30 Day Shred – Second Round

Having enjoyed pretty amazing results from 30 Day Shred last year, it was pretty much a given that I will give it another try. Since I was diligent enough to document my experience with the program daily, it is interesting to be able to compare how my fitness level changed. As I have previously mentioned, I have quit all of my DVD workouts right after my last weightloss update, but have been figure skating almost daily since around October, which appears to have done wonders for my endurance.

Compared to last year, Level 1 of the 30 Day Shred was a walk in the park. While some of the exercises, such as push ups, have definitely taken a set back, overall, I hardly even broke a sweat. Judging from the “anterior raises” exercise from the third round, which I absolutely despised last year, even my arms appear to be stronger: I was able to do it with 5lbs dumbbells, missing just a few.

As to the results, I am not quite sure what to think. My scale is showing +0.4 lbs, and since I haven’t been taking pictures, it is hard to say whether this is a muscle gain or a result of my diet being less than perfect. I do think that I look better at my current weight than I used to look at the same weight last year, but maybe I am just not being honest with myself. In fact, I am wondering if this workout is simply no longer challenging enough to show noticeable results as it did last year. Still plan to stick around till the end, so time will show.

Check out my 2013 30 DS diary:


To run or not to run?

Running – one word strong enough to throw some serious shivers down my spine. I can’t think of any physical activity more torturous than moving my feet at a fast pace, while panting, sweating, and trying not to be distracted by all the black spots in my eyes. It boggles my mind that some people voluntarily subject themselves to this form of exercise multiple times a week, and even more so that many claim to quite enjoy it.

I am not sure why I hate running so much. I used to think that it was my long-standing neglect of any form of exercise that caused me to feel like I was about to die 10-second into it. For the last 4 years, however, I have been figure skating regularly – daily, for the last 6 months. Considering that figure skating keeps my heart rate above 150 for over an hour without unpleasant side-effects, I would expect to have enough endurance to withstand 30 minutes of slow-paced jogging on a flat surface by now. Alas, while slightly less torturous, it is still a drag.

Chances are, I was simply not born to run, but then, perhaps I’ve just never given it enough time. In any case, living in California, it is hard not to feel like a leper when you have trouble keeping pace for longer than 2 minutes. With this in mind, about a week ago, I decided to dust off my Couch-2-5k app, and give running another try. I believe, it is my 4th attempt to power through 9 weeks of training, and that the longest I was able to stick to it was 5 weeks. Let’s see if I can make it this time.

One Year Later

It has been nearly a year since my successful attempt to lose a considerable amount of weight. I never quite accomplished my goal of going back to 125 pounds, but I was close enough to feel rather good about myself. After struggling with those pesky extra 20 pounds for years, I was certain that once I managed to get back in shape, I will never go back. Well, turns out, bad habits are much harder to get rid of than some books would make you believe. The most optimistic ones claim that it takes 21 days to form a new habit; others give it about 90 days. I have stayed away from sweets for nearly a year, and still, when I fell of the wagon, I fell really hard, gaining all the pounds back in a matter of one or two months.

As per usual, I attribute every single ounce to ungodly amounts of ice cream and chocolate – although I did manage to stay away from baked goods this time, thanks to my Paleo ways (speaking about Paleo, my sweet tooth aside, I have been following it pretty religiously for almost a year now, and am still loving it). Unfortunately, stuffing my face with chocolate and ice cream has had pretty much the same effect on the size of my behind as brownies and chocolate chip cookies, so at the moment I am back to square one. My eating habits were not the only ones to take the wrong turn this year, I have given up on serious exercise right around the time of my last post, although I have been figure skating daily since around October, which, I suppose, should have helped a bit.

Having failed to properly fit into my stretchiest pair of jeans a couple of weeks ago, I can no longer ignore the sad truth: I must get my act together now, or it will take me another 6 years to do so. The plan is pretty much the same, with lots of exercise and strict Paleo. There is also this little bet that I have with my friend, which might cost me up to a $1000 if I totally fail, so let the Hunger games begin.

Weightloss Update #5

1. Height: 5’8″

2. Current Weight: 135.5lbs (-6.0lbs since last weight-in; – 20.5 lbs total)

4. Fitness Challenge: In April my fitness challenge was to complete Ripped in 30. In May, when things got crazy in school, it was to just workout at least 5 times a week, alternating Ripped in 30, 30 Days Shred, No more Trouble Zones, and Banish Fat Boost Metabolism.

5. Diet challenge: Continue to stay away from grains, dairy, legumes, sugar and any sort of processed foods. Watch portion sizes and eat only when hungry. Try not to eat between 6pm and 10am. Fast once a week from 6pm to 6pm of the following day. Drink at least 2 liters of water per day. And most importantly, to not let stress lead to long spells of bad eating.

6. How did it go: Everything considered, I think I did amazingly. I did manage to complete Ripped in 30 in April and then worked out at least 5 days a week during the first 3 weeks of May. In May, knowing that I’ll be extremely busy in school, I consciously decided not to set any strict rules for myself so that I do not to feel guilty when I can’t follow them. On the days that I did not feel like working out, I did a short workout from either 30 Days Shred or Ripped in 30, and on the days when I did, I went for No More Trouble Zones or Banish Fat Boost Metabolism. Overall, it came down to at least two long workouts per week.

7. Failures and slip-ups: There were two or three of times when I did go on a little binge, but these binges never lasted for longer than one day. Every time after it would happen I felt extremely worried that I’d go back to my naughty ways, but fortunately,  the only thing that these binges have shown me was that I really don’t care for all the crappy foods I used to crave. Don’t get me wrong, I still like me a yummy desert, but if you really listen to your taste buds, the sugary stuff that comes from the supermarket  simply does not taste good, and I am most certainly not going to cheat on my über healthy diet with anything that does not taste heavenly.

8. Results: The results, in my subjective opinion, are amazing. I am down another 6lbs since my last weight in, and for the first time in many years, I like what I see in the mirror. Overall, I have lost 21lbs and am super close to reaching my goal weight. Because I feel very comfortable in my skin right now, I am beginning to take things a bit slower: I’m still planning to workout frequently and eat clean, but my focus is not so much on losing weight but on developing a system I could stick to for the rest of my life.

9. Progress photo: You can see the rest of my progress shots here

May 26

10. Finally: And just so that you can truly appreciate the difference, a side by side comparison:

february vs may

Back with a vengeance

In case anyone has been wondering, my prolonged disappearance from the blogging world had nothing to do with my falling off the wagon and going back to my face stuffing ways. I have simply been super busy trying not to fail all of my classes in the last semester before graduating from college. To say that it has been a stressful month is not to say anything as in addition to taking 21 credits, I have been working part-time as a nanny and trying to find a real full-time job. Even though I came super close to failing my French (due to skipping third of the classes) and really struggled to make myself study, I’ve managed to finish the semester rather with two As, to Bs, and a D, about which my old, 4.0 GPA maintaining self, would have been extremely upset, but my current, sick from going to college for the past 9 years self, couldn’t care less. Long story short, I did manage to graduate, and could not be happier about that – especially because I was receiving my diploma with a pretty amazing full-time job offer in my pocket.