Monday, March 20, 2017

Going pseudo-vegan (You can't take my sushi from me!)

So as I am still working on losing weight and incorporating more plant based food in my life, I have decided to try some vegan recipes to help get some more variety in my life. I can only eat raw fruit and microwaved vegetables for so long before I lose my freaking mind. I have a few recipes that I have tried so far and I was pleasantly surprised that they weren't that bad. I could definitely tell what I was eating was healthy but it didn't make me hate myself as much as eating a dry ass salad or a microwaved bowl of green beans.

Now, before everyone freaks out that I am not really going vegan you are absolutely right. I am trying these recipes for the health benefits and potential to help me reach my weight loss goals while keeping my mental sanity mainly intact. My goal is to consume 75 - 90% of my total food in plant form. I traditionally enjoy pasta, diary (especially cheese), and most meats. When I do eat meat, I try to eat meat that is cooked in a healthy-ish manner. For example, grilled or pan seared chicken, grilled or pan seared lean beef, sushi in nigiri form, etc. I really do love dairy and meat and I can't really see myself ever feeling like I could go full blown vegan. I work in the food industry and I know first hand where my meat comes from. While I am an animal lover, I still feel that animals grown for the purpose of food for humans can have a healthy happy life. If those animals didn't have a purpose, they wouldn't exist at all. (Not saying cows and pigs wouldn't exist but they would not be any where near the number that exist today.) I completely understand why some people are vegan for ethical reasons, but for me this just isn't why I want to do this and why I am not fully committing to a 100% vegan diet. So that being said, let me share the few recipes I have tried recently!

The Vegan Buddha Bowl from - (gluten free, vegan) 

This was not difficult to make and I actually really liked it. I did leave out the avocado because I just don't like it and I was trying to get this recipe to about 300 calories a bowl. The chickpeas have a really nice flavor when roasted and when mixed into the quinoa makes the dish more satisfying. The recipe makes WAY more sauce than you need but I am not sure if there is a way to cut that down a bit and still be able to blend it properly. I did not care for the raw greens. I would recommend sauteing some kale, spinach, or Swiss chard to make the dish go better. I don't like hot lettuce that isn't intended to be hot. Overall, I did like it and would make it again with some tweaks. 8/10 - would eat this again. 

Creamy Vegan Lemon Pepper Pasta from - Blissful Basil (Gluten Free, Vegan) 

So for a vegan alfredo this tasted pretty good. It wasn't cheesy tasting at all but was creamy. The only weird ingredient in this was nutritional yeast flakes but you can get them at whole foods in bulk so you don't have to spend $13 for a jar if you just want to try it. The pasta that I used was gluten free linguine from bionaturae. I found this brand at whole foods and it actually does taste like traditional pasta. The texture is not weird either. My only criticism of this dish is that 6 cloves of garlic is just WAY too much. I should have cut it down to 3 or 4. I have a feeling it has such a high level of garlic to give it some kind of flavor. If it wasn't for the garlic this dish would be pretty bland. This ended up making 4 servings at about 525 calories. (the pasta accounted for 400 of the calories) The other problem I had with this dish is that after about 3 hours I was hungry again and had a second serving. I still wasn't very satisfied after I finished it because I was missing that cream flavor from real dairy. I am just starting to get used to vegan food though so this could also be part of my adjustment period. 8/10 would eat again (sauce) pasta was 10/10. If you told me it was gluten free i probably wouldn't believe you. 

Banana Bread Mini Muffins from - Goodful (Absolutely NOT vegan but vegetarian) 

So I know these aren't technically vegan (contains egg, yogurt, honey??) but they are so good I had to share the recipe. The secret is to use really really REALLY ripe bananas. They hide the whole wheat flour taste and keep the muffins super moist. When I make this recipe I stir 1/2 cup of mini semi-sweet morsels into the batter. It also makes what I would consider 14 normal sized muffins. They look mini in the picture but they bake up as a normal sized muffin. The American gigantor muffins I see at pastry shops is not a normal serving. Sorry. I am not sure if you could replace the eggs and yogurt for maybe apple sauce or almond milk or something but I like the recipe enough to leave it as is. Each muffin is only 150 calories if you make 14. 10/10 I have made these every Sunday for the last 3 weeks and eat one everyday for breakfast. 

*** updated***

Spicy Kimchi Quinoa Bowl - simplyquinoa (can be vegan if you leave out the egg) 

So... Let me tell you about this fucking recipe. My house smelled SO FUCKING GOOD. Like omg I walked into Chinese food heaven. It legit smelled like real fried rice in my house. I was so excited to eat this and it looked so good. I was ready to demolish a whole bowl of this shit, and then I tasted it. Now I am not sure if it was the taste or the texture or what was going on but I couldn't get myself to stomach more than half a portion... It was crunchy and a little spicy but not too hot, the oil was there to give it some body, the kale might have been a bit too crunchy but ugh. I don't know, I even added the egg to try to get it to taste better but I couldn't get through it. I have never eaten kimchi before but it is well hidden in this dish and pretty much just adds some spice and some crunch. It reminded me of the cabbage you get in Panda Express noodles or other asian dishes. I don't think it was the kimchi but I honestly just don't know. I was so underwhelmed after how fucking delicious my house smelled after making it. Needless to say I ate half a bag of chips after this meal because I was fucking starving. 2/10 - I might eat it again if I was dying and had nothing else to eat. 

Veggie Burger Patties - Casey Jade

So I hate beans and most veggie burger patties use beans as a base. This recipe uses chickpeas which I actually like. While this recipe definitely isn't something I would put on a bun with ketchup and mustard, it was actually really really good. It reminded me of falafel but baked so it is way healthier. I also made some homemade guacamole to top it with and counter the somewhat dry texture. I highly recommend this recipe if you want a veggie burger that isn't beans. I mean chickpeas are technically beans but to me they aren't "normal" beans. Each patty is about 140 calories. You need a food processor to make this but other than that it was really easy. You just cut everything up and blend it. It took 10 minutes extra to bake than the recipe states but my patties were kind of thick. 9/10 - I will eat these again but definitely need guac. 

Vegan Buffalo Chickpea and Artichoke Taquitos with "ranch" - Veggie Inspired

So I actually got this recipe from an episode of J & J's Kitchen from youtube. These were really good but damn were they a pain in the ass to make. Part of the recipe calls for a butternut "cheese" sauce that requires you to peel a squash. Have you ever tried to peel a fucking squash? Like fuck, worst prep experience of my fucking life. I'm surprised I still have fingers. This meal is 3 recipes in one. I had extra "cheese" sauce that I actually ate the next day over noodles which I'll talk about next. The ranch sauce was easy to make. Just throw that shit in a blender and boom done. I thought it had a bit too much cumin so next time I won't add as much. So my batch of taquitos made 16 and they were not pretty. I used way too much filling per shell and it kind of exploded everywhere. I had to eat it with a fork and knife but they tasted damn good. I recommend using the full 1/2 cup of hot sauce. I was really surprised how filling these were. I had enough calories to eat 4 but I could only eat 3. The sauce makes a difference too. Each of my taquitos with ranch sauce were about 130 calories. (I used white corn tortillas.) 9/10 - fulfills buffalo needs. 

Butternut Squash Mac sauce - Veggie Inspired

So this was extra sauce from making the above taquitos. I didn't want it to go to waste and mac and cheese is one of my favorite foods. I was dying to try a vegan version. I was also going to eat every inch of that fucking squash I peeled because fuck you squash. So. being a hard core midwest carbo loading dairy loving person here is my humble opinion of this vegan mac and cheese. It honestly wasn't bad. It had a nice creamy texture and good flavor. It definitely was NOT a cheese flavor but it tasted good. It did smell like mustard but surprisingly didn't taste like it. (there is mustard in the recipe) I could see myself eating this again for sure. It had a comfort food feel to it. I ate ancient grains elbows with it for that gluten free life. It wasn't really low calorie because of the pasta but when you want a gluten free vegan carby meal this is a good choice. What I will say is that it does not reheat well at all. The noodles turned to mush. I highly recommend only cooking enough noodles as you plan on eating and store the extra sauce separate in the fridge. 9/10 - it's not mac and cheese but it's still pretty good. 

These are the few recipes I have tried so far but I plan to keep trying new options. If you have any favorite recipes please share! 

- Basic B 

Monday, February 27, 2017

I'm going to try Korean Skincare!!

So after fighting with my combination skin for years I am going to try Korean skin care. I watched a video by Stella Chuu about her skincare routine and decided to give it a try.

I purchased all of the products that she lists on her video. The total cost came to a whopping $417.02!! (I used part of my tax refund for this purchase, I don't just have $400 lying around....)

At this point I am only using a few of the products because some of them are going to take up to 8 weeks to ship from Korea. About half of them were available via amazon prime which is great but the rest I have to wait for.

I decided to start this routine because I have several skin issues. I have acne, wrinkles, large pores, oily skin, and dry skin all in one. It's awful. I have used traditional acne treatments and the only things that work are prescription strength acne medications but they bleach my sheets, clothes, and towels. I am kind of sick of buying new things all the time so I am going to try this skin care regimen in the hopes I don't bleach all my shit.

   My first impressions of the products I have used so far...

DHC Oil Cleanser - I started using this product about 2 weeks ago. I think it does a great job removing my eye makeup compared to traditional face soap or even my cream makeup remover. It doesn't hurt my eyes at all and I can use it with my contacts in. I have never used an oil cleanser so I am unsure if an American made cleaner wouldn't be equally effective. It seems to have the same cost as other oil cleansers advertised at $27.92 via amazon prime. I am only using to remove my makeup at night.

Dr G Hyper Brightening Cleansing foam - It smells really nice and seems to clean really well. It does make my face seem squeaky after I wash it like there is some kind of residue left over from the wash. Overall I like it and it does not irritate my face or eyes. For $17.99 via amazon prime it is expensive for a face wash but I am hoping it will last me a while. I am only using this at night.

Goodal Superseed Oil Plus Skin Mist - So I just started using it and I love it. It smells so nice and leaves my face feeling clean and refreshed. I have used toners in the past that were alcohol based and dried my skin out so bad. This is a really nice mist that seems to add moisture to my face as opposed to strip it away. Available from amazon prime for $35. For the price I also hope this lasts me a while. I am using it day and night.

Nature Republic Snail Solution Eye Cream - I don't know if I like this or not yet. I can't tell if it is doing anything but I just started using it about 2 days ago. I will keep you updated on this one. Available via amazon prime for $29.94. I am using this day and night for now until the rest of the products arrive and I will switch to only using in the morning.

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence - So it's just sunblock but it smells very nice and has a light feel. I have a hard time getting the right amount out of the container because it really is "watery." I am used to sunblock being very thick so I keep using a bit too much. I like using it and it doesn't seem to add any oil to my face. Available on amazon for $9.28 via 3rd party sellers. This took a full 4 weeks to arrive. I am using this in the morning only.

So these are the products I am starting with and will introduce the rest as they arrive. I will post an update of my skin once I've been using all the products for a while and a review of each. Let me know your thoughts or if you have any product recommendations!

- Basic B

Monday, January 23, 2017

When You Didn't Jack as hard as you thought you did...

    It has been over two months since Blizzcon and my diet had pretty much fallen off the rails until about 2 weeks ago. While I continued to log my food and go to the gym, I did not try very hard to hit my calorie goals for the day every day. I needed a bit of a break from the hard core dieting and felt I deserved it as I had reached the lowest weight I had been in well over 3 years. The only issue is that I let my little "break" become two months of lax dieting practices.
    I became incredibly depressed when I got on the scale and had gone from my lowest weight (in recent years) of 124 back up to 129. I gained 5 lbs in two months. I almost felt sick. How could I let this happen? Why did I spend the last 8 months working my ass off (literally) to backslide a full 5 lbs? This is probably the point where I could have just said fuck it and continued to eat how I was and only working out twice a week, however this is not what I want. So, how do I find the motivation to get back on the horse?
    I took a step back and reminded myself of where I had been. 3 years ago, I weighed 150 lbs. The heaviest I had ever been in my life. I was unhealthy and did not work out ever. I decided that day to start going to the gym. I started with just exercise as the main means to loose weight. From 2014 to 2015 I really didn't lose any weight. I had been working out for months with no result. I decided to boost my workouts from personal training with random cardio days to a more structured twice a week cardio/weight training class. I still didn't want to diet but after about 3 months with no weight loss I was frustrated. Maybe it really is 75% what you eat and 25% at the gym. This is when I started the full blown dieting and tracking from my previous post.
    I was mostly successful with keeping my calorie goals under what I was burning even though I still wouldn't eat vegetables.  Over 8 months I watched my clothes get bigger and the scale numbers get smaller. I felt really motivated and was seeing actual results. Tracking it visually was also a huge motivator to keep me going. I feel this is probably why when I had stopped visually tracking each month, I wasn't paying as close attention to my eating habits.
    So after two weeks of being "back on the horse" I haven't lost weight. I am hovering between 127 - 129 lbs depending on the day. I always weigh myself first thing in the morning to eliminate any daytime eating and drinking fluctuations. I also started visually tracking my weekly totals as I had been previously. I think after almost a year I might be willing to entertain vegetables. I don't feel like I will ever feel full by continuing to eat minuscule portions of pasta for almost every meal. I am starting to get used to feeling hungry often but I know I can't live the rest of my life being constantly hungry. This is a time I truly wish I wasn't such a picky eater. I really only like carbs of any kind and dairy. Cheese is life. Starting small is going to be the key. Eat a vegetable I can tolerate at first and go from there. I'll get back to you on how well that works in a few months. If anyone has good recipes for picky vegetable eaters I'm all ears.
    So I'll leave you with a parting reminder that even if you haven't reached your goals doesn't mean you aren't making progress. At least you are trying.

- Basic B

Friday, January 6, 2017

Steampunk Harley Quinn V 1 and 2

Here is my original Harley Quinn. The original design was from NoFlutter. I just pretty much bought all the pieces. I did make the tiny hat but that was pretty much it. I wore this for Halloween back in... 2014? This was way before I knew cosplay was even a thing. I don't have decent photos of it because I was wearing this to go get drunk in not photograph in.

The 2nd version is what appeared at C2E2 in 2016. This is what started it all for me. I loved this costume so much but I can see now looking at it in photos it still needs work for me to be happy with it. I want to actually make a corset myself as well as the skirt. I sewed together two skirts and added tulle to make it puffy. I also sewed together the jackets and added the ruffle edges. The corset was easy to take two and put together because it just tied. I added gold embellishment to it but I don't like how that turned out. Overall I think it looked good but again just not happy with the overall look. I did make the hammer and talk about how I did it in another post. I will do this costume justice and remake the whole thing to my liking. I also realized in these photos I am not quite as thin as I thought I was or used to be. This also got me started down my hardcore workout and diet plan for BlizzCon.

I decided to have this costume photographed professionally along with my Dreamfinder Cosplay. I hired Eddie B Photography for the shoot. This was my first ever photoshoot! I will go into more detail about that on another post. The images below are the ones I personally like the best. I was really happy with how many images came out well. It really highlights the hard work I put into making this costume. I don't think it came out bad for my "first" real cosplay. I also want to note that the first picture is before I started dieting and the photos after are when I lost 15lbs!!! It makes such a difference. 


I am always looking for constructive criticism. If you have feedback for my costumes or my attempts at modeling please let me know!


- Basic B

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I want your body everybody wants your body so let's jack

TLDR: This is a very detailed description of my weight loss journey and how I lost 18 lbs. Still not at my goal but getting there. This is meant for motivation for other trying to lose weight.

Starting point at 146. 
Current: 124. 
I didn't take a before picture for comparison but I feel it shows in my neck and arms the most. 

My journey to acquire the "ideal" cosplay body (minus boobs because I am not genetically blessed in the chestical department.)

I have never been overweight. That being said, I have never had what I considered my "ideal" body. Now this is what I think is ideal for ME. This does not mean you have to have this kind of body. Some women look amazing as "curvy" individuals. I am just not one of those people. I do not carry weight in flattering locations. The only place that I have that is flattering is my ass.

I have been slowly putting on the pounds since college. Each year a few more pounds kept creeping up on me. Now that I have decided to try and make cosplay a serious hobby, I want to look the part and not hate all my cosplay photos because of a fat roll here or skin trying to escape out there. I also don't want to Photoshop my photos. If I don't actually look like that I don't want to pretend that I do.

I am officially starting this journey on 5/10/2016. I wear a Fitbit Charge HR and track my calories in MyFitnessPal. I am currently attending a 45 - 50 minute circuit training class 2 days a week. (I have already been going for 4 months without any weight loss although I am getting stronger.) The classes consist of 15 minutes of exercises on a treadmill, 15 minutes of strength training using body weight, TRX bands, medicine balls, free weights, benches, bosu balls, kettle bells, and any other weird workout contraption they can find, and 15 minutes on a rower with intervals of ab workouts, bosu balls, medicine balls, and kettle bells thrown in. It is meant to be a high intensity work out that keeps your heart rate in a certain zone in order to burn fat and boost your metabolism.I think it is really close to what Orange Theory does.

Here is where I currently stand:
Weight: 142
Workouts: 2 x a week for 45-50 minutes high intensity
Steps: 10,000 goal but don't always make it
Diet: none, I eat whatever the fuck I want. I mostly eat carbs, specifically pastas. I don't like vegetables and eat meat but still prefer pasta over anything else.

Now, I have proven to myself over the last 4 months that going to the gym twice a week just isn't enough when you regularly consume whole boxes of pasta for a meal. So here are my long and short term goals in order to achieve the cosplay body I want.

Long Term:

Weight: 120 (ish)
- Losing 20 lbs would probably make me look anorexic but I used to weigh 120 and still could have lost more or at least toned. I am very petite and only 5' 5" I carry my weight all over but heavily in the abdomen, arms, and thighs. I also have a double chin at most angles or if I am even remotely looking down.

Body type: Toned, fit, in shape, but not so skinny you can see my ribs/backbone.
- I want to wear a corset and not feel like a stuffed sausage or need to tighten it to the point of not being able to breathe just to look similar to the character.

Fitness Level: To run a 5k and not die. (3.1 miles) Also run 3-5 days a week. Do some kind of physical activity every day.

Diet: Eat more green food and like it. (doubtful but these are goals here)

Short Term: (How I am going to achieve my long term goals

Weight: 1 - 2 lbs a week
- Keep tabs by weighing myself everyday in the morning and night. I have an Aria scale so it will keep tabs on my weight loss for me. Don't look at the number until the next week. Your weight fluctuates so much in a day that it can be really discouraging to look at your weight each day. This will put my goal weight achieved in 25 weeks at most which would be 10/31/16 right in time for BlizzCon :D

Workouts: Minimum 3 days a week at the gym. 2 x a week interval classes and 1 day on my own. Probably Monday, Wednesday, Saturday. Obviously more days are better.

Steps: Achieve 10,000 steps a day minimum.
- This will help me maintain my fitness level. Take the dogs for walks if I don't reach my steps. In bad weather go to the gym and walk or walk around my house. Get up at work and walk around the office every 1-2 hours.

Diet: 1,200 calories a day or a few more if I work out extra hard.
- To reach my goal of 1 - 2 lbs a week I need to have a daily deficit of 500-1000 calories a day or 3,500 - 7,000 calories a week. If you fall off one day, make up for it the next. To make a 1,200 calorie a day diet work, need to focus on lessening the amount of carbs I am eating. Breakfast: Coffee without sweetener or tea. Fruit instead of bagels, muffins, bread. Lunch: portion control of a dish with protein, vegetable, and healthy starch. Dinner: same as lunch. Log all meals into MyFitnessPal.

Here is a time lapse of all my photos over the last 25 weeks. I tried to take 1 photo a day to show how much I change. (This quickly morphed into more like once a week) When you look at yourself everyday it is hard to see changes. This was a way to visualize my progress and keep myself motivated. Hopefully when this actually gets posted I will have achieved my goal and be happy with my body and my cosplays.

- Basic B

** Week 5 update. It has now officially been 4 weeks since I started really trying to lose weight and seriously attempt to diet. My current weight as of 6/8/16 at 6:00 am was 136.7 lbs. I am down 4.7 lbs (from heaviest weight I have ever been)! This is a bit deceptive. When you actually look at my data for the past 4 weeks. This is the difference of my highest weight in the last month to my lowest weight in the last month. When you break down the data I only actually lost 1.9 lbs according to the weekly updates. Something isn't quite adding up so I will be using this larger monthly graph data to track my weight loss over time. 

Here is my weekly weight loss graph as well as my last four FitBit updates! 

You can see here the trend is going downward slightly. This is good. Weight loss should be gradual in order to maintain it. Weight also wildly fluctuates on the day depending on your diet and activity level. I try not to let these little fluctuations get to me but instead look at the overall trend. Long way to go but it is a good start! Looking at data on a weekly and monthly basis is much better for me and my morale instead of focusing on the number every time I weigh myself. 

As you can see I did really well my first week and lost 1.1 lbs! It is always easy the first week or so for me. It's about weeks 3 and 4 of a diet that I start to fail. Which I did if you keep going. 

Another solid week with a loss of .9 lbs. Sitting at a total of 2 lbs lost in 2 weeks!

And here is where it starts to get bad again. Didn't have as good of control over my diet as I was traveling for work and eating everything under the sun. I did manage to lose weight this week but only .4 lbs. Total weight loss of 2.4 lbs in 3 weeks. 

And here we hit the wall. I actually gained .5 lbs this week. Current total weight loss at 1.9 lbs in 4 weeks. Incredibly disappointing and depressing. At this point it is very easy to get frustrated and give up. This is exactly what I won't do. I need to use this as motivation to say, if I eat garbage I am not going to reach my ideal cosplay body weight and fitness level. The positive I can take out of this is that I am maintaining my step goals! My average daily steps are over 10,000 a day. Hurray! 

If you are super curious about my diet over these past four weeks I do log all my food into myfitnesspal. I didn't want to clutter up this already lengthy posts with my diet but if you really want it I'll post it. I have tried to change my diet so I am now having roughly this diet every day.

Breakfast: Coffee with sugared creamer (Coffee Mate) 90 - 120 calories
2 small clementines (cutie's) 
1 medium Pink Lady variety Apple

Lunch: More fruit. Like 6 cups of fruit. Whole pineapples, 2 boxes of strawberries, etc  OR about 300 calories of whatever I find in the fridge. 

Dinner: Consume my remaining calories on whatever I have left. If I don't have many I eat green beans. If I have a little more I eat ramen. 

**Week 9 Updated

So, it has now been 2 months since I started this journey. Here is where I should be at: 

Weight: 133 lbs

Actual current weight: 135 :( (Yes I am only 2 lbs heavier that I should be at this point, however this is 2 weeks worth of work) 

So here is my current weight loss from start of program to date. I have lost 6 lbs and should have lost about 9 at this point. I will focus on the positives here in order to keep myself motivated and not fall off the wagon. A positive is that I am indeed losing weight and my trending is going down. Clearly there is still some more work to do here to bring me down to my goal weight loss each week. Let's look at each week's data and see what could have gone wrong. 

 So the first most obvious thing I notice is that my average steps per day has dropped to 8,700 :/ I am down in steps and calories burned. I clearly was not as active this week as I should have been. I still was able to drop down to 136.7 this week. Not a ton of fluctuation in weight either. I also did not eat very well this week, as I am up 2011 calories taken in. My deficit was barely a deficit.

So, steps here are good however I am just below my goal of 10,000 per day average. Not terrible. My calories burned is up from the week before and my weight is down from 140.7 to 136.6 this week. That is a huge fluctuation though and clearly shows I wasn't very disciplined the week prior. 

My steps are back up over 10,00 a day! Yay! I also either did really well this week or didn't log all my food but the weight lost shows that I did well this week. Down to 134.4 lbs. Way to kick the last 2 weeks butt!

So steps are down but still over 10,000 per day average! Way to maintain that goal. My calorie deficit is not quite what it should have been and that shows as me weight actually has gone up to 135.2. I put on almost a pound since my lightest weight last week. 

Now that I have analysed that data I feel a bit better about not loosing as much weight over the past 4 weeks as the previous month, however I can see where I am struggling. I am mainly still struggling with my eating habits. My workout habits got sloppy for a week as well and I paid for it. Again I will take this information and use it to continue to fuel this lifestyle change. Dieting isn't a crash course or easy. It takes hard work and dedication to reach a goal. I really want to be able to show you a fantastic before and after over the next 3 months. I still have time to make this a reality. 

My diet is fairly consistent for breakfast:

Coffee with sweetner (100 calories)

Lunch: I have been eating out more than I should. I also have been eating cottage cheese and egg whites which are not filing and causing me to binge at dinner. 

Dinner: Eat the remaining calories for the day and it is usually carbs :/

Weekends are also really bad. I pretty much just split my 1200 calories and eat 2 600 calorie meals of carbs. 

I still have a long way to go but I am moving in the right direction. It feels good to at least still be trending in the right direction even if it isn't as fast as I would like. This isn't a sprint but a marathon and changing your eating habits and lifestyle when it comes to diet and exercise is very very difficult. Don't get frustrated you can do it! 

** Week 13 Update

So I feel pretty positive right now. I just finished compiling and reviewing my data and my graph shows I lost 10 lbs since I started this journey 3 months ago. I also just earned by 15 lb badge from FitBit. (I used to weight 147 at one point 0_0 ) 

This makes me feel really good and motivated that what I am doing is really working. It hasn't been easy and I know I am not being as strict as I should with my diet but I have made a significant improvement over my past eating habits. The only negative I see is that I really haven't changed my diet that much, I just eat less. I still have my morning coffee with sweetened flavored creamer, eat roughly 300 calorie lunches of whatever and eat about 700 calories for dinner. Weekends are still 2 meals dividing my calories in half of what I want to eat. The only thing I have been doing is eating apples. I eat an apple almost everyday which is one healthy thing I have consistently done. I am also eating about a 1500 calorie a day diet instead of the 1200 like I planned. It is really, really difficult to stick to 1200 calories. Most days I earn more calories by working out. By staying active I don't have to keep to such a strict diet. For instance yesterday I ate deep fried mac and cheese bites and had nacho chips and salsa today. Granted, I did not eat dinner last night and chips and salsa aren't that terrible surprisingly, but this is not a good habit to make. Making healthier eating choices would enable me to eat throughout the day and I might not be starving by the time I get home from work everyday. This is when binge eating gets the best of me. It is very difficult to not eat everything in the house. I have noticed I am not as hungry anymore and I get fuller much faster than I used to. I also avoid overeating because it makes me feel really sick. Having large meals or drinking a large volume of liquid really affects me much more than it used to. 

As far as my workouts go, I am still doing my 2 x a week 45 minute cardio/high intensity classes. I have been slowly moving up weights, running more/faster, and not being as winded as easily. I still only burn about 500 calories per class. It is much easier for men to burn calories than women, unfortunately for me. :/ 

So time for the weekly breakdowns. 

Steps are down here under my 10,00 step goal and my weight really didn't change from the week before even though this claims I lost 1.8 lbs. My deficit is also barely at the 3500 needed. 

This week was fantastic! 12,450 step average per day! I can't quite remember why it was so high this week. I don't remember doing anything extra strenuous. My deficit was a bit better and my weight prior was 135 and this week is just under so not a huge change. 

Steps are down from last week but still over 10,00 so still a solid week. Deficit is good as well and weight dropped down to 132!! :D

Steps are back up in the 12,400 average a day range and the calorie deficit is really good this week. I am down to 132.9 which is officially the least I have weighed yet!! 

Again, I am definitely not perfect on this diet but what I make sure I focus on are my steps for the day being over 10,000 and keeping my calories eaten under what I've burned. I have days where I eat more than I burn but not very often. Those days for me are usually Friday - Sunday. I am pretty diligent about keeping my calories at about 1200 to 1500 during the week because being at a desk all day and only bringing enough food for one day really helps force me to stick to it. They're also aren't a ton of food options in walking distance of my work which helps. I have a pretty easy time right now maintaining my steps because I walk around the office every hour, walk on my lunch, and walk my dogs when I get home if I don't go to the gym. The weather is nice right now though because it is summer. Maintaining my walks in the winter may be more difficult. For now I am going to celebrate my halfway mark and that I have lost 10 lbs. I feel better and my clothes fit better. I will be at Wizard World in a week so I am happy to have the confidence boost before a con. Till next time!! 

** Week 17 update 

I have just officially surpassed my halfway point. I am 4 months in to a 6 month journey. Only 2 more months until Blizzcon and I am FREAKING OUT. Not so much about my weight but completing my costume. Time for a workout update though to try and keep myself grounded and focused. One step at a time. 

So I only lost about 1.3 lbs from my last update. 1.3 lbs in 4 weeks. Not so good. I can pretty much tell you why though because the last two weeks I have not been nearly as active as I was. I also and still struggling with my diet and trying to chance to force healthier eating. I still can't get over vegetables and salads. I really do hate them. I haven't even been eating much fruit lately either. So let's look at the weekly data and see exactly what I'm talking about. 
So this week is down a bit from last week but still over the 10,000 steps a day average. Calories in vs out are just barely at the deficit required to lose one lb. Still a solid week. 

Again another solid week. Average steps were 14,212! Wow. I have no idea why they were so high. I do take walks on my lunch break at work but damn. I didn't go to the gym extra either. Calorie deficit was great this week almost at the -5000 for 2 lbs lost. 

And then I follow it up with this week. Average steps per day just plummet to 9,000. That being said, I did keep my calorie deficit pretty good this week and still managed to lose a pound. Although I wasn't nearly as active, I made sure to keep my eating in line with my activity level. 

And yet again an even less active week. 8,500 step average and my calories were barely at a deficit. I ended up gaining a pound. I worked from home and traveled for audits the last two weeks. I am always less active when I am not in the office which seems counter intuitive but I force myself to walk at work. When I am at home I think I am more active than I actually am.

So this is how I ended up only losing a grand total of 1.4 lbs in a 4 week period. So instead of continuing to backslide, I have committed to going to the gym 3 times this week and already completed yesterday at over 15,000 steps. I did unfortunately eat a whole box of mac and cheese though.... I really need to focus my efforts on my eating habits and just staying active when I am not at work. I still have a full 9 weeks to turn this around and continue to lose weight. The overall trend is still what I want I just have to keep reminding myself that this is a marathon, not a sprint. I also need to remember this has to be a lifestyle change or it will never stick. I am trying very hard to be positive but it is raining and gloomy outside which seems to fit my mood at the current moment. I hope to be in better spirits for the next update. 

** Week 21 Update **

Ok so I officially have 4.5 weeks left until Blizzcon 0_0 I think I may have to succumb to actually eating vegetables... I did go on vacation during this past month although I did really well and tried to keep my calories in vs. out even so I didn't gain weight. What surprised me is how much I walked. I walked so much on vacation it somewhat made up for eating all those extra calories and all that beer... So let's look at the data and see how I did... 

So I somehow still managed to lose 2.4 lbs over the last four weeks even though I went on vacation and ate a shitload of food. I also officially am under 130 now!! :D It really helps me to look back over a four week period and see my progress. When you focus on the week to week you kind of lose sight of the trending of your weight. I really like using to help me track my weight and activity. It also helps motivate me to keep moving! I am still attending bi-weekly classes for workouts but am not going any other days. I think over the next month I will put that into overdrive to make sure that I am staying active and fit which will be difficult because I will be traveling most of next month for work. :/ Good thing hotels have gyms!! 

So this week went well and I met all my goals. I am having a hard time recalling any specific details about the end of August at this point. 

So it looks like my steps are down and I didn't lose any weight. I also ate more than I should have which would explain why I didn't lose any weight :/

So this week my steps are even less than last week and my eating wasn't fantastic but I somehow managed to lose weight. Not really sure how I managed that. This was the first week I dipped below 130!! I haven't seen a 2 in my weight in YEARS. Probably about 7 years... I took a little time to celebrate this huge achievement. 
So this is the week I spent in Germany at Oktoberfest!!! As you can see I walked a shitload. I always walk a ton on vacation because you have to rely on taxis and public transit. This is the most I have walked in about 2-3 months. I also ate more than I normally would but the walking somewhat accounted for that. Even though I wasn't eating "diet" food, I just simply ate a little less of it than I wanted to eat. I was still able to enjoy the food, culture, and beer without sacrificing my whole diet. Avoiding overeating is really hard on vacation and I am really proud I was able to no only stick to my calorie goals but also lost weight this week, granted I think it was before my trip not after... I am definitely paying for it this week so I have a feeling my first week next month will not be that fantastic... 

Looking at my data overall, I feel much better. I was worried I had fallen into a rut and wasn't actually losing weight anymore. Now that I looked at the data I know that isn't true. Taking the time to look back is really helping me stick to my dieting and exercise goals and helping me stay motivated. I have lost 13 lbs since March... That doesn't seem like much but when you don't have that much to lose it really has made a difference. People are starting to notice and have complimented me on my appearance. My jeans are also lose which sucks because they are all pretty much new but that is what belts are for!! Little signs like that help me keep going. This next month is going to be a big push though to try to shave off as many lbs as possible before Blizzcon. I would really like to reach my goal by then but I want to make sure I do it safely and am able to maintain my weight loss after the convention. If I don't hit my goal by then I am still very happy that I am losing weight, looking and feeling better everyday. I know it's hard but you are not alone!! Anyone can start losing weight and getting healthy by having a positive mindset and just STICK TO IT!!! Don't be hard on yourself but also be realistic. You may not reach you goal by your time frame but that doesn't mean you won't get there at your own pace. This is the most positive I have felt about myself in a long time and it just feels so good to be confident again. :D :D :D See you in a month AT BLIZZCON!!!! <3 <3 <3

Week 25**

HOLY SHIT ONLY ONE WEEK LEFT :'D I am writing this exactly one week before I leave for Blizzcon. I'll have one more update next week when I post this with before and after pics. So here we go!

So since my last update I've only lost one pound. I have to look at the bright side that I am still losing but I am not at all where I wanted to be. I currently weight 128. I am 8 lbs shy of my goal with only one week to go. Needless to say I won't reach my goal in my time frame but I am not going to give up. I have lost 14.7 lbs in 24 weeks which is completely normal, healthy, and maintainable. I did not crash diet I just watched my calories in vs calories out. I still eat junk which I am sure I would lose the weight easier and faster if I ate more vegetables but I still hate them. So let's break it down week by week. 

So I think my biggest issue is just that my activity is down. This is when I started traveling for work. I pretty much traveled the whole month of October. I had every intention of utilizing the fitness centers at the hotel but I only did a few times. With my fitness being down it was harder for me to keep to my calorie goals. 

Here this week my activity is even lower, but I was a bit better about sticking to my calories. My weight hardly fluctuated this week so that is a positive. 

Another week of low activity. I wasn't quite as good about eating but somehow dropped a pound. 

This week almost makes up for the other weeks. I was home this week for the first time in 3 weeks so I really took advantage of the gym. I went 3 days and made sure I took walks. I ensured that I was getting my 10,000 steps a day or more. I wasn't as good about eating though so I had a huge fluctuation in weight. 

Needless to say, staying active really makes a difference. I also noticed it really affected my mood when I wasn't as active. I felt lethargic and down on myself. I am going to continue this next week and add my before and after posts!! I will continue to try and lose weight but I won't be blogging it in this kind of detail. I will post when I reach my goal! :D Until next week....

*** Week 29 ***
Ok so I had every intention of posting this BEFORE blizzcon but I got so caught up on getting my costume ready that I'm posting this afterwards. Let's look at where we are....

So after Blizzcon I kind of fell off the wagon... I had been working so hard I started letting myself have more treats than I should have. I somehow still lost weight and i've reached my lowest weight to date which was 124.5 so I was really excited about that. I haven't weighed under 125 in over 5 years. 

My activity is down but I did pretty well for activity. Ate more than I probably should have but I was stress eating from Blizzcon haha. 

This week doesn't really count because I was at Blizzcon. I did walk a lot though so that countered all the bad eating... I actually did better this week than last week. 

This was the first week after and I did ok. Activity is down and my deficit is not quite where I want it to be. 

This week I was more active but ate more so kind of negated that. I somehow dropped to 124.5 this week though. I currently am at about 126 right now a week later but I'll keep trucking and try to keep a better handle on my eating. I don't want to slip back just because the event I wanted to lose weight for is over. :/ I will continue to post updates but like I said, not quite this detailed. This was more for myself to keep me motivated. If you like it let me know and I'll keep going!

- Basic B