Saturday, January 15, 2011
I'll admit it. Don't hate me for it. I like my in-laws. Really, genuinely enjoy their company.
Spending the day with the whole family can be rough. My in-laws are a close-knit family, so family gatherings generally involve 30 people from 3 generations. Almost the entire family is overweight. Nobody exercises and the only ones who care about what they eat have severe medical issues. Family gatherings revolve around food. The pressure to eat is intense. And the food is mostly fatty, high-calorie stuff. Delicious, but totally undermines my goals.
I know from your blog and message board posts that I'm not alone here. Luckily my in-laws are really laid back and won't hassle me or cajole me too much. But I am going to get a lot of questions. Uncle Steve will start it. He has had several strokes (and is therefore on a super strict diet) that damaged the verbal centers of his brain and affected his memory. So one of the ways he deals with this is by asking a lot of questions. He could give your average 4-year-old a run for their money in a "But why?" contest. This in and of itself is fine; I understand that it's just Uncle Steve's way. In fact, I'm one of Uncle Steve's favorite people because I tend to be more patient with him than most folks. But what happens is that the rest of the family then listens in and starts asking questions.
Yes, this could be an awesome opportunity to spread the spark. Or it could be Jen in the hot seat for an hour. That totally depends on who's their, what their mood is, whether they notice how much weight I've lost, and how they currently feel about their own weight. I have a BMI of 29 and wear a size 14 misses, and I'm going to be the smallest (grown) woman in the room by quite a margin. So I'm nervous.
But, being the krauthead that I am, I will persevere and (hopefully) stick to my goal guns. And, like any self-respecting Prussian, I have a plan. I will start the morning with a bootcamp video. I will lace my knitting bag with healthy snacks. I will drink a yogurt smoothie and my coffee on the way to the party. DH and I are bringing Swedish rice porridge for the breakfast potluck. This is made from brown rice, 2% milk, Truvia, and a ton of fruit. That, plus a smoothie and some eggs should put me in great shape for breakfast. Lunch and dinner will be tougher since I have no idea what the plan is. Actually, knowing my family, there isn't one, lol. So I'll have to stay focused on making good choices. (Here's where the wheels usually come off.) The good news is that Uncle Steve's dietary restrictions and the diabetic-friendly choices they make a point of having mean that there is always healthy stuff around. So I just have to stay strong and make good choices. DH has the SparkPeople app on his smartphone, so I can track my food on that. As for cardio, I plan to go out on a walk with Uncle Steve. Like me, he isn't deterred by the cold. And it'll be nice to get a break; this loud, boisterous family can put me into introvert overload.
The fact of the matter is that my family are all great people and I'm worrying unnecessarily. But it's what I do, lol. I always feel better if I have a plan. So just writing it out helps. The true reason that I'm worried is because I don't want to let this family gathering undo a week's worth of progress. I've been on an awesome streak this year and want to keep on it. Fretting over my family is actually just displacing worry over my own willpower. Cuz sticking to my game plan is going to take some serious willpower. But having a concrete plan makes it a lot easier.
Wish me luck!
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Technically I started Spark in November 2009 but I didn't get serious until January 4, 2010, so I'm counting this as my one year Sparkversary.
This year I lost 22 pounds, 24 inches, and 2 pants sizes. This isn't bad, but I feel like I could have - and should have - done more. But then I reflect on my non-scale victories and realize that those have been truly huge.
I reworked my eating habits and learned a ton about proper nutrition. This has been my biggest victory. I generally ate pretty healthy before but fell for the fad diets (oh, the shame of South Beach...) and didn't have a solid grasp of nutrition. I've also mastered the art of portion control, and that has been key. So much so that I maintain my weight even when I'm not working out or paying especial attention to my eating habits.
I completed the Healthy Eating Challenge. The two best things to come of that were meal tracking and kitchen reorganization. Meal planning has been a game changer. Not only do I eat better but I waste less food and money. Grocery shopping is less of a chore because my trips are shorter and more focused. Meal planning has also led me to discover the joys of the crock pot. It's also helped my husband improve his nutrition since he eats supper with me every night. The kitchen makeover was mostly about reorganizing our food storage. DH installed sliding drawers in our pantry so I can actually see - and reach - what's in there. It's a revelation.
I definitely learned about fitness and got in more exercise. But consistency eluded me. That ends in 2011. I learned what kinds of cardio I like and which don't work as well for me - mostly by trying anything and everything I could. I tried zumba, spinning, pilates, yoga, running, and cycling. I bought a bicycle and struggled to become confident riding it.
My balance and coordination both improved. Going up and down the rickety stairs to my basement used to be nerve-wracking; now I bounce along without thinking twice. I can squat down and stay there for a long while without losing my balance. I can easily wend in between parked cars and the ellipticals at the gym. My hand-eye coordination is also better.
I have more self-confidence. This has shown up in how I look: I've bought nicer, better-fitting clothes and pay much more attention to my hair and make up. My friends and colleagues have definitely noticed. As has DH.
My energy levels are much higher. I used to be exhausted by the end of my (12-hour) day. Now I'm just tired. Seriously, though, it's a huge improvement. I think working for ten hours with an hour commute on either side will always wear me out. But now I'm consistently alert and energetic during the work day. And I have energy to finish up dinner and do some little things before bed. That was definitely not the case before I discovered SparkPeople.
Upon reflection, I don't feel bad about losing "only" 22 pounds. I have learned - and largely stuck to - healthy habits and made vast improvements in my health and well-being. These are big achievements and I should start recognizing them as such. This year is about building upon this solid foundation. I will continue my good habits, develop a consistent but flexible exercise program, and lose the 40 pounds I have left.
Monday, January 03, 2011
Last night I had a bout of insomnia. A bad one. And for no good reason. So when I woke up late this morning I faced a choice: rush through my morning and get to work on time or take my time, do things right, and get to work late. The choice was further complicated by my desire to start the year out right. Do I focus on health and fitness or on being a good employee?
Well, let's see. I got promoted last year and won't get promoted this year. I still have more responsibilities than I get paid for. And I've decided that I want to get to my goal weight this year, which means taking fitness much more seriously. So work! Sexy breakfast it is!
I pulled on my workout clothes, gathered my free weights and a kitchen chair, and did the Day 3 ST routine of the 28-day bootcamp. I only did one rep, but I did it. And that's what counts. I celebrated by wearing my favorite pink dress, sexy boots, and cashmere sweater. (It's impossible to have a bad day while wearing pink, sexy boots, and cashmere.)
Then I prepped my breakfast (Einstein Bros. good grains bagel and reduced fat honey almond cream cheese with some coffee) and snacks (fruit and yogurt). I didn't pack my lunch because I ran out of room in my lunchbox and know that the cafeteria has good, healthy choices.
So guess what? I sauntered into work only 15 minutes late, with a workout under my belt and healthy food in tow. This set the tone for my whole day. I made a good choice at lunch (broiled cod with broccoli and roasted potatoes) and ate my fruit for a snack. Stuff that would have made me climb the walls on most days rolled off my back today. And now I'm off to the gym for a cardio workout.
Hooray for sexy breakfasts! I'm going to have to do them more often!
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