Journey Back To Strength 3

Success isn’t measured in pounds

Journey Back To Strength 3 - Success isn’t measured in pounds

Let’s Review

Today started in a way I am pretty certain you may be able to relate to. Before I dive into that experience, I would like to get you up to speed on my weigh-ins over the past 3 weeks.

First weigh-ins were mentioned in Blog # 2 and are as follows:
1. 9/12/2013 158.9 lbs.
2. 9/24/2013 153.9 lbs.
3. 9/26/2013 152.3 lbs.
4. 10/2/2013 152.3 lbs.

Initial feeling…


Success isn’t measured in pounds

The Previous Week

Journey Back To Strength 3 - Success isn’t measured in poundsThe highlighted weigh-in represents the way my day started. Since my 9/26 weigh-in, I have stayed completely on track with my training and meals. Now that I am doing “check ins” with the world, I figured that I better get this right. Interestingly, I have actually had to remind myself to eat several times over the past week, because my hunger plummeted. Not really sure why. Maybe I am so ready to drop this body fat, the last thing I am feeling is “deprived.” I was sort of looking forward to my lowest carb day. Pictured is one scrumptious (sarcasm) meal from yesterday. I opted to eat this delicacy with my fingers. Seemed like the obvious option at the time. I merely need to get in all of my protein for the day. A fork? At this point, I don’t even care if I use a fork. I simply want to meet my macro totals.

My Expectation

Journey Back To Strength 3 - Success isn’t measured in poundsThe day before this recent weigh-in was the lowest carb day of a four day cycle I am presently on. Each of the four days, I have different macronutrient goals. I do this to avoid adaptation to eating the same type of calories every day. Through eight years of experience alone, I have found that, for me, this is an effective way to keep my metabolism healthy. There are many ways to achieve this, different schools of thought, etc. However, this happens to be my choice for now.

Typically, the morning following a really low carb day is when your weight could/should/hopefully drops. I confidentially went all through the decreasingly lower calorie days feeling quite victorious, because I wasn’t even hungry (I am usually starving) all day. Maybe it’s easier to mentally handle the taking in fewer calories, because in the back of my mind, I feel confident that when I weigh myself in the morning, there will be progress and it’s going to be good.

What Actually Happened?

On 10/2/2013, half asleep, I stumble over to the scale, stepped on and guess what happened?


I swear, I picked up that scale and moved it to three separate places making sure it wasn’t on an unbalanced part of the floor or something. LOL…nope still at 152.3.

Journey Back To Strength 3 - Success isn’t measured in poundsI don’t care how much knowledge you have about what is occurring here—initially, I did experience that sinking feeling. I mean in the world of needing to lose over 30 lbs, you just want something to happen. I stopped whatever thoughts were about to creep in, walked into the kitchen and made breakfast. I measured everything like I do every day, walked back to my room and sat on my bed eating deep in thought.

Making The Shift

The appearance of things changes according to the emotions, and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.” Kahlil Gibran

This is when I have a choice about how my day is going to continue. I have feelings and I can’t say I wasn’t initially disappointed. Looking for a new way to view my world, I decided that things are just as they should be. I did everything I could do and today, I want to have peace even more than weighing less than I do. I choose acceptance, and just keep moving.

Journey Back To Strength 3 - Success isn’t measured in poundsAs I mentioned in my Blog #1, “I refuse to beat myself up along the way.”

Beyond the initial hurt, lies the truth. Removing those feelings from the situation and reminding myself that there are in fact several things going on. I know that I have reduced calories, so I am not gaining body fat. I am also working out again, so I know that I am starting to slowly add some muscle back to my body. The end result, the scale just may stay put. And that’s exactly what happened. I cannot possibly dictate exactly what is going on. I just have to stick to the plan, keep moving forward and doing the next right plan of action. And the final and most poignant part of that is to release any self-doubt so my heart can be at peace.

As I write this, I am eating a big bowl of oats with protein powder in it, and working towards reaching today’s higher carbohydrate macro goal. There’s one plan, and I am sticking to it for now. I did lose a few pounds a week for a while and acceptance is a key part of this process.


Something pretty cool happened….

Success isn’t measured in pounds

I did HIIT cardio for the first time since I have been working out. For my High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) I use the upright stationary bike. This intense work is done using the legs, and I feel confident moving forward because it’s a stable and controlled. My doctor encouraged me to keep up the cardio and to continually progress with any work I wanted to do on the bike. Feeling much stronger in my whole lower body, I knew the time was right to do a conservative HIIT session.

Beginner HIIT Routine

Journey Back To Strength 3 - Success isn’t measured in poundsBike Check. I always check the bike that I intend to use first to make sure it’s working properly. I set the seat to the height of my hip joint. Then, I hop on and do a test run to determine if at high speeds with increased resistance done manually at the point where you go the fastest that the bike will self adjust and in fact, become more challenging to handle the work load. Without the ability to change resistance while riding makes the interval portion of the ride less challenging and significantly less effective because the pedals spin wildly from momentum and not from added resistance. The added resistance is needed so that you can actually go to a maximum effort without unnecessary ballistic movement of the pedals. Translation: Fly off the bike! The bike needs to be equipped to handle your maximum effort in a controlled manner for maximum benefits. Also, I check the straps on the pedals to make sure they are secure, working and both sides are evenly placed.

The Workout

Journey Back To Strength 3 - Success isn’t measured in pounds10 minute warm up. Peddling at about 50% of my maximum speed.

Then at 10:40, place feet evenly and securely on each pedal. Start moving into a 100% effort so that by 10:45 seconds, you have reached 100% of your maximum effort.

Maximum effort time lasts for 15 seconds.

At 11:00 slow back to 50% of your maximum effort. Repeat for a total of 6 intervals.

Never stop suddenly, ever. A cool down is a must to decrease the heart rate before exiting the exercise.

Obviously this is not that challenging for those of you who are beyond a beginning level. But, this is where I am today, and for those of you who have never tried this, it may be for you. I can tell you that cardio time is drastically reduced with HIIT. It frees up more time during your day with the added benefit of burning more body fat throughout the day. It’s really a win/win.

Until next week…Keep pushing!

*Ava Cowan Inc. is not a medical doctor or registered dietician. By attempting or accepting this plan you acknowledge that Ava Cowan Inc. is not making medical recommendations and you should consult a doctor before beginning any exercise or nutrition program.

Ava Cowan is an IFBB Figure Professional, a CPTS® and full time online coach and consultant for women of all fitness levels.

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