Friday, May 31, 2013

She Looks Amazing!

It's Friday and I'm home with a sick kid.  Perfect time to do some blogging, right?  I'll jump back to Wednesday, my day home with the kids.  We spent the morning enjoying some fine Northern California weather.  I packed up a picnic and met some super-cool mom friends for a kid-friendly hike (Hi Whit, Joanna and Erin!!).  There were 4 of us with two kids each - plus a dog - keeping us all busy.  After the hike we staked out a spot in the grass for a picnic.  I'd made myself a chicken avocado sandwich with lettuce, tomato and mustard.  Yummy!  I'm still using the Essential Flax Seed bread from Alvarado Bakery.

Notice the serving size is *2* slices - and check out the protein and fiber!
I usually lightly toast the bread for sandwiches - it adds a nice crunch - but since this would be packed up for a picnic I left it soft.  So I had the sandwich and fruit for lunch.  There's a small organic farm stand near where we hiked and I purchased some strawberries that were amazing!  After the hike we took the kids for ice cream.

The kids all standing on chairs to scope out the ice cream flavors - so cute!
I had a large hot tea and only snuck a few bites of the kids' ice cream (and a few bites of the yummy cookie samples they had on the counter).  I was not tempted at all to have my own ice cream.  Motivation makes everything easier.  Too bad it doesn't stick around 100% all the time, but as they say, if it were easy, everybody would do it, right?

After the hike I came home and quickly changed for the gym.  You might remember I wasn't able to go on Tuesday so I was happy to get in a make-up session.  But by the time I got to the gym I was pressed for time.  I started with a 3-mile treadmill run and then flew through my chest/shoulders/core routine.  I felt a bit spazzy, quickly hopping from one exercise to the next and almost running circles around my fellow gym-goers.  I felt compelled to tell the woman near me that I was running late and that I'm normally not quite so spastic.  The interesting thing was that I burned more calories than I usually do, and in less time.  Goes to show that intensity trumps time when it comes to burning calories.

After the gym I changed and went to my private practice.  I knew I'd be starving before too long so I bought a snack-bar at the gym and ate half of that, along with the rest of my tea, on the way to the office.  Then home to make dinner.  Miguel and I had grilled steaks and rice, the kids had some homemade pizzas I whipped up.  No veggies in site.  Then I hit the grocery store for some much needed food - including some veggies.  Whew, that was a long day!

Yesterday was a bit more normal.  The highlight was lunch with some super-cool fitness friends - Mira and Cori (Hi ladies!!).  They are both on this wonderful journey of health, fitness, and self-discovery.  Being women of a certain age, and mothers, we share in the insanity and joys of weight loss (and maintenance).  It's always good to be reminded that we're not alone on this wild ride.  Even if you can't see anyone else on the road - knowing others are out there, fighting the good fight, and we're all cheering each other on - it's good stuff.

I hit the gym after work, feeling ready to burn off some energy.  Spin class was starting just as I got there so I quickly changed and joined in late.  Mark was there and you know he's blogging now so I landed in his blog!
Michelle (our club superhero) came into the class just after it started.  She walked across the floor and I couldn't help but think to myself, my God, she looks amazing!  There were a few times that I glanced over at her and was simply awe struck at how much she has transformed her body.  As she rode I could see how well her arms and legs have become defined.  No one would ever know that this woman had once carried an excess of 90 pounds on her body.
So much here that puts a big smile on my face. Thank you Mark for being such a positive reinforcement in my journey.  And the thought that I've done the same for you is so perfect.  Dear readers, bear with the love fest.  I only had time for my normal 25 minutes so I left spin class early, despite a real desire to stay and revel in the music, in my pumped up heart rate, and in the energy in the room.

After spin I did legs/shoulders/core, taking it a tad easier on my back when it came to core exercises.  Oy vey, my back...[so I *just* took a break from writing to schedule an appointment with the doctor.  They have an opening on Monday so I might be going to physical therapy by this time next week! Not a moment too soon, I've started popping the ibuprofen twice a day.]  As I was heading out the door Mark and I had a chance to chat.  I grilled him a bit on his post-30-day-Paleo cleanse plan.  I remember from Body for Life that doing a time-limited plan is great as a kick-start but it makes having a good plan for transition super-important.  

Anyway, I went to pick up the kids and turns out Marek had thrown up his afternoon snack and since preschool rules means he has to stay home today, I'm here scheming to get to the gym later.  The good news my bug's bug seems to have already passed - so far everything he's eating is staying down.'s weigh-in Friday.  My weight jumped up to 141.6 pounds.  I say jumped because just yesterday morning it was under 140.  I know the cause, I had a salty meal last night and two glasses of wine.  I imagine it will be back down under 140 by tomorrow or the next day so I'm not sweating it.  Though the doughnut I had this morning won't help :/

I'll close with a little inspiration via the Athleta catalog.  Check out those shoulders!!

Power to the She

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hunger, Wait for It

Have you seen those lists that detail how much exercise it takes to burn off what you've eaten?  For example, it reportedly takes an average female 35 minutes of running to burn off a serving of potato chips (415 calories). 

Seems like practically useless information to me.  I know, calories in, calories out.  But it's so much more than that, at least it feels that way to me.  The quality of those calories counts for something and the type of exercise matters too.  Sure, if you run long enough to burn 415 calories then you've "worked off" the chips.  But what else have you done?  Well, there's a laundry list of health benefits from the running, but there's also a potentially missed opportunity in not strength training.  Not to mention you could have had 415 calories of something that your body could have used in a much more efficient manner and might have been much more satisfying.

Not sure what my point is but seems to me these lists offer little in terms of usable, applicable information - other than trying to scare you into not eating chips.  What does it matter how long it takes to burn off a bag of chips?  Burning calories is such a small part of running.  I know a lot of women run specifically to lose weight and so it's a big part for them, potentially the only part that matters.  But if she doesn't eventually see the other benefits of running - better cardiovascular health, improved mood, better sleep, etc, etc - she's likely not going to keep up a regular running routine. And then how long she has to run to burn off chips won't matter, because she's not running at all.

Anyway, enough ranting.  I have such a full schedule this week that it feels like it's almost over.  On Monday we ended up taking the kids bowling.  The weather was too crappy to do anything outdoors and they loved bowling last time we went.  On the way we stopped for In-n-Out burger for lunch.  I had a hamburger with ketchup/mustard instead of "special sauce" (basically eliminating the mayonnaise), about half an order of fries and unsweetened iced tea.

I hit the gym when we got home.  Started with 25 minutes on the upright bike and then did back/biceps/core.  My back is still touchy so I skipped a couple things and did no/less weights on some things.  A reader, Sara (from Rantings of an Insecure Chubby Girl), asked me when I'm going to go to the doctor for my back.  That got me thinking, physical therapy was so helpful for my shoulders (they hardly bother me at all now), maybe I should see if they can give me some back exercises and stretches.  Anyway, after the gym I took the kids out to dinner for Mexican food and ate black beans, guacamole and chicken with probably one too many potato chips.  I was too hungry when I went in and practically attacked the chip bowl. 

I was so full I managed to get through the evening with no snacking.  Today I had a grilled chicken breast sandwich for lunch and snacked on fruit all day.  I wasn't able to get to the gym so I'm scheming to go tomorrow.  For dinner we had tipico (canned refried black beans, avocado, corn tortillas and cream).  I felt like I didn't have enough food and kept feeling the urge to find something to snack on.  But my stomach wasn't hungry so I told myself it was fine to eat, when I get hungry.  I think my urge to snack was taking a preemptive strike against hunger.  Hunger is fine, it doesn't hurt, and it's a good sign (at least now that my appetite is in the normal range) that I need to eat.  And now I'm in bed (before 10pm, imagine that!) and doing fine, guess dinner was enough after all. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

10 Miles, Food and Fun

Blogging for two days in a row?  Must be a holiday weekend.  Not to mention I'm so happy with my run today that I'm excited to write about it.  So last night we packed up the kids and way too much stuff for one night away and headed northeast to my mom's house.  She only lives about 20 minutes away but the sleeping over made it feel like more of a trek.

[I'm interrupting my post for some important information.  Well, maybe not important but relevant anyway. I just noticed I was getting hungry.  As you'll see in a bit, I've eaten plenty today.  So I asked myself what I could eat that would be satisfying but healthy.  An apple would hit the spot but not be satisfying, I wanted something warm.  And then I remembered the Progresso soups I have in the cupboard.  I haven't had one of those in forever.  My fave is the Light Zesty Southwestern Style Vegetable.  It used to be 0 points per serving but after the last revamp of points the whole can is 3 points.  I can't believe I've never blogged about this soup, I used to eat it quite often.  I think I stopped when I got more focused on unprocessed foods.  There's a nice list of non-food sounding ingredients such as soluble corn fiber, hydrolyzed corn protein and potassium chloride.  But it's tasty, especially after I added a few dashes of Louisiana's Pure Crystal Hot Sauce.  Anyway, back to my post...]

We got to my mom's and I was starving!  She had a small plate of nachos as an appetizer.  Of course I munched on those. It's a good thing it was just a small plate or I might have eaten a lot more.  Dinner was grilled rib-eye (1/2 of a large steak for me), raviolis, and a Caprese salad.  Oh, and bread with butter (I might have had 3 rolls, they were so soft and warm and comforty).  With my 10-mile run slated for the next day I ate with no concern for calories and what-not.  Though I did remind myself that I don't really like the raviolis and they seem SO fatty so I only had a few bites.  And with each bite I was thinking, "yep, don't really like these."  That was definitely some politeness eating.  I don't have the heart to tell my mom I don't really like them.  But I did like dessert - chocolate layer cake with vanilla ice cream!  I was so full from dinner though, I actually stuck with one serving. 

Miguel and I went out after dinner just for some time away to engage in adult conversation.  Of course we were both exhausted but it was still fun to get out together.  I think I was in bed by midnight.  We slept with our daughter in the bed and that made for a rough night and an early waking.  So far, not making improvements in the sleep department.  I had breakfast and coffee and started prepping for my run.  I had thought of making a route that would go from the marina to the bridge so I could run across it but my mom nixed that saying part of my route was in a sketchy area.

Instead she suggested I run in Benicia State Park.  The park itself only has a few miles of paved path so I planned to run into downtown Benicia to get the full 10.  I got all my gear together and drove out to the park.  The weather was perfect for running, mid 60's with some clouds and a slight breeze.  I started running and almost immediately noticed that I felt great.  Taking Friday off from exercise was the smart thing to do.  I glanced at my Garmin now and then and saw sub 10-minute miles but I didn't make any commitments to maintain that.  I think I've been feeling a bit burned out on running because I've been pushing myself to meet certain pace goals.  So for now, I'm forgetting all that and just running for enjoyment.  And enjoyable it was.  Check out my route.

Most of the run was either in the park or close enough to the water to catch views of it.  And Benicia has some beautiful old houses, which made for some nice sightseeing.  I kept my headphones on for most of the run.  Right about my turnaround point I ran into rolling hills, "oh great" I thought, except there might have been an expletive in there too.  But I reminded myself that hills always look worse than they actually are, which is why you look so badass running up them!  And of course they were fine.  I'd noticed that for most of my run my heart rate was in the high 140's to low 150's - definitely not pushing myself, but I didn't care, just wanted to have fun.

My pace crept up to the 10:30 range during miles 4-8 but when I glanced down during mile 9 and saw 10:03 I figured why not push and do a sub 10-minute mile?  So I ran mile 9 in 9:58 and kept right on pushing, running mile 10 in 9:18!  I can't tell you how good I felt when I finished, definitely a runner's high, just on top of the world.  Finishing strong once again motivated me.

Full Garmin stats here if you're interested.
Back at the house and I cleaned up to head to the family bbq.  My mom had taken the kids (Miguel had a soccer game).  I was starving after my run and didn't want to show up famished so I made a bowl of Fage with raspberries and ate that during the drive.

Fage 2% plain Greek yogurt with raspberries.

It was a bit rough going from a 10-mile run to socializing but I managed.  And I don't think I went too crazy with the eating, despite my really good excuse.  I tried to make decent choices - chicken breast, a couple slices of tri-tip, a small serving of pasta salad, fruit, crackers.  And of course I had some of my mom's cousin's homemade ice cream - yum!  Back home and I was hungry again so I had a bagel with cream cheese, a string cheese and some fruit.  That turned out to basically be my dinner.  Oh, and 2-3 chocolate kisses.  Later I had the the soup I mentioned above.  I'm going to count all this as my indulgence for the week and try to keep things on the healthier side for the remainder.  We'll just have to see how that goes.

Tomorrow is a mystery family day because we're doing something fun, we just don't know what that is yet.  Ok, I'm signing off.  I hope you're having a great holiday weekend too!  And remember, if you enjoy your freedom, thank a Veteran.