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.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
I have been hovering under 150 for the last couple of months now. Bought a new scale because my other one was erratic and I swore it made me gain 2+ pounds.
Last week I watched the HBO documentary series on obesity in America. Scary stuff. But what struck me was a small mention they made in the second show about how people who have been overweight may have to eat significantly less (say 20%) calories and do daily exercise just to maintain their weightloss. Being overweight can put you at a disadvantage over someone who has never been overweight.
Life's just not fair.
Not only will I have to eat les, exercise more, but as I get older my metabolism will continue to slow.
Life's totally unfair.
I was feeling pretty smug a year ago when I weighed 135, had reached my goal weight and was dutifully training for the Portland marathon. Managed to (only!) gain back 7 pounds over that summer as I travelled a lot, didn't track what I ate, really, and trained like crazy for the marathon. Two days after the marathon last October I weighed 142.
I weighed 149 this morning.
Been running/training for the marathon again this year. Ran a half marathon 2 weeks ago and am running another one next weekend.
So why is it that I cannot seem to lose weight (and that I am slowly, steadily gaining weight)?
I don't think it is entirely due to my age (I'm 59) or my work (I have only travelled 2 weeks so far this year).
It certainly isn't due to lack of exercise. I run 4-5 days a week, about 20 miles a week or so, and do studio cycling another day or two a week and some strength training yet another day. I might take a day off here and there. But most days I get a good half hour or hour or even more of cardio in. This week I've put in several hours gardening, on top of my cardio.
So what gives?
Am I stressed? Sure. I am always stressing about something (it seems to be my nature to fret...would love to know of spark community groups for people who want to chill more).... But I am not that stressed at the moment.
Am I getting enough sleep? I am. I get up early with the sun, but am asleep most nights by 10.
The answer is plain and simple: I eat too much. I don't know how many calories I have been consuming. And I just can't get away with eating sensibly without tracking.
I've got to stop eating with abandon and be extremely conscious of my portions, calories and cravings. I can't just wing it. I have too hearty an appetite. Even though I don't eat junk, I eat too much.
I've got to act like I did when I first lost this weight over a year ago.
I cannot be cavalier about maintenance. And heck, I need to admit that I don't need to just maintain at the moment, but that I need to lose 10+ pounds.
I am religiously tracking my food today. Found out that my breakfast was 400 calories. OK, I love that banana with my yogurt. I like the lower calorie gluten free 1/3 c of Vanilla Sunrise crunchy cereal that I sprinkle on top of my yogurt. And that half cup of raspberries was wonderful, too. Then I had soy milk (plenty of it) with my morning coffee. And before you know it, I had eaten 400 calories. It should be closer to 300. I've got to work on that.
For lunch I played it a little closer on my calories: fresh spinach leaves (over a cup), 1 medium tomato, 2 oz turkey breast and a half cup of edamame. Topped off with some lo-cal raspberry vinagrette and a dusting of feta. Dessert was two cups of slivered almonds....oh yeah, I forgot to mention the carrot I ate earlier as a snack....and already I am up to 750 calories.
If I want to enjoy a glass of wine with my dinner, I can do so, but I've got to watch it. I have my dinner planned and it will be OK. But I've got to avoid the nuts after dinner.
I've been talking with others who've been maintaining for several years now. They eat far less than I do (maybe 1300-1500 calories a day--I'm probably closer to 2000). They track their food. They exercise less than I do. But they still exercise. But they, too, struggle with maintaining their weight loss. Yet they keep trying. Their trick? Nothing special except being brutally truthful and honest, forgiving of themselves when they overindulge and gain a bit...and doggedly commited to tracking what they eat. No slouches, they tend to track their food daily.
That's something I haven't been doing (thinking, well, I've been eating the same old stuff so I should be OK...except that I haven't been eating the same old amounts).
I have to think about that long and hard. Right now I am committed to being mindful. I track my exercise minutes, proudly. Time now to step up again and track my food consumption, too. It is a way to regulate what I eat. Tracking makes me not eat mindlessly. I don't want to record that I ate 500 calories of chips. So I don't eat them.
We'll seeing how being accountable helps me lose and maintain my weight. Right now I'm feeling stoked.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
I woke up this morning dreaming that I was supposed to be giving a presentation but I couldn't locate it on my MacAir nor remember how to use the finder. A crowd of people were patiently waiting for me. I was fumbling around and panicky. Even more confounding: I had my presentation material down cold. But I wasn't willing to just give it without using slides. What a bad dream!
On twitter today, a friend pointed out this site:
If you go there, click on the big make everything OK button. I did, and it made me laugh and feel a lot better.
It has been way too long since I've blogged.
I've been waiting for everything to be OK before I did (I am about 12 pounds over my goal weight) and have been grumpy about that for months. After all, I exercise nearly every day for an hour (running, studio cycling). I eat maybe 1800 calories a day more or less (haven't been tracking). So why have I been slowly gaining back the weight?
Obviously, everything isn't OK.
I'm 59. My metabolism gets slower every passing year. I'm 5 ft 3. If I check my basal metabolism rate I only need about 1300 calories a day to survive.
Why do I think I can maintain my weight when 1)I don't track what I am eating; and 2) I am not sure how many calories it takes to maintain my weight?
Well...I'm an optimist. I assumed everything would be OK if I exercised enough and ate sensibly (no need to track all the time).
Yet the reality is that I do eat more than I need to maintain my weight. I usually have around 150-200 calories of dark chocolate most nights. I grab a handful or two of nuts for a snack. I eat similar things every day, but I don't know how many calories I consume. I occasionally go on business trips. There are family celebrations where I am aware of eating too much. I know I don't have an underactive thyroid. I have started strength training. But still...
I had been hoping (for the past 6 months or so) that "everything will be OK, if I just kept up with my exercising."
But I've got to come to grips with the fact that I've got to eat less than I currently am now and track what I'm eating. I can't be casual about what I eat. Plain and simple.
And today is a good day to start tracking.
Everything will be OK as long as I keep up my food awareness. I just know it.
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