Sunday, March 8, 2009

Reader Questions!

Sorry for the backup on these, I've had computer issues and was out of town, but here are some answers to a few questions I've had recently...

Anonymous asked: I just got the diet journal book that you started off with & it took me FOREVER to fill out my daily nutritional intake/exercise & fitness page. Does this get easier after a while or will I always need to set aside an hour for looking up nutritional values? Did you keep up with just calories or the fat/protein/carbs/fiber stuff too? Did you include your BMR and everyday stuff like walking (I use a pedometer throughout my daily activities) when calculating your exercise & fitness tally or just working out? Thanks in advance!!! =D

I'm so glad you are journaling! It really does make a huge difference! During the first few weeks, I was really meticulous about filling it out and putting in the exact information. For me, it wasn't too hard because I have the same breakfast and lunch every day, so those calories never changed. The only thing I had to look up was dinner calories... but if you're making your dinner, you can simply look on the packaging and find out serving size and calories. The only things I had to look up were produce. I didn't put down my BMR because I don't have a HRM or anything, but I would weigh myself daily, write my weight, write my day's food with calories, and my exercise. I didn't worry about protein, fat, carbs, etc., because I know I eat a balanced diet, but if you're unsure, it might be important for you to do that.

Once you've been journaling for a while and you get very familiar with the nutritional info in the food items you eat often, it will take you much less time. But again, for me it wasn't bad because I just calculated calories in and calories out.

Grown-Up Teenager asked: I have a question for reader questions. Like I said, I want to slim down as well, and I've got some small stretchmarks on my belly. Did you have any before you started, and have they changed at all if you did? Do you think you'd be comfortable in a bathing suit (dare I say bikini?) after doing the Shred for a while?

Ugh, stretch marks. I think everyone has them, right? So I try not to let them bother me. I have them around the spare tire region and arm pit area. They actually got worse when I first started losing weight, but now they're all faded and not too obvious. Will I ever wear a bikini? Who knows! I'd need to get more toned in the core area before I do that. Perhaps one day I'll take belly photos... As for the bathing suit - I'm fine with that because I was on the swim team in HS, so you kind of get over it fast. I also took diving and aquatic games classes in HS, so I was around my peers all of the time. It was embarassing at first (especially when the teacher would tape our dives and we'd have to watch them and rate ourselves) but I also wasn't nearly as fat in HS as I was in college.
And right now, the shred has taken me far, but not far enough for me to be really cut. I'm moving on to running more and doing more intense strength training (like no more trouble zones) to really get rid of the last 20 lbs.

I stumbled across your blog through the nest health and fitness board and love reading about your journey. I'm wanting to start a weightloss journey myself and was wondering if you have ever posted a menu of what you eat on a daily basis. I've gone back through some of the archives but I may have missed it. If not, I am definately curious to know what you eat every day.

This post pretty much answers your question:
If you look at my cooking blog,, you can see exactly what I eat for dinner every night. I still continue to eat the same breakfast and lunch as in that post, but I have upped my calories to 1600. I also space out my food during the day so I'm never hungry. I eat about every 2-3 hours.

Molly asked: Hi Ash. I was wondering, when did you first start running? I want to start running this spring/summer but I am a little self-concious because of my weight. How did you start out? Also, could you please recommend some basic running attire? Thanks so much! :)

I started the C25K program last April. I was at about -55 lbs. at that time, so I was still 50 lbs. overweight. I was self-conscious at first, but when you run, it's really all about you and no one else. Don't worry about it! I have more respect for someone who can run a mile than can elliptical for hours, because to me, running is the hardest possible physical activity! It's so incredibly empowering when you finish a good, long run. Completeing the C25K was a HUGE achievement, followed by running my first 5k, then my first 10k! I think running has given me so much confidence! It's hard, don't get me wrong, biggest challenge EVER, but the bigger the challenge, the bigger the reward, you know?
As for workout attire, I run in old navy yoga capris or nike capris and bra tank tops. At first, I wore a sports bra and a cotton old navy $5 tank, but I love the nike dri fit workout tanks, they keep me really cool, and keep the boobs compressed. Having good support in that area is important for me, I was full D's, now I'm a full C, so having support there is really important for me.

Alright, I think that covers it all. If you'd like for me to elaborate or have any more questions, let me know! And if it's a more personal thing, I don't have to publish it, I answer many off the record emails :)

Oh, and I'd like to say HI DAD!!! He's shocked that people turn to me for health and fitness questions! Maybe I'll start forwarding my emails to him and see how his answers are!


  1. hey girlie!

    I'm not sure if you subscribe to my blog, or not, but I'm "collecting" miles for my friend Monika, who's an awesome runner... but who has a golf-ball sized cyst near her heart that is being removed on monday.

    Stop by and check it out?

    I'd love to count your miles in my tally. :D

  2. You totally rock girl. You are absolutely so inspiring. Thanks!