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Posts posted by Katinka

  1. "In the simplest case, an optimization problem consists of maximizing or minimizing a real function by systematically choosing input values from within an allowed set and computing the value of the function." (wikipedia)


    Alright, I'm finally getting to an awesome place in my fitness journey! I've stepped away from the past two challenges to relax a little bit, and I've seen some pretty good results by not being so uptight. My overall goal remains the same (get down to 25% body fat) but my approach is no longer going to be a specific one but a well-rounded one. I recognize that I need to balance diet, exercise, and relaxation in order to reach this goal. By trying to excel in one (or all) of those areas, I've sabotaged myself in the past. This challenge is about finding the balance at which all three of those areas are at attainable levels and help me progress towards my goal. 


    Main Goal: Reach 25% Body Fat


    Subgoal 1: Consistency This is my favorite one, and not too hard for me to keep up with. However, the class I used to take on Sundays has been moved, and so I need to work out on my own or risk two rest days per week, which is not optimal for me. During this challenge, I will work out every Sunday, unless it is in fact my only rest day for the week. By the end of this challenge, the weather will (hopefully) be nice enough for me to run outside again on Sundays, so I've just got to stick it out for a few more weeks of getting my butt out of bed and going to the gym. 


    Subgoal 2: Cardio I need to work more cardio into my routine. This is the most difficult for me in the winter, as the rest of the year I focus on running outdoors. I know that to lower my body fat percentage I need to gain muscle and lose fat, and for me, I see the most results when adding in 20 minutes of cardio after strength training. Right now, I have two strength training workouts/week where I could fit this in - that's 12 workouts during this challenge. I'm aiming to do cardio after strength training at least 8 times during this challenge. 


    Subgoal 3: Kickstart  Before I moved to central PA, I worked a lot of weddings in the Philadelphia area. I could be doing the same here, but it's hard for me to follow up on leads because I never made myself an actual website. I avoid taking on new work since it involves sending lots of information through email, writing up contracts, etc. During this challenge, I will create a website with photos, sound bites, information, and a sample contract. 


    Subgoal 4: Engage I work for a fiber optics connector company, and while my work is mostly mechanical (like my degree), I'd like to learn more about fiber optics. I will spend 1 hour per week doing research or taking online classes in this area. 




    I have intentionally left nutrition out of this challenge. I think that by creating so many metrics in the past, I've just been busy finding ways around them. One thing I learned on my trip over Christmas was my ability to eat intuitively. I do best on a high fat diet when I'm eating foods that appeal to me, and therefor satisfy me. I also feel better, eat better, and lose weight when I am constantly in motion. I believe that the rest of my goals during this challenge will address areas that need the most attention, and my diet will naturally fall into the balance. 


    I will get body fat measurements done (with calipers) at the gym this Wednesday (Feb 26) and the Wednesday after Week 6 (April 2)

  2. I freeze any liquids (particularly my broth) in muffin tins, then take them out, pop out the pucks, and place them in gallon sized freezer bags. The main benefit for me is the smaller serving sizes, I just grab and defrost as needed. My muffin tins are 1/2cup each, seems to be a handy amount. For smaller things, like herbs or hot peppers in a sauce, you can use ice cube trays the same way.

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  3. 1. Record Everything: Did great with this one yesterday :)

    2. Shake Shake Shake: Had a shake last night - keeping me nice and full this morning.

    3. Kicking in the (freezer) burn: Planning on another run today, but at 45 degrees I don't think it's going to be too cold - I'm just hoping there isn't too much wind. 0/2 for week.


    Side Quests:


    1. Bodyweight Workouts: 0/1 for week

    2. Stop Picking: Continuing to see improvement with Castille soap. I also used a chocolate face mask last night which made my skin feel nice and smooth (and oil free!) Not doing so great with the picking, though.

  4. *Phew* Just caught up on all your posts after being away for a few days - everything looks awesome! I'm in the same boat you are with the strength losses - it seemed to be one minor thing after another holding me back for a while, then I just never got back into the swing of heavy lifting. And (because I don't know if anyone answered your question) it had better be normal to squat more than you press - I've squatted 175 but I've only pressed 65! Realizing this has really motivated me to press more, haha.

  5. Dragging my sorry ass back on the bandwagon and getting back to posting! I was away Wednesday-Friday, and then the weekend happened, so I need to get back on track around here.


    1. Record Everything: Didn't record the past five days, but mentally tracked well enough to update it all this morning. Nutrition was ok for travelling (limited options, but did the best I could) but less than stellar this weekend...cold damp weather makes me want to eat :/

    2. Shake Shake Shake: Haven't had any since my last update. I bought more bananas and should be back to this tonight.

    3. Kicking in the (freezer) burn: Ran a new "low" at 33 degrees last Tuesday, and stayed  out even longer than I expected! Another run on Thursday morning, but that one was probably in the mid 40s. I then spent Thursday afternoon walking around Boston in  lots of pain, since I had already done 3.5 miles that morning, so I'm not sure how much running I'll be doing on our sightseeing days in Europe. It still seems like a good idea for travel and less busy days, though.


    Side Quests:


    1. Bodyweight Workouts: Missed this one last week, unless you count going to a yoga/pilates class (I don't. But it did give me a few ideas)

    2. Stop Picking: Gradually making improvements on this one again. Seeing the tiniest bit of improvement in my skin since I switched to using Castile soap on my face instead of proactive - here's to hoping it continues!

  6. Main Quests:


    1. Record Everything: Updated everything yesterday - I was very mindful of what I ate over the weekend, so I'm all caught up :)

    2. Shake Shake Shake: Protein shake after the gym last night, so I'm nice and full this morning :)

    3. Kicking in the (freezer) burn: Current plan is to run this afternoon and Thursday morning (in Boston!)


    Side Quests:


    1. Bodyweight Workouts: I plan on doing this one on Friday or Sunday

    2. Stop Picking: Doctor Bronner's seems to be helping at least a little bit. Still much more oily than I had hoped, but it might take time (ok, it WILL take time). I also bought a face mask over the weekend - I was using these a lot for a while, I want to try them again to see if they help.

  7. Love love love Strasbourg! I drive there sometimes just to eat tarte flambee. I really need to go there again, it's only a 2 hour drive so it's always worth it

    (sorry for short replies, spelling derps and autocorrect funsies, sent from phone)


    We're actually only going to be there for the night (we're flying into Paris and renting a car, then driving to Munich, so Strasbourg seemed like a good halfway point). We do need to get dinner there, though - is there anywhere you recommend? Our only plans for the night were to hit up the Christmas market.

  8. Had a great weigh-in on Friday - 155.8 (-0.4 for challenge). That's about average for me when I'm watching my diet and getting enough cardio, but not really depriving myself to lose weight.


    Main Quests:


    1. Record Everything: Left my notebook at the office over the weekend, so I didn't actively record, but I was able to update it all today.

    2. Shake Shake Shake: No protein shakes this weekend :(

    3. Kicking in the (freezer) burn: Did my second run Sunday morning. My phone said it was 41 degrees, so I wore some underarmour and a loose teeshirt, but I came home after 2 miles because I was so dang hot! I'm not sure if it was because the sun was very strong, or I just overestimated how warm I would be. This week's runs are a little more variable, I'm counting on either Tuesday or Sunday and then Thursday or Friday. So basically any day except today or Wednesday.


    Side Quests:


    1. Bodyweight Workouts: Completed this one last week. I really ought to do this one tonight to make sure I don't miss it this week!

    2. Stop Picking: Switched up my soaps and stopped using conditioner, seems to be helping at least a little. I kept very busy (and happy!) this weekend, so actually picking at my skin was at a minimum.

  9. Do you know what is causing the problems with your skin? One of the best things I ever did for my skin and hair was to stop using fragrent soaps and shampoos. My evidence is anecdotal and I know there are a lot of conflicting reports and stories, but it might be worth looking into. =)

    I've always had super sensitive skin, so I try to use the blandest stuff possible. Lately I've been loving Doctor Bronner's castile soap for everything - bodywash, hand soap, even making a whole bunch of household cleaning products. I think the recent acne breakout is probably a combination of eating too much dairy during the last challenge (I was eating yogurt every day) and possibly just not reacting to the proactive anymore. I used it for 2.5 years, with amazing results for about the first year and a half, and just a little better than average ever since. Over the weekend I started using peppermint castile soap on my face, it seems to be helping with at least the oil, if not the acne (that will take a little longer to tell). I stopped using conditioner lately, too, since my hair always seemed super greasy by the end of the day - maybe less-oily hair will help keep my face cleaner, too.


    Ooooh where in Europe are you going? :o


    Strasbourg, Munich, Geneva, Les Houches (skiing!), Nimes, Arles, St Remy de Provence, Carcassone, Barcelona, and Paris!

  10. Have you tried doing a whole30? It sounds like that might be a good option for you if you're willing to dedicate a set amount of time to super-strict eating. I did one last January (because I had a 30-day period with no social commitments, lol) and I loved it. I haven't stayed primal since, but it taught me so much about eating, my body, and my relationship with food.

  11. Main Quests:


    1. Record Everything: On track with this.

    2. Shake Shake Shake: Pretzels after work yesterday, no post-dinner snacking, but no shakes either

    3. Kicking in the (freezer) burn: 1/2 runs for week complete. Took yesterday as my rest day since my legs were so sore from my super-deep squats on Wednesay. Run #2 will be Sunday morning.


    Side Quests:


    1. Bodyweight Workouts: 1/1 for week (Monday).

    2. Stop Picking: My skin (and hair) has been so gross...I don't know why it decided to be like this all of the sudden! I did a good job at not picking yesterday, but I'm not sure the castile soap is particularly helping. I can't wait to get some sort of face mask at the grocery store tomorrow - those usually help my skin for at least a few days (plus they smell nice :) )


    Weigh in tonight! I have to admit I'm nervous. I actually lost weight during the break week, which made no sense at all, but I'm afraid that will catch up with me this week...

  12. Main Quests:


    1. Record Everything: On track with this.

    2. Shake Shake Shake: Ate tortilla chips after work even though I wasn't really hungry, then had a protein shake after the gym. I think I might be seeing a pattern between protein shakes and how hungry I am the next day (protein shake = less hunger). This is a good thing to pay attention to.

    3. Kicking in the (freezer) burn: 1/2 runs for week complete. This goal would make a lot more sense if it would ever get cold around here! Planning on doing my second run either tonight or Sunday morning, depending on rain.


    Side Quests:


    1. Bodyweight Workouts: 1/1 for week (Monday).

    2. Stop Picking: Not so great last night. I'm thinking of switching out my proactive for something else, but I'm not sure what since proactive was the only thing that ever worked for me...until it stopped. Last night and this morning I just washed my face with Dr Bronners castile soap, because I love that stuff. I've added some face masks to my grocery list for the week, I think I need to make those a regular thing again.

  13. When you look better, you feel better. I promise. I used to be the girl who went everywhere in sweatpants and a teeshirt with long hair always in a (wet) ponytail and no makeup. Then my friends taught me how to wear makeup, I watched way too many episodes of what not to wear, and I got my act together. I don't even leave the bedroom now without getting dressed. I know that sounds super uptight, but it works for me. I just feel like a better, more attractive, productive human being when I'm up and dressed. I think this will really work for you too as you "wear your pants" during this challenge. Can't wait to see what you accomplish!

  14. Starting Weight (11/1/13): 156.2


    Days 1 and 2


    Main Quests:


    1. Record Everything: On track with this.

    2. Shake Shake Shake: Had a protein shake on Monday night instead of after dinner snacking. It kept me full the rest of the night.

    3. Kicking in the (freezer) burn: Went for a run yesterday after work - 52 degrees.


    Side Quests:


    1. Bodyweight Workouts: 1/1 for week (Monday). Lots of cardio, could have used more strength, particularly for my legs.

    2. Stop Picking: This one starts today!

  15. I started this challenge early (Nov 4) because I didn't realize there was a two week break until I logged in on Monday, and I was so excited to start! Also, this way my 6 weeks will end 3 days before my trip, so I can really take advantage of the full time period.


    Motivation Recap: I want to feel my absolute best, emotionally and physically, for this trip. I also want to look great in pictures. It's time to get serious about my weight and eating habits - this is a once in a lifetime trip, and I can't afford any regrets.



    MAIN QUEST: 25% body fat


    I'm still unsure as to my actual body fat. I'm estimating somewhere between 27 and 29% this time. I started last challenge at what I thought was 27%, then found out it was 31% (which seemed awfully high, and I was bloated at the time...). I saw some progress on the scale during the last challenge, and then that scale broke and I had to switch to a different one, so I'm not sure of the consistency. I'd estimate I lost 2-3 pounds during the last challenge.


    1. Record everything I eat - by hand. I had a lot of success on this during the previous challenge - far more than when I just write a daily post in the online battle logs.


    2. Shake Shake Shake - Protein shakes are the key to not snacking at night. I've been avoiding them in favor of less-cold snacks, like tortilla chips and popcorn, but the bottom line is that nothing keeps me as full as some good old fashioned protein powder and bananas. If I'm really hungry, I won't care how cold they are.


    3. Kicking in the (freezer) burn! - I want to be able to run on my trip, particularly at the Olympic Stadiums in Munich and Barcelona. It's going to be cold, so I need to keep running as the temperatures drop. I'll run twice a week during this challenge.




    1. Bodyweight Workouts - three weeks on the road is going to be a long time without weight lifting. I'm going to do one bodyweight strength workout per week during this challenge so I have plenty of ideas for hotel-room strength training.


    2. STOP PICKING. This was much harder than I anticipated during the last challenge. I aggravated things by eating lots of yogurt during the first 4 weeks, and my skin is still showing the effects. Going away with my mother for the weekend, while lots of fun, also resulted in lots and lots of skin picking. I became much more aware of my habits during the last challenge, now it's time to start changing them.


    Motivation Declaration: I want to look and feel fabulous and sexy in Europe. For 3 whole weeks. Does it get any better than that?

  16. Chickie you look great in that picture! Not only does all of your hard work show, but you look so happy, too!


    I tried the workout you posted on 10/19 last night - good Lord that was hard! Particularly the kb swings. That workout is definitely going to stay in my rotation so I can see the improvement in both time and difficulty. Thanks for the idea!

  17. Haha putting a lot of money down on what is probably the single most amazing trip I'll ever take sure worked as motivation. And I think taking a good old fashioned approach to everything helped, too, rather than trying to come up with new and improved ways to look at things. Keep it simple stupid!



    Recording: This was definitely good for me. I'd say I recorded about 85% of my days, and wrote affirmations for about 80% of them. I'll be carrying this on to the next challenge as well. Grade: B+

    (Don't) Let them Eat Cake: I did very well on this one. The only free food I ate was some pizza, which I did on a day that I planned on having pizza for dinner and so I ate my lunch for dinner instead. Grade: A-, only for bending the rules a smidgen.

    Sprint! Lost sight of this one, from injuries and lack of motivation. Grade: C, because I kept this up for a little while, then stopped due to injury, but failed to start again.

    Parlez Vous Francais? Started out great with this one, but quit because I was too distracted with other things. I have been practicing my French, though, so maybe I should make this a broader language goal in the next challenge. Grade: D, because there were no excuses.

    Stop Picking! I'm going to give myself a B for effort and an F for success - we'll call it a C+ to keep my motivation going. This one was a lot tougher than I expected, but confirmed that skin-picking is deeply psychological for me. I'm repeating this one again during the next challenge. Grade: C+

    Pull Pull Pull: Continued doing pull related activities throughout the challenge, but haven't worked enough on chin-ups to get beyond a single chin up at a time. This will also reappear in the next challenge. Grade: B- (I wish there was a greenish-orange color for this one)




    I started out consistently losing about 1/2 a pound per week. Then the gym got rid of the analog scale I was using and switched to a digital scale. I'm mildly freaked out that I didn't get a chance to compare the two before the switch, but at the last weigh-in I was down to 157.0 on the digital scale. I think it's safe to say I lost at least 2 pounds during this challenge. I'll be aiming for another 3 pounds next time.


    Tracking by hand is the way to go for me. With the exception of one bad weekend where my basement flooded and I ate Chinese food all weekend, and this past Saturday where I had a few too many jello shots and then enjoyed lots of taco dip, I think I was on track to lose at a very slow rate, but still lose consistently. Pants are fitting better and better, and I'm definitely on track to fit in them comfortably by the time of my trip.


    I got my wedding and engagement rings sized down during this challenge - from an 8 to a 6.5! I've come a long way in 2.5 years that even my fingers are slimmer!


    Finally, I ran a 5k yesterday at a personal best - 29:19! I ran this same race in 2010 when I first started running with a time of 39 minutes - I've come a long way! It was a lot of fun to push myself so hard, although I'm certainly feeling the effects today. Can't wait to see what I accomplish during the next challenge!