Monday, October 26, 2009
I've decided to use Monday mornings as my official weekly weigh in day. I used to use Saturdays, but I didn't weigh in that day, and I wanted to get an official one on the books soon. Besides, Monday makes sure I make it through the weekend without blowing it after a weigh in. And to that end, I lost 1 lb between Friday and Monday. Not bad, eh?
As I posted at the end of last night's blog, I didn't get any exercise in, but I did get a lot of crud out the house. Now just 10 more tons of crud to go. I also took down three of our no-longer-needed baby gates. So now it feels like there's more room in certain parts of the house. I also got dry wall filler and bought some paint to match our walls so that I can take care of some of the wear and tear we've put on the walls in the last few years (like the red ballpoint pen my daughter recently took to the wall!)
I had a good weekend overall. I didn't get as much accomplished on the house as I should have, but at least I made a dent. My eating was 100% under control (cool!). Tonight I'll do the full workout I didn't have time for last night. And I'll do 45-60 mins of cleaning every night between now and our Early Thanksgiving on the 7th. Hopefully that will be enough. Last year I had the house totally perfect. This year, presentable is the goal.
David was acting out at shool all last week. He sometimes has an impulse issue where he doesn't think before he does something. And sometimes he'll also react emotionally to frustration. Even his teacher has commented that he's a good kid, and he doesn't do most of his 'bad' stuff out of anger. But last week something was definitely going on. He had at least a couple issues every single day, which is very unlike him. I'm afraid that the only conclusion I can come to is that he's angry Steve has been gone so long. I can understand his perspective, but there's not a lot we can do about it. Steve is going to be going to training for his job for 6 weeks toward the end of next month, so it'll happen again, and it'll be for twice as long as this trip to Egypt was.
Also on the "unfortunately" side, after Steve comes back, I'll be spending three days in Los Angeles for the reserves. So he'll get Daddy back, but Mommy will go away for a few days. And as soon as I return, Daddy goes away for a couple days again. And it'll be that sudden. I'll still be gone when Steve drops the kids off at school. Then I'll pick them up and Steve will already be gone. I'm sure he'll get used to this eventually, but I hope it happens sooner rather than later. All I can do is try to keep things as consistent as possible and try to give him as much control over his life as I can spare and is appropriate for age 5.
I hope today is a better day than last week. The poor kid has a lot riding on it now. I took TV away last Friday (which also meant all weekend). He doesn't get it back until he gets a blue card at school (they start the day with a blue card. As they're bad or don't listen, they lose a card with each major infraction. There are something like 5 or 6 card colors. At home he gets a stamp on a chart I created. 2 stamps for a blue card, 1 stamp for a red card, nothing for the rest. He earns fun stuff (visits to the SD Zoo or Wild Animal Park, dinner at his favorite diner, the family fun center, etc.) He's just 4 spaces away from his next reward, and he hasn't earned a stamp in a week and a half. With his next blue card we'll also go to a local pumpkin patch/carnival in our town. So with his next blue card he gets a carnival, TV, and two stamps toward a trip to the zoo (which is what he wants next.) PLEASE let this bahavior issue stop! I'm doing my best to stay calm (he doesn't do well behavior wise with yelling or anger) but it's so hard not to react angrily when I hear some of what he's doing and I know he knows better.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Today was a pretty good day, though I'm going to run out of time tonight. I need to get some serious stuff thrown away that I cleaned up this week because our trash and recycling cans are much less full since Steve is out of town. So it's a prime opportunity to get rid of stuff while we've got the room to spare in the trash cans. One of the things I need to pitch is a double folding chair thingy (you know, the canvas and multiple rod chairs that fold out and are carried in a long canvas bag). We had rats in our garage this past year and I discovered that a family had chewed a hole into the bottom of the bag and clearly moved in! ICK! So that puppy is going to thrown into the trash first and the rest of the week's trash will go around it. That thing is going to leave my house no matter what this week! [shudder]
The kids were both hyped up tonight and didn't get to sleep until about half an hour past normal.
Food was good today. Many times I wanted to mindlessly snack on stuff and I didn't. I came in around the middle of my calorie range.
For lunch I had a salad made with an entire bag of spring mix and spinach. I make my own dressing out of balsamic vinegar, a little olive oil, garlic and basil. I was reading on Tara's site (from last season's TBL) that she used to have a salad made with an entire bag of lettuce. The first time I read that I thought, "A whole bag??? Seriously?" But then I realized there was not only nothing wrong with that, but a lot of good to be said about it. And honestly, my salads used to be half a bag. So doubling it wasn't that big of a deal. And since I don't up the amount of salad dressing or nuts and gorgonzola that I put on it, I'm only doubling the good stuff, not the fattening stuff.
I also ate the leftover chinese for dinner. I knew to avoid the House Special Chicken (fried) but I had a couple bites (yes, I logged them) and looked up the nutritional value. I knew it would be bad and it definitely was. If you eat a whole meal of that you get 767 calories, and an insane amount of fat. It's worse than the Kung Pao Chicken. But my meal was made mostly of the Chicken with Vegetables which is way low in fat and calories, and I still didn't eat a lot of it. I was also able to keep my sodium level low today. That's usually over every day for me. I aim to keep it below 1500 mg a day, which is really tough.
I was supposed to do a full workout tonight (incline walk, pushups, pullups, and abs). But that takes me an hour and a half. And with the trash coming tomorrow and the work I have to do on that...
So I'm going to get off the computer, see how much I can do as quickly as possible, and see how much time I can get for working out. And I think I'm going to do my officially weekly weigh-in tomorrow.
[Added at 10pm: Well, I got a lot done on cleaning the kitchen and getting the trash and recycling out of the house (including the offending chairs and another casualty I discovered in the process). Then I prepared my food for tomorrow (which I'm about to log to see what I need to add or take away.) And the result is that it's really too late for me to work out. I *could*, but then I'd wind up unable to sleep. So today will be an off day for the week. That's where my off days come from... I aim to work out every single night and then when something comes up I just take it as an off day and still get in 5-6 days a week of exercise. Yeah, I still feel slightly guilty when I don't get the workout in. But right now I'm really more concered about the number of days between pushups, pullups, and abs. Tomorrow might suck. ;-) ]
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Today was a good day despite the misleading advertising of Subway! Grrr! I love Subway (used to work there in High School) but I'm quite annoyed with them right now.
Anyway, today was a very busy day. Started out with me feeding me and the kids (plain oatmeal with my own stuff added (brown sugar and real maple syrup added (in much lower amounts than in the packaged stuff) for the kids, and 1 Tbsp maple syrup and a Tbsp of reduced fat peanutbutter for me (love that combo!) and plain yogurt with some strawberry jelly added for the kids (see note above about less sugar than the packaged stuff (even YoBaby) for the kids and a 1/2 Tbsp of honey for me. It's amazing to me how over time I've trained myself to like eating the lower amount of sugar in yogurt and oatmeal. Especially for a self-admitted sweets fiend.
Then we went to the local gym so I could swim laps and the kids could play at the awesome kids club (LOVE my gym!) I only had 25 mins to swim since the kids club doesn't open til 8 and Beth's soccer practice starts at 9. So I try to make the most of it - I swim mostly freestyle at a decent clip and then start alternating a lap of butterfly with a lap of breast stroke. I could tell today that it had been two weeks since I was able to swim (I can only swim on Saturday mornings due to everone's schedules and the kids' club hours) since David was sick last weekend. I was slow and felt weak in the beginning. But I was able to keep going, so it's not like I really lost much. I could just feel it, is all.
Then it was soccer lessons for both kids (one after the other) followed by playing at the park next to the field (I decided to take advantage of a bar on the playground equipment and did 2 pullups - and impressed a guy sitting on a bench watching his son.) Then we went to swim lessons for the kids. It's at an indoor place, so they'll continue to go every weekend all year long.
Then we went to Subway. While watching TV recently I saw that their newest limited-time sub (the buffalo chicken sub) was touted as either healthy, fit, or low fat. I don't know what the words were that they used, but SOMETHING was said about it being a healthy choice. I know because the first time I saw it listed at Subway I did NOT get it because I figured it was one of the unhealthy options. So when I saw an ad saying it was fine, I took notice, and today I ordered it. DUMB! Tonight I looked up the nutritional info and discovered much to my horror and annoyance, it's 430 calories and 18 g of fat! For the 6" on wheat bread with no cheese or mayo or anything. Grrr! Because of the ad I thought it was like the sweet onion teriyaki chicken or something. Nope.
Luckily I figured that I shouldn't totally assume anything so I didn't get any baked chips. I did have half an oatmeal cookie (which I'd planned on). And for dinner I had some chinese take-out (brown rice and chicken with broccoli) followed by frozen yogurt with fruit. I did my best to keep portions reasonable and small. When I logged everything at the end of the day, I came in exactly 5 calories over the top of my target range (1505!) THAT was cutting it close. And I would have been ideal if I ordered a different sub, like the Roast Beef I usually get.
I also got the kids a cold cut combo instead of a club. When did the cold cut combo stop being a 6g or less sandwich? It used to be. Did they switch the meat? Well, at least I know for next time.
Oh, and so far so good on logging the calories. Two days in a row of nailing it (I'm not counting the 5 calories over against myself) and, shockingly (sarcasm), I'm already noticing the difference on the scale.
If I could give anyone three pieces of advice it would be these:
-LOG your food! However you track (points, calories, servings, etc.) pick a system and then do it. There is nothing like holding yourself accountable to a method and then following through. It's too easy to slip stuff in if you're not tracking.
-EXERCISE! And go all out - whatever that means for your current fitness level. Make yourself sweat. Make it an effort! While I was swimming laps today there was a woman doing laps too. But she was basically floating and doing the slowest, most leisurely strokes I've EVER seen. Yes, she was obese, but I know it wasn't what she was capable of because you could tell from her face and breathing that what she was doing was taking no effort at all. Yes, she was moving. Yes she wasn't sitting on a couch. But what she was doing wasn't going to raise her heart rate by much, it wasn't going to build muscle. She was not going to improve her fitness level from those 'laps'. When I started my own journey I was doing a killer incline walk (15%) and I could only manage 15-20 mins. I was breathing hard, heart rate quite elevated, sweating up a storm, and really exerting myself. And from that I was slowly able to increase speed and distance and then branch into other forms of exercise. The person on the treadmill reading a magazine with no effort and no sweat is not going to improve their fitness. You've got to really work it!
-Forgive yourself, but hold yourself accountable! Too many people swing to either one extreme or the other. On one extreme you expect perfection and when you don't perform at that level you get angry at yourself, give yourself a mental thrashing (that you'd never give anyone else!) and tell yourself all kinds of horrible things like what a failure you are. And then you quit and go back to your old habits since a failure like you can't possibly lose weight, right? On the other end of the extreme you tell yourself that the past is the past and you forgive yourself for going off plan (by 3 jelly doughnuts and a milkshake), but then the next day it's the 4th slice of pizza that someone provided at work, or the brownies someone brought in, etc. The point at which you're putting the past in the past 5 out of 7 days a week, that's just a cop out. And I've been both of those extremes at different times in my life. But the way I've gotten from where I was to where I am is forgiveness with accountability. If I'd wound up more significantly over on my calories today I'd have been frustrated. But I'd have forgiven myself and then moved on. I'd have held myself to "the standard" the next day and met it with no thought to how yesterday went (other than to motivate me to work out or make sure I stayed strictly on plan to make sure it didn't become a pattern). Sometimes when somone falls way off plan one day they try to restrict their food the next to "make up for it". Don't do that. You'll wind up really hungry and obsessed with food, and then you'll wind up binging later in the day.
So there are my best 3 pieces of advice.
'Nother topic: How hard it can be to totally purge old unconscious habits. I mentioned that my food is usually my weakness, and that lately I've been less than stellar on that front. I've been using my exercise to keep me fairly static (though I'd definitely gotten to the point where my size 8 jeans were getting uncomfortably tight and I considered grabbing some 10s out of the donation pile.) Today I came incredibly close to screwing up without even fully thinking about it. One of my growing patterns recently was to buy one of those packages of Flings candy bars at the checkout stand of the supermarket - increasingly every time I went to the store. Today at Walmart I got to checkout and saw they had a box of Flings packages. I started rooting through it to see if they had any hazelnut. The box was just of the milk chocolate. When I realized it was just that flavor I picked up a package with the thought of, "oh well. But milk chocolate is almost as good as hazelnut." I had that package about 9 inches out of the box and heading to the conveyor belt when I snapped out of it and remembered what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. There is no room for two Flings sticks in my diet right now (and now especially sinc e I know how close I came to going over on my calories.) But I almost did it without even considering what effect it was going to have on me - I was just doing it out of availability, craving (mostly because of the availability), and recently developed and strengthened habit. It's soooo easy to keep following the old habits without even thinking about it. That's why I try to stay perfect in the beginning of any major push... it's to kill those habits and create new ones so that it stops being hard to avoid them. Eventually I'll let myself have some sweets again, but not until I break the automatic hold they have over me. They need to go back to being special treats... not habits.
I will buy our halloween candy on halloween. And I will take our leftovers (and most of the kids' collection) to work with me and foist it off on the coworkers. But now that I've written that, I realize that the right thing to do is just throw it away. I'd feel horrible if my candy tempted someone off their own plan. And no one needs that stuff anyway. It's not like anyone would miss one more bag of free candy among all the others.
Friday, October 23, 2009
The single most basic thing I haven't been doing that is absolutely vital to my success has been logging my food and tracking my calories. It's easy to say you don't have time to do it, or it's too much of a pain in the neck. But it works. I've had periods of doing it, then not doing it, then doing it again. What I find, every time, is:
-When I don't track it's easy to snack on things here and there
--Those things add up quickly to put you over
-It's easy to add one or two much higher calorie things when you're not writing it down
-Even when you think you know how much you're eating, it's usually a lot more than that
So I'm going back to the basics. I will track my food every day. I will get my exercise in. I will weigh in every week and track that on SparkPeople. I will blog regularly and write about how I'm doing on my renewed quest.
To that end, last night I preposted all my food for today (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). I often don't track "snacks", but that's because of the way I eat. I take food with me to work and then I snack on it throughout the day. So I don't have a set snack time or snack.
One of the things that you notice when you start doing the right things again is how strong the temptations are to slip back. I don't know if it's everyone, or just my type of person, but when I start to slip with letting myself eat candy, sweets, or just too much of a good thing it becomes my new pattern. If I do it one day, I'll likely do it the next day too. Or if I do it in the morning, I'll probably do it again in the afternoon. And while I know I shouldn't, and that it's hurting my goals, I do it anyway.
There is an amazingly stocked snack bar on the 3rd floor of my building. I go near there all the time. Lately I've been buying fruit snacks (but not the 100 calorie-size snack bags - the 270 calorie bags!) and tootsie rolls. It got to the point where it was every day. Now that I'm being "good" again, I find that when I go to the stairwell to go to that floor (which I do frequently) there's a gut reaction that expects me to go to the snack bar. I can feel the tug to go there, and it's something I have to stay very conscious of. For me it's best to go cold turkey. No buying anything from that snack bar. I prelog my food, I bring it with me, I can't have anything else. As long as I do that, I know that I'll be within my calorie range, my fat, carbs, and protein ranges, and I'll be getting in my fruits and veggies. That leaves absolutely no room whatsoever for snacks from the snack bar.
One final side note: I used to think tootsie rolls were a good choice if you were going to eat candy - you know, lower in fat and calories than most choices... Well, I looked at the ingredient list for tootsie rolls and came to to conclusion that they can't be very good for you. They're pretty much the epitome of fake food. I try to remember the ingredient list as a method for helping me not want one.
Oh, and p.s. I added new "before" photos. I swapped out a Christmas 04 picture for another one since the one I posted before had been photoshopped to give me jaw definition and I'd done it to the original (yeah, I used to do a lot of photoshopping to try to make myself look less fat). Another shot I added was probably the only head-on shot of me during that time frame where I wasn't holding something in front of me. I had used that shot to photoshop my husband and son into the same picture with me, but as a result, I was fully facing the camera. It's a sobering picture for me.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I've got a little down time at work right now (which is very rare lately) so I decided to hop over to SparkPeople and try to catch up with some of the SparkFriends I've been neglecting (most of them!)
This is going to be a rare blog for me... one where I didn't start with any idea of what I was going to write about. Most of my blogs lately have been about trying to catch folks up on what's happened in my life since the last time I blogged. So they've been mostly event-driven.
I think I'm going to try to do some introspection and talk about the elephant in the room. And that elephant is that I haven't made much progress since earlier this year. I completed the 100 pushup challenge in January. My low weight was 156 in May, I haven't been there since. Last year at this time I thought I was going to make my goal weight of 145 by the end of year. Now it's 2009 and I'm 16 lbs away from my goal still.
I've had some good successes, I'm running faster in all events than I did last year. And I really shouldn't be too hard on myself for stalling. It was one heck of a year. At alternating times we were afraid for both my husband's and my jobs, we were in some debt left over from the last year of my husband being out of work for 5 years after 9/11, our daughter's health took us on a rollercoaster of thinking she was either fine or had some form or other of serious chronic disease that would deeply affect her quality of life, and I found out my stepmother is going to die from stage IV lung cancer. I hope this is the worst year I have, because it was a doozie. It definitely goes down in the books as the most stressful year in my life so far. I'm really good at dealing with stress, but there were a few times where I felt like I was reaching my limit at dealing with stuff.
But a lot of that stress has relieved itself. My daughter's health is much better than it was. We've ruled out most of the horrible chronic possibiltiies that her issue could be. It's not gone, but some of her numbers and tests have started to go in the right direction. We're in a wait and see mode on her, and so far the waiting is not doing her harm.
My job is safe. I got a solid position with my company at the very last second. My timing and actions were both perfect in hindsight. I'm amazed that I was able to skate through those 4th and 5th rounds of layoffs at my company this year.
My husband's job is safe for now. Yes, he just got bumped to Chicago, but that's just a different place to commute to. He still has a job. And he's going to get to fly the 737 now instead of the older MD-80s. So that's nice.
And we paid off the final piece of revolving debt (not including house and cars) a couple months ago. So that felt really good. It was a huge relief to get that paid off finally.
There's nothing I can do about my stepmother though. She got some good news from her oncologist that the tumors in her lungs haven't grown much since her last checkup, but she's decided not to do chemo again since it's unlikely she'd have the time to recover and feel good again before dying. So she's going to concentrate on living within the amount of time she has left. We don't know how long that will be, and she's told her oncologist she doesn't want to know the estimate. I just still can't believe my macrobiotic, ultra-green, non-smoking stepmother got both breast cancer and lung cancer. It's just not fair.
But back to point... okay, so I had a tough year. But I'm on the other side (as much as I can be) and I survived. So what's stopping me now? I'm not actually sure. I'm still struggling off and on with my eating (I eat sweets when stressed) and now that I'm no longer sick, I'm getting back on that exercise wagon that sustains me.
I've done well not to lose it and gain back the weight I lost. I haven't had any major backslides. But I've had minor ones and I've stopped moving forward. It's easy to tell myself that I'm happy with who I see in the mirror (yeah, I really am) and that it doesn't matter if I reach goal. But it really does matter. I put that quote from Kathrine Hepburn to Martina Navratilova on my SparkPage for a reason... "It's not what you do in life, it's what you finish." And she was right... I need to finish this. My goal is not an unreasonable weight that my body can't sustain. My goal is a healthy weight that really is my ideal. I'll look and feel even better than I do now when I reach it. So whatever anger and stress is still left inside of me needs to be conquered. It needs to be told it doesn't rule me; it can't control me. I'm stronger than that. Heck, I could beat it at a pushup contest! ;-) So it's time for me to just do what I know how to do.
I'm hesitent to post the goal I set for myself last night while watching The Biggest Loser because "what if I fail to reach it? People will see me fail." But isn't that the whole point of this blog? Post the good, the bad, and the ugly. Post a real person's struggle to deal with life, weight loss, and show the mental process (highs and lows) that go into reaching goal? Yeah, that's what I said I was going to do. I promised two major things when I started this blog. Post it all and not to disappear. So here I am.
My goal is to reach my goal of 145 by the end of the year. By December 31st I want to be 145 lbs. It's going to be really hard. That'll be 1.5 lbs a week (what I averaged as I lost the weight) but I've got 3 sweets-ladden holidays between me and that goal. And I've got the mental and emotional blocks about going under 155 that I must overcome in order to be able to break that stupid glass floor. It's time to put on my blinders and really buckle down.
What will I do if I don't reach my goal? Well, I'd be disappointed at not reaching it in time, but as long as I make a true effort, I won't be ashamed. And I'll be closer than ever before and I'll make it there as soon as possible.
I've seen a lot of my SparkFriends struggling lately with similiar issues of stalling and false starts. So who's with me? Who else is going to rededicate themselves to making it through life's difficulties with strength and determination?
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