Archive for May, 2009

Back to Weight Watchers Basics

weight watchers trackerI took today off from my official Weight Watchers weigh-in. It wasn’t a great week. In fact, while I’ve been losing most weeks, it’s much slower than it had been for the past two months or so. So today, I decided to look into what the problem might be.

First, I’ve been tracking online instead of in my little WW tracker from meetings for the past couple of months. I don’t know if it’s laziness, not having access to the computer at all points or the thought that my food diaries are now out there for the world to see, but I found that I was kind of cheating on the tracking. Logging breakfast and lunch and forgetting dinner…. or snacks or BLTs (bites, licks and tastes).  I have still been keeping track in my head but lately, I’ve been slipping a little more it seems each day.

Since I have a bazillion of those little trackers, which I get at weigh-ins each week (really it’s only like 20 but they just seem to be everywhere….), I’m going to start tracking the old-fashioned way again, and I’ll be making sure my little tracker is with me everywhere.

Second, as I’ve lost, I’ve also lost points, which I know is how we actually lose weight. But for some reason, this last point– I’m now down to 21 points– is incredibly difficult. And while I exercise regularly enough that I get about 4 points a day and I know I have my 35 weekly points, when I go over 21 points, I feel like I’m cheating and I tend to sabotage myself even further. And then, on the two days before weigh-in where I usually skimp a bit on points, I’m not making it below the 21-point level either. It’s getting frustrating.

This may be all psychological on my part, but my experiment this week is to go back up to 23 points (which felt the most manageable). I’ll deduct them from my 35 points each week, but I think by allowing myself the two extra points each day, I’ll feel like I have a bit more control again.

I’m curious to see if my little experiments will speed up my weight loss again. I’ve had a lot more patience with myself this weight loss journey because I know it has to be my lifestyle, but at the same time, I’d like to lose this last 25 pounds in less time than it took to lose the first 50.

I’m curious. On weight watchers, do you find tracking on paper or tracking online easier?

My Diet “Pill” Secret….

First and foremost, let me say that I don’t believe in diet pills. I don’t think they work (not by themselves anyway)…ever and they can be dangerous. Sorry, but leakage if I eat a cupcake is not something I’m willing to put up with.

That’s not to say that some people haven’t been successful using diet pills. But I can guarantee you, for all the claims, if you ask them, those same people who give testimonials are going to tell you that while on diet pills, they changed what they ate, ate less and exercised. I firmly believe that diet pills are mind over matter and there could be absolutely nothing in those pills, but because the user thinks there is, they change their habits. Period. End of story. Weight loss success. But instead of taking credit for making healthy changes, the dieter gives all the credit to the pills. Now where is the fun in that?

At any rate, I do have a crutch of my own. And it’s small and white and looks like it could be a diet pill. But there are no nasty side effects, I can take them whenever I want, they keep my mouth busy, and if I run out, I don’t go crazy eating everything in sight. And while they are yummy, they make anything you put in your mouth after them besides water (and we want to drink our water) taste crummy.

So what is this big secret you ask? 1.9 calories, no fat or sugar or carbs and minty fresh? Tic Tacs. I swear by them. When I’m having a craving day, peppermint Tic Tacs are my friends. And if you don’t like peppermint, there are lots of other flavors too.

Best part is, I get to take all of the credit for my weight loss.


Slowing Down

I’ve been frustrated with my running lately. That could be because I’m now running on the road and it feels like a setback from the treadmill, where I had really made some substantial progress. I know it’s not a setback, but not being able to run as far as I can on the treadmill without walking feels like a step backwards.

I realized that one of the reasons for this though is pacing. On the treadmill, the speed is set, the treadmill moves and so do I… at about an 11:30 minute mile. Under my own power, I’m running faster than that, at some points I think quite a bit faster than that because I’m tired and I just want to get to the landmark I’ve set for myself where I can walk again. The problem with this is that I’m so shot when I get to walk again, I’m walking for a longer time than I should and I’m negating any shortened run times.

Ok, so today I went to the track where I could measure my running distance a little better. I don’t have a heart rate monitor yet and when I run in the neighborhood, while I know my total distance, I have no idea how far I’m running before I want to or need to walk.

On the track this morning though, I got a pretty good gauge. My first loop, I jogged about 3/8 of a mile before walking for 30 seconds and then jogged another 3/8 of a mile before walking 30 seconds. I intentionally made myself run a little slower than I’ve been running….by the third loop around I kept at  a steady jog pace for 2.5 laps around for 5/8 of a mile, 30 seconds walking and then ran again until I finished my 2 miles. I continued on for a third mile but as I had planned to walk this, I surprised myself by walking/running half and half.

I was really pleased with my run this morning. I did a lot more running than I’ve been doing, and much shorter recovery walks,  and all it took was slowing down a little. When I can get to the point where I can run an entire 5k, then I can start working on getting faster. I’d like to get to the track a little more often but it’s tough because there’s usually something going on at the school. Maybe it’s time to invest in that heart-rate monitor.

The Power of Music

I had every intention of going running this morning. Then I woke up with a headache and decided not to aggravate it further.

Instead, I rolled back over and slept a little longer, got up, showered, took two tylenol and went to work. Just now though, out at lunch, I put on the radio in my car and heard one of my favorite running songs (Better Now by Collective Soul) and it got me all pumped.

I don’t have a headache anymore, so I think I’ll go running when I get home from work. We get out a little early because of the holiday weekend and it’s a beautiful day. And now that the radio has me all ready to roll, I can hear my iPod calling me, and I’m anxious to move my feet.

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

You Are What You Eat

choccakewhitefrostingsprinklesFor the most part, since starting my get-fit journey, I eat pretty healthy. Not always perfect, but better than I used to. I limit sweets and caffeine. I make sure I eat lean proteins, lots of fiber, fruit and some veggies (not a big fan of veggies but I’m working on it!)

But this weekend, being my birthday and all, I was not as careful about what went into my mouth. And I managed to eat a surprising amount of birthday cake and other goodies. The birthday dinner was lobster and steak…barring the butter, not such bad choices, although I will admit there was an abundance of food.

But my downfall was definitely the sweets. Always has been, always will be. I ate A LOT of cake on Sunday and Monday (the actual birthday).

And then I went running on Tuesday. ARGGGHHH. I felt like I was running in quicksand. My body completely resisted the effort and there was lots of walking involved. I rationalized that at least I went. Yesterday, I went swimming….in what felt like mud. Even though Tuesday was a better food day, the residual from the revelrous weekend seemed to still have a hold. Yesterday was a very good food day. Back on track and when I go running tomorrow, I’m expecting vast improvement (fingers crossed).

Thursdays are an exercise day off because I have my Weight Watchers weigh-in. Surprisingly, I was down .6 lbs. Hmmm. Maybe the food craziness wasn’t as horrible as I’d thought. But it definitely affected my workouts this week.

So I’m down a total of 54.2 pounds. Slow but steady….

Now I just have to get through Memorial Day weekend.

The Big 5-0!

birthday50Today, I turn 50.  I can’t believe I’m here! One of the very first blog posts I wrote when I started here was that I wanted to lose 50 pounds by my 50th birthday. It was the first big goal on my fitness quest.

And I accomplished that and so much more. I’m down 53.6 pounds from when I said I wanted to lose the 50 pounds.

Bigger than the 50+ pound weight loss though are the changes I’ve made to get there. I exercise now. On Saturday, I ran three miles.  I never, ever in my life before I started this journey to health even ran 1 mile. I never even wanted to run a mile. Now I actually look forward to how I feel when I’m done running (I still can’t admit to loving the actual running).

I’m healthier and stronger now than I was in the last three decades. I’ve competed in and finished a duathlon and signed up for my next triathlon. In addition to running, I’m swimming, I’m biking, I’m strength training.

I eat healthier (not perfect, but better) and it’s a plan I can live with for the rest of my life. There’s no going back.

And most importantly, I’ve taken the unrealistic expectations away, making it easier to find my way back to being fit. In diets past, I always wanted to lose 20 pounds a month or some such crazy number. I wanted to be running the three miles in a month (it actually took 7 months to get to this point and there is still some walking). I promised myself that this time, as long as there was progress, that was good enough.

As a result, I’ve steadily lost a manageable 5-6 pounds a month. I don’t feel deprived. I still get to indulge in things like pizza and birthday cake. I’ve been able to make changes that are comfortable for me. And I can stick with this.

I still have weight loss/fitness goals to meet, but I’m still not in a rush. I want to continue to get healthier and stronger and compete in more challenging races. I’ve pushed myself more in these past 10 months than I have in the past 25 years and I plan to continue to challenge my body physically to see where it can take me.

Every week,  I’ve seen some progress in my fitness level, my energy level, my confidence in myself and my body’s ability to do these things that I hadn’t previously challenged it to do. And I keep having to buy smaller clothes. I can live with that.

In fact, I’m really proud of myself for that.

I’m turning 50 today. And I feel really good. The best I’ve felt in a very long time. And I’m thinking that I’m going to like 50.

It’s The Little Things

I went for my run this morning. I so didn’t want to. I wanted to stay in bed where it was warm and soft. But yesterday, I announced my training schedule to the world here, and I figured I couldn’t blow it off the very next day. So I got up.

I was about 15 minutes late getting out the door and my 21-year-old son wasn’t home from work yet, so I had to let the dog out first. I looked at the clock on my way out thinking, “This is going to make me sooo late this morning.” But I went. It was foggy and cold, and my legs didn’t feel like moving. I walked a bit to warm up and picked it up to a jog. If I was going to make it to work on time, I had to get through this run in less than a half hour. I was only going 2.5 miles so I figured that shouldn’t be too hard. Still, I bargain with myself that I can walk when I need to (and I always walk some) but I did run more today than I did the last time. I keep pushing myself… an extra half a block, get around this corner or get to that tree, just push up this hill, you can make it to that purple car and then you can walk…and that seems to be working.

As I rounded the corner to go home, ugh, buses full of high school students. We live right by the high school. And it was time to run out the home stretch. I always try to run this last 1/4 mile a bit faster and I also didn’t want the high school kids thinking…look at that old lady trying to run, ha, ha, ha!, so I kicked it up.

That last quarter mile felt really good and as I approached home, my son got out of his car, home from work. He waited for me on the stoop.

“How was your run, mom?”

For some reason, that made me feel really good about myself. He was so matter of fact, like I’ve been doing this his whole life.

And in that moment, I became a “runner.”

“It was good. 2.5 miles in 25 minutes.”

It really is the little things that make this worthwhile.