Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Lost Points

It was a hot day on Monday and by the time I got around to my run in the late afternoon the sun was in full force.  I still decided to run outside because I was itching to get my new shoes outside.  I started out with a plan to run for 25 minutes, my normal cardio time.  I began running and everything felt wonky - my calves felt twitchy and I felt like I was breathing harder than normal.  Didn't help that the wind was blowing in my face.  So I told myself to ignore the first-mile drudgery and just keep running, which I did of course.  Things started to turn around a bit, and while they never got good, it was good enough to stretch my run out to 3 miles.  My calves ached for most of the run but nothing serious and they were not sore later, which was good.  At about mile two, I started to feel like I was getting into the groove of these new shoes.  I had to tweak the way I land to avoid an unwelcome "thud" when my foot hit the ground, and was making softer landings for the last part of the run (I think - this could all be in my head after all).

I thought the run was MUCH slower than my previous normal but in the end I finished in 34 minutes - only 1 minute slower than normal.  Not bad considering the new shoes and the friggin' wind.  Of course seeing I was only 1 minute over I thought, "darnit, could have pushed myself a bit more."  Probably good that I didn't though, I don't want my calves to cramp up.

After the run I did back/biceps/core.  My back had been hurting all day, a leftover treat from all the gardening I did on Sunday.  But as my workout went on it actually started to feel better.  There's not much that a good workout can't cure.  After strength training I did some good stretching, which I needed.  My hamstrings were really tight again.

I earned 8 points (1 more than usual due to longer run) and ate 5 of them, so I regained 3 lost points, leaving me at -6.   On Tuesday I went to the gym after work and did the upright bike for 25 minutes followed by legs/shoulders/core.  My legs felt pretty good, I think the adjustment to the new shoes is nearly complete.  The last test will be a long run.  I don't have any plans to do one soon though.  I'd packed a low-point lunch and ate well enough all day to bank all 7 APs.  Whew, back in the black! 

Wednesday was a real test.  I was PMSing and struggled with an urge to eat a giant bowl of cereal.  But I talked myself through it.  "Just because this is what I did in the past doesn't mean I have to do it now."  "I can be in control."  I said these things to myself, doubled down on the fruit and veggies for snacks and managed to get through the day without going over my daily points.  I can't remember the last time I survived PMS without a single "bad" food decision.  Yay me!  Big pat on the back for that one and lots of affirmations of a job well done.  I think resisting the craving felt better than the cereal.

I started today with one AP leftover from Tuesday.  I went to the gym after work and did a 25 minute run on the treadmill, maintaining a 10:50 mile, which makes me perfectly content.  Then I did chest/triceps/core for strength training.  That added 7 APs to my day for a total of 8 left on the final day of my WW week.  Good thing because I was hungry!  I had black beans, latin cream (like a salty sour cream), tortillas, pico de gallo, and avocado for dinner.  Later I had a 1/2 cup of vanilla yogurt.  It was all very satisfying and I am going to bed tired and with a full belly.

Since I am in the midst of my menstrual cycle I'm not expecting a loss tomorrow.  If I can manage to stay the same weight as last week I'd see that as a success given that I usually gain during my cycle.  Last month I was up two pounds the week of my period.  Staying the same weight would almost be the same as a loss.  I'll just have to see what the scale holds for me in the morning.  No matter what, I won't let it get me down because nothing could take away the success I've had this week.

End of the week Points tally.  Notice the "0" under weekly remaining - no longer a negative!
Oh!  Before I forget I need to go register for the Tri for Fun in June.  It's almost around the corner!  I have big plans for this tri.  I'm hoping to beat my original time when I did it in 2009 - 1 hour 35 minutes.  With all my new running skills I just might be able to do it!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Weight Watchers Activity Points: Weekly vs Daily

A quick explanation for those who are not familiar with Weight Watchers (WW).  The whole thing is based on points, which I'm sure you already know.  Similar to counting calories.  But you can also "earn" points through activity, called Activity Points (AP).  Once you've earned an AP you have the option of "eating" that point.  Lots of different opinions out there about whether or not you should eat APs but most of the time, I eat mine.

There are two ways to track your APs throughout the week.  You can either track them by day or by week.  If you track them by day, you only have them available for eating the day you earned them.  If you don't eat 'em, they disappear.  However, if you track them by week, any remaining (non-eaten) APs roll over to the next day - until your WW week starts over, then they disappear (mine starts over on Fridays).

I used to track by day and sometimes I'd leave some on the table.  If I went to the gym and earned 7 APs I might eat 5 of those and leave 2, for example.  The next day those 2 would be gone.  But after this past weekend I was in the red (and still am) on my points for the week.  So I decided to change to tracking them weekly so I can catch-up on my points and get back in the black before Friday.  At first this idea seemed like cheating but then I went on the WW message boards and asked what others do (and if they change back and forth from daily to weekly).  Here are the responses I got (btw, the numbers under the screen names are the writer's starting weight/current weight/goal weight - as you can see, some are under their original goal weight):

213.6 / 156 / 165
I always do mine weekly. I don't intentionally play catch-up but I find that weekly does more accurately reflect my weight losses long term. then again I am extremely active all the time any way.
 . . . . . . . . . .

270 / 134.2 / 135
I set it to use them the day I earn them and haven't changed it. I kind of view it as scale games to move it around but it's really up to you.
 . . . . . . . . . .

190.6 / 152.4 / 155
I have it set for weekly...I get a fair amount now (over 50). I've considered doing daily but I think that will lead to me wanting to use them...I feel less pressure to use them and it keeps me in the mentality that eating and exercising is collective and the goal is an overall deficit..even if every single day you're not at a deficit. If that makes any sense.
 . . . . . . . . . .

244.8 / 207.4 / 155
I keep my APs weekly. Typically earn over 50 in a week - in my worst week I only ate a little less than half. My goal is to use DPs only. Have never eaten any WPs in 281 CDOP. I exercise at least 60 minutes/ day, every day. I like weekly APs just to see how many I have and as a security blanket in case I ever got REALLY hungry. Hasn't happened yet.
 . . . . . . . . . .

111 / 48.8 / 62.2
I always leave mine weekly. I do sometimes have to play catch-up -- I'm 10 WPs in the hole right now, but I expect to earn another 19 APs before weigh-in on Thursday -- and I'm fine with that as long as I keep losing.  Honestly, I don't really bother changing my settings a lot. I just leave them as is and do what I'm going to do.
 . . . . . . . . . .

247.4 / 162.4 / 169
What Podkey and Wendy said.  I'm crazy active, and sometimes there is just no way that I'm eating those points all in the day they get earned, but I might crash and burn later if they aren't there. This happened with my marathon last fall. I think I only at about 55 points that day because I was just too tired to bother, yet I'd earned 46 AP.  Sunday and Monday, I ate more than usual by some. Then Tuesday hit. Went. off. the. freaking. rails. 92 point day. Which I clearly needed. I just didn't need it the day I earned all the points, though I did earn a lot that day as well, as I'd gone hiking.  My more normal activity patterns are a mini-version of that. The heavier exercise days aren't usually the ones where I'm starving. That happens a day or two later.
Lots of good advice/information there.  I bolded some of the stuff that influenced my decision to change to weekly and probably leave it that way for good.  So, as it stands now I am -9, which I can make up by not eating all my APs over two gym days.  That seems easy enough.  I usually earn 7 per gym visit.  I have three more gym visits planned - today, tomorrow and Thursday - before my week starts over on Friday.  I am looking forward to getting this week, most especially this past Friday, behind me.

A quick word on my last post.  Two of the four comments I got (Thanks Kristy, Nicole, Irene and Meg for the support!) mentioned the word honesty.  And that got me to thinking.  You might think that because I keep this blog and blabber on about my eating and exercise, you might think that means I have little concern for what others think.  And I guess oftentimes that's true.  But I'm still human, and I sometimes cringe when I share particularly unflattering details.  I wanted to leave the McDonalds out, and I actually thought about doing that.  But I couldn't, I knew that hiding it meant harboring the shame.   
shame/SHām/Noun.  A painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.
I am conscious of  eating the McDonalds being foolish, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it "wrong" necessarily.  It was more of an unfortunate decision.  One that I will probably make again in life.  Wrong is just too black and white.  You might find this analysis tedious and unnecessary but I am believing more and more that this is key to making permanent change.  Rooting out these underlying thoughts about my eating behavior, identifying a language and phrases that reinforce the way I want to think about eating - it's important.

I also couldn't hide my mistake because I felt to do so would make my whole blog a lie.  Maybe that's a bit dramatic but it's how I felt.  I haven't hidden the ugly stuff yet, so why start now, right?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Oye Mi Amor

Ooh wee, I've had one hell of a weekend!  I haven't posted since Thursday, and now it's Sunday evening, so that gives you an idea of how things have been going these past few days.  In an effort to not over-write about my weekend I'll make a list.  Lists are nice, keep things neat and tidy.

1)  Gym, Friday:  I planned to run 15 minutes on the treadmill and then do the upright bike for 10, just like the day before, to continue my adjustment phase with the new shoes.  But the running was feeling so good that I kept right on going for the full 25 minutes. So far the Brooks are serving me well.  I have yet to run outside so that will be the next test.  Then a long run to see how they really work for me.  Anyway, after the run I did legs/shoulders/core work.  I was especially happy to get my workout in because I knew I'd be having a drink or two at the concert.

2)  Mana Concert, Friday night:  And yes, I did.  Three drinks in all (plus a few sips of a beer).  Vodka sodas, because who wastes calories on tonic?  I had a great time, dancing my butt off through the whole concert.  We had great seats and I was with a great group of ladies.  Oh, that reminds me, I have a picture!

You might notice that I have my arms exposed.  This is something I never do in public.  Normally.  But Diana (far left) would NOT hear of my wearing the sweater I had over the dress, she said that a) I looked like I was dressed for work and b) there is nothing wrong with my arms.  I think I'm getting a bit carefree in my old age.  Plus I'd had a drink by then.  Thanks Laura, Wendy and Diana for a fun night!

On the way home I stopped at McDonalds (of all places! but it was right on my route home) and purchased (shhh, I don't really want anyone to know this so I'll whisper) a 20 piece chicken mcnugget (I only ate 14 of them, only, ha!) and small fries and a snack size reese's mcflurry.  That, coupled with the alcohol and a few bites of cheese nachos brought this post-dinner point tally to 59!!!  You bet I added an hour of dancing to my activity tracker!  Moving right along...

3)  Saturday:  Not much to report here.  Drank a lot of water, trying to flush all the crap out of my system.  Regularly scheduled day off from the gym.  Legs were quite sore from all the dancing.  Spent the day hanging with Miguel and the younglings, having fun.  Worked in the yard some in the morning.

You can see the kids were a big help.  Later in the day I made some questionable food choices (costco food court hot dog, 14 points!), especially in light of the night before. 

4)  Sunday, morning/afternoon (aka today):  After breakfast Miguel headed to his soccer game and I loaded the kids up to go plant shopping.  I got a bunch of plants at a super cool place called Annie's Annuals (Thanks Katie!).  Brought them home and got busy planting them.  Three hours later and my yard has a bunch more plants.  It's not a huge difference as the plants are tiny still, though I'm afraid I might have underestimated how big some of these plants might get when they grow up!   Oh well, that's a worry for another day I suppose.  By the time I was done my back was hurting quite a bit.  And yes, I tracked an hour of gardening and earned 6 APs.  Three hours seemed a bit much.  But I wanted to go to the gym as scheduled because, well, you know why. 

5)  Gym, Sunday (aka still today):  25 minutes on the upright bike, level 7.  The bike felt a tiiiiiny bit easier than it's been feeling lately.  After that I did chest/tricep/core.  It was late afternoon so I had to rush through my workout to get home for dinner.  Still, I got everything done and actually had an awesome workout.  Some things felt easier than they have in a while.  This is the start of Week 2.  I'm tracking in 4 week cycles now so I can make sure to plan recovery weeks on the 4th week.

Oh, and I found out a long time WW buddy (and mommy friend) joined my gym (Yay Gina!).  I'm looking forward to bumping into her there.  Gina and I met when I first started WW.  She had a baby not too much before I had Marek, but she got back on track too and has lost over 100 pounds!  So inspiring.  I'll have to see if she'll let me post her before/during pics here so you can ooh and ahh over them.

Whoa - it's now nearly 11pm and I wanted to be in bed by 10:30 so that means lights out for me.  Night all!

p.s.  McDonalds, I know.  I never eat there.  What was I thinking?!  Ok, don't answer that.  In fact, can we agree to pretend that didn't happen?