Friday, March 13, 2015

The Good and the Not-So-Good

Ahhh, Friday. I have a love/hate thing going with Fridays actually. I love it because it's the end of the week but dammit, I'm tired come Friday evening. I just want it to be over. Anyway, the second half of the week has been a bit bumpy.

March is National Social Work Month and we had a potluck at work on Thursday to celebrate. Around 40 people attended and let me tell you, social workers know good food. I was on my way to the gathering when I realized I was starving. If I hit the buffet like that, bad things could happen. So I stopped at Walgreen's and picked up the best thing I could find. The Chobani was 3 Points and the large Fuji apple was 0.

I still ate at the buffet line, and indulged in a a fried chicken wing and a couple bites of a dessert but the rest of my food choices were good ones...I was in SO much better control having had the snack. I skipped the flan, passed on the See's Chocolate, etc, without much difficulty.

Thursday evening was a different story...I had an emotionally prickly evening and I handled it by eating two bowls of chips and a whole square of graham cracker cookies (not one sheet, the whole shrink-wrapped square, which has nine sheets in it). Oh, and a large Peppermint Patty. Not a shining moment.

While I was, ahem, indulging, I had the (sabotaging) thought, "Well, you were doing great but now you've messed it all up." And I even thought I should just stop tracking. Fortunately I came to my senses and tracked it all. It wasn't good - the snack overload wiped out my Weekly Points (painful to have them gone the 2nd day into my WW week) but fortunately left all 17 of the Activity Points I'd earned (12 of which were from my 6 mile run on Wednesday). Tracking helped.

So I went to bed reminding myself that the sun would come up to a new day and I could view this as a blip and move on. That's what I did. Today was great eating-wise. I had my normal breakfast, lunch was challenging as I was swamped at work and was starving at 2pm. So I stopped in a cafe and they had Heart Thrive bars, I had a small FF latte and one heart from the package (4 points for the heart, 2 for the coffee). That was very satisfying actually.

The work-week ended on a sour note when I had to deal with something stressful just as my Friday was wrapping up. I could have used that as an excuse to skip the gym, but didn't. I ran a quick 27 minute big-ass-hill loop around my gym and then did legs/shoulders/core. My second week of being back at the gym and I'm stronger already.

Then I picked up the kids and headed to Costco. Marek's 6th birthday party is tomorrow and we needed party snacks. Myra was playing with my phone and took two pics of me. I was in a goofy post-workout mood, hence the smile. The second is Marek and I checking out the cake options. I'll pick up a cake tomorrow, and might get it there.

I resisted the food court and came home and had a PJ's Organics Skinny Burrito for dinner. For 8 Points I could make a much better, bigger and more satisfying meal but I was eating and giving baths, putting away groceries, etc, so that's the best choice under the circumstances. I had some apple, an orange and some carrots with eggplant hummus (Trader Joes) later. I could definitely eat more at this point but it's after 10:30 and I'm better off just getting some sleep. Big day tomorrow! Sleep will help me resist birthday cake, I just know it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Six Miles...on a Wednesday?! Yes!!

Yesterday was the last day of my first week back on WW. Last night I was in a munchy mood and really wanted to forage around in the pantry for salty, crunchy foods to munch on. Problem was, I had 1 Point left - this is even with the 17 Points I earned on my Sunday run. So I had a 1 Point cracker and did some serious self-talk as to what it is that I want, why I'm resisting the urge to snack, and how very much I want to feel in control again of my eating. It worked. I got to bed with no additional snacking and ended the week even-steven on Points. Yay me! I was appropriately proud of myself.

I skipped the gym yesterday. I have a minor medical ailment and decided to take a pass. I was also feeling tired. After taking a break from exercise, and then starting up again, there's what I might start calling The Tired Phase. In my experience it lasts about three weeks. It's the time during which your workouts leave you feeling drained most of the time, and you don't yet get the energy boost from the exercise.

This is an evil thing for people starting for the first time because they probably think they can't keep up with an exercise routine, it's simply too exhausting. And further, when you're starting from scratch I think The Tired Phase can be measured in months, rather than weeks. Someone should educate newbies that if they stick with it, they'll eventually have more energy than they've ever had, not to mention weight loss. Anyway, I also wanted to collect my munchkins earlier so I skipped the gym, with a plan to go today.

I went to my WW meeting and was down .8 pounds. Moving in the right direction. The past couple years I've lost weight very slowly. On the order of 1/4 to a 1/2 pound a week on average. I think it's a combination of my peri-menopausal whatever coupled with the fact that I don't make major diet changes. I just return to eating a healthy, balanced diet, as opposed to a diet diet where I make a significant calorie reduction. So .8 is a lot for me and I was happy.

I was feeling a bit iffy about going to the gym today. The minor medical ailment is indeed uncomfortable, though nothing that would prohibit me from working out. You can take your guesses as to what the ailment is but suffice to say, it's not something I want to publish. So I wavered and stalled but then I asked myself a couple questions...1. How will you feel if you go vs not going? 2. What will not going to the gym do to your momentum? The answer to those two questions got me out the door.

I decided to run from my house to the gym, the shortest route being roughly 2.5 miles. But as soon as my feet started running, before I was even off my block, I decided to run a longer route. And by the time I was a few blocks away, I decided to run an even longer route. Don't ask what got into me, it just sounded like a good idea. In the end I took a route that put me at 5.5 miles as I was approaching my gym. But 5.5 is so close to 6, so I ran down a few side streets to get to 6, and as I was running I noticed my last mile was way faster than all the others, I was running it in a 9:35 pace, well, that's so close to 9:30, and I felt really good, so I picked up the pace and finished mile 6 in 9:30. Yippee!!!

My overall average pace for the run was 11:02. I felt really good about that. I was feeling a bit wiped out so I had an AccelGel and then got going on my weight routine, chest/triceps/core. Pushups are still really hard, I used to do 3 sets, 20, 15 and 12 reps. Today I struggled to do 12/10/8. But I did them. I'm actually feeling ok about this getting back in shape phase. And I know that by 'normal' standards I'm in shape now, I mean my standards for myself, which are the only ones that matter, right?

While I was on the run I started craving pesto. But it's SO high in Points. So I had the idea to make a sauce from garbanzo beans, garlic, Parmesan, parsley, garlic and lemon juice - all blended in the Cuisinart. It turned out very yummy, and with the garlic, olive and cheese, had a very pesto like taste and feel to it. That, served with a cup of spaghetti and a side salad was my dinner. Very yummy, and satisfying. Sorry I didn't snap a picture of it.

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Way of Life

I just have to start off by saying it feels so good to again have a sense of being in control. I think the feeling of being out of control is the worst! It's not like I was a raging eat-aholic like I was in the remote past but there were moments that were close, and I was quite often making crappy food choices, and just in general I felt like a victim of my cravings. I could ask why I didn't pull it together sooner, but what's the point? I've pulled it together now, I just wasn't ready or willing before.

my meal actually looked almost exactly like this.
Today was a good day, if you can't tell by the above. What made it good? Because I behaved in a way that is consistent with my goals and that feels good. I had the morning off to do some stuff with Miguel and we ended up having a late breakfast (brunch really) at IHOP. Not a regular spot for me but it was easy and in the strip-mall we were in. So I ordered the Simple and Fit two egg breakfast.

"You'll get fluffy egg whites, two strips of crisp turkey bacon, whole wheat toast and a perfect portion of seasonal mixed fruit." The meal was 9 points. I put two of those strawberry jam packets on my toast, which added 3 points. 12 points is a lot but like I said, this was brunch. I noticed when I put it in my tracker they have a Simple and Fit veggie omelet meal that is only 8 points. If I go there again, I'll have to try that. I love veggie omelets.

I eventually had to go into work and later had a bout of unexplained anxiety. I'm not used to dealing with that sort of thing but I figure with all the changes this past year it's surprising it hasn't happened more. I plugged along at work but when the day was done home sounded like a nice place to go. Instead, I convinced myself that if I kept my plan to go the gym, even if I just do a quick workout, I'll feel better.

today's log - with a Well done! note to me.
So that's what I did, and I was right. I started with 20 minutes on the upright bike, level 7. Oh boy, that was hard. After that I did about a half-hour of weight training, legs/shoulders/core. My legs held up surprisingly well given yesterday's run. I felt grateful for my body. I was/am a bit sore but it's ok. In the past when I had to "get back into shape" after some time off I'd feel kind of irritated by this initial 4-6 week window of soreness and (relative) lack of strength. But this time I feel differently, it is what it is, and the truth is, I'll have to do it probably a bunch more times if I plan to maintain this for life.

I was thinking about that while at the gym and really got that fitness isn't a destination, it's a way of life. I know it seems obvious but I think every time I get "back" to a certain level of fitness I have this, "ah, I've finally arrived, it's so nice to be here" feeling. And it is, but that level of fitness can be transient, it comes and goes for varying reasons. Might be illness, surgery or something, major life change that derails me, needing to take care of others more than normal - all kinds of things can throw things off for a while, and then, well then I have to get back on.

Anyway, that's all I have for today. Oh, one more thing, my complexion has been a mess lately. Little pimples and whatnot, the crap food I was eating is to blame, I know it is, I've had this happen before. My body isn't as happy on so many levels when I'm eating junk, and too much of it. And if the body isn't happy, I'm not sure the mind can be either. But that's a whole different blog post. I'm done for tonight, night all!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Not Too Late

Yesterday I went on a 10 mile bike ride around town. It's the first time I've been on my bike in ages, I literally had to brush the cobwebs off of it when I got it down. I had that feeling you can only get on a road bike, flying down the road, wind blowing in your face. The weather was gorgeous and the route I took was almost entirely flat so I didn't have to work too hard. Still, my cycling muscles are not toned so my legs were complaining a bit.

Last night I had some girlfriends over for dinner. We drank champagne and ate fancy cheese and crackers, and then had skirt steak and roasted brussells sprouts for dinner. My girlfriend Reina brought cupcakes for dessert, I think there must have been at least 10 of them. I quartered them so we could try each one - although I think I'm the only one that did.

These meals are always so difficult to try and track. So I just enter 25 and figure that's close enough. In reality I probably ate more than 25 points but whatever. Can't be too far off. Anyway, I was glad to have done the bike ride earlier to balance out all that food.

But I also had a loose plan to run this weekend, and hadn't yet. So that left today. I kept myself busy all day doing odds and ends, and next thing you know it was 5pm. Ohhh, should I run? I managed to squander away another couple hours and still hadn't decided. Now it was 7pm! Almost too late to run, right? It would be getting dark soon.

No! Not too late! I made myself jump up and don my running clothes before I changed my mind. I got out the door, making an agreement with myself that 3 miles is fine. My Garmin started acting up so I decided to run a route I know is 3 miles. But once I was warmed up I started thinking about that damn half-marathon I have in only 3 weeks!

Post-run selfie
I ran 7 miles last week so I should run at least 8 this week. I wasn't sure about that so I settled on 6 miles. As I closed in on what I thought should be around 6 based on time, I mustered the motivation to go for the whole 8, even with it being dark and risking falling on my toches. My Garmin being of no use so I had to guesstimate how long I would need to run to insure I covered 8 miles. I assumed I was running between 11 and 12 minute miles and made the goal time of 1 hour, 39 minutes. Didn't quite make it, I ran for 1 hour, 36 minutes. But mapping my route afterward and it looks like I ran about 8.64 miles. Score!

My pace was around 11:06 minute miles, and these days that's hard work, especially at that distance. The last couple miles my left calf was threatening to seize up and I got a painful blister. I told myself that running is a close relative of pain, sometimes to release it, other times to tolerate it, and journeyed on. Once back home I did a cool-down walk and then took a hot bath and ate an apple. But my tummy is hurting, I think the apple, and me not training much lately, are the problem.

I don't know about this whole half-marathon thing, but I'm going to keep moving forward, no pun intended. I'll shoot to run 9-10 next weekend (w/ gym visits and some runs this week) and see how that goes.

Before I sign off I just want to thank you for all the supportive comments on my FB page, the messages and emails. It's nice to receive all the messages of encouragement and hope. Thank you! Ok, it's after 11 and I'm tired. Time to hit the sack.