Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Nutrisystem Review

Well, I've got to confess that the Nutrisystem program accomplished what I had hoped: It got me back on track. The weight is slowly (as always) coming off and I'm sticking to my workout.

While I don't think anyone can consider this the best solution (you don't learn how you need to cook and eat for yourself), it's a great jump start. The focus on lots of veggies is great (and since you do have to do that yourself, it's something that translates over to a regular eating plan).

I will say I'm glad I was already on a higher fiber diet. This would've caused a great deal of discomfort if I hadn't already been used to it.

So I'm gonna review what I liked and didn't like about the program.

First, there is no fish (yes, I had two meals with tuna, but both were really bad. The Tuna Noodle Casserole was the one I actually threw away). I am not a vegetarian, but I don't like eating meat for every meal. There are several really good vegetarian meals (and the minestrone soup was an absolute favorite), but I enjoy having fish at least one (or twice) a week.

Some of the food is absolutely deliscious (see minestrone soup above) and some was gagginly awful. I would expect that. However, you can custom order your food selections and so after the first month, it would be easy to pick and choose what suits your taste.

Since the meals are almost all MRE, there can be a texture problem. All the pasta was a little over done for my taste. However, the "add hot water" meals were preferable. While I know that the idea behind this program is that it's a heat and serve, I would've preferred to do a little more cooking (like the pasta) to get a more satisfactory result.

While the program, is very easy for the most part, you are still responsible for some decision making on what you eat. You need to add your own dairy, some protein and your fruits and veggies. Guidelines are provided to help make your choices (and portions). Again, I think these can easily translate to anyone's own meal plan when they are done with Nutrisytem.

So there's a huge convience, which is good. Some of the food was tasty, which is good. The food is proportioned and controlled, which is good. However, some of the food was awful, there's no "education" to help you learn how to eat properly when you are done with the program. It's a high fiber diet, which some might find uncomfortable in the beginning. It's a little on the pricey side.

So overall, I think it was a good idea for me. I had been rebelling again using a "program" like this, as I'm cocky enough to think that I should be able to do it on my own. Well, after 3 years of a plateau, followed by complete frustration, it's what I needed to get myself kick started again. My weight is down, and I'll probably make my 4 lbs loss goal by the end of the month.

I will translate some things from the program to my everyday lifestyle. One of the things I got into the habit of doing is making a huge salad, eating it, then making dinner. I wasn't starving while I was cooking and I found I enjoyed my food more. I'm also going to make sure that I keep to the higher protein and higher fiber. I can also review all the lables from the packaged to see how they break down their caloris/fat/carbs/fiber and protein. I can then use a similar formula for my own cooking.

So while I'm pretty much done with my one month of being on the system, I feel it was worth it for me. If for nothing other than just to get my focus back and get back into the habit of being aware of what/how much I'm eating.

I also wanted to thank blakbyrd797 for the super explaination as to why triceps are the last worked in an upper body workout! Thanks!!! (and for anyone else who wants to know, just check the last entry's comments!!!)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Saving the triceps for last?

I've been back working with Maya for a month or so now, and yikes she makes a difference. While my arms are still one of my many problem areas, there's a huge improvement on their shape. Doing Yourself!Fitness compared to the treadmill simply gives my upper body a better workout.

I've been cycling thru 3 of Y!F workouts: the weight loss (or cardio... there's not much difference. The weight loss is a steadier heart rate zone workout compared to the cardio that takes up to your max, then back down then back up again, etc), the upper body and the flexibility.

I simply don't bother with the core or lower body. All of the workouts includes a core workout in it and I simply don't like the lower body... too many lunges (which I can't do anyway). Yes, all the workouts include some kind of lunge, but I just use a different leg/quad exercise in place of it.

I just finished the upper body workout this morning, and she always saves the triceps as the last weight exercise (before the core that she sneaks in at the end). This seems to be fairly typical of upper body workouts. I know that my previous routines always had the tricep workout last too... yet they are by far the hardest to do, and I'm always fatigued by the time I get to them. I wish I could reverse the order of the workouts with Maya (starting with the triceps and ending with the chess presses). I think I would get a better workout by changing the order occassionally.

Something to research perhaps? Why are triceps saved for last???

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Trying not to get discouraged

Well, I've been strictly following (well, almost strictly) the Nutrisystem plan since June 1. I ate lunch out one day and had one or two things "off menu". Which really isn't much.

Haven't seen much impact on any weight loss. I'm working out more again. Back to almost daily workouts and by my math the Nutrisystem plan is about 1200 calories.

There just hasn't been much change on my weight.

Now, I'm the first to admit that I'm extremely impatient, and it's kinda hard to know what I actually weight (it can flucuate 3-4 lbs on a daily bases... which is why I don't like to weight myself very often). I was hoping to be below 160 lbs by the end of the month, but that's not going to happen (that would've been a 4 lb weight loss over the month- a realistic goal).

I think one of the reasons I didn't see the "big drop" with the weight is that I wasn't far off of a 1200/calorie a day diet (and I don't care what they say... this being "low carb" makes no difference. Yes, I'm eating a lot more veggies which is much healthier, but I don't think this low carb diet is really better for weight loss. I still put that on the calorie in vs. calorie out... and I think I'm proof of that).

Again, I think I'm back to the "low hanging fruit" options being already gone. The high calorie snacks, the portion control has already been changed... and that's how I lost the first 60 lbs. Smarter choices, portions control and adding physical activity to my diet. Now that they are part of my lifestyle, I don't have the easy changes to make... and the rate of lose is much much slower.

I think this plan was a great idea for me (and some of the food was awful... I did throw out one meal) but some of it has actually been very good... and things I would add to my regular meal plan. It also emphasises, that no matter what I do, I can not lose weight any faster than a half pound a week.

I just wish I could remember that it DOES come off... and that this lifestyle is all worth it in the long run.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Thanks Maya!

After my last physical challenge with Yourself!Fitness, Maya decided to up the difficulty on my workouts.

I've been at this level before, and I struggle a bit with the new exercises. Several I simply can't do due to my knee, so I have to modify them a bit. However, I'm feeling the extra work.

One of the things I'm noticing lately is that I can't break thru the warmup fatigue. You know when you first start working out and your muscles scream in pain, but as you warm up, you can break thru that and move on with your workout. I'm not ever getting past that initial fatigue. I'm sore and tired from start to finish. I'm not sure this is good, meaning that I'm working hard or if it's an indication that I'm working too hard or if there's some sort of other problem...

Either way, I'm still pounding away and hopefully my body will adjust to the increased difficulty.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

We Be Body Movin'

We need body rockin' not perfection...

I have to give kudos to people that are consistant with a daily workout (say, like Matt). I'm sooo bad at doing a workout if I'm thrown off schedule for the day, then I get out of schedule. The workouts were non existant over the weekend. However, I've learned a long time ago that you can't beat yourself up over the past... you can only control the future. So I'm back to work.

The problem that I've been having for the last several years is the "low hanging fruit" fixes have been done. The eating habits have been pretty consistant, I've removed most of the junk from my diet, my portions are well in control and are very much a habit now. Removing the easy stuff (high calorie snacks and soda) helps a lot in the beginning, but when it's no longer a part of your lifestyle, there just aren't many easy changes to make.

That means working out. I can't go below 1200 calories a day for food, so I need to get that deficit somewhere else... I have to shoot for 500 calories burned a day in workouts. That's hard for me (and for most people) as I haven't found that "thing" that I'm passionate about like Matt has.

So I'll trudge along with Maya waiting excitedly for the new Yourself!Fitness and realize that we need body rockin' not perfection!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Stupid Knee!

I ended up taking yesterday off... thanks to my knee. I'm not sure if it was the hard workout the day before. I sure do love the upper body workout with Yourself!Fitness... all those lunges are so beneficial for my upper body... Actually, I do love the upper body, as I do think it's a "complete" workout, doing all areas with the weight training. I just won't do the lunges, instead I switch the lower body section to my old post knee surgery rehab exercises.

I think that it made my knee a little fatigued and I had some "plant and twist" issues yesterday. Today was fine, and Maya and I did our regular cardio workout (step bench and all).

Matt has a big race tomorrow (Mt. Penn in Reading) and it's one I like to go to... it's so hard, that the field gets stretched out, so it's fairly interesting to watch. Plus he's a climber and loves the heat... so I'm hoping he has a good day. However, I can't go due to a class.

It also mean that today is a light day for him workout wise (meaning just a 30 minute spin on the trainer). So I got on my bike and did it with him... so I snuck in an extra 30 minute work out today.

Which is good... tomorrow is going to be a busy day and getting my workout in is going to be hard.