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Quiet Friday

Friday, November 18, 2011

Not much went on today on the fitness and diet front. It's a non-running day, and my 38 minute lunch walk didn't feel like I was really working. Then I mapped it out, and it came to a 13:37 pace per minute, walking. Not that long ago, any walk faster than 15:00 per mile felt like a workout. I'll count this one for fitness minutes.

On the diet front, I put a snack in at mid-afternoon. I was still hungry at dinnertime, but it was a more reasonable hunger than the past few days. I'll pick this strategy back up on Monday, for work days. One more small step toward figuring out maintenance.

Tomorrow morning I plan to try to run a bit further than 10K, as my last long training run before the 10K on Thanksgiving. It will also be the first time I've ever run a full 10K; but there is little doubt that I can do it. I ran almost 10K last Saturday, and I'm well enough rested. The forecast is for about 36 F at run time; I've run at this temperature before, so what to wear is no mystery.

And now I run into the flip side of getting up early to run; I need to get to be early enough to be well rested in the morning. Since my body is telling me it's bedtime before 9:30 tonight, I think that will work out well.

Good night, and Spark on!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BELSNICKEL 11/19/2011 4:33AM

    Ii is so neat when we are surprised by our fitness.

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ONEKIDSMOM 11/18/2011 10:03PM

    Sleep is good. Go sleep!

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KAYE454 11/18/2011 9:35PM

  Quiet is great

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Maintenance Worries

Thursday, November 17, 2011

This morning the scale said 166.6, which happens to be a new 25+ year low weight for me. Now, my scale is only really accurate to a fifth of a pound; the next tick up or down from here would be 166.8 or 166.4, respectively. But still . . . that's a pound lighter than yesterday, and two pounds lighter than a week ago.

Minor difficulty: I'm in maintenance, not in weight loss mode. While it's okay for the weight to drift down as I try to find what weight would be most healthy, this looks like the pace I was losing when I was trying to lose weight. Only now my range is 600 calories higher, and I'm eating them.

What to do? For today, I ate toward the high end of the expanded range. I trust that this, plus normal fluctuation, should produce a higher weight tomorrow. Longer term, where does that calorie range need to be? Logically, it should move up and down as I get more or less exercise; but I don't have a good means to measure how much exercise is worth how many calories. (If I did, I wouldn't still be losing 2 pounds in a week!)

The mantra has always been, feel good. Run longer, stay strong. Don't be hungry. Do all that, and don't worry about the weight still coming off. Hmm. Today I might have been hungrier than I should be in the afternoon. I need to do something to address that, like pack a 200 to 300 calorie snack to eat in mid-afternoon at work. Breakfast, morning snack, and lunch seem to be covered adequately already; but I still have a lot of calories left for dinner and evening.

Either that, or I have to cut back on the running. I'd rather not do that; I'm having too much fun running to like the idea of cutting that back. And it's already time limited on weekdays, due to runs being on my lunch break. And I want to keep my long run this Saturday, which should be the last long run before the 10K I committed to on Thanksgiving.

So I guess I need to figure out the food aspect. Maybe I need to eat more, but first let's see if I can distribute the calories differently across the day on work days.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LJCANNON 11/18/2011 7:51AM

    emoticonGlad to hear that the "Missing Pound" is back. I know that with what you have learned so far, you will figure out the Maintenance Puzzle. The visit with the Dietition that Healthier_K mentioned might be interesting, especially if your Insurance would cover it.

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MOBYCARP 11/18/2011 6:25AM

    The missing pound came back this morning. I feel better about it, but still need to tweak the eating pattern.

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KRISZTA11 11/18/2011 4:35AM

    I'm in the same phase of maintenance (ie. still losing some weight),
and I also find it difficult.
Where is the line between increasing food intake to stabilize weight and returning to bad old eating habits that made us overweight in the first place?
I guess the difference is mindfulness, and -at least for me - not eating all the plus calories all in one go in the evening.

Afternoon snack is a very good idea.
I like to eat almonds, walnuts, dark chocolate and flax seed in my oatmeal to add calories.
I also increased my portions (especially meat and cheese) a bit.

Good luck!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HEALTHIER_K 11/17/2011 9:48PM

    If you keep losing, would your health insurance cover a visit to a dietitian? What if you try adding some healthy fats, like nuts or avocados or olive oil?

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REDSHOES2011 11/17/2011 9:23PM

    The days you run you should be eating to the high side of your calories, the days you are in slow mode eat less.. It's like a car, want speed give the car the gas, if sitting at the lights and the choke is out push it in to save using too much gas lol..
Red emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/17/2011 9:23:59 PM

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ONEKIDSMOM 11/17/2011 8:59PM

    Adding an extra calorie-dense snack here and there through the week might be the thing to even it out. Sounds like you might be reaching the point of "nervous" with where the scale is going. When I reach that point, as I do from time to time especially during high training times (119 is my nervous point), I usually just eat a little more, allow myself an extra snack or something... and it bumps back in the next few days.

Good luck!

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I Gave Blood Today

Monday, November 14, 2011

I took this afternoon off work to donate blood. In theory, I could donate on company time when the blood drive comes around to my workplace. In theory, I could donate on Saturdays, when I don't have to work anyway. In practice, I sometimes want to go lie down for 20 minutes an hour after donating. That would be a problem at work. In practice, the Saturday schedule at the donation center is frustrating and erratic. So I take a half day off every 8 weeks, and it works out well.

This time, things are a little different. I'd forgotten that the last two donations, I'd taken a full day so I could exercise in the morning. So I hustled home at noon, got a 5K walk in (42 minutes, a 13:30 pace per mile), quick shower, and grab lunch. Ended up 5 minutes late for my appointment, but the Red Cross is very forgiving about that.

Bearing in mind that I'm a runner now, I tried to make myself nervous to pump the pulse when the nurse took it. Well, that kind of worked. I got it up to 46, from my usual deskbound pulse of 42. The next question was, "Are you a runner or a swimmer?" Yes, I'm a runner. The nurse called for a supervisor to override the program and let me donate.

Blood pressure was 90 over 60. I asked how low it had to go to preclude blood donation, and was told 80 over 40 can't donate. But I could, and it went quite routinely. I even had one of the fudge cookie thingies in the canteen, in addition to some raisins. This works because I have a very generous calorie range in maintenance.

So it looks like becoming a runner isn't going to prevent me from donating blood 6 times a year. I'm happy with this. Given a conflict between my health and blood donation, I'd go for my own health; but it's much nicer to not have the conflict.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTLYLE 11/15/2011 8:47AM

    Good for you for donating. It's a very good cause. I had a period [10 years] when I wasn't able to give, I feel it both a honor and pleasure to give. I'm 73 now and not sure how many more years it will happen but hope many more.

Skeeter emoticon

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HEALTHIERKEN 11/14/2011 10:57PM

    Way to go, Kevin. I'm half-way between donations. My next one will be Dec. 2. What has interfered with my donation schedule a couple of times is foreign travel. I get back from some place and only then found out that the visit puts me on the no-give list for a year. Hate that. I've *got* to remember to find out before a cruise if any of the destinations are on the interdict list.

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HEALTHIER_K 11/14/2011 8:36PM

    Good for you for donating! More people really should do it. I'm donating this Saturday!

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WATERMELLEN 11/14/2011 7:12PM

    Good for you: we were very regular donors for a long period of time, and (having needed transfusions on several occasions) I'm so grateful to all who do give.

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ONEKIDSMOM 11/14/2011 7:00PM

    Kudos to your Red Cross center that lets runners with a pulse under 50 to donate! Mine put me on deferral for having one under 50, so I walk to my appointment, and that seems to boost it enough to be 56 or so, between that and the social bump of talking to folks!

Congrats on getting your double red credits!

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To bed earlier = run longer

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Early on in my time with SP, I noticed on a day that I was down that I was also tired. I'd seen the much-touted goal of getting 8 hours of sleep a night, and it didn't speak to me. I couldn't really control how much sleep I got. I had to be up early in the morning 5 days a week, and unless I wanted massively reduced income that was a fact of life.

But while I couldn't control how much sleep I got, and I couldn't control when I had to get up most days, I could control when I got to bed. I had this new web site with motivational tools. So I made a goal to get to bed by 10:30 PM six days a week.

I now have a 14 week streak of getting to bed by 10:30 at least six days a week. That's more than a quarter of a year. How's it working out?

I have become a synthetic morning person. Wednesday choir practice runs till 9, and I don't want to work on anything hard after 8:30. I can come home and still (usually) make it to bed by 10:30 on Wednesday. I am sometimes up with the alarm, instead of using the snooze multiple times. And sometimes I wake up before the alarm goes off.

My alarm is set for 6. This morning I woke up at 5:15. I could have rolled over and gone back to sleep, but I'd been thinking about trying to run longer; and getting up earlier meant I could start the run earlier, and thus have more time before my 9 AM breakfast at McDonald's with my daughter. (Second breakfast in this case; I have the healthy breakfast before I run and then an Egg McMuffin at 9.)

Being up early got me out the door and starting to run at 6:39 AM. Four months ago it would have been unthinkable for me to be out of bed at that time on a Saturday. Today, I had checked in with SP, done my morning TGU/windmill combos and KB snatches, eaten breakfast, checked the weather, and dressed to run in 36 F weather by 6:39. That's 21 minutes earlier than my target start to run 5.2 miles, so I tacked some extra twists onto the beginning and end of my standard 5.2 mile loop.

When I got back to my driveway, I had been running for 43:45. Stupid motivational tricks kicked in. I ran up the street a ways and back to get to 45 minutes and that 9th Spark Point. I figured I ran a bit over five and a half miles.

It mapped out to 6.12 miles, for a 7:21 pace per mile. That's pretty good for deliberately running easy so I could keep running longer than I have to date. At that pace, I could do a 10K in under 46 minutes. I could have run for 10K this morning, and I might have if I had realized how close I was. I'm about 90% decided to sign up for a 10K on Thanksgiving Day; the holdup is that the easy way to sign up requires payment by PayPal, and my account isn't set up yet. (Yes, I'm a dinosaur who ignored PayPal until something came along that was either pay via PayPal, mail a check to a nonprofit that won't cash it quickly, or drive 15 miles out of my way during normal working hours.)

As far as pure time goes, I could have fit running for an hour into the time if I were trained to run that long continually. I think I'll get there, but one of the lessons from 5K training was don't try to do it all at once.

The interesting thing is, the long run would not have happened without being up early. After breakfast with my daughter, I do a dab of grocery shopping then dive into weekend household chores. Fitting a long run into Saturday afternoon would be a non-starter. Sunday afternoons are a bit easier, assuming I get the weekend chores done on Saturday; but when I have run 5 miles on Saturday, a longer run on Sunday hasn't worked very well. Long runs on weekday evenings are out because I have other evening commitments, the roads are dark this time of year, and drivers won't be looking for runners. I'm fitting my weekday runs into lunch hours, which limits the distance to the 3 to 3.5 mile range.

Maybe next summer, when I don't have evening commitments and we have lots of daylight, I can train more long running on weekday evenings. But I'm not willing to plan that far ahead right now. The current plan is to find a way to keep running through the winter. If I get that figured out, time enough to worry about training with more daylight when the daylight gets here.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRISZTA11 11/13/2011 4:43AM

    Congrats to reforming your sleeping habits!
And congrats to the long run too!

Sleep is very important, but is often put behind other things (subconsciously reasoning sleeping = doing nothing).
I always liked to go to bed early, and DH late, and we always ended up with a compromise like midnight, which was far too late to me, and also too early to him.
After reading The Spark, the need of getting enough sleep became a priority to me, so now I go to bed 10:30-11:00 before working days, and DH can choose a) come with me and sleep b) come with me and read c) stay out at his computer. Much better : )

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Five Weeks of Maintenance

Friday, November 11, 2011

My initial weight goal was 175 pounds. On Friday, October 7 I weighed in at 174 and declared myself to be in maintenance. Today marks 5 weeks of maintenance for me.

In those five weeks, I've lost 5.4 pounds to arrive at today's weight of 168.6. That's a bit more than a pound a week. Hmm. Sounds more like SP's recommended speed of weight loss than like maintaining a steady weight.

So what have I done in five weeks of maintenance? I've increased my calories, twice, for a total increase of 400 calories per day. I've taken two cheat days where I deliberately went over the top of the calorie range. And I've gone from training to run a 5K, to regular running, to running a competitive 5K.

So while I've added some calories to the diet, I might not have added enough. And I might have added some calorie burn to the exercise side, too; it's hard to tell. On the one hand, I'm concerned about adding more to the diet, because I'm not convinced that I will sustain my current level of activity long term. On the other hand, I'm concerned that I might eat too little and lose too much weight.

The gripping hand is, I don't know what my most healthy weight should be. I'm pretty sure I'm not below it yet, because a) I'm feeling pretty good physically, b) I ran a personal best fast pace for any run longer than 2 miles last Sunday, and c) the daily TGU/windmill combos and snatches with the 45 pound (~20 kilo) kettlebell are easier now than they have ever been.

So I guess I gotta have faith that my body will tell me when I get where I'm supposed to be. That's what my sister says happened for her. At this point, the fantasy of achieving my immediate post-high school weight of 165 doesn't look all that far fetched.

But I won't get there because I'm trying to lose weight. I'm in maintenance, dammit! If the weight comes off, it comes off; but the goal is to stay fit, have fun, and keep running through the winter months.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUZETTE070 11/14/2011 5:14AM

    Sounds like you've got all your ducks lined up, Moby! I'm sure vigilance is the key. If you do bottom out - wherever that may be and just be sure to keep from packing on the pounds again, you're going to be healthy for life. I believe that is what the maintenance mindset is all about. Not to stop all those good habits because we have 'arrived' but be more careful, because it is above all else, a balancing act.

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KRISZTA11 11/12/2011 3:30AM

You've got it!

I totally love your reasoning!
If you feel good, fit and healthy and are content with your diet, then there is no reason to make any emergency changes.
But it's good to make sure calorie intake follows changes in exercise level up or down,
or to increase food intake if you get often hungry, so that you don't lose your motivation.

Thanks for sharing, I appreciate your thoughts,
as I'm in a very similar situation: lost 3 kg (6.6 pounds) in my 8 weeks of maintenance, despite adding 150 calories to nutrition plan and actually eating it every day : )


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FROGGGY13 11/12/2011 2:47AM

    This all sounds excellent. I like your reasoning regarding when you'll know you weigh too little. Congrats on your good work!

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ARLENE_MOVES 11/12/2011 1:35AM

    "but the goal is to stay fit, have fun, and keep running through the winter months"

You got it!!

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ONEKIDSMOM 11/11/2011 9:03PM

    By George, I think he's got it! Seriously, maintain the habits, the scale will take care of itself. When and if it starts to alarm you (I get a little alarmed when it goes below 120)... you can re-assess. But if you feel good, are physically capable, and aren't overly hungry... hey, sounds like maintenance to me!


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