40,000-49,999 SparkPoints
DAMIENDUCKS's Recent Blog Entries

weekly retrospective

Monday, February 02, 2009

I know, I know, I just posted montly retrospective last night, but that had a slightly broader focus, and I think these weekly retrospectives have really been helping me take stock of my recent progress and setbacks and incorporating that awareness into the my thinking to inform the coming week, so you get a two-for-one (of sorts)...I'll try not to be too repetetive, though!

Food. Nutrition is still giving me a bit of trouble (or rather, I'm giving myself a bit of trouble when it comes to making healthy choices regarding food). It’s not even subconscious—I know darn good and well that opting for pepperoni pizza dipped in ranch and washed down with orange soda is in *no way* better than having a bowl of bean soup (which is already made, no less, and simply needs to be reheated). In fact, making choices like that undermine not just my physical fitness goals, but also my financial fitness goals—it’s not terribly cost effective to buy pizza when you’ve already got good food that needs to be used up, you know (even if it was frozen pizza, it may be cheaper than delivery, but it’s still more $$ than bean soup, right!)…

One thing that was happening a lot in the past few months is that we’d get home from work and after work activities (i.e. workout or errands) and what we had on the menu would suddenly be not at all appealing (either we were too tired for such an ambitious recipe, or we’d not be in the mood for that type of food, or we were missing key ingredients that would require a trip to the store, or we were plain starving and wanted food post haste) and for whatever reason (I didn’t say they were good reasons!) we decided that it would be easier to order pizza, so we went that route. Lately we have been better about ordering pizza, but we’ve started hitting up the freezer section at the grocery store (since it’s a scant half block walk and substantially cheaper than Pizza Luce, our default delivery option)…while this is good from a financial standpoint, it still isn’t helping on the nutrition end…but something else we’ve been doing is whenever we run across the street for a frozen pizza, I’ve been picking up some of the bulk pre-washed spinach and making a small salad to eat while the pizza cooks. Last night, by the time I’d finished the salad, I was getting full, but the pizza was done, so I had 2 slices anyway (which is half what I normally scarf down, so that right there was an improvement) and ended up feeling stuffed—the moral of the story is that I think if I’d waited 20 minutes or so after the salad, I’d have been totally full and not needed the pizza anyhow…so my thinking is that next time I’m tempted to run for pizza and greens, I’ll skip the pizza and just get salad fixings. If I’m honestly still hungry after the salad, then I’ll go back for the pizza…but I’m betting I won’t be making many second trips.

So that’s food—now on to exercise: I am totally thrilled by my exercise regimen last week…
Sunday – bike ride
Monday – rest
Tuesday – strength training (upper body)
Wednesday – running
Thursday – yoga class & elliptical
Friday – elliptical
Saturday – bike ride
I still have some trouble some days maintaining my resolve to work out once I leave work but between blogging on SP (and all the support on the site in general) and my natural stubborn resolve to do what I say I’m going to do even if I don’t terribly want to, I’ve managed to stay on track pretty well.

So…the challenge this week is (once again) mostly on the nutrition end of the equation…let’s see if I can manage to conquer my lazy default setting for pizza and actually eat healthy food this week! And of course, keep up the exercise routine!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

APRILCORRINA 2/2/2009 7:11PM

    I know how you feel--I was all gung-ho about my Michael Pollan guidelines, but I caved and had Pizza Hut/Pepsi last night (which means I had TWO pizza meals this weekend, yikes!). While I was doing homework, I asked Chester to go through some of my Weight Watchers cookbooks (they have some pretty good recipes) and pick out some recipes that sounded good to him, so hopefully that means my eating this week will be much improved.

I have this nasty feeling it's all about habit formation and getting to where the occasional pizza is a novelty. Also, I like your "spinach priming". :-) Focusing on adding veggies to meals is more enjoyable than focusing on ousting foods like pizza, I think.

Good work on all the working out you did last week! I spent all of January being impressed with how many fitness minutes you were getting. Keep up the good work!

Report Inappropriate Comment
JENONTHEROX 2/2/2009 5:47PM

    ugh pizza is a tough weakness I too well understand. I have no idea how I broke my craving for it last year... I think my drive became stronger than this pizza weakness. I guess the only thing I can think of would be to make your own pizza... either buy or make a wholegrain/wheat crust & load it with some tomato sauce, veggies & feta...

Report Inappropriate Comment

Jan/Feb Goals

Sunday, February 01, 2009

My basic monthly goals were simple and straight forward (and since they worked so well for January, I think I'll carry them forward to be February's goals, as well):
1) run for 20+ minutes at least 10 times
2) attend yoga class at least 4 times
3) bike at least 40 miles
4) run a 5K race
And I'm happy to report that I achieved all four in January. I ran a 5K on New Year's Day, I had 10 runs of at least 20 minutes, attended 6 yoga classes, and biked 41 miles for the month (and we're not talking stationary biking here...only the real deal!) I rewarded myself a touch early with a new pair of workout pants (I sorely needed another pair to add to the rotation, though, since that allowed me to make it a whole week of workouts without having to wash laundry!) And since I went and rewarded myself mid-month, I wanted to make sure I'd actually earned the reward by the end of the month! (No fair, to cheat, you know!)

I also tried a new motivational strategy--I told John that for every star I got on my fitness calendar for January, he'd get $1 to put toward a mystery reward for me...and since I got 24 stars on the calendar, my mystery reward is going to be an under-seat tool wedge and a multi-tool for my bike! Yay! Now I will be able to fix my own mechanical mutinies on bike rides! This strategy worked really well, so I think it too will be carried into February!

And I lost 3 pounds in January (slightly less than I was hoping for, but I'll take it!) So January was a rather successful month, esp. in terms of setting up a good activity routine and sticking to it! And now what to do with February?

I want to carry a few goals forward:
1) run 3 times a week for at least 20 minutes each time (a stint on the cardio equipment in inclement weather is an acceptable substitute for up to 2 runs per week)
2) attend at least 4 yoga classes
3) ride at least 60 miles (February should be a titch warmer, so I expect to do a bit more biking than I did in January)
4) run a 5K race (with perhaps a better time than the last one?!?! just have to beat 42 minutes!)

And I want to add a couple:
5) strength train both upper and lower body twice weekly (I often wish I had more muscle tone, and I know there's only one way to get it...so back I go to the iron weights!)
6) stay within my calorie range at least 6 days a week (I've been having trouble keeping my nutrition under...not control exactly--I don't like the connotations of that word...but yeah...it's been kind of all over the place lately)

So my focus in February is on maintaining the exercise routine I got into during January, and adding some strength training and better nutrition into the mix. And for rewards, I think I'll get myself a new yoga mat as a reward for my regular goals (since the back window of the car got smashed in this weekend, I had to throw my current mat away b/c it was covered in tiny glass shards, and I wasn't sure I'd be able to shake all the glass out--wouldn't that be a nasty surprise mid-class...yeeah...no) So a new (not pink!) yoga mat is the new reward, and I'll have John do another mystery reward based on how many stars I get on the calendar!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Awesome job of meeting all your goals in January! How exciting! I'm sure you going to have no problem conquering the February goals either! I am intrigued by this mystery reward. Does John get to pick it out??

Report Inappropriate Comment
FISHLIPS76 2/2/2009 11:22AM

    I love your goal setting system, it is simple but motivational! Mind if I borrow some ideas from you?

Great job in surpassing your goals, and for setting even bigger ones for February. We're rooting for you! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
NVR2HEALTHY 2/1/2009 11:05PM

    I'm sorry to hear your back window was smashed, ugh!

On a happier note... congratulations on achieving your goals! WooHoo!

Report Inappropriate Comment

Talking me back into it...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Warning: the sole purpose of this blog is to talk myself back into working out this evening...and I need it...

I got home from work a few moments ago, and the plan up until I walked into my kitchen was to quick like change into gym clothes and head straight back out for the Y, do ~40 minutes on the cardio machines, go to a bodyflow class, and then come home and relax...as I said, that *was* the plan...but then I walked into my kitchen and let me tell you, it's not pretty. We have been super busy this week, and thus we (OK, *I*...it is my week to wash dishes) have neglected doing the dishes...since Monday (wtf, I know).

This wouldn't probably be such an issue, but we don't have a dishwasher, so I can' t just load a machine up and go away...sigh (this is a design flaw that will probably be corrected with our next abode, but I'm not about to move until I have a good reason). All of which means there's a really daunting stack of dirty dishes that have materialized in my kitchen. And i really want to do them instead of go work out (scratch that...I really want to lay about on the couch with the cat, but if I had to pick an activity, the elliptical would lose the battle). Such is my quandary. And I think the girl who lives above us got dumped again, b/c she's playing Gilbert O'Sullivan's Alone Again on a loop at a deafening roar again...I know I'm not being terribly sympathetic, but frankly it's not exactly motivating me to exercise with all the slow sad music...

BUT...back to the talking myself INTO working out...seeing as I went to a bodyflow class just yesterday (and I'm still definitely feeling it!), I think I will be OK if I skip the bodyflow class, but seeing as we had pizza for dinner last night, I think I better hit up the cardio today...sigh. I think the worst of it is that it's my week to do the dishes (we trade on a weekly basis) so I have only myself to thank for the mountain o' grimy plates and cooking pots. That I still get to wash when I get home from ye olde gym.

But on the bright side, I always have more energy after I work out, so even though I'm feeling tired and shlumpy now, I'm sure when I get back I'll feel more energetic/ambitious and will at least have the steam (if not the desire) to do those pesky dishes...and perhaps go and do something fun tonight as well (after all it is Friday...but I'd like to at least get a start on the manual labor...)

OK...off I go to the gym (and I'm posting this on the internets, so I have to hold myself to it, right!? ;-)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MRSTUCKER812 1/31/2009 11:45AM

  It's Saturday now, so ofcourse this is too late. But, for future reference... a good way to get in a decent workout at home when facing the dishes is blast some good dance music while you clean. I do this a lot when I have to do dishes and clean up the kitchen and it works! You'll move around more, get a little workout in, and bam! Your dishes are done! woohoo! so, did you end up going for sure? :D

Report Inappropriate Comment
FISHLIPS76 1/30/2009 6:46PM

    Yes, get to the gym! You've inspired me to do the same, I have been laying on my couch (with my cat), and thinking about how I really should be working out. I'm in, if you are :-)

Btw, I am still cracking up about your poor upstairs neighbor's self-pity party. I only laugh because I have done the same thing in the past!

Have a great workout.

Report Inappropriate Comment

Strange benefits…

Thursday, January 29, 2009

When I started at my job over 3 years ago, I sat through the usual “your benefits package and you” meeting and I wasn’t too concerned about any of it (benefits were nice, but basically I was just thrilled to have a steady paycheck again, since after graduating, my main occupation had been a couple months of unpaid internships in publishing—great for getting experience in the industry, but not so helpful with paying rent!)…and after that introductory meeting to my benefits, I never really gave them much thought.

But there are a few strange benefits that my company provides that, although I shrugged them off at the beginning, I have grown to appreciate more and more in the last few months…for example, every Tuesday and Thursday, the cafeteria hands out free fruit to all employees (they say limit 2 pieces per employee, but if you go just before the café closes, they don’t care how many you take, since then they don’t have to deal with the leftovers!)…so lately I’ve been snagging free apples, oranges, and bananas (banana days are particularly exciting for me, since John is so allergic to them I can’t even keep any in the apartment)…they also have free skim milk on tap during lunch hours (which would be stellar if I drank milk), and there’s 4.2 miles of walking trail (which they plow in winter!) on campus (which I use whenever I get a chance). Not your average benefits, but I think they’re really cool…

Anyhow, I’m not bragging here, I do have a point…I was talking to one of my coworkers who’s worked here for 30+ years (egads, I know), and she was here the year they started the free fruit/milk program (back in the 80s), and it was really inspiring to hear why it got started up…the company was a lot smaller then, and one of the high-level execs went in for his annual physical and ended up discovering he had some health problems cropping up…he was notorious for living off the junk in the snack machines, so he was told by the doc that he needed to eat healthier (i.e. cut out sugary drinks, eat more fruits and veggies), esp. for snacks, and that he should exercise more. The exec apparently made an about face and turned into a health nut over the next year or so. Over the course of that year, he decided that if it was good for him to live a healthier lifestyle, it would be good for his employees, too (and healthy employees cost less than unhealthy ones in the long term!). So the free fruit and milk programs were started to encourage people to eat healthier and snack on good food instead of junk—a very novel idea, I think!

After learning this, I was sitting here today munching on my free apple and contemplating what I want to do for my exercise tonight, and it occurred to me that it’s really cool that someone took the time and went to a little expense (after all, somebody pays for the hundreds of pounds of fruit they give away each year) to give their employees the opportunity to have healthy snack options when they really didn’t have to… it’s really inspiring that someone used their clout to help all the little people, too…and very cool that the company has continued that practice long after the exec retired (and through a couple mergers, even)…And when I get snacky at work, I pretty much always have a piece of fruit handy at my desk (not that it always works, but…it certainly helps!)…it sort of makes me wonder what I could be doing for other folks, too…

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STEFANIE822 1/29/2009 7:02PM

    That is so awesome! You are definitely lucky to have that at your hands!! Its even better that you are taking advantage of it and eating healthy at work instead of utilizing those dreaded snack machines. Great job!!

Report Inappropriate Comment

    Wow, that's really neat to have that at your job! You should track that guy down and send him a thank you note. :)

Can I come work where you do? I work for the County and it SUCKS. ha ha

Report Inappropriate Comment
JENONTHEROX 1/29/2009 1:28PM

    that is seriously outstanding... what one person can do & influence, especially in a workplace.

I work in a women & children's hospital & even there, the cafeteria is completely toxic where the prep bar has slices of pizza, the cooks prepare fries/burgers/hot dogs, greasy breakfasts. Rows of vending machines.The prepared foods like chicken dishes/pasta etc look unfresh & tasteless. There are bins of fruits, veggie cups with dip, but there is always way more room for effort -- especially in a friggen hospital! The lunch fitness yoga or pilates or bootcamps are expensive & smack in the middle of a busy 12 hour workday & I think the prices alone discourage people. AND... there is no gym at the hospital. Most hospitals these days do have a fitness center. Anyway I'll stop venting... I just think it's terrific that you work in such a positive environment like that!

Report Inappropriate Comment

Great Googly Moogly!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

First of all, thanks for all the input yesterday--it really helps!

Which might explain why I had a surprisingly good day today...I spent most of today in meetings, oddly looking forward to running after work (I made an appointment with my running buddy for an outdoor run--just what I needed!) And I ran after work as planned! And it was a great run (finally--it's been a while since I've had a truly enjoyable run!)...we ran 30 minutes despite it being a tad on the chilly side!

In addition, I was REALLY good about food today! Healthy breakfast, healthy snacks, healthy lunch, and (gaspy gasp gasp!) I made a tasty salad (spinach, candied walnuts, apples, blue cheese, and homemade balsamic vinaigrette) to have as a first course with dinner (which was sloppy joes...a dinner that usually happens sans vegetables for us!) So I'm happy on two fronts...first that I had veggies with dinner (not much, but better than nothing!) and second that I filled up on salad, didn't have seconds on sloppy joes, and skipped ice cream for dessert (despite John whipping up a bowl for himself). All in all, a good day!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TMAC10 1/29/2009 10:27AM

    good for you! :) sounds like a great day all around! you are rockin it girl!

Report Inappropriate Comment

    Yay! I'm so glad you are feeling better! I can't wait until I can run outdoors. Lucky girl! ;)

Report Inappropriate Comment
APRILCORRINA 1/29/2009 12:01AM

    "Gaspy gasp gasp" = :D! Hooray for a good day! As for me, I wasted too much time looking at the Bike Porn forum on mplsbikelove and then I got too hungry and had cereal for supper instead of the healthy beans and rice I had planned. Oops! So props to you for the salad, sloppy joes (after all, cooking at home almost always trumps eating out/ordering pizza) and NO ICE CREAM!

Report Inappropriate Comment

First Page  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 Last Page