Sunday, January 30, 2011
I have been asked to co-teach one of my company's training courses and I am absolutely thrilled and honored. But it throws a kink into my Sparking and healthy lifestyle. For ten weeks I will have to live without four things I've come to depend on: my flex schedule, the free gym in my office building, easy access to a good cafeteria with tons of healthy choices, and Internet access.
Luckily for me, my reaction to such things is to plan. And I'll have to if I want to get through the course without backsliding or gaining weight. Writing things down helps me think things out, so here goes nothing.
The keys to making this teaching gig work are planning ahead and streamlining my morning. I have to be at a different location an hour earlier than my usual day and I'll be taking commuter rail instead of driving. This removes almost all the flexibility from my mornings and I will have to be very focused on getting up, getting ready, and getting out. That can only happen if I do most of the prep work in the evenings. The good news is that I will be home 2-3 hours earlier than usual, so I'll have more time at home in the evenings than I'm used to.
As soon as I get home I'll do cardio followed by strength training. I tend to not get in as intense workouts when I'm home, so this will require setting my bike up in the living room. DH won't be thrilled with that, but it's the best way I know how to get this done. I'll mix it up with walking/running or biking outside, videos, and Wii Fit. Paying attention to intensity and making sure I'm working hard enough will be the biggest fitness challenge of these 10 weeks.
After I'm done working out I'll do my SparkPeople for the day. This is the biggest disadvantage to not having Internet access. Everyone knows that e-mail is a very bad way to get in touch with me, so most of my online time at work is spent on SparkPeople. This will have to shift to the evenings. Which means I'll have to keep a food log during the rest of the day. This shouldn't be hard; I keep a little notebook in my purse, so I'll just jot things down in there. I have been pretty disciplined about this while on business trips, so there's no reason I can't do it while teaching.
Laying out my clothes the night before will help me streamline my morning so that I have time to sit and eat my breakfast and drink my coffee at home. Picking out my clothes and jewelry for the day is where I tend to waste the most time in the morning, so removing that bump will do a lot to smooth it out. DC's metro system doesn't allow food or drink on the trains, so it's either breakfast at home or in the classroom. And I don't think the lead instructor would appreciate the latter.
Next I'll wander into the kitchen, where most of the night-before prep will happen. I'll set up my coffee so that all I have to do is push the "on" button in the morning. Then I'll pack lunch and snacks for the next day in my snazzy pink lunch bag. I'll set out a muffin or bagel to thaw, if need be. Then I'll finish up dinner prep for that night.
Finally I'll pack my backpack for the next day: class materials; book, magazine, and knitting project for the 2.5 hour total train ride; purse; Metro card; room for my food.
The rest of the evening is mine to relax in. Shower, have dinner with DH, watch some TV, then off to bed at 9:30.
Wow, this is going to take some getting used to. But I can totally do this. My new evening routine seems a little overwhelming, but I keep reminding myself that I will be home MUCH earlier than usual and that riding the train will be more pleasant than driving, so I'll arrive home in better spirits. And the alternative - poor nutrition, nasty food, sluggish because of lack of exercise, weight gain, having to start my healthy life all over again - is just too ghastly to contemplate. Nope, ain't gonna happen. Stick to this plan it is!
And yeah, I know that a lot of you already do this every day. But I'm a suburban, childless, workaholic lady Monday through Thursday and then have my weekends to hang out with DH and do stuff around the house. My normal schedule is to leave the house around 8 a.m., work for 10+ hours, and get home around 8:30 or 9. But I have a gym right down the hall from my office and 3 hours on the clock each week to use it. And the cafeteria rocks. Yes, yes I'm very spoiled, lol. But it makes my crazy long days work and keeps me healthy. Plus, they put that stuff there for employees to use and I'd be a fool to not take advantage of it. It just makes switching to a "normal" schedule challenging for me. Thus the blog and the thought process.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Most of you know that I travel for work. A lot. And that some of those trips have been doozies (ahem, Panamanian hospital). But this past one takes the cake.
The fun began before I even left the U.S. I met up with a bunch of my colleagues, both Americans and Latin Americans, in the airport in Miami; all of our connecting flights to the Dominican Republic went through Miami. Work sent people to coordinate everything, to make sure everyone got herded onto the flight to the DR. The yahoos sent people who couldn't speak Spanish. Betcha can guess who ended up translating...
The hotel was beautiful but my room was....not. The bathroom was dirty and covered in long dark hair (I'm blonde), neither the lamp nor the telephone worked. The kicker? Fleas in the bed!!! After a lot of yelling and pressure we got my room changed - the following day.
The food wasn't great and the desserts were an utter waste of calories. Which is just as well, really, since it kept me from overeating. However, the pina coladas were very good and I had at least one each day.
The gym sucked; very few weights, not enough machines, and no air conditioning. Thank goodness I packed my weights and gym shoes!
One of the Dominicans hit on me to the point where I thought he was going to kiss me. His behavior was utterly inappropriate and made me very, very uncomfortable. I escaped unscathed and unkissed, thank goodness. As a happily married and feisty woman, I was prepared to punch him in the face and run away, but luckily I got out of the situation gracefully before it came to that. Later I found out that this guy has quite the reputation as a womanizer.
The day I was supposed to leave I came down with strep throat. DH had it last week, so I'm quite sure that's what I have. Luckily I had traveling companions who could keep an eye on me; I couldn't carry my own backpack, let alone lug a suitcase. I got some amoxicillin at a pharmacy across the street; no prescription needed in the DR. That started to work almost right away, which is a huge blessing because I got stuck alone in Puerto Rico overnight. Snow in Baltimore prevented my connecting flight from leaving, but everyone else was heading further south and managed to get home. Luckily there was a hotel in the airport and it had a room available, so I didn't have to sleep in the airport itself.
My flight to DC (yup, had to change airports to get home) left San Juan late. And then we sat on the tarmac for an hour and a half, waiting for American Airlines to free up a gate so we could deplane. Ugh.
The kicker? I somehow managed to gain 2.4 pounds. And I have no idea how. So I'm going to blame the pina coladas. And dinner last night.
But it's not all bad news. I got in lots of good strength training by keeping up with bootcamp. I did some, though obviously not enough, cardio by walking/running on the beach. I'm feeling better but not good enough for work, so I can just relax today. DH met me at the airport with two of our best friends, and we went out to an amazing dinner (at which I'm quite certain I ate too much, but didn't care after the trip I'd had). Sleeping in my own bed was a huge comfort last night. As was being back in DH's arms.
So things are back to good now. But I have to work extra hard to get back down to 179, which is where I wanted to be at month end. I only have a few days to do it and I'm not quite well enough for massive amounts of exercise. But I'll stay within my calorie range and do what I can for exercise. If I don't get there, I don't get there. Getting back to 100% healthy is more important.
Friday, January 21, 2011
This week has been rough. Stupid busy at work, mostly with things that ultimately don't matter. (Isn't that how it always works, though?) Consequently I haven't been paying as much attention to my exercise and nutrition as I would like. I went over my calories two days in a row despite meal planning: my lunch plans got blown to smithereens both days and therefore my calibrated plan didn't work. Ugh. The fact that it was TOM and I was just plain HUN-GRAY all day didn't help any either. With the exception of one beverage each day (amaretto one day, a soda the next) I ate very healthily, so I can live with it.
Fitness has gone somewhat better. I have done my boot camp videos faithfully every day this week and got cardio in every day but yesterday. So I'll still get 6 of the 7 days this week. What I lacked was both duration and intensity. Again, considering TOM and how flat-out exhausted I've been, I'll take it.
I have also consistently drank my water and gotten 8-9 hours sleep. So, on balance, I think I've earned a B- for the week. As I didn't want to put in any effort at all, that's pretty respectable. I'm weighing myself a day early because I'm leaving for a business trip: I won't have access to a scale in pounds where I'm headed and I want to make sure I stay on track and don't gain weight while I'm there. I'm a little concerned about what the scale will say on Sunday but I think it'll be okay; I was probably carrying some water at my last weight that I've since lost. Plus I'm ahead of the game in terms of meeting my monthly weight loss goal (only 2 pounds left of the 6 total). All I ask is that I don't gain. And I have two days in which to make some progress, so I should be fine.
So I'm going to stop beating myself up. This weight loss thing works far better for me if I just keep focused on what I need to do every day, then stepping back every now and again to assess how I'm doing against my goals. Overall I'm ahead of the game. I just need to keep focused. (This worked with the in-law visit, btw. I still lost 0.6 pound last week despite the in-law visit and water weight.)
This coming week will be about getting my boot camp in, doing some extra cardio, and making good food choices. The latter is the hardest part: the conference I'm attending is at an all-inclusive resort. My strategy is to eat as much fish and fruit as I can find while refusing to overindulge in alcohol or dessert. One a day is fine. But no more than that. I don't know what the gym facilities or computer accessibility will be like, so I printed out my boot camp exercises and will pack my weights, gym shoes, and swimsuit. That should be enough equipment for me to get in good workouts; I just might need to get creative. I'm going to the Dominican Republic, which has two seasons: summer and hell. Luckily for me it's summer, so I can run or swim outside without dying.
All I can do is my best. If my efforts weren't enough this week or the above plan fails - or even fails to work as well as I want it to - so be it. Life happens. I just need to keep pushing forward.
Yeah, this is pretty cranky and gloomy for me, lol. Don't worry, I'll cheer up; I always do.
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!
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