Thursday, September 06, 2012
It's about time I posted a blog entry! This past month-plus I was pretty busy sucking the last juice out of summer--actually, I'm still doing that--& didn't feel much need to write about it. Today I'm in a RARE moment of unhurriedness at my job, so I'm spending the day cleaning up my office. That's plenty physical, because I have to take down & recycle huge stacks of paper, getting some of them down from high shelves, & organize other stacks in their places. It's way overdue. I'm going to fill two large recycling bins, I'm pretty sure!
I've decided that my fitness/health focus for the foreseeable future is going to be strength training, particularly upper body. I've already got lots of cardio going on, between fast walking in the city & doing cardio + ST with fitness videos. The SP 28-Day Bootcamp routines are producing results--having started with mostly the beginner level with 3lb weights, I'm now able to stick with the intermediate level on nearly all the exercises, using 5lb dumbbells. But there's still LOTS of room to improve. I want to be strong!
This weekend I go solo camping for the first time! It will be just an overnight at a state park a couple of hours' drive away. I aim to do tons of hiking, taking along a tree identification book. And Sunday I'll do some ST with a resistance band. I'm also taking along my colored pencils & a pad, as drawing/painting is deeply meditative for me. And my journal for working on poems!
I like cooking outdoors, but to keep things simple this time I'm going to skip foods that would require a grill. Just taking a tuna sandwich or two for the first day, plus bread, cheese, peanut butter, veggies, & fruit in a cooler. Lots of water, of course. REALLY looking forward to this mini-retreat!
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Thank you all for such thoughtful responses to my last blog, mulling the possibility of letting go of my desire to lose more weight.
I've decided to continue to work on fitness & health, but with a slightly different focus. I have changed my ticker to show my current & goal body-fat percentages instead of weight. My goal is now to become stronger & more toned--of course while eating good food & keeping up my cardio. If I lose some weight in the process, fine, but as long as I am getting fitter (as indicated by such things as the weight of dumbbells I can handle, endurance in workouts, & shrinking measurements) it won't really matter if my weight stays about where it is now.
If I gain 5-10 lbs & don't see improvements in those areas, though, I'll quickly switch back to focusing on weight along with the rest.
Reading up on body-fat percentages, I came across a couple of helpful sites:
For some of my Sparkfriends, an ultimate goal of 28% body fat would be too high because you're younger than I am. But both these charts show differences in ideal fat percentage based on age as well as gender. (The second one also takes into account whether one is currently underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese.) I chose 28% because it's pretty much in the middle of the ideal range for women of my age group (I'm 58). This morning my scale registered my current percentage as 30.5. We'll see how long it takes me to get to 28! Already 30.5 is amazing to me, as when I first started using this scale it was regularly telling me 37 or 38%. What a difference regular strength training can make!
I'll try to remember to take my measurements tomorrow morning as well.
As for how this fits into my travel-savings scheme, I think I'll allow myself to save $25 each week that my BF % & measurements are trending down.
I'm excited about this new focus!
Saturday, July 21, 2012
I honestly want some help thinking this through. My weight was up slightly this morning--I expected it, as I had a couple of lovely feasts with friends this week. I have just 10 minutes to go to make my exercise goal for this week, though, & I have not been overindulging in sweets. So it's not that I've been slacking.
The thing is, my BMI is 22.8. A lot of people would be THRILLED to be maintaining at that level. My desire to lose weight is not connected to health but to vanity--I would look better with a bit less pudge around the middle (though I'm a pear) & upper arms (I inherited my mom's tendency to store fat there). But I'm not sure how important that is in the grand scheme of things.
Though my weight is up a pound from last week, this week has been an especially happy one. Tuesday night I heard Diana Krall at Ravinia--a friend had offered me a ticket, & her family provided all the food & wine. It's rare that someone treats me to music & food; I'm usually the one organizing social occasions, or at least I contribute. So I felt really nurtured, & the music was heavenly.
Then last night I made a Colombian feast for a few African American friends with whom I'm planning a trip to Colombia--a really creative venture focused on advocacy for Afro-Colombians. I spent hours on the meal, making a couple of neighborhood forays to get all the food items & then cooking everything except the dessert from scratch. So this was the converse of the Ravinia night: I took great pleasure in giving wonderful food to my friends. They all recognized it as something special--they even came dressed up, though I hadn't said "this is a dress-up occasion." The three women guests wore dresses! I felt so honored by that.
One couple brought a container of artisanal cheesecake in four different flavors. I had already gotten flan at a Latin grocery. No way, though, was I going to say no to my friends' offering. Most of us had a half-slice of cheesecake & a half-slice of flan.
So what I'm thinking is, as long as I'm exercising at least 150 minutes a week--changing it up & increasing intensity periodically so that my fitness continues to improve--& basically maintaining my weight, eating nutritious food, & indulging in sweets only on social occasions, maybe that's enough. I really, really value occasional feasts with friends & loved ones, & I want to have space for them in my life without feeling that I'm betraying my fitness/weight goals. It would be quite different if weight loss were a health issue for me.
What do you think, Sparkfriends?
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Last night I feasted--a belated birthday dinner for me, at my house with my "creative group" of longtime women friends. I was in charge of the main course & veggies (by my choice), & the rest was supplied by my friends. I had planned to grill outdoors, but an unexpected thunderstorm nixed that (the rain was MUCH needed), so I switched to my oven's broiler. I thought I should share the menu, because it was a very simple meal that felt luxurious & included treats but did not stuff us.
MAIN COURSE: (cage-free humanely raised) chicken thighs, skinned/boned, larger bits of fat removed, brushed with Trader Joe's barbecue sauce, grilled under the broiler for 5 minutes on one side, 3-4 on the other.
VEGGIES: cherry tomatoes, sliced green/yellow/red sweet peppers, two small skinny eggplants peeled & sliced, tossed with a little extra virgin olive oil + dried thyme & oregano leaves + diced fresh chives, arranged on two cookie sheets with raised edges, set in the oven on a shelf below the chicken for about 8 minutes, then broiled for a few minutes, stirred in the middle of that time.
SALAD: leaf lettuce, sliced tomatoes, diced fresh parsley, a few sliced almonds, eaten with balsamic-citric dressing.
BEVERAGES: my friend brought champagne for my birthday, & we drank the bottle among four of us, so that was one treat--but we also drank cold water steeped with a few crushed sprigs of mint, stevia, & lemon verbena, all of which I have growing on my back porch; my friends just LOVED it, declared it the Best Water Ever!
DESSERT: amazing handmade chocolate mousse-raspberry concoctions brought by another friend--so you see, we actually had something quite decadent!
For me the chicken was a treat, as my housemate & I eat mostly legumes & nonfat cottage cheese & yogurt & occasional eggs for protein. And since we eat so frugally overall, an occasional splurge on deboned/humanely raised chicken can fit easily into our budget.
Roasted/broiled/grilled veggies with the EVOO & thyme/oregano (from last year's porch plantings!) tastes like a splurge but isn't. I actually picked out some of the sweet peppers from my neighborhood grocer's mark-down rack. Herbs are just a little touch that makes the veggies truly special.
Notice that we didn't have any high-carb food (potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, etc.) on the menu. Those foods are important to include in one's diet day to day, but omitting them from this meal left room for the rich dessert. And no one felt deprived.
And it's just so lovely to drink cold water with crushed mint/stevia/lemon verbena! I recommend that you grow your own herbs so you can have little luxuries like this often--0 calories!
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Happy Fourth of July, U.S. people! Hope you are having a lovely holiday.
I was born on the 4th of July 58 years ago!
This morning, because I have the day off & my housemate is away, I got to sleep in & then do extra exercise--SP's 28 Day Bootcamp short cardio sculpt + Leslie Sansone's big burn. Total minutes 54, which is peanuts compared to what many of my SP friends do every day, but lots for me. Especially because outside temps were up to 95 already & the ceiling fan in my living room/workout space is not working. I drank 48 oz of water in the process of exercise & then sat under the dining-room fan to eat my breakfast. Ahhhh.
I've decided to modify my nutrition/fitness/travel-savings system in one important way: I can have sweets more than one day IF the occasions involve hospitality/celebration--& still transfer travel $$ to savings IF by Saturday my weight has gone down. Monday evening my Indian friend invited me to dinner to celebrate my birthday & included a lovely dessert, mung halwa; & today I'll be celebrating with my Guatemalan friend & her family & I imagine they'll be serving dessert too. It would just be wrong to decline altogether. But I can eat small amounts & stay within my recommended nutrient ranges. This morning my weight was down 0.4 (& my body-fat percentage was down too, yay!).
That's more than anybody probably cares to know about my tweaks to my little system, but it helps to write it out for myself.
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