Thursday, April 29, 2010
Vacation is almost over (boo!), so I thought it was high time that I tried to get another post done while everything is still fresh in my mind.
We have had a wonderful time cruising up the coast of California, Oregon, and Washington to Canada. The stops in San Francisco, Astoria (Oregon), and Victoria (B.C.) have been delighful. Cruising is addictive; if you've been on a cruise once, you are likely hooked for life. Being able to unpack everything once while visiting a variety of places is great. The question is, are you cruising for the places you'll visit or for the incredible food that is available all the time?
I was a little concerned that I would not be able to resist the food on board. There is an unlimited supply of food, and so much of it is not just good, it is AMAZING--and it's mostly included in the price. You want an appetizer? How many of each? Dessert? Why have just one--have two or three, they're small, and they're all so good. Calories, what calories? There's no way to be sure the calorie count of much of anything except maybe the fresh fruits and vegetables.
So how have I done? I mean, this is VACATION, this is once a year, we paid enough for it that there should be no limits . . . noooo! If I were on a diet, maybe that would be the case. I'm not dieting any more, though; I'm changing my lifestyle from being unhealthy and overindulgent to reasonable and healthy.
Without being able to get on a scale, of course, I can't say whether I have gained, maintained, or lost weight on the trip. I have, however, felt good about my choices overall. I have enjoyed some incredible meals, including desserts (black forest gateau--oh my!), but where possible I chose lighter fare, things like seafood and chicken, salads without heavy dressings, with occasional small tastes of richer foods. I have cruised before, and it was easy to get in the habit of having lots of everything, with dessert at lunch AND dinner every day, but that hasn't been the case this trip. I haven't felt deprived at all, either; if I really wanted something, I've had it, but I've tried to balance things out. If lunch was fairly big, dinner was lighter.
I have used the fitness center a few times, but I've found that on days when we visited ports, I didn't need anything extra--we took the stairs and walked everywhere. In San Francisco, I had over 13,000 steps; in Astoria, it was over 14,000. Even in Victoria today, it was almost 10,000 steps, and with all that we still plan to do this evening on board, I'll cross that number easily.
Now of course I don't mean to say that I have always made the absolute best choices possible. There was the cookie that was calling my name one day and I listened; the pasta in cream sauce that looked too good to pass up; the mini chocolate croissant that is available at breakfast EVERY MORNING. I don't have any regrets, though, or a sense of guilt over the choices I made along the way, and that is a big deal. That's progress for me, being able to enjoy food without either feeling guilty for eating something or deprived and angry because poor me, I can't have what I really want.
That is ultimately what I am working towards, making peace with myself and with food and exercise. I want to find that place of balance within where I don't feel like I am at war with the things I want to eat and the things I feel like I should eat. I crave fresh fruits and vegetables much more now; I don't have to have something sweet at every meal, although I'm sure I could go back to that without too much trouble. I love to walk these days, so I'll take the stairs nine times out of ten and have no problem keeping up with anyone else who is walking--actually, I can leave my hubby in the dust if I'm not careful because once I get started, I GO, LOL! On days where we have been at sea all day, we have made it a point to do walking laps around the ship (two and two-thirds laps equals one mile, and we do at least three laps).
The one thing I haven't done too much of that I was hoping to on this trip is run. I tried it on the treadmill in the fitness center aboard the ship, but the wave motion made it difficult, and I found myself very self conscious because of how crowded it was. It's been cool enough and again, I'm self conscious enough, that I have not gone to the jogging track to run, either. So far I haven't been able to run much more than two minutes at a time, so I don't know whether I'm just wimping out and not pushing myself hard enough or that's really all I can do at this point. I'm not going to worry about it right now, though; if I have to start from the beginning with C25K or with a more conservative plan when we get home, I will, and I will progress at whatever rate I can. I'm not going to give up; I may never be a fast runner or particularly good at running, but I'm going to run.
So I'm pretty happy with how things have gone on vacation. We have enjoyed our time on board and ashore, and it has been a lot of fun having friends on the cruise with us. We have enjoyed some great entertainment and activities on board (Second City, Oh What A Night Tribute, and a murder mystery dinner, to name a few), seen a lot of sights in port, and done a TON of walking both on board and ashore. I could easily spend another week on board if it weren't for needing to go back to work to make money to pay the bills, LOL! The one real problem I have with being on a cruise is having to limit my Internet time--I MISS being able to keep up with what's happening with everyone, so for that I will be glad to get home in a couple of days.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
We are on the transition day of vacation, going from staying in Anaheim for a few days to boarding a cruise ship in a few hours for a week long cruise up the West Coast. We have had a wonderful visit here seeing sights, visiting old haunts, and spending a day with family; now it's time to finish up packing things for the cruise and enjoy that part of vacation.
I was disappointed to discover that we wouldn't have the Internet access I had expected here. We've had some, but it's been sporadic so I haven't been able to do much on SparkPeople other than spin the wheel (gotta keep getting points!) and read a few blogs from my Spark Friends. You all really help me keep my focus when faced with SO much temptation! I have managed to get in some good exercise and stay active throughout the trip so far, and eating has been pretty good. I was only over on calories somewhat on one day if I'm anywhere close to estimating things right, but I still think I ended up with a calorie deficit because I had a nice walk/run and kept moving throughout the day. And if I can believe the doctor-style scale in the exercise room here, I am almost to the 30 pound loss mark, which was a real shocker! I'm hoping they have one of those on the ship; it provides a little sanity check to make sure I'm not underestimating portions and calories too badly.
This really is a test of how well I'm making these changes a 'lifestyle' instead of a 'diet.' Ten days of no measuring cups or spoons, no cooking on my own (other than breakfast) or having foods with the nutrition info available and plenty of opportunities to go back to the old way of eating and being a slug in terms of activity will be enough to show me whether I am really making changes for life. So far I think I'm doing well; I crave fresh fruits and vegetables still (where can I get a good, crisp salad, please?) and I take the stairs every opportunity I can. I'm not depriving myself entirely; I had dinner at Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant, but I ate half and brought half back for another night, and when told pie was included with my lunch yesterday (half sandwich and salad), I ate the whole piece because it was SO good. But I would not want to have that every day, and I had spent time on the treadmill in the morning as well as walking throughout the day.
Okay, coffee is ready and bagels are toasting, so it's time to log off and shut the computer down. Thank you all for your support; you are so much a part of the changes I have been able to make and the success I've had so far!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I had a wonderful long blog all written about my weekend adventure . . . and then my computer lost it. Sigh; it's been that kind of a day!
Over the weekend I went to a women's retreat in the mountains at a rustic location with NO cell phone coverage and NO Internet access. Talk about having withdrawals, LOL! It was a wonderful time, though, with lots of fellowship and laughter and tears on the part of everyone.
I was a little concerned about how I would do with food since there are always tons of snacks out 24/7, and the retreat food is not particularly low calorie. They had healthy options available, however, so by paying attention to portions and choices, I did okay.
The best part of the weekend for me was Saturday afternoon during free time. I was determined to hike, whether anyone went with me or not. My husband had been at this retreat center a couple of months earlier, and he went hiking with a group to a waterfall; he said the hike was about 7 miles. I really wanted to see if I could do the same hike, although I had forgotten my hiking boots and just had my running shoes, so I set out to find the trail. After a bit of wandering and a false start, I finally found the trail and started off in search of the waterfall. I hiked and hiked, climbing up and down hills, scrambling over trees, and occasionally hunting to see exactly where the trail went. I crossed a couple of creeks (or maybe just one twice) on bridges (hurray for maintained trails!) and eventually came to where the trail from the retreat center met up with the Forest Service trail. Ah, maybe I was getting close! Before long, I heard water--could it be the waterfall? No, not the waterfall, but at least the river that the waterfall was on.
The trail went close to the river, then farther away, paralleling it for quite awhile. I was getting tired and beginning to wonder if I was pushing it too far--no hiking boots, no hiking stick and all alone, with no cell phone coverage if anything happened. Then I came to a steep hill that basically would require climbing up tree roots to get to the top and over; at that point I made the decision reluctantly that I had gone far enough. I'd been hiking for over an hour at that time, and of course I still had to go all the way back.
Going back, I stopped and rested quite a bit more frequently than on the way down, but it still seemed like it was quicker going back than it was going down. At one point, I heard something in the woods off a bit; it wasn't a coyote or a bird or a squirrel, it was something MUCH bigger and definitely not human. My guess from the sound of it was a bear or possibly a moose bellowing. For some reason, I found the energy to pick up my pace a little until I'd put some distance between me and whatever that thing was, LOL!
When I got back, I was hot, tired, and sweaty, but not as exhausted as I would have expected. And I wasn't even sore the next day, which surprised me. Based on the steps my bodybugg recorded (over 14,000!), I'm guessing I hiked at least 5 or 6 miles--not quite the 7 that the guys hiked, but a quite respectable hike for someone my age and size.
I marveled a little at the difference in me. A few months ago, I would have been out of breath just walking around the retreat center because it seemed like everywhere I wanted to go was up or down a hill. Instead, I was able to do a little running on some relatively flat trail and hike for over 2 hours without it bothering me a bit. I may not be quite ready to run a 5K, but I have no doubt I can walk a 5K even if it's on rough terrain, and eventually I'll be able to run one.
And now it's time to go finish packing for vacation--almost done but not quite, waiting for the last few clothes to get dry before I close things up. I wish like everything that I had scheduled to take off tomorrow, but there was no way my boss would let me add a day--she's already a little freaked because I'm leaving early tomorrow and she has so much she wants me to get done. I have a little more confidence after the retreat that I can go on vacation and enjoy myself without derailing this healthy lifestyle I've been working on. Happily I will have Internet access on vacation, though not constantly, so I won't have to go through complete SparkPeople withdrawal again, LOL! You all have become family and are part of any success I've been able to achieve on this journey; I need you to help me keep going the right direction.
Oh, I got on the scale today, curious to see how the retreat affected my weight: down about a half pound from Friday! It IS possible to have fun and still keep moving the way I need to! Woo hoo!
Friday, April 16, 2010
For the challenge this week, we are supposed to review our goals for the Spring Into Summer challenge. It happens our team, the Blue Sky Birds, just did this, so what we are doing is including what we are doing to reach those goals. So one more time, here are the goals I set for myself during this challenge:
1 .Consistently do 3 sessions of the C25K plan or some variation of it per week and sign up for my first 5K (modified from 'complete the C25K plan and sign up for my first 5K').
Because of some physical issues (knee pain and exertion headaches), I've had to scale back on my running efforts. After a couple of weeks of very minimal running workouts, I have more or less found a happy medium in both running speed and schedule, so I am happily running three times a week again. I discovered the headaches come if I'm pushing myself to run too fast or for too long, so I have to be content with keeping my speed down and gradually increasing the length of my running intervals. Totally goes against where I am in my brain, but in this case mind over matter doesn't work, I have to listen to the body God gave me. Wow, learning to listen to my body and work with it instead of against it--what a novel concept!
2. Maintain or LOSE weight while on vacation.
Ah, that's the big one still ahead of me. I start vacation on Tuesday (COUNTDOWN IS ON!) and will be gone 12 days, so cooking at home to keep things under control is not an option. It's going to be a matter of portion control and reasonable selections, but I have more confidence now that I will be able to do that. I'm planning to have FUN and ENJOY my vacation, but I don't want a couple of weeks of fun to undo what it's taken me three months or so to achieve. There 25 pounds off my body that I want to stay gone forever!
That's just part of developing a healthy lifestyle, though, isn't it? Learning to have fun without letting that become license to throw that healthy way of living out the window? I know when I'm happy with myself, I don't *need* to stuff my face with everything within reach; when I'm not, though, food has always been my comfort. I am working on changing that.
So that's what I'm doing and what my plan is. This weekend will be a little mini-test for me; I'm going to a retreat for a couple of days where I don't have control over what is being served, only what I choose to eat. Add to that no access to my food tracker (eek!) or any way of checking calorie and nutrient counts, so it should be interesting to see how I do.
I'll let you know how it goes. I'm going to miss being able to log on to SparkPeople and keep up with everyone for the weekend; you have become a part of my family in a very real sense, even though we only connect 'virtually.' Thanks for helping keep the Spark going inside me, my friends!
Friday, April 16, 2010
I went to a concert tonight (Newsboys), and it was SUCH a great evening! I spent more time on my feet bouncing around and dancing than I did in my seat--added a lot to my step count and calorie burn, that's for sure.
It happened that I read AHEALTHIERME9's blog today, YOU HAVE GOT TO SEE THIS! www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3123299 and watched the video link she posted to the season opener for Oprah's show from September. I hadn't seen it before, and it was amazing--Black Eyed Peas performing "I've Got a Feeling" and then the crowd slowly but surely breaking into a choreographed dance to the music. So that song has been in my mind most of the day--it's just such an upbeat, joyous song, it makes me want to move.
When the Newsboys concert started tonight, guess what song they opened with? Yup, "I've Got a Feeling"--talk about getting an audience on their feet and moving right from the start! It was a high energy night, that's for sure. There was an extension to the stage that ran out into the middle of the audience, and to everyone's delight they used that quite a bit throughout the concert, coming out and shaking hands with people while they sang and getting the audience involved. At one point the whole band moved out to the end of that extension and performed there for awhile. We were maybe ten seats away from it, so I've got pics and video on my cell phone. I may be slightly more deaf from the volume and hoarse from singing when they called on the audience to participate, but it was SO worth it!
This all got me thinking about how strongly music can affect our mood and attitude. Finding songs and music to get us moving and keep us moving in the right direction then continuing to listen to that is one more way that we can keep the motivation alive to keep us moving in the right direction. It's hard to keep from smiling and moving with the right music playing, especially if the volume is cranked up just right!
Many years ago I studied music in college. Music that's written in a major key generally has an uplifting, positive sound to it; if it's written in a minor key, it tends to sound a little more melancholy and sad. I am working on keeping my life in a 'major key' and not letting the bumps and bruises take me down into a 'minor key.' In the long run, those bumps and bruises really are minor, though they don't feel like it at the time.
One of the songs that the Newsboys do is called "Stay Strong" and is definitely going on my playlist for working out. Here's part of the chorus:
"Stay strong, you are not lost,
Come on and fix your eyes ahead
There's a new dawn to light our day, our day
We've gotta stay strong, you and I run
For the prize that lies ahead
We've come too far to lose our way, our way
Get up, there's further to go
Get up, there's more to be done
Get up, this witness is sure
Get up, this race can be won
This race can be won!"
That's my theme song right now--I want to stay strong and keep going, keep getting up until I win this race. It's music to keep me moving; have you found yours yet?
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