Thursday, February 02, 2012
Honestly, though, I don't take full credit for it. I wasn't the one to approach her, after all. But still exciting that maybe, if it suits her, she may be yet another person helped by all the tools here.
How did it come about?
I have a notebook I take to the gym every day. In it I write down the relevant information - how many minutes on the cardio, which cardio, how many calories and miles the machine says, which weight machines I've done and the weights and numbers of reps and how many crunches and obliques I've done.
Yes, I'm obsessive like that sometimes.
This evening as I stepped off the elliptical, another woman approached me who had been on one near me. She also had a little notebook. She asked me if I keep track of all my workouts that way and I explained that I write them down and then track them and what I eat here on SparkPeople.
She'd had a similar experience to mine with the high high pressure Personal Trainer sales pitch, but knew she couldn't afford it. So she was looking for somewhere that could give her some help figuring out what things to do and let her track them.
I wrote the website down for her - and sincerely hope she finds her way around.
Silly me didn't think to put my username. So I have no way of making sure the site doesn't overwhelm her with how many things it is possible to do.
Here's hoping. (Or hoping I see her during a future visit if she has more questions.)
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
So my status today referred to something I'd just learned the other day - cottage cheese, that wondrous way to boost protein, is also a "wondrous" way to boost sodium intake.
See, I knew I was getting a lot of excess sodium out of my lunches. I eat packaged meals. It's pretty much a given that most of them have somewhere in the 600-1000 mg range of sodium. BUT, that's less than half the daily allowed amount. It wasn't making sense that I was just blazing past - given that the only thing I've actually added salt to is scrambled eggs and that a tiny sprinkle (dash).
Until just these last couple of days, I did not know how or where to see how much sodium each food I tracked during a day had other than going to the nutritional info one by one. Rather time-consuming, so I didn't bother - and just sighed when day after day I was bouncing around way over the maximum recommended amount.
Then I discovered one of the reports is a completely nutritional review and shows the sodium column (since I have it set to track). And that's where I'm suddenly learning about higher sodium quantities in things I wouldn't even have considered a problem.
Number one (and the big thing on my status) is cottage cheese. I love cottage cheese. I can eat it plain, though I prefer it mixed with a cup of fruit in juice (pineapple most often, but mixed fruit with pears and peaches is okay too). It's a great way to make sure I meat my desired 80g of protein. And I've always eaten 2%, so fat isn't an issue either. Turns out my 1 cup (8 oz) of cottage cheese is a whopping 880 mg of sodium.
As I say in my status, I knew that milk had a sodium content. I learned that a long time ago trying to figure out why dipping french fries in chocolate shakes tasted soooo good. I discovered there was a healthy amount of sodium in the shakes and in milk.
But milk (1% being what I prefer) has around 160 mg of sodium to about 130 calories. A Wendy's Frosty has 100 mg of sodium to about 170 calories. Cottage cheese? A whopping 880 mg to about 200 calories.
So tonight I bypassed the cottage cheese and went for some canned white albacore in water. Nice lean protein. With around 270 mg of sodium to 100 calories. Which pretty closely matches the cheeses I usually eat.
I'm grateful I don't normally have issues with sodium. My desire to control it a little better isn't because of a current health problem. It's to avoid a future one.
I don't, and never have, been a salter. I never reach for the salt shaker at a restaurant. In fact, while most people love french fries, I would only get them on very rare occasions ... when I had a salt craving. That usually only happened if I was drinking a LOT of water (10-12 or more glasses). I blamed milk for keeping me from craving salt much.
Now I'm having to really rethink things. Sure, packaged foods have quite a bit of salt. But even foods I don't automatically think of as salty have both natural sodium and, in cases such as cottage cheese, ADDED sodium. (I looked. It's on the ingredient list that they added salt.)
Ah, the sodium traps are well-laid. But now I know to watch for them.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
It's a funny thing trying to come up with new goals for February that are realistic and achievable, but also a challenge. I looked through all the Fast Break Goals and found I could break them into categories:
1) I already do it, so there's not much challenge to it
2) I know that doing it now isn't feasible
3) I have no interest in it as a habit for me
4) It's not really applicable to me
This is not to say there aren't some great goals in there. It's just that in terms of planning some February goals, nothing jumps out of that list to say Oh, yeah, lemme do this!
I will do my usual weight goal. But I don't consider weight my real focus it's a side effect of what I'm doing, and a good measure each month of the all-around effect of tracking food, drinking water, and working out. I'm also a little ahead of myself since my January goal was stably at or below 220 and I've been 215 today and yesterday.
I was thinking to aim for lower sodium, but was frustrated that the SP tracker doesn't show it as a column. I just discovered a report that shows me the sodium column. I'm a little shocked at where a big chunk is coming from and need to actually check the nutrition label since it's something I used the generic listing for
Beyond that, I've been feeling a bit stuck to come up with a goal. February having 29 days makes it tempting to have a set of 4 weekly goals and then leap day to combine them or review them or something. But what to do ...
After coming up short, I spent part of this afternoon searching around on the internet on the topic of goals. First I came across a George Harrison (yes, the Beatle) quote:
If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.
And then I came across this site / webpage and the initial introduction:
If I was as organized and as purposeful as I wished to be I would
Now those really hit home. One thing I'm really lacking in, and have been for a long time, are dreams.
Certainly I have plenty of hazy ideas of what I want / need. I want to be healthy and fit, to be financially sound, to overcome my emotional baggage, to go back to school and change careers. But, similar to my goal weight, it's more of a nebulous and changeable target that is just to point me in the right direction. I don't know where I'm going any more than a settler pointing west and always aiming for the setting sun.
I do have dreams of a sort, maybe I know what I'd like to do if I won the lotto and had a few million dollars. But I consider those daydreams, not the kind of dreams to build goals and priorities and a life toward.
No, this isn't mid-life crisis stuff. Even if I never create dreams, I do constantly work toward improving my condition, toward better survival. I am an optimistic realist I see it how it is and I think it can be better if I work for it.
So the next step in my adventure, I think, is deciding to go somewhere rather than just aiming myself in what is generally the right direction.
I need to flesh out my health and fitness goals a bit more. Most notably, I need to put the results I want into positive terms. Right now most of my idea is that I want balance, so I don't want to be the gym-goer who spends 1-2 hours on cardio daily, grunts through extreme weights to tone. I don't want to eat tofu and sprouts and reject sugar or bread or pasta. Those are all negatives to indicate what, in my mind, is going too far for me. I need to draw the positives.
In addition, I need to flesh out my dreams in other areas career, relationships, community service (volunteering), creative writing, hobbies, and more.
I need to figure out what my big rocks actually are.
1) Weight stably at or below 210
2) Keep sodium consumption below 3200mg
3) Each week decide on one long-term goal each for health and fitness
4) On the last day, use the long-term goals to create at least two March goals
5) Pick one other life category and work out a goal to work toward
Sunday, January 29, 2012
I included a nice long hot shower at the gym at the end of my workout. MMMMMMMM, good.
I'm seriously feeling more fit, too. Like I can do a squat now without my knees aching. Might have to try a few lunges just to see.
I may have to break up my weight training though. Saw that SparkPeople doesn't recommend more than 60 minutes, and I'm not sure how long mine is - but I spend 2.5 hours at the gym those days between the cardio, the weights, more cardio, crunches and stretches, and changing.
Got my weekly grocery shopping done today, so tomorrow is mostly laundry and cleaning my room plus gym time for cardio.
Last few days I've just been feeling like life is good. I can look up at night at my favorite star, look around during the day and enjoy the hills in three directions, delight in puffs of clouds. And today was warm enough to pull off the coat and walk around with short sleeves midday.
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