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Snack Day

Friday, October 28, 2011

The first time I tried to lose weight, I kept getting derailed by Snack Day at work. As long as it was only once a month, I could make slow progress; but when co-workers found excuses to turn it into twice a month, or even once a week, I'd gain more on the snack day eating than I'd lose on the other days.

I now know that my eating pattern on those Snack Days was very unhealthy, almost compulsive. I don't think it was quite in the territory of needing Overeaters Anonymous, but it was close enough that I think I have some appreciation for what the OA folks write about.

In 2009, I lost 20+ pounds on the "rodent diet." There were reports of mice in the building, and Snack Day was forbidden. Food in the cubes and hallways was also forbidden, and there were rules about carrying food in and out. I learned a lot about what I had been mindlessly eating when the mindless trip up the aisle to the bowl of chocolate could no longer be done. Once the rodent problem was solved, I tried to keep the habits up. Some lasted, some didn't.

Today marks the return of Snack Day to my workplace. What's different this time is, I've been on SparkPeople for three and a half months. I've learned to track my food in detail. I've achieved my initial goal weight, and dropped a few pounds lower. I've become a runner. I've learned that my appetite control is broken, and I will need to be aware of (and possibly need to track in detail) what I eat for the rest of my life.

This morning I dutifully brought in my contribution, a purchased container of mini pumpkin muffins. The idea behind this choice is that if they don't all get eaten by co-workers, they are something that I can work into my eating plan over time until they are gone. They aren't as dangerous as the Nancy's Party Spirals that I used to bring. (That, and Sam's Club didn't carry Nancy's Party Spirals when I looked. Sometimes you get bailed out by pure dumb luck.)

When I arrived, there were two plates of something covered by aluminum foil. In the past, I would have peeked to see what was there. In the past, I would have cracked open the treats before 9 AM, and had more when everyone had a break. In the past, I would have munched more or less mindlessly all day long.

Today I let the mystery plates remain a mystery until someone else opened them. They turned out to be rice krispie treats and brownies. Later, some incredibly rich frosted brownies from a local bakery came in the door. In the late morning, I broke down and had half of a decadent brownie and a rice krispie treat. That was it before lunch. I added some more goodies as dessert for lunch, and a bit more in the afternoon, but didn't lose all control. While the day's nutrition is long on fat and sugar, it is within ranges for calories and all the macronutrients.

Of course, staying in range is a heck of a lot easier on a maintenance range than it was on a weight loss range 400 calories per day lower than my current range!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRISZTA11 10/30/2011 6:04AM

    This Snack Day must be a big temptation.
On the other hand, it shows how cleverly you can adapt your eating plan to the circumstances, and that actually your nutrition plan is quite flexible.

I believe that indulging in eating some clearly unhealthy but delicious food sometimes is good for the soul, and decreases risk of getting immensely bored by our diet : )

Today I'll have a Cheeseburger Menu (we take food home from McD on DS's request), with steamed broccoli.
I'm happy I can fit that too in my nutrition plan, and I'm proud I will not have something much larger as I did half year ago ; )

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MOBYCARP 10/29/2011 4:01PM

    Addendum: Most of the mini pumpkin muffins ended up coming home with me. I looked at how many there were, and thought about how long it would take to eat them while fitting them into a rational plan. Ended up giving them to my daughter when I met her at McDonald's for breakfast this morning. She was glad to get them, and may share them with some of her co-workers.

It's nice to have those 3000 calories of temptation out of the house.

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DEBRITA01 10/29/2011 9:47AM

    emoticonEVERY day is Snack Day at my work...hard to navigate all the pitfalls, but you did pretty well emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 10/28/2011 9:02PM

    Being conscious of what you're doing is part of maintenance, too. You saw improvement compared to past "snack days", now you observe the way you feel over the next couple of days. More energy? Less? Sluggish? Is running harder? Easier?

These things will give you an idea of whether today's solution is acceptable "once a month" or "every other week".

Yesterday I indulged in two dark Reese's mini's, a snack sized Mounds, and a Tootsie pop... total 204 calories of SUGAR. Today I restricted myself to two dark Reese's mini's... for 88 calories of treat. Tomorrow and Sunday, I'm hoping to *not* have treats. I should be satisfied that I had a taste of some treats I really like, as opposed to volumes of treats that I'm not as fond of. It's not "never"... it's "seldom". Not always do-able for a 12-stepper.

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Shopping for Running Clothes

Thursday, October 27, 2011

One of the disadvantages of having lost a lot of weight is that I have to shop for clothes. For daily life, I've got that done. It pretty much blew away my clothing budget, and it was a pain in the butt, but I got it done.

Then there's exercise. Specifically, running. I've got clothes I can run in, in good weather. I've got clothing I can walk in, in any weather. But it turns out that running in bad weather needs different clothing than walking in bad weather.

A few days ago I stopped in at a local running shop and got a discussion of running clothes for cold weather. I also got sticker shock when I looked at their stuff. No doubt I'll be buying some stuff there, because they have stuff that is specialized for running. But before I load up, I need to shop around.

Today I reworked my budget. Found a few dollars in a category that didn't need them, and moved them to the clothing category. Then I promptly spent most of them. Walmart sells a perfectly good base layer top for running, if you know what you're looking for. It's half the price of the ones in the running shop, or maybe a bit less. I bought 4 of them, on the theory that I may run as many as 4 days in a week. Had enough left in the clothing budget to pick up one pair of compression shorts. I don't know if they'll be as wonderful as the longer term runners say they are, but I'll give them a try. If they turn out to be great, I can go buy more when I have more money in the clothing budget.

In any event, I now have the base layer and the shell for winter running; I may have to go back to the running shop to get a midlayer. But the base and shell might get me through November.

Anyway, that's the aspiration. Saturday is supposed to be cold enough that I'll be able to test the base + shell theory in real weather. If it works out, I made a good purchase today.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEBRITA01 10/28/2011 8:28AM

    You've purchased the must be committed to running since I know how much men despise clothes shopping :) Good for you...stay warm and enjoy your running! emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 10/28/2011 7:14AM

    Oy, the monster has been unleashed... you're turning into a "real" runner, not just a "fair weather" one! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MOBYCARP 10/28/2011 6:29AM

    The shoes I've got will be fine as long as there isn't loose snow or ice on the ground. Once we get to that point, I'll look into getting slip on cleats. There are a couple of brands that people like.

The alternative is to have some sheet metal screws put into an old pair of running sneakers. The local running shop will do that for $8 or so, and once I see the pattern I can do it myself for much cheaper.

Comment edited on: 10/28/2011 8:40:08 AM

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KRISZTA11 10/28/2011 4:31AM

    emoticon shopping results!
You got good running clothes and also spent our money wisely.
I have similar clothes (base and shell, I just didn't have the right words), and just thinking about buying some middle layer.
I have only one set, though, so once I tried out full outfit and it works, I'll have to buy more.
I'm looking forward to run in winter...

What about shoes? Are you going to run in the same shoes you used so far?

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Running and Fall Weather

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tuesday and Wednesday I have non-exercise evening commitments. That makes them low exercise days. Or it did, until last week.

The week before last, I completed the 5K Your Way running program. Last week, I set out to incorporate less structured running into my regular exercise. I ran on Tuesday and Wednesday lunch hours. That worked out pretty well, in what I thought might be the last good weather of the year.

This week, the Tuesday forecast was favorable, so I packed my gym bag for running at lunch. It was a beautiful 50 degrees fahrenheit (10 celcius) and sunny, near perfect running weather. I ran 3.49 miles in 25 minutes, for a 7:10 pace. (Barb, SP tells me that being tall has nothing to do with running fast.)

Today, the forecast was for rain with a break in the late morning. There's a quote I've seen on some Sparker's signature: "Life's not about waiting for the storms to pass...It's about learning to dance in the rain." ~ Vivian Greene

With that quote in mind, I packed my gym back for running in cooler weather. It turned out to be 49 fahrenheit with a light drizzle when I got out to run. This was the first real world test of how I might dress when it wasn't tee shirt and shorts running weather. I work a pair of light warmup pants, a tee shirt, and a jacket that the local running store tells me is called a "shell" by serious runners. Bearing in mind that I always wear a ball cap to run, this turned out to be a good choice of attire for the conditions.

I was surprised at how good the footing was. Downtown is riddled with construction tearing up sidewalks, so it's kind of an adventure to get between the gym and the river trail, but I managed to find a different route today than I'd gone before. The run felt good, and I jiggled the end of the route to come it at 25 minutes. Turned out to be 3.37 miles, for a slower 7:25 pace per mile. That's okay; the run was fun, and I'd expect the pace to be slower given the conditions.

I think what I work today will be good for temperatures down to around 40 F (5 C) with no precipitation and no more than a modest wind. Below that, or low 40s with more rain than drizzle, I still need to figure out. I'm one step closer to being able to maintain my running through the winter.

Life isn't about waiting for good weather. It's about learning to appreciate, and run in, whatever weather I have.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEBRITA01 10/27/2011 7:21AM

    "Life isn't about waiting for good weather. It's about learning to appreciate, and run in, whatever weather I have." I like that! If we wait for the perfect exercise situation, we won't get it done...we can always think of some excuse. Way to go for not allowing a little rain to stop you from getting your run in! emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 10/26/2011 8:14PM

    There are two elements to speed, dear brother: stride length and turnover. As a speedwalker, I've been trained to shorten my stride and increase my turnover. Gives me a great cardio workout.

Your height *does* give you a longer natural stride. If you match my turnover and have your stride, you are going to outpace me, every time. So much for height having *nothing* to do with running fast. emoticon

Enjoy your new form of athleticism! emoticon

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50 Pounds

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My normal practice is to weigh myself daily. This morning the scale showed me a new low since some time in the mid 1980s, 171.

My all time high weight was 221, achieved on December 28, 2008. In just short of 2 years and 10 months, I have shed 50 pounds. That kind of hit me emotionally.

I never thought I was 50 pounds overweight. At my peak, I might have said something like, "I could stand to lose 40 pounds, and I really ought to lose at least 25."

I never thought of myself as a yo-yo dieter either, probably because I never went on a serious diet until this year when I joined SparkPeople. But if I look back in my records, which include notes from memory when I started keeping track, there it is. Peaks at 216, 219, 210, 221, and 218. Low points were at varying levels between these peaks. Various efforts to control my weight were more or less successful, then stopped being successful when my focus waivered or was snatched away by Life Happening.

Pre-Spark, the lowest of those low points was 185. The bounce back up from there went to a sideways fluctuation between 195 and 200 for most of early 2011. SparkPeople provided me with two key things. First, when I reluctantly admitted that I needed to track what I eat, SP provided a tool I can use. Second, SP provided a motivational boost over and above what I expected from the site. I set a goal of 175, and declared myself in maintenance mode at 174, a bit over two weeks ago.

So . . . I've lost 3 pounds in two weeks, while nominally maintaining. Both the 174 when I reached goal and the 171 today were after days of eating within plan and having good exercise. The two weights are as comparable as any two weights in my daily series. It's a real weight loss.

I'm not upset at losing the weight. I don't know where my body's true healthiest weight is, other than I don't think it's all that far from where I am now. But I don't think I should be losing 3 pounds in 2 weeks while trying to maintain; particularly when I lost 1.8 pounds in the past 7 days, which started with a 3500 calorie cheat day.

Time to add back some calories to the diet. Either that, or cut exercise; and I'm having too much fun running to do that just now. So let's add another 200 calories per day, and give it a week or two to see what happens.

With the first 200 calories I added back, I kept eating the same breakfast and lunch on work days. That gave me very filling dinners and evening snacks. I don't think continuing in the same vein is going to work very well for me. I need to find a way to add some calories to breakfast and/or lunch, so I don't have to stuff myself at dinner.

It's a puzzle. But it's the kind of puzzle I can solve, just like I solved the puzzle of how to eat on the weight loss calorie allowance. I'll just have to work on it and see what I come up with.

Spark on!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LJCANNON 10/24/2011 10:41AM

    emoticonKeep Sparking!! You WILL find the right Plan for YOU!!
emoticonCongratulations on 50 Pounds GONE FOREVER!!!

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DEBRA0818 10/24/2011 8:22AM

    Fabulous work! It shows a lot of determination and a very successful outcome! If you can maintain your loss for 5 years, you'll be in the top 5% of weight watchers everywhere. Woo-hoo!

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KRISZTA11 10/24/2011 3:28AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
50 pounds, that's a great success!!!!

Good luck to finding your real maintenance nutrition plan,
I'm doing the same for myself : )


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ARLENE_MOVES 10/23/2011 8:47PM

    Absolutely great so far and I'm glad you are having fun running. What a great blog to read - I'm learning from you everyday!!!

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WATERMELLEN 10/23/2011 8:36PM

    Fantastic! You have done really well: and you'll figure out the maintenance calorie range too.

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LJR4HEALTH 10/23/2011 7:59PM

    emoticon emoticonon the 50 pounds lost I hear you on the not to admitting to the real amount of weight that I really need to lose I still don't admit well I will hear to you I have a confession since 2004 I have lost 67 pounds never thought I was that heavy well never wanted to acknowledge it Keep up the awesome work

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DEBRITA01 10/23/2011 6:28PM

    emoticonon the 50 lbs...that is an accomplishment! I'm sure you will solve the puzzle and tweak your diet to keep a good balance...and what a nice feeling it must be to have to ADD calories. emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 10/23/2011 6:15PM

    Hint: if you are "full" with what you're eating now, and need something that adds calories and nutrients without filling, I got pointed at two items: dried fruits, like prunes, apricots, or raisins... and unsalted nuts. Depending on what you need, healthy fats (nuts), or vitamin/minerals (fruit), you can add the right amount and enjoy it, too... all while still being able to run!

Spark on, dude... emoticon

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ROOTIHAUSMAN 10/23/2011 5:47PM

    Keep your positive attitude. You will be able to figure it out! Awesome job so far!

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Busy Saturday

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I woke up early this morning, and felt well rested. So I went for a run before 9 AM McDonald's with daughter. Ran into the stupid motivational tricks again. As I was approaching my driveway, the run was going to be around 39 minutes. So I overshot and came back, to get in 40 minutes and that 8th Spark Point. That stretched the run to 3.31 miles, a 7:32 pace per mile. I'm happy with that, as I wasn't particularly trying to run fast.

Had a nice chat with daughter. Her two cats are adapting to each other, and the really demanding cat she took from me is less demanding with another cat in the apartment. They like different food, so she can control their feeding independently. Looks like I'll be living in a cat-free zone for a while.

Hauled the pecan pies to church for the fund raising supper. I won't be going back to eat; that's too easy to overdo things. On the way back home, I found the local running store. Looked at cold weather clothing. Of course, it's pricey in a specialty store. Bought a pair of light, washable gloves. That should take care of me running down to freezing. Hopefully it will take long enough for me to rebuild the clothing budget before I have to run in colder weather than that.

By now it's almost 1. Decided to go to Taco Bell for lunch, before grocery shopping. I have a standard order, and I can work with it. The food comes, and the order taker had put in the wrong meal deal. Instead of a Gordita Supreme, I have a Beefy 5-Layer Burrito. It was delicious. After grabbing groceries, I get home and see that the burrito was also 540 calories, compared to 300 for the gordita. Oops. But at least it came with more protein. I have fewer calories left after lunch than most days, but I can still work with this.

On to household chores. Get the laundry rolling. Haul out the downspouts I bought last week, and cut them down to be 6 or 7 foot downspout extenders. Get them installed, and I've got my homework done for the mold remediation people.

The grass needs to be mowed. It hasn't dried out enough. I may be done mowing for the season by default.

Down to just laundry to deal with, let's see what football games are on. Jackpot! ABC has decided to show me Nebraska at Minnesota! ABC mistakenly thinks I live in a Big 10 fan area. (It's really Buffalo Bills territory, with a secondary theme of Syracuse Orange.) Nebraska in the Big 10 means I get to see more games! And Nebraska leads 34-0 at the half. And the game is early enough that I'll be able to watch all of it!

Life is good.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEBRITA01 10/23/2011 9:41AM

    Your Saturday had a nice balance of productiveness and pleasure...and,finding the balance is key. (With the abundance of rain we've had, the lawn mowing season seems way too long this year...we keep hoping it's the last mow of the season)

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BARBAELLEN 10/22/2011 8:33PM

    I've got to say, you're really lucky to have that Saturday-McDonald's breakfast ritual with your daughter. Nice one-on-one time away from household distractions. If I could pin mine down to a regular time ANYWHERE I'd be delighted.

Looks like you did good today, but I do take exception to your use of the word "jackpot" about the Nebraska game. They knocked my TERRAPINS right off the tube!

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ONEKIDSMOM 10/22/2011 5:44PM

    And of course you remember that your nephew, having grown up in your neck of the woods, is indeed a Buffalo Bills and Syracuse Orangemen fan. Swap TV coverage? Kinda nice to see the Cornhuskers doing their thing the way they always did... march it down the field and dominate.

Of course it isn't that way EVERY week, but it harks back to our childhood. Funny how loyalties to sports teams are often rooted in the Saturdays and Sundays of our youth!

I'm working the "monitor a system remotely while it does its thing for an incredibly LONG time" this weekend. Been up since midnight last night and have concluded I'm too old for this kind of thing. Eating to stay awake is not the way to keep the pounds off... napping with kittens on the lap between checks of progress and incremental analysis... and having the football game on the tube... yeah, life may not be "normal" this weekend, but we shall pronouce it "good".

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