Friday, November 16, 2012

Fry it up in a Pan

Greetings from maintenance-land.  I am starting to get a sense for what a truly new phase this is going to be for me.  My weight this week is down by just over two pounds to 142.8 and, of course, I see that as the new weight to maintain.  At the present moment I still feel like I'm on the "lose weight" train.  Heck, I've been riding on it for 5+ years, if not my whole life.  Not sure how to make the shift.  Well, I do have an idea.  I think it needs to start with me feeling like I am satisfied with my current weight.  And truth be told, I'm not.  In the back of my head I want to see what I'd be like at 135.  I'm not "dieting" to get to that weight, I haven't been dieting for months now. I just eat what feels like a healthy, balanced diet and let the scale numbers fall where they may.  I also know if I got on the scale tomorrow and it said 145 the instinct to eat cleaner would kick in.

And 145 is a real possibility after last night.  I felt a tiny pang of hunger but mostly I felt the psychological urge to eat.  I had some crackers and cream cheese.  And then I had a bowl of the kids cheerios with a healthy sprinkling of sugar, and then more crackers.  This was all hours after dinner of course.  I remembered someone telling me once that these "splurges" every month or two are really not that big of a deal in the big picture (was that you Katie?) and to just live with them as part of normal life.  Since then I've felt much better about the occasional munch-fest evenings, which is nice.  This is normal life, after all.

As far as exercise, I'm cruising right along.  Tuesday I did a 3 mile run on the treadmill, alternating 3 minutes at 6.1mph with two minutes at 7.1mph.  I've decided that every two weeks I'm going to increase the speed by .1mph.  I should figure out where that will put me by the Kaiser Half Marathon in February, somewhere around 6.5/7.5 I imagine. I'd love to get my cruising speed up to 7mph at least.  After the run I did legs/shoulders/core.  My shoulders are starting to really hurt again and I know I should give them a break but that's hard for me - exercise is one of the foundations of my life now and it's very hard for me to cut back.  Though I know I'm going to pay the price and be forced to cut back if I don't give them a little healing time.

Wednesday was a day home with the kids.  We spent the day relaxing and hanging out at home, which was nice.  I made chili in the slow cooker with lean hamburger and pork, black beans and garbanzo beans.  I wanted to serve it with cornbread but that didn't happen so we just had rice instead.  It was yummy.  A good friend of mine, Tessa, asked me how I manage to work, cook, exercise, etc with two kids and working four days a week.  Two tips that came to mind are related to cooking.  One, since I started meal planning I have found my cooking stress has gone way down.  At some point during the weekend I sit down with my cookbooks and a notepad.  I make a plan for dinners for the week and make a grocery list.  I'm learning to plan 4-5 meals and that the remaining meals happen on-the-fly.  We have a couple of staple meals, for example every Thursday is Miguel's night and he makes a typical Honduran meal of beans, avocado, tortillas, etc.  Tuesdays Miguel is not home for dinner so I make pasta with frozen turkey meatballs (from Trader Joes), easy and not much clean-up.  I serve a vegetable with every meal but usually it's only Myra and I eating them.  I can't say enough about how meal planning has helped me feel less scattered.

The second thing is quick meals, ones that can be prepared in under 30 minutes.  I have two cookbooks that I use a lot, Cooking Light's Superfast Suppers and Cook's Illustrated The Best 30-Minute Recipes.  And I also keep old weekly menus to give me ideas.  I try to balance prep-heavy meals with super easy ones.  The Superfast Suppers are  very basic and sometimes rely on prepared foods I would rather not use (like pre-cooked sliced chicken breast) but the 30-minute recipes are sometimes too involved.  I also usually make at least one slow cooker recipe a week. In any case, I go for balance and variety.  Then I try to get to the grocery store so everything is on-hand.  Planning and ease of preparation, that's how I squeeze in the cooking. 

One neat thing that's come out of this is that I am making meals that I might have considered too high-calorie before (i.e. chicken alfredo) but I just have one serving for myself with a salad and veggies and that's plenty.   Something about planning and intention makes this so doable, whereas in my past life I would have scarfed down multiple servings.

That's all the life-solving help I have for you today :)  I hope it helps. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Too Much of a Good Thing

Life as an after has begun.  It's going to take some time to get accustomed to this new phase.  I admit I hopped on the scale this morning and hoped to see a smaller number.  When you've been trying to lose weight almost your entire life, the idea of trying to maintain is a bit foreign.  And I have a bit of anxiety that I will make a mistake and I will "lose" goal somehow.  I know it doesn't work that way so I think this is all part of the adjustment.  As far as the number is concerned, I'm not going to increase my eating to maintain 145, I plan to just keep eating like I eat and see what happens.  But doing that and not being invested in seeing ever-smaller numbers on the scale is going to be my challenge.  Those weekly losses are a huge reward and now that I'm not actively trying to get those I have to find another way.  I don't think I can underestimate what a shift this is going to be for me.  At the same time I need to remember that really, nothing much has changed.  I wasn't following a plan that I will now stop following because I hit my goal weight.  Just keep doing what you're doing Michelle, this isn't rocket science.

As far as my diet and exercise goes - and I hope you know when I use the word "diet" I mean food intake, not diet diet - things are going ok.  I had a major learning episode on Saturday night.  I went to a friend's house for dinner.  I was starving when I got there.  She had sliced bread (the dense yummy kind with nuts and dried fruit) and cheese to spread on it.  Also there were almonds, and olives.  I ate at least 6 slices of bread with cheese and lord knows how many almonds and olives.  And I drank a few glasses of champagne.  My friend Joan reminded me to "save a little room for dinner" but that didn't slow me down.  By the time we sat down for dinner I probably could have not eaten another bite and I would have been fine.  But I went on to eat Chicken Coq au Vin and scalloped potatoes.  And I had another glass of champagne.  I felt so full my stomach hurt.  I mean it really hurt.  I laid down on the couch to give myself some breathing room.  I'd really overdone it.  I drank a bunch of water hoping to flush my stomach or something.  But here's the worst part...I went on to eat desert! 

People.  My stomach hurt so bad that I had lie down and I still ate desert.  What was I thinking?  So after desert things went from bad to worse.  Now I was actually having these stabbing pains in my stomach and I started to feel nauseous.  I'd eaten so much I made myself sick.  I knew I was going to throw up, I had to.  I was in pain and nauseous and I knew I'd blown it.   My friends were very understanding about it, telling me that I just can't eat the way I used to and to just take care of myself.  I was feeling like an idiot, a freak, someone that gorges themselves on food to the point of being sick.  Who does that? 

But as I like to say, a mistake is worthless unless you learn from it.  And I learned a thing or two - or at least had some previously learned lessons reinforced.  First, I can't eat with wild abandon just because I'm not concerned about calorie intake.  My body has physical limitations.  Second, don't show up to a dinner party starving.  I knew I was hungry in the late afternoon and I did have a banana but that wasn't enough.  Third, listen when your friends try and give you helpful advice.  Fourth, when you already feel sick and have to lie down because you've eaten too much, DON'T EAT ANY MORE!!  Duh, right?  I will say I felt a lot better after I threw up but I don't want to go through that again.  Not my idea of a fun night.  Plus, I had to listen to a few jokes at my expense.  That's what friends are for :)

I was in bed by 11:30pm and got a good night sleep.  Sunday I woke up ready to face the world.  I really wanted to run outside since all my weekly runs have been on the treadmill.  I got the all-clear from Miguel to run to the gym and then run home.  I did a loop route and ran the 3.1 miles to the gym in 28:35 - Woot!  I did chest/triceps/core and then ran the 2.3 miles home in 23 minutes.  The run home was a challenge but I pushed on through.  I saw a friend of Miguel's on the way home and he rolled down his window, "Want a ride?"  I told him no, that I'd finish the run home, "I wasn't going to give you one anyway".  Funny!  By the time I got home I'd been exercising for 1 hour, 34 minutes.  Longer than a sprint triathlon!  I was high on endorphins, I felt on top of the world.  I had everyone give me high-fives and made the kids tell me "good job mommy".  It was great.

Late that afternoon I met a photographer friend to do a photo swap.  I took pictures of her family and she took pictures of me for a blog makeover I'm planning.  She's the real deal, a professional photographer with a great camera.  I can't wait to see the pictures!  But I had her snap a couple with my camera so I would have something to show off while I wait for the real ones.  So here's a sneak peek.

Running on the beach.  Yes, that's my life :)
How fun, right?  When I scheduled this I had no idea I would be at my goal weight.  For me, this turned out to be my official after photo shoot.  And Michelle, the photographer, made me feel so good.  She kept telling me how good I looked and to just relax.  I was worrying about the fat on my arms and the love handles and she kept squashing those concerns like little gnats.  Thanks so much Michelle!  I couldn't have asked for a better time.  I will have more pictures later and can't wait to replace that 4+ year old blog header.

Yesterday was a holiday for me.  I took the kids to the park and then grocery shopping.  I've been doing really well with the weekly menu planning.  I can't tell you how much less stressful dinnertime is now that I have a plan.  There's still stress with trying to get it on the table in under 30 minutes with two ankle biters attacking me but that's a different kind of stress.  I cooked Italian chicken and peppers in the pressure cooker, and we had rice and green beans with it. Yum!  But I didn't get to the gym.  My other Michelle friend had offered to watch the kids but Marek fell asleep (his napping is no longer routine) and it just didn't work out.  So as soon as Miguel walked in the door I walked out. 

3.2 ounces = 3+ servings.  Or one, if you're me.
I did 25 minutes on the upright bike followed by back/biceps/core.  I'm still fighting to get even three neutral grip pull-ups so who knows when I will be able to get up to four.  I had a good workout and headed back home.  Unfortunately the kids had eaten when I got there but I still got to sit down and enjoy my meal.  Instead of rice I had some leftover quinoa with my chicken.  Very healthy meal.  But a couple hours later I was still hungry and started to nibble on some dark chocolate with sea salt and almonds (aka Crack) that my friend Reina had so graciously gifted me ("eat the whole thing, your head is getting too big for your body" - yes, she said that).  In an effort to not eat the whole thing I had a small bowl of cereal.  But it didn't help.  I kept going back to the chocolate until it was gone.  And you know what?  I'm ok with that.  I'll just have to be mindful of what I eat the rest of the week to keep things in balance.  And that's something I can do.  And dammit, that was some seriously, incredibly good chocolate.  Thanks Reina, I thoroughly enjoyed that.  And please don't gift me another one of those for a year no matter how big my head gets!

That's all I got peeps. Thank you for all the congratulations, on here and on my Facebook page, about getting to goal.   I felt the love and it felt good.