Thursday, March 26, 2015

S L E E P

Where should I start? How about the fact that scales are big liars! I went to my WW meeting on Tuesday and my weight had supposedly jumped up to 152 pounds. That's a 3.2 pound gain. Phooey! Something wonky is happening with my body because I know I didn't gain that much this week. I did indulge more than I'd liked, and I did stop tracking the last few days of the week but it wasn't that bad. Anyway, I've long known about the scale and the lies and half-truths it sometimes perpetuates.

After I weighed in I used the restroom, #1 if you must know, and then, out of curiosity weighed myself again...down to 151.2 pounds, .8 pounds less. The receptionist asked if I wanted to change my weight tracker. Why bother? I'm thinking longer term than that.

Aside from that things are going well. I skipped the gym on Tuesday, we were having friends over for dinner and I needed to grocery shop. The kids and I had a fun time catching up with some of our buddies. Yesterday I went and did a sort-of taper workout, running only one mile but then doing my regular weight training. I did the same thing today, rode the bike for only 15 minutes and then weights.

I'm back to tracking and eating is going well so far this week. I went out to dinner tonight but made a good entree choice - salmon, black quinoa, broccolini - and skipped the bread altogether, only had a few sips of wine. Oh, and a bit of chocolate mousse for dessert but even there I didn't surpass my appetite. And I'm tracking it all. I've got the half-marathon on Sunday so I should be carb-loading, right?

Speaking of eating, I had another "diet" coaching session with Deborah Beck Busis. We talked about my evening snacking and came to the really big deal...Sleep. I have had a problem going to bed on time for years. Actually, more like forever. So I committed to going to bed by 10:30pm every night, lights out at 11pm. It's 10:46 and I'm not in bed. Enough of the lame excuses, night all.

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Long Run and Birthday Cake

This weekend was great. Almost too much so. Lots of social stuff going on. But before I get to that, a quick update on other mundane things. Friday was another gym day. My goal is to go four times a week. I also like to avoid going more than three days in a row. This week though, I'd skipped Monday so I had to go four days in a row if I wanted to hit my goal, and I did.

On Friday I rode the bike for 20 minutes and then did chest/triceps/core. Pushups are still hard but overall, I'm getting stronger. Friday night I ended up going to out to dinner. It was an unplanned meal out that included a cocktail and some wine and a fairly rich meal. I figured I'd be fine Points-wise since I was running 10 miles the following afternoon. But then Saturday's lunch added unexpected calories. I ordered a salmon/spinach crepe but didn't realize it was going to come covered in hollandaise sauce. In hindsight I should have sent it back but instead I just scraped off the sauce as best I could and ate my lunch. At least it was good.

The thought of running those 10 miles was hanging heavy on my head but with the half-marathon now only a week away, there was no avoiding it. I considered running fewer miles as part of a taper but I figured it's more important to keep building up my overall endurance than it is to taper for a run in which my only goal is to finish.

I started my run in the late afternoon, around 4:30pm, and lucky for me it wasn't a terribly hot day - low 70's with a bit of cloud cover and a light breeze. I knew the best thing to do was run at an easy, easy pace.

I ran out by the levees and it was a gorgeous day. I had music on but it was Pandora so there were times when it wasn't working, so I listened to my own breath and the birds. There was a bit of wind in my face at times but only for a moment or two did it feel like an impediment. Around mile 4 I paused to snap a few pictures.




I look happier than I remember feeling. At mile 4, six more miles to go felt like a lot but I was doing my best to appreciate my stellar running environ, no matter my waxing and waning enjoyment of the actual run. I wore my Garmin for curiosity's sake and checked my pace from time to time.


As you can see I ran 11 miles, not 10. It happened that as I neared mile 10 I still felt pretty good. And something about 11 miles makes 13.1 seem more doable, so I went for it. Around 10.5 I glanced down and saw I was in the 10 minute mile range...I like it when my last mile is my fastest so I kept up my pace, even quickened some, to finish that last mile in 10:37 minutes. And boy-oh-boy was I happy to stop running.

I came home with the plan to cook a healthy home-cooked meal but once again things turned out differently and I ended up out for a meal. A martini also made it's way to, along with a glass of wine and dessert. Oh dear me, this isn't good. Well, it was good actually - a banana bread pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla gelato - but also not good for my Points calculator, which was bowing under the weight of all those Points.

All that would have been fine, I suspect, if it hadn't been for yesterday. I took the kids to almost back-to-back birthday parties and made the unhelpful choice to have cake at both of them. And chips. And Oreo cookies. Ugh. I made a mental note to attend no more than one birthday party per weekend barring unusual circumstances. Choices are part of life, right?

Dinner was a bowl of cereal...and I felt like everything was unraveling. I had to remind myself that one meal, one (or two) birthday parties, one day, one weekend...cannot unravel me. I also noted to myself that these types of eating choices don't leave me feeling great. And darnit, I ran 11 miles this weekend, I should feel great!

Today was sort of so-so in the eating department. My tracker burst into flames when I entered all the cake and I couldn't very well track after that. I'm focused on getting through tomorrow, the last day of my WW week, without too much "whatever" attitude and starting a fresh new week on Wednesday. Oh, but I did go to the gym today. I had plans to go after work and had the old, "I kind of don't feel like going to the gym." Not a helpful thought, so I ignored it and went to the gym. I was pleased with myself but some evening snacking tonight undid a bit of that. No matter, I'm doing well on the whole. I'm really doing well.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Evening Snacking, Exercise and Losing Weight

Ok, wow, so much has happened since my post on Monday. I think I'll take them on as topics.

Evening Snacking

My nemesis of late. Though I haven't had an episode of bingy evening snacking since my last post on Monday. Tuesday evening was hard, I white knuckled it through without snacking but I was frustrated about it, "Why is this so hard? I just want it to be easy darnit!" The next morning I felt good about staying in control but also recognized I was making things harder with my negative thoughts. Instead of lamenting the challenge I could have been distracting myself or simply reminding myself, gently, that it is hard because I've been engaging in unhelpful habits lately and just like a smoker who relapsed, it's going to take a little while for my brain to understand that I don't snack all evening anymore.

I hadn't mentioned this here but a couple weeks ago I scheduled a session with a CBT for weight loss and maintenance therapist. Yep, someone who does the same thing I do. It was around the time that I'd decided to get back to my groove and thought support would be helpful. We all need a good coach in our corner from time to time. In any case, I had that session on Wednesday and we focused mostly on evening snacking. We came up with some good ideas.

1. Plan a snack. When I start craving random food I can remind myself that I have a planned snack at, say, 10pm, and to just wait for that. I do that pretty easily during the day so why not in the evening? It also recognizes that spontaneous decisions are really hard, especially in the evening when my mental energy is low and I'm probably suffering from decision fatigue (if you haven't read up on decision fatigue, do because the concept is pivotal in weight loss and maintenance). 2. Plan some pleasurable, relaxing things and be sure to consciously label them as pleasurable, remind myself while I'm engaging in the activity (bath, hot tea, a favorite magazine with a blanket on the couch) "this is helping." 3. Let go of the "Why is this still a problem?" complaint. Obesity is generally a chronic issue that will need lifelong management. There will always be "flare-ups" of the problem, and it's no wonder I experienced what I did in light of the major transition in my life. Along the same lines, recognize that while the evening snacking became a problem again, I didn't really go way backwards, it was more like not moving forward, treading water. Maybe a little back, I mean I did gain more than a few pounds but it wasn't some kind of major, disastrous setback and, most importantly, I'm working on it. Finally, give myself a big atta-girl! for following through on my intention when I do. This isn't easy and when I'm successful I need to recognize that.

We also talked about making a list of the advantages of engaging in goal-oriented eating behaviors and some response cards to counter my sabotaging thoughts (such as, "why is it so hard" or "why haven't I mastered this?" or even my old favorite, "whatever, I don't care."). I haven't done that yet, not sure if I will, but writing here does sort of get at the same thing. Last night I had company over until late so I was distracted and had very little urge to snack. Tonight is a classic evening snacking night and so far, so good. Not feeling tempted at all.

Exercise

I am still going strong! I skipped Monday but I've gone every day since then and plan to go tomorrow to hit my target of 4x a week. Yep, that's me, doing what I set out to do. My workout is getting easier, I'm getting stronger. I'm still doing lighter weights/fewer reps on some things and still only doing 20 minutes on the upright bike instead of my normal 25 - but I'm getting stronger every week and can really feel my body firming back up. I think the break was a good thing, I'm really enjoying my gym time again. My back was sore there for a few days but seems to be getting better.

Tuesday I ran 3 miles, lifted weights. Wednesday I rode the bike for 20 minutes, lifted weights. Today I ran 3 miles (ugh, it was hot outside) and lifted weights...awesome, right?! Especially since that half-marathon is now only 2 weeks away, it's a good thing I'm pulling it together.

Weight

I went to my WW meeting on Wednesday. Last week I ate every.single.Point allotted to me. But that's nothing new, I almost always eat all my Points. I ate my dailies, all 49 weeklies and all of the 55 activity points I'd earned. And you know what?? I lost 3.8 pounds last week. Huh?! So I'm 148.8 right now (1.8 more pounds and WW will be free for me again). I was expecting to lose and was still surprised it was over 3 pounds. Though the week prior I'd lost .8 so if you average them out it's 2.2 pounds per week, which isn't insane. Whatever, I'm happy to be putting in the work and getting results. The other thing is my body fat % is going down, it was 32% this morning (it had gone up to 33%), that's almost 1.5 pounds of fat. I'd be happy to get back into the high 20's for body fat - 28%, 29%...but I can't control that. All I can control are my eating and exercise choices.

Monday, March 16, 2015

I Didn't Know...Thank You!

For several months now I haven't gotten a single comment on any of my blog posts. Blogger sends me an email when a comment needs approval and I haven't received any since...I think December. I didn't think much of it, I just figured people were commenting on Facebook instead. Additionally, I hadn't posted regularly so I thought some of you might've moved on. But last night I decided to check the "pending comments" section of Blogger and whoa! There they were, bunches of them. Some of them from regular readers, others from newbies.

The amount of support and encouragement you've sent over the past couple of weeks moved me to tears. Thank you. I also really love the comments from people that are feeling inspired, that see my story and know it's possible if they don't give up. It's true, the surest way to fail is to give up, it's guaranteed. So let's not do it, eh?

Ok, moving on to today. Wouldn't it be nice if we just made a decision to do the "right" thing and then all our behaviors just easily fell into line? What a dream. But no, we decide and then we waiver, we struggle, we slip and fall and get back up only to slip again. That's the nature of the game for us food junkie types. So today I had a bit of a slip.

I skipped the dressing
I ran a personal errand during my lunch break that was a downer. Still, I grabbed a salad (skipped the dressing) and was pleased to make a healthy lunch choice. In the afternoon I was cramming at work and generally feeling stressed. I had plans to go to the gym but I wasn't near done with my paperwork so I stayed until it was done, which left no time for the gym. Normally I wouldn't make that choice but today it felt right. Whether it actually was right, I'll likely never know.

So after work things got a little wonky. I had two fried chicken wings for dinner and then started eating chocolate wafer cookies (cookies are in the house "for the kids"). Fortunately I stopped after one cookie. But then I started eating popcorn, "SkinnyPop" I think it's called. But still, if you're eating handful after handful on the couch - well, there's nothing skinny about that behavior. Just before starting this post I was peeking around the kitchen wondering what I should eat. Then I asked myself, "Eat or write...what makes more sense?" and so here I am, writing.

This whole thing reminds me of last night. There was a quart of leftover chocolate gelato, half full, in the freezer from Marek's party. Such yumminess. I started eating it, right out of the container, and I could have easily polished off the whole thing. But I came to my senses and put it down the garbage disposal before too much damage was done. And it's not a waste. It's worse, I think, to put food into my body that I don't need. If you want to call it a waste then it's wasteful with a downside, as opposed to wasteful with no downside. The garbage disposal won't gain weight. Or feel like crap.

Aaanyway...so I tracked the chicken wings (6 P each = 12P) and the wafer (2P). The popcorn was 4P, but could have been more, I didn't measure. Oh, and I had two tiny slices of the homemade pizza we made for dinner (9P). What? You thought the chicken wings were my dinner? LOL. I'm now 6 Points in the red. Even if/when I run and lift weights tomorrow I don't know if that will be enough to get my out of the hole. Oh well...at least I tracked everything. We'll see what the scale thinks of all this on Wednesday. But I also know the scale doesn't know everything. Today wasn't stellar, they can't all be great days, but I know I'm moving in the right direction.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Party Central...and a 10-mile Run

Happy Birthday to my big boy!
It's Sunday and we've had a pretty nice weekend so far. Yesterday was the big day, Marek's 6th birthday and party. I spent the morning running final errands and had a half-pound of Hawaiian style poke from Costco for lunch.

We got the party started in the late afternoon and I ate handfuls of snacks here and there, drank a couple-few glasses of wine, had a slice of birthday cake and a scoop (or two) of gelato. Not sure what all this added up to Point-wise but I just went with 20. Truth be told it was probably more than that but I'm happy. The party was a blast, laid back and casual, just like we like it. I didn't really have dinner to speak of and ended up having a small snack of cereal after the kids were in bed, which I tracked.

Today was my planned 10-mile run. It was also to be a two-birthday party day (as guests). I'm finally learning and earlier this week realized it was too much to squeeze into one day. So I bowed out of one of the parties (to which, as fate would have it, I'd actually forgotten to RSVP in the first place). I had a sitter for my run at 10am this morning but it was 9am and I was barely moving... I pushed it to 11am. By the time I got out the door it was 11:30am. The weather was beautiful, maybe a shade warm for a long run, leaving a bit earlier in the day would have been ideal.

Last weekend I ran roughly 8.5 miles and the last part of that run hurt. Adding 1.5 miles is a big jump in only one week. But I have a half-marathon coming up in only two weeks and if it's going to happen, I need to push the norm. Today's run was mildly uncomfortable most of the time with moments of painful, and feel-good running, mixed in. I watched my pace, starting in the 12:30 range and eventually moving down into the 11:30 range, even close to 11 for mile 9, I think, but my Garmin crashed and I'm doing a hard-reset so I think I lost the details. I still have have the summary, which is I ran 10 miles in an average 11:39 pace for a total time of 1:56:29. Honestly, anything with an 11: in front of it makes me happy.

But did I mention it was a bit painful? When I stopped running I felt as though all my muscles would seize up. Ouch. I stretched a bit and then straight into the shower, we were already running late to the birthday party. I took a Fage and fruit salad to eat there and also had a few of the snacks at the party. including a couple bite sized cheesecakes, but skipped the wine and cake. I started feeling a bit of nausea, which passed before too long. I tracked all the party snacks as 10 points. I got home and chased the hungry feeling with a bowl of cereal and then a granola bar. Dinner was homemade chicken noodle soup with crackers and I finally feel full.

Last night I swore I'd go to bed early. I didn't. Tonight I'm serious. I thought about sleep during my run, how I'm being foolish to slack on sleep when I'm pushing the miles while at the same time getting back into strength training at the gym. This is a recipe for getting sick or just feeling burned out. I have no excuse to stay up past 10pm tonight.