Sunday, May 20, 2012
Time to shake it up and pare it down.
(Thereís probably a kick-butt Nike ad that should go hereÖ. Lol!)
I realized last week why none of the ď5% ChallengesĒ have worked for me. Tons of great support and people (!!!), but Iím on line too much. And every week thereís a different habit to focus on. Thatís nice when learning about the new healthy habits, or mixing up the activities, or even to just nicely round things out. Maybe it works well for people with more relaxation & free time than I have, lol. But yeahÖ time to admit that I need something else.
I need to measure the top 2 thingsóand no more than 2 things -- that matter most for a while, and really deal with those.
Like with the ďtame the sugar challengeĒ Ė 4 weeks, focused every day on making that successful, WORKED.
Or like stalking a goal at work-- measure that important thing and make all of my decisions contribute to it.
In business, ďmetricsĒ are used to tell the story of your business. Some things you measure every year, some quarterly or monthly, whatever. The daily metrics I need here are simple.
1. Exercise that burns fat. Not just ďmovementĒ or ďactivity.Ē
So NO MORE TRACKING dog walks.
This is a great part of my day. It can make all the difference in my mood (which affects all kinds of things). Great for my rescue gal too. Wouldnít miss Ďem for anything. But they just arenít vigorous enough burn whatís in storage, so they arenít going in my tracker anymore.
The exercise that I need in order to lose weight Ė and therefore the only exercise I will be counting for a while Ė is the intentional, heart thumping or muscle pumping stuff. If Iím not really workiní it, it might be fun and good for me anyway, but itís not for the count.
I STILL need to meet my exercise target. But it all needs to be made of stronger stuff, so that I can be made of stronger stuff.
(Insert another of your favorite Nike ads here, lol!)
(PS: If youíre worried about my dog, please know that I still take her out for walks, still take her to class and agility, and sheís my running partner. And please know Iím not dissiní anyone elseís activity count. Do what works for you, and Iím trying to do what I think works for me. )
2. Calories. Iíve got a pretty good handle on the sugar, and on the nutrient balance of what I eat. But Iím eating too much of it. Iím stuck. So that 1600 cal --- that's THE LINE.
If Iím crossing the line, itíd better be for a UNIQUELY EXCELLENT reason. Not just a pretty good reason, but really FABULOUS. So fabulous that I donít stare at my tracker asking ďWTH??Ē
Calories in, calories out.
Makiní em count. Makiní em QUALITY.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
In this closing edition, I am definitely recommending the Tame The Sugar challenge!
I like to think I know a lot of the facts about this stuff (because I need to know something about dietetics for my job), but this challenge made me be more CONSCIOUS of it all, and made me DO something about it. These were steps that seemed so easy to do alone last summer, but that I struggled with in the winter until I had the challenge's structure.
So how 'bout those results?
Desserts: This is the biggest change for me. Desserts have their place, and for me that place is a 1/2 portion twice a week. I really tracked carefully to find the psychological "sweet spot" (pardon the pun) between "deprived" and "overindulgent."
Sweeteners: No artificials - don't like 'em. blech. I've spent 3 weeks remembering the summertime concept that almost anything can be made delish with strawberries, peaches, or mangos. If you can't get organic & fresh, get them organic & frozen. It costs a little more, but tastes SO much better that it feels like an indulgence. And if my food needs a processed sugar instead, I don't need to eat it at all.
Dislaimer: I still use a tablespoon of maple syrup or crystallized ginger about 2/week or so, and that's fine. I don't impose a limit - I just mix it up so that I don't depend on it.
Healthy whole grains: These need to be moderated like everything else. A day that's heavily loaded with carbs is a day where I overate in order to get protein or fats... or a day where I didn't get a balance that felt good at all. I *adore* Heidelberg bread. But I only need 1 slice. It didn't take much to learn to love open face sandwiches, because the filling is awesome! (Try making egg salad with avocado, mustard, and cilantro (instead of mayo) - yum!)
Snacking: My absolute downfall this winter. Even when the snacks were "healthy" they were much more sugarloaded than I let myself realize.
Part 1: Reading the labels only matters if you REGISTER what you're reading. The nutrition label might look just fine -- but it all adds up. Found good substitutes that were less sweet, more protein, and -- bonus! -- I didn't need them much.
Part 2: What snacks do I REALLY need? If I'm so bored or frustrated that I'm eating when I'm not hungry, then DUH - do something about the boredom & frustration! One minor tweak in my work schedule resolved this COMPLETELY. I was amazed.
IMPORTANT: The food diary was indispensable for identifying this. My job is way too busy for me to take a walk when I feel out of sorts. That takes too long. I had to prevent that downer in the first place.
I do need something around 330pm, or I'm in trouble in that witching hour when I'm making dinner in the hungry zone. And that little something can't be high in carbs, or I need something else by 5! So I'm armed with a list of other things I love, and they go to work with me every day.
Ok, so those are the new lessons & habits, put into place for the last 3 weeks and solidifying. But what about RESULTS?
** I'm less tired. I've got much more energy -- and energy that's consistent -- throughout the day because I'm not on a sugar rollercoaster of highs & lows.
** I'm less bloated by high fiber whole grains that I was eating too much of anyway.
** I am TRANSPORTED to BLISS when I have 3-4 bites of deep dark chocolately goodness (or cheesecake goodness, or some other absolute delight) because it is truly a TREAT. By having half portions twice/week, I can have this great feeling more often without self sabotage.
And btw - there is not a single candybar or vending machine thing that could possibly take me there.
** Off the sugar rollercoaster, I feel so much more in control, which for me (control freak that I am) has a bit of a self-righteous, I'm-sooo-doing-the-right-thing, high of its own.
** In 8 of the last 10 days, I've stayed within my CHO range without having to feel deprived or agonize over too many details. When I adjusted the parameters, the other stuff fell into place.
Less sugar and so much more of feelin' groovy. Gotta love that.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
It's workin', baby!!!!
In Week 2, the gauntlet was thrown down on cereal bars (too much sugar in my mid-morning snack), on dried fruit (a whole lotta' sugar in an ittybitty quarter cup), and on desserts (which I have no intention of giving up, but cut to 2 half-portions/week). SUCCESS!
- I've pretty much given up my midmorning snack by scheduling my most interesting work calls around that time, because the truth is, I don't miss it. It was habit and boredome, or frustration.
- I packaged up the dried fruit & nuts in minibags for my daughter, and put them in a sack in the pantry for her to pull from. When I don't have it at hand, I don't eat it. (I"d like to find more earth-friendly packaging for doing this though.)
- Desserts: I had 1/2 slice of amazing chocolate cake last Saturday, and .75 oz dark chocolate on Tuesday. Treating desserts like the celebration they're supposed to be -- not like a staple!
- Running almost every gorgeous sunny morning this week! What a gift! And bonus, I'm less hungry for most of the day. What a difference in makes to work out OUTDOORS.
Week 3 starts today. It includes using fresh fruit as a substitute for processed sugars, and making other healthy swaps. The hard part of this for me is that I really do not like artificial sweeteners at all. So portion sizes and entirely alternative food groups are the ticket.
EXTRA FEATURE to this Sugar Diaries update: My favorite salad, perhaps ever!
2 cups spinach
3-4 strawberries, sliced
4-5 pieces of mandarin oranges
1/4 cup (or less) red onion
1 oz goat cheese
1 TB chopped pecans
1 TB olive oil & vinegar dressing
TOTALLY YUM!!! Add a hard boiled egg and call it lunch!
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Leveled up this weekend!
** Spankin' the Tame the Sugar Challenge: stayed under 200g CHO Sat & Sun, even with one (of the two per week planned) 1/2 size portion of dessert for last night's holiday.
** Recovered (informally) my morning runtimes from December. I was getting scared that I'd really put myself behind this winter, but so far so good.
So here are my new running kicks - aren't they cool? They look a bit blue here, but are actually black and teal, and feel fantastic. Love. 'Em.
This is why kids always say, "Now I can run faster!!" when they get new sneakers. Because they can. SO FUN! 6.3 miles on them so far. :)
I also got a new pair of 2009 Saucony Rides, the same shoes I ran in last year, because they are great too and ON SALE. They didn't have my size, so they're coming in the mail. Black & green - major dark superhero colors!
On the 5% challenge: 100 minutes of exercise today (running, walking, stretching, and pushups), 8 waters, and everything in range, except fat was a little high from the nuts and sesame seeds. I'm comforting myself with the thought that at least they were somewhat healthy fats, but can't lean on that excuse much!
A woo hoo kind of day!
Friday, March 16, 2012
I donít know much about the luck of the Irish (being mostly of German and Native American descent), but Iím gonna run with it as the 5% Challenge starts tomorrow! The goal is to lose 5% of my weight by 5/12.
** To feel strong & substantial & capable. And ready for adventure.
** To be undaunted by having my picture taken.
** To feel strong & substantial & capable. And to run faster.
** To wear cute boots with skinny jeans.
** To feel strong & substantial & capable. And to have the fun energy on the outside that I have on the inside.
And what makes THIS challenge so different from every other 5% challenge Iíve pledged myself to? In the last 5 months, I hit the tremendous HIGH POINT of running my first half marathon, followed by the tremendous LOW of losing ground and regaining pounds in the bleak (although unusually mild-weathered) midwinter. Itís like someone hung kryptonite around my neck, and Iíve only just shaken it off. With both experiences so fresh on my mind, I am more determined than ever.
My inner superhero will hunt, push down, and beat the carp out of my inner villains!
In past attempts at the 5% challenge, this guy snuck into my daily life with a vile formula that took me a long time to crack:
ALONE + (BORED or FRUSTRATED) = STUPID SNACKING.
By which I mean too much sugar. Even healthy sugars (like dried fruit or whole grains) are stupid if they are in large or untimely quantities.
SUPERHERO WEAPONS: Theyíve all been carefully forged in the fire of the Tame the Sugar Challenge:
** Razors: Cutting out the sugars I know I doní t want or need.
** Rope: Tie up my work schedule with the most interesting tasks at the time of day when Iím most tempted to stray into the snack zone.
** Heat: Cook up my own snacks that are higher in protein and readily available as yummy alternatives to the ones Iíve found counterproductive.
VILLAIN: OHMYGOODNESS BADNESS
She self-righteously snickers while chipping away at my accountability to myself, providing seductive excuses every day.
Oh, I canít work out in the morning because Iím helping my daughter with something until midnight.
Oh, I canít make a light healthy dinner because Iím responsible for making someone elseís hearty favorite.
Oh, I canít get out for a walk, because Iím working 2 jobs this week.
Oh, I'm too tired to run because I was helping a client in another time zone.
Oh, I canít work out now because BF is using my living room.
OH, GIVE ME A BREAK!
SUPERHERO WEAPON: GRETTA THE SHREDDA.
These are paper tigers. Shred Ďem up.
Running makes me a happy mom, a happier manager, a more capable and potent woman. AND finishing races makes my daughter and BF happy for me. Bam.
Superheroes get on with it. Let's go.
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