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Shopping for Clothes

Sunday, October 09, 2011

I'm in Stage 3 of the Spark Diet. The current email says I'm supposed to give myself a big reward for 12 weeks of hard work. Instead of doing that, I punished myself.

I went shopping for a new suit.

I dislike shopping for clothes. Shopping for formal wear is worse than shopping for casual wear. Suits are the top of the avoidance list, being formal wear and custom tailored and expensive. I hate the whole process.

But, the suit I bought to celebrate my low weight in 2005 is definitely too loose now. (Less than a year ago, it was too tight and I wore a fatter suit instead.) And I heard an ad on the radio yesterday saying Men's Wearhouse had a buy one, get one free sale that ends Monday. Monday is a running day, so that leaves today. Went shopping after church.

Found out that I've shrunk from a 42 coat to a 40. Waist is 34, which wasn't a surprise. Ended up getting two suits that should work okay. One of the slacks is snugger than the other, which will tell me if I'm losing fat. And I got a sportcoat, which I can wear with Dockers if I have to.

Got that unpleasant task out of the way, and rewarded myself with a 2.71 mile walk to mail my registration for a local 5K on Daylight Wasting Sunday, and to get my 10K steps in today. The weather was beautiful, and the walk was a lot more fun than shopping for clothes.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1MANKNEY 10/10/2011 3:06PM

    I am one of those crazy people that loves to shop. I just hate to spend money so I shop instead. It really has to be something I love before I part with a buck!
My husband's idea of shopping is to decide he needs something, check it out on the computer to see if it is all he thinks it is and what other people have to say about it, then go to the store and buy it! That takes all the fun out of shopping!
Sorry you don't enjoy it, but sounds like you celebrated your weight loss anyway! emoticon

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KRISZTA11 10/10/2011 2:12PM

    Congrats to new suits - hope they will serve you for long, so you don't have to enter the shop again for 5 years!
I hate shopping too ; )

Good luck to the race!

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DEBRITA01 10/10/2011 1:27PM

    Although you don't like shopping, at least you hit a good BOGO sale (my fav) and got to buy a smaller size. Keep up the good work! emoticon

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PHEBESS 10/10/2011 12:03PM

    Even if you hate shopping, you've gotta admit that smaller clothing makes a great reward!

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WATERMELLEN 10/10/2011 9:46AM

    Two suits AND a sports jacket . . . you won't have to do that for awhile. Unless you keep on exercising the way you are, of course: gonna have to stop that, or you'll continue to shrink!! (Quite a lot of my "formerly thin" clothes are now . . . too big. I just wear 'em baggy and droopy.)

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ONEKIDSMOM 10/10/2011 7:25AM

    emoticon My kind of guy... my kind of attitude about shopping for clothes. I just don't "get it", the idea of shopping being fun. OK, it's a lot less disappointing when I'm thin, but I still don't like it.

My son recently had to do the same: buy a suit that fits, due to some social events that required it. He got tagged to be best man for a buddy, and that required some fitted duds. His dad always looked great in the classic tailored stuff, and I'll be he cleans up good, too... as do you.

That chore done, nice choice of "fun"... Spark on! emoticon

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BARBAELLEN 10/10/2011 12:26AM

    I just don't understand how so many people say they "love shopping." However, you either have a stylist come to you, or you go to the store. If you want the deals, you go to the store. Just think, when you're walking around looking very dapper in those new threads, the shopping trip will be just a memory.

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ARLENE_MOVES 10/9/2011 11:42PM

    Glad you accomplished both. I don't like shopping either - except at Goodwill!

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Random Saturday Thoughts

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Eight days ago I had a man in for a home energy audit. He wouldn't do the blower test for where the air leaks because of mold in the basement. The concern is putting a possibly harmful substance into my breathing air.

Today I got another fellow in to look at the mold. It can be dealt with. This will take three days and have a noticeable cost, though I don't have a precise quote yet. Part of the solution is fixing the moisture problem so the mold won't come back. I will also get a quote for the real solution to fixing my sump pump outflow to go to the creek instead of to the sewer.

That was a 10 AM appointment. Because of the time, I had to cancel 9 AM breakfast at McD with daughter. She's not hurting; I took her to Taco Bell when I helped her move on Thursday.

Having a 10 AM deadline at home instead of a 9 AM deadline a couple miles away let me be more leisurely than usual this morning. I didn't get out for my 5K training run until 7:42. This was Week 4, Day 3 of the 5K Your Way running program, calling for running 40 minutes. If I can keep up the pace I ran on Thursday, I will overshoot my standard 5.2 mile loop from home by a bit.

On this route, there aren't as many hills and I know where miles 1, 2, and 3 end. So I looked at my watch at those mile points. Mile 1, 7:43. Mile 2, 15:06. Mile 3, 22:34. Okay, looks like I started out slow then warmed up. That's fine.

Through the last third of the run, I'm concerned that I won't be able to keep running the whole time. This isn't entirely rational, but that's how I was thinking. There is a hill on the route that comes in that last third; I slowed down to rest before the hill, and managed to run up it. After that, it was pretty easy. As predicted by Thursday's pace, I overshot my driveway.

40 minutes, 5.33 miles. That's an average pace just a bit quicker than the 35 minute run on Thursday. It might just be that I had 5 more minutes to run after warming up on the first part.

I think this is the first time I've run over 5 miles continually in my life. That feels good. What feels better is, by now I have a cooldown and stretching routine that works so I can still walk afterwards.

Of course, I failed to look at my pedometer at the exact start of the run, or at the exact end. I did look a bit before and a bit after; the 40 minutes, 5.33 miles generated maybe 7500 steps.

Not all pedometer steps are created equal. Those 7500 steps felt like they were worth at least 10K walking steps. I've come to the belief that the value of the pedometer isn't so much on running days, as on the off days. It motivates me to get those 10K steps when I'm otherwise resting. That means I don't have any days of 2K steps just hanging around the house. The extra steps mostly don't count as exercise for the SP tracker; but it's worth getting them on days when I'm resting between runs.

Now, on to household maintenance chores. I have laundry to do, and downspout extenders to buy.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BARBAELLEN 10/8/2011 6:58PM

    Awesome! Your hard work and perserverance are paying off in so many ways. (BTW, congrats on reaching your goal weight.) I don't think you have to question anymore whether or not you're a runner. You are definitely a runner!

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ARLENE_MOVES 10/8/2011 6:28PM

    You're awesome. Someday I would like to try running, but I don't think my heart issues will allow it. Guess I'll stay with the walking and live vicariously through you!!



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CAROLJEAN64 10/8/2011 3:00PM

    emoticon emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 10/8/2011 2:04PM

    By the way, and for what it's worth, my work place uses a "Walk This Way" program. In its little booklet, it has recommended translation for times you aren't wearing the pedometer. Running a mile counts as 2000 steps. Your 5 mile runs would count as 10,000. You are correct in your assessment that it's worth 10,000.


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KRISZTA11 10/8/2011 1:39PM

    Hey, you run real FAST!!

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Musings on Reaching Goal

Friday, October 07, 2011

When I picked my goal weight, I did some internet searching for ideal weight. I picked a number in the range of estimates for my age, height, gender, and medium body frame. The number I picked turns out to be high in the range of estimates, but in the range.

Time and events change my perspective. When I weighed 219, it wasn't terribly important to know how much I should weigh. The direction the weight needed to move was pretty clear. When I weighed 196 and had bounced of 188 and 185 previously, the direction was still clear.

At 174, it's not so clear whether I've come far enough in that direction.

A few days ago, I revisited my internet search for ideal weight. I read more closely. The most extensive discussion of the topic I found was at a Halls MD site:

According to Halls, all the ideal weight estimates have problems. They gave their recommendation, without heavy enthusiasm. That system produces an ideal weight of 170 for me.

One of the more interesting methods was the "People's Choice" method. It estimates what people with my numbers think their ideal weight should be. What I find interesting is that the answer changes with how much I put in for the current weight. People with my numbers who weigh 175 want to weigh 172. If they weigh 172, they want to weigh 170. If they weigh 196, they want to weigh 182. If they weigh 168 or 169, they like their existing weight; below that, they want to weigh more.

Another question that didn't seem terribly important when I was 15 pounds heavier is, what is the standard for how these ideal weights are measured? The Met Life tables specify one inch heels and wearing clothes weighing 5 pounds. I can adjust those assumptions back to the way I actually weigh myself; but the other systems don't tell me what their weigh-in standards are. So I don't know if my current weight is truly comparable to the target weight from any other system.

Any canned system I find on the internet is going to deal in averages. The obvious thing to do for a custom answer to the question of what my ideal weight should be is to ask my doctor. As it happens, I did that when I weighed 191. She told me I'd be fine if I stayed at that weight and remained as active as I was. (I did neither of those things in the ensuing months.)

Of course, the real answer is that I shouldn't be targeting weight, per se. I should be targeting fitness and body fat percent. The problem with that is, I can't easily measure body fat percent. I can easily measure weight. I can kind of measure fitness, but not with one easy number. It looks like, how long can I run? How much weight can I lift? What size clothing fits right?

At the end of the musing and analysis, I get to a touchy-feely fuzzy area where I need to feel around for what weight actually feels healthiest. I'll call that maintenance, though I'm not committed at this point to maintaining in a narrow range. 175 was a good initial weight goal. Now I need to add back some calories, and see whether I stabilize there or somewhere lower.

I've only been in maintenance mode for one day, and I already see one big reason why maintenance is harder than losing. When I'm trying to lose weight, I may not know precisely where I'm going but I know what direction I need to go. When I'm trying to maintain, I don't know for sure whether I'm aiming for no gain or for no loss.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JEANKNEE 10/7/2014 9:55PM

    emoticon for providing the links to these past blogs sharing your maintenance anniversary musings. I find them helpful and supportive of my own process which seems to be somewhat mirroring yours.

I know we are each an experiment of one and need to make determinations for our situation. However, experience shared by others has been both helpful and inspiring.

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GABY1948 10/7/2014 6:34PM

    I love yours and all these blogs that me me realize there is so much more to think about and deal with than what I ever thought! Even your old blogs are especially interesting and informative to me....I feel like I just started Spark instead of starting after 6 years!


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WATERMELLEN 10/8/2011 11:27AM

    This maintenance thing is fascinating and frustrating pretty much in equal measure. Tougher than losing, absolutely. SP set my initial goal weight at 155 (I'm 5'9" tall). On the Judith S. Beck program, it appears that 137-139 has evolved as my "lowest sustainable weight" -- as opposed to "lowest achievable weight" which might be about 134 . . doesn't sound like much of a difference, but I can feel it.

And as for a turkey being too big, you're an old hand at this and we may discover just that. However, it's a small one (5 kg.) and I'm counting on leftover turkey for my salads -- preparing a turkey barley soup from the bones . . . so it's a bit of an experiment. Thanks for your comments.

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BARBAELLEN 10/7/2011 9:45PM

    Interesting musing. It's almost as though losing weight is a hard science, but now, with maintenance, comes the "art" part. I suppose the answer to your dilemna could be that you will just "know." I should be there soon, and I have a feeling I'll just know whether I want to not gain or not lose.

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ONEKIDSMOM 10/7/2011 9:10PM

    Welcome to the world, little goldfish!

In the end I decided that what I was maintaining was behavior, and looking at the number on the scale because it is easy to measure is kind of like looking for the key you dropped outside in the dark, over here in the kitchen where the light is better.

And when I shifted to maintaining healthy habits, the scale kind of takes care of itself. Then I look at maintaining a balance of "calories in/calories out" kind of roughly... and eating high nutrition foods so I just plain feel better.

Then those pesky scale numbers, while being a GPS, aren't exactly what tells me I'm there.

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Busy Thursday

Thursday, October 06, 2011

I took today off work. The plan was to help daughter move into her new apartment. I could have been a comedy of errors.

Tuesday evening I texted daughter to let her know I'd reserved a U-Haul van and I'd pick it up at 8 this morning. Got a phone call back. Daughter needed to babysit her apartment from 8 to 12 for the cable company to come install internet. I had visions of nothing happening till 1 PM.

So I picked up the van and brought it home. There were three pieces in my basement that daughter wanted. The microwave cart wasn't a big deal. I didn't know about the dresser, but it turned out I could get it out of the basement by myself. Then there was the sofa that has been in my basement for 19 years and 10 months.

That sofa is heavy. The stairs are narrow. I correctly determined the way to turn the sofa, and got it half way up. Needed to move the bottom end over, and I'm at the top. Got down past the sofa to do that; might not have 10 pounds ago. Point to the SP nutrition tracker.

Did 6 reps of pull sofa up one step. Found that I couldn't get the middle leg through the doorway. (Yes, I'd already taken the door to the basement stairs off the hinges and put it elsewhere.) At this point, I remember ex-wife telling me the movers had to remove that middle leg to get the sofa down. So I try to get there. The sofa slides back down the stairs. Sigh. Remove the leg.

Try to do more reps of pull sofa up. Run out of steam. Some time in there, daughter called and told me internet was about done; but she was going to do (several things that I don't remember now) before she came over. I give up on the sofa till she arrives.

With daughter's help, I get the sofa to the top of the stairs. Can't get it out the back door. At this point, I remember ex-wife telling me the movers had to take *both* doors of the hinges to get the sofa in. Ain't gonna happen. The sofa goes back into the basement. It will come out in pieces, when I get around to disposing of it.

Load up the van with the stuff we could move, plus some clutter that daughter had stored at my house. There's room left, so we drive to daughter's old apartment and get more clutter. By the time we get it all into her new apartment (up flights of 6, 10, and 7 risers), I'm pretty wiped out.

Back to her old apartment. Daughter offers me sweetened iced tea; I take water. There are cookies; I grab the nutritional info and decide I can eat two. There is no reasonably close place to eat lunch, so we load her bed and a couple other smaller things, then get back to her new apartment. Get it all up those stairs, and we're both pretty wiped out.

If I never have to muscle a full sized mattress up another flight of stairs, I won't be disappointed with missing out on the experience. I tell daughter I hope this apartment lasts her a while. She says next time she moves she might go the moving party route, where you buy pizza and beer and get cheap muscle to help.

By the time we return the U-Haul van, it's 2 PM and we haven't had lunch. Off to Taco Bell, which daughter likes and I can work around. I'm hungry. I have a chicken flatbread sandwich in addition to my usual order, figuring I can come in at the high end of calories today if necessary. I feel much better after getting some food into my stomach; I worked too hard for just having a bowl of oatmeal with raisins at breakfast.

Daughter collects her car and a bit more clutter from my house and goes to settle in. By 4 PM, I'm mowing the lawn. In October, when the grass shouldn't still be growing. But it's a sunny day, and we don't get that many of those this late in the year, and the grass has been growing like spring. Sigh.

After all that, I can look at the evening at about the same time I'd normally get home from work. So what do I do? I do my 5K Your Way training.

By the time I get to run, the pedometer has 9800 steps on it. 5 or 6 thousand of those were tough steps moving furniture, but I don't have anything to record on SP as cardio. Get out, and take it gently in light of having already worked pretty hard. I plan to run the same route I ran Monday.

At my first time check landmark, I'm about 10 seconds off the pace I set Monday. At the place I strained my calf in Week 2, I'm about 20 seconds off the pace I set Monday. I figure I'm just tired from moving and mowing, and quit looking at my watch.

At the check off corner for adding or chopping distance to the route, I'm a few seconds ahead of the pace I set Monday. When I turn onto my street at the end, I'm 45 seconds ahead of Monday. I end up running 4.62 miles, compared to 4.54 on Monday. I may have started slower, but I didn't have to slow down as much to be able to keep running.

I custom build dinner to get enough carbs and protein to meet my minimums. Add an evening snack, and come in toward the low end of my calorie range, even with that Taco Bell Chicken Flatbread sandwich. And I'm satisfied. Go figure.

Looking back on the day with a lap full of purring cat, I can't believe I got all that done. Other people have days like this; I don't. If this isn't a delusion, it's a gift.

In a few minutes, I'll be off to bed. Tomorrow it's back to work. Conference calls and analyzing possible new rules and generally being sedentary except when I take a break to walk a bit. But today has been a very good day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PHEBESS 10/7/2011 10:35AM

    Sounds like a great workout, LOL!

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DEBRITA01 10/7/2011 8:48AM

    Wow, what a busy, physical day...and you got in the 5k training session, too? Bravo. I had to smile while reading your description of the wrestling match with the sofa...too bad it won, but you gave it a good try :) You're a good dad ...and I'm sure your daughter realizes how lucky she is. (After all of that, how's the back today?)

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WATERMELLEN 10/7/2011 8:02AM

    The things we do for our kids! You deserve a purple heart, for sure . . . . and maybe the simple announcement right now, "I don't do moving any more!" would help her make other plans next time!! Love the fact that at the end of it all, you decided it was a "good day"!

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ARLENE_MOVES 10/7/2011 1:41AM

    You could have counted that moving as cardio. I think there is something called moving - carrying boxes or somethink like that -- but you ended up not needing to. Good for you for such an active day.

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ONEKIDSMOM 10/6/2011 9:33PM

    Good for you... your today says it all... why we bother. So that when days like this come around, we can do what needs doing, and still have a bit of gas in the tank for that 5K training session.


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Today, I Am A Runner

Monday, October 03, 2011

A while back, I blogged that I was not a runner:

My thinking at that time was, I am not a runner until I can run 30 minutes continually. I figured if I could actually keep running for a half hour, that would be good enough to complete the 3.5 mile Chase Corporate Challenge while actually running the entire course. If I can run all the way through that race, a bit longer than a 5K, I can call myself a runner.

Today was the big transition. After 2 weeks of remedial training, and 3 weeks of the 5K Your Way running program doing intervals (with a 9 day interruption to recover from a strained calf), today was Week 4, Day 1. It called for running 35 minutes. Since I hadn't been attempting to run further than the intervals, there was some doubt as to whether I could do this.

Weather: Cloudy, showers off and on all day. Temperature at 57 degrees. Recalling that SP says 55 is the ideal temperature for running, I leave the jacket at home. Good call. I probably could have got by in runners shorts, though I actually wore long pants.

Start out deliberately holding back, both because I didn't have much of a warmup and because I haven't run longer than 7 minutes at once since I started training. The 5 minute mark found me further than the walk 1/run 4 interval, but not by much.

I have 3 up/down hill stretches on this route. On the interval training, part of the biggest uphill stretch falls on a walk. Not today; no more walking. Got up all the hills, and noticed that running down them was a lot easier, almost like resting.

Got to the segments where I was always looking at my watch early. The psychology is different when I'm not going to slow for a walk at all. The longer stretches don't feel as long when I'm not looking forward to a walking interval.

Several times I had to bear in mind the sage advice of my sister, "Run slower." I managed to do this without slowing to a walk, and was able to pick up the pace later. This is encouraging, as I really didn't know how to pace myself before I started training.

Chopped a bit off the twisty route for the 40 minute walk/run intervals, and guessed that I'd end up somewhere close to home. Quite close, in fact. When I looked at my watch on the last stretch, it looked very close indeed. I picked up the speed, trying to get to my driveway by 35 minutes. Didn't do it, but got to the next door neighbor's driveway. Good enough, that's a point I can measure to on the map.

Walking cooldown from the walk/run intervals was walking about a tenth of a mile. Today, it was more like walking a third of a mile. That's okay, I already know that walking after the run is good for how my calves will feel tomorrow.

Stretched, took another short cooldown walk, and came in to map what I did. Turned out to be 4.54 miles, or an average pace of 7:43 per mile. At that pace, I could run the Chase Corporate Challenge in 27 minutes.

Today I am a runner. Doing this once doesn't make it permanent, so I'll be sure to finish out the 5K Your Way training routine. Then it will be a virtual 5K, and hopefully a routine of regular running till tax season, when I'll need to figure out how to deal with less free time.

And in the interval between April 15 and the Chase Corporate Challenge at the end of May, I'll train to run again. The second time through, it should be easier. I'll go into it knowing that I can do it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRISZTA11 10/8/2011 7:56AM

You ran a great time!
It is amazing how good it went, after a relatively short training.
I'm in a quite similar phase of the 5K training, running far slower but enjoying immensely.

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DEBRITA01 10/4/2011 6:34AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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REMARAHAB 10/3/2011 9:41PM

    Wow! That's fantastic!

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LESLIESENIOR 10/3/2011 9:08PM

    Awesome accomplishment. I applaud your consistency and determination. Hurray for you!!! I, too, was "not a runner". Then at age 57 1/2 a friend challenged several of us to train for a 1/2 marathon. That was in July 2010. Since then I have kept up the walk/jogging still saying I am "not a runner". I'm now 59 and can run 3 miles without stopping. It is slow (your sister is wise) but I don't stop and I now call myself a runner.
Isn't it the most wonderful feeling?
Congratulations, again, not only on a great accomplishment, but a fabulous time!!! We older folks can learn new tricks.
Leslie emoticon emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 10/3/2011 9:01PM

    emoticon on reaching your goal of running for 30 minutes! You are indeed a runner. emoticon

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