Saturday, April 14, 2012

Real Pushups...Conquered!

I hopped on my scale yesterday morning with a feeling of pleasant anticipation.  I knew I'd drop since the gain from last week was at least partially based on ttotm.  And lo and behold, down to 166 pounds!!  Woot!  That's a 3.6 pound drop from last week and a 1.6 pound drop from the week before.  Excellent.  It's always so nice when the hard work pays off.  And remember, this is with my chocolate egg mistakes.  You don't have to be perfect to lose weight.  In fact, I would suggest if you ARE being perfect than you are at risk for gaining it all back.  Figuring out how to live in the real world, eating mistakes and all, is necessary for maintenance.  I am now 7.2 pounds from my mini-goal.  Sweet.  Sweeter than chocolate eggs.

The WW meeting yesterday was about Plan B when you can't do your regular exercise.  This was a lesson I had to learn years back when I was more rigid in my thinking.  I still struggle with it sometimes but for the most part I've learned that there are alternatives to my "routine" if I can't do it for some reason.  Sometimes I'll do a shortened version of my workout, sometimes I'll do something else altogether.  And sometimes I just have to let go and accept that for this day, or this week, I will not meet my goal.   It's the old battle vs the war thing.  I've learned that doing something is better than doing nothing.  Sounds so obvious but it was a tough one for me to learn and internalize.

In January of '08, just a few months after starting exercise, I learned part of this lesson on a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.  Of course I blogged about it at the time, An Important Lesson @ Golden Gate Bridge, Crissy Field.  The realization that even a walk could burn calories had a profound effect on me and ever since then I have made an effort to not discount "non-exercise" activity that I do outside of the gym.  Wearing a heart rate monitor and seeing the calories burned really helps.  For a while I'd wear it anytime I did anything, a hike with Miguel, a fun bike ride around town.  Now I don't need that reinforcement for social activities but I still wear it at the gym and anytime I'm purposefully "exercising".  

Being back at WW reminds me how much I've learned since starting this journey and how much I like the WW philosophy.  I started WW in 2007 in part because my doctor recommended it.  I'd gone in half-hoping she'd recommend some kind of weight loss surgery.  I wasn't quite heavy enough.  Thank God!  Those surgeries are not the easy fix I thought they were.  I think this is a painful lesson for some, like Carnie Wilson, who just got her second surgery.  Anyway, I'm babbling a bit.  On to the exercise...

I was debating going to the gym since I'd already worked out 4 days in a row.  Friday would make 5. But I actually felt pretty good physically and decided it would be ok.  I went after work and started out with 25 minutes on the upright bike.  Level 7 is still kicking my butt.  After the bike I started in on my chest/shoulders/core routine.

I did pushups first.  I've been doing three sets of 6 "real" pushups and 2 assisted, working toward the goal of three sets of 8 real pushups.  As I was about to start I thought about how I did 10 real pushups at that CrossFit class on Monday, albeit only 1 set.  Maybe it was time to move up to 7 real ones, because three sets is different than one set.  But then I figured, if I can do 7, I can probably do 8.  Ah heck, let's just go for it!  And guess what?  I did it!  I started on this goal of doing three sets of 8 real pushups back in November of last year.  At the time I could do three sets of 3.  And really, it started before then when I worked on lowering the smith machine bar.  It's been a long haul and achieving this goal is a big deal to me.  I can do pushups, really I can!

I forgot to mention that yesterday was our anniversary.  My mom was coming over to watch the kids so Miguel and I could go to dinner.  So I was in a hurry to get home and the rest of my workout was a blur.   I hustled through my weight training and core routine and headed home to change.  We were totally undecided on where to go for dinner but ended up at a place that serves California type fare.  My dinner was:

Pan seared Mahi Mahi on a yummy pile of risotto
Bread and butter
A few bites of Miguel's dinner (steak, french fries, green beans)
Desert was a very creamy bread pudding and ice cream

I also had a vodka soda.  After dinner we went to a bar to play pool and I had another vodka soda.  I tracked it all and, unfortunately I'm only left with 5 "extra" weekly points.  Thank goodness I can earn more through exercise!  I know I can manage.

One last thing, I've started reading "The Beck Diet Solution", very interesting stuff, goes along with a lot of what I practice but I believe will help me take things a step further.  The main thing I'm hoping is the book can help me to do away with these mental battles I have with food.  They are tiresome and I lose half the time anyway.   Gaining freedom from that would would be so cool!

Today is a day off from exercise, though I spent half the day pulling weeds, that's gotta be worth something!  Alright, the kids are up from their naps so I gotta run. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Coffee Creamer Showdown

It struck me the other day that I am within striking distance of my mini goal weight of 158.8 pounds.  Seems a bit surreal.  When I got back on track in June of last year, getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight  seemed so far off.  And now it's not.  I'm really happy with my progress.  I've lost over 30 pounds in 10 months.  The time it's taken is not that important though, I'm just happy to be feeling better and stronger than before.

So today I made a real effort to stay within my daily points.  I am hoping to get back to at least 167.6, the weight I was two weeks ago before my cycle started and before Easter struck.  I had my normal breakfast and then for lunch I had some roasted veggies with a 5 point sandwich.  Dinner was 1 cup of pasta with half of a Jennie-O italian sausage and sauteed veggies.  I'm definitely going to bed hungry but I just needed to reign things in a bit.  

So, on to coffee creamers.  I use 4 points every morning on CoffeeMate French Vanilla creamer.  That's got to stop.  So Wednesday night I went to the grocery store to see what my (lower point) options are.   I found Coffeemate Natural Bliss lowfat vanilla and it's only 2 points.  I had it this morning and it was ok, not as rich tasting as the other stuff.  I also noticed that if I use half-and-half it's 2 points as well, so I'm going to try that with flavored Splenda or sugar free Torani when the Natural Bliss runs out.  Another option would be to do a flavored coffee and then skip the flavored creamer.  It would be nice to go with something a little more natural, all these creamers and artificial sweeteners are probably giving me cancer.  Though the Natural Bliss ingredients are nonfat milk, sugar, heavy cream, natural flavor (whatever that is), and carageenan (thickener) - that's way better than the ingredient list in the regular CoffeeMate I'm drinking now.  Ok, well, that's a whole lot of writing about coffee creamer but this is the kind of thing that WW leads to - the search for frivolous points that can be cut.

To go along with the good eating I also went to the gym today.  This week I took Sunday off to recover from the 10k and then I've worked out every day since - Mon, Tue, Wed and Thur.  Goes against my guideline to not exercise more than three days in a row but the 10k threw my schedule off.  I'm on the fence about going to the gym tomorrow but I kind of want to so I can take Saturday off and then get back to my routine on Sunday.  The other option would be to skip Fri and Sat.  My body feels like it needs a little recovery so maybe that's what I'll do.  We'll see.

Anyway, at the gym I did a 25 minute run on the treadmill followed by back/biceps/core work.  It was a quick workout, but a good one.  And now I'm tired as heck.  I'm going to curl up and watch a movie for a bit and then head to bed.  Tomorrow is weigh-in Friday, very curious to see what the scale will have to say. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Balancing Act with Eggs

Things have been all, the good, the bad & the ugly around here the last couple of days.  The good has been related to exercise, the bad, of course, is about food.  Oh, and so is the ugly.

I took that CrossFit class on Monday and I was pretty sore on Tuesday.  Fortunately it wasn't enough to disable me altogether but I knew I should take it easy at the gym, which meant no weight lifting.  I planned to only do a little light cardio but when I got to the gym a Zumba Gold class was about to start.  If you're not familiar with Zumba Gold here's how they describe it:
Zumba Gold targets the largest growing segment of the population: baby boomers. It takes the Zumba formula and modifies the moves and pacing to suit the needs of the active older participant, as well as those just starting their journey to a fit and healthy lifestyle.
Sounds like just what I needed.  So I took the class and it was perfect, nothing too strenuous but still enough to make me sweat.  And some of the floor stuff was even a real challenge, like the one where you get on your hands and knees and then straighten one leg, and the alternating arm.  Then you pull both in and touch your elbow to your knee under your midsection.  Like in this picture, but then you pull your arm and leg in until your elbow touches your knee under your body, then return to this position. I think we did 8 or 10 of those, slowly. 

After the Zumba class I felt like I should do just a bit more so I hopped on the treadmill and ran a mile.  Then I got on the elliptical for 10 minutes before going to stretch.  The amount of exercise felt perfect.

I was supposed to take the leftover Easter chocolate to work yesterday and I forgot.  They started calling my name after I put the kids to bed.  I resisted them for a while and then I didn't.  I ate 3 chocolate Easter eggs, and I tracked them too (they were 3 points each, so 9 total).  Unfortunately they sent me over my points for the day and I didn't have enough weekly points left to cover them.  So I'm 4 over on my points.  I put the rest from that package down the disposal.  The worse thing was I felt like a bit of a loser for giving in.  But I got over that quickly.  Other than those eggs I'd eaten well all day, including a ton of broccoli, and I exercised.  With all that good I wasn't going to let a bit of bad define my whole day.

Apparently I didn't learn a thing though because this is where the ugly happens. Today, Wednesday, is my day home with the kids.  There was another box of chocolate eggs that I hadn't touched.  Until this afternoon.  The kids were down for their naps and I again started thinking about chocolate.  Next thing you know I'm eating those darned eggs.  I feel like an idiot even writing about this.  In my own defense, they are really, really good.  And there's a reason I have a blog about trying to reach a normal BMI.  Anyway, this time was a bit better in that I only ate two of them and put the rest down the disposal.  Two happens to be a serving size, which for some odd reason made me feel better about the whole thing.  I tracked them (6 points) and felt sort of ok about the whole ordeal.

I don't normally go to the gym on Wednesdays and I hadn't thought too much about dinner when Miguel came walking in the door a couple hours earlier than normal.  And then he says, "you've been working hard lately, why don't you take the rest of the day off [from parenting] and do whatever you want."  Perfect!  So I changed to go to the gym.  I knew exercise would balance out those two chocolate eggs and that made me feel a lot better about having indulged.

I got to the gym and, despite my sore legs, did 25 minutes on the upright bike.  Instead of my normal RPMs though I just did what felt comfortably challenging.  I like to be able to walk and would like to not be crippled tomorrow.  Plus I had legs/shoulders/core for weight training after the bike.  I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to do all my weight training.  Squats and leg extensions were the hardest but I got through them.  I did some serious stretching afterward and boy was I stiff!  I think it's going to be a few days before my body gets back to normal.

After the gym I was feeling super-motivated and decided I'd have a salad for dinner to balance out the chocolate calories and maybe even stay under my points for the day.  So I came home and made a salad with lots of veggies and a half of an avocado.  That put me at 28 points for the day.  Two over my allotted 26 but my activity points covered those 2 extra so I was fine.  I went from feeling sort-of okay about my food intake today to feeling like I did a good balancing act.  I certainly don't see this as behavior to aspire to, but anytime I can fix a mistake through making better decisions later, especially ones that lift my mood, confidence, self esteem and motivation all at the same time - well, it all comes back to good.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Crossfit Craze

Oh no!  Before I do anything else I realized I forgot to post the big finish picture of Miguel and I crossing the finish line.  Bad narcissist blogger.  Here it is :)

I love it.  I ordered it but they mail you a hard copy so I won't get it for a couple weeks probably.   Ok, now on to my CrossFit experience.

I took the day off yesterday and I checked out GrouponNow to see if I could find a good massage deal.  I did find that, but I also saw a CrossFit (CF) class for noon so I decided to make that my workout and then get the massage.  I don't know about your area but it seems like CrossFit is popping up everywhere around here.  There are even two CrossFit facilities in my little town.  Anyway, I was looking forward to checking it out because I like doing body weight exercises (pushups, situps, etc) and also figured it would be fun to test myself with a new challenge.  And it was a challenge alright.

Before we got started I told Michael, "coach" (that's what they call the instructor in CF) that this was my first CF class ever.  When we were about to start he asked me how many people had introduced themselves to me.  I could only remember one.  So he made everyone do 10 burpees for not being "welcoming".  Everyone did them and then introduced themselves.  That was kind of cool.  I mean, not the burpees part but making a point of being welcoming, especially in an intimidating environment.

Anyway, I think the first thing we did to warmup was 10 pushups.  I wasn't 100% sure I could do 10 but I thought there was a good chance since I've been doing 3 sets of 6 real ones (followed by 2 alternates on the smith machine).  I dropped and did them!  Yay!  Mike said something about liking it when people show up and can do pushups.  Good thing I've been working on them.  After the pushups we did bar dips (I did an easier alternate version), pullups (I used a band for assistance, much cooler than the machine I use!) and situps on the contraption in the picture below.  I didn't go all the way back the way this woman is, I just went until my back was parallel with the floor.  I don't know if I could have done one like this or not (they touch the floor and then come back up!) but next time I could try.

Mike was showing me how to do squats and as I was doing them he asked, "So, what's your deal?  What's your sport?" or something like that.  I told him I like to do triathlons and he said, "No, I mean, like what did you play in high school."  I explained that I was fat for almost all of my youth and that I played no sport in high school (I forgot about my stint on the tennis team).  He then goes on to say something about my body being strong and that it seemed like I'd had a background in sports.  I can't recall exactly what he said because I got a little giddy at the sound of it all.  Yes, I'm that big of a dork.  And, I know, you're probably tired of me being surprised by this kind of thing.  But I had a fat, out of shape body for decades.  Having someone say something that suggests otherwise still surprises me.

Ok, on to the rest of the session.  After the warmup - that I forgot to mention also included some 200m runs outside - we get down to the "rounds".  I snapped a picture to remember what we did.  First up, 15 toe to bar.  Ha!  I couldn't do ONE.  You hang on a bar and then swing your legs up to touch the bar.  I was pleased when I was able to swing my legs up so my knees came into my chest.  I'd do 3 - 4 instead of 15 before my hands were burning from hanging.  Then 10 Sumo deadlift high pulls.  I think I had a 15 pound bar and two 10 pound weights, but I'm not sure.  Mike gave me a lot of instruction, which was super helpful since I'd never done these before.  Anyway, most times I was able to do all 10 but had to take breaks to get through them.  The "double unders" are jumping rope but you swing the rope twice for each jump.  I couldn't do those so I had to do 90 regular jumps, "single unders".  Whew!  I was sweating like crazy.  Then back to the hanging toe touches.

After, I think it was three rounds my shoulder didn't like the hanging things anymore so I asked for a substitute.  Mike had me do 10 situps instead.  Much better.  I have no idea if I did 5 rounds or not.  In fact, I started losing where I was in the round.  My ability to think seems to go out the window when I'm getting my butt kicked.  So when people started wrapping up, I did too.

I realized he was writing the time taken to finish and how much weight you lifted up on the board.  Makes you push yourself I suppose. The class was roughly an hour and definitely felt like a serious workout.  When it was over people put their stuff away and straggled out.  I started to do the same when I realized I hadn't stretched at all.  In fact, the whole concept of a cool down and stretching doesn't seem to exist here.  So I stretched on my own before heading out.

I really, really like this CrossFit thing.  A couple of caveats though.  I can't imagine doing this straight off the couch.  I'm glad I have a base level of fitness and some weight training skills.  I think CrossFit would have been torture when I was just starting to exercise, and not a good kind of torture.  You have to know yourself, know your body, and know your limits for this kind of workout.  Doing a little reading online, it seems CF attracts a lot of the "go until you puke" people.  It's important that you have the confidence to stop before hurting yourself, to ask for a substitution if needed, and work with a coach who knows what s/he's doing.  I had told Mike about my sensitive shoulders and he checked in with me several times about how they were feeling.  If you are new to CF and you are not getting this kind of personal attention I'd say find another gym. 

All that said, the workout is exciting and intense.  The fast pace is not likely to leave you bored.  You have to be the type of person to enjoy a challenge, to enjoy a little, or maybe even more than a little, pain.  And I think I've become that person.  I'd love to incorporate this into my routine.  We'll just have to see if there's a way.

My body is feeling a little stiff today, especially my back and shoulders.  I don't think weight training is in order.  My plan is to do only cardio and to give my muscles a break.  Instead of my normal 25 minutes of cardio I think, maybe, I'll do more like 45 minutes.  25 on the bike, 10 on the elliptical and then 10 on the treadmill - or something like that.  Oh, and I want to get a jump rope.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Official Time and Pictures!

Oh my dear, Easter was probably a 10,000 calorie day.  I had my normal breakfast and coffee but come lunch - it was a feast!  We had ham and croissants, roasted veggies, Caprese salad, twice baked potatoes...and chocolate mousse with whipped cream.  The mousse was incredible!  I ate enough food at lunch to pretty much keep me full for the rest of the day.  Oh, and I had a few glasses of wine too, and chocolate of course.  The kids, the weather - it was a beautiful day and I don't regret a moment of it.  I'd love to share a family picture.

I couldn't be more grateful. 

The official time was finally posted.  1:09:56.3, and I'm super happy with that.  39 out of 53 for my age group, 148 out of 207 among the women and 232 out of 303 overall.  Not that any of that matters much, I'm only racing myself.

The official pictures were also posted.  I haven't decided which two I'm going to buy (besides the big finish of course) but here are the proofs along with a couple others:

After the 10k and then Easter I knew I would be beat so I took today off.  And I ended up having an interesting day.  I booked a Crossfit class on Groupon Now and booked a massage for after that.  I'll have to write about that tomorrow. 

Before I close, just a bit about food today.  I've been very careful with my eating.  I'd like to get back in the 167 range by Friday and to pull that off I need to watch every bite.  So today I stayed within my daily Points and did not use any of the APs I earned from Crossfit.  I'm thinking of it as a sort-of cleanse from all the "bad" food I ate over the weekend.  There was one chocolate mousse left when I got up this morning so I promptly put it down the garbage disposal.  It wasn't easy because I know how good it was but it had to be done.  And I gave some of the Easter candy away.  The rest will go tomorrow.  I'm hungry now though so I'm going to have tea and go to bed before my willpower starts breaking down.  Night all!