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New Year's Progress in January

Monday, January 31, 2011

As part of my goal-setting, I decided that I would keep track of my WEEKLY calories as well as daily, so that I could look at some of the trends over time rather than freaking out about missing my goals on one day...and then blowing the rest of that day.

With my caloric goals from SP, I determined that every week I would need 8400-10850 calories, 1141-1652 carbohydrates, 224-392 g fat, and 420-889 protein. Here's how I shaped up in January:

Week of Jan. 3:
Calories: 15838
Carbs: 1840
Fat: 493
Protein: 603

*At the end of this week, I decided to also keep track of my alcohol consumption; even though I didn't think I drank that much, I still would go out and have a few drinks with friends a couple of times a week, and I wanted to see how much I was really drinking. Point of reference: 1 beer/1 glass wine = 14 g alcohol

Week of Jan. 10:
Calories: 16424
Carbs: 1735
Fat: 473
Protein: 604

Slightly higher in calories and protein...slightly lower in carbs and fat...but still nowhere near my weekly goals! I had always let myself go on the weekends, but you can see that this is really sabotaging my efforts!! Worst of all, my total alcohol (in grams) for this week = 572. WOW!!! I had no idea that the "few drinks" I would have with my friends (martinis, margaritas, etc.) were adding up to this much!!

Week of Jan. 17:
Calories: 12862
Carbs: 1260
Fat: 379
Protein: 488

This week was much better. I was still high on the calories, but everything else fit within my overall goals. I could see that a couple of the choices I made had a HUGE impact on my weekly totals! I also watched myself on how many/what drinks I had when I went out with my friends, and managed to cut the total alcohol (in grams) to 367 -- a whole 205 g less than I consumed the week before!

Week of Jan. 24:
Calories: 11962
Carbs: 1352
Fat: 343
Protein: 508

Better still! I'm not quite into my target weekly calorie range, but once again I substantially cut my caloric intake. Still within goals for everything else; slightly higher carb and protein intake, slightly lower fat intake this week. Total alcohol consumed (in grams) for this week was a total 250 g -- 117 g less than last week.

I can see that I still have work to do, but I've made a lot of progress targeting my efforts. Last year, I figured that as long as I met my goals through most of the week, I could cheat on the weekends without sabotaging myself. But I was almost 6,000 calories over goal one week...almost a whole two pounds that I could have lost if I had stayed on track. I'm slowly changing my habits so that I can fit within my goals every day, every week, but still not feel deprived.

I'm glad I decided to look at weekly trends, because if I hadn't I would have kept letting myself cheat on the weekends and I never would have realized how badly I was sabotaging my own efforts! Now it's just a matter of finding a sustainable way to stay on track for the week, and let myself have a treat when I've earned it!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STANBUSH 2/8/2011 12:08AM

    Are we related or something? I like to analyze all that stuff too!!!

Good post... good for you. Get it done!

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ARMYMOM46 2/1/2011 10:10AM

    Awsome idea. This should work for you. People have thier own ways on how to loose wieght but you have the right idea. Good luck with this and keep up the great work emoticon

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APIRLRAIN888 1/31/2011 11:24PM

    awesome! keep it up

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JRZG8R 1/31/2011 6:06PM

    Tracking will really help you and as long as you meet those weekly goals you will do great.

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2BEHEALTHYAGAIN 1/31/2011 5:31PM

    I never thought of tracking weekly, but that was sure a great idea! At least now you have identified your problems and can go on from there. I'm confident that February's numbers will be much better!

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BLEIGH711 1/31/2011 12:37PM

    I think thats a great idea. Keep up the great work. Please keep us posted on your progress!

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AMBERADAMS1 1/31/2011 11:33AM

    Great way to look at the bigger picture! Good luck with this method!

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JACKIMOON 1/31/2011 11:27AM

    This is a great idea! emoticon

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Stressors in my life?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I just joined the Official Stress Busting Challenge, so I'm going to do what I've always sworn to never do because it's just too depressing and actually catalogue all of the stressors in my life.

The big one is work. Since I started with this small environmental non-profit two and a half years ago, we've had 11 people leave (out of a staff of 9). In March, our water policy director left for a better opportunity. We finally replaced her in the interim months, I did her job and mine (despite a knee injury that had me laid up for May and June and in physical therapy until the end of July). Our new water policy director was amazing; unfortunately, she left at the end of November. So I'm back to doing both jobs again. Oh, and two employees were fired 6 weeks before our annual forum, so I got to do a good portion of both of their jobs as well for most of October and the first half of November.

I'm a city commissioner with the Go Greener Commission, and it takes a lot more time than I originally anticipated. I started a new educational program about phosphorous in lawn fertilizers and there's been some controversy within the commission over I've been spending a lot of time researching and finding justification for the program.

I'm also a founding member and monthly columnist for the local independent newspaper. So in addition to working 60-70 hours every week, I also research and write at least 2-3 articles every month. And I have to attend monthly meetings (luckily at a brewing company) and help with distributions and advertisements. So that takes up a good chunk of my time too.

I wanted to start grad school this fall, but because I spent most of the year covering other people's jobs in addition to mine I didn't get a single application finished. Not. One. This is the second time I've put my educational goals on hold for my job. The first time was in 2008...and after Obama was elected, I honestly thought that the country was ready to start addressing our pollution problems and we would be able to make some positive changes. But politics and the ambivalence of Americans to the fact that the way we grow crops, raise livestock, power our homes, and transport ourselves is slowly poisoning all of us is just more stress, so I'm going to skip right over that big disappointment and move on to the other stressors.

My last boyfriend and I split up in March. No one since. Seeing as how I don't have time to sleep as it is, I really don't feel too broken up by that. But my cousin, who is almost three years younger than me, just had her third baby so the whole family is pressuring me about my biological clock. Which I will get to in a moment. This ex is still calling and texting me, and I feel really guilty about a post-break-up incident at his sister's wedding, so I have no idea how to handle the situation. He's a great guy, but not right for me. But I don't know if we can be friends now. Add in the fact that over New Year's, another ex started hinting that he wanted to get back together, I'm drowning in exes, but no new guys that I actually want to date.

As for the biological clock, I turn 28 in a couple of months. Not that old, really, but it means that all of my friends are getting married, having kids, and/or moving in with their significant others. In the last year alone, two friends have gotten engaged, three have gotten married, and another two have had babies. I'm not ready yet, I know that, but still.

As for turning 28 -- a couple of months ago my dad told me I was pushing 30. SO NOT TRUE!! When you're only 27, you are not pushing 30! But ever since, I've been panicking. I keep thinking that I see gray hairs (luckily, none so far, but I'm still freaking out about it!) and wrinkles. I know, at 27 I shouldn't be panicking about this yet. But I am, and it's causing me a lot of stress.

I'm starting to panic again just looking at this list! My whole life is stress. That's what I run on; stress and caffeine, and cigarettes. Now I'm trying to quit smoking, so just stress and caffeine, and more stress. Maybe I just need to find a new career -- but I love my job!! I love the work I do. I just don't like the work environment (no pun intended) and the excessive hours. I like being single with no kids, but my friends are all at different points in their lives, it seems. Maybe I need new friends?

And I'm a perfectionist. On top of everything else, all of the extra work I have to do, I'm a perfectionist AND a bit of a control freak. So I can't delegate, or put together a quick rough draft...I have to do everything perfectly and I just don't trust other people to help me with anything. And I hate it when anyone knows that I'm not perfect, or if anyone thinks I'm not in control, so I don't talk about anything. I don't talk about my problems, or my feelings, not even with my parents. My brother is the only one I trust that much, and he just moved to Pennsylvania in September.

Argh!! As long as I can keep everything pushed to the back of my mind and only subconsciously let it out while I'm on the treadmill or beating up a workout bag I manage to not be overwhelmed. Not sure it's the healthiest way to go, but there it is. It's how I cope. Hopefully this team will be good for me, and teach me to get all of this out and stop worrying.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRI_BABE 1/28/2011 1:05PM

    I want to join this challenge!!

At any rate, I am now in my (late) 30's and I love it! I would NOT want to go back to my 20's again, I guess as they say, with age comes knowledge and the older you get, the more you know that is true. It would be like someone asking you if you would want to go back to elementary or middle school again - Yikes!

And, if you keep exercising you don't need to worry about it anyway. Most of the time I get carded when I go places and (sort of annoying - ) get asked what school I am interning for. It's the exercise (and OK, good genetics LOL).

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LEGALLYBLONDE81 1/16/2011 10:01AM

    You sound a lot like me. But you also sound like you follow your passions and live with a lot of integrity, and that will take you SO far (stress and mental health-wise). Someone suggested to me that I schedule 30 mins a day to worry. I don't seem to have that down yet, but worth a shot.

How's the running coming?

Also, I AM pushing 30. 27 is not pushing 30. And it's just a number. Live your life. If a relationship and kids aren't what you're looking for this minute, that's OK. If they are not what you're looking for in 8 years, that's OK too. If they are, then there's still time for that.

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JRZG8R 1/12/2011 1:10AM

    You are where you should. Mates and job resolution will come in their due time. Better to be patient then have a string of bad marriages. People want green yards and plants. Just be sure to give them alternatives to get what they want and the fertilizer thing will resolve too. Where I lived in FL they implemented gray water systems which keeps the lawn green, turns the sewer plants into profit centers and spreads the impact so that it is a benefit.

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BROOKIEWINS 1/11/2011 3:53PM

    i hope the challenge goes really well for you - i know that once i identify what the problem really is, it's easier to make choices so it doesn't get so bad. you're a busy lady, and if you enjoy it, great!

having had a serious career streak in my 20s that ended with a nervous breakdown in my 30s (left long relationship, moved to another state, got a new job because of it), i encourage you to do what you love with gusto, and leave the heavy weight of guilt and worry behind. i know that sounds cliche, but it will stay with you until you make it smaller and smaller.

you get to drive the bus. if you don't, you can't complain about the destination.

BTW, i just got married in november, and i'm 37 (he's 42 and it's first time for both of us). life definitely does not end at 30 - in fact, for some of us, it's just getting started.

good luck! emoticon

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LOOZINITNOW 1/11/2011 1:31PM

    Make this year the year to eliminate that stress. Stress is a major ager. Time to take a deep breath and take care of you. Don't stress about the age thing. I am 41, no gray hair and feel better than I ever have.

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JACKIMOON 1/11/2011 1:19PM

    Good for you to list all of your stresses out!

As for the 28/guy situation...

I broke up with my ex when I was 28. I've dated people, but no one serious as of yet. Not to scare you, but I'm 31 now and still single. But, I'm happily single. My family saw that and stopped pushing me. I don't let them push me either. I'm tired of wasting time on guys who aren't the right one. It can't be helping at all right?

My friend has this sour milk theory...

You know how you have this carton of milk sitting in the refrigerator? And it's a couple days past it's sniff it...and put it back? Then a day later you do the same thing...until you throw it away?

That's kind of like those ex's you have. You have to throw them away. No matter how many times you give them a shot...there is a reason it didn't work in the first place and it will always be that way.

Side Note: My friend is happily married!

Hang in there. It's hard when your friends are getting married and having babies. Find some single girlfriends and go out and have a good time. And remember that you aren't tied down to anyone, you have control of your own life and don't need to consult anyone else on anything you are doing! Talk about STRESS! emoticon

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SARAHNICOLE__17 1/11/2011 12:18PM

    I just finished the stress busting challenge. I collectively chose to do the challenge at the same time as the sleep better challenge.

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I guess you have to hit the bottom of the chip bag before you can come back up...

Thursday, January 06, 2011

I was so excited about the new year. Even though I had been splurging on cookies and candy through the holiday season, I felt like I could get back on track pretty easily. But I've missed a few steps, apparently!

This week, I did pretty well...lots of salads and raw veggies, seeds, nuts, and other healthy foods. And then last night, I went through two jars of nacho cheese, a whole bag of tortilla chips, and almost a whole six pack of beer. Don't ask me why I even bought it all! It just seemed like a good idea at the time!

I've never had this problem before. I could usually stop at one small glass of wine, and I never ate more than 2,000 calories in a sitting since I started with SP almost a year ago. For some reason, I lost that moderation ability in the last month. But now, I know that I need to watch myself. I don't have the self-control to stop at one or two chips, so they can't be in my house. I don't have the self-control to stop after one beer, so they can't be in my house.

I've heard that cheese is addictive. It stimulates the same part of your brain as other drugs, and is often a favorite of emotional eaters because it can reduce the symptoms of depression. Maybe that's why I always want nachos? Or maybe over the holidays I so badly OD-ed on sugar and carbs that now I'm partially addicted to the sugar rushes, and I just need to break the addiction?

My parents have a theory...I crave cheesy foods because I'm not getting enough of all my amino acids. I'm a vegetarian, so I guess this is possible. But I'm so careful -- I eat a wide variety of beans, whole grains, vegetables, and cottage cheese/greek yogurt regularly. At my last physical, I didn't come up deficient in proteins or iron or calcium, but I was a little low in B-12. My doctor didn't even prescribe shots for me, though. She just told me to incorporate a supplement into my regiment.

I don't know why I have been craving all of these carbs, but I'm treating it like an addiction at this point. Cold turkey for at least 21 days (that's the length of time it takes to break an addiction, right?) and then slowly incorporate a few things back into my diet. I'm going to make sure I have plenty of yogurt and raw nuts and such on hand, in case it is the protein I'm craving. And I'm going to buy some detoxifying tea, and drink that whenever I've had a bad day at work and want a beer.

If this is a response to stress, which given my 70-hour work weeks and multiple volunteer commitments is entirely possible, then I need to find a healthy way to let it out. I was already resolved to train for a 5K and do yoga more regularly; now I am really committed to making sure I have an exercise plan that will help me release that stress in a positive way.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I love cheese. Cottage cheese was a huge vise for me. I could eat an entire carton before I stepped away from the fridge.
I personally found that eating a cheese with more flavor helped me eat less. I am now hooked on smoked Gouda cheese. A very small amout does the trick for me. I also only do veggies. I started drinking hot green tea with lots of lemon juice. Seems to help my winter heavy carb cravings. Still trying to figure it out. For some reason I don't like sugar stuff. But, I will fight and run for the Gouda. Good luck with tring to figure it out.

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SARAHNICOLE__17 1/8/2011 10:58AM

    Interesting! I crave cheese the most. Never junk food.

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AML05030 1/6/2011 9:55AM

    Relieve Stress in POSITIVE ways is KEY; I am right there with you. I am visiting my boyfriend this week in MA (I live in VT) but he still has to work which leaves me with alot of boredom (not the same as stress, but it can have the same result). I need to figure out what to do with this time that DOESN'T involve baking or nibbling on foods. GOod luck with your future 5K training! Keep up the positive attitude! It really does Pay off!

GOd Bless!

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The 411 on Triglycerides, anyone?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

After months of nagging after his almost-heart-attack, my dad finally went to his cardiologist for a check-up. Having been diagnosed with COPD and sleep apnea, and having surgery to fix his deviated septum to fix both problems, I think he was expecting to hear that he was cured.

Not so -- it turns out his triglyceride levels were excessively high (yes, not just high, but EXCESSIVELY high) and he is pre-diabetic. His cardiologist told him to visit a dietitian and go on a short-term low-carb diet to get his triglycerides and blood sugar under control. I didn't even have to nag this time, he set the appointment up himself.

Then, the next evening, he got a foot-long tuna salad sub from Subway...and told me the dietitian said he was allowed to eat it. Hmmm....

What does everyone know about triglycerides? I did some basic research, and it seems like he needs to eat lots of raw veggies, some fresh oily fish like tuna and salmon (though not fish salads that are mostly mayo!), and moderate amounts of whole grains. Is that right?

Don't get me wrong, I love my mom to pieces, but her idea of cooking is adding pesto to a jar of marinara sauce and throwing it on top of pasta (with lots of cheese) for an Italian bake. I want to take some recipes over and teach them both how to cook the right foods for his new dietary needs, but I'm afraid that I'll feed him the wrong foods.

Has anyone here gone through this before? I bought him the American Heart Association cookbook for Father's Day, but he 'lost' it...what kinds of foods does he need to eat?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEBRAC219 9/8/2010 8:12PM

    He doesn't have to do away with bread, just use common sense. Whole grains in moderation is fine but yes, dropping all the white stuff is a good first step..sugar, anything made with white flour, white rice and pastas, etc. Just a good healthy diet without the junk like sweets, sugar, and white grains will be a lot of help for both the diabetes and the triglycerides, and it's a good plan to keep down the fats. The type of eating recommended by the AHA and the same type recommended here on SP, an allaround healthy diet. And if he has COPD, hopefully he doesn't smoke. (That's how I got my COPD, those stinkin' cigarettes, and also how many people wind up with it) I hope that your dad is able to get the triglycerides and sugar under control, and a healthy weight makes a big difference in keeping the COPD from advancing more just breathe better without the extra pounds.

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SUZIEGREY 9/8/2010 2:29PM

    Like Amberadams1 I have always believed excess carbs, especially processed carbs, were the main culprits. I hope that you are able to find some recipes that they enjoy. Changing to wholegrain bread and pasta and brown rice should help.

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AMBERADAMS1 9/8/2010 12:41PM

    I don't have any recipe suggestions, but I do know that high triglycerides is mainly caused by excess carb consumption. When you consume more carbs than your body burns off as glucose, they are stored in your fatty tissue as triglycerides. Stored triglycerides are what causes weight gain and high cholesterol. If you can convince him to do away with bread, white potatoes, pasta, and sweets he should see tremendous improvement.

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Before I turn 30...

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

In honor of receiving invitations to our 10-year high school reunion, my two best friends and I are compiling a joint "before we turn 30" list. I'm feeling good about this list; every time I feel like I'm in a rut, I'll have to look at it again, just to remind myself that I've come so far!

Let me know what we're missing! Everyone should join in this debate; life is not a solo activity and I won't know what I'm missing until someone tells me!

30 X 30:
1. Learn a foreign language
2. Take a spontaneous road trip
3. Take a martial arts class
4. Play in the rain
5. Play in the mud
6. Kiss in the rain
7. Ask out a stranger
8. Take a midnight walk on the beach
9. Take a kayak/canoe trip
10. Raft the Snake River
11. Visit at least 3 national parks
12. Hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
13. Ride a horse
14. Hug a tree
15. Swim with the dolphins
16. Climb a mountain
17. Go scuba diving
18. Go sky diving
19. Visit a foreign country
20. Go backpacking
21. Volunteer for something worthwhile
22. Find a career, not a job
23. Learn to tango
24. Get political
25. Be able to say "I did it!" at least once
26. Brag about yourself
27. Take your parents out to dinner
28. Realize that you're a role model
29. Feel real happiness
30. Look in the mirror and loved who you've become

I learned Japanese. I spontaneously drove up to the Dunes for a day (didn't even have my bathing suit, but it was worth it!) I took Tai Kwon Do and Aikido. I play in the rain every time it rains, and in the mud whenever it rains enough. I kissed in the rain, even if he wasn't Mr. Right. I asked out a very casual aquaintance, I maintain that it counts. I kayak almost every weekend in the summer, and even own my own kayak now. I've ridden a horse. I work for an environmental non-profit, of course I've hugged a tree (now I just need to chain myself to one). Does Canada count as a foreign country? I volunteer as a writer for an alternative newspaper, at the humane society, and at the womens shelter. My job is definitely a career! I'm a commissioner for the city council. I've said "I did it!" at least ten times just looking at this list, and I think admitting that IS bragging. I've not only taken my parents out to dinner, I've taken my grandparents out to dinner. And I like the person I'm becoming, even if I'm not all the way there yet.

So that's more than half my list. I'm going to take a two-week vacation next summer to backpack through Yellowstone and Glacier national parks (and hopefully the Tetons too), and I plan to raft down the Snake while I'm there. I plan to start my masters in 2011, and I am already filling out paperwork for the Masters International program through the Peace Corps, so there's another foreign country and more volunteer work (plus personal growth).

The rest can wait...if I make it all the way through this list before I'm 30, then what will I have to look forward to?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LILLYPILLY24 9/15/2010 3:54PM

    What a great list! Looks like a 'I'm not wasting MY life' sort of list to me. The things you can put on your new list when you're 30 are limitless (learn ANOTHER language! :) )

Good for you!

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THE_SILVER_OWL 9/2/2010 10:16PM

    I am so glad to see that you are LIVING YOUR LIFE!



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CAPECODSANDI 9/2/2010 4:53AM

    Tell the ones you love how you feel about it often!!!!

This is great. I have a bucket list of things I will do before I meet my maker. I check them off as soon as I accomplish them! Life is way too short to let it pass you by! Have a fantastic day! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SUZIEGREY 9/2/2010 3:23AM

    I love this. There's nothing worse than hearing people of my age and older banging on about all the things they wanted to do, but never got round to because of fear or idleness. I'm pretty sure you'll never reach that stage. Keep on with the list and enjoy life.

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