Friday, June 13, 2014
...do as the Romans do.
The entire quote, attributed to St. Ambrose is, "si fueris Rōmae, Rōmānō vīvitō mōre; si fueris alibī, vīvitō sicut ibi."
Or.." if you should be in Rome, live in the Roman manner; if you should be elsewhere, live as they do there."
Me at a sidewalk cafe in Rome
That is, adapt to where you are. This is easy to accomplish if you don't care about your weight or don't have any dietary restrictions. But this is much harder to do if you are 1) trying to stick to a weight-loss plan; and 2) have food sensitivities that make eating some foods unpleasant.
How did I handle my 10 days in Rome (the pasta capital of the world, no less) the last part of May/first part of June this year? First off, let me set the stage. I am a 150+ 61-year-old who is trying to get back down to my goal weight of 135 after 2 years of hovering between 150 and 155+. I have been avoiding gluten, limiting my dairy, and well, trying to limit my carbs/sweets....
So what did I do when I spent 10 days in Rome attending a conference for 4 days and being a tourist with my husband the rest of the time?
I mostly avoided gluten for breakfasts. My husband would eat the bread and cheeses and meats on continental breakfasts. I'd go for yogurt and fruit/nuts on top, or eggs or a variety of other things...but no bread. Once or twice Isampled some cake-like breads.
For lunch, I avoided pasta. Ate salads, meat dishes...but did sample some of the desserts and afternoon cookies the conference.
I enjoyed wine with dinner. A couple of times I had wine with lunch, too. We ate dinner late (after 8 p.m. most days). We had two amazing meals--one the conference banquet at an estate on a hillside outside of Rome, another dinner at a garden restaurant near our hotel. Other days we ate at local restaurants. I at (most days) or fish dishes. Veal, saltimbocca, fish, pizza, salads. A couple of times I had bread and pasta with my meals. I even add a wonderful parma ham thin crusted pizza one night.
Truth be told, only one or two nights did my food indulgences bother me the next day. I'm guessing that the flour used in in Italy is quite different than what we have here in the USA. So it didn't bother me nearly as much. The pasta, however, was another story....it and I did not agree with each other.
Finally, I did a lot of walking. Every day I wasn't at the conference I put in many miles being a tourist/site seeing (the first day I think we really over did it 11+ miles). Most days, however, we walked from 5-8 miles. And that, indeed, was as the Romans do. A lot of people (not just tourists) get out and walk. Little old men and ladies, kids, people with dogs, lovers, friends....
Me at Trevi fountain pretending to toss in a coin.
And the rest of the tourists at the fountain:
At the coliseum, which was much bigger, you didn't notice the crowds of tourists so much. There was a lot of walking up big tall steps there:
When I came home I had 2-3 pounds to lose. Most was water weight. Flying does that to me. I lost that within 3 days of getting home. Since then I've been following Beach Phase I gluten free plan to get me back in the groove. I'm really serious about reaching my goal weight again this year.
It's about time.
My advice when you are in a strange/different place: Plan to do your best. Adapt, but don't be silly. If you need to watch your glutens, do so. If you need to eat less salty food, do that. But don't forget to enjoy yourself, either.
Life is for living! And when you are at home, you can once again do as you normally do.
Friday, August 16, 2013
Here in Oregon we've been enjoying a wonderful summer. Today, though, reminds me that fall is coming. It is cloudy. Still warm, but a cloud cover. Yesterday was cloudy with a brief bit of rain. Stil...it was 80+ degrees. I can't quite get used to that cloudy but warm weather for Oregon. It reminds me that fall is coming.
This year has been a struggle for me physically and weightwise. I weighed 151.2 pounds last December 5th. Today I weighed 152.4. What you don't see inbetween those numbers are the inbetween times and ups and downs. I travelled a lot in May and June and July. My weighed has been close to 160. Never below 150 although I think I got within site of that a couple of days ago.
To put that into perspective, I weighed 166 in Dec. 2009 and reached an all time low of 134.6 in October 2010. If I tick off my weight since then, it has been a steady climb of 5 pounds or more per year. It has dropped when I took a hard line and really became conscientous tracking my food. I was 139 in June 2011, 9 months later in March 2012 was 147....By Nov 2012 I was up to 153.6....
So you can see it is an up and then down battle. In hindsight, this year has been a "hold the line" year for me weightwise.
But not physically. I am still training for the Portland Marathon, but I have been struggling a bit. I have a nagging achilles problem that actually might be getting better. Now I am dealing with numb toes (that might be getting better, too). I spend time rolling and stretching nearly every day. I ice and stretch pretty religiously. This week my energy level has been fairly low. I'm coming off of a 2 week summer cold (thankfully, that is gone now) and an 18 mile group run last week that was very slow for me (I did lots of walking).
And now I have a 14 miler tomorrow. My goal: try to run (even if very slowly) up all the hills. And only walk when I am taking in some Gu or water. We'll see how that goes.
I am also (mostly) on the South Beach Phase I Gluten free diet for this past week. I should be moving on to Phase II, but I pushed that back a week to shed the weight I gained while attending a conference all week in Nashville the week before. So...between traveling and eating on the road (did I mention that there was hardly any gluten free food available at the conference and that for snacks they had really unhealthy stuff!)...this year has been challenging.
Like most people, when I'm put in front of mounds of food for days on end, it wears down my resistance to it/ determination to eat healthy. I do what I can. But I am not immune to my surroundings.
Next weekend is another challenge: We will be crewing our daughter's 100 mile race in the Cascades. She will be doing this solo and needs all our help she can get. But we too will be up and driving around back country roads at odd hours of the day and night (not running, but finding checkpoints)....it is pretty exhausting and I am hoping that I don't snack myself into oblivion. But I have to watch it. Fatigue/tiredness/anxiety/sleeplessness can mess up my eating. So I will do my best.
So here it is, a little past mid August.
I'm not giving up on my weight loss goals. I want to get below 150 before October and the Marathon. I'd like to get back to 147. So that is going to require extra attention and tracking on my part. I'm up for it. And I want to keep my goal of running the Portland Marathon again this year. But I will evaluate that goal after my 21 mile benchmark run the first weekend of September. Realistically, if I am not going to be able to finish it in under 6 hours, I am not sure I want to be out there on the course that long. I hope I can achieve last year's 5 hours and 31 minutes. But I don't know yet. My achilles and toes have to keep improving. And my stamina, too.
This is maybe not as upbeat a post as I was hoping for. But my mantra for today (and the rest of the month) is this: Do your best. Keeping reminding yourself that you want to stay healthy, strong and be lighter. It is so worth it!
Thursday, July 11, 2013
This has been my first blog entry in over a year!
But I vow to get back to personally reflecting on my spark journey and blogging more often. This past year has been a "holding even" year for me, but I have not been happy with the status quo....so as of this past Sunday I started the South Beach Gluten Free Diet. And am feeling great about that.
My weight this morning was 153.7. At the beginning of this year I weighed around 155. At my lowest point this year (before I started doing a lot of business travel) I was close to 150. I traveled for 28 days in May and June and July on business---to places like Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca, Romania, Phoenix AZ, and Seou, Korea. I got home on the 4th of July....and have finally recovered from jetlag.
Once again, I am training to run in the Portland Marathon on October 6, but this year has been full of challenges. I've had a nagging Achilles heel problem since November. It isn't going to go away until I really take a break from running for a few weeks. But that is not in my plans. So, I've been managing it. Which means icing my heel after my weekly long runs, stretching, daily rolling using a foam roller (best $30 I have spent in a long time). And taking it easy when I need to. Not running uphills too much, substituting a studio cycling day for a running day when the heel is too much of a problem. Getting frequent sports massages. Doing core / flexibility / strength training sessions when I can....
And being realistic about what I can achieve while traveling. I'm happy that I was able to do my long weekend runs when I was in Seoul. 2 hours on a treadmill is no fun. Especially in hot, humid conditions. But I took plenty of walk breaks. And that was just OK.
This Saturday is our 25k benchmark run with the Portland Fit running group. My slow-paced Red running group starts at 6:15 a.m. Good grief! My expectations are that I will be able to finish in about 3 hours. I would like to go faster than that. But if I have to do some walking, I have to do some walking.
I bought a new pair of running shoes yesterday and hope to break them in for 3 short runs before this run. That *should* be enough as they are the same style and size of shoes that I had been wearing. But my old shoes were really worn out. Wish I'd figured that out last week. But I didn't. So I had to make the tough choice between wearing shoes that had started to bother me for 15 miles, or to wear some relatively new shoes for 15 miles. Not an easy choice. But I bought the new shoes and am committed.
And once again, I'm back at taking an active stance towards my weight management and exercise. It isn't enough for me to eat and just assume that running will keep the weight off (it doesn't). I also know that my big bugaboos as far as weight control and feeling good are glutens, carbs from breads and crackers and pastas, and too much nuts and snacking on junk calories. I am happy to say that with the South Beach plan I can pretty much go on auto pilot after I buy the right foods to eat. Plenty of veggies, lean meats. No sugars. No sweets, really...and no fruits for the first two weeks.
I'm only breaking that routine on my long weekly run day...where I'll have to eat a cereal and carb breakfast (and yes, that banana), have to eat Gu for energy during my 3 hour run, and have to replenish with some carbs (I'm planning on a gluten free energy bar and some fruit) after my run. Then, it is back to the South Beach plan.
So...once again, I am on the path to losing weight. I have 19+ pounds until I reach my goal. Here's to focus and sticking with a plan!
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Achieving goals keeps me going.
Right now I am under a thousand points from achieving the next Spark Level.
I trained for and ran in the Portland Marathon last year. This year I am back at it, trying to train again (so far I've completed one half marathon this season and next week I have another... then I'll decide whether I want to go for the Portland Marathon again or not). It's a pretty big goal and a big time commitment so it forces me to postpone other fitness goals I have (like really getting a road bike and taking that up seriously).
Once I hit my goal weight over a year ago it was hard to keep at the goal of maintaining my weight. Why is that? Probably because I didn't set milestones or any goals for maintaining my weight (other than not gaining it back). Marking off days w/o weight gain seems like a real bore. But not exactly tracking what I eat wasn't the right strategy either. But do I need to track everything I eat for the rest of my life? Or?
So now I am sitting at 14 pounds over my goal weight. With a goal of getting back down there...but then what will my goals be? I need to find new goals beyond the goal of losing weight.
I've just realized that was one big problem I had (and have had every time I've achieved a weight loss goal--I've reached my weight loss goal at least a half dozen times in my life). Once I hit a weight loss goal, it is really hard for me to define weight maintenance goals that are interesting, challenging (and not tedious). I've got to shift that around a bit this next time.
But for now, I'm just getting back to tracking my food intake. And starting ever so slowly to wrap my head around eating is something I'll have to be extremely conscious about for the next forever. I can't slack off food eating awareness and keep my weight off.
But I don't want to be joylessly hypervigilent forever, either. That doesn't sound like fun. I've got to find and establish some goals for maintaining my weight loss that are challenging and fun and work for me.
I have no problem finding challenging exercise goals. Right now I am enjoying running, getting myself in good enough condition to run longer and faster. And at the moment, I'm seeing progress. Nothing hurts. And running is fun again. Life is sweet.
I wonder how those who have successfully maintained their weight have defined their eating-in-moderation goals. It is quite different to eat to lose weight than it is to eat to maintain weight. There's a razor thin line between being obsessively vigilent and learning what you can and cannot eat/how to control your intake so you don't regain weight. I'm still working on this. Maybe that's my challenge.
But I need to find some more creative and challenging ways for me to figure out how much I can eat to maintain my weight, once I reach my goal weight again.
Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.
In the meantime, I'm not worrying about maintaining just yet. I am challenged to begin losing those extra 14 pounds without feeling deprived. This, to me, is a fun challenge for the moment. It's good to put new energy into rethinking things and experimenting: I'm mixing up what I'm eating a bit. I'm tracking my food. I'm trying out new foods. I'm observing how hungry I feel throughout the day. And my energy levels. I'm experimenting with ways to control my urges to eat. This is not annoying, but fun at the moment. It takes a certain amount of mental energy and commitment, but I am up for it.
But I don't know if I just have to keep this up in order to maintain (now that sounds daunting), or if there are other ways I can keep my relationship with food on sound footing to maintain my weight loss.
That, indeed, will be my next challenge.
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