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Reviewing Stage 2 - Step 6

Monday, November 28, 2011

Next step in my breakdown of Stage 2 - Healthy Diet Habits. Last step, so no more of this Blog Spamming. You're saved, folks!

Step 6
- Find Unexpected Opportunities

Action Steps:
- Batch cook a dish that can last 4-5 days
- Exercise entirely in 10-15 minute blocks
- Exercise in one place you normally wouldn't

Well, given that I didn't buy into a food storage system per one of the earlier steps, the first action step here also made little sense. Long-term, when I am ready to find an apartment or small house rather than renting a room, this may be logical. For now, almost everything I eat is sized for one-serving consumption. (The rare exception is buying a veggie party platter and taking out a serving at a time.)

I usually walk longer than 15 minutes, and for the cardio level I want, I didn't want to chop those apart. However, I have gotten into a habit of doing some of my strength training exercises while waiting on a late bus. Hip flexors, calf raises, skater squats, and boxer are all rather easy to do with a bench or pole for any balance needs. I honestly could care less what people driving by think. Conceivably any of those could be done in my office too.

I've even gotten into the random habit of doing a few "wall" pushups using the back of a bench or a metal fence. I can't do a lot of them, but I focus more on form and doing them until I can't do one properly.

So even if I'm not breaking my cardio (walking) into short blocks, I am finding unexpected opportunities. And I might slide into doing stair reps on my 15-minute breaks at some point. (The office is on the second floor, a flight of 22-24 steps. I walk up it every morning and down it at the end of the day. In the previous building, we were on the first floor of a three-story building and I actually did go up and down the three flights for about 10 minutes of each break until someone asked me about it - or complimented me for it.)

Exercise where I normally wouldn't? I think the strength training at the bus stop is a good example of that. And maybe SF yesterday counts. I went to the city to a store that is the closest local dealer for a particular brand. I took CalTrain and then walked ... through the Portrero Hill neighborhood. For those not sure what that means, Hill = ups and downs. Sometimes rather steep ups and downs. (Quite a few of the streets I went on are graded at 18%+ which is probably about 10-15 degrees of slope.)

In fact, here's a picture with a couple at the very tippy top of the block I'm walking along ... a couple that had jogged past me. (Yeah, they're a little hard to see. Sorry!) And that's one of the easier slopes I dealt with.

I ended up walking as much as the 5k plus some - with a stop at the store during which I never sat down. My calves definitely felt the difference with that much incline.

Again, not 100% compliance, but as I reach this point I really do feel I'm doing well. Habits I've had all along are good and remaining, some new habits have been acquired, and the habits I'm choosing not to work on are something I've taken the time to consider and decide on rather than just reject emotionally. (No matter how much ranting I do, I refuse to let myself say no just because "I don't wanna!" I want to have a rational response why I choose to say no.)


Nice little thing I've definitely reaffirmed for myself, though - this journey is unique for every individual who sets upon it. In some ways it is the same. As we read threads and blogs, we find out how many other people have similar situations, similar things they want to be rid of, similar things they're trying to face or overcome. And yet we are still each very individual.

There is no one-size-fits-all plan that works for every person. We have to try on pieces and find the ones that fit us and that we can live with comfortably. I'm not doing something wrong by not conforming to every single step, every single action. (But I have to be careful not to use that as an excuse to not even try things at all. Circumstances change, tastes change. Who knows? Maybe when I'm 75 I'll find seafood appealing rather than disgusting.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_JODI404 12/1/2011 11:39AM

    I applaud you for those unexpected fitness opportunities like the bus stop and wall push ups!! This is an idea that I would definitely like to take and work on as well!! I have lots of ways to do this... just need to turn idea to action.

I don't eat ANY seafood either!! People find that impossible to understand... I don't think it's changing at 75 either! But I do like keeping an open mind too! Hubby & I are discussing at least trying hummus, b/c neither of us ever has... and maybe we would like it. We'll see.


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Reviewing Stage 2 - Step 5

Monday, November 28, 2011

Next step in my breakdown of Stage 2 - Healthy Diet Habits.

Step 5
- Eat on Purpose

Action Steps:
- Eat in the same place every day (ideally not in front of TV)
- Record and track your reason for eating every time you eat
- Plan your menu for the whole week using the meal planner

== Have you ever found yourself in front of an open fridge and didnít know how the heck you got there? Ever looked down and saw your hand in a bag of chips and wondered why? ==

Honestly, my answer to their questions is generally no. I've never been a fridge grazer (or cupboard grazer). If I'm in the kitchen for food, it is because I've decided I want to eat. If I have a bag of chips (or, in my case, cookies), it's because I went to the store and bought them with the full intention of eating them.

== Ever had your lunch break roll around and realized you had absolutely no idea what you were going to eat? ==

In the past I would have answered this one yes. BUT, I was eating out most days. Our office fridge was disgusting and the kitchen area tiny, cramped, and ill-kept. Since moving, our kitchen space is bigger, nicely lit, and those of us who use it keep it clean.

In addition, before the move, we were near Togo's, Subway, a mexican restaurant, a cafe that served Vietnamese noodles (pho - with one of those accents on it), a gas station mini-market, a Little John's pizza place, a Starbucks, an Italian restaurant, a Chinese place ... and all close enough to walk to and back during a 30-minute lunch.

Since moving, there's food places, but the walk is 20m minimum to get there. On a 30-minute lunch, it's flat out not possible. I could swap back to an hour lunch, and start earlier or leave later - but instead I started off with bread, peanut butter, and honey and had sandwiches every day.


Eating in the same spot - I do that, but not exactly the way the person who wrote that envisioned I'm sure. While I do not have a TV to eat in front of, I do eat in front of my computer monitor. At home that's because my desk is the only "table" in my room. At work that's because there is no dining table in the kitchen area.

However, I don't think that's a problem because even when I'm using the computer as I eat, I do not eat mindlessly. I only bring the planned meal to my desk, and I take the time to eat slowly and relish the tastes of my food. Sometimes I'm entering what I'm eating into SparkPeople as I eat it. It's nice because it lets me add occasional notes about what I like or don't like right as I think them rather than trying to remember later.

Record and track my reason for eating. It's almost always one of two reasons - I'm definitely hungry, or it's my usual meal / snack time. Some meals, like eating out with my son and/or daughter, I note that - as it's usually an unplanned diversion. Some days, like today, I start eating late in the day and my last meal is literally eaten to make sure I get enough calories, carbs, protein, and fat. Sometimes my last snack is a filler to get a low point up - like fruit/veggie to boost carbs.

Since I'm not an emotional or boredom eater, this step wasn't really necessary. I am mindful of my eating and my reasons. (And that also goes back to what I've said before - gaining and maintaining my excess weight was very deliberate. I didn't start with three cookies intending to only eat three and end up with a bag gone. I filled a 32-oz glass with milk and set in on the bag intending to finish it. Big difference!)

Plan menu for the full week. This is actually in my November goals and I just did it today. Not with SparkPeople's MenuPlanner though. With Living Cookbook software. I even picked up a Microwaving for 1 or 2 book from the library and picked two recipes to make from it, including them. I wrote out a shopping list (no printer) and used it today. I'm quite pleased with having gotten that done.

Now, I know some people talk about lacking spontaneity when using a Menu Planner, but here's the tricks I use:

- Find multiple snack options that are reasonably equivalent nutritionally. For example, cereal bars, fruit bars, yogurt, cheese stick, pudding, almonds, and veggies+dip - each runs around 120 calories, with some variation in carb/fat/protein balance. I pick and choose from them at my snack times without feeling like I am "stuck" having what I listed.

- Don't be afraid to swap days around. If Tuesday was more exhausting than expected, swapping an easier meal from a later day is fine as long as the general balance is there nutritionally. Weekly averages are more important than daily exactitude.

I actually like this Step for one really big reason. It's an affirmation of one of the three aspects of eating that I decided on: Conscious. Delicious and Nutritious, the other two, are important in their way. But Conscious is taking the time to pay attention to the food and delight in it rather than scarf it down to get to other things and is what makes Delicious worth it.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_JODI404 12/1/2011 11:44AM

    You have truly great self awareness! I have enjoyed these reviews, and think about my journey as I read.

Conscious is key! Lucky you not to be emotionally triggered!!!


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Reviewing Stage 2 - Step 4

Monday, November 28, 2011

Next step in my breakdown of Stage 2 - Healthy Diet Habits.

Step 4
- Drink Water

Action Steps:
- Day 1, drink 1 cup of water, Day 2, drink 2, etc.
- Drink one of the cups first thing in the morning
- Make sure to have water at home, in car, at work

Well, no ranting or disagreeing on this one. Not a single issue with it at all. In fact, long before I even knew about SparkPeople, I drank at least my 8 glasses of water a day, sometimes more. Sometimes so much more that I once went and read up on water toxicity to make sure I wasn't harming myself.

I have a Brita water filter on my desk at work. I also have a 1 gallon jug. I fill the 1 gallon jug from the tap, use it to fill the Brita. About half a gallon fills the Brita completely - and half a gallon is 64 ounces of water (aka 8 glasses). Usually I drink most of that through the day. At home, I pick up 1.5 liter bottles of water from a corner store right nearby. I drink from them regularly.

The only thing I don't do exactly as recommended is drink a cup first thing in the morning. I usually have a couple mouthfuls as I'm dressing if I'm feeling thirsty. Otherwise it waits until I'm at work. At work I usually have 12 oz. my orange pineapple juice first. Once I finish that, I wash the mug and it is water the rest of the day. Of course, I do also have one of those bottled waters on my bedside table, so if I wake at odd hours, a few sips is soothing. Works fine for me.

Oh, and my most recent "sports" purchase when I went to pick up my 5k shirt and had a 10% discount was a "fanny pack" with two 500ml water bottles and a spot for cards, phone, and keys. VERY useful. I even carried one of the two water bottles in a jacket pocket on a trip to SF yesterday and emptied it halfway through the day.

Step 4 DONE

Does being so good at this habit make up for the resistance on others?


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_JODI404 12/1/2011 11:47AM

    Does being so good at this habit make up for the resistance on others?


I don't know... Water IS VERY important!!!! emoticon emoticon

This one comes very easily for me too!

Cheers! emoticon

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Reviewing Stage 2 - Step 3

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Next step in my breakdown of Stage2 - Healthy Diet Habits.

Step 3
- Exercise Consistently

Action Steps:
- Do 2 more cardio than you normally do
- Stretch every day for 10-15 minutes
- Use the Fitness Tracker

No rant this time. I love my walking as my cardio. I've been doing my walking consistently, stretching after consistently, and logging it in the tracker consistently.

In fact ... looking at a report of fitness minutes, I've gotten in 15+ cardio every single day since I started back in mid-September. And one of my goals for starting Winter was to not take more than three "sick" days - days off from being active, only to be taken if absolutely impossible to avoid, such as injury or emergency. So far, so good.

That said, the first two Action Steps don't really align well for me. Do 2 more cardio? I'm increasing my speed and distance, but I don't feel a vital need to do more than walking. I do make sure I get my heart-rate and breathing up most of the time. Then again, the initial assumption is that the person reading reacts to "workout" like it's a dirty word.

Me? I've been walking for years. The last four years I walked to work and from work (15m each way), to the drug store or grocery store and back, to anything else we ever needed as a family. I'm doing fine at consistent exercise without needing a change-up or to somehow slip new things into my routine.

Though technically I suppose training for the first 5k and training to stay in condition for the subsequent ones could be fudged in as "more cardio". What do you think?

I do stretch just about every day. But, I would definitely NOT say I stretch for 10-15 minutes. I hold each of my post-cardio or post-strength training stretches for at least 15 seconds (or until I can feel the muscle in question easing rather than pulling). But even if I held them for 30 seconds ... I would have to do at least 10-15 different stretches.

(Add to that I'm a little confused by something that seems contradictory. This section on stretching seems to suggest it BEFORE the gym or as the morning exercise. I could swear one of the quiz / trivia questions points out that stretching is best done AFTER, so the muscles are warmed up.)

So, again, I'm not doing the step exactly as stated, but all indications are that I'm doing just fine.

The last step I have definitely been doing. I've tracked every single day. I usually don't bother to track walking I do that isn't at a pace to keep my heart-rate up. (Of course ... lately I've found it harder to walk slow. Only when I'm out with a camera or walking with my daughter do I find myself at a sedate pace.)

I'm happy with this step of Stage 2. I could see myself doing more if, in the future, I opt to go to the community center's gym or get a regular gym membership. But I can't see myself ever doing less barring injury or severe illness or reaching that horrible point of old age where I can barely move.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SABLENESS 11/26/2011 11:50AM

    emoticonon consistency. If it's working, keep at it. Your body will let you know if you need a change. emoticon

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_JODI404 11/26/2011 10:44AM

    I agree, I stretch afterwards. Warm up for me is slow treadmill or stationary bike for about 5 minutes. That is what I was told in Physical Therapy.

Sounds like walking is solidly part of your lifestyle ~ that is really great!! It's all about sustainable healthy choices - and you've got this one nailed!

emoticon emoticon

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Reviewing Stage 2 - Step 2

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Next step in my breakdown of Stage2 - Healthy Diet Habits.

Step 2
- Eat the right stuff

Action Steps:
- Plan menu for the week with menu planner
- Get 3 servings of "good" carbs every day this week
- Get 3 servings of fruits and veggies this week

** Advance warning ... yeah, I get ranty here. I apologize in advance and give you this warning so you can just skip this blog if you don't want to hear it. **

Hoo boy ... now, I know this step did not go over well for me. I think I applied it to myself only in the sense of eating right by my own definition - which is that I refuse to eat foods I will not enjoy, and use moderation with the ones that offer the least nutrition value.

Now, my reaction is not because I entirely disagree with a fact like this:

== Thereís a big difference between surviving and thriving, about the same difference as puttering along the highway and winning the Daytona 500. ==

I agrees there's a big difference. A monumental one, in fact.

Why then? Because my goal is not to win the Daytona 500. I'm not even INTERESTED in being a fine-tuned race car with the extremely high maintenance that such requires. There's a perfectly fine middle ground between a junkyard-ready car that strains and struggles to even get to the speed limit on the highway and a high-performance high-maintenance race car.

Maybe I want to be a comfortable family sedan, running on regular unleaded all my life, getting routine oil changes, tire rotations, and brake checks. Or maybe I want to be that sporty little convertible on premium fuel getting regular mechanic checkups at the dealership. Or something in-between that normally gets unleaded, but sometimes gets premium or a fuel treatment. LOTS of variations that are perfectly acceptable.

Every time some diet book or diet guru or diet site starts in on "eat the RIGHT stuff", I don't have to look far for egg-white omelets and flax seed smoothies and tofu burgers. Sure enough, one of my first few blogs was bemoaning the fact that the first thing SparkPeople's menu planner offered me for breakfast ... was egg-whites.

So, that part of my rant out of the way (sorry, I seem to have ranted more later too), trying to look past my distaste and look at what I can and did do with respect to eating the right stuff.

I searched for, and found, a full-scale recipe, ingredient, meal planner, inventory, shopping list software. I tried it out for 30 days and bought it. I haven't been using it consistently right now because the recipes it came with don't scale well to microwaving for one person. But I have a library book on hold to pick up tomorrow specifically with recipes written with that in mind. My weekend plan is to find and enter at least two (hopefully more) recipes and make my menu plan for the coming week, then shop for that.

It's also one of my November goals to menu plan one week - as well as one of my Winter goals to get using the software consistently. (Which is easier said than done because it means double entry of everything. If you though tracking food was a bit of a chore sometimes, imagine doing it twice.)

So I consider Action Step 1 soon to be done to my standards.

Next ... I had to stop and ask what exactly are they calling "good" carbs. Since they put fruits and veggies on the next step, I was even confused whether they were calling them good or bad (or neither). Off following links I go. I think this one is the key one - particularly their three rules toward the bottom:

I looked through that list and ended up shrugging. I'm about 50/50 maybe, but reading through the list I find I have no desire to restructure my eating habits that much. I'm not eating the high-performance sports car version of meating every rule 100%. But I'm not eating the body-destroying version of doing the exact opposite of every rule.

More importantly, making my diet (again, the good definition of what I usually eat) over into someone else's ideal of healthy is not making a habit I will stick to. Sure, I could schedule in 3 fruits in solid form (not mashed, boiled, processed, juiced, etc) into every single day, like it or not. And I could find some legume, beans or peas to force myself to eat daily. But if I do it that begrudgingly because someone else is telling me to, it's not going to stick.

Reminds me of a seminar I attended some 15-18 years ago. One of the big points I remember the speaker making was being able to say "Don't SHOULD me." The point being that the ONLY person who decides what I "should" do is me. Others can point out pros and cons, tell me what's healthy or unhealthy, but only I can decide whether that means I "should" make that choice.

I look through my meals in the tracker over the last two months, and I'm actually quite pleased. Would some nutritionist agree? Would someone going 100% blindly by the carb Rules agree? Perhaps not. So I don't consider Action Step 2 done, and I don't know if Action Step 3 could be considered done daily.

I will grab a banana when I'm in the mood for one. I will have a veggie tray and crunch on celery, tomatoes, broccoli, and carrots. I will randomly buy things like cucumbers and eat half for a snack. I will get meals that have veggie sides like red pepper, corn, carrots, broccoli, and peas. I will have crushed pineapple with my cottage cheese, fruit preserves on sandwiches, fruit-filled cereal bars, V8 (low sodium) juice, and fruit juice. I will continue to enjoy my whole grain bread and my Frosted Mini Wheats (whole grain cereal =P). I will find recipes for stuffed bell peppers and/or tomatoes.

I will also have my spaghetti and manicotti and macaroni and lasagna without buying whole wheat noodles. I will have white rice. I will have apple crisp and ice cream. I will have chocolate in small doses. I will enjoy a cookie with my Subway sandwiches. I will use regular mayo and real butter, measured and accounted for.

I won't touch anything soy. I won't eat an apple a day. I won't add beans or legumes to my daily diet unless they're a natural part of what I eat. (Do refried beans in burritos count? ^_~) I won't contort my daily meal plan to include something I would not choose to eat otherwise.

Those are the habits I have and am building on. Those are what will last and serve me well.

And, disagreements and ranting aside, that is what I call eating the right stuff.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IILAAD65 11/26/2011 10:49AM

    I stick with the Spark food tracker. In the old days you could plan way ahead and make your grocery list for that. But I think people were abusing the system for points.. so they backed it off to one week.

BUT.. if I am "good" I can hit the grocery list, print it and go to the store with that.

Let us know how the new software does for you... looks like you have a bit of revamping to do to fit your needs.

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