Wednesday, January 07, 2009
I have two types of adjustments I need to write about. The first is about my body adjusting. A few wise Sparkers commented on my blog yesterday that perhaps I confused my body with the drastic eating changes over the holidays and that could be why I'm experiencing hunger now with the same calorie level that didn't cause hunger before. I think that might actually be right - or even if it isn't, I'm going forward with the attitude that I need to be patient and let my body re-adjust to the calorie level that worked so well for me for four months. Hopefully it will get easier. I should remind myself that even when I'm feeling a little hungry late evening, if I ignore it the gnawing usually goes away when I go to bed.
Random - have any of you seen the commercial for the new Weight Watchers Momentum program? It's funny...the furry little monster they use to symbolize hunger actually does look like HUNGER to me. Hehe.
The other type of adjustment I need to make is to my new 2009 rules I blogged about on Sunday. Some of the rules I set have proven helpful, while others I'm just going to keep on breaking unless I change them.
*Two coffees & two teas before breakfast (second coffee may be consumed WITH breakfast) - this rule is still helpful and I'll keep it.
*No snacks until 2nd period and not until 2nd coffee and breakfast are finished- still helpful!
*The rule about limiting my mid-morning snack to a piece of fruit and some nuts has been hard for me to stick to. I will change this rule to say that I should START with a piece of fruit and some nuts, and have something significant to drink. Wait a while, and if I'm still hungry and it's not lunchtime yet, it's OK to have some more.
*The rule about eating just lunch at lunchtime, about spacing out afternoon snacks, and about what time to eat lunch and dinner have been tough to stick to. I will lighten up on myself about that, as long as I save SOMETHING for later in the afternoon. Oranges and grapefruit are excellent choices for me because they take work to peel and eat, so I tend to save those for late afternoon. And definitely having the salads waiting at home is an excellent change. Anything easy to eat that I have at with me at school, I tend to eat too soon! But I like that I'm finding ways to accommodate for my lack of willpower!
One suggestion I got for dealing with evening hunger was to add protein to my salads. I really like this suggestion, but the percent of my calories from protein already tends to be higher than what SP recommends. Also, I'm having trouble deciding where this protein should come from. Definitely not peanut butter, haha! Not only would that make for an unusual salad, but peanut butter is quite the trigger food for me. I'll make a note to look at options next time I'm at the grocery store - chicken, shrimp, or some cottage cheese (on the side) might work. But this change wouldn't kick in until next week, because this week's already all planned out. The easiest thing would be to find a salad dressing that has protein, but there probably is no such thing. I have a hard enough time finding a salad dressing without unhealthy ingredients I try to avoid.
Okay, now I've blogged my way past the point that I can be on time to Body Combat at the gym at 5:30. Wah. But I can still pack up and get there in time for at least a half hour of cardio before Body Pump starts at 6:30...maybe even closer to 45 minutes if I rush!
PS - I'm at 141.2 today. I've been losing about a pound a day so far this week. Fun times!
PPS - We had a two-hour delay this morning due to snow/sleet/general January in Massachusetts weather. So I'm quite well-rested today. Ahhhh. :)
PPPS - I need to go shopping tomorrow for more salad stuff. Mental note - get lettuce, grape tomatoes, red peppers, and dressing (I recommend Maple Farms Sugar-Free Raspberry, it tastes great!).
PPPPS - I'm not getting to the gym any faster with all these last minute comments here............... heh.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Man, I made myself a lot of rules the other day! I don't really need the exercise ones. I am an exerciser. A few thoughts on the topic of exercise:
*Anyone else notice how much more crowded the gym was on Jan. 1 than on Dec. 31? Yeah, I went both of those days - rather proud of that. ;)
*I thought the gym was crowded on Jan. 1 until I saw how crowded it was last night at 6:30. Finding a parking spot (or an elliptical, for that matter) involved the stalk-and-strike method commonly used at the mall right before Christmas! Isn't it fantastic that everyone made a resolution to get healthier. Too bad that makes my gym so crowded the air's stuffy. Yuck.
*My workouts are much, much better after a) plenty of sleep and b) plenty of food. I was well-rested all break, and overate a lot, and had some of my best workouts. Now it's only Tuesday, and I've only been eating on-plan since Sunday, and I'm already feeling worn down, tired, and hungry. :(
I beat myself up for binge eating, but honestly, maybe my body is trying to tell me something with all this hunger. For the past few weeks I've been on-and-off with sticking with an eating plan. When I do make a plan, it's usually between 2,100-2,200 calories (more - up to 2,600 - on the days I went skiing). This amount worked so well for me for four months. I was losing weight slowly and steadily, and only suffered mild hunger.
Then the holiday season came, and for half a month or so there were several days where I ate way, way, WAY more than 2,100 calories. I couldn't even guesstimate.
So why is it that ever since I've tried to get back on track, I've been so challenged by hunger? A few times I've done well all day only to finally give in at night, adding far more calories beyond my range, because I was hungry. (Well, these binges would START because I was hungry...and then continue because they were fun and I like to eat.) I can't honestly tell if I'm really hungrier now, or just noticing it more. But I felt so much better when I ate more. More energetic, more awake.
If it weren't for my looming trip to the Carribbean, I'd just increase my calorie range. But right now I'm still 8 pounds heavier than I was before the holidays and it seems to all be settling into my belly. I look much worse now at 142 than I did when I was at this same weight a few months ago, because the fat distribution is all different. There is no way I will be happy in a bikini on the beach looking like this. I have to take this extra weight off and I have a time limit - just under six weeks. Great...just what I've been railing against - I really believe in healthy, slow change rather than extreme measures for fast results.
So.....I have no idea how fast this weight will come off. To be honest I'm still feeling quite shaky in my ability to even stick with an eating plan. Right now, despite having had an extra apple an hour ago (which brought my calorie total to 2,207), I'm feeling a gnawing hunger and would LOVE to go raid the kitchen - but I won't, not tonight.
This is really a tricky situation for me. I KNOW I'd feel better and have better workouts if I increase my calories and sleep. I know I will have evening hunger if I don't...maybe it'll go away, maybe being extra hungry will make me lose extra weight, I just don't know. The one thing that's for sure is that extra sleep will help. So.......I should go to bed! Good night!
Oh wait. I forgot to write about how I'm doing with my new goals! Duh. Exercise - great, although this evening I didn't have enough energy for a really good one Sleep - really good Sunday night, OK Monday night. Hopefully good tonight. Eating - stuck with the timing plan perfectly on Monday. Today I did OK, but ate lunch and dinner too early. The evening salads are working out GREAT - after I eat them seems to be the only time all day I feel pleasantly full, although the feeling doesn't last long. I have this really delicious, really low-calorie dressing, but it has Splenda in it so it's not perfectly healthy. I've also been sprinking on some Mrs. Dash. I LOVE the bright healthy colors of my salads! Red leaf lettuce is really good!
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Before I write about who I am going to be in 2009, I am going to share a little story about who I will be leaving behind.
Yesterday was ALMOST a very successful day. I was at the gym all morning, full of energy, and had a fantastic workout. I got a haircut and did errands all afternoon, and then did my batch-cooking last night. Eating was going well, but then, for the second day in a row, I started to get very hungry in the later evening, even though I'd already had my 2,100ish calories and should have been done for the day.
This had happened the previous night as well, but that night, just as I was seriously contemplating having a little extra, Jess went to bed so I just went and joined him and went to sleep.
Last night, however, was a different story. Jess went out with his college buddies, so it was just me and the fridge. I even warned him as he left...I said I felt like a binge was coming on.
It was so odd...I was debating with myself as it was coming on.
"It'll be fun...no one's around...I can eat whatever I want, as much as I want...being back on track doesn't REALLY start until Monday anyway...and I'm so hungry."
"It's a bad idea and I know it. It might be 'fun' now, but I'll be so much happier in the morning if I don't. I should blog about this."
I even told myself that if I stayed on plan, I might be down a significant number of pounds on the scale in the morning thanks to getting a 3.5 inch haircut yesterday! Haha!
I put it off. "Let me just finish XXX, and then if I'm still hungry I can think about it." That lasted through several household chores I had to do.
I had tea. I even had a Diet Pepsi, and I almost NEVER drink soda (except when mixed with rum at a bar!).
Finally, when I should have just gone to bed, I decided to have a clementine. No harm there, right? I even added it to my nutrition tracker even though it brought my calorie total a bit over range. BUT, when I went to get the clementine, I allowed my eyes to linger over the other items in the fridge. And after I was done with the clementine, I made myself a turkey and swiss sandwich. Then I had cheese and crackers, a few almonds, and then just like my last binge, a TON of muesli. No more muesli until I get things under control! (It's now a trigger food, just like those delicious dates I don't allow myself to buy anymore.) After that I was thirsty, so I had a glass of orange juice and went to bed.
This morning I woke up thirsty and weighed in at 146.4. And I slept through Step Interval and Abs/Stretching classes.
Done. I am DONE being gross and piggy and slothful. I am DONE being a person who binge eats, and I am DONE with the debating. There is no debate: the healthy choice is always obviously, unquestionably the RIGHT choice.
I have super-healthy meal plans ready to go for the next week, and I have changed things up just a bit to account for this evening hunger, and also to ensure that I will meet my goal of spacing out my meals better.
Mornings: At least two cups of green tea and two cups of coffee before breakfast. (It's okay if the second cup of coffee is WITH breakfast, but no mid-morning snacks until coffee is done!) The tea will hydrate me, the coffee will energize me, and this rule will ensure that I don't eat tons of snacks in the morning.
Mornings II: Get up at 6 a.m. every weekday. I always feel so much better when I have the time to get ready in the morning and arrive on time to work. Try to get up early on weekends too, although I like to be well-rested...aim to be up by 8 on weekends. (In general I think the more consistency I have with when I sleep, wake, eat, and exercise, the better I will feel.)
Organization/routine: I feel SOOOO much better when I am organized, prepared, and things around me are clean and decluttered. Getting up at 6 a.m. will give me a few minutes in the mornings to neaten things up at home before I go to work. Aim to leave for school no later than 7:20 when I'm staying at my place, and 6:55 when I'm staying at Jess'.
Ideally I would like to even get to work a couple minutes early, so I have a few minutes to brew a pot of coffee (everyone loves the aroma in my classroom!) and settle in.
During the hours of 7:45-3:00, BE THERE at school! My principal introduced the faculty to the "Fish Philosophy" this year, and gave us all our own copy of _Schools of Fish_...it all comes from a famous fish store in Seattle (I think?) where the workers have lots of fun and the business is booming. Sometimes at school I get tired and I'm not really as into it as I should be. I need to save my own issues for outside of school hours, and while I'm there, really be actively present. (Exception: during lunch I give myself permission to deal with "me" issues, as needed!)
Having said that, I also want this to be the year I LEAVE school at 3:00 without feeling guilty! Of course that won't always be possible, but if I'm really active and efficient during school hours, that will help.
FOOD SCHEDULE: Hungry or not, there is no debating allowed. These are the rules I will stick with. If I follow them and I still find myself hungry, I need to add more calories to future meal plans, but I still have to stick to the plan!
Breakfast - already described above.
Midmorning snack - No earlier than 2nd period, cannot be started until breakfast, plus second cup of coffee, are fully consumed. Midmorning snack should be limited to nuts and one piece of fruit (change this rule if my tummy is growling, but still have a limit and stick to it).
Lunch - Eat JUST LUNCH. And just AT LUNCH TIME. Between mid-morning and lunch, I should consume at least one additional full beverage - water, tea, seltzer, or decaf. (Regular coffee should be limited to two cups a day, both early in the morning.)
Afternoon snack - Wait at least an hour after lunch. Space out afternoon snacks and be sure to keep drinking.
Dinner - No earlier than 2:30 p.m. I know that sounds ridiculously early, but I like to eat it for the energy before my late afternoon gym workouts. Plus, this week I've built in a significant snack that I WON'T bring to work to ensure that I eat it later...
Evening snack (**NEW!**) - Depending on my schedule, I can have this either before or after the gym, but it is NOT to be brought to school. My evening snack is going to be a ginormous salad! I had a salad yesterday, and I realized that you can have a HUGE one for barely any calories. Then when I read in StephJogo's blog that she usually eats salad for snacks for the same reason, that sealed the deal. I won't even be tempted to bring it to school because it takes up a lot of room and will take some fussy prep work (washing the lettuce, measuring the dressing, etc.) which is actually a good thing because that means I can't rush through it. For the same reason, I got some citrus fruits that will take me a long time to peel before I can eat them. As you can see, spacing out my food is a big priority in 2009!
Cardio: As time permits, aim for at least an hour of cardio a day. However, if I'm pressed for time, shoot for a minimum of 15 minutes. As energy levels permit, aim to make this high intensity cardio. (It really should be high intensity when it's short.) However, I know there are days when I'm tired and just can't do high intensity, and that's going to have to be OK, although when that happens I will need to investigate why I don't have as much energy as I should have (not enough sleep? not enough to eat?). It's NOT okay to skip a workout because I'm tired.
Strength training: Most weeks, do Body Pump on Saturdays and either Mon/Wed, Mon/Thurs, or Tues/Thurs. However, try to do strength training on my own every once in a while for a week or so at a time.
Stretching: Stretch every day. Try to get more flexible hamstrings. (Goal: being able to lie on my back and lift my leg, straight knee, to 90 degrees or even beyond. I've always had tight hamstrings.)
Bedtime: Aim to be in bed at 9 p.m., lights out no later than 10 p.m. I feel significantly better when I get 8-9 hours of sleep than when I'm sleep deprived. Try not to get too far off schedule on weekends.
Okay, that got way more specific than I'd imagined, but it was helpful for me to write it out like that. I will start following these rules tonight, and if I'm unbearably starving tomorrow morning I can always adjust the plan the next day...but like I've said, I have to follow a plan!
Tomorrow it will be exactly six weeks until I leave for the Carribbean. So being disciplined and working hard will really pay off.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
I think there was a cabbage casserole recipe featured on SparkPeople the other day...but on Spark Recipes there are several versions. I have made this in the crockpot and also in the oven...I think I like the oven version better.
First, if you're going to make a cabbage casserole, I recommend you buy pre-chopped cabbage, or a bag of coleslaw veggies. It takes FOR-FREAKIN'-EVER to chop up a cabbage, and the amount it yields is practically overwhelming.
I probably got too many pre-chopped veggies...I got a bag of red cabbage, a bag of coleslaw (mostly green cabbage with bits of red, and also a little carrot), a bag of just carrot, and a bag of "broccoli slaw" that had basically the same as the coleslaw bag PLUS broccoli. I also added some chopped scallions and a can of no-salt diced tomatoes. So that, plus ground turkey (which you have to cook separately first, of course), and a bag of shredded fat-free mozzarella cheese. And spices - whatever you happen to have/like. I used Mrs. Dash and cilantro.
Since I did this in the crockpot, I had to wait until it was done and placed in single-serving containers before I sprinkled the cheese on top. When I make it in the oven, I mix the cheese in.
Oh, and I always start my recipes with some kind of oil - usually extra-virgin olive oil, but I also have some peanut and sesame oil I use to mix things up. I do this because a) I used to do Weight Watchers and one of their rules is that you eat two teaspoons of oil a day - a rule a lot of people seem to rebel against, including me before I started using the oil in my recipes; and b) from my reading about nutrition I've come to the conclusion that oil is good for you (certain kinds, anyway). There was one book in particular that really hammered the point home for me...but what book was it??? It was the one that said that veggies taste better (true!) and are better for you when drizzled with a little olive oil..._In Defense of Food_, maybe. I should read that book again.
Hopes/dreams blog to come later!
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Here it comes...the self-reflecting, goal setting blog entry that is almost obligatory for the start of a new year. It is rather appropriate that I am doing this today rather than New Year's Day, because school starts back tomorrow and THAT's when real life sets back in.
First, I would just like to simply appreciate this moment I have right now. It's late Sunday morning, I am cuddled into my fleece Red Sox blanket, sipping my hazelnut coffee spiked with unsweetened vanilla soy milk (I keep finding new flavors of unsweetened soy milk! can't wait to try the CHOCOLATE!). I slept in this morning, and I've been doing some cleaning. I have time to do all the necessary preparations today to make my work week go by more smoothly.
Today I will finish cleaning, finish meal planning for the week (it's all done except for snacks...yesterday I made cabbage casserole and chicken marsala so meals are all set), go grocery shopping to buy said snacks (usually I don't make more than one grocery trip per weekend, but I hadn't realized how low on fruit I am, plus I'm having a hankering for grapefruit!), either go to the gym or run outside, and go to bed early, although I know I will have trouble falling asleep early.
Er...to be continued. My cutsie-cutes (AKA boyfriend Jess) just called saying he's too lazy to walk home from the train station (15 minute walk) and could I come pick him up? I asked if he doesn't mind if I kidnap him and take him to the grocery store....so I'm about to use one stone to kill two birds! Poor little birds...what an awful expression. Haha. Oh well. Reflections and thoughts/goals/dreams to come later! Stay tuned!
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