Winter wonderland and a workout

by Kim on November 24, 2014

As I write this, it’s snowing outside (in the pretty winter wonderland kind of way), I have a really cozy-smelling candle burning (still loving these), and I’m drinking tea (the standard). Bonus: both kids are miraculously sleeping at the same time.

It’s so nice that I’m almost tempted to think “maybe winter ain’t so bad.”

Almost.

(I can already see the me of 3 months from now, and she’s not looking so thrilled with it.)

At least it’s better than the rainy gloominess we had for the entire weekend. We took a family trip to the library, and I ran a few errands on Saturday, but other than that, we pretty much camped out at home.

I was shocked we had a full house for BodyFlow last night, given the weather—the biggest crowd I’ve taught yet, I think. It was my first time doing the “standing strength” track, which is the hardest in this release, and I was nervous alllll daaay loooong. Luckily, no mistakes!

One thing I’ve been loving about teaching is that the workouts feel so much easier while teaching vs. participating. It’s both weird and awesome. I can think of a couple possible reasons: 1) I’m too busy thinking about choreography and coaching to think about how much my muscles are screaming, 2) I know exactly what’s coming, 3) Peer pressure! (We all kinda think people are watching us in classes, but when you’re teaching, you KNOW they are.)

Anyway, I hear a squeaking baby in the next room (see, the winter fantasy is over already), but I wanted to share this workout I’ve been doing here and there over the past few weeks. Since I still have that postpartum belly going on, I’m all about them planks—this workout weaves them in with compound strength moves for a super efficient sweat session.

Core Power Workout

Split stance with alternating dumbbell rows: Drop into a lunge and alternate rows on either side of the body, engaging the core to keep everything but your arms stable. Switch legs each round.

Rotating side planks: Get into a high plank, on hands, and take two steps in one direction with both hands and feet. Lift the body to a side plank. Drop back to the plank, take two steps in the other direction, and do another side plank. Repeat.

Squat to overhead press: Squat low with dumbbells at your sides. Rise to standing, then lift the arms and push dumbbells straight up overhead.

High plank, knees to elbows: Hold a high plank, on hands. Reach a knee under to the opposite elbow, then switch sides. Repeat for 1 minute.

Reverse lunges with dumbbell bicep curls: Lunge backward, lifting the dumbbells into bicep curls on your way down. Lower weights as you rise back up to standing.

Elbow plank see-saws: Hold a low plank, on elbows, and slowly lower your thighs to the floor as the chest lifts slightly. Then lift thighs and lower chest back to the horizontal. Repeat, keeping the legs straight and core tight the whole time.

 

Let me know if you give this a shot!

Have a wonderful week. :)

xo

Kim

{ 4 comments }

Reflections on the 10 day no sugar challenge

by Kim on November 21, 2014

So, my 10 day no sugar challenge is officially over!

Now comes the part where I brain dump on you about it. Excited??

sugar

The end was actually really anticlimactic. I thought I was going to wake up to angels singing and mounds of golden chocolate in the living room, but it was kinda just another day. We still didn’t have anything sweet in the house, and I wasn’t very motivated to go get anything, sooo… nothing really changed.

Don’t worry: I had a pumpkin beer last night (after staring at it in the fridge for a WEEK) and I’m planning a run to Trader Joe’s that will definitely involve the buying of some kind of sweet thing (things?). But I’m thrilled to find that my cravings really are more under control now. I feel no desire to dive into that box of Oreos I would have KILLED for a week ago.

Case in point: yesterday morning (aka Day 1 of Freedom), I met with my mom group at church, and there were (no exaggeration) TEN different kinds of pie there, in honor of Thanksgiving. (I think? or maybe just in honor of pie?) I picked some kind of French silk, took one wildly sugartastic bite (like—woah), and I kid you not, the thing sat there on my plate the rest of the morning and I eventually just threw it away.

WHO AM I??

I don’t know if it was some kind of subconscious guilt for eating a “forbidden” food again, but regardless, I do know this: sugar detoxes WORK.

For one thing, I was finally able to get the scale to budge a little. I lost 3 pounds in 10 days (keep in mind that I still have baby weight to lose—that might not be typical) and am feeling this awesome FREE feeling. Finally, sugar doesn’t own me!

It’s not that the cravings have completely disappeared—I still think about having something sweet after meals, and especially after dinner. But one of my goals for the challenge was to teach myself to accept less sweet things as sweet enough, and two nights ago, I saw it happen. I was wanting something sweet (probably partially because I’d just gotten back from the gym and my body was desperate for carbs), so I reached for an apple, and I was surprised that it was enough.

I honestly never thought I’d be ok with fruit as a dessert, but I really was—and not even in a “because I have no choice” way. My favorite tea (which is pretty sweet tasting) has actually been really satisfying in the evenings too.

To be clear: I wasn’t perfect on the detox. I told you I had wine, but there were a few other little things too. Nothing major, but I did let some things with 1-2g of sugar sneak in here and there—mostly for convenience (I found cooking sugar-free to be exhausting!) and because I was confident they wouldn’t sabotage me.

Anyway, I wanted to share a few details about my experience, along with my overall thoughts on the challenge:

What it was like

For me, the beginning and the end were pretty easy, but the few days in the middle were TOUGH. There are a few different reasons I can think of to explain that…

–I started on a Monday, aka the universal Let’s Start New Things day. I felt motivated and prepared, and my cravings weren’t bad at all. I knew better than to think the whole thing was going to be a breeze, but I felt like I was off to a decent start.

–I happened to also get a cold on Monday (luckily, I was already starting to get it over the weekend—otherwise I might have blamed it on the detox). This was actually super helpful because it crushed my appetite. Nothing that wasn’t soup sounded that appealing, even chocolate. (I know.)

So if you’re thinking about doing a detox, I recommend waiting until your next cold. (Just kidding…kind of…)

–I think it’s a good time of year for a detox. The cold weather lends itself better to nourishing foods made in the oven or slow cooker (which I think are the easiest to make sugar-free) and the pre-holiday timing is helpful. I’m pretty sure I would have struggled a lot more with a summer detox, since there’s usually more going on (and more opportunities to indulge).

–Day 5 was the worst, probably largely because it was Friday, aka the universal Day of Indulgence. Brent and I have been known to get takeout and enjoy some adult beverages on Friday nights, but that was a no-go on the challenge.

–The weekend was not easy, but also not as hard as Friday night. The biggest problem at that point was that I was sick of COOKING. I usually slack off in the cooking department on the weekends, but there are basically zero convenience foods that don’t have added sugar, so the meat + veggies train had to roll on.

–Once we got back into the week, my confidence bounced back and the cravings disappeared. I didn’t really even need my sugar-free treats anymore. I call this the “OMG this is pretty awesome” phase.

What I learned about sugar

–Labels are confusing. I found several foods that said Sugars: 0g on the label, but still had a word that meant sugar in the ingredient list. (Often, it was an artificial sugar.)

I also saw the reverse: no sugar words in the ingredients, but a couple grams of sugar in the nutrition facts (typically from naturally occurring sugars—even veggies, like corn and carrots, have sugar in the them).

So it was tricky deciding where to draw the line, which is why I ended up allowing a few super low sugar items.

–The only way to truly avoid sugar is to make things yourself. (But even my homemade tomato sauce had some sugar in it from the tomatoes…)

P.S. I did finally find a sugar-free bacon, thanks to Becky—Market Pantry brand at Target!

–It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’re not consuming much sugar just because you’re limiting desserts. But that stuff is eeeverywhere. Try glancing at the gram total of sugar on the nutrition facts of your main foods for a few days—you might find some surprises!

What I learned about myself

–I’m not an eggs-for-breakfast girl. I’m not even a food-for-breakfast girl, really (I’d much rather have a smoothie). I tried. I really tried. I know that eggs are super healthy and they’re an awesome choice for breakfast, but I just couldn’t get into it.

–After meals and evenings are the hardest times of the day for my sugar cravings. I think it’s a good idea to find ways to “take the edge off” with something like fruit, tea, or a low-sugar hard candy at some of those times, rather than always going for the treat (even when treats are “allowed”). You might have to train your body to accept these lower sugar alternatives, but it can be done!

–I’m not a fan of sugar-free cooking. I’m not a huge fan of cooking in general, so the sugar-free angle just makes everything even more tedious. I didn’t realize how much sugar = convenience.

–Moderation is not enough for weight loss. My postpartum weight loss journey has been super slow, despite working out and “eating pretty healthy” (most subjective phrase ever). It was eye-opening to see what I had to do to actually lose a little weight (keeping in mind that I’m still not getting the sleep I need and my hormones are probably not quite balanced yet—two big weight loss sabotagers).

General detox thoughts

–I’ve said this before, but I think a 10-day no sugar challenge like the one suggested in the documentary Fed Up is extremely aggressive for the average family. It’s just really really hard, even for people who don’t eat a ton of sugar to begin with.

However, the lessons learned and knowledge gained from even the most epic failure would still be super valuable (even if it’s just “wow, I do eat a lot of sugar”). And I agree that an all-or-nothing approach is the only way to really learn those lessons. The hard part would be convincing people to recognize that, in this case, even failing is still winning.

–I feel that a 95% detox is JUST as valuable as a picture perfect 100% (meaning, a few low-sugar things sneak in, but you’re mostly shooting for an all-or-nothing detox). I don’t know all the science behind it (would my cravings be even more resolved if I’d been 100% clean?), but at least psychologically, I think almost perfect is just as good, if not better, than perfect.

–The question now is: what comes after the detox? It doesn’t seem smart to go back to the exact same way I was eating before, but I definitely have zero intentions of extending the challenge (umm, it’s Thanksgiving week??).

So my plan is to:

  • Cling to my new skill of accepting-less-sweet-things-as-sweet by opting for those “take the edge off” options after meals and in the evenings.
  • Focus more on going low carb, which will automatically block some of the added sugars and (hopefully) help keep the weight loss going.
  • Keep an eye on the desserts and stop making sweet snacks like energy balls (which are delicious, but sadly loaded with sugar and irresistible to me).

Final thoughts

The last 10 days were tough, but I’m so glad I did this challenge! And I could see myself doing it again—maybe I should make it an annual pre-holiday thing?

If anyone out there is struggling with uncontrollable sugar cravings, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that you CAN get rid of them. The bad news is that there’s only one way, and it’s zero tolerance. Goodbye sugar. (For a little while.)

 

Now, it’s time for the real test: THANKSGIVING. Will I be back at square one by this time next week?

TO BE CONTINUED…

(haha)

xo

Kim

{ 16 comments }

My bloggy comfort zone and day 10 of no sugar

November 19, 2014

I completely forgot to tell you that my first post for the local Moms Blog went live last week. It was kind of intimidating putting myself out there to a whole new group of readers, so I’m glad to have that first post out of the way! Of course, I had to stay in my […]

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Inspiration board #7

November 17, 2014

I have two words: TOO. SOON. I ventured out with Mason for his first snow experience of the year, and…it was a little rough. He could barely walk in his boots (I think they’re the right size? It’s seriously impossible to be sure). He threw snowballs straight up in the air and they landed on […]

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I mustache you some questions

November 13, 2014

Hey guys! So it’s Day 4 of the sugar detox, and it’s actually going shockingly well. Like, I only dreamt about Oreos one time (why Oreos?? I haven’t had them in like a year), and I even resisted the two tiny leftover bites of chicken nuggets on Mason’s plate (if that sounds gross—trust me, it’s […]

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The natural sugar halo

November 11, 2014

I’m definitely guilty of thinking that as long as I’m eating natural sugar, and not the evil white stuff, I’m being healthy. But the more I research and think about this, the more I realize the sad, sad, SAD (it deserves 3 sads) truth: Sugar is sugar. Sure, it’s better for our overall health to […]

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No sugar day 1 + newborn pics!

November 10, 2014

Hey guys! How was your weekend? I had one of those “what did I do all weekend?” weekends. Mostly, I remember a lot of hanging out with this super serious kid: On Saturday morning, I went to a hot yoga class, and something horrible happened. I put my hair up in a super tight bun, […]

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Blog changes, hair drama, and women’s weight loss

November 7, 2014

I know a lot of bloggers say that their Friday posts are random, but I’m secretly competing for the most random post of all time today. If you can find even a thread of a theme in this post, I’ll be horrified. –We had a get together for the Madison Moms Blog (which I recently […]

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10 days, no sugar: the plan

November 6, 2014

Woohoo! The winner of the Skoop protein powder giveaway is posted! Is it you?? Oh man. It’s coming up, people. In 4 days, I’m going 100% sugar free for the following 10. (Is that pathetic that it feels like such a monumental thing?) Since I’m an organizational freak, I have to pre-plan everything in my […]

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The thing about at-home workouts

November 4, 2014

I feel like there’s a lot of hype around the at-home workout thing. It’s SOO convenient! No pricey gym membership! No travel! No revealing your makeup-less face to the world! Available 24/7 and 100% portable!! But here’s the thing about working out at home that no one talks about… It’s freaking hard. First of all, […]

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