133.0, but I may even be able to surpass that.  I NEVER plan to weigh less than 130.0 (since I’m 5’7” and have a good deal of muscle on my bod).

I want to note that I usually don’t focus as much on the number, but more on staying active and eating healthy.  I know I’ve been focused on the number for awhile, but that’s because 1) my wedding (and my honeymoon in Mexico!) is looming, and 2) it’s not where it should be.  But, I’m now less than 5 pounds away from my happy weight, so things are looking up!

What’s your favorite lean protein recipe?  (I need ideas …. ha.)

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  • I combine complex carbs with protein: spelt pancakes with added scoop(s) of protein powder (and you can even mix in vegetables in the batter, I use blended carrots). With a ‘green monster’ smoothie on the side, it keeps me full for a couple of hours.
    Another lean protein-rich meal is tuna salad: use canned tuna with oil, so you don’t have to use mayonaise. With an boiled egg (protein), plenty of lettuce, tomatoes, pickle and maybe a toasted (whole wheat) slice of bread, this will keep you full and satisfied for a while.
    Fish is always a good protein choice.
    Good luck with the final 5!

    • I try to eat some fish … but it’s not my favorite thing. I do love a good tuna salad, but never tried it in oil w/out the mayo! Good tip!

  • If you can do Greek yogurt (I have friends who can’t), it has boatloads of protein! Try this as a snack:

    8 oz fat free Greek yogurt
    1/4 cup oats
    1 banana
    2/3 cup frozen strawberries (or fresh, but where I live these are much cheaper!)
    2 tbsp sugar free maple syrup (combats the bitter taste pretty well without being too sweet)

    Mix it all together and it’s a tasty, filling snack/mini-meal. You can sub the fruit for other kinds depending on preference.

  • So glad to see that you have a HEALTHY goal in mind and that you have a certain weight you don’t want to go below. So smart!

    • Thanks, Bonnie! 🙂 Yeah, I would look silly if I ever went too far below a certain weight. Hollywood stick figures do NOT appeal to me!

  • I have found that sprints combined with weights is great for keeping the heart rate up and losing weight. I do a triple superset (legs, back, chest/arms) and then sprints for 5 minutes. Thats one interval, and I try to do 4 in an hour. By the end of the workout I am sweating, sucking wind, but know that I got a great work out in. Also, extra thick smoothies helps me stave off hunger longer. I tend to make a little more smoothie than I need, like 18 oz. or so. I drink 12 oz. for my meal, and then have the left over as a snack later in the day.

  • Homemade lean beef or ground turkey veggie chili, on it’s own or over wild rice – it’s awesome after a hard workout! Have you read any of Tosca Reno’s clean eating books or Oxygen Magazine? (she’s popular in Canada, I don’t know if she’s made it down in the states yet).

    I just started sprints this year to challenge myself on the treadmill (long distance running isn’t my thing) – thanks for the inspiration and tips!

  • Perfect timing for this post. Like many people I was super motivated as of Jan 1…but things started to dwindle. 3 out of 5 people in my house getting the belly bug didn’t help.
    Thanks for giving a shout out to us moms. I know it *shouldn’t* be an excuse, but having 3 kids under 3 and a husband who works full time and is in school makes it tricky to fit in workouts. This post brought me back to reality and I just finished a P90X workout in the living room while the baby was in her swing and the big kids are in PreSchool.
    My mom made me a bomb chicken salad the other day, not sure if it meets your standard of lean protein, but it sure is yummy.
    Canned chicken
    Mayo (I would assume you could use plain Greek yogurt too, I just haven’t tried it myself)
    pickles-chopped with a bit of juice
    Mix it up and enjoy.
    Also edamame is a fave quick, easy, protein snack too:)

  • One of my favorite protein/good carb combos is black beans or pinto beans with brown rice. Top it with salsa (I like mine extra-spicy) and some avocado, and you’ve got a healthy and filling lunch. Best of all, you can pre-make a week’s worth of beans and brown rice, put them in single-serve plastic containers, and throw them in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat, just thaw and add salsa/avocado!

  • Hi Amber, I was reading through your post and you said you still have 5 lb or so to get to your weight. I would like to share a bit of advice. I noticed you said one of your choice of protein was Deli Meat, also you have a no calorie sweetener in your yogurt.
    I know that deli meats contain a lot of sodium. Sodium prevents the body from releasing toxins such as trapped fats out, and it makes harder to loose the fat. You better off by cooking chicken or turkey and making a home made lunch meat your self. It will help you get to your goal faster. About the no calorie sweetener, I am not sure which kind you are using, if it’s stevia it’s not bad, but if you are eating another kind, it is worst than actually eating sugar. Because artificial no calorie sweeteners raise insulin levels higher than sugars, and even though they don’t contain calories, when your insulin spikes up, the body automatically stores fat.

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