Friday, April 18, 2008

Better Together

I usually rebel a little after a gain. This time Miguel and I were out running errands on Thursday night after my meeting and he said, "Hey, let's go celebrate that 1 pound gain. Why don't we go to Chevy's for dinner?" That sounded good but Japanese sounded better. There's a new place by our house, Sushiholic, that I've been wanting to try so I suggested that instead. Plus, I figured I'd probably do less damage at Japanese than at Chevy's. We shared 2 large Sapporo beers, a Tempura appetizer, unagi and maguro, and I had Teriyaki Salmon with rice for my entrée. The food was not great but pretty good. It was a lot and I was plenty full. Still, I think I would have done much worse at Chevy's. Besides, Chevy's just didn't sound that appetizing to me this time around.

I still felt pretty tired all evening and after dinner even more so. I hit the sack early and felt a little better today. Around 2pm I drank an espresso, a very unusual occurrence for me but I felt I needed the boost. Then at 4pm-ish I ate an AccelGel. Got to the gym about 5pm and during my workout I noted in my workout journal zip! zippy! zoo! so I think I was feeling pretty energized between the caffeine and the carbs.

For c25k I was on Week 5 and since I didn't do my Wednesday workout I decided to repeat Day 1, which has three 5-minute jogs followed by 3-minute walks. Maybe it was all the fuel but it was a breeze. Weight training (lower body today) was fun too, I was rocking out with my ipod. I added some weight, 5 pound dumbells, to my lunges for the first time. A little wobbly but manageable.

Oh! Another food favorite. Some foods are like miracle foods to me. Cottage cheese and my morning cereal (of Special K protein plus with a 1/2 serving of Fiber One) are a couple of examples. And Fage Total 0% is another. For only 2 points you get 13 grams of protein. The more protein you get the longer before you get hungry again so it's good to have more protein, right?

For some it might be an acquired taste, it's strained yogurt so it's much thicker than regular yogurt, and it's not sweet really. I've been more than happy to eat it plain though. But, oh, pair it with an apple and something magical happens. I like to slice up my apple (with my handy apple slicer of course) and dip it in the Fage. The Fage becomes like Crème Fraîche, indulgent, rich and creamy. I think the sweetness of the apple and the creaminess of the Fage are a match made in heaven. For a 3 point snack (assuming your apple is 1 point, which all my apples are) you can't go wrong!

That reminds me, I have a couple of foods that are always a fixed point value no matter how big they are or how much they weigh. Apples are always 1 point, Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts are always 3 points. I didn't get fat eating these foods so I'm not going to stress over the points. If I get into a pattern of not losing I'll re-evaluate this but for now, I'm good.

Well, it's 10:45pm and we have a road ride ahead tomorrow. We still don't know where we're going, I guess we'll decide in the morning. Thank you for all the wonderful comments, it's so reassuring to know I'm not in this alone :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I can't lose *every* week.

I went over my Points this week. Ugh. I ate 8.5 more points than I am given. To give you a sense of how much food that is I get an average of 28 per day (daily Points of 23 plus 35 "extras" a week). The other thing is I ate a good amount of Activity Points this week, something I usually don't do. I know I say this a lot but I'm really not expecting a loss this week. Funny thing, my work is having a pizza party for our clients this afternoon. So I have to go from a Pizza Party to the weigh-in. Talk about motivation to skip the pizza!

Talk about skipping...I skipped the gym last night. I had to get up earlier than usual for work yesterday and just felt like I was dragging all day. Then at lunch I went to BBQ with a colleague and ate more than I'm used to and felt full all afternoon, further dragging me down. Top this off with a road trip to take a client to Lake County and I was just done. I also had plans to go dancing at a local place that gives a Salsa lesson...didn't happen. I didn't even make dinner! Miguel bought fast food and I ate a Choice Ramen.

So, I skipped the gym. What am I going to do about that? Move on. I thought about going tonight as a make-up and then finish up with the gym tomorrow like I normally would but I'm still feeling a bit haggard so I'm not going to push it. I have a colleague who goes to the gym regularly and has for decades. She told me once that when she's feeling really tired she doesn't push it because then she starts resenting the gym, hating it, feeling like it's work when it should be something she enjoys. I am going to adopt her thinking and just let it go.

Food...yes, let me write about that...much more exciting. Zero point foods are the holy grail of Weight Watcher members. Something to snack on that has no effect on the bottom line. First, I found these marinated mushrooms at Trader Joe's. I was never an olive snacker because I knew they were evil, but I love olives, and these remind of me of that. Sometimes when I open the fridge just to make sure the food is still cold I pop a couple of these in my mouth. In 1/3 cup there are 10 calories, zero fat. Fridge check done safely :)

Another similar snack, this one found at Costco, is Gertie's pickled asparagus. For the same 10 calories you get 6 of these yummies. Another fridge check done without harm. I also think these are both great for appetizer trays at parties. Beats olives and nuts and the normal fat-laden offerings.

Finally, while these aren't zero points I'll share two other recent finds. First, Trader Joe's Prig Khing Green Beans. I love! spicy green beans. I always order these at Chinese or Thai restaurants if they're on the menu. I'll eat them in any form. They were easy to prepare and very flavorful. I ate more like 2 servings so it was 2 points. I served them with another new TJ's find, Punjab Spinach Sauce with chicken over rice. Yummm! The whole meal was super quick to cook and a grand total of 7.5 points.

Alright, hungry yet?

It's Thursday. Woot woot! What's on tap for this weekend? Saturday is looking like a road ride somewhere. I've picked two (both about 20 miles) out of my biking book that look right up my alley (or path?). Then on Sunday I'm going on some kind of monster hike (11 miles & 1900+ ft elevation gain) with a group of folks at Big Rock Ridge and on Sunday night I'm going on a baby hike to view the full moon over a lighthouse out at Point Bonita. Wow! Sounds like fun. I'll let you know how it all turns out if I still have energy to type.

Update: I gained... 1.2 pounds. Uck. But, I learned something. You can only eat a maximum of 4 activity points a day. I didn't know that, I used all 12 I earned on Saturday! I know that's not the only reason for the gain. Between the 8 points I went over on Saturday and the 8.5 I went over for the week, that's 16.5 points. Well, not my first gain, won't be my last. I'll carry on.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Yes, But WHERE?

I came home from work today and despite it being a little windy outside decided to ride my bike to do my errands. I had an appointment about 2.5 miles from my house. Went to that and then rode to the grocery store where I picked up a quart of milk and enough fruits and veggies to get us through the next few days. I put it all in my backpack and then rode home. What fun! It will be so nice when the weather warms up some and I won't freeze my fingertips riding around at dusk.

In a few weeks my office is moving to the same town in which most of my clients live (I'm a social worker if you didn't know). I'm thinking of driving to the office with my bike and then biking to clients' homes for visits. Doesn't that sound cool, green, healthy and fun? Some of my clients will think I've lost my mind, "You have a car, right? So you're riding a bike instead because...?

Reminds me of Miguel's initial reaction to my taking him hiking:

Where are we going?
On a hike.
Yes, but where?
Just hiking around.

He didn't get the concept of walking around, literally, in a circle for recreation. In Honduras one does not do this. If you are so down and out that you had to walk somewhere that was a bad thing. Certainly not something you would do for fun. And the idea of camping was no better.

Umm, let me get this straight. We have a place to live, our own home, and we're going to pack up some things and sleep outside in a tent, cook on a little gas stove, and basically live as if we were homeless. Why would we do that when we have a home?
Well, it's fun. You get to use all your camping gear and hang out by the fire.
But why don't we do that and then just go home at night.
Uhhh, let's just go camping and you'll see.

I'm glad he did. He gets it now and loves it but these were pretty funny conversations. So I wonder if some of my clients, who would love to have cars, will have a similar response.

Wait, don't you have a car?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I'm Gelling, Are You Gelling? @ Phoenix, Lagunitas and Bon Tempe Lakes

Ok, there was just a gimongous Reese's Peanut Butter Cup on the TV Screen. Miguel's watching a soccer game he recorded and I glanced up to see it and it was beautiful. Chocolate....So yes, it's TTOTM.

Whew! What a weekend we had. Friday night was wholly uneventful. Well, that's not entirely true, I went to the gym after work. During cardio I did my last training session of Week 4 in the c25k running plan. Week 5 was just around the corner. But no more thoughts of that as a recreation weekend was ahead!

On Saturday we got up and picked a ride. We were trying to decide between the Angel Island Loop and a ride out of my Bay Area Biking book, The Three Lakes Loop. Getting the ferry to Angel Island was too much for us so we decided on the Three Lakes Loop. This book has a rating system from 1-5 for difficulty. 1 is a bring the toddler in training wheels. So 2 must be right up my alley, right? Here's the map and elevation gain of the 11 mile ride:

I suppose the elevation gain image of a mountain should have made me take pause but I thought, "ah, 900 feet elevation gain doesn't sound so bad." What the heck do I know? Apparently, not enough. The ride was grueling. But not enough to make it a bad time. I just had to walk a fair amount. Miguel and I estimated that of the 11 mile ride I probably walked between 1-2 miles. Not bad, huh? Oh but what a beautiful ride and beautiful day it was. It was nice and sunny, warm and just perfect. The trails had a nice mix of sun and shade and they were relatively easy from a technical mountain biking skills perspective. All in all we had a great time. It's like that old bumper sticker, the worst day mountain biking is better than the best day at work. And this was far from worst. Alright, pictures!
First, along side one of the three lakes. I think this was Lake Lagunitas:

Happily riding along (er, downhill)...

Not quite so happily walking.... Now this hill may not look like much, and it's not. But after miles and miles of uphill my legs were spent. I could handle a slight incline at this point, but not much. Hence, bikehiking:

I think this image gives you a good sense of the beauty of the surrounds.

See that town down below? I told you there was a lot of uphill!

By the time we got back to the car my heart monitor said I'd burned 1200 calories in the 2 hours and 15 minutes we were out there. I got some APs for dinner now!

After the ride we went to our new hangout, REI. We bought a few bike related accessories and had lunch again at Baja Fresh. This time I only had 1 Mahi-Mahi fish taco since I had a big dinner ahead. We went home, threw some clothes in a bag and headed off to the inn for our anniversary fun. The inn had a pool so the first thing we did was put on our suits and dive in the freezing pool. Then we warmed back up on the lounge chairs and ordered fried calamari and I had a blood orange vodka martini (or two). Ahhh. It wasn't easy going back to the room to get ready for dinner. We were wiped. But we did and enjoyed a nice meal and crème brûlée. I calculated 57.5 points eaten for the day. I get 23 a day so that's more than two days worth of food. Good thing I had 12 APs to balance that out! Plus I had saved all my extra weekly points (I get 35 of those) for just this day so when all was said and done I was fine.

On Sunday we got up and enjoyed the continental breakfast and then went home and got our bikes. We headed into SF on another gorgeous day and ended up riding around the Marina/Crissy Field area. We rode to Safeway and picked up some bread, cheese and turkey meat and then rode back to the grass for an impromptu picnic. My life has really changed since this time last year. It was really fun riding my road bike, even if it was just a leisurely 5 miles.

I noticed though that my shoulders tighten up after not too long on the bike. I'm hoping it's just new muscles being used and my getting used to the different position. But, it could be a sign the bike is not the right size for me. If it's the latter I will have to sell this bike and go on a hunt for a new used one in a different size. It's going to take a while before I'll know.

Oh! I almost forgot the point of my title. By the way, if you're still reading this you are a good friend indeed. I went to the gym today, actually I rode to the gym, and did (in addition to the rest of my routine) Day 1 of Week 5 of the c25k running plan. I've been so busy I hadn't looked up what Week 5 entailed. Well, it's a doozy.

Day 1: Warmup, jog 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, jog 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, jog 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, Cooldown.

Day 2: Warmup, jog 8 minutes, walk 5 minutes, jog 8 minutes, Cooldown. Whoa! 8 minutes?! But wait, apparently that ain't nothin'

Day 3: Warmup, jog 20 minutes, Cooldown.

Alright, well as soon as I heard that 20 minutes madness I decided to take each day of Week 5 and make it a week. So I'll do Week 5 Day 1 for a week (which means 3 times total), Day 2 for a week and Day 3 for a week. Or maybe I'll try and follow their suggestion and see how I do. Because I just looked at Week 6 and they take it back down a notch, so maybe there's some science behind making you jog for 20 full minutes before you're maybe ready for it? I guess I'll decide on Wednesday what to do.

The point of my title though is that I went to the gym feeling crabby, crampy and tired. But I ate one of those AccelGel things about 15 minutes before and once I got going on my routine I was feeling super good! I'm becoming more convinced that they really help. I ate one afterward too.

So I also planned to tell you about some new Points friendly foods I've been enjoying lately but this post has gone on too long even for me. I'll wrap it up now. But first...

Thank you to Kristy and Irene for the Happy Anniversary wishes. We had a really great weekend.