Operation Flat Belly

You may recall my rant on exercise and how I was so frustrated because I felt like I had been working out hard and consistently, but somehow kept gaining weight.  Seriously, this has been a major pain in my now filling out my jeans quite well arse.  I hate carving out time in my insanely busy schedule to work out, and then to not get any benefits from it.  I’m by no means trying to lose a bunch of weight, but reality is that I have gained a few L.B.’s since moving to B’ham.  I blame this on the amazing southern food and restaurants we are surrounded by.  I actually think I exercise more here than I ever did in Florida because the weather is cooler here (except in July and early August) and I know we do a whole lot more outside than we ever did in FL.  This got me to thinking…if I am working out the same, if not more, then there must be something wrong with my diet.  I was actually surprised by some of the comments and emails I received after my rant because not a single one mentioned anything about exercising more or differently.  They were all diet related.  Over the last couple of weeks I have been tweaking my usual eating habits to see if those changes made a difference.  I have learned a few very important things that I believe were sabotaging my efforts.

First off, I started keeping a food journal.  I have never believed myself to be an “emotional eater.”  I hear people use this term all the time, but I just never thought that was me.  After keeping a food journal and writing down everything I ate, what time I ate, and why I ate (bored, stressed, sad, or actually hungry) I noticed a lot of repetition.  Like I inhale something carby when I get to work (totally famished and needing a quick boost).  I then eat very light after my lunch time work-out (probably because I don’t want to undo all the work I had just done) and I would be starving around 3 and would eat something sugary (probably because I didn’t eat enough at lunch to begin with), and then I would eat a snack at 5 (not even hungry most of the time, but just thought I needed a snack before class).  Then for dinner at 9 (remember, I’m in class till 8:30) I would eat this huge dinner plus wine or something sweet (because I’m totally famished at this point and I always feel like I deserve some sort of reward for enduring class, ha!).  This was the same everyday.  The eating habits and schedule were really not great either, and to be honest, I haven’t been feeling great either.  Food journal’ing works.  It’s especially eye opening if you write down your emotions and level of hunger every time you eat something.  It’s also helpful for me because I can keep track of my calories.

My journal

My two biggest weaknesses are definitely red wine and sweets.  I know that if I totally cut those two things out, I would easily lose the pounds I have gained over the last couple of years, but seriously, I don’t believe in deprivation and I think you do deserve to treat yourself.  With that being said, I needed to cut back because I know my nightly glass of wine is why my belly seems a little softer.  I’m trying to only have wine on date night or a night when we have a special event or dinner to go to.  But, if I have wine, I don’t get dessert on top of that.  One or the other (usually the wine).
I’ve also started incorporating classes back in to my gym visits.  I try and do a Muscle Works class once a week to get some weight training and a good yoga class a couple days a week.  FYI, when I was doing yoga regularly (4 times a week), I was in the best shape ever.  Yoga is seriously amazing at helping you get that “long and lean” look.  I know I really need to start making more time to get my posing on.  I’m also incorporating step class in my routine.  I really like this because it’s fast paced and never gets boring.  Plus it’s a great cardio work-out.  Other than those tweaks, I’m keeping up with my running, usually doing around 4 miles a day (3-4 days a week).  I just like to run…it clears my head.

There is nothing better than a good yoga routine after a run.
Then again, there is really nothing better than a good run, some yoga,
and a nice glass of red wine…

So there you have it…count calories + a little less wine and bons-bons + a little more variety in your work-out = Operation Flat Belly.

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