Friday, November 07, 2014
I'm blown away by all the wonderful comments and suggestions on my last post, "Day 1: New rules, new systems." I read each and every comment everyone posts, and they all lift my spirits and give me new ways to cope. I'm deeply grateful to all of you, and to everyone in the wider Spark community.
Today is, again, "Day 1." I wanted to explain that, in case some of you thought I was new to Spark. I am not. I've been hanging around here for a few years now. But each of my blog posts is titled "day one" because I view each day as a new opportunity to accomplish something -- to make any tiny step toward a goal. Each day represents a clean slate.
Case in point: yesterday. It was a stressful day. I was buried under deadlines, and my mom kept wanting my attention. By day's end I was frazzled.
I had a couple martinis. And some cookies. And a second hamburger at dinner. And a few of the snack size candy bars my mom keeps hidden in her room (at my request, which is very gracious of her!). Basically, I seriously blew my calorie budget yesterday.
No point beating myself up over that, though. When I woke up this morning, I told myself, "Today is Day One. Start afresh."
And I did.
Today, I ate healthy all day and stayed within my calorie range. I also got on the rowing machine and before I knew it had rowed for 20 minutes. It felt great! This evening, I'm feeling good about the whole day.
I had a choice this morning. I could have spent a lot of time wallowing in self-loathing and self-recrimination, telling myself how stupid I was yesterday. I could have let the negative tape play in my head about what I loser I was for failing to control yesterday's calorie intake. I could have beat myself up plenty.
Instead, I accepted my humanity and forgave myself. Today was Day One. And I made the most of it.
There's nothing special about me. If I can do it, you can too. Let every day be Day One.
Monday, November 03, 2014
I've really struggled with my food intake since my mom moved in with me about a year ago. Our dietary habits are nothing alike, and Mom would like me to eat exactly the same things she eats. It's not going to happen. (She is one of the worst eaters I've ever known -- all sugar and cheese and chips and red meat and potatoes -- and yet she's healthy as a horse at age 80. Go figure.)
It has been hard to say "no" when she wants to order dessert in a restaurant or go out for donuts and coffee on a weekday afternoon. I mean, I will gladly take her out for donuts, but then she becomes very disappointed if I do not indulge along with her. In fact, if I say I'm "not up for dessert" in a restaurant, she will refuse to order one for herself. It's very frustrating.
But it's not just Mom. It's me. I haven't had a lot of self-control around food for the past several months. For instance, I used to automatically box half of everything I ordered in a restaurant. It's been a long time since I did that. And I always asked for a salad instead of fries. But fries often sound too tasty and comforting to pass up these days. Stress eating much?
I think I finally came up with a new rule/system that will help me with all of these intake problems: If I can't easily track it, I'm not eating it.
Mom is aware I track all my food on SP. Part of the reason I often go overboard with calories is because it's difficult to track a particular recipe. For example, I recently made a delicious "party bread" consisting of a round Italian loaf scored crisscross fashion and drizzled with a blend of olive oil, butter and herbs. It's incredibly difficult to account for that in SP without inputting the entire recipe and then calculating serving sizes. I've been too lazy and frazzled to do that. So I guesstimate. Or I just give up. And, boom! I've put a pound on.
My new rule addresses this. In the future, I won't allow myself the bread because it's hard to track. Ditto for food from any restaurant that doesn't provide nutrition information. This rule also makes it easier for me to say "no" to Mom because...she doesn't know what nutrition information is or isn't available. It's easy for me to tell a little white lie and say, "I can't eat a donut today because I can't track it." I think she will be more accepting of this statement than, "I don't care for a donut today because I'm watching my calories." She says, "You worry too much about how you look," despite my having explained this has nothing to do with my looks and everything to do with my HEALTH.
Well, it's not Mom's fault. I'm in charge of what goes in my mouth, not her.
On the exercise front, I'm easing back in. I did 100 calories'-worth of rowing today. I was going to do just 10 minutes because I felt it was all I could muster, but I hated the puny look of that 83-calorie burn. So I told myself to row until I burned 100 calories -- which took me an extra minute and 40 seconds. Whoopie! ha ha
My rower is set up in a perfectly easy spot to access now, so I am confident I can muster the willpower to get on it three times a week, ideally for 30 minutes a day. That's my goal. But even if all I can manage is 10 minutes, by gosh I'm going to do it! Baby steps helped me lose the first 30 pounds. Baby steps will help me get these last 15 off.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
A few weekends ago, my husband helped me pull the Concept2 rower out of the attic. We set it in the corner of the game room, where we watch TV. Last week, I got on it for the first time in about 18 months. Today, I got on it again. It felt good.
Buying that rowing machine was one of the best investments I've ever made, hands down. I have used it consistently, if sporadically, since the day it arrived. Twice it has traveled with us to a new home. The display has become inconsistent; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But otherwise the machine performs flawlessly, six years after I bought it.
I love the workout I get from rowing. The rhythm hypnotizes me. The relentless burn stretches from my arms to my back to my calf muscles.
Rowing also motivates me to stick to my eating plan. After putting in that work, I don't want to wreck it by cheating or overeating.
I only need to lose 15 pounds, but it's been a tough 15 to get off. I'm hopeful the trusty Concept2 will work its magic again and get me fit, toned and slender within the next couple of months.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
My husband and I did a TON of landscaping today. We started at 10am, and the activities involved shoveling, raking, digging, planting, carrying (heavy weights of 40 pounds or more), and so on.
We continued almost unabated until 1pm, then we took a rest and resumed at 3pm for another hour and a half. Honestly, we were almost constantly moving during these periods. A couple of times we collapsed on the grass for short breaks of 10 minutes or so.
If I put the full number of minutes of "gardening" into the SP fitness tracker, it says I burned over 1400 calories today (!!). That seems like a lot. I mean, yes, it was very taxing. On the other hand, it doesn't feel like I could possibly have burned that many calories.
Either way, I'm under 1500 calories for my total intake today, and I feel OK if a little sleepy.
Thoughts on the calorie burn of "gardening"?
Saturday, October 11, 2014
I've always had a freezer. A separate freezer, I mean. As a kid, we actually had two freezers: a large chest and an upright. That's because we butchered our own beef, so we needed a big chest freezer to hold that steer.
When I began making house on my own, getting a freezer was high on the agenda. I've never lived without a freezer - until the past year.
When we moved into our house in Houston, we bought a beautiful LG refrigerator with a 10 cu ft freezer on the bottom. I announced I was going to make a sincere effort to live with this freezer alone, as we are just a three-person household. I said I would give it a year.
Well, year's up! And there's a gorgeous, slate-colored Frigidaire upright now residing clumsily in my laundry room. It doesn't fit the space well, but there's nowhere else to put it.
Gosh, am I delighted to have a freezer again! Not only because I now can cook ahead, freeze leftovers and buy in bulk, but because I can store frozen meals to help me achieve my weight loss goals.
I've chosen Weight Watchers as my meal provider of choice, and I have stocked up on frozen lunches. I appreciate the portion control that comes from eating a frozen entree. It keeps me from getting sucked into Mom's eating pattern of white bread, thick cheese slices, baked potatoes - and all the other stuff that sabotages my diet. The Weight Watchers meals (and there are many others, such as Lean Cuisine of course, but I chose WW because my nearest store has a large selection of them) give me an "out," from the standpoint I can say to Mom, "Oh, I'm happy to make you a cheese sandwich. I'm going to have chicken enchiladas suiza because that's what I feel like today." She doesn't argue with me when I put it like that.
I'm also storing a ton of frozen vegetables. I love the Green Giant boxed ones -- antioxidant blend or whatever. If I still feel hungry after a 250-calorie WW lunch, I pop in a box of veggies for just 100 more calories or so. Light on calories but heavy on satiety. Mom also loves these, so it's a real win-win. I now make a lot of frozen vegetables to have with dinner, which keeps me from filling up on calorie-dense stuff, and Mom gets plenty of variety with her meals (which she likes).
I hope this strategy helps get me back on track, as I've put on 5 pounds since my last entry. Still struggling! But optimistic. :-)
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