QUESTIONS ? & Things I have learned along the way.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Just a quick note tonight. I don't drink alcohol very often, but I do like to drink 4 or 5 Twisted Teas when watching my Boston Bruins playoffs. I am sad to announce that I am giving this up.
At most, maybe I will have 1 but that's it. 200 calories a pop !!! They are loaded with sugar. I really do enjoy them and will miss my game night beverages :(

Way too many calories. 800 calories if I drink 4 of them !! They are really blowing my calorie counts for the day so I will be stopping that ritual on game night.

I planned on making 2 trips to the gym today but only made one of them during the morning. I was planning on going a second time, when my girlfriend got back from taking her dad to the hospital for a pre-surgery appointment. The Boston traffic was really bad and by the time she got home at 6pm, it was time to make dinner and watch the game. I burned 500 calories this morning but that won't even cover the 4 Twisted Teas I had. I will make that double trip tomorrow for sure.

OK, so now that i'm typing away, this is not just a quick note anymore lol
I seem to be a little weak in my eating lately. I had a great first month weigh in ( -22 lbs. )
But this month at times, I have been eating more at night. I watched Dr. Oz today and he had a guest on that was talking about diet & food/exercise. They were saying that people who get a lot of protein & fiber in the morning tend to eat less & have less cravings at night. Every morning I get plenty of protein but my diet is real low in fiber. I have some great oatmeal type hot cereal that I am going to start eating in the morning. This will be a little test to see if what they said was true. I will post a blog after about a week and let you all know how it went.

My normal breakfast has been a protein powder shake with almond milk (yummy) &
1 egg on an English muffin with either cheese/ketchup or a veggie sausage patty. I guess I will be replacing the egg muffin with some oatmeal w/ blueberries or a banana.

So this has, and will be a learning experience for me ( & all of us ) Learning new ways to eat, times to eat and what to eat. I will get this down to a science. It should not take me too long to get this all down. I assume we are all different and have different needs. Here are some of the things I have learned so for in the last 7 weeks :

1. I was blown away by the thought of drinking all that water when I started !! Now I easily drink 8 cups a day and on days when I make 2 trips to the gym, it's more like 12/13 a day.

2. I have much better eating/calorie days when I eat the 3 basic meals with a small 100-150 calorie snack in between, and after dinner. I think that has to do with keeping blood sugar from falling with a steady stream of food. I am usually eating something every 2-2 1/2 hours. something like this - 8am - breakfast, 11am -snack , 1pm - lunch , 3pm - snack , 6pm dinner & a snack around 8 or 9pm It seems like a lot of food. A lot of these snack are low-cal : light cheese stick 60 cal , rice cake 50 cal , Greek yogurt 100 cal ect.... I also tend to eat less at my main meal time when I eat like this.

3. I have been getting rid of my sugar habit. I never realized it, but the sugar crash is REAL !! I was having a sugary snack at night for a desert and realized that an hour later, I was craving more sugary food, and craving it BAD!! I have even stopped drinking coffee in the morning because I like mine with extra cream & extra,extra,extra sugar. I figured my morning coffee to be around 200 calories !!! Way to much for a drink

4. Working out CAN make me feel good (even though sometimes sore) One thing I have noticed for me is - If I workout at the "fat burning range" heart rate around 117 for my age, I do not feel as good after the workout as I do when I workout in the "cardio workout" range of 135. BONUS *** I burn calories faster and feel better/energized after. I wonder if anybody else has noticed this ?????????

5. There are a lot of good tasting healthy options that always sounded to healthy to be good. Some of my favorites are - Morningstar farms veggie nuggets(fake chicken) and their veggie sausage patty , Lean Cuisine Pizza's , Merideth Farms Char-Grilled veggie burgers , almond milk , Miracle Whip Light , and my favorite dinner is a 3 ingredient Salmon recipe I created ( salmon, low sodium soy sauce & mustard powder mmmm this salmon is awesome !!

6. Getting to the gym & working out for the first 10-15 minutes is the hardest part of working out. I know that once I drag myself there and have been working out for 10-15 minutes the " I really don't want to do this" feeling goes away and I am always glad & proud of myself for going. Sometimes when I don't feel like going, I just tell myself that I will just go & do 15 minutes on the bike/treadmill. I have NEVER once left after those 15 minutes. That 15 turns into 40,50,60 minutes and more.

7. I have to be the strong one in my relationship. I workout with my girlfriend Brittney who I love very much. I realized after a couple of weeks going to the gym, that if I said " I don't feel like going to the gym today " she would quickly agree with no resistance. Some days I really needed her to give my a kick in the butt and tell me " let's go " I now know that that won't happen. I have taken it upon myself to be the strong one. No matter how bad I may want to skip a workout, I don't say anything but " I'm ready, let's go" She never asks to skip the gym, but will easily agree not to go. I am OK with this situation, it's not a big deal at all.

8. Sometimes, I really hate to read other peoples blogs. I like to read them and offer support to those who ask/need it. I hope this does not make me a bad Sparker, but sometimes I notice the same people, over & over & over again. It starts to get me a little down to see these same people struggling with the same thing 5 times a week for weeks in a row. I know in my head/heart that these are the people who need our help the most. I just start to wonder about their commitment to getting healthy and start to feel like I have given all the advice/support that I can. I feel bad/sad for these people. Does anybody else ever feel this way and are willing to admit it ????? Please tell me I am not the only one and that I am not a terrible Spark person.

That's all I have for now. Sorry if I babbled on too much.

PLEASE respond to anything I have posted here. I think we should all make a blog list like this. It would be very interesting & helpful to see what others have learned in their journey to health.

I hope you are all well & making healthy choices

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    The key to success is right there in your post- self-knowledge. You've learned so much about your body and your needs, and all these facts will help you to fine- tune your program. And knowing that you need motivation just as much (or more) than you need to motivate others is one of those things! I admire your desire to help others, but it's like the oxygen mask on an airplane - put yours on first in order to help others.

    Here's to your continued success, and meeting your goals on your own Independence Day! emoticon
    2517 days ago
    Try Michelob Ultra (95 Cals/ 6 Carbs) or MGD 64 (64 cals), they are low calorie, not low alccohol. It serves its purpose; sure, it tastes awful, but it does what its supposed to do! I have an issue with sweet tea vodka and lemonade (like a grown-up Arnold Palmer) and Long Island Iced Teas: I miss them and know exactly what you're going through. You can still enjoy yourself on game nights without breaking the calorie bank or feeling too beat up about breaking your eating plan. Feel free to friend me on here, I am new to SP and I need some dudes to relate to -- no offense to any of you ladies reading this...
    2523 days ago
    I'm going to make your salmon recipe. Yum.
    2523 days ago
    You are doing great! and you've learned a lot! For the drinks, one thing that might help is to remember that eliminating 4 of them a week @ 800 calories will make for an extra pounds lost after 4 1/2 weeks--hey every little bit helps to get you to your goal, right?
    Keep up the great job and as far as your blog goes, I LOVED reading it because it showed how much you've learned and also gave me some more pointers. So keep blogging and keep sparking.
    2523 days ago
  • RUSSELL_40
    You are on the right track as far as blood sugar..if you eat something like sugary foods, or orange juice, your blood sugar spikes, and then as insuling floods your system to counteract high blood sugar it plummets. As it approaches 70, your body is signaled to eat again. A quick rise in blood sugar is usually followed by a quick low, and hunger.

    I hear you on the water, and first 15 mins of exercise. It has been 3 years for me, and now I crave water, and exercise daily. I am anxious to go walk 5 miles as I am typing this. Most days I do a 90 minute walk before 10 a.m. I drink 15 glasses of water most days too.

    My brother and I have the same issue with cheating as you do about the gym. If I suggest going to Taco Bell, he agrees in a heartbeat, and says we might as well get pop and honey buns. I just cook up food, and never mention it, and he doesn't ever bring up going out to eat. It is working out okay.

    Last, I do agree on reading other people's blogs. Every time I gain, I know exactly why, but I read people who wonder why all the time. Even worse is people who cheat every 1-2 days, and can't stop themselves. I eat low carb, so most of the time I can't really help them. I chose low carb, because I lost easily, and had no hunger, or cravings. Others might not think of it as an option. After a few times of hearing " Oh, that's dangerous " when I told them I ate low carb, I don't push it. I think weighing over 300 was more dangerous than anything low carb. People need to lose eating foods they are comfortable with. So, I watch people struggling like I did for 5 years, and feel bad, but can't do much to help.

    You on the other hand are doing great, and need no help. Just keep it up.
    2523 days ago
    Oh, yeah, alcohol is very empty calories! No matter how enjoyable, it doesn't make sense health-wise! So I'd say find a lo-cal drink that pleases your taste buds without adding calories! As for fiber, man, you gotta get to know how wonderful the stuff is. I find it as filling and satisfying as protein - and I sure would rather CHEW my food instead of drink it. But if your love your protein shake who am I to argue! For what was gonna be just a note, this turned out to be a great summary blog! Thanks for posting!
    2523 days ago
    Great post! I'm working hard to get the eating under control. It is a tough one, but there are strategies that do work - keeping that blood sugar even is definitely important! I miss Morning Star and other veggie products - I used to love them, but most have wheat protein which I can't tolerate anymore.

    You shouldn't ever feel obligated to read or post on someone's blog IMHO. I know that even today, I blogged on body image stuff that continues to be a theme for me, and will continue into the future. It probably feels like a 'broken record' to others (which it kind of is) but one that is real to me and that I have got to fix. While I do appreciate the support of comments, I do the journaling more for me than the response that I will get.

    Keep up the great work!
    2525 days ago
    You're definitely not a terrible Sparker. I have a friend who has been complaining about her boyfriend for the last 2 years. Whenever I would offer suggestions she wouldn't follow thru. So now I listen but don't offer advice, because I know she's not gonna take it.
    2525 days ago
    Glad you are doing so well. You are right about many people not getting to their goals, You have to question, are they making the changes that sparkpeople reccommend? Many do, many don't. We can't give up on those who are having a hard time and blog about their failures almost daily. I read their blogs and try to be supportive. But I still wonder if I am just spinning my wheels. Then I realize that trying to give another a pep talk is almost like giving myself one. That's a spark thing, we can spark ourselves by trying to spark others. It's how it works.
    Keep blogging and keep reading blogs. It is good to read how others struggle and then offer a few kind words. You never know how doing this will help them in some way.
    Keep Sparking.
    Phyllis emoticon
    2525 days ago
    That 'fat burning zone' on the machines is a bit misleading. Yes, you'll burn fat if you stay in that zone, but you'll burn MORE fat in the long run if you go into the cardio zone. So, what you're feeling is recognizing what your body is telling you, so good for you.

    You're also making other changes, making deliberate choices to eliminate triggers for you. You may want to experiment with other drinks to see if there's something you like with few or no calories that you can have in place of your twisted teas. Start a NEW tradition for when you watch the games. And certainly don't beat yourself up about 'only' going to the gym once in a day. In your bad habit days, you probably didn't do that. Consider it an accomplishment and not a failure.

    And last, but not least, TOTAL agreement on your observation that they hardest part of exercising is actually getting TO it and not doing it. You're doing the right thing there, too -- you're not giving yourself the option of 'let's not tonight, OK? I just don't feel like it.' Think of it as a part of your job. You have to go whether you feel like it or not, but once you get there it's not so bad. Once you make it a regular habit, you really will reach the point where you're unhappy to miss a work out. You just won't feel as good if you don't go.

    Good post!

    2525 days ago
  • RIGBY66
    Great blog and you're not a terrible person:) Thanks for the info on the protein and fiber in the morning (did not know that) and I have horrible cravings in the evenings. Keep up the great work!
    2525 days ago
    2526 days ago
    Your blog caught my eye when you wrote about giving up your Twisted Tea's. I have been dieting for awhile now and finally decided I have to give up "happy hour' - even counting the calories, the alcohol is still derailing me. Which leads to another thing you wrote about - Commitment - Of course we are all here for support and to support each other BUT - Commitment is very important, and I think you giving up Twisted Teas, me giving up happy hour, both show commitment. If we want the prize, we just have to be committed. NOT easy. But you are doing fantastic! And I am feeling more motivated!

    Great blog,I enjoyed reading it, it helps with my focus! emoticon
    2526 days ago
  • SMILES650
    Hey Tony,
    Wow, you really did vent a lot, but wow again, you sure said some pertinent stuff! I do believe you are on your way to a better healthy you!!! Really great that you realized that you have to take the initiative all on your own. When we rely on other people too much, it quite often turns into failure and a place to blame other than ourselves. If we take on these things all on our own, we don't have anyone to congratulate our success on but ourselves. emoticon
    2526 days ago
    You have some great thoughts and realizations in this blog. I don't have the sugar addiction you do. My issue is savory, fatty foods. I understand what you are saying about certain people seeming to struggle every week with the same issues. I agree that they do need our continued support. But ultimately, we can't do it for them--only be there to listen and offer our support and suggestions. It doesn't matter how much we want the change, we each have to be ready to make the commitment. The light switch has to flip. Right? emoticon
    2526 days ago
    2526 days ago
    Hi Tony,
    I really enjoyed reading your post. While my goals are different than yours (mine isn't necessarily losing weight, it's more firming/strengthening what I have), I see that we have some of the same issues, which I think a lot of other people can relate to as well! I too have come to realize what my weaknesses are...alchohol being a biggy for me. I find it VERY CHALLENGING to have "just 1". So I find that if I don't keep it in the house, I'm not tempted. One change I did make tho is switching beer brands. I usually do Busch Light with my husband (about 100 calories per can); instead, I now will have Bud Select 55 (only 55 calories per can). So when we are out with friends or entertaining at home, I can have a couple beers with everyone & not feel left out (which always ends up with me bingeing), but not feel too guilty about the calories!

    I think the key is to find an acceptable subsititure for things instead of completely eliminating them. I find that when you totally put something off limits, it makes me want it even more....the perfect set up for failure! Don't be afraid to try out some new, healthier, different options. And remember that it may take a few tries before you get used to the change.

    Keep up the awesome sounds like you're definitely on the right track!! emoticon
    2526 days ago
    Good post. It's good to recognize your weak points so you know when you are slipping up. I am totally with you about the getting started at the gym thing. All you need is to get going, then it isn't so bad that you can't finish.
    2526 days ago
    I am so in agreement with what you've said here. I don't have a gym by me but if hubby turns on the TV my workout is shot for the evening. I know you are right about who needs motivation - and that sometimes it's like pushing a boulder uphill. That doesn't make you a bad Sparker - it makes you a real person.

    All of this is WORK and you have outlined that fact terrifically. Don't you dare feel bad about any of it. I love when people are honest and real. This blog has certainly hit that mark!

    2526 days ago
    Tony, thank you for this post. It's great food for thought. I will try to do my own, as you suggest, over the weekend. I have been having some thoughts about things I'm learning to love, and the diet soda habit that I think is stalling my progress.

    I enjoy reading blog posts; my problem with answering/encouraging is that I don't know if I'm the right person to do the encouraging, since I'm only trying to lose 15 pounds and get in shape to minimize the effects of my arthritis. I don't want someone with further to go being discouraged by my not having so far to go. Does that make sense?

    Anyway, thanks again, and have a great weekend!

    2526 days ago
    This is wonderful progress and lots of lessons learned. I think it is so good that you are being honest about the truth of the calories in things, the affect of sugar, etc.

    I have had to come to the same realizations and there was some sad moments for sure. But also I notice how much better I feel without the sugar and booze.

    Keep it up, you are doing really well!! emoticon
    2526 days ago
    You're not a bad sparker:)

    Guess you already know you'll find something else you will love while watching your game:) for me it was the conversation:)
    2526 days ago
    I am here to tell you that the oatmeal really works!
    I like it hot in the winter but in the summer I put the oatmeal not the quick cooking kind in a covered container add my almond milk, nuts, fruit, spices then put on the lid and refrigerate overnight. by morning I have a healthy breakfast ready to go which gets me to the gym faster.
    If you add more fresh fruits and veggies you can get the fiber numbers up but make sure on things like apples, pears etc you eat the skin.
    You are also correct that sugar addiction is real and there are more hidden sugar than we realize until we start reading the labels of food we consume.
    That is all I will comment on for now but I wish you well on your journey to better health emoticon
    2526 days ago
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