Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Best Appetite Suppressant Available

Stress: Physical, mental or emotional strain.

Yup. That's about right and I've dealt with all three in the past week alone - and on more than one front.

I won't bore you with all of the details, but let's just say that the emotional roller coaster of life has been kicking my ass lately. I can't sleep. I can't eat. I'm f-ing tired and completely drained - and there's no end in sight.

On the bright side, I've lost another pound, but can still lift more than ever. I'm weighing in at a whopping 116 lbs now and, last night, I deadlifted 145 x5 and could have easily done twice that many. For chins I did BW +15lbs x 4, +10 lbs x5, +5 lbs x 5 and BW x 8...then did another 8 after my abs.

On top of that, I'm struggling to stave off a cold. It started a few days ago, but it hasn't totally reared its ugly head yet. Last night I had that drippy nose and teary eyes thing that keeps you up. I firmly believe that it's my diet and fasting that's keeping me from getting sicker. The only reason I have any symptoms is because of the stress and ensuing lack of sleep. I'm wound so tight right now I feel like I'm going to snap.

So, what to do? Keep on keeping on, I guess. Work has been great - very busy, but that's a good thing most of the time. I'm heading to Wichita next week and looking forward to meeting a ton of people I work with but whom I have never met in person. Unfortunately I'll be looking at 12+ hour days, so I don't see myself catching up on my rest.

Finding the motivation to workout has been tough since I'm dragging ass, but it did feel good to get back at it yesterday. Tomorrow is chest day. Let's see if I can break the 100-lb mark!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Cost of Your Free Hotel Breakfast



I'm sitting at a Hampton Inn in northern Maryland preparing for day 2 of the house-hunting trip with my husband. As soon as I left my room on the second floor, I was bowled over by the sweet and spicy smell of sweet rolls, donuts, sausage and maple syrup.

Venturing forth for my morning cup of black coffee with splenda - cortisol be damned - I was determined not to be intimidated by my nemesis: the glazed donut.

I can't help it, really. My love affair with glazed donuts stems from the Tastee Donut store I used to frequent as a child. They were serving fresh, warm glazed donuts long before the Krispy Kreme folks we're around.

I digress.

So, I'm sitting in the breakfast room as my senses are bombarded with the smell if breakfast past and I am NOT eating a glazed donut. I am sipping my coffee and watching the people around me load their plates with piles of waffles, sausage, sugary cereals and, yes, glazed donuts. While these foods may offer a few minutes of pleasure, the long-term cost of breaking my fast, derailing 2 months of discipline, and sending me into insulin overdrive when there's no workout in sight today is one I am just not willing to pay.

After all, I know better.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Details & My Food Pyramid(s)

I've had more than a few folks contact me here or on Facebook asking about the specifics of how I'm approaching Leangains.

My personal goal is to lose a signifcant amount of bodyfat while also adding compact muscle and strength - I was skinny fat when I began in January and wondering why all of my jeans were getting too tight.

The holidays and my poor eating habits had caught up with me, and I had gained more than a few extra pounds despite killing myself with HIIT at the gym 4-5x's a week. I worked out like a crazy person and could not get fit. Well, turns out, you can't exercise your way out of a bad diet.

When I first stumbled on
Martin's blog in early January, I was tipping the scales at about 128 lbs and had a significant belly as well as a lot of padding all around. I think I may have been close to 30% bodyfat and it made me sick.

Call it genetics if you want - my parents are both thick in the middle - but, after reading Leangains, I was determined that having a thick middle was not going to be my destiny and that it is, in fact, in my power to change it.

I'm not sure what my lean weight should be, to be honest. At my thinnest, my senior year in high school, I was 105 lbs, but not muscular at all. With that in mind, I don't know what my goal lean weight is, but I do know what it looks like (see picture in the right margin of me in 5 months).

To lose fat, I try to stay under 1,300 kcals on non-training days and slightly over on days I do train. On all days I try to eat 1.2g protein per lb of bodyweigt (approx. 142 g or 568 calories each day/or 45% of my total kcals).

That leaves me about 730 calories left to split between fat and carbs.

Training Days
On training days, I eat more carbs - approx. 400 calories/or nearly 100g a day. This represents about 30% of 1,300 kcals. That only leaves about 330 kcals for fat, or 36g (remember, 1 g fat = 9 kcals while 1g carb or protein = 4 kcals.)

I try to eat my largest meal after my workout. If I train in the morning, I sip 10g BCAAs on the way to the gym; 10g an hour after training and another 10 g an hour after that. Then, at 1 p.m. I'll have a huge protein-packed lunch and some berries. Dinner will be a very healthy portion of protein, a ton of veggies and some carbs depending on my lunch portion. Before 9 pm, I make fluff or have a casein shake with one scoop plus skim milk.

Rest Days
On non-training days I reverse the ratio and eat 45% kcals in protein, 20% or less in carbs and the rest in fat.

And, though I should eat my largest meal at lunch, during the work week I save this larger meal for dinner with the family or dinner and drinks with friends and will just eat a light lunch of mostly protein and fat. As always, I'll have a casein shake, cottage cheese or fluff before 9 pm.


I should also note that I am a veggie freak - broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, carrots, corn, green beans, snap beans, celery, onions, mushrooms, cucumbers, red and green cabbage, zucchini, tomatoes, lettuce of all varieties. You name it and I will most likely eat it.

As for my fats, I use bacon grease or olive oil in most of my cooking. I love avocadoes and cheese (sparingly) as well as the crispy skin of a roasted chicken and fatty cuts of beef as well as salmon.

Protein is the norm - chicken, fish, beef or pork and occasionally lunch meats, but they're so salty I have a hard time eating much of them.

Carbs include pinto or black beans, chickpeas, yams, berries/fruit, brown rice, whole wheat couscous, whole wheat pasta, whole grain tortillas and taco shells, etc. And, yes, I skip the breadbasket.

So, there you have it. I'm not being personally guided by anyone in my quest to get lean. I'm just reading all that I can, cutting out most unnecessary carbs and sugars and lifting heavy.

**As a sidenote - I did 9 wide-grip pullups my first set the other day and benched 95 x5 - Two more personal records and indicators that now it's time to add weight again.**

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Stronger than I thought...

Yesterday at the gym I was ready to deadlift. My back had been bothering me for weeks since I landed flat on it snowboarding, but I was finally feeling pretty normal.

I've been deadlifting about 110lbs, 5x and the past couple of times and it was pretty hard. I would then then decrease the weight for a couple more sets. I am keeping a pretty meticulous training journal of my weights and reps and sets, etc., and thought I could start a little heavier...

This time I started at 125 and did 5 with very little effort. Damn. So I blew my initial strength on too low of a weight. So I waited a few minutes and did one more set at that same weight. Still too easy. Hmmmm...Could I be getting that much stronger this quickly? So I waited a few more minutes, threw on two more 5 lb plates and did 5 at 135 lbs. Still too easy. I did one more drop set of 8 and then decided to just stop and start much heavier next week.

After about 5-10 minutes of rest, I did weighted close-grip chinups (my fave). I started with 12 extra lbs and cranked out 5. Excellent progress. Dropped to 10 lbs and did 6. Dropped to 7 lbs and did 6. Dropped to 5 lbs and did 6 and, finally, did 8 just body weight chins.

I'm thinking I may have to go to BW+15 lbs for first set next time. Wow, it feels great. I can finally see why so many people say they feel their abs when doing chin-ups. I felt mine working yesterday! (note: I rested about 3 mins between each set. The longer I rest, the more I can do on the consecutive sets. duh, I know.)

All in all, a decent workout, but I need to tweak the weights. Do heavier weights and fewer sets and see what happens. In the meantime, I'd be lying if I said I didn't LOVE being able to do chins when so many guys can't.

I can't wait until I can do 5-6 chins with the big plate hanging from the belt.
I will definitely get some video to post when I get up to 35+ extra lbs! Stay tuned.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Refeed Success!!!!

I don't know whether it was the massive amount of deep dish chicago pizza I ate on Thursday or the ensuing lack of appetite I experienced for three days post-pizzaextravaganza, but I finally busted through my plateau of 119 lbs. This morning, I am proud to announce, I'm down to 117 lbs!

For those of you who missed it, here is the chronology of my pizza feast at Pizzeria Uno in downtown Chicago last Thursday afternoon. Pictured here is just the demise of a single slice. I, however, took my refeed very seriously and consumed TWO of these gargantuan pieces of pizza. It was a quarter of the pizza. I even out-ate my much larger colleague who I was dining with. He has to wonder where in the hell I put it all!


I waited more than 13 years for this!



What a delicious mess...



OMG, so stuffed and SO worth it!

For kicks, I looked up the nutritional info on the Numero Uno pictured above. I had a quarter of a regular size pizza, so I think it was 2 servings, but I could be wrong. Either way, I consumed my normal daily allotment of calories in about 15 minutes and I don't regret it for a second.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A protein-packed lunch





Lunch today:

8 oz rotisserie chicken (white and dark meat)
7 brussels sprouts (sauteed)
4 organic strawberries







The nutrient breakdown is as follows (I forgot to add the couple tsp of bacon fat I cooked the sprouts in, so the fat is actually a bit higher than posted below). Click the picture to enlarge.

All in all, 52 g protein, 20 g carbs, and 530 calories. Just under half of my allotment of 1300 for a rest day.

Dinner is ribeye steak (probably about 6 oz, broccoli-cauliflower mash, green beans and some blueberries in protein milk for dessert.

Mmmmm...too bad I'm really not that hungry yet. Not sure how I'll eat 90 more grams of protein before 9 pm.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Grilled chicken, zucchini, avocado and cauliflower/potato mash





Today's lunch

7 oz (cooked weight) grilled chicken, 1/2 avocado, a cup of zucchini and a half-cup of my homemade red potato/cauliflower mash.





Approx nutrient breakdown...

Any questions?



Traveling on Leangains

Just got back from Chicago and my first trip while following Leangains. I wasn't gone but 2.5 days, but found that getting protein on the road that's not laden in fat or sodium is no easy proposition.

My first flight was easy as it was in the morning. No breakfast was even offered on the plane, so I had some black coffee with a sprinkle of splenda and watched Riding Giants on my iPad.

Had a 2-hour layover in Minneapolis - I know! But it was the cheapest way to get to Chicago. By now it was about 12:30 EST and nearly time to eat my first meal. I found a Chili's Too by my gate and studied the menu. Burgers...too much fat...no pasta, no quesadilla's...so I settled on the quesadilla explosion salad.


It was grilled chicken, corn, cheese, black beans, tomatoes, with a vinaigrette of some kind. Sounds good, right? Well, it eventually was, but the first one they brought out -i forgot to tell them to put the dressing on the side...it was so soggy that the lettuce was actually transparent. In sent it back and got one plain with the dressing on the side. Turns out it was actually tow types of dressing they had on there. One was like a balsamic vinaigrette and the other was some creamy chipotle stuff. I used maybe 1/4 of what the gave me. I enjoyed the salad, but it was not nearly enough protein. I would recommend having them double the chicken next time.

Once in Chicago, I was picked up by a colleague, shuttled around for a while before landing in our executive offices where, much to my delight, I found 3 tubs of protein powder in the break room. What can I say? I work for health nuts.

Still, knowing I had an evening event ahead of me, I didn't eat anything. At the event I passed on the dips and went straight for the cocktail shrimp and turkey roll ups. I did have a couple of glasses of red wine.

After the event, my colleague took me to dinner. It was after my feeding window by about an hour, but I decided it would be a good idea to eat a real meal. I had two very thick center-cut chops on the bone with broccoli and ate it all while my coworker had the smallest piece of fish I've ever seen, broccoli and the two giant pieces of garlic Texas toast that came with our meals...I skipped my toast.

The next morning I had my usual black coffee and I was very much looking forward to lunch. We headed downtown to pizzeria UNO where I once again out-ate my colleague - I should probably mention that he is large and quite overweight. I had two gigantic pieces of deep dish pizza with sausage, pepperoni, green peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions. Other than being thirsty and burping a bunch for about an hour after, I was hungry again a few hours later.

No harm done.

Went out that night and imbibed on a few martinis and an appetizer of sweet chili beef in lettuce wraps. While I was supposed to go lo to no carb on a drinking day, the timing couldn't be helped. Hopefully my lite dinner offset much of the damage. Oh, I and had a short workout that morning where I did 4 sets of chin ups and standing military presses.

Friday I headed home and had a chicken Cobb salad (with the dressing on the side) for lunch and chicken Marsala (no pasta) and a salad for dinner when I got home.

I have no idea what my calories were for the week, but I feel light and my pants are still loose. Need to work harder on getting more protein on the road. I think I'll run with the jerky idea a couple of you suggested.

Gym today for a real workout and I cant wait!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My First Challenge

Sticking to the LG approach to life while I'm home or at the office has been pretty easy. I only eat between 1 pm - 9 pm every day; I eat at least half of my calories as protein and the rest as fats and veggies with the occasional starch thrown in on workout days...

But what is a girl to do when she's traveling for business and forced to follow someone else's schedule?

Next week I'm headed to Chicago for business. The agenda? Wednesday night cocktail party/schmooze fest with the CEO. Wine and hors d'oeuvres a plenty...Piles of protein - Who knows? I'm thinking I'll fast most of the day until I get to Chicago (airline food sucks anyway) and find some kind of massive protein to eat before the party. I'll bring some BCAAs and my shaker cup to help tide me over. At the worst, maybe I can get some kind of protein and veggies in Minneapolis on my layover. Yippee.

Thursday I'm planning a major refeed - my first, actually. I haven't eaten authentic deep-dish Chicago-style pizza in about 13 years and I don't plan on holding back this time. Luckily, I think it'll be on the menu for lunch, so I'll have the rest of the day to behave - and hit the fitness center at the hotel.

And Friday I will be flying through my entire feeding window of 1-9 pm...so I will do my best to seek out protein and will be sure to pack my Casein as well. Not sure what kind of portable protein snacks I can take as most protein bars are loaded with carbs...Maybe I'll hit up Martin's following on Facebook and see if they have any suggestions.