Monday, January 04, 2010
Oops, I forgot one of the big lesson I learned early on:
7) When I started tracking my food, I discovered that I really had no idea how many calories (or how much fat, protein, carbohydrates, salt, etc.) was in my food. That I was eating too much was obvious, or I wouldn't have put on weight, but I found that my meals were wildly erratic. Some days, I would eat a small meal and have it be tons of unexpected calories! One memorable day was when I had a cup of Wonton soup, an egg roll (spring roll?) and a small amount of Sweet and Sour Pork, and my total meal was over 1000 calories! Most of which was in the Sweet and Sour Pork. I had no idea. But other days--far more than I would have expected--I wouldn't get enough calories. I still do that sometimes, if I don't track my calories in time to catch it. Last Saturday I barely got 1200 calories, and I'm supposed to get a minimum of 1300. Today if I hadn't tracked my calories, I'd have finished with only 1000 calories! Before I started regularly tracking my food, I'd regularly have days when I had 1000 calories, sometimes less! I really had no idea that I was chronically shorting myself like that, and that in the process I was probably messing up my metabolism so that when I did eat more--especially on days when I went way overboard--my body was madly storing up fat for later. Unfortunately, that may well be part of why I'm losing that extra weight so much slower than expected. Fortunately, the slower the weight loss and the more I can adapt to a real lifestyle change, the better my odds for KEEPING that extra weight off in the long run.
So now I try to track my food every day, early enough in the day that I can do something about it. I'm not always successful at the later--but I also have a better idea (at least some of the time) so I don't error as much, in either direction. Or when I do splurge (and let's be honest, I do sometimes), I do it knowing that it's a splurge ahead of time.
Monday, January 04, 2010
I wish I had some earth shattering, wise words to post as my first post of 2010, but unfortunately such wise words are rare and I'm still noodling about my New Years resolutions. And unfortunately it will probably will for a bit longer yet before I'm ready to post my New Years resolutions, in part because today was my first real day to even think about anything not-holiday related and I've spent most of the day playing catch up. Which will last a while longer yet, as there's so much to catch up on!
I had a busy, full, and wonderful holiday season--which won't be officially over until next weekend but is definitely winding down now. I have found though that I'm definitely looking forward to getting back into my routine (I had hoped to get back today, and I did partly, but I'm still not where I want to be). I even found myself missing working out, which if you had asked me that 9 months ago--or even 3 months ago--I would have laughed at the thought! Talk about a pleasant surprise!
So I thought since I'm not quite ready to talk about where I want 2010 to go, I would instead mention a few little lessons I've learned from 2009.
1) I am a sucker for the trophies that sparks gives out--especially the monthly ones, for things like fitness minutes or whatever. They seem to be a relatively new thing, and I didn't get that many especially while juggling holiday foo, but I find myself pushing to win them, and this is a good thing. I need to be better about not only setting goals, but rewarding myself for meeting those goals.
2) By the same token, I get pleasure at seeing my fitness minutes add up and I don't like seeing 0's--0's for the week, 0's for the month, and (oh horror!) 0's for the year. Today I clocked in my first 80 minutes of 2010, and it was a good feeling to no longer have all those 0's staring at me.
3) One of the reasons why I miss my old routine, including working out, is that when I worked out, it helped provide structure to my day--I would get up, eat, drink water, workout , come back and shower, have lunch, work/write while drinking more water, eat a snack, work on stuff around the house or relax in the evening, have dinner.... That regular exercise, food, and water not only was healthy in the broad sense, but helped keep my hip pain under control, seemed to help with my headaches (though they are still and always chronic), and maybe even helped with insomnia. Also, it put some order to what had, the last two and a half months, been an increasingly chaotic day.
4) I learned that my major diet issue is that I'm always so busy. I tend to get wrapped up in things that need to be done and forget to eat, or put off eating because I want to get something done, and then I get too hungry and tend to eat whatever I can quickly find, even if it's junk food. Having a firmer meal schedule has helped, though I eat most meals alone so it's all too easy to let that schedule slide, or to push off eating or forget all together (working out seems to help with that). I've learned some healthy meal options that are easy and fast to throw together, and we're buying healthier snacks for those instant-food-fixes, because no matter how hard I try to "keep" to my healthy schedule, it slips and if I have healthy food available, it helps. Now if only I did better when it came to fast food....
5) I learned I like yoga, and it helps. I haven't been able to do it every week--sometimes it just doesn't fit into my schedule, but I go when I can and I have found I really do enjoy it and that it helps a lot.
6) I get easily bored when working out--one of the reasons I like yoga in fact is that the teacher likes to mix things up a lot, which keeps it fresh. I am still exploring and experimenting to find new things that I enjoy doing (I got Dance Dance Revolution for Christmas! I'm so geeked! I haven't had a chance to set it up yet--and I have to clear out floor space again as the floor space I had cleared off got used for other things--but I'm so looking forward to it as a fitness option)
I'm sure that there were other lessons there two--2009 was a very stressful year for me in a lot of ways, and one that was full of a lot of changes, including moving, and a lot of firsts for me (first yoga class, first time painting a room, etc.) so while it was stressful it was also definite a learning experience. I can't say that I regret any of it, but I also hope that 2010 will be less stressful!
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
* First, I had a wonderful extended Christmas with my family and my husband's family. We were incredibly busy, and on the road every day, but it was worth it to spend time with the family, especially the ones out of state who we don't get to see very often.
*Exercise--I made my yearly goal! I hit 10,000 fitness minutes over the weekend, one of the best possible ways--playing with my niece at the hotel pool while my parents were helping prep for the holiday party. So yay me! And I even hit it early, despite the fact that I missed 3 of my normal workouts because of the holidays. I just realized that I never did pick a reward for hitting that goal--I will have to think of something, as well as figure out what goal I want to set for next year. I want to hit at least 10,000 again (this year was not typical in so many ways, not least of which because we moved and a number of our friends also did, and I counted all those moving days toward my fitness minutes), but I'm not sure if I should aim higher than that. I want a challenge, but also something that I could realistically attain, even with Life Happening.
* Food--well, I haven't entered 4 days into Sparks because I don't even know how to record half of the things we ate over the holidays, but I can just about guarantee that things Did Not Go Smooth as far as food was concerned. I ate too much, too many rich things, and far too much fast food because we were on the road so much. And I have to laugh, because my family--normally so health conscious, even at the holidays--had almost no healthy foods this year! Mom forgot to put out the veggie tray, the salad arrived late (and after I had already eaten about half of my food) and most of the rest of the vegetable options were high calorie dishes like my family's baked beans (soooo good though) and green bean casserole. There were whole wheat buns, but I didn't see them until after I had already served myself a white roll, and I confess I still like white anyway so figured I'd treat myself for the holiday. Oh well. I had a good time, I tried to watch my proportions and limited desert options, but I know I over ate and ate too many rich foods. I recorded what I ate in my fitness journal, since I couldn't really access the website while away, but I doubt I'll bother updating it in sparks. Nothing I can do to change what I ate anyway, so moving on.
*I soooooo did not want to go to the gym today, since I haven't been in 5 days. Be proud of me, though, I went anyway LOL. I procrastinated and so left late, but better late than never, right? *grin*
It's been a whirlwind week, and I have just a few days to get a breather before hitting New Years and then the holiday party for a group of our friends. After this weekend, though, things should (hopefully!) calm down some, though.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
It's late, and I should be on-line, but I'm wired and I don't know when I'll get another chance to post this week (and please forgive me for rambling. I'm wired, and yet tired--this is why I have insomnia issues), so....
I wish everyone who is celebrating a wonderful Christmas, filled with family, laughter, and joy. I wish all those who are on the road this week safe travels.
We're not really ready for Christmas this year, but that's okay. My biggest disappointment is that every single gift idea that I had for husband didn't work out, and I wasted too much time looking locally so now I have to order it on-line and it won't get here in time. I hope to at least think of a clever way to wrap an IOU tomorrow so he'll have something to open at least. I think he'll be okay with that (hopefully, anyway). But I feel bad that he won't have an actual gift to open. Other than that, though, we have all the gifts we need for this week/weekend, and all that's left is cooking and wrapping presents.
Other than that... it has been a really crazy couple of weeks. I don't like shopping much, so it's not something I do very often, but I feel like I've lived at the mall and other stores. We went to Borders at least 3 times in a week! Crazy. And exhausting. And every time we ate out or brought fast food home, I went over my calorie budget for the day. I confess I got kind of resigned to it. Not that I gave up, or stopped caring what I ate, per se, and I did try to make healthier choices (though the day we had pizza was a bomb, all the way around. My fat intake was 40% of my calories! I don't know that it's been that high since I joined sparks!) but a lot of times it was compromises.
I did find it funny that when we ate at home, though, like I did today, I nailed my dietary goals. Today I met every single one of them except too much Vitamin C (which is no big deal--it's water soluble) and not enough potassium, fiber (both of which, unfortunately, I am chronically short on both) and Vitamin A (which is no big deal because it is stored in the body and I get enough over time). But I hit every other one--calories, fat, carbs, protein, salt, iron, and calcium, and all the major vitamins but A. And I splurged and treated myself to a cup of Haagan Dazs chocolate ice cream, which is not low fat by any definition (fully loaded comes more to mind). And I still nailed my nutritional goals. It's when we eat away from home that I have trouble. So nutrition wise, the last couple of weeks have been a yo-yo. This holiday weekend, I have no idea how it will go. Other than the dish we're bringing to share (and we've been asked to bring homemade applesauce, which is pretty loaded as well) we don't have any control over the food other than whether or not we eat what's there. But I have decided that I will try to eat responsibly, watch my proportions, but if I go over my calorie goals so be it. I want to relax and enjoy the holiday and the company, not stress or go hungry trying to meet my calorie goals.
Exercise wise, the week has gone pretty well. I've gotten in another 115 minutes so far this week, with another 80 minutes planned tomorrow. As of today, I only have another 122 minutes to go, so tomorrow's work out will bring me really close to my goal for the year.
I had hoped to work out on Christmas eve, but that's not looking very likely as we have to get out the door pretty early and I just don't know if there will be time and get everything else done that we need to before we leave. Not and get sleep, anyway, and I don't want to be tired as it's going to be a long day--weekend, really--for us. I had already figured that I would not work out on Christmas day--the day is just too full. I know that other people work out as normal, even on the major holidays, but I don't think I can be one of them. Not this year, at least, not while we are juggling multiple family celebrations.
Friday, December 18, 2009
I'm doing better today. It just all kind of came together at once--the massive headache, the hormones, the stress of the holidays, the fact that when I tried on pants while shopping I still wear the same size, even though I'm 10 lbs lighter, and the fact that instead of making my mini-goal deadline, I actually gained 1.3 lbs when I weighed myself this week. Now that is very likely skewed by the fact that I forgot to weigh myself in the morning like I usually do and so weighed myself mid-afternoon, after eating, working out, and drinking about 6 glasses of water. But, it was disappointing, especially on top of everything else.
But today is better. I'm still stressed, and the disappointments for the week are still disappointments, but I feel like I have my feet back under me, have my perspective back--and I have my sparks friends to thank for that. Thank you, all of you.
I read an article this week about writing a contract for success:
One of the points in the article that I've been thinking about since then was about recognizing excuses for what they are--for me, the big three are probably "I'm too busy," "I'm too stressed," and "I'm too tired." While the time of year is definitely a factor in the last one, they are three related to the fact that even when I try to cut back, like I did this fall, I still always seem to take on too much. I'm often overwhelmed by my own life--everything from juggling holidays with various family members to managing household chores to visiting friends to "me" time to getting my own work done... I don't know why I have a hard time juggling all of this, or why I always seem to take on too much, but it's something I have been working on for awhile and obviously it's an area where there's a lot of room for improvement. Time management and stress management skills would also help make everything seem less overwhelming and more manageable, and that's yet another area that I've been working on with mixed success.
And all of that would be easier to stay on top on if it weren't for the fact that winter makes me want to curl up in a little ball and do nothing at all until at least April.
At least the stress/busy will be somewhat better after the holidays--we have a brief reprieve of January before we hit Birthday Month (when my husband, my brother, myself, and a bunch of our friends all have birthdays within a little over a month's span), which is almost as crazy in some ways as the November-December holidays. But after that... spring won't be so far away, and the days will start getting warmer and brighter and longer.
I have been fitting the work outs in mostly by making it one of the first things I do every day, after eating and drinking some water. I get up and immediately put on work out clothes. I try to be somewhat flexible about when/how I work out, though that's easier in the summer when I have a lot more options. And I'm trying to keep a balancing act between listening to my body (because I've run into the wall in the past, pushing too hard and making myself really sick) and ignoring the excuse of "I'm too tired."
I manage to eat healthy mostly by trying to keep healthy, yet easy, meals and snacks on hand, because I know that I'm more likely to eat it if it doesn't take a lot of prep time. We've been buying more fruits and vegetables, and I'm trying to remember to eat them. I also have been allowing myself to eat a mid afternoon snack if i start to get hungry about 3 or 4 pm--because if I don't, I'm starving by the time we actually eat dinner (usually around 8 pm, sometimes as late as 10) and will eat too fast, too much, of pretty much whatever is available.
But I'm having a harder time not resenting the time I spend eating (especially preparing foods) and at the gym, because they feel like they eat up big chunks of my day that could be used more productively.
I know that it's productive--that it's for my health, and that I'm worth it, that I deserve it. I know that my husband wants me to be healthier, too, and that he doesn't mind if I slack off on putting books away or whatever because I went to the gym instead. But I'm still having a hard time, in my innermost self, really believing it yet.
So that, too, is a work in progress.
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