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Not-so-great expectations

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

So, after the first week I was on Spark People, I was stunned on the first Monday because when I weighed myself, the scale said I lost five pounds. Which made me suspicious, because it's more than I expected (or actually wanted) to lose. Then before the next Monday, the scale said I lost another two pounds. Seven pounds in less than two weeks isn't outside the realm of possibility and I had seen it happen for other people. A sudden change in diet for the good can cause that kind of dip.

Then the next week, my scale said I was back up four pounds. It irritated me, because I was working out and eating almost entirely within my range. Fortunately, I saw this article
that week, so it put my mind at ease a little. Also, I knew I was retaining... stuff, and knew I wouldn't see the scale go down until it was gone. So I figured I'd bide my time, keep doing the good stuff and eventually, I'd see the scale move in a more favorable direction.

This week, I weighed myself again while getting ready for work and I was reasonably happy with what I saw. It tells me I've lost six pounds since I started with SP and C25K. I was pondering this while I showered (I do some of my best thinking in the shower) and suddenly realized that if the scale is right, I lost six pounds in three weeks. Which is pretty fan-freaking-tastic as far as I'm concerned! In fact, I'd anticipated losing about a pound and a half each week, so it was above my expectations. So why had I been beating myself up earlier?

I think it's because, even though I have some pretty realistic expectations about weight loss, when it comes to the number on the scale, I want it to show me a smaller number each time. And when that first weigh in showed a greater weight loss than anticipated, I still expected the number to go down from there. But the weight that made me unhappy was what I'd expected to see in the first place. It wasn't so much that I'd gained weight as it was that my weight readjusted to normal weight loss.

I need to wrap my head around the concept that weight loss is not just about seeing a smaller number on the scale. Sometimes the scale goes back up a little. It happens, there are any number of reasons why, and many of those reasons are not bad. The much, much better scale is this: I'm able to run all eight running intervals in C25K week one without cutting them short and anticipating moving on to week two next week; walking up the stairs of my condo has gotten a lot less painful and unexpectedly more lively; and I can see and feel a difference in my energy level, appearance and motivation level. While I need to pay attention to the number on the scale, this is the real reward.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GLYPNIRSGIRL 2/11/2010 12:47AM

    WOW! What a great blog Jen. I am so glad that I read it. I have stopped weighing regularly because I just find it un-helpful for the exact reasons you outlined here. Today I happened to step on the scale ... and I weighed exactly the same as I did 6 weeks ago. What gives with that? I thought that if I gave it long enough and I ate right during the wait, that it would be enough to see some movement. But that is still looking at the %#$#@ scale!!! With expectations of what is going to be there. I have to do more exercise. At 55, just eating right isn't enough. I want to be able to do that 5K in January and run the whole time. So I better get up and MOVE!

Your blog has really helped and I am so happy to see you doing so well!

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JENELOPE 2/3/2010 1:04PM

    I suspect it's a pretty common occurrence. I also suspect it may be one of those things people don't necessarily talk about because they don't want to follow up a "Yay! I lost a lot of weight" post with a "I gained, what gives?" post.

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LIZNIX1 2/3/2010 10:02AM

    I'm so glad I read your blog. I am starting week three and I have the same thing happening. I am determined not to quit so I tried to put it out of my mind, but it was bothering me a little. Now I am really looking forward to see what the scale says in two more weeks.

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Ready to get a move on

Monday, February 01, 2010

It seems that I am finally in a groove, when it comes to working out and eating well. I did C25K three times last week. It appears that adding it as my team goal was just the kick in the pants I needed. If I don't follow through, I'm not just letting myself down. Anyway, Friday was the first day I did all 8 running intervals without stopping early or starting late. It felt amazing! Of course, then I had to regress a little last night. I suspect that I may have been adversely reacting to trying to run in a long sleeved shirt. It just didn't feel comfortable. Plus, my iPod Shuffle kept coming unclipped, so that was awkward. But enough excuses, already! I've decided that if I do well with it the rest of the week, I'm moving on to week 2 next week.

I've also decided on my 5K goal race. I'm running the Detroit Race for the Cure on May 22. I'm already gathering my team. It's very cool! I lost my aunt and my mom's best friend to breast cancer, and it's about time I did something to honor them.

In other news, the bake sale I was volunteering with raised $2050.50 from baked goods alone, plus another $145 in cash donations and $300 in checks. That is in addition to what appeared to be at least 1000 donated coats. It was such a wonderful event and I met some really nice people. I love my parish! They're so generous and friendly. I did eat one of my cupcakes that was slightly damaged and not really sell-able. However, between formal exercise, getting exhausted from running around selling Catholics brownies and cookies, and the fact that I was too busy to overeat, I don't think the cupper did much damage.


So doggone tired

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Last night I left work at 6:00, went grocery shopping (and managed to forget peanut butter and bananas), got home, fed my cat and went to the gym. It seems the more I C25K, the more excited I am to go. Which is excellent! I'm still struggling to do the Week 1 program, but every time it gets easier. I ran a total of 7 minutes and 40 seconds. I shorted two running intervals because I just couldn't get enough wind. However, each time was only by ten seconds and they were the middle two (the 4th and 5th intervals). I believe that next time, I will do even better. Considering that two weeks ago 30 seconds was a struggle and this week is the first time doing it truly regularly, I think it's pretty darned good. I also suspect that some of my fatigue was due to interference from a four or five year old boy who was wandering around the track. His father was walking separately from him- which is against the rules- and twice he ran into the jog lane just in front of me as I was running. It's hard to keep breathing normally when you're telling a little kid to stay in the walking lane. He did it the second time just as I was passing his father who just smiled and shrugged when I waved toward the kid incredulously. I told him to tell his son to stay out of the jog lane. Running is hard enough without human hurdles!

After C25K, I did an upper body strength workout in the fitness room of the community center. It's been a long, long time since I used that room and everything was moved around. I like it, but it was confusing. I finished up my workout and went home at about 9:15.

Did you notice anything missing from my post-work activities? If you're thinking "Dinner," you're absolutely right. I didn't have time to have dinner until 9:30, which is way too late. Then I didn't get to sleep until midnight. It's no wonder that I hit the snooze from 5:00 to 5:42 this morning! This pattern can't last. I need to change something in my schedule to make it easier to eat and get to sleep earlier. I'm just having a really hard time figuring out what. My current commute is 38 miles across Metro Detroit (Canton to Auburn Hills). On a really good day, it takes about 45 minutes. On a bad day, it takes 1.5 hours or more. The most sensible thing would be to wake up earlier and work out then. The community center opens at 5:30 and is less than two miles from my house. If I woke up in time to get tooth-brushed and ponytailed and at the center's door at opening, it would work out exactly the way it needs to. Unfortunately, a wake-up without a snooze hit is like a white buffalo, as far as I'm concerned. I know they happen, but infrequently enough that it's really amazing.

I think I might use my "Other goals" to wean myself off my snooze button. I kind of hate the one on my current clock, anyway. Who's ever heard of a six minute snooze?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPINNER1010 1/28/2010 2:09PM

    Eating late before bedtime is not a no no
It is what you choose to eat that is a no no
The Zone diet advocates a healthy snack of carbs, protein and monounsaturated fat before bed to do two things. Induce better sleep and help in the repair of muscles used during the day.
An example of a healthy snack would be a bit of applesauce, a lice of cheese and some almonds (approx 6-8). It takes the fire of the belly
"The Zone" by Dr. Barry Sears is an excellent book that will change the way you see food

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How I baked cupcakes last night, but replaced guilt with pride

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Although I've never been much of a cook (I'm good at it, but seldom do it), I have always been a baker. Maybe it was that first obsession with my Easy Bake Oven, but I find baking so satisfying. I always get excited over my birthday, because I bake a different cake every year. For the past year or so, I've been fascinated by cupcakes. Of course, they're super-trendy right now, so it was easy to do. In November, I announced to my family that all I wanted from everyone for both Christmas last year and my birthday this year, was a KitchenAid stand mixer. The model I wanted has been on my wish list for years, but since it's a big ticket item, I never got it. This year, my family listened and got me my beautiful pistachio colored KitchenAid Artisan mixer. I spent the week at my parents' house randomly patting or hugging the mixer. It was a little nuts, I know.

Fast forward a couple of weeks from getting my mixer, and I'd joined Spark People and was finally getting serious about watching what I ate and getting in some exercise. My beautiful mixer sat on the counter unused and forlorn. Then I got a call from a lady at my church asking if I could bring a dish for a funeral luncheon. "Certainly," I said, "I can bring a dessert." That weekend after church, I saw a sign-up sheet for a bake sale this weekend. I immediately signed up to make cupcakes and another dessert which I make extremely well and get requests for.

I'm not going to get into what kind of cupcakes because I think it could be a bit triggery for food cravings, but I think it would have been pretty amusing to see me prepare batter in my mixer for the first time. I was trying to run the mixer on low speed while lifting the beater to clean it off and accidentally increased the speed instead of stopping. Batter went flying all over me and my kitchen. Then I did it again! I suspect the cupcakes taste good, because they're cupcakes. I don't know for sure because as soon as the batter was in the cupcake liners, I put the beater, the bowl and the spatula in the sink and ran water on them. No sense in tempting myself!

I'm baking every night this week and I'm pleased by the knowledge that I can do it without tasting. I'm also very proud of the fact that my baking will raise money to buy coats for needy people in my community and in the Detroit area. So let's see... I get to use my mixer, I get to bake fun treats, I won't gain weight, and I get to help needy people. Forget a win-win situation, I've got a win-win-win-win situation, here! It's awesome!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

L3DESIGNS 1/27/2010 3:43PM

    Great job! Baking without licking the bowl... Keep it up

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MEOWROWRIE 1/27/2010 11:20AM

    1) Kitchen Aid mixers are the best!!! Don't feel silly about patting yours - I LOOOOOOOOVE mine and would run back into a burning house for it!

2) You are more woman than I am - I made cupcakes last weekend and not only did I lick the bowl and spatula clean, I ate one that night!

My favorite thing about the KA mixers is that any attachment from any time in the mixer's history will work on a modern mixer. You could use your grandmother's attachments on your mixer or your attachments on hers! This means you could probably find good deals on attachments on eBay or at antique stores.

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POOHLA711 1/27/2010 10:59AM

    Nerves of steel, girl! Good for you! I would have been head first in that batter! LOL
I'm jealous of your stand mixer! I'm getting married in a few months though and I'm praying that someone gets it for me!

Keep up the good work!

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A new appreciation for cooking for one

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I made a pretty fantastic dinner yesterday. A co-worker gave me some frozen black-eyed peas, so I made Hoppin' John. I've never made or even eaten Hoppin' John, but when I think black-eyed peas, I think Hoppin' John. And Fergie, but that's a whole 'nother thing. My co-worker recommended smoked turkey instead of the traditional ham hock and bacon, so I bought a smoked turkey leg.

I set up most of the ingredients in the slow-cooker crock on Sunday night and put it on low before I went to work yesterday. Ten hours later, I came home to a delicious-smelling house and added the rice. I had five two-cup servings that will see me through the whole week. It's exceptionally filling, only 437 calories per serving, absolutely delicious and I'll be eating Skippin' Jenny all week.

The really great thing about cooking for one is that I have no other tastes to please, so I can experiment with new foods. Quite often, I have enough food to see me through a few days worth of eating. Since it's often after 6:00 before I get home, this is quite a blessing, especially since I like to eat dinner after I work out and it only takes minutes. Of course, the other side of this is that if I try something new and don't like it, I'm either stuck with it all week or I have to waste food, which I don't like to do.

All in all, I find I'm enjoying cooking for myself again. Now I need to work on eating at the table instead of in front of the TV. That could be a problem because my only company at dinner time is my cat. I wonder if I could coordinate dinner times with my parents, then call and ask to be put on speakerphone? That would probably make my mom happy (and make my dad happy since it would mean their own TV would be muted or off), and would be a neat habit to have. But it would necessitate being home while they're eating. Hmm.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PINKAMINGO 1/26/2010 1:10PM

    I have to get used to cooking for one. My problem is I don't like to cook for just myself so I don't make all the great things I used to make. One habit I have started is broiling up a whole bag of boneless, skinless chicken breasts all at once. Then I have them for a variety of things throughout the week. Although not always exciting.

What a great idea about speakerphone. Do your parents have a computer? You could try a webcam too.

Nice positive thoughts! Thanks for sharing! emoticon

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