Thursday, January 21, 2010
Travel while managing weight is tough for me. My fitness and food routines are disrupted, colleagues always want to meet over food, and conference food options are usually very unhealthy, at best.
Fitness is particularly a problem while traveling because with my arthritic knee I can't walk or run for exercise (the knee starts complaining after only a couple of miles of walking and then stiffens up and acts grouchy the next day). So getting a calorie burn away from home is more complicated than just throwing running clothes and shoes in my suitcase.
I have had several trips this past autumn and always managed to gain at least 6 lbs, even when I wrote everything I ate down and put it in the tracker when I got back, even when I exercised every day that I could.
So, after losing about 10 lbs over the holidays, I was TERRIFIED that I'd gain it all back during a business trip in January. 10 days plus a 3-day weekend is a long time to be without the comfortable routines that keep me on track.
I pulled out all the stops and used as much creativity and planning as I could muster for this trip, and it paid off. I actually managed to LOSE some weight while away.
Here's a list of all the things I did; before and during the trip.
1) Bought an 8G iPod Touch, bought the standalone (offline) "Lean Me Pro" app and started tracking my nutrients on it and working out the kinks beforehand.
I've heard good things about free "Lose It!" but I like weighing my food in grams, so I opted for $20 "Lean Me Pro." This meant abandoning the SP nutrition tracker, because even the iPod version does not work offline. I might have used the spark mobile interface instead if my TracFone allowed me access to the internet (it only allows access to TracFone sites). The iPod cost less than $200 and given how much ELSE I've spent on this project, it seemed worth the money.
I also bought "True Weight" (it has a free version too, but I wanted the ability to archive my data).
Lean Me Pro
2) Used Google Map to search for gyms near my hotel(s). The day before leaving I signed up for a free trial membership at some of them. (You have to do this close to the travel date because otherwise they expire before you actually get there.) I downloaded the fitness class schedules for each of them.
This was especially important because the hotel where I'd be staying most of the time has a really pitiful "fitness center" as part of their "spa" that you have to pay extra to use.
It was also important because internet access is sketchy in the rooms, and I didn't want to have to pack or buy weights and a stability ball to work out in the room.
3) Packed all the necessary fitness gear: gym shoes, SPD spinning shoes, iPod arm harness & headphones, underwater SwiMP3 player, swimsuit, goggles, bike shorts, workout clothes, sport bras, water bottle, etc.
4) Packed sufficient protein bars & water-based whey shakes (Syntrax nectar), bran, and psyllium to feed myself when there weren't healthier meals available.
5) Packed a selection of herbal teas, TrueLemon, TrueLime, TrueOrange, and pepper packets for seasoning water and meals. I like to have a cup of herbal tea at the end of a meal when others are indulging in desserts. Most restaurants are happy to supply a cup of hot water and charge you for "tea" even if you bring your own.
6) Packed some envelopes of light tuna in water for emergency protein.
7) Removed the batteries and carefully packed my Tanita body fat bathroom scale in the middle of the clothes in my suitcase.
8) I should probably mention that I always carry a small food scale in my purse. I used it a lot on this trip, both at restaurants and for weighing out whey shake ingredients, etc.
1) Made my rounds of the local gyms and got the tour and passes, class schedules, etc.
2) Hit the local Target/Walmart and grocery stores for more tuna packets (these became essential for eating at restaurants), protein bars, and canned protein drinks. After looking at the labels I discovered that Pure Protein brand has some pretty low-calorie, high-protein products. It's probably the best thing I've seen out there on retail shelves. (I usually buy my supplements online.)
Also bought spritzer-type salad dressings, Kashi GOLEAN (I would have been better off bringing my soy-based cereals, oh well), and individual nonfat Greek yogurts (FAGE 0% is a good standby. Discovered Voskos out there, which has even MORE protein.)
Bought swimmer's shampoo & conditioner and a swim cap (that I somehow forgot to pack) - I couldn't find Ultra Swim so I went with the Loreal kids "swim & sport" shampoo and conditioner, and they seemed to de-chlorinate just fine.
3) PLANNED out my exercise for the next few days, fitting in swimming, spinning classes, etc. around my conference responsibilities. In most cases this meant switching from my customary nighttime exercise schedule to an early-morning one.
4) Once I knew my exercise schedule, I could plan out my food. (Lean Me Pro takes into account exercise when calculating the daily calorie quota.)
5) At most restaurants I shamelessly played the "I've lost 180 lbs" card and got them to bring me custom salad ingredients. In some cases they had suitable protein like steamed shrimp or sashimi. In other cases I added my own tuna. In all cases I used my own dressing.
My companions and servers were all supportive and helpful about it. Not one complained or sneered or acted put out with all my weighing and tracking, as I'd been afraid they might. I didn't even have to flash my "before" picture for all of them (I put it on my iPod just in case).
6) At night in the customary after-dinner room parties I brought my herb teas and indulged in them while everyone else drank alcohol. I used the in-room coffee maker for hot water (just ran a few pots through at the beginning to rinse most of the coffee and caffeine flavor out). I was perfectly content as long as I had something tasty in my hand to sip.
Since they are an indulgence, my rule with these teas is that I can have as many as I want, and I never have to re-use a bag unless I want to. I even have a special "tea squeezer" to get all the flavor out. And yes, I brought it. LOL
7) During travel and during the conference if I wanted something to snack on during a boring talk and didn't have water handy (to which I added the TrueCitrus packets), I'd have a stick of sugarless gum (and track it).
8) I washed my workout gear lightly with shampoo while showering in the room after each fitness episode and hung it up on the shower rod or rolled it in a dry bath towel to wring most of the water out.
9) I tracked my weight and percent body fat on my scale every morning and logged it in "True Weight" and "Lean Me Pro" on my iPod.
SO, HOW DID I DO?
Here are the numbers:
January 8, 2010
(159.61 average according to physicsdiet.com)
27.2% body fat
(29.64% average according to physicsdiet.com)
January 20, 2010
(157.66 average according to physicsdiet.com)
22.6% body fat
(25.01% average according to physicsdiet.com)
Monday, January 18, 2010
Met up with Deb (S318830) and her kids at the Wild Animal Park this morning, saw a giraffe tussling with a big antelope from the tram, watched gibbons, watched human children, and finally took a photo at the "park" her kids like.
Pictured (from left to right):
4A-HEALTHY-BMI, HAVASUROSE, their sister, S318830, and her two kids.
Afterward my two sisters and I did some more consignment store shopping, investigated a Carhart retailer (for our sister who needs work pants with lots of pockets), and a Chico's where some of us got shells on sale. Then we had dinner with HAVASUROSE's friend Dotty (and her daughter and granddaughter) at Soup Plantation, shipped a 20x20x20 box of clothes to NY via FedEx, and did cardio in the hotel fitness room for an hour.
Now we're wrapping up the evening in the hotel room with some wine (yes, mine is measured out, LOL) and logging stuff on our computers and checking email, etc.
They will drive home tomorrow and I will move to a hotel downtown tomorrow night and fly home on Tuesday. Back to the Land of Cold.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
My initial goal has been 150 lbs or 25% body fat, whichever came first.
My Tanita scale has been indicating anywhere from 22% to 26% body fat for the past week or so.
UPDATE: In "athlete" mode it says 19.7% Thanks to S318830 for advising me on that! (And also for finding the DXA place in San Diego.)
I suspected I was close, but wouldn't know until I had it measured by a more accurate method.
On Thursday through a DXA scan I found out my body fat % is actually 19%.
Are you freaking KIDDING me?! That's actually in the "athletic" category. Last year at this time I still weighed over 300 lbs...
This means, technically, that by at least one measure I am done. I have been processing this information for the past couple of days - I actually cried a little in the car on the way back on Thursday, because I was just so overwhelmed. I wasn't expecting this. I wasn't really ready for it.
If you've been following the thread where STEVIECAT4 and I are trying to reach 150 you'll already have read some of my mulling over this issue. tinyurl.com/race2onefifty
Anyway, I have been lightening up on the calorie restriction but continuing with the heavy exercising, with predictable results. This morning I'm up to 158. So I'll be pushing back down on the restriction a little more.
In the meantime, realizing that I'm probably going to be close to this size for a while, and having my two sisters handy, I've been indulging in SHOPPING. Me. Who has historically H.A.T.E.D. shopping. With a Passion.
In the interests of public service, here is a rundown of the thrift and consignment stores we've investigated:
1) American Cancer Society Discovery Store, Rancho Bernardo
16787 Bernardo Center Drive, San Diego - (858) 385-0479
Small store, Salvation Army-type prices & selection. Found the sparkly $18 dress on sale there that day for half off.
2) Girlfriend's Consignment Boutique, Poway
12222 Poway Road, Poway, CA - (858) 679-1222
Upscale. Lovely selection. Found a really nice workout top and leather pants ($26).
3) Plato's Closet, Escondido
1220 Auto Park Way, Escondido, CA - (760) 233-0002
Geared toward 20 year olds. Found some really nice workout gear there. Lots of colors and styles and the ability to be picky.
4) Deborah's Next to New, Escondido
1624 E Valley Pkwy, Escondido, CA - (760) 743-8980
Large selection. Similar items scattered throughout the store. Quality ranges from Salvation Army to upscale. Found an awesome lined suede long skirt there for $29.
I'm going to have to get a box and ship this stuff home...
Friday, January 15, 2010
My sisters and I met with Deb (S318830) for lunch today at the Soup Plantation near the hotel. So, since there were three SparkPeople (TM) there, we're calling it a "Spark Rally" LOL.
Here are the photos afterward, taken by the one sister who isn't (yet) on this site.
OK, photos don't seem to be uploading properly, so I'll add 'em later.
...Looks like I need to use IE instead of Firefox.
S318830 smiling for the camera while 4A-HEALTHY-BMI tells HAVASUROSE to put down the rabbit ears. LOL
HAVASUROSE giving attitude.
4A-HEALTHY-BMI giving attitude.
More pics together at the Wild Animal Park on Sunday morning, when we'll include the other sister!
Then afterwards HAVASUROSE had a dentist appointment, S318830 went back to work, and 4A-HEALTHY-BMI and her eldest sister (not pictured) went to consignment stores and thrift shops and played in clothes...
NEW fully-lined LEATHER PANTS! ($26) and jacket from a skirt suit ($11)
[I was intrigued by S318830's account of HER new leather pants, both in the original blog and at lunch today. Not just intrigued. Jealous. LOL]
New dress ($9) that I saw on the manniquin and thought would be fun to try on. My boss retired on the 30th and his dinner is coming up.
Then we tried re-staging the "fat pants" photo with HAVASUROSE from November, and this time they ZIPPED UP! LOL
This is the SAME EXACT PAIR OF PANTS in each photo.
4A-HEALTHY-BMI with her eldest sister in "the pants."
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
1. Dixie diners crunchy apple soy rocks protein bars
I've written about protein and mentioned protein bars before.
This is my new go-to favorite bar and has one of the best protein / calorie ratios at 10 g protein and 81 calories. They are crunchy and satisfying and at less than half the calories of most protein bars they are suitable for a snack to get you by until a real meal will be available.
You can also get a version with flax seeds in it that has 90 calories and 10 g of protein. I prefer to just get my omegas via capsule.
There's no weird melty chocolate layer that will go funny if it gets hot in the car, so you can stash them everywhere for emergencies. I have them in my glove box, my life vest, my desk at work, my gym bag, etc.
I buy them online directly from Dixie Diners' Club:
2. Freeze-dried fruit
Most "normal" dried fruit has added sulfates, sugars, and even sometimes oil. Freeze-dried fruit has none of those additions and is fantastic with breakfast cereal or yoghurt (or just about anything else to which you'd add fruit). I even like just snacking on it - it's crunchy and has a nice tart / sweet kick.
You can get freeze dried blueberries and strawberries at Trader Joe's, or you can order a bunch of different kinds from nutsonline.com - they have a referral incentive so if you want 10% off your first order, contact me with your email address and I'll have them send you a code. (I would get 10% off my next order, too)
You can also get freeze dried vegetables - the broccoli has the highest protein / calorie ratio of any of the fruits and vegetables. Of the fruits, the freeze-dried sour cherries win the nutrition contest with the boysenberries a close second. (Boysenberries resulted from crossing blackberry, loganberry and raspberry and are the basis of the Knott's Berry Farm empire.)
3. Wasa crisp n' light crackers
I found these while visiting a friend recently in Alexandria, VA. At 20 calories and 11.7 mg of sodium per cracker I think they actually taste pretty good, and are a great alternative to more fat and sodium laden crackers. I plan on bringing some to the New Year's Eve celebration I attend every year.
It turns out you can order a case of ten online from Amazon.com cheaper than you can get them from the store:
4. Laughing Cow Cheese (Extra Light)
I discovered this spreadable low-fat cheese while visiting LAFAGG in England.
In one wedge (17.5 g) there are:
0.6 g fat
131.3 mg sodium
2.6 g protein
Compare this with the Laughing Cow Light available in the US:
(21 g per wedge)
2 g fat
260 mg sodium
2.5 g protein
I don't know about you, but I'd prefer to eat the UK version. Or TWO of them, since that's about the equivalent in calories to ONE of the US wedges - and more than TWICE the protein... To me it tastes just as good. On my Wasa Crisp n' Light crackers, LOL.
For this one, unfortunately, you have to either know someone in Europe who can send it to you, or know people traveling there who can bring it home in a suitcase.
I emailed Laughing Cow and asked why they don't sell Extra Light in North America. They replied that it is because they're marketed here as a "specialty cheese" and don't think there would be a market for it.
I think they're wrong and referred them to www.hungry-girl.com/girls/biteoutdet
ails.php?isid=1012 as an example.
5. Kauffman's fruit butter with no sugar added
If your tastes run more to sweet than savory for your cracker or toast toppings, here's something I recently discovered in the local Mennonite store. The pumpkin butter in particular stands out, at 5 calories per tablespoon and a short list of ingredients (pumpkin, apple cider, lemon, cinnamon, citric acid).
If you can't find a local store that carries it, you can order it direct from the Pennsylvania:
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