Monday, January 23, 2012
All right, I have a plan. I laid it all out, including pretty emoticons, in my last blog. That's great. But what I haven't had is follow-through or motivation. Friday I stepped on the scale to discover I gained FOUR POUNDS over a long weekend in San Francisco and two weeks to my own devices while DH was on a business trip. Blowing off workouts for an entire week did not help. Umm, yeah, that's a big ol' wake up call. Gaining weight is simply not an option.
This prompted some serious introspection. A perfect plan will reliably fail if I, or anybody for that matter, neglects to put it into practice. So what is holding me back from following through?
My first answer is not the SP PC answer: too much focus on my healthy lifestyle. Now before y'all freak out, hear me out. In general, vacation overindulgence aside, I am very, very good at maintaining a healthy lifestyle. And I'm even better at maintaining my weight. Losing weight is a lot harder for me. So I need to think more about weight loss. I'm still trying to avoid thinking about the "D" word, but I need to find a mental balance that will let me focus on shedding the pounds without being too hard on myself. (I suspect this sounds familiar to a lot of you...)
Eventually I came to two conclusions: I should think about losing weight in 5-pound increments and focus on taking off the weight. Close enough isn't good enough in this endeavor (yeah, I know I'm going to slip up but I need to focus on sticking to the plan and will deal with slip ups when they happen). To do this I need to view my (genetic and formidable) willpower as a super power and mobilize it. And I need to take things one decision at a time. For example, I REALLY wanted a cream-filled chocolate glazed doughnuts at a meeting on Friday. But I mentally hit the "WILLPOWER ENGAGE!" button and sat far out of reach of the doughnuts. And I successfully resisted! I continued this approach over the weekend, did a tough workout yesterday, and took off those four pounds. (Ummm, water weight?)
I'm done with luck and with being 176.1, where I've been stuck since before Christmas. Six pounds are coming off and I'm willing to work as hard as I need to do it. Willpower engage!
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Last year I wanted to lose 40 pounds but only lost 15. So this year I have about 25 pounds to lose - and my husband I plan to try to get pregnant this year, so I probably won't lose all the weight before then. And that's fine with me; I don't want to postpone pregnancy to lose weight. (I'm already 33 and don't have the luxury of time.)
Late last year I got burned out on my weight loss efforts and learned a lot about what works for me. Apparently I've been bitten by the New Year's Fever bug, because I feel the need to freshen up my program. My fitness will stay pretty much the same, with one substitution:
3 30-minute cardio sessions a week;
2 full body ST sessions a week, and here's the substitution: I'm going to swap out last year's Coach Nicole bootcamp videos with this year's, since I'm sick of the old ones;
one yoga session a week.
I really hate tracking my food and have a good feel for what and how much I should eat a day. So I'm going to stick to this rough plan, which should alleviate the need for strict tracking:
Breakfast: 1 cup cooked oatmeal (made with almond milk) and 1 serving of dried fruit, 1 tablespoon sugar-free coffee creamer, and a cup of Greek yogurt, for a total of ~450 calories;
Morning snack: ~100 calories of fruit;
Lunch: leftovers, salad, or sandwich to the tune of ~400 calories;
Afternoon snack: ~150 calories of fruit or popcorn or whole-grain crackers/pretzels;
Dinner: ~550 calories of lean protein, whole grains, and veggies, following the My Plate guidelines;
Dessert: 100 calories or fewer of pudding, hot chocolate, or dark Dove promises.
These guidelines put me at ~1700 calories a day, and my nutrition tracker says 1800 is my upper limit. Most days I find that I skip at least one snack and eat a slightly bigger dinner, but that's fine. I intend the plan to be a guideline that will help me eat well and within my calorie limits with minimal effort. (The latter part is key...) So if I just focus on making good, healthy choices for lunch and dinner everything should fall into place. Also, I'm hoping that sticking to a framework instead of tracking will help me sweep away those last vestiges of a diet mentality.
Sleep and water don't figure into my plan because getting enough of them is an entrenched part of my life; I don't even need to think about it. Eating right and getting my workouts in are still works in progress, but I'm getting a lot closer. And at the end of the day, that's really my goal for 2012 since I'm hoping that following the scale will not be an option for me come summertime.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
At the end of October I felt very overwhelmed and pulled in too many directions. So I decided to take a SparkBreak for two main reasons: to pare down the number of things I try to do in a day and to focus in on what is and isn't working in my wellness plan. And let me tell you, I learned a lot. Most of the lessons are still works in progress - life just seems to work that way - but I'm in a better head space and ready to come back, slowly. Here's a list of what I've learned in five weeks, in stream of consciousness order:
I am really good at maintaining my weight. My attention to both diet and exercise wavered, but one or the other always seemed to be going well; I never completely fluffed a week. And my weight held rock steady from before Halloween to the present day. Go figure.
Morning workouts ROCK. I pack my work clothes in my gym bag, throw on gym clothes, eat breakfast at work, and exercise 30 minutes later (gotta digest that breakfast!). I get in a great workout because I'm fueled and well-rested. The pride and sense of accomplishment stays with me all day - and boosts my confidence and self-image all day, too. I also seem to be more energetic. Plus it's one less thing to worry about fitting in over the course of the day; I'd found myself skipping workouts far too often because work gets craziest at mid-afternoon, which is when I used to work out.
I definitely spent too much time on the social networking aspect of SP. I'm going to be back online regularly, but not participating in teams and keeping my comments on blogs and status rather minimal.
Consistency is difficult for me. I seem to be able to be super consistent with either fitness or nutrition. And even when I'm doing well with nutrition, certain days slip away from me.
Perhaps the most important thing I learned is how to focus on a task and not my to-do list. The shift is small but extremely important. I am getting better at taking one task at a time and not worrying about what the rest of my list looks like or how long it gets. This has gone a long, long way to reducing my overall stress level.
Another big stress reducer has been learning to effectively triage and prioritize. This is most important at work, where I have a very high volume of stuff to deal with every day, but also at home where, as we all know, the chores never end.
I finally feel like I have a handle on my new job. Oh, the stress relief that brought!
I am normal sized. And, frankly, hot. Because I'm recovering from an eating disorder, truly believing that is a big hairy deal.
Even if I don't lose another pound, I am happy with my body. It works well and is happy. That makes ME work well and happy.
This lifestyle is here to stay. I like it too much to go back. So if I just hold even, I'm cool with that. I'm still hoping to lose, but I'm not going to kill myself or beat myself up if I hold even. I am the healthiest I've ever been, so who cares if I'm carrying a few extra pounds? They're not hurting anything right now. (If that changes, I'll re-assess.)
I am learning to live by Emerson's advice: "Finish each day and be done with it." I accept that I've done the best I could, even if that means too many of my calories came from York peppermint patties (darn them anyway) or the to-do list is longer than when I started in the morning. Sometimes life happens that way. Acknowledge it, move on, and start fresh tomorrow. (This is a biggie on the works-in-progress list. But I've made a lot of headway.)
Iron discipline is not necessarily a good thing. I need to relax and enjoy myself more often. My inclination towards iron discipline combined with my consistency problems caused me endless grief and self-recriminations. I'm done with that now. (Or at least trying to be.) I need to be more flexible and focus on my healthy lifestyle, not doing everything perfectly.
I missed you guys more than I thought I would!
Monday, October 31, 2011
Lately I've been feeling overwhelmed, mostly at work - which is where I do most of my Sparking. My weight loss effort level has been up and down, more down than up, and I keep beating myself up over it. I just need to free up some of the brain space being occupied by all my Spark activities. So I've decided to take a Spark break. I'm still going to exercise and eat healthy, but I'm not going to track and I won't be hopping online. I'm not sure how long this will last; I plan to try it for a month and reevaluate.
In the meantime, I'll miss you all. Good luck in all your endeavors!
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
My last blog was about me feeling stuck and frustrated. In it I mentioned that I'm frustrated because DH and I are getting closer and closer to starting a family, but I'm no closer to my weight loss goals. Well, I decided to turn that rationale on its head: I'm using our plans to light a fire under my butt to shed the excess pounds before I get pregnant. This weekend I realized that I have a golden opportunity in my hands: I have six whole months to focus on myself and my goals before my life utterly changes and my main focus will be on other, tiny, people. I realize that it is not only possible but also healthy to devote time and attention to yourself while raising kids. And I also know, courtesy of so many great examples right here on SP, that you can be a mom and lose weight. Yet it is never going to be easier than it is right now. Losing weight gets harder as you get older, and no one has discovered the fountain of youth. Losing weight takes a lot of time and effort, and soon I will have more demands on both of those things.
So. Clearly now is the time to work on ME and MY GOALS. As hard as it sometimes is, it is never going to be this easy again. The window of opportunity is about six months long (provided we don't have any scary infertility problems, which I'm not even allowing myself to think about) and I do not want to squander it. These are my new mantras:
--It's never going to be this easy again.
--Now is the time. Don't squander it.
-- I have six months.
This is very motivational for me and in a very positive way. Yes, being in better shape will be better for the would-be babies. But this is the most important thing I can do for myself in a long, long time - possibly for life. (Or at least this is what I'm telling myself, since it keeps me going and I have no idea what my future will bring.)
I am also a very visual person. So I took little reusable flags and stuck one on my monitor for each pound I want to lose. The flags are in groups of five and each time a group disappears I get a reward. They're a great visual queue for how much I have left and how much is already gone. Plus it's a super easy way to track both my progress and how much I have to go before my next reward. And don't worry, I'm rewarding myself for other things, too, not just the pounds. I reward myself for every 10 100% days I have, which is a great way to keep me focused on the process.
Separately, I had two big wins last night. My work pants situation was getting pretty dire: I only had one pair of dress pants left that fit. And they didn't fit that well - and were quite faded. Yeah, those poor things have served their time and are due for a peaceful retirement. I hate shopping when I don't know what size I wear or what styles will work. Thank goodness for Ann Taylor Loft - they had a great sale and a super helpful clerk. I walked out after 30 minutes with 3 pairs of pants and a dress and without $140. This may seem steep, but normally their pants are $70 a pair and dresses are $100. The pants are pretty, machine washable, well made, FIT, and look great. I'm a happy camper.
After my little spree, I met DH for dinner. We went to a place we'd never tried before called Seasons 52. They specialize in fresh, seasonal food. Many of their ingredients are organic and/or locally sourced. We didn't realize this when we decided to go there, but every item on their menu is 475 calories or fewer - which they state right at the top of the menu. Win!!! That takes the guess work and guilt right out of the equation since it is literally impossible to make a poor nutritional choice. I had the tomato carpaccio (fresh tomatoes, the barest drizzles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, fresh basil, and a teaspoon of goat cheese), grilled trout, asparagus, and roasted potatoes. OM NOM NOM NOM. DH had tuna and avocado rolls, filet mignon, mashed potatoes, and carrots. Yes, his serving size was small. But it was satisfying and nutritionally sound. We passed on dessert, which is a variety of 300-calorie shot glasses of decadence, because I didn't have quite enough room in my calorie budget. But I love that they have the calorie counts readily available and that there are so many delightful choices. I think we've found a new favorite restaurant!
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