Sunday, December 02, 2012
The BLC (Biggest Loser Challenge) #20 (Round 20) is coming to an end very soon. Our final, week 12, weigh-in will be on Wednesday. This blog is part of our weekend challenge.
O: Overcome the obstacles of the BLC/Holiday Break. Journal or blog your plan to continue your weight loss success during the break (one time points 1000)
Well, I don't really have nearly the obstacles in store for me that "Holiday Break" implies. No family drama, no food-related get-togethers other than the company one, no real craving for common Christmas goodies. Maybe I'll have a candy cane, maybe not. Those can last a stinking LONG time, but I've never been big on hard candies.
There is a single big company Christmas lunch (more like multi-course dinner around mid-day). However, even with a company owner who is very big on eating and pushing food, and multiple delicious foods presented, I haven't had trouble in past years with honestly saying no more by the time I'm starting to get full. I expect to eat well, enjoy it thoroughly, but also to get some extra walking in and eat less calories, more nutrition, for several days around. I've done it in past years because I just don't like stuffing myself to discomfort.
One thing I am doing during the break is I'm signed up to plan and run one weekend challenge (between Outlaws and Warriors). I'll be participating in the challenges run by others as well, staying active in our team chat. That will be a good weekly reminder to not slack off.
Beyond that, my routine is pretty steady. I'm honestly looking forward to not pushing quite so many fitness minutes. My goal during the break is to ease up some on minutes, ramp up some on physical challenges, reduce some of my excess treat-eating, and increase my main meal size rather than adding more snacks.
Excess treat-eating: I firmly believe in eating the same foods I enjoy. However, I've gone from having a single serving of a treat to having three or four treats, snacking through a day. Part of that came of more physical activity giving me more calorie room, so I filled it with more treats. I want to keep the treat I do have special rather than routine.
I'd like to see myself stably below 165 by the time BLC#21 starts, with less than 10 pounds to go to the goal weight I have SP set to. Yes, I am planning to do at least one more BLC - it has been fun and has given me several new strength-training exercises that I've made a regular part of my routine.
I actually have a different obstacle that I'm really going to be tackling head-on during the break, but that's a topic and blog I've been putting off this past week while finishing up NaNoWriMo. I'll be writing that in the next day or so.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
I've been meaning to do this some week, so here it is. This is my "haul" of weekly grocery shopping.
Yes, that's all to feed one person - but aside from the produce, most of it lasts more than a week. Alternate weeks have different larger staples I'm buying.
I get to haul all of that home on the bus and carried the last block or two. I use a backpack, duffel bag and a separate reusable grocery bag for the produce, then carry the water by hand. Total weight of all that is usually 40-50 pounds.
My landlord and landlady have a dog. Actually, I think he belongs to their son or stayed with their son somewhere else until he moved back here. When he was first brought here, he would run away, bark, even growl. It has taken many months to gradually get him used to me. Dog treats helped. Hey, I'll take any advantage I can get and I only gave him a small bit at a time.
More recently I've taken him out for walks, particularly on weekends when everyone else is away. They take trips and leave him enough food and water, and a door to the back open. A few walks and now I've become his BFF.
He now is very aware of when I'm home and will sit / lay in front of my door and "sing". It's not howling, more like pitched whining to make sure I hear him. I don't mind at all taking him out when I can. It's a 0.4 mile walk around the block, some of it standing around as he sniffs every blade of grass and some of it jogging along to keep up with him.
It might not be 4 mph cardio, but every bit of extra activity is keeping the body in motion and actively using muscle fuel.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Actually, I'm not talking about my blog getting straight to the point. Instead, I was thinking about the vision that many of us have related to losing weight.
Way way too often, we think of it as a straight line. Start at this weight, end at that weight - done deal. We think our graph will look like this:
The reality tends to be more like Billy's paths in Family Circus or, in the case of this particular variation, Kittycat's path:
(Copied from a blog, though I don't know where that blogger got the image from. Original credit is, of course, to Bil Keane.)
Now it's time I got to the point, wouldn't you say?
The point is that it doesn't really matter how many deviations your path has, so long as you work your way back in the direction you truly wish to go.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
On another forum today someone was talking about looking forward to the L-Tryptophan nap. I realized that in 43 years, I have never once sat down to a Thanksgiving dinner at which the goal was gorging myself.
Of course, the first 18 years that was because we didn't celebrate at all. Raised as a Jehovah's Witness, no holidays were celebrated. Even birthdays were marked by no more than being another year older.
My earliest Thanksgiving memory is in second grade. My parents had made sure I had the appropriate notes and whatnot for the teacher to excuse me from all holiday projects at the beginning of the year. I didn't make a decorated bag or cut-out pumpkins for Halloween or a flag for Veterans day. I got to work on a random non-Holiday project each time.
The Thanksgiving Day craft was creating Pilgrim or Indian outfits out of construction paper and other materials. I was given my usual make-work craft and had finished that. Being the independent thinker and doer I already was, I went to the teacher and told her that I knew my parents had excused me but that I wanted to participate. I remember the Pilgrim bonnet and apron I made and happily wore at our little feast - lunch out at one of the long benches.
(( Yes, I realize in retrospect that it seems like the teacher was helping me do something my parents said "no" to, but if I remember right the excuse notes they sent didn't outright say I couldn't do things, just that I could not be pressured and had to be offered alternative activities. It's the difference between a doctor's orders to stay off a foot and having an doctor's excuse to get out of P.E. if a foot hurts too much. The latter is left to the discretion of the person whether to do or not. ))
Why this comes to mind is that I can't even remember when I learned that people stuff themselves like turkeys for Thanksgiving. What I remember best was the stories of the Pilgrims. They arrived here in winter and it was horrible - nearly half of those who made it across had been lost by the time the harvest came around the following year. After so much trouble and struggle, they had a good harvest and they had a good relationship with the natives who had helped them pull through.
They held a feast to celebrate all the things to be thankful for - those who survived, a good harvest, a future that was looking up, good will between people.
Truly, while they did feast that day, there are three differences I think are pretty critical:
1) Harvesting is hard work. Heck, everything they did to survive that year was hard work beyond anything we go through in modern times. They "worked out" constantly as there were no machines, no refrigeration, no conveniences, and no guarantees. They worked long hours, mostly very physical manual labor.
2) The food, the harvest, that they were thankful for was going to have to last for months during which very little would grow or be available. They'd already gone through a very harsh winter. Without a doubt they'd have that in mind and not want a repeat.
3) The Pilgrims were Puritans. Puritans very strongly believe in simplicity and in the sinfulness of pleasing the flesh. Gluttony would have been considered a horrible way to show their thanks. The feast would have been more about the gathering than eating.
Makes me actually glad I've never celebrated in the "L-Tryptophan nap" style.
Of course, I'm no Puritan. I love food and see nothing wrong with pleasing the flesh IN MODERATION.
In fact, let me take that statement and say something more on it.
I LOVE FOOD
How often have I heard someone say that, how often have I said that, while eating something too fast to even register the flavors fully?
Consider the difference in eating ice cream.
One person takes a small spoonful, lets it rest on their tongue and melt just enough, biting any fruit or harder objects such as chocolate shavings, chewing enough to break it up and extract a maximum of flavor, smiling in that way that says "oh, this is amazingly good" as they swallow and take a moment to even savor the aftertaste, the recent memory and look forward to scooping a little more and repeating the experience.
Another person starts shoveling spoonful after spoonful into their mouth, barely chewing unless there's a choking hazard, swallowing as soon as possible so they can get more in. Enough flavor gets through via sheer volume that they know it is their favorite, but too soon the bowl or carton is empty.
Both will tell you they love food.
Both will tell you what their favorite foods are.
One, during the process, actually looks like they are loving and appreciating the food. The other looks like they are more in love with eating than with the food which becomes an afterthought.
Of all things, the food I actually learned this on was the Ultimate Cheeseburger from Jack in the Box. That thing is overkill, but (in my opinion, of course) delicious. I've eaten it ridiculously fast, on the order of 5 minutes. I had a vague appreciation of the burger, but while I felt stuffed I didn't feel particularly satisfied with it. I've also cut it in half and eaten it slowly, on the order of twenty minutes. That's right ... four times as long to eat half as much. I enjoyed, yes loved, every single bite thoroughly. I wasn't stuffed, but I was more than satisfied.
When we eat too fast, we miss out on an important part of the experience - the mind's appreciation of the meal. We get the aromas and basic flavors, our stomach gets filled, but our brain is sitting up there going "What?! That's it? No! I want more!"
I LOVE FOOD.
I love the entire experience. I love slowing it down and dragging it out, so my senses can be fully engaged. The aroma tickles my nose before any food passes my lips. My eyes light up at a beautiful presentation. My tastebuds dance with the first explosion of flavor across them. My ears perk at the crunches and snaps, even the occasional slurps that escape. My tongue delights in the smooth and the rough, the soft and the crisp, a world of textures to experience.
THAT is truly loving food and brings the experience from just loving the taste of something to loving the entire experience fully.
Take the time to make your next experience of food worth having, worth saying "I love food" and really meaning it at every level. Not because it is comforting or pleasurable in a life lacking those. Not because it smashes down some emotion we can't handle. Not because it is a habit or a necessity. Definitely not mindlessly.
Because food and our body's capacity to appreciate it is truly an incredible thing. Food fuels us, but we could be fueled with bland bread, water and supplements. Instead, we have the ability to eat a very broad array of food items, exploring a wide spectrum of flavors, colors, textures, temperatures, and more.
Treat the next bite like you haven't eaten all week and this bite is the only one you're going to get.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
And not from heat.
We'll see how well that picture comes out. That is the back of my shirt I wore at the gym this morning, after I'd finished my workout. The top little section at the neck - that's the only part that is dry. The front didn't fare much better. Whooo-eee.
Here's the latest shots:
17 Nov 2012 @ 169.5 pounds
Another three pounds this month. I'm in a little bounce up from my latest low of 168.5 pounds (which I sat at for three days, then bounced up a tiny bit for my Wednesday Weigh-In for the BLC#20 I'm doing).
This puts me at 81 pounds down from my starting point - and only about 15 pounds away from my "goal" of 155 (originally was set to 160, but I dropped it after some consideration). I'm leaving that goal really open-ended though. For all I know, my memory of my body at 150 pounds could be skewed and I could safely get down to 145. Or because of all my weight work, I could have more muscle / lean body mass and 155 be a stretch.
Really, even now I'm less concerned with the scale than the pockets of fat that need to be reduced - most notably around my torso and abdomen. They're the last to let go, and likely to take longer than hitting a goal weight to shift as needed.
Last picture has nothing really to do with the above. I've gotten into the habit of walking from work to a further away light rail station that gives me a 1.6 mile walk. The city I work and walk in for this has decorated a freeway underpass I walk through. Hopefully this picture shows what I mean:
It's neat to walk toward that in the dark. (Not so neat that it is that dark when I'm walking ... it's the one pitfall of losing Daylight Savings Time. But I wear my reflective bands from a Firefly Run, so at least I'm not hard to see.)
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