Saturday, December 31, 2011

Photography & Other Stressors

Well I'm officially 22! We went out to the bars and I probably had about 2,000 liquid calories. Zumba today!

Since most of my followers are fellow photographers, I kind of wanted to talk about how photography figures into my life. I started my own business when I was 20, not exactly by choice. I had been doing photography as a hobby and built up a reputation. I started getting a little too many request, to the point where I either stop charging people, or get in trouble with the government. Luckily, my husband's cousin is a financial consultant, so he did most of the legal paper work and is now my tax accountant. I'm still in college, but at this point I am only going for fun. I never plan to use my degrees because they're in American Indian Studies and Anthropology- far from my career aspirations. I never planned on doing photography as a profession, it just sort of fell in my lap. I think I might be making it sound too easy... I worked hard to get the rep I have- shadowing other photographers, doing a ton of independent research, and many, many free shoots. I'm hired based on my talent not my prices. It feels so good to hear someone say they chose me because they love my work!

The bad side of business- I have invested well over $15,000 into photography in the last two years. You don't just start a business with one lens and so-so equipment. I look back on my photography from 4 years ago and I think, wow.. what was I doing? I have spent so much money on computers, software, equipment, a studio, and I have made way too many bad purchases from trial and error.
This is some of my camera equipment (taken from my phone) that I use on a regular basis. I have much, much more in storage. One mistake I made in my first year of business is renting a studio. I spent $4k to rent it, and I only used it maybe 6 times in the entire year. This is just my experience, but hardly anyone wants indoor photos. I hate shooting in the studio as well- it gets entirely too boring and repetitive.

So how does photography stress me out? Since I started college in the first place, I decided I might as well finish it. Having a business and going to school full time is incredibly hard. I really pick and choose my clients, and I do not invest in marketing because I honestly do not want too much business. I graduate this May, so I need to start thinking about how to advertise. I live in a very competitive city, and photographers here do not speak to each other. I'm trying to find my niche, and I think I've done a pretty good job already. As much as I love photography, I wish I hadn't become an entrepreneur until after college. Another factor that stresses me out is that I've kind of lost a sense of artistic freedom. I used to wander around taking photos of things that inspire me, or set up a shoot for a specific purpose. I love capturing moments and making people look good, but sometimes I feel too commercial. This year I'm making it my goal to do more photography for myself. I'm also slowly getting into videography, and I'd love to express myself through that medium as well.

Other Goals and Bad habits
My husband, Nick, and I are techies. We NEED to have every little new gadget that comes out. We have spent a humongous amount over the years on tvs, phones, computers, cameras, cars, spa items, game consoles, and anything else you can think of. Maybe it's just our age (we're both 22) that makes us want, want, want. This habit has to stop. We have 4!!! computers for only two people. That's ridiculous. We get the newest thing and the other stuff that was sooo last year gets put in storage. It's really not worth it.

I would love to meditate daily. I started to, and it was wonderful, but I quickly lost motivation telling myself I don't have time to sit for 15 minutes.

Tanning- I'm on the fence about this one. I love tanning, it makes me happy. We do have a tanning bed that Nick bought me as a wedding present. In the winter months tanning prevents seasonal depression. Plus, I look so much better with a tan. However, everyone knows the dangers involved and I'm just not that concerned about it. I'm Native and no one in my family has ever had skin cancer. I don't want Nick to tan (I'm pretty sure he's happy about that) because he's practically albino. People in his family get skin cancer. So...I know it's a risk, but do I care enough to stop and sell my bed?

The biggest goal for me this year besides weight loss is to limit my computer and tv time. I spend way too much time on the internet, for no reason at all. I have too many tv shows that I "need" to watch. I'd like to use the time I spend zoning out for more productive things. Maybe I'll start with cutting a half hour out, and work my way up.

Lastly, I'd like to stop verbally complaining. I really think this is specific to my generation. Everyone is open about their opinions and gripes. I'd like to keep my thoughts to myself for now on and try to be more positive. I can be a little snarky at times, if you couldn't tell.

Oh, one more last one. I'd like to visit and help our parents out more. All of our parents have been hit extremely hard by the economy shift, and two out of the three sets are in very poor health. They need us, our support, to help them get through it. I'm not a family oriented person- and I need to work on that.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Essential Tools

I have been bad. Yesterday I did not do Cardio X. I have many reasons (excuses) why, but I'll spare you. So, today I am going to do both Shoulders and Arms and Cardio X AND Zumba abs. I am punishing myself, but who knows if I will learn my lesson.
Tomorrow is my birthday so I'm going to admit right now that I'll be breaking my diet a lot. I know for sure my husband will be taking me to Red Lobster and will most likely buy an ice cream cake. Tonight we might go out to the bars depending on if my best friend is going to come to town. I hate having my birthday on New Years Eve! It was only awesome last year, on my 21st bday. Living in a college town makes it so much worse- you're lucky if you can get a drink every half an hour! Sorry.. ranting.

Back to what I'm supposed to talk about.
So this is the protein I use. The ones on the left are from Vitamin World. They're chocolate and vanilla flavored. Top right is Gold Standard in Cappuccino flavor- not the tastiest. The last one is Cyto Sport in vanilla, and it's my favorite.

I do not like protein drinks by themselves. I really hate the texture if they are not properly mixed. One thing I have learned to help get the clumps out is to make the protein drink before your workout and put it in the fridge. By the time you're done the chunks have mostly deteriorated. Or just make a smoothie, like I do.

I want to address the protein drinks really quickly because I feel that many women have the wrong idea. Protein shakes will not make you bulky. Don't be afraid to buy some! I use my protein shakes as 1) a low calorie (and meatless) way to get in 25g of protein, and 2) as a recovery drink. You would not believe how much difference you will feel if you take one after your workout. You need to drink it immediately after your workout (within 30 minutes) and it will prevent soreness. Not all soreness, but it makes a dramatic difference. Also- do not think that those pre-made protein shakes you can get at drugstores is the same thing. Most of those shakes have only 9gs of protein and much, much more calories and sugar. They are not the same thing as protein powder!

I said that I make smoothies instead of drinking the protein plain. It really does not take long at all. Maybe 4 minutes and you have a perfectly blended drink, no clumps at all! Usually I mix vanilla with a cup of frozen (microwave it a little) fruit and ice. I also always use milk, not water. Another shake I love is half a banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter, or sometimes I don't even add the banana. Here are my tools in the kitchen:
I would not trade my Oster blender for anything in the world! I love it so much and it makes smoothies effortless. The adorable tea pot is from Kohls, and it is microwavable. It helps me make my oatmeal and miso soup quickly because it holds the perfect amount. Miso is extremely good for you, and it is only 35 calories! You can make your own, but I prefer to get this instant Miso soup from Walmart. I take out the seaweed though.. not a fan. I have mentioned before that I hate eating meat, but I have to add chicken to my diet in order to get enough protein in. The microwavable (hey, I'm a college student!) Tyson chicken is awesome. It has a grilled flavor to it and it only takes 2 minutes to make. I usually make one breast and cut it up into little pieces and eat it with a side of veggies. If you're concerned about sodium content you might want to look at different options, but I myself do not care.

My workout equipment is really basic. If you're just starting out with P90X you do not need as many different weights as I have. Some of these are my husbands- I could never lift 25lb dumbbells!

I mostly use the 8lb dumbbells, but I recommend starting out with the 5lb and 2lb. I use the perfect push-up thingies because it is easier on my wrists. I do not use the blue band very often, it came with the orange one. I use the orange one to do the pull-up alternatives. The yoga mat was from Target and is used almost every day! Lastly, my VS water bottle gets emptied during each workout.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

And We Danced

So today was Chest and Back+ Ab Ripper X.

I got through the whole workout just fine. I did 12 reps for most of the exercises so that I can move up from there. Don't worry if you can't do a push up to save your life! I have really weak wrists so push ups are difficult and pull ups are impossible. I do 5 push ups the normal way, then the rest "girl" push ups with my knees down. I think it's really important to do as many as you can without your knees as soon as you start out or else you will not push yourself to that step later on. Instead of pull ups I do the band exercises that are shown.  

Changes I've made to suit my needs: 
I am not going to do Plyometrics just yet. One, because of my foot injuries, and two because I'm just not fit enough. Doing Plyometrics is like subjecting yourself to torture. Not going to happen, at least not in this phase. Instead of Plyometrics, I will be doing Cardio X.
I also do not like Yoga X. I can't even describe my hatred for it. Not only is it the longest, it is soooo incredibly boring. If you're a person who does Yoga and is thinking that Yoga X should be fun, think again! Yoga X is nothing like any other Yoga class. I will be substituting either Zumba or Pilates for Yoga X. 
Also, some people swear by Ab Ripper X, but I'm just not that impressed. One day a week I will be doing Zumba Abs instead of Ab Ripper X. I feel like Zumba works my obliques 100% more. 

Starting video:
Ugh.. I just.. do you have any idea how hard this was to do? I made a video of my starting point. I gritted my teeth and hid my shame showing the entire world my stomach. The only person to see my stomach since high school is my husband and my mother. Really. So, here it is:

Day One

Now I'm fully accountable for what happens next. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Those Dreadful Measurments

I'm going to have a really long introduction because I need to get a lot out there before I "officially" start my weight loss goals. I like to read about other people's stories and how they succeed, but there are always so many details missing from their journey that I'd like to know. I'm going to try and be as thorough as possible and of course, brutally honest.

About my body:
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 205lbs (ouch)

Arms (each): 13.5
Thighs (each): 24.5
Chest: 43
Tummy (not waist): 42.5
Hips: 46.5
Neck: 14

Weaknesses: carbs! I love pizza and pasta.
                     I never drink enough water
                     I snack all day (will power) 
Strengths: Knowledge- I know what I need to do, but... 
                Support System

I'm not in the best health. I get sick often, right now I have problems with my feet since I bruised both of my Achilles tendons. I have to wear a walking boot if I'm doing a lot of walking- this is just temporary. I have carpal tunnel that has been acting up lately. I wear braces to bed and whenever it is bothering me. Diseases like Fibromyalgia, Lupus, and Diabetes run strongly in my family. I'm not pre-diabetic yet, and trying to make sure I wont be any time soon. 

About My Lifestyle
 I am a photographer, a full time student, and I have a part time job. I am exhausted pretty much all the time. I'm 21, very soon to be 22, and I'm pretty sure I have the body of a 40 year old. I love to go geocaching, but my husband and I haven't gone often this year. I'm insanely stressed out most of the time because I have too much going on. Despite being busy, I do have time for exercise but I have a lack of motivation. I would so much rather be online or watching TV. So, I have a normal lifestyle in terms of activity. I have to walk to classes, when I work I am walking for about 5 hours straight. On my days off I always lounge and stay on the couch. 
Also, I'm not a vegetarian, but I very rarely eat meat. I just don't like meat. I cannot shake the thought of eating muscle and veins from another living creature. When I do eat meat it takes forever because I examine every little piece looking for veins and fat. I just avoid the stuff as much as possible. 

Fitness Plans
I want to be down to 140lbs, curvy but not soft. I admire women who have strong arms and visible muscles. I want to be lean and strong. I will be starting P90X Classic today.

I have tried it in the past and had success. My first month devoted to P90X was difficult but I lost 15lbs quickly. I pulled a muscle in my hip during a Yoga X pose and it took almost 3 months to heal! Needless to say, I gained that weight back and more. I also did not drink or eat nearly enough to push through the workouts. I passed out a few times my first time around. This time I will definitely eat and drink enough and not push myself too hard too fast!

You see results very fast with P90X, but even though I've had it for over a year now, I haven't been motivated enough to start another round until now. I will be tracking all my workouts and diet with an awesome app on my droid called 90Droid Extreme Fitness. 

I'm going to be following the P90X nutrition plan. Phase 1 requires a huge amount of protein so I will be drinking two protein shakes a day. Since I'm going to have to eat protein, I am planning on eating chicken everyday. Basically I do not count calories, I just make sure I meet these servings:

Proteins (5)
Dairy (2)
Fruits (1)
Veggies (2)
Fats (1)
Carbs (1)
Snacks (3)
Water (8)

I usually only drink 2 glasses of water a day, so this will be a challenge. I have always hated drinking fluids, and yes I know that's extremely weird. I only drink enough to keep myself conscious- not healthy at all. Although the plan says stay away from alcohol, Dr. Oz says you should drink a glass of red wine to get rid of belly fat. Hmm.. not sure what I'm going to do with that information.

Alright, so I'm embarking on my weight loss journey starting... tomorrow. Don't judge me.