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Do I need a challenge?

Friday, October 30, 2009

I was reading a spark buddy's blog about challenges she has joined. It's been a while since I really participated in a challenge. Most of my good habits are pretty firmly in place; of course, the eating part always needs improvement. If I always ate well, I wouldn't be here in the first place!

I do get lots of exercise most of the time, but at heart, I'm a sedentary person with lots of sedentary hobbies. And it's been a long time since I've been thru a real winter. I don't usually have much problems getting up, unlike my leader who was complaining about having to get up in the dark yesterday, but once that light disappears in the afternoon, I just want to curl up on the couch.

And then, of course, there's the holidays. Spent with the family, which we also haven't done in years and years.

My appetite doesn't really seem to change no matter how much exercise I get. I'm just as hungry when I do nothing as I am when I walk 5 miles a day. Why is that?

And then there's the food envy. If I see it, I want it. I don't always have it, but I want it. I wanted that cookie on the plane. The only reasons I didn't have it was that a) I'd already had an ice cream sundae with everything except the cherry on top and b) I really wasn't hungry. But despite not being hungry, I still wanted it. That damn see-food diet.

So do I need a challenge? To keep me on the straight and narrow? To start getting rid of these "last" 10 lbs? I'm not sure. Anyone join a challenge they're really loving?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTH4LYFE 10/30/2009 12:44PM

    I think it depends upon whether or not you are a competitive individual, or are more self-driven. I am currently in the Fall Into Winter Challenge and I really am enjoying it. There are four teams, some of which are more active than others, and we have had some people leave, or just not post after the first week or so. It ends 12/19/09.
I have also just joined, and it will start Tuesday, a healthy competition challenge. For me, a challenge helps keep me motivated, connected with others participating, supporting and reciprocating.
I am also planning on signing up for a 10K in my area. I am training using the book: "Complete Book of Women's Running" by Dagny Scott. But since I am running distances longer than a 10K, I may go the 1/2 marathon route. This is something I am doing on my own.
I find setting a goal and focusing on what needs to be done to achieve that goal, is
most effective for me in terms of motivation.
I guess you need to figure out what motivates you. Best of luck with your decision.

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HEALTHY4JEANNE 10/30/2009 12:11PM

    Kate had a lot of fun suggestions!
I think I am walking in your shoes right now. I just kicked myself in the butt to stir things up!
Let me know what you decide!

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LEONALIONESS 10/30/2009 10:57AM

    Heh. The only challenge I've done is the swimsuit one with Coach Nicole. It was fun and challenging at the time. With my current level of fitness, I imagine it might be too easy.

My challenge is one I've set for myself: running a half marathon next May. It's what's keeping me going. I'm even still running outside and it's pretty miserable in MN already. So, that's pretty sweet. Also, doing the 30DS is keeping me motivated. Knowing I do that 6 days a week and run 3 and cross-train 2 and that's the schedule = no space to slip up on exercise.

Food is harder. Now that I'm around where I want to be, weight wise, I'm eating slightly more somewhat naughty foods. I'm still within ranges and I still practice portion control but yeah... I found an amazing vegan cheese that melts and stretches and is tasty like whoa (it's called Daiya and is soy-free!) ... so I went on a small pita pizza jag for a couple days.

Still, only ate one for dinner and it was only one pita, a half serving of sauce, mushrooms, spinach and less than an ounce of the vegan cheese. Not too shabby! But the naughty part of my brain keeps nagging me that I'm slipping. Ugh, phantom fat and paranoia of gaining all 45 lbs back in one week really can leave any time they want to! I won't miss either. ;)

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KEAKMAN 10/30/2009 8:30AM

    With winter heading your way, maybe you can make up a challenge for yourself along the lines of how many different ways can you find to get in some outdoor exercise each week? I know you will take care of the dogs, but I was thinking of other things you could do...run in the snow? snowshoe? shovel snow? make a snow angel? build a snowman to greet your DH when he gets home? make an igloo? hang a bird feeder and chaseoff the squirrels? Just a thought....(and i am having waay too much fun with it!)

Challeges are fun if they are fun, or are what you want/ Otherwise, it's just more homework and guilt. The one I am participating in is a 3500 calories deficit per week....tracking calories in and calories expended via exercise, etc. I like charts and graphs, so it piques my curiousity. Not sure how you would like that one. But I think it will be fun and will work for me.

Goodluck finding what you need this winter! emoticon

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SEKSUNSHINE 10/30/2009 5:22AM

    Maybe you should make your own challenge? List what you need work on, commit to it, make yourself accountable, and give yourself a reward at the end of the challenge. Just a thought!

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GOING2LSEITNOW 10/30/2009 5:22AM

    I haven't found a challenge that really motivates me yet, but I am still looking. I have read many members blogs and their challenges seem to help them So go for one that you know you will enjoy and have fun.

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Goals & accountability

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A few things to wrap & clear up before I get to today's blog. First, the "going to WI" was meant to be going to weigh in -- sorry for any confusion there! Nope, we're home for the next 3 weeks, altho we (or maybe just me) will make a trip down to see my folks next week, since my brother is coming in briefly.

Apparently the screwup at our last hotel was sort of the harbinger of better things to come. It included free breakfasts, and access to the executive lounge. We ate breakfast there our last day, and DH spotted the man he'd seen in the lobby; he thought he looked like Donald Sutherland. Since he was sporting shades, it was hard to tell.

Now, mind you, we were in a Hilton, not some real swanky hotel or anything. But then he took off his sunglasses, and I got a good look at him as we left -- and yeah, he sure did look like Donald Sutherland. And it turns out he WAS (DH said he saw that he had an envelope with his name on it). How bizarre, huh?

Speaking of my brother, who happens to live in southern CA, we also saw Norman Fell (remember 3's Company?) while we were taking photos outside in a park at his wedding. A long, long time ago I got Frank Langella's autograph -- I went to see him in "Dracula" on broadway for my 16th birthday (he was really cute back then). I also once saw Liza Minelli in a theater on broadway -- in the audience, that is -- and asked her for her autograph (but she declined, nicely). I've seen quite a few famous actors/actresses in the theater, but no other autographs.

Anyway. Then when we got to the airport at Vienna (after taking the metro there, and having to lug my suitcase up 3 flights of stairs), we were greeted with more good news -- we got upgraded to business class! So much more comfortable. Plus you get real food! This is only the second time I've been in business class on the way back from Europe.

Basically, they just keep shoving food at you, which isn't necessarily a good thing. It starts with the bowl of warm nuts. Then real food for lunch -- including a chocolate ice cream sundae, with walnuts & whipped cream. Then they come around offering snacks (I declined) AND then warm chocolate chip cookies (I declined again -- I actually wasn't hungry by that point).

So basically we had 2 meals on the plane. But then I was hungry that afternoon. We went to the Delta lounge, and I basically grazed. And then there was that peanut butter brownie (I only ate 1/3). And that brings me to my accountability. I was pretty sure I'd gained some weight, which is hardly surprising. I want to be one of those people who go on vacation and lose weight. Like the woman in my meeting today, who'd had a short vacation and lost FIVE pounds. But I'm not that person.

I could have waited a week to WI. After all, we didn't get home til almost 9 pm last night, which for us was basically like getting home in the middle of the night. But I had to get some food into the house today and pick up the dogs, and today is my regular meeting anyway, plus I want to know. Good or bad, I want to know. Knowing keeps me accountable.

Which brings me to my goals. I wanted to stay in the 130s, but I was just barely in them so I knew it was very unlikely. Barring that, I didn't want to gain any more than 2 pounds, and I'm happy to report I only gained 1.8 lbs. Which could be just from the sodium of my afternoon grazing in an airport lounge, or it could have been all those desserts in the last few days (even tho they were shared with DH).

I know usually I'm able to take off those sorts of gains in short order. Of course, in 3 weeks we're off to the inlaws for Thanksgiving, which in some ways is even worse. Since we're planning to watch my FIL for a couple of days, I'm not even sure how much exercise I'll get in.

It's important to decide what you want before vacations or holidays. This was my first vacation in over a year, and 2 weeks with a lot of downtime on planes & trains makes the exercise part of the equation difficult. I'm definitely happy with how I did; altho I won't lie, I'd be happier to have maintained, but as the song goes, you don't always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need.

I've just finished downloading my photos. Only 611 to wade thru; some of those are short videos, and some of those are mistakes that I invariably make when I forget to set my camera back to stills instead of videos.

I liked Dresden more than I expected to, but I really didn't have enough time to judge -- just one day, and that one filled with snow, sleet, & rain at that. Between Prague and Vienna, I liked Prague better. Not that I didn't enjoy Vienna, mind you; I think it had more to do with the fact that I had a guidebook to Prague, spent more time there so really got to explore, and it's a smaller, more manageable city. It is also, as they say, like a fairy tale. Can't quite beat that castle on the river, especially lit up at night or as the skies go through a rainbow of colors with the setting sun.

Oh, and it never even occurred to me that the small crystal heart I bought would be a slight hiccup going thru security. The lead. Never even thought of that.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOMMA_GRIZZ 10/29/2009 9:24PM

    Glad you made it home safely :) AND you only gained 1.8 pounds - way to go! Woo Hoo - you rock!

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KEAKMAN 10/29/2009 8:38PM

    I am glad that you are safe at home and that you barely gained any weight on vacation. Chalk one up to your willpower and yourexercising. HOORAY!

Make sure to pack your wet-weather gear for your visit to your inlaws next month - the rainy season is upon us in the PNW!

Can't wait to see your pics...

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There's a yellow ball in the sky!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Unfortunately, not today, but we did finally have a sunny day yesterday. Fog in the morning, but then it cleared up -- which worked very well, because we walked around Schonbrunn Palace yesterday.

Today we walked around Vienna, but it's a holdiay, so many things were closed; but not everything. I did catch a glimpse of the Lippanzer stallions in their stalls at one point. We went to Demel's, because i'd called my parents & my mom told me it was a famouse pastry shop.

We shared a piece of cake, and it was good -- but really nothing to write home about. My husband took a photo of me in front of the cake, then the empty plate with the Demel napkin on it. Of course, he ate just as much as me!

Tomorrow I get to wander around (and no doubt get lost) on my own for just a few hours before we have to head out to the airport. We fly to Frankfurt tomorrow, stay overnight, then fly home the next day.

Boy, 2 weeks really flew by! I have taken lots & lots of photos, but it will take a while for me to sort thru them.

I brought a lot of protein bars with me -- a wide variety including Larabars, Pure bars, and mini clif bars. They're almost all gone. I brought some dried fruit & almonds with me; the dried fruit is almost all gone, too, but there are still some almonds. I brought oatmeal, chocolate chips, & single serving pouches of peanut butter -- but I only used a couple. We had breakfast included the week we were in Prague, but weren't supposed to have it here in Vienna. Due to their screwup with the rooms, they threw in free breakfast here, too.

My husband always gives me a hard time for all the food I bring, but it usually gets eaten (the oatmealo would have, if we hadn't gotten free breakfast here). And it helps me from overindulgining *too* much.

I will not be surprised to see a small gain, but hope it's not more than a few pounds. I know I can lose it fairly quickly with going back to normal eating. I have sure walked all over the place! This is my very first "real" vacation with my pedometer, and I love knowing how much I've really walked. It's too easy to overestimate the amount of exercise we get.

Despite the lack of sun and the cold, it was a great vacation, if not a very restful one. Of course, i heard it snowed in Albany while we were gone, too!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KEAKMAN 10/26/2009 7:37PM

    It sounds to me like you have had a great vacation! I am so happy that it went so well, and that you were able to go along with your DH. I'll be happy to have you back home with us, and will be as patient as possible waiting for the pics!

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MOMMA_GRIZZ 10/26/2009 7:05PM

    Your vacation is really flying but I bet you have a ton of great memories (along with the pictures). Sounds like you are having a great time - you lucky girl! :)

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LINDYTHALIA 10/26/2009 5:20PM

    What is this yellow ball in the sky you speak of? It has been gray and rainy here forEVER! emoticon Glad you had a good vacation and I hope the scale has some good news for you when you get home.

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A few thoughts on travel, food, & exercise

Saturday, October 24, 2009

First, I know what you're thinking. No, I'm not still wandering around looking for the metro. In fact, we're in Vienna now, altho sort of in the middle of nowhere because they overbooked the hotel & switched us to another one for the night -- sort of a pain.

So, travel & exercise. I did use the health club once in Prague. It cost around $24, which is outrageous, but I just felt the need for some real cardio. Yes, I'm doing lots of walking. Alternating 20,000 step days with 10,000 step days for the most part (altho I did have a new PR of 27,000 steps one day). I think I'll probably get a bit less the next few days as DH has a couple of days off -- and so we may not walk so much. OTOH, I won't have to pay for the health club so I can hopefully run today & tomorrow (and then we'll be heading home on Tuesday/Wednesday).

But lots of steps doesn't always translate into much cardio. And it's really easy to think you can eat more because you're getting more steps than usual. Not to mention despite bringing resistance bands with me, i haven't don't any ST at all.

I've tried hard with my eating too. Since I don't really like eating in restaurants by myself, I often just ate a protein bar for lunch on days I toured on my own. Somedays I hooked up with some of the other wives. Still, my jeans do feel a little bit snug. Then again, the food in Prague was often (but not always) quite salty. It's a wonder that the whole population doesn't have high cholesterol.

I went to the Jewish quarter with one of the other wives one day. Very interesting, and the Old-New Synagogue was fascinating. The Spanish Synagogue was gorgeous. Unfortunately they don't let you take photos in them. I did take photos in the Jewish cemetery (where Kafka's grave is -- somewhere), but you pay extra for that.

I also went to the Museum of Decorative Arts on my own. It was amazing! Not well organized, but it had ancient books, glassware, dishware, silverware, tapestries, clothing . . . and a lot more. Not to mention the building itself is beatiful (no photos allowed there, either). I only had an hour to spend there, but if you're into that sort of thing, you could spend hours.

We went back to the castle in the late afternoon one day, when DH had a bit of free time, and while the light wasn't great, it was almost empty (unlike the throngs during the day), so that was kind of cool. We stayed as it grew dark, while they light up the castle, and had dinner there.

There were several event dinners I got to tag along with, too. Most were at fancy restaurants we probably never would have gone to on our own (considering we ate dinner tonight at a mall), so that was nice. And i toured a crystal factory on my last day there.

It did warm up, but still, remained pretty cold the entire time we were there. It's much warmer here, with a forecast of almost 60 tomorrow (but probably no sun).

I never really had time to research Vienna, so I've no idea what we'll do here . . . but I'm sure we'll figure it out. Sorry I don't have time to keep up with all the happenings in your lives right now -- I'll have a lot of catching up to do when I get home -- but hope you're all well & doing well.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLIMMERJESSE 10/24/2009 2:48PM

    I loved Vienna. It was like walking through a fairy tale city. Have a fun day.

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SEKSUNSHINE 10/24/2009 1:57PM

    Sounds like you are having a wonderful time. The museum and all that sounds just amazing. If you have the time see if you can visit the Lipizzaner horses. I believe they are in Vienna. When my mother was over there they went to see them. She said they are a sight to behold.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

There's a mall in our hotel, and I came close to buying a coat today. I've been living in the one turtleneck I brought for almost a week, but had it laundered today, which may explain why the weather said it was 41, but it sure felt colder. They keep saying it will get warmer, but it seems to keep getting colder!

I racked up a lot of steps yesterday again, but didn't get lost this time. I didn't always know where I was, but I usually had a general idea and made my way both from and back to the Metro station without a hitch. Probably because I've got my bearings a bit more now.

I walked up Petrin hill, where there's a small replica of the Eiffel Tower (not kidding!). There are some lovely views of Prague castle along the walk, and I decided not to walk up the Petrin Tower when I got there. It was quite the wal, too.

Today my husband & I took a tour of the town Terezin, which was home to a concentration camp. I felt strongly about going. It was a good tour, altho as with most tours, I would have liked to have more time to explore the museum in the Jewish ghetto & just some of the surrounding buildings.

I think my husband will be working pretty much for the rest of our time in Prague. I might get together with one of the other wives & go tour a crystal factory, but if our attempts at hooking up are any indication, maybe not. Plus we'd have to get up pretty early & she's not a morning person. I saw some areas today I'd like to explore further, and I still haven't seen the Jewish cemetery or any of the synagogues, and I know that I really want to see those.

We had a late lunch today in a mall. They were simple baguette sandwiches, but so good. Because it was late & I hadn't eaten much yet, we decided to share a Belgian waffle with bananas for dessert. A disappointment. They weren't even warm! I thought they'd be good because the sandwiches were so good . . . such a waste.

And when I get home, I must make myself some pumpkin soup. I've had it several times already, both here & in Dreden, and it's really yummy (no doubt with the addition of cream). I'm pretty sure there's a recipe in my Flat Belly Diet cookbook.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOMMA_GRIZZ 10/20/2009 10:30PM

    Sounds like you are having a great time, although a chilly time! Enjoy - soak in all that beauty! :)

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BIGT_56 10/20/2009 12:49PM

    Sounds like you are having a good time. Never had pumpkin soup, might have to try it. Bundle up and stay warm and enjoy the rest of your stay.


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KEAKMAN 10/20/2009 11:56AM

    Sounds like your trip is turning into a gastronomical, visual, physical, and mental/emotional/spiritual delights. The weather, on the other hand..... Hope it warms up SOON! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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