Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sitting is Tiring

Thursday's lunch
I'm coming to you from the BlogHer's 10th anniversary conference. The food thing has gone well. Despite their serving breakfast every morning I've eaten at home because I know my Kashi GoLean and almond milk is an easy way to make a better choice. Lunches have included choices I feel good about, or at least not bad about. Thursday I had a chicken breast, a small slice of roast beef, quinoa, asparagus and cauliflower, salad and fruit salad.

Dinner was on my own. Friday's lunch was sandwiches with salad. I removed half the bread from a roast beef sandwich and had that. Today's lunch was a salad with add your own toppings of chicken breast, beef and tofu. I added a bit of all three. All in all, I was very happy with the conference food options.

Sheesh, I'm so tired I have to cut to the chase, you won't mind will you? The chase is, I finally dragged myself for a workout yesterday. 3 miles in roughly 32 minutes. It was blistering hot outside but I managed to find a creek trail that was a tad cooler. Then I got a day pass to a gym and did back/biceps/core. It was difficult because I was tired and just not in the mood. But I was happy to have gotten it done. After that, I promptly went to bed.

Why is sitting on your ass all day so exhausting? Seriously, I am never so tired as when I've sat in meetings or trainings or whatever all day. And today was Day 3 of that. So I'm not going to the big closing party. Instead, I'm eating a healthy dinner and going to bed early.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

All Aboard the Busy Bus!

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Things are about to get crazy! I have so much going on these next two weeks that I'm actually a little intimidated. First up, I'm attending the BlogHer annual conference this year. This is my first blog conference and I'm super excited!

So, that's my first bit of craziness. I'll be back home for a couple days and then I'm off again for my annual women's backpacking trek. I am SUPER excited about this. A few days in the wilderness with my laid back lady friends is almost the same as a week vacation on the beach. It's that good. 

Oh, I'm also doing a happy dance that I'll be seeing Roni Noone again. She's coming to the conference, speaking on a panel during the healthy living mini-con.


Ok, so my last post was a bit of a downer. But I'm up again. I swear, I don't actually have wild mood swings like it might appear in my posts lately...it's just the healthy living thing is so up and down for me these days. But I'm back in the sun, eating in a way that feels good. I had a KILLER workout yesterday (that's what happens when you take 5 days in a row off). I ran for 25 minutes and then did chest/triceps/core work. I hustled through and did my whole workout in 57 minutes. Bam!

And food is also on point.  A handful of goldfish crackers yesterday but otherwise, all good stuff. And my weight is hovering in the 145 point something range, which is just fine for now. I'm not sure yet how I'm going to get all my workouts in with this conference but rest assured, I'll try my best. Ok, I gotta run, off to the next thing.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Transferrable Skills

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The last few days I have been lost in the depths of self-pity. Woe is me, things are challenging so I deserve to eat It's It ice cream sandwiches, goldfish crackers and string cheese until I'm over-full. Because that totally helps the situation, right? And I haven't been to the gym. I had a headache last week that hung around for 3 solid days. It just kept coming back.

Friday I finally managed to kick the headache between back-to-back dosing of Excedrin along with a massage. The massage was AMAZING. Painful at times, but amazing. Best one I've had in ages. I used to get headaches, in my old life, all the time. But since I've started taking care of myself they are a rarity. I know I was eating a lot of crap there for a while but lately I'd been eating better, more whole foods.Well, until the end of last week.

Anyway, I went to bed last night feeling like a loser. Same old behaviors, same old question - why?! But then my higher self stepped in to answer, thankfully. First off, settle down tiger, it's not that bad. Two string cheeses and many handfuls of goldfish do not equal that crap I used to eat. So, yes, reminiscent of old behaviors but do not equate the two. Second, I really didn't eat much yesterday in general so the late night snacks didn't exactly send my calorie count into the stratosphere.

But more important...I'm doing the best I can. I'm a mom, with two young children, and their needs are heavy on my mind these days. And I question myself, sometimes like a cynical CIA agent, doubting my skills as a mother, as a person, doubting my integrity and worthiness. I know, I know - I told you things are hard. I'm going to start writing here soon, more about what's happening in my life. But I have to get things a little more straightened out in my own head first.

Wait, I had a point. About the mother part. I've started to apply the same tools I learned in losing and keeping the weight off to my feelings about myself as a mother. Highlight the positive, accept the imperfections as part and parcel of the journey, expect disappointment, reinforce the good, set myself up for success, know there is no failure as long as one hasn't given up...and most powerful of all, try to see myself as they see me. Those little eyes looking up at me as though I am all that I should be, all that they want me to be. When I allow myself to feel their love, their acceptance, their joy in knowing me as their mother, and not be scared by it, it frees me to bring the very best of me to them. And I know this time, those all loving eyes, it passes quickly. I don't want to waste even a moment of these precious times.

There are lots of ways to be a mom, and this is my way. And my way, on balance, is good. I'm working on replacing that good with great! but I'm not there yet. I've been so hard on myself, so unrelenting in the criticism, the disappointment that I will not succeed in eliminating pain from an imperfect past by creating a perfect present. How many times have I written here about beating yourself up? About how it only serves to undermine, to weaken you for the journey. How bashing yourself on the head over and over again will only leave you weary and behind before you even start. We can't hate ourselves into a version of ourselves we can love. I read that recently and it resonated with me.

It's more than this, what's happening with me, but in some ways, it all comes down to this. I'm a mother and all moms know, we must be right with our children or nothing else feels right. If I let things hurt me, it trickles to them. So I must be true and good with myself, so I can be true and good for them. Thank you for reading, I know it's a bit off topic.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Goal Weight, Goal Behaviors, Goal Thoughts

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If you've been following along then you know I've been over my "goal weight" by a couple/few pounds. I'm not sure when I went over but my guess is, it's been a few months. Recovering from the tummy tuck and my evening snacking problem are probably the two biggest reasons for the gain. You might be thinking, "Really, she's worried about being a couple/few pounds over her goal weight?" but what I've come to learn is, it's not about the pounds, it's about the behaviors that led to them.

The number on the scale is an interesting thing. Part of me wants to ignore it altogether and base my "progress" on how I'm behaving and how I feel. The problem with that is, I can get into denial about how I'm behaving and I can convince myself how I feel isn't important. In other words, I can get into a place of, "I don't care," and when I'm in that place 'how I feel' is irrelevant, when I'm in that place, I stop paying attention to my own behaviors - I basically put my head in the sand. The scale can yank my head out of said sand.

So that's where the scale can come in as one piece of factual information for me to take in. Whatever the number, I can't argue with it. I can maybe explain why it is what it is, but I can't challenge the reality of the number. So, the bottom line, for me, the scale still has its place in my weight maintenance. I know women who have stopped weighing themselves altogether, but most of them are years down the road from me. Maybe I'll get there one day, maybe I won't, but I know I'm not there now.

All that said, "goal weight" is becoming more of a concept than an actual number for me. The concept is more about "goal behaviors" and "goal thinking". If I'm thinking and behaving in a goal-oriented way, if I'm making choices I feel good about, I know the number isn't so important. Then again, like I said above...and the two just cycle around like that. So for now, I have this number, 145, and if I go over that, it means I need to take a hard look at my thoughts and behaviors. If there's no problem there, fine, I'm over 145 but all is still right in the world. But if there is a problem (which in this case there is, it's called mindless evening snacking), that warrants some attention.

So I'm on track. Little slips here and there, but those are par for the course. I don't hold an unrealistic expectation of perfect. I know that's just a shortcut to disappointment and failure. I remind myself that even with my plan to track and count calories I will make mistakes. Forever and always. But if I continue to strive, continue to care enough, pay attention, try...I will continue on a path of success.

Speaking of the scale, it was 144.8 the other morning, under 145 for the first time in a while. It has since been back above but I know how these things work. I know if I keep doing what I'm doing the number will settle back into a healthy place.

Speaking of healthy, my workouts are spot on. Monday I went to the gym and did 25 minutes on the upright bike, level 9, followed by legs/shoulders/core. I am this:close to being 100% back since my tummy tuck surgery. There've been two ab exercises I'm still doing with lighter weights but next week, I think I'll be able to step them back up to pre-surgery weights. I can't wait!

Tuesday I went to the gym and ran 3 miles outside, close to 11 minute miles. It was hot, and my legs were a bit sore from Monday, and psychologically I just needed to take it easy so I did. After the run I did back/biceps/core. I even joined in with some gym-buddies for a 5 minute ab intensive, and I'm feeling the impact of that today!

On that happy note, I'll close with a few random pics from my Instagram feed.

Monday's lunch, black bean soup and a half-chickpea/avo sandwich

Max studio skirt, ATL tank, CK cardigan

Snack: tomato, avo, cut up chicken with 1 Tbsp Newman's Own balsamic vinaigrette

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Should I Eat Activity Points? Weekly Points? And Other Weight Watcher Questions...

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Some of my most popular blog posts of all time are the ones in which I answer these basic questions about Weight Watchers. Of course the answers are nothing more than my opinion but I had a lot of success on WW so it makes sense people would want to know my thoughts on things. Rather than put all this in a comment I'm answering here for a potentially wider audience that might be interested.

To that end, I'm sharing WW related questions posted in a comment from MtngirlinCali.
what's your official take on eating activity points? And if you are wearing a heart rate monitor that is calculating calories during your training, do you just do a conversion to get to activity points? I'm doing Orange Theory Fitness 3 times a week right now -- have lost 20 lbs over the past year and gained some great muscle definition, but after my first few weeks back on WW, I have stalled out. I was maybe eating 2-3 of the activity points I earned. (And I earn 12 for an hour session) I never touch my flex points. Wondering if maybe I need to eat a little bit more (maybe take a protein shake after my workout) and see how that works? But would love to know how you've cracked the code.....
Ok, I'll break these down into numbered questions...
  1. What's your official take on eating activity points?
    Eat them. I used to eat almost all of my APs. Of course, if you're not hungry and don't feel like eating them, don't force yourself, but I never really had that issue. You might know that I'm currently counting calories (as a temporary support to myself, not as a lifelong maintenance plan). I add in my exercise calories and eat those on the days I exercise.
  2. And if you are wearing a heart rate monitor that is calculating calories during your training, do you just do a conversion to get to activity points?
    The way I handled this was unofficial (of course I'm no WW spokesperson so this is all unofficial) but here's how I figured it. I took the calories my Polar heart rate monitor told me I'd burned (NOT the machine or my Garmin, I only felt my Polar was reliable enough to count on those numbers) and for every 100 calories I gave myself 1 activity points. Why? I can't exactly recall but I think I read somewhere that this was roughly how WW calculates APs. Don't quote me on that.

  3. I never touch my flex points
    This isn't a question but I can't help but comment on it anyway. Why not eat them? Have you tried eating them and not lost weight? You mentioned you've stalled, not sure what you mean by that but if you mean you're losing motivation and going off track, maybe giving yourself more wiggle room by eating your weeklies would be something to try? If you can maintain not eating those extras for the rest of your life I say ok, but if you're doing this only to lose weight but plan on eating a bit more during maintenance, reconsider. Maintenance is hard so it's good to get used to eating the way you plan to eat for the rest of your life starting now.

  4. Wondering if maybe I need to eat a little bit more (maybe take a protein shake after my workout) and see how that works?
    Maybe. How do you feel? How's your energy level? Are you satisfied with the way you're eating? I think the greatest thing to do in these cases is to experiment. But one week is not enough, you have to give it around a month. Start adding in that protein shake after the workout and see what happens over your next four weigh-ins. And incorporate how you're feeling in terms of hunger and satisfaction, those are important for maintenance. Hunger is tricky because in the beginning you have to tolerate it while your appetite goes down. But after a couple months I only expect to be feeling hunger in the hour or so before my next planned meal/snack. I'm not happy being hungry all the time and don't know many people that are.
Ok, that's it from me. I'll post my workout/eating/weight update in my next post. Happy day all!