Week 4-ish Report

According to my LoseIt! log, I’ve been keeping track of food and exercise since February 28.  According to my scale, right now I’ve gotten to 163.4 lbs.  Yay!!  I don’t exactly and totally believe my scale — it seems to vary from minute to minute (maybe the gravity in my bathroom fluctuates?) but as long as the overall trend is downward, I’ll take it.  I think I’ve honestly lost maybe 5 real pounds (as opposed to water weight, hormonal fluctuations, etc), which is pretty good for 3 weeks.  I don’t think I look any different (and the bulges still bulge), but the exercise I can tell is doing me some good.  I am not winded going up one flight of stairs any more!  Yesterday I did my morning Tabata, plus the run routine at night.  I can go 2 minutes without stopping, mostly uphill, with 1 minute walking in between.  It’s not a 5k, but boy is it an improvement!

Last week was mixed, some good days and some days when the LoseIt! bar was WAY in the red (over my target 1,464 calories per day, to lose 1 lb/week). and that’s not even counting Friday and Saturday, when I didn’t even keep track. Pizza and three (very delicious) beers for dinner, Saturday lunch at a Russian restaurant with friends.  Too much trouble to look up all that food, especially when I don’t want to even know the total damage.  Weekends are really hard. I’m tired, I want to kick back and relax.  Maybe I should put up a photo of me that I thought was my mom on first glance.  Oh, dear.  My mom was great, but I sure don’t want to have her shape. I look enough like her already.

So, pretty much everything I know I learned from a book.  Right now I’m reading another one that’s incredibly inspiring and helpful to me, even though you might not think it.  It’s a new book called , and it’s basically this one researcher’s conclusion that “willpower,” or “self-control” is an actual, measurable human thing.  We have it, we can use it up, and we can do exercises and use strategies to get more of it.  And believe it or not, it’s food related!  Yep, the willpower center in the brain is powered by glucose, which is a double whammy for dieters.   Think about it — when you’re trying to reduce the food and sweets, plus exercising more, you’re using up a lot of your body’s glucose and giving it less.  So your willpower has less fuel, which makes it SO much harder to resist another slice of pizza, or an Oreo. If you don’t have time to read the whole book, this summary (on a blog post I found) has all the best stuff, plus a link to a podcast with the author (I LOVE me my podcasts!)

Today I slipped up by giving in to a HUGE oatmeal raisin cookie for lunch instead of the veggie stirfry & brown rice leftovers I brought to work.  And then I was hungry, so at Reading Club after school I gave in to 2 white-chocolate covered Oreos (which were pretty tasty . . . )  I made up for it by having a big salad for dinner (the kids got boiled eggs and chicken tenders on theirs), but I’m hungry now in a way I haven’t been in a while.  So I’d better go to bed before I give in to something else. And keep on the straight and healthier tomorrow.

Weekend Backsliding

Reluctant to even check the scale — wouldn’t be good news, I fear.  Friday and Saturday nights are the hardest of all week.  Pizza is my #1 favorite food, and when you can buy it frozen or refrigerated and just cook it, wow.  So we had pizza both nights, totally non-nutritional and LOADED with fat.  And a relaxation drink or two.  According to my LoseIt tally, I’m about a day and a half over my calorie allowance for the week.  Yikes.

Monday will come, and start a new week.  As long as the trend stays downward, I can keep at this.

Daylight savings time today means that both bedtime and getting up time come earlier than I’m ready for.  Good night!

I’m Seeing a Downward Trend!

I’m still not really really sticking to the plan (haven’t run since Sunday and now it’s Wednesday night) BUT I think I’ve begun to reverse the direction of the weight scale! At least, it said 167.something when I got on Monday night, which is a darn sight better than the 171 I saw the last time.  I’ve been within 100 or so calories of the “target” for losing 1 lb/week, and of course so much of that is approximate anyway.

Even though I haven’t done the running program (I found it on Pinterest, it’s a more intense, faster program than the one in Run Your Butt Off!), I did do a really short (4-minute) Tabata workout on Monday and again today. The theory is that a short, really intense session revs up the metabolism and continues burning fuel for many hours afterwards.  The good thing about it is that I can close the office door, use the cool Tabata timer on my iPad, and get it done in 4 minutes!!  I don’t turn red, it’s hardly sweaty, and it’s better than nothing! World’s Fastest Workout video on YouTube.

I’ve got a whole stack of books that I have found really inspirational in the past couple of weeks — they’re on different topics but mesh together to help me envision a whole life shift. Some exercise, some mindset shifting, some on eating.  The one that made me feel SO much better as I closed the cover is a new book (I heard about on All Things Considered radio) called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. If you have ever felt defective because you’d rather stay home than go out to a social event, or if you’ve gotten yourself to the party and really just want to go to a nice corner and read, you might be an introvert!  I know I am, and though I know it’s just a way of being, it was very validating to read that our culture idealizes the extrovert personality, and that’s not always a good thing.

It’s bedtime, and I am not a pleasant person without sleep.  I just ran and checked me on the scale.  I never know whether to really really believe it, but 166.4 (-ish).  The trend continues downward.  Oh, yippee!

Pluggin’ along

So now it’s March 3.  That makes, hmm, a few days since I started counting.  I’m not sure where I am overall with the calorie balance thing, but I’m feeling ok with the cardio-health progress.  I did my running program on Wednesday evening (1 minute+ running, 1 minute, or a bit more, walking, 8 time).  I do think that the running is getting easier Today (Saturday) I went out again and did 90 seconds (1.5 minutes) running and 1 minute walking, and made it through all 8 intervals.  Because I’ve been doing this after dark, I stay around our block on the sidewalk. To make it really count, I run uphill, and walk downhill (our street, and the whole neighborhood, is up and down).

On Thursday, V-girl and I did a 5 (or maybe 6, depending on whose numbers you trust) mile loop hike at Kennesaw Battlefield park.  Since the first 1.5 miles is up Kennesaw Mountain, then down a bit, then up Little Kennesaw Mountain, I totally counted this in my fitness log.  My exercise log counted this as 800+ calories burned, completely wiping out the huge bowl of Spicy Thai Basil noodles I had for lunch and snack.  I’m not sure I trust this, as it put me at something like 700 calories under for the day.  But oh, was I tired and sore.

Course I’ve used up any grace points I might have banked, since on Friday I was right at my allotted calories (around 1450/day) BEFORE the pinot grigio (which was pretty darn good) and the few midnite bites of Butterfinger ice cream.  Today was a fairly inactive day, except I did get the running program in.  Managed 90-second running intervals (mostly uphill) with 60 second walking rests, for all 8 intervals.  I’ll stick with this for the next couple of outings.   I hate running, but this is proving more effective than anything else.  Its a lot easier to step out the door and get going, than it is to find time to drive to a gym, get on a machine, then drive home.  Tonight’s run (20 mins. plus 10 mins stretching after) was fit in while the pizza dough was rising, and I was never more than a block or so from home.

I’m using the Lose It app on my iPad to keep track of food and exercise.  My mom’s GP recommended it, and I find it easy enough, plus I can use it without being online, which is a plus for me.  Today’s calorie/expenditure balance is probably iffy (haven’t put it in yet) but I’m proud that at least I did my exercise.

Starting Slow, but Hopeful

So day 1 was a bust — didn’t exercise (no time), kids started fighting at dinner so I made a strategic retreat to the bathroom with dinner plate & wine, to eat in peace.  OK, maybe that sounds not so peaceful to you, but it’s small and cozy, the door locks, the lighting is good.  With the fan on for white noise,  iPad for music and a good book, it’s not that bad at all. Oh, and the wine really helps. By the time I emerged, fighting had died down, the boy’s guitar teacher had arrived, and life outside was bearable again.

Too many calories in pinot grigio (though it’s the lowest calorie wine there is, by 20 or so cals a bottle! :-), and then I stayed up too late reading, and then had to eat half a bag of chips and salsa.  So see, it’s not my fault, it’s my teenagers fault.

Yes, a lot of my excess poundage has come from alcohol.  It has become a great crutch for dealing with the stress of single parenting, but it’s time to cut it out, for the calories as much as anything else.  I’ve been thinking long and hard about my triggers:

- being tired at the end of the day

- feeling bad at the end of the day (headache, grumpy)

- feeling overwhelmed by parental duties and responsibilites

- cooking (I do love a drink while working at the stove)

I’m not sure I can or want to forgo a glass while cooking, but I’m working on a paradigm shift.  I often don’t exercise because it involves such a bunch of hassles.  Sure, the exercise part only takes 20-25 minutes minimum, but afterward I look like I’m about to die of heatstroke, I have to change at minimum, even better is to shower & change.  So it’s just not that easy to fit in a 20 minute run, even if I’ve got 30 minutes before the next must-do-item on the calendar.  On the other hand, it’s not that easy to fit in a drink, either, if you’ve got to be alert and not-too-relaxed in 30 minutes.  SO — if I COULD have a glass, I also COULD run, since I won’t be doing anything professional or demanding too soon anyway.  Maybe after I while I won’t look so awful afterwards, if I get in better shape.

On the hopeful side, yesterday (day 2) was a positive one on the intake side, in the right range for 1.5 lbs loss / week.  Willpower!!  Positive mindset!!  Distractions until the danger points pass!!!

Starting Today

I’ve been piling on the pounds for a couple of years.  I can’t blame it all on my mom (though it’s been really hard since she died) — I’ll blame the kids becoming teenagers for part of it too.  There’s a whirl of factors that I have to address in order to really get where I’d like to be (in my head and heart as well as in the body category):

- relationships/friends/emotional support

- prioritizing exercise

- emotional eating/drinking

- physical surroundings (house management, clearing out, cleaning up)

My goal in writing this blog is to have a place to chart the ups and downs of the weight loss journey, the goal of that being to be at most 150 pounds by my 50th birthday, September 2, 2012.  Ideally I will lose an additional 10 lbs - 140 or so is my “best” weight.  Along the way I want to have better cardio-health (not get winded so quickly) and better cholesterol levels.  I depend too much on the support of evening wine when I’m tired or the kids are horrible, and aside from other issues, it’s way too many calories and wreaks havoc with my triglycerides.  I’m the only thing my kids have got, so for them I need to stay healthy.

Yesterday I ran!  I hate it worse than anything, but it’s the easiest (!!) and least expensive exercise I can fit in, aside from the mini-trampoline, and it was too gorgeous outside to jump inside.  I’m just going to have to forget being embarrassed that neighbors might see me.  Yes, I ate a few chips and had a few glasses of wine, but at least I ran.  Something is going to be better than nothing as I head down this path.