Thursday, May 23, 2013

Fitness Update

As I mentioned in a previous post, this year's birthday present to myself was the gift of health. I got a gym membership (thanks to Panda) and started eating healthier in order to feel better and lose weight. The past month and a half has been a path to self discovery as well as educational as I've been reading up on all things weight loss. The most important thing I've discovered about myself is that I love to eat...really bad food. I also binge eat a lot. So part of my discovery has been digging deep into my relationship with food.

It's no surprise that I love to eat - my website name says it all: The Hungry Latina. But I never really realized what makes me want to eat or why I eat the things that I do until I came across a fitness blog that really spoke to me because they talk about what it's like to have a food addiction and how to overcome the challenges that present themselves by having a food addiction. Coach Calorie makes you ask yourself "Why? Why do you eat the foods that you do?" Do you eat out of frustration? Out of sadness? Out of stress? Out of anger? Out of boredom? Do you eat because you're really hungry or just because you want to satisfy an emotional need? These questions really got me to thinking and made me realize that I crave ridiculously calorific foods when I'm stressed out or down in the dumps (gelato anyone?) to make myself feel better for a little bit. Once the euphoria of eating the junk food wore off, then set in the regret and self loathing. This has been a continuous toxic cycle that has been going on for as long as I can remember and I've always had a love/hate relationship with food and dieting.

As much as I hate to admit this, a few weeks into my life style change, I had a meltdown in front of Panda. It was one of those ugly cries that involves hiccuping, lots of snot, and more crying. I felt that I was giving up all the foods I loved for the rest of my life and that I was stuck eating rabbit food for eternity. How was I ever to survive without burritos or cupcakes? While none of this is true, I tend to be a drama queen when it comes to giving up things, especially when it comes to food. From that moment on, I vowed to find another way to patch up my relationship with food and become more aware of what type of hunger I'm feeding. Is it physical or emotional hunger? Most of the time, my hunger tends to be emotional hunger because I'm bored. The solution has always been eating something because it gives me something to do and makes me feel better mentally until the realization of what I did sets in. As you can see, it has become a vicious cycle that has dominated my life until now because I've decided that I'm no longer going to be a slave to my food demons.

Another important thing that I've learned the past couple months, is to take baby steps versus making multiple changes all at once. When it comes to dieting and fitness, I've always taken the "All or Nothing" approach which only works for a short time before I crash and burn into a massive binge eating frenzy. Sure I've lost 20 pounds by eating 1200 calories and going to the gym 6 days a week and depriving myself until I snapped and scarfed down 5 cookies, a honey bun, and a soda in a matter of 10 minutes in my car hoping no one would see or know. I've had a handful of personal trainers and they all made me do the same thing over and over - restrict my eating and made me believe that I could never eat more than 1200 calories otherwise I'd gain all the weight back. It's no wonder I fell off the fitness band wagon for more than 2 years, gained 25 pounds, and a myriad of health issues. I'm not saying that personal trainers are bad, but what happens once you reach your weight goal? How do you maintain your weight and hold onto healthy habits to successfully keep the weight off? I've never had trainers that told me this secret. It seemed as though the weight loss goal was the destination and then it was all up to me after that. Well, we all know what happens when the The Hungry Latina is left to her own devices. Honey bun binge anyone?

While baby steps are important, they are especially frustrating for impatient people like me. I want to see results, and I want to see them NOW. I started eating 1600 calories religiously, tracking every morsel that went into my mouth, and working out but the scale budged a measly 4 pounds. What was I doing wrong?! I was trying to do too many things at once. I took a step back and focused on my eating. I went 2 weeks without wrecking my calorie goal of 1600. I even had a legit cheat meal at In and Out Burger that still kept me within my daily calorie goal thanks to an epic 1000 calorie workout by Fitness Blender. My goal was simple those 2 weeks - eat 1600 calories worth of fulfilling meals. Once I accomplished that goal, I made the next change which was following an exercise plan.

Since I'm on a budget, hiring a personal trainer was out of the question and going to the gym without a plan has never worked for me. Through the Livestrong app, I found out about HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts and was intrigued so I did some research. My research took me to Fitness Blender which has a ton of free workout videos that focus on just about every part of the body. They also have 3 workout programs that are 8 weeks long that break down your workouts day to day with the different corresponding videos, required equipment, and approximate calories burned per workout. The best part of the workout program was that it is affordable! I paid a whopping $6.99 for the PDF that downloaded immediately to my iPhone. I can do the workouts at home or at the gym as long as I have access to youtube.com. The website also has articles and videos regarding food and diet changes.

Now that I've managed to get my eating under control and a workout plan to follow, my goal for this week is to exercise 6 times this week. So far this week I'm on track to meet that goal as long as I stay focused and keep my motivation high (i.e. mind over matter). Here's to accomplishing goals!