Sunday, June 19, 2016

Clearing Out the Funk

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Well, hello there. I won't attempt a catch-up post because it's been far too long. I'll just dive in to the here-and-now. Which brings with it some good, some bad, and some ugly. I'll start with the good, because, why not, right? I started a new job, which I'm really enjoying. It's a bit of a commute for me now, plus the work is more intense, busier, etc and while I'm adjusting to managing more than I was before, I'm happy to be learning a lot and working with great people. I might write more later about how this change has thrown off my routine and my hopes and plans to find a new one.

So that's the good. The bad is, I've gained some weight. About 20 pounds from my lowest weight, so I'm 159 or so right now. And my body fat percentage is up too, around 35%. Double ugh. This has been a slow-growing problem, no pun intended, probably over the past year or so. I've taken a few swings at addressing it but nothing seems to stick. Despite this, I feel good about the weight gain not being more than it is. Even in the face of a substantial regression all is not lost. I have been weighing myself fairly regularly and have not given up. If it's one thing I've learned on this journey it's that as long as you don't give up you haven't failed.

And what's the ugly? I guess I could say my thoughts. I have noticed so many unhelpful thoughts have crept into my thinking. Thoughts I worked hard to change. They haven't taken over, like I said all is not lost, but they are whispering to me and influencing me way more than is good for me. I could speculate a bunch on why, but I believe my mental energy is put to better use by figuring out how to tackle the problem than by wondering where it came from. And I've decided that part of tackling it is to write. I think writing helps clear the funk out of my brain, so the good can flow. All this not-writing has led to a congestion of funk.

So here I am. And what else is happening? I go to a weekly WW meeting when I can, and I workout even less, maybe 2-3 times a month (really!? Yes, really). Though today something happened that hasn't happened in months. I had a bit of free time this morning and I felt the urge to go on a run. So before the funk had a chance to talk me out of it, I put on my running shoes and hit the road. I ran for 40 minutes at a comfortable pace. It wasn't easy because I'm not in great same shape, but I felt grateful to still be able to run what was probably at least a 5k.

West Side Story - great show!
And then it was a quick shower and change to head up Mount Tamalpais with a friend to see West Side Story at The Mountain Play.  We were lucky to be in the shade for most of the afternoon because it got pretty hot. I've been focusing on better eating so I packed a salad topped with veggies, beans and chicken breast to eat during the musical. I also brought fruit and had a glass of skinnygirl margarita that my girlfriend brought. 

This was my third Mountain Play, I'd previously seen Oklahoma! and The Wizard of Oz (the latter of which I blogged about back in 2008)...I just checked my weight to see what I was back then, and when I clicked on the weight log, the closest date was 6/5/2008 which linked to a blog post of mine, so I clicked on that and it's one of my all-time favorite posts, I'm Here! Wow, what a gift this feels like.

That post is all about how I thought I'd have to get to my goal weight before I realized my "goal" but that in reality, I had all the benefits I'd hoped to gain from losing weight - I was fit, I wore regular size clothes and, most important, I felt great. I'll say it again, wow, what a coincidence. I've had bouts of negative thoughts lately and this serves as a reminder that where I am is a damn good place to be in the grand scheme of the weight battle.

Ok, I'll close with a couple recent pictures and make a pledge that I hope to keep, which is to write more. I think I need it. I know I do.

The two best kids I know.
Oh boy, posting this picture just reminds me how fast they are growing. Myra just finished her first year of school,Transitional Kindergarten, and is starting Kindergarten in the fall. Marek will be starting 2nd grade. They are on a summer trip with their dad right now and I miss them terribly. Aren't those smiles the best?!

This picture is from a trip Mr M and I took to New England last month. If I had been motivated we would have done some epic hiking in these parts. It was a fun trip in a gorgeous part of the country and we had a lot of fun. But I don't want to live with a bunch of missed adventure opportunities. I'd better I want to get my body and my mind back in shape so that doesn't happen. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

9 Miles and Skiing in Lake Tahoe

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Whew! I've had quite the weekend so far. I finally got moving yesterday, after a very relaxing, slow morning. Something clicked in my brain and I decided it was time to run. 9 miles, here we go! M and I are training for the Rock 'n' Roll half coming up in April. He wanted to do 6 miles, "I think 6 miles at elevation is the same as 9." 

"Okay," is all he got from me. We started running, I was determined to run at a pace I called comfortable. When you're running more than you've run in months, at elevation, you take it easy. M was waiting for me at the 3 mile point (he runs a bit faster than me for the moment), thinking we'd turn around. I let him know I'm going for the whole 9 miles. The training plan calls for 10 miles next weekend so why short this run? He went for it, and kept running. One fun thing was the turnaround point was at the CA/Nevada state line. I ran to another state! Here's our route.

I was very pleased when I finished with an average 11:06 minute miles. There was a pretty sizeable hill halfway through mile 3. Plus there's less oxygen in the air. I'm happy with 11:06. Heck, I'm thrilled!

But holy cow, I was wiped out! And starving. I had a brown rice cake with hummus for a snack and then held out until dinner.

Dinner was a bit of indulgence. I had cheese and crackers for an appetizer. And a martini. Then grilled salmon, a tomato/mozzarella salad with evoo and vineger, tomato leek soup, roasted broccolini and a bit of wine...before getting into the ice cream. Yeah, indulgent.

Today we had a plan to hit the slopes and after some lollygaggin', we finally got out the door. What a day! The weather was as good as it gets, the snow was fluffy, and my skiing was totally adequate. But I had to rest now and then because my quads were burning.

I wore my Garmin, which was fun.

After our last run we hit the pub in time for the Super Bowl halftime show. And martinis, chicken wings and chili cheese fries. I loved the show! Wish I coulda danced.

Another indulgent meal. But with all the running and skiing, hopefully it will balance out. Ok, that's all from me. It's off to watch a movie, during which I will probably fall asleep.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Guarding the Mojo

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Ok, it's after 1pm and I'm still on the couch. It's a beautiful outside and I'm burning daylight, so this has to be quick.

First off, I'm SO on a roll. The small things I've done to keep my mojo going are working, and I'm so glad. My back hurt yesterday morning so I had to take the day off. BUT, I didn't sit around eating. I had my normal breakfast. For lunch I had a sandwich with two slices of Alvarado Street Bakery flax bread (3pts), 1oz of salami (3pts), 2tbsp of horseradish mustard (1pt), lettuce (0) and an orange (0).

By late afternoon my back felt better and I made it to the gym...which means I ran three times last week! Go me!!!!

I ran three miles outside, including Palmer hill. That hill is brutal, but I made it up. Then I went in to do chest/triceps/core. I then had to hustle home and get ready for a girl's night with my super awesome mom friends. 

My buddy Lauren hosted and made a lovely dinner of a pasta with a cream/chicken sauce, garlic bread and a kale salad (with dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds). She also served wine. She was nice enough to let me fiddle with the meal to make it work for me. I had the salad with no dressing, and cut up some of fruit she had on the counter. A few pieces of chicken and vodka with flavored pelegrino instead of wine...I felt great about my choices. I had one bite of the chocolate cake dessert. 

When you're coming out of a rough patch, and re-building momentum, all the small things matter even more than normal. I feel like I'm having to actively guard my mojo, shelter it from the wind, to keep the small fire going, to nurture it back into a roaring blaze. I can feel it building, and it feels good. 

Anyway, had a lot of laughs catching up with the girls. We've all been friends since our first babies were babies. This really is an awesome, warm, authentic, fabulous group of women and I am SO LUCKY to know them. Also, my buddy Michelle is really getting into weight training and is rocking some serious biceps! So inspiring, go Michelle!!

Jackie, Alison, Erica, moi, Lauren, Michelle, Christy, Suzanne, Laura and Laurie
Just after the get-together I hit the road for snow country. M and I had/have weekend plans to ski, snowshoe, etc. My dinner at Lauren's was light and a couple hours later I was hungry. M hadn't had dinner so we stopped at a Chevy's because it was open. I had three tortilla chips and then pushed them out of reach. I was this:close to ordering a chicken wings appetizer but in the end, made a better choice...a grilled shrimp fajita salad (veggies, avocado) with no dressing. Very satisfying.  

We finally got here around 2am, slept in, and had a lazy morning. I ate my normal breakfast, then an 11 point fruit/nut mix thing (oops! shoulda looked up the points first), and for lunch I made an egg white scramble with tomatoes and cheddar and pan fried potatoes with garlic and rosemary. Sheesh, cheese is a lot of points these days! No matter, tracking it all.

Speaking of tracking, I found the WW connect thing on the app. Not sure how much I'll use it but if you're on it, I'm mikala_sf if you want to connect. Thanks Eva for pointing it out to me. Didn't even know it was there.

Ok, I'm done. Out to enjoy the day!!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Angry Eating

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Today was a mixed bag. Mostly good, but with a little Grrrr tossed in. I felt pretty motivated when I got up this morning, and that stuck with me most of the day. I had Kashi for breakfast, fruit for snacks. Lunch went a tiny bit sideways, I was on the road and stopped in a cafe for a sandwich. I ordered a chicken breast sandwich, which came with avocado, tomato and cucumber (I had them leave off the aioli and cheese). It was served with a side salad, which I had without dressing. BUT, the sandwich was served on a croissant. I did my routine of only eating half the bread, but OMG, the croissant was so yummy and smelled like buttery goodness. I should've tossed the top half of the bread as soon as I got my sandwich. I think you know what happened. I ate my sandwich but then the other half...I eventually had that too.

But (said in a high-pitched voice), I tracked it and moved on, still feeling pretty good about myself. After work I went straight to the gym. I was actually looking forward to going. I knew it would feel good to run and I wanted to feel good. I ran a 4.6 mile loop from my gym, one that includes a hill, and that I ran a few weeks ago, when I was just getting back on the running wagon. Here are today's splits. Mile 3 is obviously the hill. (GAP is Grade Adjusted Pace, which estimates equivalent pace if I'd been running on flat land).

And here's a comparison from when I ran it a few weeks ago.

Isn't that cool? From an 11:35 pace to today's 10:33 pace. It's amazing how much I've improved already. The other neat thing is when I ran it in January my average heart rate was 154 beats per minute and today's was 148, so faster but not working as hard. Cool stuff.

Dinner was a great choice. A Morningstar Farms Spicy Black Bean Veggie Burger, over arugula with pico de gallo and spicy green salsa.

But something happened earlier today that made me mad and it was still with me. I was irritated, frustrated, all that stuff. AND, my mom came over tonight to see the kids and brought a box of these little mini-birthday swirl ice cream cones. 

At least they are "mini"
So after the kids are in bed I had one. I knew I was eating it almost out of spite toward the person I was angry with, like some kind of "I"ll show you...". I know, it makes NO sense. Reminds me of the saying, "holding on to anger is like holding a burning coal with the intent to throw it at someone."

After eating it, I started wracking my brain as to how I was going to deal with the other seven that were still in my freezer. Because despite the fact it didn't taste spectacular, I wanted to eat more of them. And then I realized, they have to go. So before I could change my mind, I opened all seven and shoved them down the garbage disposal. Whew! Crisis averted.

Later when I tracked it and saw that the "mini" cone was 7 points, boy was I glad they are gone. Which reminds me, I need to talk with my mom about bringing stuff like this over, especially on a weeknight. The kids don't eat stuff like this generally and I get that she's grandma, but really. I mean really, right? I know my eating choices are my responsibility but it's not great for them either to be having this junk, especially during the week when they usually have fruit after dinner.

Ok, so four paragraphs about an ice cream cone. But you know what? That's how it is sometimes. This eating thing is complicated, and I believe, for me anyway, I need to understand all the complexity behind what happens, how I arrive at my behaviors, to understand how to change them.   

Back to the anger...I'm still irritated but I'm thankful that's the extent of it. I got mad earlier today, and I used it as an excuse to make a non-goal-oriented choice...but I stopped it there. Now at least I only have the anger bugging me and not guilt/regret/frustration over having eaten 3-4 of those damn cones.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Motivation Roller Coaster

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So many ups and downs! After the snowshoe weekend, I needed a couple days rest. But by last Wednesday I was ready. I went to the gym and did an outdoor run, 3 miles with a 10:43 average pace, followed by weight training. I'm nudging myself toward running three times during the workweek, plus a long weekend run, but so far the weekday run has only been happening twice a week. BUT, that's two times more than was happening before so, like I said, nudging in that direction. No complaints from me. Two is an attainable goal for now so I'm officially sticking with that.

A couple days later, on Friday, I was feeling motivated. So I ran the 2.5 miles from home to the gym, which took about 25 minutes, did a quick workout (back/biceps) and then ran home for a total of 5 miles. So impressed with myself. That night we had a family dinner at my mom's. We had ravioli with meat sauce and pasta alfredo and chocolate cake and, and, and... oh dear.
Some of the crew. Did I mention the martini situation?
I kinda used my planned long run on Sunday as an excuse to over-indulge. Lots of pasta, plus wine, and two (albeit small) slices of chocolate cake. Like I said, oh dear. 

Saturday was Spring Cleaning: the Winter Edition all day at my house. I cleared out toys the kids have outgrown, and organized and cleaned. After a hard day of work, M and I went out for dinner. I made somewhat healthier choices but did have wine. Again. It might not sound like it but I'm trying to cut down on the wine. Having an Italian boyfriend does not make that easy. Later that night we had mudslides as a kind of liquid desserts. It's been ages since I've had one of those, yummy! 

Fortunately our long run was planned for the afternoon so we had some time to recover before hitting the road. My buddy Catherine joined us on a fairly flat route at the Hamilton Levee. It was great because the route included trails and road with a fair amount of pretty water views. I forgot to take any pictures so I'll just share some Garmin info.

Can't you tell from the map it was a scenic run? With perfect running weather, low 50's and sunny. So here are my splits.

I like how my pace generally picked up as I went along. My average heart rate was only 153, though I did spend the last mile, which just happened to be running into the wind, in the low 160s. Anyway, the numbers are just for fun, the main point is, I had a very nice run. 

But later that day I started to feel a bit of a cold coming on. Ugh. So Monday I had mild cold symptoms that, fortunately, never really turned into a full-blown cold. But it was enough to throw me off my groove. I got into a funky mood and ate A BUNCH of crap over a couple of days, including Taco Bell and a bag of firey hot cheetos. And a chocolate bar. And who knows what else. Needless to say I wasn't tracking. So I got on the scale yesterday morning and saw 155. Yes, folks, 155. A full ten pounds over my goal weight.

I might be premenstrual, but still, the number was there. And it woke me up. At least I hope it did. Still, even with that, I struggled to get to the gym today. I procrastinated (and grumbled in my head) for SO long. BUT, I finally got myself there. Sadly, I only had time to run two miles on the treadmill. BUT, I ran those two miles at a 6mph (10 minute mile) pace. Bam! AND, I broke the funk. Funny how quick that can happen.

So, today included goal-oriented eating, and some exercise, and even a bit of tracking. I feel better for today. And right now, that's enough.