Saturday, March 26, 2011

Weekend Highlights: Bambouserie and 'Anything But Clothes'

Happy Belated Monday, everyone! What a weekend!

As promised, here are a few photos from my trip to the Bambouseraie this weekend. What a beautiful day and relaxing walk in the park. Got some activity in AND felt like I took an afternoon trip to Asia:

Arcade down the center of the park

Look how big the bamboo stalks were on average...
Did you know even bamboo this big grows to its full height in 3 months?

Japanese aquatic garden (i.e. best way to get Clément in a photo is to pretend encourage him to not be in it) ;)

Chasing Clément around the maze. It's moments like this that make me realize how far I've come. Stuff like playing with him is now fun instead of embarrassing and tiring. :)

In comparaison with the US, these are "small" redwoods.

Anyway, it was a great day. Came home, went and babysat for the girls and then got roped in to attending an "Anything but clothes" party for a bit. Pretty funny, though it really killed my day of responsible eating... I had no problem resisting the alcohol, but then they got out birthday cake. I guess on a positive note, I tracked it like I should and have since moved on. Can't beat yourself up, right?

Arrival at party, sans outfit (was just stopping by to see Kyle—the guy next to me—and his outfit)

Success! Trashbag with boatneck, cellophane belt, aluminum foil flower,bracelet, and tiara. Win.

Anyway, today has been a good start to the week. Didn't work out, but have ended my calories at an acceptable 1,298 for the day. Now, off to bed so I can wake up in the morning and run! More on the run and joining the 7 Day Chip in my next post! :)

Weigh-In Day and a Make-Up Run!

I actually did what I told you all I would last night and got up this morning at 7am, donned my running apparel and hit the road for my 4 mile run that I was supposed to do yesterday (but got sidetracked by the sun):

Not only am I proud because this was actually longer than 4 miles (I forgot to turn Mr. Garmin back on when I stopped to take off my jacket), but I'm really proud because it's the first time I've successfully managed to drag myself out of bed to workout in I can't even remember how long!

Also, this is Saturday morning, so it's weigh-in day! I stepped on the scales before heading out for the run and this is what awaited me:

Starting weight: 193.8
Last week: 71.5kg (157.6 lbs)
Today: 70.5kg (155.4 lbs)

Weekly workouts:
Runs: 3x
Crosstraining: 0x

I'm so excited! This week was really hard for me both personally and, as a result, food-wise and I'm really happy to see that my eating intuitively and trying to make up for my epic splurges on Monday paid off on the scale. I know I only ended up meeting 1 of my weekly goals (since I didn't crosstrain at all and I didn't do well at the party last saturday), but I still think this week was a stunning success. :)

Anyway, instead of posting my weekly goals here now, I'm going to include them in another post later today along with my new involvement in #7daychip! For now, I'm off to finish getting ready because I'm spending the day visiting the Bambouserie (a bamboo forest) with one of the teachers I work with and her family! Don't worry, I'll take plenty of photos!

Have a great day!!! :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Taking in the Springtime and a new widget

Here's a quick post from today to test out the new comment widget I installed. Hopefully this will mean I'll be able to reply to your comments from now on!

Anyway, the weather was GORGEOUS in Avignon today so Helen and I walked over to Ile de la Barthelasse (about 1.5 miles from my apartment) to sit in the grass and soak up some sun. I didn't get my run in since I had to get ready for a private lesson student this evening, but it was so worth it. Plus 3mi of walking should count some, right?

Hello, Springtime!

Anyway, I'm off to bed now... I'm going to check out the Bambouserie tomorrow with Magali and her family. She's one of the elementary school teachers I work with (and her son's in one of my classes!). It should be a great day. PLUS, I'm going to bed now so I can hopefully get up early and get today's run in a day late!

Stay tuned for bamboo photos and tomorrow's weigh-in! We'll see what the scale says after my wine indulgence this week! :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mid-Week Update

Whew! What a big week here in Nicky-land!

In my personal life, Sunday–Tuesday were really intense. Learned some new information and made some important life decisions:
  1. J and I are 100% officially back together again and he's purchased a plane ticket to come to France and see me in April (3 weeks from today!!! Eep!!). I really couldn't be happier about this, even if it has been a hard road getting back to this point.
  2. After MONTHS of deliberation, mixed responses, and lots of debate and list-making, I've finally settled on a grad school for starting my M.A. in French this fall. I've chosen (drum roll, please...) THE Ohio State University in my lovely homestate.
  3. My little sister got engaged! To be fair, this didn't happen between Sunday-Tuesday, but there has been a lot of wedding planning progress this week, namely date and venue choosing! Since her fiancé will only have a month of leave once he gets back from Iraq, they're going to get married on July 9th... A little more than three months away! I'm going to try and come home from France early to make sure my dress fits and everything. Whew!
On the weight loss side of things, Sunday-Tuesday wasn't my best work, Monday especially. Monday definitely called for large portions of happiness wine. In case you were ever wondering, an entire bottle of white wine is 603 calories. I took the fact that I felt completely fine on Tuesday as a sign that I needed Monday night to get over some things and have felt SO much better about everything since.

I haven't done any P90X yet this week, but I HAVE had two very successful runs today and Sunday:
Sunday's long run! Discovered a new place to run... Will take my camera this weekend and document! In the meantime, here's a screengrab to give you an idea:

Cute path next to a mini-river? Yes please.

Today's 3-miler. Aimed for an 11:30 pace. Stopped to breathe a few times, but feel really good about this overall.

I plan on getting in a 4-miler on Friday, bringing my weekly mileage to 12 miles... Not too shabby considering it'll be the first time I've run 3x in a week in a really long time.

Lastly, Spring is here in Avignon and it's getting really warm. As such, I decided to pop into H&M today since a Spring jacket I'd been eye-ing was 50% off and ended up with the jacket AND a cute, navy skirt... perfect for spring AND Auburn football:

I love that there's a little drawstring inside that ties and gives you a nice outline :)

As Amy put it, 'Nicky, this skirt is just so... you.'

Obligatory elevator photo. First thing I'm buying for my new apartment (well, as a luxury item) is going to be a nice full-length mirror. Had a really awkward moment right after snapping this photo when the doors opened and a random guy got into the elevator with me... Caught in the act!

Crazy thing is... The jackets a European 36 (US 6) and the skirt is a Small! I liked the skirt up around my waist and the medium was just too loose up there. Crazy! That said, sizes over here are really weird. I wear relatively tiny sizes in shirts and dresses and can't find pants here to save my life. Do French women just not have derrières? Oh well. Even after two weeks, I already am noticing a little difference in my stomach. Loooove it!

Anyway, that's the mid-week update! Despite a few alcoholic set-backs, I feel like I'm in a REALLY good place right now. :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

"Apéro" fail.

So, I admit: It's already Sunday and I've failed on one of my three weekly goals. I had set myself up for dinner with the girls last night out at a restaurant. I'd decided I was only going to get a plat (main dish) and a dessert. I was so ready mentally for that and felt so good going into the evening.

Fast forward to arriving at the train station and meeting Christèle:
"So, what are we doing tonight?"
"Oh, just a heavy apéro (i.e. appetizer buffet) at the apartment with everyone."

Oh dear, I don't know about you guys, but appetizer buffet party things like this are the worst for me. Instead of ordering smart and really controlling what I eat, I always end up eating too much and grazing the whole night. Pringles. Pizza. Dried sausage. M&Ms. If I had know, I would have brought a veggie tray.

That said, I ended the day with 2,400 calories (cough, cough, two days worth) and feeling pretty disappointed in myself. I was so mentally prepared for one outing that when I got confronted with an unexpected change and a calorie-trap that I hadn't devised a plan for, I really messed up. I look around at these kind of events and everyone else seems to be able to have one small bite of pizza then be done... Why am I always compelled to overeat? Ulgh.

Anyway, nothing left to do but carry on! At least I 'fessed up and tracked it. Now I'm home and have cleaned the apartment and put a load of laundry in... All that remains is keeping up with Goal #1: Sunday's Run! Off I go... Gotta work off those peanut M&M's!

Does this kind of thing ever happen to you guys? What do you do?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Weekly Weigh-In and St. Paddy's Day

Starting weight: 193.8
Last week: 72kg (158.7 lbs)
Today: 71.5kg (157.6 lbs)

Weekly workouts:
Runs: 1x
Crosstraining: 3x

Voilà! Here's the first weigh-in of weight loss journey 2.0! Down 1.2 lbs! Not too shabby for the first week weighing in again. While I did have two days that I wasn't as on track as I wanted to be, I only ate more than my "calorie output" one day and, surprisingly, it wasn't St. Patrick's Day! For St. Paddy's Day, I budgeted for 2 pints of beer and was able to resist peer pressure and stick to that. Felt good (especially the next morning!) and we had a great time!

Huge street party in front of O'Neill's Irish Pub

Road cone loudspeaker? Definitely.

I'm hoping to step it up again this coming week and make it count. Here are my goals:
  1. Get three runs in on Sunday (tomorrow), Tuesday, and Friday. I've decided Sunday is going to be my long run day, so I'm going to shoot for 5 miles tomorrow and go from there. I need to get myself back in a regular pattern again!
  2. Do 2 days of P90X as cross training.
  3. Try and be smart going out to dinner tonight with the girls and not over do it
What are your goals for the week? :) Now, off to read your blogs!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Introducing... The Scale

As I mentioned last week, one of the main reasons that I suspended my WW membership is because I hadn't been faithfully using the eTools (or really the entire WW program) since I got here in October. Because WW changed the way I live my life and the way I understand food, I've been able to maintain my weight without tracking during that time, but now, I really want to kick it back into gear and lose these last 20 pounds.

As a result, that means I need to start getting reacquainted with another old frenemy. No, not yesterday's bikini... my scale. At home in Athens, I'm used to using a digital, hi-tech, body fat %-telling epic scale (Jon's an EE, he likes cool things). Here in France, I'm cheap (and won't be bringing a kilo scale back to America with me) and use a 5€ scale from Ikea:

To be honest, I'm not sure if it's that accurate (I feel like it's saying I weigh less than I really do), but from now until July, this'll be the bad boy used to track my progress.

I'd been so discouraged over the past year and a half because I haven't lost any more weight (haven't gained it back either), but I haven't been able to motivate myself to really get back on plan in a sustainable, noticeable way either. Two things have contributed to this newfound energy:
  1. After Jan/Feb, I was starting to really feel out of control and was beginning to noticing that my clothes weren't fitting as well as they should be.
  2. I stumbled across Whitney @ Slimming Down for the Gown's blog. Clearly I'm not getting married, but I looked at her progress bar on the right and she started at about my weight and a little over a year later is almost to her goal. What really motivated me was seeing how all of her small weekly losses have added up to such big results. Whenever I see a small loss myself from here on out, I'm going to try and think of her and remember that the little losses DO add up so I don't get discouraged.
On that note, Saturday is going to be Amy's and my official weigh-in day, so stay tuned for that, but unofficially, I weighed in yesterday at 72kg (158.7lbs), so that means I have 7kg (15lbs) to lose in order to get to a healthy BMI.

This is the first time I've measured as anything less than 'overweight' or 'obese,' but I'd still like to get it down to the healthy range (even if everyone likes to say that BMI is outdated).

Anyway, that's all for now. Here's to the start of something new.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring Cleaning and 'Far from Sports Illustrated'

This has been a gray week of rain in Avignon. It's one of the few weeks where at the beginning of the week, the weather here was so much worse than the weather at home (Athens, OH).

As a result, there have been mostly indoor activities on the schedule. Today: Spring Cleaning! I have so much winter clothing that's clogging up my closet here and I need to figure out how much space I'm going to my springtime visitors to leave in their suitcases so that I can send stuff home with them. I look around my apartment here and it's very easy to get overwhelmed about how much stuff I have to haul back to America in July. Plus, there's still one more round of 'les soldes' (national sales) to shop through before I leave! ;)

Here's a view of my closet/bookcase pre-cleaning. Ick!

While cleaning, I stumbled across an old frenemy... the bikini. I only have a bikini here with me in France. Originally I had it in the winter so I could wear it to the hammam (Turkish bath), but now that swimsuit season is coming, it's getting ready for more public action. Of course, I had to slip it on and, for the first time ever, I'm going to post a swimsuit picture of myself on the blog. ::wince::

So this is it. The bottoms have always been a bit small on this swimsuit. I bought it at Old Navy when I was out running to Home Depot for something for Jon this summer in Auburn, so I was in a hurry! I'm hoping by the time I go to the beach, there won't be quite as much of a bulge on the sides... Not a fan. That said, I'm kind of nervous about posting them on the blog, but I hope it'll just help me to be accountable to all of you in the coming months.

This face says it all.

My reaction to these photos? I've reached a point where I don't HATE to see myself in a swimsuit like this, but it's definitely not the toned, svelte person I want to be. I know there are abs under there (they're sore, so I know they're there!) and I just need to burn off the smushy layer surrounding them.

It's been a week and a half of tracking and I really think this is the start of a new journey. I have another blog post with my first weigh-in and some goals, so stay tuned.

Oh, and here's my newly organized closet for Spring! I forgot to pack away my winter running clothes and realized it after I'd stuffed the suitcase back up top (the carry on inside of the big one) and I'm too lazy to take it down again right now. Oh well! It's an improvement anyways!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rainy Weekend.

Today marks one full week of tracking, a pretty decent accomplishment since I hadn't done 3 days together since January. Really, I guess it's more 3 days then 3 days of tracking, since I didn't track going out to dinner Thursday night, though I made smart choices, didn't clean the plate, and split the dessert (pineapple slices cooked in rum with greek yogurt) with my friend.

On the activity front, aside from biking a bit to and from places, I haven't done any outdoor activity (i.e. running) this week. I did P90X 3x and was so sore after doing Ab Ripper X the first night that I took a few recovery days. It literally hurt to roll over in bed. Ouch. Today I tackled yoga for the first time in a few months and almost made it to the end of the vinyasa section (1/2 way through the program) before my form was getting so bad I decided to call it a day. Baby steps.

As far as France and the rest of my life are concerned, I'm doing okay. I have a lot of really big decisions about school and relationships coming up, and it's really weighing on me heavily. I know I'm at a time in my life where I'm supposed to be selfish about my career and location choices, but it's so hard sometimes and I'm really struggling with that. We'll see what happens. It's so hard to reach a place where you truly love somebody, but you aren't convinced that your lives can really mesh or that you can give them what they want/need. It's really hard because I feel like we're going to lose either way. I feel that way about my school choices too, so I'm definitely in a rough mental patch. Boo. At least the spring sunshine made an appearance in Avignon this week. Too bad it looks like rain for all of the week to come...

Anyway, how are all of you doing? I need to get back in and catch up with everyone's blogs!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

March Madness (Back from the UK!)

I'm back from the UK!

I feel like I'm always writing these "back from the dead!" posts on here, so I apologize. Between being on vacation and just generally going off plan for both food and exercise in the past few weeks (or really past two months if I'm 100% honest), I've pretty much been too embarrassed to blog about my healthiness journey. Mostly because then I'd have to either lie or talk about my unhealthy choices. I mean, I wasn't eating whole pizzas or eating whole tubs of ice cream, but also wasn't saying 'no' to pain au chocolat, baguette, or cheese. For example, here are a few foodie photos from vacation in the UK:

Fresh sweetmilk scones at Helen's

Yummy dessert at Bill's restaurant in Brighton

Trying what the UK calls a "flapjack" in London

Cupcakes (there were other people eating them too) from London's Hummingbird Bakery

That said, I had a great time on vacation, though towards the end (after 2 months of essentially being on a vacation from being on plan) I was starting to tell a difference with how I was feeling and how my clothes were fitting. SO, as glad as I am to have experienced all that the UK had to offer without guilt, I'm kicking it back into gear.

So far, I've been on-plan and tracking everything I eat since Sunday (4 days). I wanted to wait and mention it until I'd gotten a few days under my belt since I don't think I've successfully tracked 3 days together in all of 2011. I've also started back up with P90X to get my muscles back in shape since I could REALLY tell a difference from my abs in December and my abs last week, even if the scale wasn't showing a difference. Instead of gaining weight (which would have been the next step, I'm sure), all my hard won muscles from the end of last year had been replaced by fat, making my clothes tighter and me feel generally blah.

Another difference is that I've cancelled my subscription to WW eTools and am using Calorie Count instead. I've done this for a few reasons:
  1. To see my nutrient breakdown. I plugged in Day One on Calorie Count just for kicks to see what my actual calories/nutrients were and saw that, while I thought I was right on target points wise, I was actually too low in a few different categories. I'm now going to work harder to get the right amount of nutrients and not just points.
  2. To save money. I haven't been good about tracking or using my WW materials since I got to France really, so there's no point in adding to my US credit card bill if I'm not taking full advantage of the tools.
  3. To try something new (maybe this will help?)
  4. Lastly (and not part of this parallel structure), WW without meetings isn't as effective for me. I know a lot of people (like my good friend Amber) have had stunning success using just the online community and eTools, but after 2 years of meetings, WW just isn't the same without them.
As a result, I'm trying out CC, saving some money, and really just thinking of the next four months as suspending my WW membership rather than cancelling it. I fully intend to go back to my meetings as soon as I'm back home! I miss my leader!

So far, so good. I'm already feeling a lot better after 4 days. I'm focusing on limiting my carbs in the form of sugars and bread (to wean myself from pastry and baguette) and am trying to incorporate as many vegetables as possible. I really do think that coming back from the UK to a really sunshine-y and spring-y Avignon is helping with the motivation since I can already feel (and see) swimsuit seasons creeping up on us over here! Plus, spring weather mean more fresh veggies!

More soon! I'm off to drink a cup of night time tea (lately I never can sleep the night before school) and eat a square of 86% dark chocolate.