Friday, November 21, 2014

A Great Week

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I had a bunch of stuff I meant to write about but now that it's Friday night at 10pm....

Anyway, I've had a good great week so far. I hit my goal of exercising 4x during the workweek. I glanced through my workout log and noticed I've hit that goal for four weeks now. Working out four days a week is important to me for several reasons. There's the obvious calorie-burn type reason but that's not the most important. For me it's about stress management and maintaining fitness. I like the level of fitness I reach when I regularly hit that goal. And I feel so much better too.

Once I feel like I'm completely back to my former fitness level I can ease up a bit, miss a day here or there, without much consequence. But for now, staying very focused on the objective at hand. Which reminds me, it might be time for a recovery week. I've kind of forgotten about the concept, which is every 4th week I cut back on everything. Less time/intensity in the cardio and lower weights/reps in the weight training. But I'm hesitant to do that right now, I feel so focused on building my strength and endurance up that I don't want to back down. We'll see. Might be a smart thing.

Speaking of smart things...I signed up for a half-marathon! The Rock n Roll Half Marathon San Francisco, March 2015. I ran the inaugural version of this race in 2013 (with Laurie, who's also signed up). The route has changed since then, which has me so excited to run a slightly different course. A lot of SF races run a very similar course and while this race has some of those same parts in it, some are also new (for me). But I just noticed, the race starts at 6:30am. Holy early race time! Might have to stay in the city that night.

Eating is going ok. I went out to dinner last night. I made a very good choice, a grilled skirt steak that came served with white rice, grilled asparagus and an asian slaw (made w/o mayo). I skipped wine and fortunately they didn't put any bread down in front of me. After dinner I was headed home when a mom-friend texted about meeting up for a drink. Eh, why not? So I added a martini to my Points fort the day. And when I got home...I wanted something salty and started in on a bag of Garden of Eatin' Red Hot Blues. Yum! I think I ate maybe half the bag. 15 Points. It was a big bag.

Between that and the martini, and a larger-than-normal homemade dinner Wednesday night, I wiped out all my weekly Points and even went into the red by a couple Points. Today's workout (30 min run + weight lifting) got me back in the black but I will have to be want to be careful with my choices from here on out if I want to remain in the black. I'm not too worried about it though. I'm planning a long run tomorrow, which will give me a good chunk of APs to work with. And besides, why worry? I ultimately do whatever I want anyway. Just gotta stay focused on what it is I want :-)

And sleep, sleep is one thing I want. Night all!




Thursday, November 20, 2014

*MY* Daily Points Target

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I lost 3.8 pounds this week. I know it sounds like a lot, and it is, but if you take my total loss of 4.4 pounds and average it over 3 weeks, I've lost 1.46 pounds per week. For me, that's still a lot. I usually average somewhere between .5 to 1 pound per week. Anyway, I was kind of shocked to be down that much but I'm pleased to be reminded that the program works.

So there's been an interesting issue as to how many Points I should get set for my daily target. Last week I noticed on my paper weight tracker it said 26 Points. But the WW app had me at 30 Points. Eating 30 Points per day (plus the weekly 49 plus all my Activity Points) had me lose 1.something pounds the first week, I gained .6 the following week (although that included going over my Points the last two days of the week so it's not a fair assessment). 

So last week I asked the receptionist and he said the paper was right and the app must be thinking I'm still on maintenance. I started to pout. Then I remembered, "Hey, this is my choice. If I want to eat 30 Points per day I can." 

So then the thought shifted from how sad for me that I have to do this to what do I want to do? I can't tell you how much the resulting power shift changes everything. It's not an external force upon me, it's about my choice. So I made the choice to follow the paper, 26 Points. And I didn't pout about it.

This week I put in my new weight and the app changed my Points to 32! I checked with the receptionist again, he ran the numbers again with my new weight of 149 pounds and yep, still 26 Points if I want to lose. Fine by me.


A board full of Thanksgiving day tips from fellow WW members.
So next week is Thanksgiving. Lots of talk in the meeting about holiday-eating-strategy. They had us write down a tip and post it on the board. I read a bunch of them and what I liked most was the wide variety of sometimes conflicting ideas, don't eat pie...not even one bite, eat a small slice of pie, lose weight beforehand so you can gain some, walk the dog longer, don't leave the house, plan to gain a few pounds and lose them in January. It's all so personal, right? My way is my way, yours is yours.

I'm going back to my tried-and-true method of eating whatever I want, in as much quantity as I want, on the holiday itself. No measuring, weighing, or tracking. But on the other days, eat (and track) like normal. This method has always served me well. I'm also planning to make a healthy dish or two that I really like for my mom's holiday gathering. Maybe some roasted brussells sprouts with a balsamic reduction and feta sprinkles. 

Ok, that's all I have for now. I'm down 4.4 pounds. Maybe next week I'll go over 5 pounds lost and get a Bravo sticker plus a few claps from the other lonely souls that will be at a WW meeting the day before Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A (Not So?) Simple Question

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Yesterday, I posted this on my Facebook page:


Someone posted a comment asking a seemingly simple question. Or two.

How did you get things turned around? 

What are you doing that is different?

As to how I got things turned around, my first thought was, "I made a decision." But as I thought about it, I realized there's more to it than that. It's true, I did make a decision, but I also do/did some things that supported me getting to that decision, one of the biggest of those being I weigh myself regularly, if not every day. Getting on the scale is a reality check, without it, I can too easily slip my head into the sand and pretend weight gain isn't happening. 

Studies show that daily weighing is an important tool in weight maintenance*. To borrow a few lines from the articles, "
The study showed that greater weight loss was associated with increased frequency of self-weighing, especially among those who self-weighed at least weekly." "These results indicate that an intervention focusing on daily self-weighing can produce clinically significant weight loss."
"It seems that, for successful dieters at least, daily weighing can be a beneficial strategy in weight maintenance, 'It's like checking the thermometer in your house to see what the temperature is, it helps you know how to make adjustments.'".

So, I weigh myself. What else did I do to get things turned around? When I ate a certain way (bingy, snacky eating) I noted to myself how that felt (not good) and patiently reminded myself that this behavior is not in support of my goals. And further, the scale is a direct result of said behavior. Those reminders were NOT beating myself up, nagging myself, shaming myself, etc. They were more like, "Hey, what's happening? This isn't helpful." The reminders didn't result in immediate change but I think they put me on the path to turning things around.

The other thing I did was give myself kudos when I engaged in goal-oriented behaviors. If I resisted the urge to buy a Snickers at the checkout, pat on the back. If I stopped eating halfway through a quart of ice cream, pat on the back. If I made a good choice for dinner, pat on the back. These little positive reinforcers for all goal-oriented behaviors kept my confidence up, allowed me to continue to feel capable and competent, even if I was slipping back overall.

I continued to exercise, even when what I did was very little (a 10 minute run) and I continued to ask myself when and how I was going to intervene with my eating. Just because I didn't know the answer, didn't mean I stopped asking the question. Eventually, the plan to return to WW emerged as what I needed. I'd tried to self re-align and eventually acknowledged when it just wasn't working. There have been many times in the past when that has worked, just not this time.

I'm sure there's more to say about how I got things turned around but that's what comes to mind. On to the next question, what am I doing that's different. This one is a bit easier to answer as the change is obvious.
  1. I'm tracking again. Mostly. I didn't track for a couple of days this weekend when restaurant meals made it too much of a pain in the ass (for me). But I did make very conscious choices about what I ate at those meals and took a stab at how many points I might have eaten in total.
  2. I'm attending WW meetings again. I can't tell you how much they help me.  
  3. I'm focusing on the little things like salad dressing, more veggies with my meal, tea. Little things I used to do all the time that had been sort of forgotten.
  4. And the big things like less alcohol, limiting or avoiding after dinner snacking.
  5. I'm eating daytime snacks again. I'd gotten away from making sure I had two snacks every day, one between breakfast/lunch and one between lunch/dinner. Some people don't need snacks but I know they go a long way toward helping me feel satisfied and not overdo it at mealtime.
  6. While I never stopped exercising I had let it slip just a bit. I'd pushed it down a rung or two on the priority scale, which meant missing a day of exercise was becoming the norm, instead of something out-of-the-ordinary.
  7. Finally...no more fast food. For example, a McDonald's burger is 7 points and a vanilla cone is 5 points. 12 points is a large meal. A burger and cone are not a "large" meal. Not to mention, who knows what's in that stuff. I'm not swearing off fast food forever, that's not my style, but it was getting to be a habit.
  8. Focusing on sleep. I'd let getting a good night sleep slip way down on the priority list. Feeling tired and dragging, staying up until 1am in front of the television...bad stuff when it comes to weight management. I've talked for years about wanting to get more/better sleep but I never really committed to it. I'm getting better at walking the talk.
Ok, there you have it. Gotta run!

* http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3788086/
http://www.apa.org/monitor/nov07/daily.aspx  
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3268700/

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

So Many Frogs (and a very brief race report)

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The title of this post comes from one my kids' books about a rabbit who lets one frog in and then ends up with a bunch of them. At first he's overwhelmed, and then he realizes the joy that can come with chaos. So that's where I'm at. Life is sometimes chaotic and I'm striving to find the joy in what is. Because believe you me, there is joy to be found.

Ok, on to the speedy update...

10/30/14: Oh the weight gain... I snapped a picture to keep things in perspective. Yes, I've gained some weight, but also yes, I'm still pretty damn fit.


10/31/14: Halloween. I was so solid on my plan to eat no Halloween candy before trick-or-treating. That night I had a few a lot of fun size candies and planned for that to be all the Halloween candy I ate. But I found, in the days after, I kept grabbing treats from the kids' loot. So, a week after Halloween I made a deal with them to sell their candy in exchange for a toy. I remember last year I ended up doing the same thing. It felt so good to get all those sweets out of the house.

11/2/14: So running a half-marathon might have fueled some of my candy-related choices... You probably know my training for this race never really got going and I considered flaking on the run altogether. But then I remembered that 1, I like running, 2, I paid $75 for this and 3, I really liked the medal. Besides, if I pace myself I'll probably be fine but if not, I can always walk.

And I did walk a bit, the long hill leading us back up and over the Golden Gate Bridge, and I walked for a bit on the last hill before I realized I actually had enough in me to run. My first ever half-marathon time (2012) was 2:44:58 and while I was running this race I thought it might be nice to at least go faster than that. So 2:38:34 was my clock time, that did the trick by 6 minutes or so.


Isn't that fun?! After the race Jackie, Deb and I met up for a yummy brunch and plenty of girl talk. Fun! But apparently we were too busy to take a group pic for the blog.

Ok...I have to wrap this up. I've been working really hard on getting enough sleep. I mean, really, truly making it important. So it's 7 minutes until my must-be-in-bed time of 11pm. 10pm is what I aim for and sometimes I even beat that.

I'm going to my fourth WW meeting (this go 'round) tomorrow. Although the scale doesn't tell the whole story here's the story it's telling:

Start: 153.4
Week 1: 152.2 (-1.2)
Week 2: 152.8 (+.6)

So I'm averaging what, half-pound a week? I'll take it. I've been tracking, mostly, but more than that, I've been very focused in my mind on what I want. And tightening up on the small things (like salad dressing and the bread basket) as well as big things (like before bed snacking and alcohol).

As far as my lungs are concerned, still dealing with what seems like a chronic problem. Went to the doctor today, mild bronchitis, she changed my inhaler, added some other stuff...we're trying to find the best way. I'm finally caving to the Singulair, at least for now. I'm tired of dealing with this.

But...even with all that, I've been killing it in the gym. I'm on such a roll. And I plan to keep right on rolling!

10:59pm...night all.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Look Who's Tracking 2

If I were a movie title, that would be it. At least for today.

If you've been following along then you know a few things. First, my life has been unusually stressful for, oh, just the past 1.5 years. Second, my weight has been creeping up over the past year, now to the low 150's. My official WW "goal weight" - for whatever that's worth, and I do think it's worth something - is 147 pounds. Finally, I have been, lately anyway, hoping/praying/fantasizing that I could pull this eating thing together in some natural/organic/free-range sort of way that would NOT involve tracking.

And now is the time to acknowledge that, for today, this week, this month...I need more than hope and nature...I need Weight Watchers. And thank goodness the company exists because at least I have somewhere to go when I need it.

Last week I looked up meetings and found one that could fit my schedule on a weekly basis. It's a lunchtime meeting and the bonus is, it's led by Sandy (and Stan is the receptionist). Sandy is a 14 year maintainer (who also happens to run the monthly Lifetimers meeting). Stan is a fellow runner. The two of them have great, supportive, we-know-what-it's-like attitudes. I walked in with zero shame, zero anything, to say I'm here, I'm over my goal weight by 6.4 pounds, 153.4 is my current weight. By the way, that weight puts me back into the overweight category according to the BMI. Can I say I was wearing jeans? At least they still fit.

All jokes aside, this is not an imaginary weight gain. I can feel it in my body, the way my clothes fit and in how I move. Mostly I feel it in my gut. Not my actual gut, but my spiritual one. Something is not right. I have ideas about the who/what/why of what's not right, but I don't need to figure that out to work on making changes.

It felt good to sit in that meeting. I bought the monthly pass and started tracking immediately. It felt good to track. It feels good to be doing something.