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Favorite Weight Loss tips & tricks

I started going to Weight Watchers meetings again on February 5.  In 4 weeks, I’ve lost 7 pounds so far.  I am a WW “Lifetime Member”, which means I did WW before and actually got to my goal.  From 2002 – 2005, I lost 107 pounds. I kept it off until 2007, when I went back to grad school full time while working full time and slowly gained it all back.

Since I did the program before, I am rediscovering things — foods and tips — that I used to eat or use before that help me make healthier choices, so I thought I’d start documenting them in my blog.

First up is a tool that WW recently introduced.  It’s called the “Activity Monitor”.

Weight Watchers' Activity Monitor

Weight Watchers’ Activity Monitor

It’s comparable to the Fitbit, which I used to have and loved (but it got sent through the washing machine too many times and finally died.) I clip it to my bra and wear it every day. It monitors my activity, and it determines if and how many activity points I’ve earned. (Activity points are part of WW’s program. Basically if you exercise, you earn points that you can add to your food points allowance.)

What I like about it: I can clip it to my bra–Pedometers that I clip to my belt do not work for me because my hips are so much wider than my waist that all of my pants droop at the waist.

Also, it focuses on overall activity, not just bursts of exercise.  Since I have a desk job, I’m pretty sedentary. And, before I got the Activity Monitor, whenever I’d exercise for 40 minutes, I’d assume I earned 4 activity points. But, that wasn’t really the case, because I wouldn’t move much at all the rest of the day.  So, the activity monitor calculates an activity baseline based on your age, height, and current weight, and you only begin to earn activity points after you’ve reached the baseline.  And, I found that exercising for 40 minutes, then sitting the rest of the day didn’t even make me reach my baseline! (I think it would be similar to hitting 10,000 steps a day on a pedometer, and then only counting how many steps you got past that #.) Therefore, the focus is on becoming more active every day, all day long–not just adding in exercise.  It’s working.  I set a reminder on my computer to get up every 2 hours at work, then I walk around the building and climb 4 flights of steps a day.  If I didn’t do any cardio exercise on a particular day, I make myself do 10-minute walk/stairs 3 times a day at work. If I do get in some cardio, I do it only 2 times a day.  If I don’t get up and do this, I don’t reach my baseline and I don’t earn activity points most days. I just really like how the focus is on increasing overall activity (though it automatically adding your activity points to your tracker and showing you cool little charts is fun too.)

The downside is you have to be on the Weight Watchers program, paying for their eTools, plus there’s a monthly $5 fee in addition to the $40 cost of purchase.

Next up is my new favorite lunch:

My new favorite lunch

My new favorite lunch

2 Tbs of baba ghanoush spread on a toasted Orowheat wheat Sandwich Slim, topped with tomatoes and avocado. It’s only 7 points, filling, and the flavors go together so well.  I dice up the veggies the night before and put them in small tupperware containers, measure the baba ghanoush and put it in a container, then put the bread in a baggie. Then, at work, all I have to do is toast the bread and assemble.  I add some 0-point sides like dill pickles and fruit canned in water for a pretty big meal. Found the idea on Pinterest.

I’m also really fond of LaTorilla Factory low-carb tortillas.

LaTortilla Factory low-carb tortillas

LaTortilla Factory low-carb tortillas

They are only 1 point a piece. To make a sandwich, I’d have to spend 4 points on regular bread or 2 – 3 points on lower cal bread. So, these are a great points saver. Plus, they taste good and have a nice texture.  I’ve also cut them up and baked them for baked tortilla chips and that works well, too. I find them in the deli/bakery section of our local grocery (Kroger and Marsh).

Next is a combo:  roasted veggies and an oil sprayer.  I’m using a sprayer I bought from Weight Watchers, but I know others make them.

Weight Watcher's oil sprayer

Weight Watcher’s oil sprayer

So, I used to be one of ‘those’ kids who refused to eat veggies. Combine that with my southern upbringing where veggies pretty much meant green beans (cooked with lard and bacon), corn swimming in butter, and mashed potatoes, and you can see that veggies might be a problem for me.  For the longest time, I used to just say “I don’t like many veggies” and leave it at that. But, as I became more educated and accepted how wonderfully nutritious veggies are (plus most of them are 0 points!), I was determined to try to eat more. I began by trying different recipes, but discovering roasted veggies changed everything.

Roasted veggies are amazing. They do not have the same taste and texture that raw or steamed veggies have. Some veggies that I just cannot stand the taste or texture of raw are some of my faves when roasted. So, I have now developed a habit where on Sundays I’ll roast 6-10 servings of different veggies, put them into individual containers, and then during the week I’ll have one as a side to my breakfast (yes, I said breakfast!) and one as a side to my lunch. When I don’t have time to do that on the weekends, I really miss the roasted veggies during the week!

When I first started doing this, I would peel and cut up the veggies, then put them in a bowl, put olive oil and spices on top, then toss to coat, then put on a pan and bake. But, I was using way too much oil. So, I bought the oil sprayer. Now, I peel and cut, then put them on the baking tray and spray with the sprayer, then sprinkle spices on. I’m going through way less oil, but the veggies taste just as good!

Next: PB2

PB2

PB2

Now, I know that folks who don’t like processed foods are going to turn their noses up at this, and I’m fine with that. I understand. I, too, am trying to stay away from processed foods as much as I can. And, when you realize this is powdered peanut butter that you reconstitute with water, you have to admit this is pretty processed. Also, whatever processing goes on does remove a lot of the nutrients found in regular peanut butter. And, natural peanut butter isn’t all that bad, as long as you keep your servings in check.

But, that’s my problem. I am a peanut butter fiend. I lovelovelovelove peanut butter. When I’ve binged before, I’ve been know to take several large spoonfuls from jar, and then go back for more. I have a problem controlling my portions with peanut butter. So, PB2 allows me to get that peanut butter flavor for only 1 point for 2 Tbs.  Plus, because it has to be re-constituted, I can’t simply stick a spoon in the jar. I have to stop and think about what I’m doing, which is not good for binges. And, it’s really great for recipes…it’s fantastic in smoothies.

I still eat regular peanut butter when I’m wanting to get in some good fats or need a quick protein fix. But, if I’m actually craving peanut butter (and my cravings tend to lead to binges), I’ll go for the PB2.

The downside (besides the processing and loss of nutrients) is it’s expensive and hard to find so I order it online. But, one jar will last me a couple of months.

And, the last one for today: Baby Dill Pickles

Baby Dill Pickles

Baby Dill Pickles

These are 0 points, and they’re great for satisfying that “I *think* I’m hungry” feeling. Because they’ve got such a strong flavor, I don’t tend to want anything else to eat after I have a couple, so if I feel a binge coming on, I’ll grab a few of these. They’re very helpful on that one day before I start my period and want to eat everything in sight.

That’s all I can think of for now. I’m sure I’ll have some future posts with more of my faves soon.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2013 in Health

 

Post Boot Camp Reflections

So, yesterday I “graduated” from boot camp.  Over the 8 weeks I was on it, I lost 9 pounds, 6.75 inches off of my waist and 4.8% body fat!

Some folks who did the boot camp lost crazy amounts of weight–the top female loser was over 30#s and the top male was over 47#s!! So, at first I was a little disappointed in my “only” 9 pounds.  But, the disappointment did not last long for several reasons:

1. I’ve been losing (and gaining) weight consistently for 9 years now.  My average is usually a half a pound a week due to hypothyroidism frakking with my metabolism. So 9 pounds in 8 weeks is awesome for me.

2. When I started the program, I wrote down my goals, which were: “Lose 10 pounds.” “Lose 5″ off my waist.” “Lose 5% body fat.” “Establish healthy habits with eating and exercise.”  I am only 1 pound and 0.2% away from those numbers, and I HAVE established healthy habits with eating and exercise. So, I consider my goals met. Which, again, is awesome!

3. I started the boot camp because I hadn’t been seeing much results doing it on my own.  I just looked back at my progress before boot camp and compared it to my progress during boot camp.  And, you know what? I am at my lowest weight and smallest waist measurement since I started working on getting it off again in 2009. I am seeing progress again, which is awesome!

4. With what I’ve lost during boot camp and what I was able to lose on my own from June 2009 until I started boot camp, I am down 45.4 pounds from my all-time highest.  45 POUNDS!!!!!! 

5. Even with my “ONLY” 9 pounds, I tied for 4th place in the # of inches lost by women competition.

It was easy to think that “I ONLY lost 9 pounds”, especially since it seems like I have so much more to go, until I put all of that together. Now, I’m going to be proud of losing 45 pounds, and I’m going to be confident that I can get the rest of this off.

I’m not really sure how much the rest is.  To get to what was my ‘goal’ weight last time, it’s another 62 pounds.  But, I’m beginning to question just what my goal weight should be.

You know, there are all these charts based on BMI that tell you what your weight should be based on your height.  If I go by that, to be healthy, I need to lose another 86#s.  But, I’m not so sure that being at that weight is right for ME.  I really hate the BMI scale because it doesn’t take into account anything but your height and gender, and it’s really meant to be used on a group of people, not individuals.

But, what’s got me confused is my body fat percentage.  The American Council on Exercise says women’s should be 14-31%. The American Dietetic Association recommends that women have 20-25% body fat.  As of right now, mine is 26%, which means that I’m already there!

Wha????  If you go by my weight and my BMI, I am technically considered “OBESE”.  Seriously? How the heck can I be obese but have a healthy body fat percentage?

I know I need to lose more. For one, I’m hovering right at the edge of plus size clothing. One of my goals is to be able to walk into any store and try on clothes, not just the stores that carry plus-size clothing. I also have quite a bit of fat on my belly/hips, what many people call an “apron”, that I want to decrease.  (I know I’ll never lose it all because much of it is excess skin that will have to be removed via surgery, but I was wearing pants that are 4 sizes smaller than I wear now when I lost 107#s before, so I know I can get into a smaller size.)

But, right now, I’m just going to focus on the next 10 pounds, not on what the total final # is. I figure the closer I get to it, the more it will “feel” like the right number.

So, boot camp is over, but the work isn’t.  I’m going to scale back a bit on the intensity, but I am still working on eating right and exercising right. And, I thank the Meltdown Boot Camp for giving me the tools I need to keep it going!

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Health

 

The good with the bad…

I went on vacation a couple of weeks ago, and haven’t posted since before then, as work and life got a little crazy. So, this post will be a little longer than normal as I have some catching up to do.

Vacation Report…
We spent 4 days in the Smokey Mountains. While we had an awesome time, I was very glad to get back home so that I could start eating healthily again! I ended up not being able to follow the Boot Camp eating plan while there.

I swear, they have no idea what vegetables or fruits are in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN. The only veggies I ever saw on the menus were corn and potatoes, which are not allowed on the Meltdown. I did find green beans once, but they were swimming in butter and big chunks of fatty pork. The only fruit the restaurants had were bananas, again not part of he Meltdown. I found a vegetable soup at one restaurant that had carrots in it and was so excited! LOL Of course, it was served with a “double-decker grilled cheese sandwich”.

Most of the restaurants there are all-you-can-eat buffets with fried chicken, BBQ, french fries and tons of sweets. It was so difficult to try to eat right. If I had the capital, I’d open an organic vegetarian restaurant down there! They totally need one.

I did splurge and enjoyed some things I wouldn’t normally, like sweet tea and ice cream once. But, I felt like I needed to detox to get all the fat and salt out of my system when I got back! My ankles actually swelled up one day because I was eating so much salt I wasn’t used to.

I have to say, when we were in Gatlinburg, I was saddened at the large number of SEVERELY obese folks that I saw. Considering the food served there, it’s not surprising, though.

Luckily, we did a heck of a lot of walking and hiking in the mountains on some steep trails, so I did keep to my exercise schedule. I had to weigh-in 2 days after we got back. Not surprisingly, I had a gain of 3 pounds.  BUT…I had lost another inch off my waist over the previous 2 weeks and I lost 4% body fat over the previous 4 weeks.  So, that weight gain was due to all the salt and bad food from vacation.

Since vacation…
Two days after I got back, I had a root canal and a filling done at the same time. So, eating was a bit of a problem. I was not able to eat much for a day. And, it seems that since then, my motivation and determination has been waning.

Last week was the start of phase 3 of the Meltdown Boot Camp. And, I’ve been struggling to follow the food plan as it’s gotten more restrictive and takes a hell of a lot of time to plan. It requires a lot of protein shakes, too, which I REALLY don’t like. I spent the weekend at a music festival and REALLY hated having to follow this food plan. It was SO not easy in that environment.

Also, the amount of exercise we’re supposed to get in has increased. Last week I worked really hard to meet the goals, but this week it’s a struggle. Every day this week I haven’t wanted to get out of bed in the morning. Monday I did an evening workout class to make up for it, but yesterday was a total wash with exercise.  Today, I had an internal struggle as I laid in bed for about an hour. But, I finally made myself get up and use my Treadclimber for 40 minutes. And, I’m glad, I did. I have a lot more energy today.

I’m wondering if the 6th week of this program is as hard for everyone else. I guess I’m getting bored and the ‘newness’ is wearing off? I have only 2 more weeks to go after this, so I’m going to stick it out. But, I’m not expecting a great weigh-in this Sunday because of the struggles these 2 weeks.

But, it hasn’t been all bad…
As I said, even during vacation I lost inches and body fat, so I’m very happy there.

But, I have also been noticing some serious muscle definition in my body that wasn’t there before I started the Boot Camp. Here’s a picture taken of my husband and me during our vacation (we were on our way to go zip lining):

It’s not the most flattering, but you know what the first thing I noticed when I saw it? Look at my right armpit area (ignore that you can see part of my bra…obviously it’s time to get smaller shirts–another good thing LOL). Those are muscles, my friends! MUSCLES! I’ve never seen muscles like that there before!

Here’s another picture from our vacation:

This is probably one of the first pictures of me in shorts that my immediate reaction was NOT “ewwww….look how fat my legs are!” Actually, I saw this and thought, “hmmm…my legs look thinner!?”

And, speaking of legs, I got an awesome compliment on them from a total stranger while I was at the music festival this past weekend. I was wearing shorts (again something I used to NEVER do…I always wore skirts or capris), and a girl came up to me and said “You have amazing legs!” I must have given her a weird look and she said, “No, I’m serious. Your legs are so strong!”

I have never, ever, ever been told I have amazing legs before. 🙂 🙂 🙂

So, even though I’m struggling through it this week, I do see that there are benefits. And, I am going to stick with it!

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2011 in Health

 

My insights about the Meltdown Boot Camp (so far)

Some observations/insights after doing the Meltdown boot camp for 2 and a half weeks:

  • The recommended exercise regime requires a lot of intervals, which I like. I started doing High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to train for a 5k about a year ago and saw great results. The tool I used to do HIIT back then has been invaluable for me when I do the required Tabatas and High Impact Cardio (HIC) (which is really just HIIT) on my own.  So, if you are an iPhone geek like me, I HIGHLY recommend the Seconds iPhone app. It’s programmable so you can set your own timing for the intervals, and if you use headphones at the gym like I do, you won’t annoy other gym-goers with the frequent beeping.
  • The new HuHot Mongolian Grill on East 3rd Street (where Cheeseburger in Paradise used to be) is very Meltdown friendly, as long as you are careful with the sauces. It’s also reasonably priced.
  • I am finally eating the way I’ve KNOWN I should for years but never could manage to do so. Heck, I’m eating way better than I did when I lost 107 pounds on Weight Watchers! I’m eating tons of veggies, only good carbs and good fats, and no processed foods (except for the protein bars). When I was on Weight Watchers, I still ate processed foods and bad carbs and fats, just in smaller quantities. Actually, I used to skip veggies so I could ‘save my points’ for that ice cream treat at the end of the day.
  •  I’m enjoying cooking and eating the foods I’m eating now quite a bit. Last night I made a homemade soup that was pretty simple but full of veggies and it was just SO satisfying…both emotionally and physically! Last week, there was a day that was rough at work and I got home late. Usually on those days, I would have grabbed pizza or Chinese take out on the way home because I didn’t feel like cooking, but last week that thought never crossed my mind. I went right home and started cooking.
  • I’m finally getting the proper amounts of sodium and potassium in my diet. I have high blood pressure that I recently had to go on meds for, and as a result, my doc told me to decrease my sodium and increase my potassium. I tried to do that on my own for about a month before starting the Meltdown, and failed miserably. But now, I’m not even really paying attention to those things, but because my diet is so much more healthy, the salt’s been decreased and the potassium has been increased naturally.
  • The protein bars are an awesome substitute for that nightly sweet treat that I used to satisfy with ice cream or candy bars.
  • I am not hungry (most of the time). I have to add that last part because until yesterday, I hadn’t felt hungry at all, or if I had, it was usually right before it was time to eat another one of the many small meals I eat every day. But, yesterday I was VERY hungry all day. Upon reviewing my food and exercise logs, I think the problem is I just didn’t eat enough during my mini meals and because I had exercised twice the day before. Today, I haven’t been hungry at all. I sure can’t say that about my experience with any other diet, especially Weight Watchers.
  • I’m constantly impressed by the members of the ‘Meltdown Nation’ I’ve encountered. Not only by the shear numbers–every class I’ve attended has been full, the # of Facebook fans is over 500 (and considering Btown is a relatively small town, I think that’s impressive), there’s a number of people I’ve discovered at work who have done or are doing the boot camp–but also by the determination and motivation and inspiration of the individual members of the Meltdown Nation. That alone says to me that this program is not just some fad.
  • The only way I can get in the recommended amount of water is for me to chug 16 to 28 ounces at a time. If I fill a glass or bottle with water and intend to slowly sip it, it never happens. I don’t know why. It’s also easier to chug room-temperature water than it is to chug cold water.  And, it’s easier to drink more if you use a straw. Also, I’m a water snob apparently. I cannot stand the taste of tap water or the water that comes out of most fountains (because it’s tap water). Thank goodness for filters! I am SO going to get me one of those Brita filter water bottles!
  • I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to come off of my earned day, meaning that the day after I would want to continue to over eat and eat bad stuff. But, scheduling a double exercise day for the day after seems to keep me from giving in to that worry.
  • I don’t do well with afternoon or evening exercise. I’ve been a morning exerciser for several years now and it always gives me energy to make it through the day. I’ve exercised after work a couple of times while doing this program and I always feel so much more tired afterwards and find actually doing the exercises a lot harder. It’s also much easier to make excuses to not do the exercise at the end of the day, but it’s a great feeling to look at the clock at 4pm and see that it’s time to go home and I DON’T have to exercise because I’ve already done it! I plan to do a few more double exercise days on the day after my earned day, so that will require evening workouts. But, I’ll happily do the majority of my exercise in the mornings.
  • I’ve decided that if when I get through these 8 weeks, I am going to reward myself by getting a full-body massage. 🙂
 
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Posted by on August 10, 2011 in Health

 

Earned Day

So, weigh-in day was Sunday. After my first two weeks on the Meltdown Boot Camp, I lost 7.4 pounds and 2.5 inches off my stomach!!

WOW 🙂  That’s over 3 and a half pounds a week. My average is usually about a half pound a week. I am VERY pleased with this!

After weigh-in, it was ‘cheat day’, as everyone in the program calls it. It’s what it sounds like…you can eat anything you want all day.  I was talking about it with my husband and he made a very astute observation–calling it a “cheat day” makes it sound like something bad and is not really truthful. Since you’re allowed to have anything you want, you’re not really cheating.  He suggested calling it my “Earned Day”, since I earned a break after being so strict for 2 weeks.  I like it! So, I will call it my “Earned Day” from now on. 🙂

I started my Earned Day at Starbucks with a full-fat, full-sugar latte and slice of a baked good. Then, we went to a local restaurant that had a Sunday Brunch. I wasn’t expecting it, but the buffet included items that were less-bad than I expected–they had only turkey bacon instead of the real stuff; their gravy for biscuits and gravy was NOT sausage based, and there was a lot of fresh fruit.  I found that my stomach has shrunk because I had only one plate, whereas in the past I usually made multiple trips to buffets. I also kept to my 3-bite rule* that I practice at buffets when I don’t want to over eat, even though this time I didn’t care if I overate. But, since I wanted to try so many different things, and I felt myself getting full, I figured that was the best strategy to try as many different dishes as I could.

After brunch, we actually burned a few calories by going for a 4.5 mile bike ride! I wasn’t planning to exercise on my day off, but my hubby and I haven’t been riding much due to the excessive heat, and when he suggested we ride in the morning while it was still cool, I couldn’t say no.

I probably burned some more calories when I spent the next several hours cleaning my house. But, then I nullified all of that by going to Mother Bear’s and gorging on pizza and garlic bread with cheese.  Hey, it was Earned Day, so I feel no guilt and I enjoyed every last bite.  Mmmmmmm, Mother Bear’s!!

But, this morning, my tummy sure didn’t feel all that great! Luckily, that didn’t last too long! I’ve also been rather thirsty all day, and since I didn’t track my water intake yesterday, I’m sure I didn’t have enough, as well as had waaaaaaaay too much salt. I still managed to get up at 4:30am so I could be in an exercise class at 6am, and I’ve been sticking to the Phase 2 menu that started today with no problems.

I’m also making today a double-exercise day. In addition to this morning’s class, I’m doing another one after work. It’s one of the suggestions in the program, though not a requirement. I know I don’t have time to exercise more than once a day on most days, but I do have that time today, and I’m so encouraged by the results of the first 2 weeks that I’m willing to give it a try.  I’ve given myself permission to take tomorrow off of exercise if I need to (if I’m too sore), also. But, if I’m not too sore, I’ll be hitting the gym in the morning.

Part of the reason is we’re going on vacation next week and I’m not sure how much exercise I’ll be able to get in. I hope to use the gym at the hotel, but I’ve said that many times before and haven’t done it. So, just in case, I’m going to get as much exercise in this week as I can.

I’m also trying to psych myself up to eat according to the Meltdown plan while on vacation as well. But, that’s a post for another day…

* My 3-bite rule was stolen from a Weight Watcher meeting many years ago. Basically, whenever I go to a buffet, I allow myself to have anything I want from it, but only 3 bites because those are the most flavorful. After that, the taste diminishes. This helps you enjoy the food more, as well as control portions.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2011 in Health

 

It can’t be all good…

So, I noted in my last post that my experience hasn’t been completely positive…as is to be expected.

The thing I’ve found the most troublesome is I’m spending way more time than I’d like planning and prepping for the days/week ahead. I figure it would take some time planning, but didn’t expect THIS much. Last weekend when I went to the grocery, it took me about 3 hours to figure out what my meals for the upcoming week would be and then to translate that into a shopping list. However, I realize that part of it is me getting used to the program, since this an almost-completely different way from eating than I had been. And, it does feel like I’m “getting the hang of it” now, so I anticipate that it won’t take as much time in the subsequent weeks.

Regarding how I feel physically: Days 3 and 4 were especially hard. On day 3, I spent the day at Holiday World in the 95+ degree heat and sun. At the end of that day, I felt pretty crappy. I know I had been walking a heck of a lot and riding roller coasters in the sun and heat all day, but I’m pretty sure I was more than tired…I felt queasy and weak and dizzy, and I don’t usually feel that way after a day of coaster-riding. After a good night’s sleep, I felt fine on day 4. But, then after work I did class at NGPT that I found rather difficult. And, after I got home from that, I again felt queasy and weak and dizzy. I later saw on one of the ‘Meltdown Chronicles’ videos on the NGPT YouTube page that others have felt that way, and it was due to the drastic diet change. So, I think days 3 & 4 were when my body was detoxing the most, because since then, I have not felt queasy, weak, or dizzy. I just wish I would have known beforehand that the first few days would have me feeling like that. I would have waited to go to Holiday World and do such a challenging class had I known.

The only other complaint I have so far is that I am SORE! Every muscle in my body hurts and has been hurting since I started on 7/25. I was not new to exercising before doing the boot camp (I’m a casual runner and I strength trained twice a week with a partner). But, the NGPT classes have me doing new-to-me exercises in new-to-me-ways, so I’m using my muscles more and in different ways than I was used to. But, ultimately, that’s the point, right? I just hope that the soreness goes away sometime soon!

All in all, I’m pleased so far. I expected it to be harder to follow the diet than it has been, and I expected that I wouldn’t be as motivated to exercise as I have been. Thankfully, both of those expectations were wrong.

As a matter of fact, I am actually excited to get on the scale and have my measurements taken on Sunday. I’m sure I’m going to see some kind of positive result. It’s been a long time since I’ve said that! But, last night, as I was sitting on the floor playing with my kitties, I actually saw my leg muscles! Usually, when I look at my legs, all I see is fat. I know my legs are probably the strongest part of my body, since I’ve been running for a few years. And, I’ve noticed my quad muscles before when I was strength training in front of a mirror before, but usually only when I was doing some kind of move that made them stand out. Last night, I was just sitting on the floor and I could see them! I’m shocked–but happy–that after only 1 and a half weeks I’d see such progress!

(Of course, I am also looking forward to Sunday because it’s my cheat day, too LOL I can almost taste that pizza now…. 🙂 )

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2011 in Health

 

Decisions, Decisions…

Back in November I signed up to run the Indianapolis 500 Mini Marathon. The reason I did that is because I wanted to get back into the habit of cardio exercise regularly, in order to lose weight. And, having something to work toward keeps me motivated. And, I do really like to run.

So, from November through January, I concentrated on getting to the point where I could run 3 miles without having to walk. Then, I started officially training training for the Mini at the beginning of February, slowly ramping up my miles. My routine was to do two training runs during the week and a long run on the weekends.

It started out well. But, as my mileage has been increasing, I’ve begun to really struggle, and I’ve especially been dreading my longer runs, mainly because I have to devote so much time to them.

I am a very slow runner. I really can only find an hour for exercise during the week, and all I can get done in that hour is 4 miles. I should be doing 6 miles right now on my weekly training runs, and since that takes me 90 minutes, but I only have 60 minutes in the morning to spare, I’m behind. And, on the weekends, I’m having to devote 2 hours to just running.

Another problem is that when I do the longer runs on the weekends, I’m utterly exhausted afterward. I get done with the run, go home, and nap for a couple of hours, and when I get up, I’m sore and I don’t feel like doing anything. So, my entire day is shot. I’m looking at my upcoming social calendar, and pretty much all of my weekends are booked, and I honestly have no idea how I’m going to be able to devote 2+ hours to running plus the time it takes to recover from that run every weekend.

And, probably the most important thing here is that I am no longer enjoying running. I have found myself dreading having to do a training run. And, when I get done, I’m sore and tired. I don’t have that feeling of accomplishment because I still have so much farther to go to be ready, yet it doesn’t feel like I’m making progress. That’s what I miss the most…enjoying the run and the feeling afterward.

So, I’ve made a decision. I am not going to run the Mini. I’m going to concentrate in improving my pace and I will instead run the Indianapolis 500 5k, which is the same day as the Mini. This way, I’ll still get to run and I still have something to work toward to keep me motivated to keep going to the gym. But, I won’t have to devote so much time to exercise, and I hope to begin enjoying it again.

I have run a half marathon before, believe it or not. In 2006, I ran the IU Mini, which has become known as one of the hardest half-marathon courses because of all the hills. But, at the time I was training for it, I was about 70 pounds lighter than what I am now and I was in the best shape of my life. Perhaps when I get faster and won’t have to devote as much time to training, and when I’m in better shape, I’ll consider tackling a longer distance.

I do not feel like I am quitting or making any kind of concession. In fact, I know I’m saving myself in a way…because if I continued on trying to get to 13 miles in this manner, I’m sure I’d get so frustrated that I’d probably quit altogether.

And, most importantly, I am very proud of myself. I can run 3 miles without walking. There are quite a few middle-aged, overweight folks who can’t say that! 😉

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2010 in Health