Sunday, June 13, 2010
In last Sunday's blog (also my last blog), I laid out a plan of how I hope to get through the next two months - which will be absolutely insane at work, it being summer - while continuing with SP. I laid out four simple goals: Good nutrition, drink my water, exercise, and get enough sleep. So to keep going on this I am going to do a weekly check in and examine how I'm doing with each of these goals.
So, here's the lowdown on Week 1.
Nutrition: Bad. Wait, make that REALLY bad. I was over on my calories every day and was so far over on some days that I stopped tracking. Ugh. Yes, last week was completely out of control at work. And yes, it was TOM. Still, those are not good enough reasons for going completely nuts and then not even being honest about it. There's just no excusing that kind of behavior if I want to keep going on this path. And I do. Soooo, must needs make plan and smaller goals for this week.
This week's goal: Track everything I eat every day. No excuses, no skipping, nada. If it passes my lips, it goes into the tracker. Punto. Also, try to stay within my calories at least three days this week. (Baby steps, baby steps.)
Drink my water: Awesome. I drank more than 8 glasses every day. Like I said last week, this is an easy one for me. I've done this for at least 10 years, waaay before I joined SP.
Weekly goal: Keep up the good work!
Exercise: So-so. I only exercised 4 days this week and did not do a single hard workout. But I made time half the days I worked this week. If this were a pass/fail test, I'd barely give myself a pass, lol.
Weekly goal: Do one gym workout and one yoga session during the week. Do something active - like walking or Wii fit - for at least 10 minutes every day this week.
Sleep: Pretty good. I logged just under 8 hours (7.5ish or so) every day I worked this week then slept a lot over the weekend. Still, the fatigue really weighed on me and definitely contributed to my poor eating. I usually need closer to 9 hours a night during TOM and when work is as insane as it has been. So a small deficit made a big difference this week. Lesson learned.
Weekly goal: Get 8 hours of sleep every night. That should be much easier to achieve this week since I don't have to leave the house as early to get to meetings first thing in the morning. (That's what really killed me this week.) Still, getting my happy butt to bed at 10 every night is going to be key. Yeah, I can do that.
Overall: Bad week. Must do better.
Weekly goal: Listen to , not . But that's why this is a journey, right? Setbacks are just part of it. The trick is to fall 7 times, get up 8 and then take 2 steps forward.
Also, I set an overall goal and reward for achieving it. If I finish all four of my major projects at work (one down, three to go!) and stay on the SparkWagon, with or without a weight loss, until August 1 I get to take a whole week off from work and spend some quality Jen time with myself. Each pound I lose earns an extra reward for my week of Jen time. I haven't decided yet what they will be, but probably along the lines of a spa day, massage, or new shoes/clothes. I'll choose those later - it'll give me something extra to look forward to and motivate me even more.
Sunday, June 06, 2010
I have been actively Sparking for about six months now, so I figure it's a great time to stand back and take stock. Unlike most Sparkers, I didn't set goals other than the big weight loss goal and I have not set a time line. I travel too much for that to be realistic. So I decided not to stress myself out by even worrying about it. Instead I decided to focus on the process, not the product. I'm a process person in general, so this approach has worked very well for me.
Here are my stats:
weight - down almost 15 pounds
chest - down 5 inches
waist - down 2.5 inches
hips - down 6 inches
thigh - down 4.5 inches
upper arm - down 1.25 inches
Although I would have liked to have lost more weight, the inches more than make up for it. I have dropped a clothes size and a bra size. The clothes size feels awesome - I actually feel sexy again. But dropping a bra size can only be described as sheer relief. My boobs are under control for the first time in three years.
I think that I have fully integrated 4 basic healthy habits into day-to-day life: eat right (balanced diet within my calorie range), drink 8 glasses of water a day, exercise daily, and sleep 8 hours every night. My SparkStreaks back this up. But I no longer really have to think about any of it. Junk food no longer appeals to me. I keep 2 Nalgene bottles on my desk at work and see to it that they are both full in the morning and empty before I go home. Exercise can be hard to fit into my workday but my company gives employees three hours on the clock to exercise every week and I insist on taking them. I add exercise to my daily to-do list every day and consider it as unbreakable a commitment as everything else on the list. I've always been one of those people that needs a lot of sleep, so SP actually helps me prioritize and justify getting enough. This one is also relatively easy for me. So, yeah, I chalk up "lifestyle change" as a major win.
Still, this isn't the best part. The best part is how I feel. I feel strong and healthy. I handle stress about 1,000% better, according to DH's estimate. I can focus on what needs to be done in the current moment instead of stressing out over my never-ending to do list. (I'm sure a lot of you can sympathize with this. Never-ending to-do lists seem to be the bane of the modern American woman.) My energy levels are high during the day, even during that dreaded mid-afternoon time when I used to slump HARD, and I still have enough juice at the end of the day to enjoy cooking and hanging out with DH.
The weight will continue to come off slowly but surely. (Hooray for the Slowest Loser team!) This lifestyle is here to stay. And I love it!
Friday, June 04, 2010
But alas, not on Spark. At work. I have four major - and I mean MAY-JOUR - projects to do in the next two months. They will demand all my time and attention for at least the usual 40 hours a week and quite possibly more than that. My boss certainly expects them to require overtime: he told me to delegate to the rest of the team and authorized unlimited and unquestioned overtime. He also checks in with me every day to make sure that I'm not overwhelmed and am still chuntering on. All of this is really rare. Normally everyone in my office does their own thing and my boss leaves us to it. The good news is that all this hard work should get me promoted. My boss gave me a title bump to go along with all the extra responsibility earlier this year. I'm talkin' about cold, hard cash - to the tune of 7K or so a year. Yup, I've earned it.
So, where does this leave Spark? We all know how much time and effort Spark takes.
Well, I'm not letting it slide. I am cutting my program to bare bones because it's the only thing I'll be able to stick to. But I figure that this is FAR better than stopping altogether. I will do the following things every day:
1. Eat a healthy, balanced diet that is within my calorie range.
2. Drink 8 glasses of water.
3. Exercise for at least 10 minutes, even if it's just a quick walk at work.
4. Sleep for 8 hours.
Eat, drink, exercise, sleep. Easy enough, huh? Well, we'll see. But here's the thing: I have been very diligent about my plan this week and it's paid huge dividends. I feel healthy and well rested and can focus very well. I'm not stressed and I can break my tasks down into manageable chunks so that I don't feel too daunted. This is a big victory for me. I go through this craziness almost every summer and I've never handled it so well. Usually I'm a stressed out mess. I credit Spark. So I'm stickin' to it.
I will probably seem to disappear during the week. I'll still be tracking everything on SP but most likely won't have time to check in with all my lovely SparkFriends like I usually do. I will check in with everybody on the weekends, so don't think I've forgotten you. Please do check in with me from time to time - I'm going to need your support if I'm going to make it through June and July.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Okay, so I've been sick. Not just a little cold, but a serious Third World stomach bug the likes of which generally lay me out for a month (two weeks actively sick, two weeks of recovery to get my strength back). Right now I'm in week 2 and don't actually expect to go back to work until next week. Yes, I've been down this path before, more times than I'd like to admit. It's just a professional hazard and can't be avoided when you travel to Latin America as much as I do.
All right, enough whining. This blog isn't really about me being sick. Unfortunately, that is normal enough and I know how to deal with it. Not a big deal.
What I haven't figured out is how to transition from my stomach-bug induced eating habits back to my healthy lifestyle. Previous attempts at weight loss have been foiled by this problem more than once; it's a known trouble spot for me.
Yes, I realize this is possibly premature. But I'm trying to avoid two things here: 1. Letting myself slide off the wagon for any longer than absolutely necessary and 2. Gaining weight because I let my eating habits get sloppy after an illness. These two goals are closely linked. So I'm trying to formulate a plan that will help me make the transition as smoothly and healthily as possible. I welcome any suggestions/ideas you lovely Sparkers might have.
Right now I'm basically on a BRAT plus diet. Meaning: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast (BRAT) plus white bread, turkey, chicken, and white pasta. Liquids include lots of water (duh), low-acidity fruit juice, clear sodas (Sprite and ginger ale greatly help settle my stomach), coffee with no creamer, tea, broth, and Pedialyte. Not exactly the world's healthiest diet but it's easy on my stomach and tends to stay down. That's the whole point right now.
The problem is that most of the things listed above are foods that I avoid or limit when I'm healthy. They're just not that nutritious and are too high in calories to fit into my usual calorie budget. They do right now because I'm barely eating and because I think stuff isn't necessarily sticking around long enough to be fully absorbed. Sorry - gross but true.
Soooo....how do I make the transition back to my normal, healthy diet? Without overloading my system and causing a relapse. I already made that mistake - yesterday. And it was the worst day I've had since I landed in a Panamanian hospital last week. I'm just not willing to do that again.
Here's my first shot at a plan. If anyone has experience with these things, I'd really appreciate your advice:
Step 1: Stick to BRAT plus until my stomach has been normal for 2 days. Stay home, sleep a lot, drink tons of liquids. And try to build up my strength a bit by playing balance games on the Wii Fit and doing the occasional household chore, as fatigue permits. Keep tracking food to make sure I'm not wildly exceeding my calorie budget, not that there's much chance of that.
Step 2: Start substituting whole grains for the processed grains mentioned above. Add in other easy-on-the-stomach fruits like peaches and watermelon. Branch out into pork and mild white fish. Start taking short, easy walks. Try going back to work. Don't push it - this is a relapse danger zone.
Step 3: After a few days' success on step 2, phase out high-calorie liquids. Try a cooked vegetable or two. Herbs and spices can come back in gradually. Build up to a 20-minute walk or 20 vigorous minutes on the Wii every day.
Step 4: Gradually go back to a normal, healthy lifestyle. Add in acidic and high-fiber foods one at a time to make sure I can tolerate them. Same goes for dairy. Increase walks to 30 minutes a day and start doing light cardio at the gym.
Step 5: Back to normal! Healthy eating habits, regular gym workouts, etc.
Having a plan feels good. Now I'm going to have to figure out how to track it; I suspect I'll have to do this in a journal separate from SP. SP just wasn't designed to cope with this. :)
Wish me luck!
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