Saturday, February 23, 2013

Brotherly Love

This will be a quick post, or at least my version of a quick post. Please to forgive any sloppy writing. My brother is in town visiting for the weekend and he's on his way over soon so I need to be snappy. The last few days have been busy. On Thursday I went to the gym after work. I had legs/shoulders/core for strength training followed by a spin class. I was careful to take it easy in spin so I didn't hurt my legs again and end up hobbling around all week. I think I did a good job. There were a few times when they were sprinting and I didn't, or they turned up the resistance and I didn't. In a group setting like that it's hard not to go along with the energy of the group but I had a fresh memory of what fried legs feel like so that was plenty of motivation to take it easy.

Friday I worked a half-day because of my brother Robert's visit. I haven't seen him in several years and even then it was a brief visit. This time he's staying for the weekend and my heart was filled with anticipation and excitement. The course of our childhood is a bit complex so he and I missed out on a lot but some of my fondest memories are of he and I playing together as kids. So a funny thing - he's a health and fitness nut! Go figure. He goes to the gym five times a week and eats clean. I mean clean.  Makes me look like an artificial, preservative, processed food junkie compared to him.

Anyway, he arrived around 1:30 and one of the things he wanted to do was go to the gym together.  But first we had to get lunch.  Lucky for me he likes Chipotle so that's where we went for lunch.  I had a salad bowl with black beans, veggies, chicken, salsa, corn and guacamole.  I skip the dressing.

Chipotle Salad Bowl
It was good, as always.  Robert couldn't believe how much I've changed since he saw me in 2009.  He must have told me 10 times, "you're SO tiny!".  After lunch he wanted to go to Vitamin World to pick up some of his protein shake stuff.  He shook his head that I'm not drinking protein shakes before or after my workouts, "You're not maximizing your workout."  Ha!  I loved listening to him.  These are the powders he got.

Raw Meal
One is a protein shake and the other is a meal replacement.  More on this in a bit.

So after that and a quick visit to the house, we hit the gym.  My poster is still up so I got to show that off before heading in to work our muscles.  He doesn't usually do much (or any) cardio because he's so focused on muscle gain.  But he agreed to run a quick mile with me on the treadmill.  I have a chest cough (darnit!) so I was happy to keep my run on the shorter side.  I ran at 6.4mph with one 2-minute 7.4 interval.  Then we went to the weights.

He's crazy strong.  I mean crazy strong.  He lifted 120 pound dumbbells (in each hand!) for chest press.  Me, I did 30 pound dumbbells, which I needed him to spot.  But he really inspired me to start lifting heavier weights.  And we did a thing where I was on the decline bench and he  tossed me the medicine ball with each decline.  He couldn't believe I could do that with a 10lb medicine ball.  He was very encouraging and I enjoyed the challenge of working out with him.

We wrapped up with some stretching, despite him saying, "I don't believe in stretching."  I got to tell him, "you're not maximizing your workout."  Hee hee.  I told him he's neglecting flexibility and balance as part of his overall fitness and suggested he do some of his standing exercises on the bosu, like bicep curls.  I don't know that I sold him on that though.  But he did stretch with me and then we headed to the grocery store.  He had some of his super-healthy meals he wanted to make for us. 

We eventually made it home but missed dinner with the kids.  He started by making us some shakes.  He used one scoop of each powder and added a small activia yogurt, bananas, strawberries, oats and a mix of almond milk and water.  I was starving and the shake was super good.  I could have had the whole pitcher myself.  But I kept it to a couple glasses while he got to cooking our dinner - an egg white scramble with deli turkey breast and veggies (cabbage, spinach, tomatoes, spinach).  He doesn't ever add salt to his food, instead he uses Mrs Dash for flavor.  I made sauteed zucchini to go along with that.  Talk about a healthy meal!

Egg white scramble

Sauteed zucchini
After dinner we got to spend some time playing with the kids and hanging out.

Not sure what's on the agenda for today, maybe a hike, maybe some sightseeing.  We're being flexible.  He's going to make us shakes for breakfast, I'll have to take some pics of that for my next post. 

I had a plan to run 5 miles tomorrow (Sunday), a leisurely training run for the Emerald 12k coming up next month.  If I run 5 miles tomorrow and add a mile each Sunday, I'll be ready for the 8 miles.  I'm sure I'll be ready for the 8 miles either way but some training would be nice even with taking a leisurely approach to this race.  Anyway, the point is that my cough is making me hesitant about running tomorrow.  We'll have to see how things develop.  Ugh, I am not getting sick.  Not. getting. sick.

Ok, gotta run.  Hope you're having a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Letting Go to Hang On

I was in a good mood today.  It's funny how sometimes you need to let go in order to hang on.  I'm really working on being gentle with myself around the eating, and recognizing that it's not all a lack of willpower (read: weak Michelle) that's going on here.  Maintenance sure has its own learning process.  I can see how, if I'd just dropped out of WW and never had this blog, I would eventually regain the weight.  It's so easy to get complacent, to slowly move into a place of ignorant satisfaction.  Of course that's not the only way someone can end up re-gaining lost weight, but I suspect it's the most common.

My good mood is due in part to my better food choices these past couple of days.  Things haven't been what I'd call ideal, but they are a big improvement over what I was doing.  Tonight at dinner I wanted a second piece of french bread.  I was already full, I'd made a white bean and chicken stew in the slow cooker and it was very filling (and healthy!).  So I talked myself through the bread urge and didn't eat it.  Each little good choice adds up.  My confidence is coming back, and most importantly, I feel so much better eating this way.

Yesterday morning I got on the scale and it was up to 140.6, or something like that.  The gain was good, it gave me some real feedback as to what I'd been doing.  And I didn't like it, which is motivating.  So I'm doing something about it.  I wish it was easy again, but making the best choices for oneself does not always mean making the easy choice.  Boy do I know that one.  Reminds me of that phrase, "Don't give up what you want most for what you want now."

So on to a little exercise review.  Yesterday (Tuesday) I went to the gym and ran for 3 miles.  I increased my speed to 6.4mph with 7.4mph intervals.  Normally I do 5 intervals at 2 minutes each during my three mile run - at minutes 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25.  But I'm trying to ease up a bit on my body this week so I only did 3 intervals - at minutes 5, 15 and 25.  I'll do these three intervals for a maybe a couple weeks and then add in the rest eventually.

After the run I did back/biceps/core.  I felt good as I went through my routine.  The gym really is my happy place.  I went home to make dinner, teriyaki chicken with rice and veggies. I've been a bit obsessed with zucchini lately.  I cut it up in 1/2 inch chunks, heat olive oil on high heat and then add the zucchini with some diced garlic and onion and salt/pepper.  I stir it around initially but then leave it so the sides get a nice searing.  It cooks up quick and is so tasty!  Quick, healthy and tasty - what more could you ask?

So today (Wednesday) was my day home with the kids.  I managed to get away for a few hours for a little side project I'm doing.  I'm writing profiles of local fitness-oriented businesses for my local online newspaper.  The upside for me is that I get to try out a variety of businesses and then share my experience.  I'm interspersing the business profiles with interviews of fit people, focusing on how they got/stay fit, how they deal with challenges, etc.  Hopefully the stories will motivate people to get in shape or try something new or otherwise have some positive impact.  It's not a paid gig, which is nice because if it were I'd feel all this pressure, which I don't need.

I interviewed the manager of The Dailey Method as my first business profile.  I'll post the link on my FB page once the article is up.  Originally I thought I'd cross-post them here too and may still do that.  I took pictures to go along with the article, which also scratches my shutterbug itch.  That one posted above with the Don't Give Up phrase was one of the pictures.  Obviously I didn't take the ones of myself but I'll include a couple of those too.  Is it strange that I'm the only one smiling? 

Seems I should be rolled back a bit farther?

The bottom picture is evidence of why I need a tummy tuck.  I don't think anyone would question me if they look at that picture.  Those rolls won't go away any other way.  Ugh.  Wanting a tummy tuck is better than looking at that picture and thinking I need to lose weight, right?  And my arms...nope, I won't say anything.  Nada.  Zip. 

After The Dailey Method I ran some errands and ended up at a shoe store.  I found some New Balance Minimus shoes on clearance.  I don't intend to run in them, they are zero drop with almost no cushioning and I'm not ready for that yet, but I'm planning to walk around in them to build up strength in my feet and get used to the feeling.  Plus, they're really cute.  I should take a picture while wearing them to give you a better idea.  They are a tiny step above slippers.

After the errands/shopping I came home and worked in the yard for a while.  The weed situation is now completely under control in the back yard but I still need to finish up the front yard.  We're getting ready for spring as well as Marek's birthday party in March.

Speaking of March, it's going to start off crazy.  Miguel is going out of the country for a week and it's got to be one of the busiest weeks I'll have all year.  The timing is horrible but he had this opportunity to go with a friend and we had no choice on the timing.  I've got several mothers club events plus some volunteering.  Oh, and Marek's 4th birthday party the day after Miguel gets home, meaning I'll be doing all the prep work for the party.  Not entirely, my mom has agreed to play co-parent during much of the week so I don't lose my marbles and end up sobbing in a corner during the candle blowing ceremony.  BTW, can you believe Marek is turning four?  I can't.  Good lord I've had this blog for a long time.  He wasn't even a twinkle in my eye when I started.

Which reminds me, my WW anniversary, 2/15, just passed.  I started this journey 6 years ago.  My blog will be 6 years old in about a month because I started blogging about 1.5 months after I started WW.  Smartest move ever.  Not sure I'd even be here if it weren't for all the introspection that the writing helps pull out and refine.  Maybe I should celebrate with a cake?  Mmmm, cake.  On that happy note, I'm wrapping up for the night.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Starting Here

I need to get real about this eating thing.  Maybe you're getting tired of reading about it but it's still happening, I'm still making choices I'm not happy with on a daily basis.  And I fear this is how people relapse, they do what I'm doing and for whatever reason, it just keeps going and going.  I can't won't let that happen.  And part of how I won't let that happen is to write about it, and keep writing about it as long as needed.

I happened upon a blog post by Suzi Storm, a WW success story.  She lost over 100 pounds and was featured in a WW ad campaign.  The thing is, over the last year, she regained the weight.  She was in hiding for a while but recently came out.  Reading her posts about how she felt while seeing the scale go up, her repeated efforts to "get back on track", her feelings about her body, how other people felt about her body, all the judgments, resentment, stuffed emotions, etc...well, it all sounds very familiar to me.  At the end of her post, she issues an apology. 

David Kirchhoff, only the CEO of Weight Watchers, wrote a response post to hers, Apologies NEVER necessary 

His post had some good stuff in it.  But this paragraph got my attention. 
Every single time I have ever fallen off course and suffered a bad weigh in, it was a literal punch in the gut followed by a tirade of self-loathing and regret.  As I reflect upon every one of those moments, I can say categorically that the intensity of the emotional response was completely outsized to the reality of the situation.  I suffer from this false belief that being in control means never losing control.
That's giving me something to think about.  I've worked so hard to eliminate feelings of guilt/self-loathing/regret in association with my food choices.  I've learned negative feelings are unhelpful.  Unhelpful is an understatement, they are downright toxic and only serve to increase the chances of more unhealthy food choices.  If you beat yourself up when you're down, how do you expect to fair in the rest of the fight?

So clearly I need to want to stop beating myself up.  I'm always telling others to be gentle with themselves and need to do the same.  But at the same time, I want to stop with the excuses.  I won't go into all the psychological machinations but suffice to say, I think I've been, at least some of the time, using food as a weapon.  But the only person harmed by that weapon is me.  Talk about irrational.  Irrational or not, I'm ok.  I am ok.  I am ok at this weight, I am ok at any weight.  I am worthy of all I have earned.  This is me, it is really me.  And I can maintain it.  I want to, I have all the tools and all the motivation.  I have the heart and the will.  And come what may in life, I will continue to be ok. 

Do I sound convincing?  I sure hope so.  We know the only person that needs to be convinced is me.  So I did a bit more reading of David's blog, found more stuff I like (I'm paraphrasing his post here and all the emphasis are mine).
Once [I "got" the program], I started to feel like a locomotive.  Rather than inertia working against me, momentum was starting to work for me.  Success does breed success.  Over the years of being on maintenance, I’ve slowly come to realize that I am far from invincible and that I will always have be pretty careful.  Yet, I have also come to realize that I know how to do this.  I know how to get my life back on track when it gets off track.  This comes what we learn about ourselves when we experience the aforementioned locomotive effect.  So here is the most fundamental truth I know of when it comes to successful weight loss and maintenance:  the absolutely most important thing to do is to keep on doing.  It’s really so simple, but also so very powerful.  The only decision you have to make is the decision not to quit.
I like it.  Mainly because I started this journey making only that one decision, to not quit.  I guess David would say that's the foundation of my success, and I'd have to agree with him.  Not quitting is huge, it means never giving up, no matter how things go.

Alright, let's get out of my head and on to today, which was pretty low key.  We spent the morning at home, lounging and watching a movie.  It was nice to have some downtime.  Then we took the kids on some errands before my mom came over for a visit.  I got to the gym in the late afternoon and Mark was there so we finally took a picture together with my poster.

Love this guy, thank you Mark!
Can't you tell what an incredible guy he is just by looking at that smile?  He's talked me through some rough moments, always with thoughtful, supportive and encouraging things to say.  Thank you Mark for helping me to open my eyes and start seeing myself for who I am today.  What a gift.

After the picture (and btw, I'm surprised by how small I am, when did I get so skinny?) I started into my workout routine with a ride on the upright bike.  My legs are still sore (really?  It's been 4 days since I overdid it, sheesh!).  I did level 8 but instead of my normal RPMs I only did what felt comfortable.  I might have pushed it a bit past comfortable a couple of times but nothing major. I really want my legs to stop being sore.  I mean really.  That was followed by chest/tricep/core.  I'm now doing the chest press on a bench with a bar (instead of dumbbells).  The empty bar weighs 45 pounds so I did three sets at (weight/reps) 45/10, 50/8, 55/6.  Nothing like a bench press to make you feel strong.  We'll see how I feel tomorrow but I think I'll up the reps to 12/10/8 next time.  I love lifting weights. 

After the gym I took the kids to a friend's house for dinner (thank you Catherine!).  It was great to catch up with her and eat a meal I didn't prepare, especially a yummy healthy meal.  I brought cookies to share and had a bit more than I would have liked, but that's ok.  The kids started to unwind so it was time for me to head home.  On the way I considered stopping at a convenience store for some ice cream.  Miguel had gone to the gym so I knew the house would be all mine once the kids were in bed.  What a nice time for ice cream, right?

Wrong.  I reminded myself that I have to stop with all these excuses, with all the permission I'm giving myself to eat junk (Evelyn Tribole might not approve of that sentence! more on her in an upcoming post).  I'm giving myself a big pat on the back for that good decision.  I have to start somewhere and where I'm at right now seems about as good a place as any.  In fact, it's a perfect spot because I'm still at goal, I still fit in all my clothes, I'm still active and healthy and all of it.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

No Double Dipping

Oh man, I'm dragging my feet this afternoon.  I've had a full weekend so far and it's not over yet.  On Saturday I started the day with an 8am WW meeting.  I had a chance to talk with Claudette about my eating and of course she asked why.  During the meeting I thought about the why and wrote down a few of my sabotaging thoughts, here's what I wrote.
Why am I engaging in old behaviors?

"I'm below goal so I can eat this."  Response:  My goal weight is not an excuse (or a reason) to eat in a way that is not healthy.  My body (and mind) do not feel good eating this way.  I got to goal by eating a healthy, balanced diet, and that's the same way I will maintain goal.

"I want it."  Sometimes I do, but sometimes I don't, sometimes I'm eating it because it's there.  And my healthy lifestyle has never been "eat anything you want." Also important - there are things I want more.  I want to enjoy my food, I want to feel good about my choices.  Eating healthy boosts my confidence, and is in line my goals.  My goals.

"I like to indulge."  And I can, whenever I want.  But I want it to be an indulgence I truly want and enjoy.  This recent junk food eating has not been an indulgence that I truly enjoy.  I also won't enjoy my planned indulgences as much if I've wasted calories on crap earlier.

I think the writing, and the meeting, were about the best thing I could have done for myself.

I came home and got ready to take the kids to play mini-golf, a first for them.  Of course they loved it, my son's only asked about 15 times when we're going again, "Hey, mom, I got an idea, let's put on our shoes and go play mini-golf."

The weather was perfect so we sat outside afterward for a picnic lunch.  That was followed by ice cream sandwiches all around.  When I got home I made myself an almond milk latte, which was very tasty, so I'd last the night.... 

Later that night I got to help celebrate a friend's birthday at a local restaurant/live music venue.  I ate dinner at home and then left to join the party.  We all hung out at the bar for a while and I had a couple cocktails (vodka soda with lemon).  My stomach wasn't thrilled about the alcohol so I had a few slices of bread to settle things.  And a few bites of birthday cake.  Erin and I spent some time talking all things running and by the end of the conversation I think I enlisted her for Tri for Fun in June. It would be her first fun! 

We moved into the lounge to listen to Lost Dog Found, "Taking their love of swing music, 50's-60's era R&B, and high-energy rock and roll, Lost Dog Found has been on the forefront of the swing revival around the San Francisco Bay Area."  The music was infectious and we were all up dancing before too long.  I drank a lot of water to balance the alcohol.

Happy Birthday Sara!!
I love dancing.  Love it!  And reason #571 I like being in shape: I can dance all night long if I want!  In this case all night turned out to be until around midnight when my carriage morphed into a pumpkin.  I might have stopped for a taco and a burrito on my way home.  I hit the sack around 1am.

So what was on tap for today (Sunday)?  My legs are still sore (though slowly recovering) - If a girl can't bike or run, what can she do?  Swim!  I was lucky that Neil from TriMore Fitness had a swim workout on the schedule for 9am this morning.  That was another reason for my leaving the party a bit on the early side last night.  I posted on FB asking if anyone wanted to join me and Nina answered my call to action.  You might remember her from the Marin Turkey Trot in November.  She's doing her first triathlon, Tri for Fun, in June!

We brought our bikes with the plan to do a slow, leisurely ride after the swim.  We were in the pool for just over an hour and all I can say is, I really need more swim coaching/practice.  Swimming frustrates the hell out of me, I know I'm wasting a ton of energy due to poor form.  Neil's doing a small-group swim training series sometime this year, with video and everything.  I really need to get in on that.  Oh, I also found out about his Santa Cruz training program, it's a 10-week program that includes a trip to Santa Cruz for training on the actual course as well as a sprint event.  I sure hope that works for my schedule, sounds like fun!

So after the swim we changed and headed out on our bikes.  I found a Mojo bar in my bento box for a little energy support.  Nina has a brand new bike and is learning how to use the gears and all the other basics.  We rode a few miles to a large parking lot and then around in circles for a while so she could practice.  On the way back I was tempted by a garage sale sign so we stopped to check that out.  We eventually made our way back to our cars.  Congratulations Nina on your first ever brick workout, you're on your way!!

Go Nina!!
My legs were fine on the ride but I tell ya, they're still pretty sore overall.  I think they might need a couple days of complete rest.  Shudder! 

I came home to some errand running and ended up having a weird lunch of cashews, a banana, a small granola bar, a cheese stick - you get the idea, a grazing type lunch.  And a bit later I had Fage with canned peaches for a snack.  I'm tempted to eat more given my morning exercise but that was the same justification I used for the taco/burrito encounter last night.  Can't use that as a reason to eat more both before and after a workout, that would be some kind of double dipping I think.

So I'm tired, my body is a bit sore, but I'm feeling good about my choices today.  And tomorrow is a holiday.  Not sure what we'll do but I know it won't be going to work!  Maybe I can sleep in even.  I hope you're having a great 3-day weekend too!

Update:  I had a cookie encounter.  It wasn't good.  I will not speak of this again.  Going to bed.  Tomorrow is a fresh start.