Saturday, February 22, 2014
This week was even better than last week with consumption Ė I was more consistent about staying in my range and I averaged around 1500 calories a day. Thatís been my general goal, and since I am burning around 2400 calories, I hope to see some results. Didnít hop on the scale like I usually do on Saturday morning, but I feel like my jeans fit better than they did last week. If I donít see any loss, Iíll adjust the calories down, but I have to say, I am feeling pretty good. And I think itís because I was able to control my consumption. And that self control felt really good.
I wasnít quite as disciplined about exercise. I did get all my training runs done Ė 21 miles in all Ė but I didnít do any strength training. I did yoga once.
Next week I will exert the same self control over my exercise and activity as I did with my consumption this week.
I started reading a book about will power and itís pretty interesting. The author maintains that while will power was a very popular concept in the Victorian era and thought to be a critical element of a healthy personality, the idea that we were actually in control of ourselves foundered in the 20th century in Western culture, with the advent of the behavioralists like B.F. Skinner who essentially believed that people could be trained to behave and perform in certain ways, regardless of their willingness to do so. This flew in the face of the idea of free will. Eventually, the idea of will power was replaced with the concept of self esteem and the culture readily accepted that idea. This fit in well with the 60ís ethos ďif it feels good, do itĒ and ďIím ok, youíre ok."
Iím not sure I am willing to accept all of this. But I do think that in our education system, teaching will power and self control do not seem to be emphasized as highly as the promotion of self esteem. Thatís always bothered me, since it seems backwards to me to promote self esteem as separate from accomplishments and values. You feel good about yourself because youíve mastered a skill, achieved a goal, developed good values (kindness, fairness, etc.), rather than the reverse. And accomplishing and achieving have everything to do with discipline, self control and will power. Essentially, delaying immediate gratification for future rewards.
And I think this is a part of what many of us on Spark are here to do...support each other to develop self control and exercise our will power in order to achieve our goals. Definitely a running theme! This author believes that will power is like a muscle, which can be developed and strengthened, so I am looking forward to learning more.
Here's hoping all my Sparkling friends have a wonderful Sunday and a productive week!
Thursday, February 13, 2014
This week has been much better in terms of staying on track with calories. Why? I set my mind to it. Stayed focus on my goals. If I want this, I canít have that. That simple.
Now, Iím not necessarily saying easy ... But still simple! And it helped that after gaining a couple pounds at the end of last week, it came back down and then some after my long run on the weekend. Success always gives me that little extra inspiration!
I have a nice dinner planned for tomorrow for my BF. Seafood risotto, molten chocolate cake and he is bringing a bottle of wine. Iím really looking forward to it! I donít enjoy going out for dinner on Valentineís day, having worked in many restaurants and owning one (no longer, thank God!) it gives me no pleasure to be in a restaurant on those big special occasion nights Ė too many expectations, too much stress. So I think tomorrow will be nice. A little less breakfast and lunch and a really nice dinner Ė it will be worth it!
So, happy Valentineís Day to all of my Sparkfriends! Enjoy!
Sunday, February 09, 2014
Just a quick reminder to myself that I can find all kinds of loopholes and excuses for doing the things I know are not taking me in the direction I want to go, but at the end the day (or week, in this case) there are specific measures that will let me know whether I am achieving my goals. And what one of those measures - my trusty scale - told me this week was "sorry Kristin, I know you were under a lot of stress but the bottom line is that you can't eat 4 big tasty cookies and drink a glass or two of wine 4 nights out of 7 and expect to lose weight. Or even maintain."
Thank you, scale, for that reality check. I resolve to do better next week.
I commit to holding the calories down and eliminating or drastically reducing the empty calories in sweets and alcohol. I will eat healthy salads and vegetables and lean meats and other good sources of protein. I can do that.
I will find other ways of dealing with stress, like mediation, music and mindfulness.
But I have to say that even with this blip (and I do think itís a blip, even if it wiped out almost all the gains Iíve made this year), this week had some really good outcomes that give me hope for the future. Some long term work problems were resolved: I will have a new boss next week who will be a much better fit for me in terms of management style. I was able to navigate that without creating enemies (at least that is my true hope and belief!). The major project Iím working on is more solid footing, and our leadership made it clear to a number of naysayers and faultfinders this is my project and I have their full confidence.
I also got some good feedback on how to improve and do better, which is something that I am happy to say that I am able to seek out and accept. This hasnít always been the case. And I have great hopes that I will actually be able to follow it. (More on that later.)
So, now I am off for my long run/walk. 10 miles. I can do this!
Have a wonderful day, my friends!
Thursday, February 06, 2014
Itís been a challenging week and I am having a hard time sticking to my plan. Exercise is almost on track but food not so much. Kind of a maintenance mode of eating so hopefully will not gain but definitely not losing this week.
I had a pretty stressful day on Tuesday at work Ė a big meeting with lots of conflict and frankly most of it unnecessary. My boss was fantastic and totally backed me up, which was excellent. It turned out pretty well, but I wasnít able to stay away from the cookies. Which I provided! If youíre going to force people to sit through a 3 hour meeting, you have to give them something, and I donít think fruit is an option from our cafeteria/caterer. But if it happens again, I'll try to make that happen. I also went out three days this week after work, 2 of them half social, half work. Not the best formula for success during a stressful week.
BF is helpful in terms of encouraging healthy eating and we are both focusing on cutting back on alcohol, but we both like a nice glass of wine. So, still room for improvement.
Iím going to redouble my efforts tomorrow and over the weekend. Exercise wasnít bad, only missed one morning. Iím planning to do the run tomorrow that I should have done tonight, and yoga and a long run over the weekend. And shopping with my best friend! Not planning to buy any clothes, but trying them on always inspires me to work a little harder on my plan.
Iím also planning to get my little studio space in order and drawing or painting just a little bit on Sunday. I was doing a lot of painting last year and I want to get back to it. I have a few paintings I need to finish but I donít think Iíll start with those. I need to get back into the mood. I gave my favorite painting to my BF for his birthday and he loved it. Made me very happy.
I got a book about willpower and will let you all know what I learn!
Saturday, February 01, 2014
January is always one of my favorite months because itís my birthday! I really like my birthday Ė good things usually happen to me around my birthday, and it seems like thatís the case this year too. Itís work-related but itís not final, so I donít want to say what it is yet, yet. Still, pretty good!
My poor BF was sick with bronchitis and asthma so we didnít do much working out but together we improved on the food front. Except for my birthday when he took me to an awesome restaurant and we splurged. It was awesome! But unlike past years, I was able to get (more or less) back on track when the weekend was over. Yes!
On nutrition and exercise, I am pretty happy with my progress towards my goals. I need to work more on consistency; when I begin to see success, I slack off. But for the most part, I came close to the goals I set on nutrition and exercise and Iím less than a half pound off of meeting my weight loss goal this month. And since Spark says I DID lose 4 pounds this month (the wonders of rounding down!)Ö Iíll take it!
So one goal at a time, hereís how I did:
1. Track calories, maintain weekly average caloric intake of 1550/day.
Actually made a discovery this month that you can connect the food and exercise trackers and Spark will give you a daily calorie range. Awesome! So I changed my goal to staying at the low end of the daily calorie range, which usually was right around 1550 or so, but on high exercise days allowed for more. Which seems to work or me. In terms of measuring though, the closest I can get is to look at the daily or weekly calorie differential and estimate whether I was in the range. By the daily measure I was off 8 day out of the month. If you look at the weekly, it appears that I was under the midrange 3 weeks out of 5. It was the first 3 weeks that I stuck to that goal, which is when I lost most of the weight. Need to do better and need to figure out a better measure.
2. 4 days of cardio every week, walking or running 14 miles/week. Continue training with my girls for St. Pattyís day Anthem HM in Virginia Beach.
Met and exceeded that goal, doing at least 4 days a week, and 3 out of 5 weeks did 5 or 6 days a week. Woot! Also tracked a lot of miles, average about 20 miles a week. On track for the HM, although the cold kept us from running outside together more than once.
3. Schedule and do 2 ST sessions every week. This They can be as short as 10 minutes, but better if longer, and best would be Body Pump classes.
Did at least one ST session every week, and 3 out of 5 weeks, I did 2 sessions. All were about 30 minutes. Mostly did the first set of workouts for New Rules of Lifting for Women and REALLY liked lifting a little heavier and challenging myself. I finally felt it in my arms the day after which was good.
4. Yoga at least once a week. Class or at home.
I practiced 4 weeks out of 5, and at least 6 times total. I always want to do more, but it is a time thing.
5. Blog when challenges crop up or I am feeling stressed.
Did some blogging and it helped me put my thoughts in order and stay on track. Probably more towards the end of the month might have helped.
6. Accountability: Weigh and measure December 31st, every week on Saturday and on January 31st.
This worked. It really kept me honest and made it clear that when I got off track with calories the progress halted.
One new piece of clothing at the end of the month when goal of 4 pounds lost is achieved.
Iíll take it! I got myself a really nice new pair of running shoes. Yes!
Iíve been doing a lot of reading about habits of successful maintainers and thinking about how to build them in while Iím moving towards my goal. Things like exercising every day and burning a major number of calories, like staying accountable. With that in mind, here are my goals for February:
1. Nutrition: I couldnít figure out how to measure success if my daily calorie range varies, but it occurred to me that if I have an average daily differential of 500 or more, that should do it. Will check in on weekly basis.
2. Cardio: I am going to stick to my goal of cardio 4 days a week, but add days when I can. For example, 20 minutes of elliptical on strength training days. Iíve worked out a schedule for the half marathon training that has me doing one long run a week and 3 other running or walking days, so that fits in well with this schedule. I was reading about the habits of successful maintainers and learned that they work out every day and burn approximately 2400 calories a week. WOW. That is a lot. I did 2700 two weeks in January and 2000 a third week, tough but doable.
3. Strength Training: At least twice a week, 3 if possible. Pushing myself as much as reasonably possible.
4. Yoga at least once a week. I really love it, for what it does for body, mind and soul.
5. Blog when I start to get off track to figure out whatís throwing me off.
6. Discipline and focus at work. I need to be more focused so I can be productive and creative at the same time.
7. Accountability: Weigh and measure once a week on Saturday. I actually hop on the scale almost every morning which Iíve read is a habit of people who successfully maintain weight loss.
I am feeling really good right now! I feel like Iíve done a good job on a lot of things this month and am looking forward to February (words I never thought Iíd hear myself say!)
Wishing all my Sparkling friends a wonderful month and success in achieving your dreams!
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