Wednesday, August 13, 2008
My weight graph since early July has been a wavy line that slopes downward. My weight has gone down, then up, then down some more...with the overall trend, thankfully, decreasing. The waves have been getting smaller too...closer to a straight line... but right now I am in the upswing of a new wave and I do not like it! I am up 1.6 pounds since yesterday. Yesterday I didn't eat a bunch of sodium or anything. I ate at about the top of the range of calories I've been having lately - a little over 1,400 - and I was pretty hungry in the late afternoon/early evening and decided that today I would eat even more (very top of my range about 1,550). For exercise, I did my eight-minute ab video and then went for a long walk...it was about an hour and a half. I was also going to go to the gym but things got too busy and I never made it. I know that a walk, even a long one, is not quite a challenge for me anymore. It's not the same as running or using the elliptical at the gym. But I also know it's good to give my body a break sometimes. So I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing and not worry about the temporary gain. It's the big picture I should be looking at, not daily fluctuations. And today I am going for a big sweat session at the gym. I even gave up a chance to hang out with my parents all day at the Cape to be sure I'd have time for the gym. (Or was that a convenient excuse to get out of going with them? Heehee.)
On another note, I am weaning myself off of boxed cereals. Even the ones that are supposedly healthy still have added sugar and salt. I bought some Bob's Red Mill cereal yesterday instead - the only ingredients are organic whole grain oats, organic wheat bran, organic flaxseed meal, organic oat bran, and organic wheat germ. I really hope I like it. I am about to put it in single-serving baggies...tedious, but worth it when I am flying around getting my meals packed up on busy days! Also saves me from the temptation to use it in some weird big baking concotion - this is sadly something I would have done in the past. Now I trust myself not to make a poor choice like that, but certainly having it in single-serving bags reminds me to make the good choices.
I also made a casserole last night and it came out a bit watery. Maybe next time I could add one serving of this cereal stuff (it's all ground up).
Sorry for the most boring blog entry ever, but it was basically just me thinking with the keyboard.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I just used mapmyrun.com for the spontaneous walk I went on today...4.92 miles! I wasn't in workout clothes so I couldn't jog...but it was a beautiful walk through the Arnold Aroboretum.
Monday, August 11, 2008
I'm still right on track with that sloping red line on my weight graph - the one that has me losing two pounds a week until I hit 130 on October 30. I am confident now in my ability to trust myself to make the right decisions and stay on course. In fact, if it stays this easy I may think about a different final weight goal, I don't know. Right now I have a slimmer face and clearer complexion than a couple months ago, and my collarbone shows more and my belly squishiness is noticably smaller. But I still can't wear last summer's shorts, which is proof that there is work to do.
Am I the only one who kind of thinks of my program and my goals as one and the same? I guess "goals" are supposed to be things like what I'll weigh and what size I'll be, but I think of goals as things I can control, like my exercise and diet choices.
I would like to define myself as an active person...someone who spends a large percentage of her free time outdoors (or at the gym)...someone who chooses recreational activities that involve movement instead of sitting (or worse - eating!). The kinds of activities I want to be into include walking/biking for exploration and for the purpose of getting places, hiking, boogie boarding (summer) and skiing (winter), dancing for fun and for exercise, using gym equipment and various exercise classes (favorites & new ones), and running to train for races from time to time. Sometimes I think about doing team sports, but I've always been so bad at them....
My eating goal, I'm deciding, will continue to need some structure...think of it as "intution based on fact" as opposed to JUST intuition. This is a change from previous long-term goals I've had, when I thought that my ultimate goal would be to be able to make healthy food choices intuitively. I would like to have at the very least a rough sketch of an eating plan at all times. When I'm having a plain old day I can stick to an exact plan, but when the day is a little funky I can make smart substitutions to my plan. I can try eating only when I am hungry, but if I have some sense of how many calories I've consumed, I can use my brain to help my stomach figure out whether I really am hungry.
I will always need to stay focused with eating goals, because this is the area that can make the biggest impact, either in a positive or negative way. I have learned that it is important not only to have a plan for the day's food but also to deliberately spread that food out. For me it helps to think roughly in terms of three meals per day without snacks. The trick is that I don't just sit down and eat these meals and then go without eating for hours in between, rather I graze on each meal. But, I can't graze my way through breakfast, lunch, and part of dinner by noontime either. I need to spread it out throughout the day. Here is what has been working for me lately:
In the morning, I have a medium-sized coffee with skim milk. Very recently I have found that I really like using unsweened soy milk instead of the skim when I make the coffee at home, and I don't even need to use Splenda when I do this! (Today's discovery..) That's another goal, by the way: eliminate unnatural stuff like Splenda, antibiotics, corn syrup, etc.
The coffee generally keeps me going for a while, plus I drink tea, water, or seltzer throughout. At summer school I'd start working on my breakfast smoothie usually at snack time and finish it after school - it's so filling it's hard to finish in one sitting. When school starts, I'd like to continue with the smoothies. I will have to see whether it makes most sense to start before 1st period and finish at snack (2nd period), or whether I can hold off with just the coffee before school and start the smoothie at snack...and finish at lunch or at the end of snack...I'll see what seems to work best to make me feel not hungry and productive. The only rule will be that no other food will be eaten before lunch. The coffee and smoothie are big and nutritious enough that I don't need a snack, and lunch should not be eaten before lunchtime!! I can keep myself going with other beverages too.
My lunch will be a serving of whatever batch-cooking item I've made...these tend to be veggie-heavy, macronutrient-balanced savory dishes. After lunch I must make a committment NOT to start dipping into my dinner items but rather have some gum for dessert and then drink water. Maybe a cup of decaf coffee or tea with lunch.
I will need to set some kind of rough time limit for when I can start eating my dinner items...which isn't really a traditional dinner at all but rather a combination of little items (for example, today it's a hardboiled egg, a small yogurt, an ounce of almonds, Total, GoLean, and a packet of plain oatmeal I'll sprinkle apple pie spice on). I'll have to again wait and see what works in terms of how hungry I am/how soon I get hungry after lunch, what time I leave school and go to the gym (need to be just right in terms of not too hungry, not too full for workouts), and how hungry I get/how late it is after the gym. My guess is that I could probably spread out half the items between 1 p.m. and whenever I leave school for the gym, and have the other half after the gym.
Anyway, these plans will be mostly laid out on the weekends, when I will prepare most of the items I'll be eating throughout the week. I'll keep track of my overall energy levels and rate of weightloss to determine whether I'm at the right daily calorie level. And like I said earlier, I won't stray much from my plans, but when I do, I will do it using smart substitutions (meaning I will still eat some of what's on my plan, but remove about an equal amount of roughly the same macronutrient to make room for whatever I'm substituting in).
And as I've mentioned in previous blogs, the very most important thing to do will be to get right back on plan immediately when I slip up.
My ultimate reward for making all these healthy choices is seeing the world and having the world see me in my thin, fit body. I am on a vacation kick right now and I just can't stop dreaming up the next place I'm going to go. We are seriously considering a Carribbean cruise in February 2009...it would be especially incredible if we could find (and afford) one of those fitness-themed cruises. I also want to do several shorter trips, like the Martha's Vineyard trip coming up in a week and a half, and an overnight stay somewhere beachy (Maine, maybe) with my mom.
They say you shouldn't do anything for weightloss that you can't live with for the long term. The plan I've written up here, I could see myself doing all year long! (I'd say forever, but I'm guessing the plan might need some modifying if I ever have a big life change, like kids or something.) It's certainly something I can, and will, do as long as it makes sense.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
I just studied my SparkPeople weight report. It started with a few random entries in the high 160s way back in 2006 when I was a member of the site but not really using it. Then there is a sharp decline from January to May 2007 when I was doing SP and Weight Watchers and went from the 160s to the 130s. From May 2007 through now there are lots of sharp spikes up followed by declines. What was happening was that I would fall off the wagon for a while, and not bother to weigh myself or check in on SP at all, and then finally I'd get my motivation back and enter my new, much higher weight (hence the spike), then stay on the wagon for a while (hence the little downward slopes), repeat. I counted the number of times that happened, and it was TWELVE! I guess I'm living that saying, "fall down 9 times, pick yourself back up 10" but in my case it would be "fall down 11 times, pick yourself back up 12."
I'm at 152.6 today, yeehaw. I have had a very active day starting with a really great Zumba class - it has been a while since I've gone and while some of the higher-intensity moves were easier for me now, I found I've somehow lost the ability to wiggle around gracefully (I'm telling myself I move more like a runner than a dancer now). But it was still tons of fun even if I looked ridiculous. I've also discovered I like soymilk in my coffee. I did legs for strength training, then we drove to Quincy and biked along the water, then locked up our bikes and walked on the beach and on some paths. Right now I am due for a nap, and tonight we're going out - somewhere! We keep saying we want to try salsa dancing but we never do. We'll probably just end up going to a bar. That is, if I ever wake up from the nap I'm about to go take!! :)
Friday, August 08, 2008
I am down to 153.0 today! I guess after two or three weeks at 155-156, my body decided it was finally time to drop 1.2 pounds in one day and then 0.8 pounds the next. Very exciting.
Last night I met up with friends at a bar. The plans actually went like this: I was sitting in my car at about 1 p.m. idling where they were doing some roadwork, and I texted my friend, "Summer school just ended - let's party!" (minus the apostrophe). She wrote back suggesting we go out drinking, "right now!" Hmm...that's not what I'd been expecting...I was hoping more for an evening-type thing. I still had to go to the gym, do some food planning, and I didn't want a bunch of empty calories from drinking all day (or the temptation of the food that goes with said drinking). It was enough to make me wish I had a friend or two (or five) who would text me asking if I wanted to go for a hike or a bike ride. Anyway, I didn't actually make it to the bar until about 7:30 p.m. In between the texting and the time I went out, I went to the gym and did my food prep. At the gym, I thought I'd do a nice "easy" jog at 6.0 mph for 30 minutes. Ha. I kept checking my heart rate and easing on the speed until I was "jogging" at 4.2 mph. No joke. I can WALK far faster than that, but it was all my heart rate could handle yesterday. I am guessing that the huge elliptical workout the day before had something to do with it. Anyway, I tried not to feel stupid and kept on "jogging" until I had completed a 5K...I think it took about 36 minutes! Ugh! Then I walked, stretched, and did chest strength training until my total gym time was an hour. I have been thinking about that article on Pamela's blog a lot, the one about needing to exercise a minimum of 55 minutes for effective weightloss, and I'm wondering whether that means cardio, or whether strength training counts...or stretching...??? If anyone knows or even has an educated guess, please let me know.
Anyway, in the end yesterday I ended up trading a yogurt and oatmeal (on the plan) to a skim cappucino (I got made fun of for ordering the skim milk!!), a mixed green salad, and two glasses of wine. Instead of approx. 1,300 calories, I ended up with approx. 1,400. That's fine.
This morning I kidnapped my friend's dog and went for a hike up a hill and back. It's so much more fun with a dog! It took about 35 minutes and my heart rate wasn't very high on the way back down. Jess and I will go to the gym later.
I've been reading weightloss memoirs. First I read _Confessions of a Carb Queen_, and then this morning I finished _Half Assed_, and finally I have _Three Fat Chicks on a Diet_. Reading books about weightloss really keeps my motivation pumped up. I love it. I also have ordered a book the author of _Half Assed_ talked about...not a weightloss memoir but rather a book about how people who have lost weight are different than people who were always thin, and they need to exercise fifteen percent more and they even have all these mechanisms that make them more emotionally sensitive to food so they'll desperately want to eat more. The _Half Assed_ girl actually said she didn't WANT to read this book and I don't blame her, but I'm reading it to hopefully get something from the part of the book that I am hoping exists where they provide solutions to the whole issue. I KNOW that the phenomenon came true with me. When I was at my thinnest, I had such a crazy relationship with food. I was thinking about it CONSTANTLY and was always worried about running out of steam during activities while staying on my food plan because I was constantly hungry...it's kind of hard to explain. It's been a lot easier to stick to a strict calorie limit lately, with my weight higher.
That's not a really great segway into the next topic I wanted to talk about, but there is an idea that's been on my mind the past few days that I wanted to mention. The idea is about consciously keeping my healthy behaviors truly permanent, and about trusting myself to make good decisions. The stuff I was talking about in the last paragraph makes me wonder whether it's really more about physiological, biological stuff that is beyond my control, when what I WANTED to talk about was the exact opposite - me controlling my own behavior. I'm sure the real answer is a mix of free will and physiological forces and there needs to be a balance, which is exactly why a lot of people can't choose just ANY goal weight they want - it has to be something their bodies can handle. (Maybe my goal weight - 130 - is too low, but I'm still not ready to give up on attempting it.) Anyway, my idea is that my goal is to have healthy eating and exercise be permanent behaviors so I can trust myself to make the right decisions in any situation. It's a calming thought that is highly preferable to worrying about whether some party or change in routine is going to make me gain 15 pounds. I know healthy choices inside and out at this point. I can make them anywhere, any time.
Final thought - I told my friends last night about my goal to not only enter the Tufts 10K again this year, but to complete it faster than last year. So I guess I'm really doing it!
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