Posts Tagged ‘weight loss’

Missouri 60 Challenge Results

I had four goals for the Missouri 60 Challenge and I did pretty well with them although I didn’t hit them completely.

1. The weight-loss related project I’m working on includes moving my blog to my own host so I can do more with it. I’ve hit some technical difficulties (mostly user related because some days I’m a technical bonehead), but I’m almost there.

2. I finished my first triathlon! YAY! I had hoped for a finish of under an hour and it took me 1.06, but that’s ok. In hindsight, I was asking for a lot from myself. I finished. That was the goal.

3. I wanted to sign up for another race. I was thinking a 5K maybe, or even a 10K. Instead, I’m doing the Trek Women Triathlon this coming Sunday. Thinking big. And I’ve scouted out some 5Ks I’d like to do in the later fall. I’d also hoped to be able to run 4 miles straight by the end of this challenge. I’m close. I hit the 3.5 mark last weekend. With the new triathlon coming up though, it was more important to concentrate on the 3.1 distance… especially off the bike. I’m ready. And running four miles is right there as the next goal.

4. I wanted to be fitter than I was when I started. I’ve definitely accomplished that. I’m running farther, more consistently, and my swim and bike training has gotten better too. I feel great!

And to top it off, I’ve lost 5.8 pounds since the start of the challenge, bringing my total loss to 61.2 pounds. I’m getting there!

dianenow new diane

Not a huge difference on the outside, but there is a huge difference on the inside!

And there’s a huge difference from where I started. And boy, does that make me happy.

Here’s one from back before getting healthy. This has been a year of big changes…all for the better!

Diane_Vacation

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The ‘Not So Obvious’ Benefits of Exercise

I’m not in love with getting out of bed in the morning to exercise. But I am in love with how I feel when I’m doing it and how I feel for the whole day after.

We all know that exercise is essential to good health and fitting into those smaller jeans and muscle tone. We all know that exercise gives us  energy and stamina and strong bones.

But I’ve  gotten a couple of things from exercise that I didn’t expect:

  • My skin looks great. I don’t know if that’s from sweating or all the water I drink because I sweat, but  I actually had someone tell me recently that my skin is glowing. Plus I have a tan. A healthy, gradual tan that has come from running and biking outside (and a little sitting on the beach, which I wouldn’t have done in summers past.)
  • Speaking of water, I drink so much more water on the days that I exercise. And it’s easy. I’ve usually downed 32 ounces of water before 9:00am when I go out running in the morning. And I drink, drink, drink all day to rehydrate. On non-exercise days, water isn’t as appealing.
  • I eat better and usually less on exercise days. It’s almost as though my body knows on the days that its expended all that energy that real food is necessary to replenish. And that’s what I crave. On running days especially, I’m more likely to reach for that apple and make myself a nice lean protein/whole grain and veggie dinner than on off days.
  • I tend to concentrate better on workout days. I feel clearer, more focused and generally, lessed stressed. My job, my life are stressful these days, so that’s a very good thing.
  • Confidence. I am so much happier with the way I look and how my clothes fit, that I feel better about myself and more confident in my appearance. More than that though, I know I can run 3 miles, bike 10 and swim a half a mile, sometimes all on the same day.  These are things I didn’t think I would ever do, or ever be able to do,  and I’m really proud of my accomplishments. It’s taken a lot of hard work, but it makes me feel like I belong to a special club. And I draw on it when I’m feeling not so hot or confident in other areas of my life.
  • I’m inspired. Doing something repetitive for a half hour or longer gives me time to let my mind just wander. Lots of times, I just stay tuned into whatever music I’m listening to, or I focus on my form. However, other times, when I let my mind just drift, I come up with creative solutions to ongoing problems, blog posts or ideas on how to share what I’ve learned along the way with others.

On that note, I do have plans for creating an environment where those of us on this journey can encourage each other to stay the course and reach our collective goals – good health and fitness – however we are getting there.

Climbing Back On The Wagon After A Hard Fall

littleredwagonWhen I wrote my blog post on Wednesday, I wrote that I was struggling with staying on track food-wise. I somehow managed to stay in control until that evening when I came home to pizza and scarfed two pieces without even thinking about it. I will admit, even though I felt a little guilty later, it felt GOOD to eat with abandon. So good, in fact, that it sent me on a downward spiral for the next four days. By day four, however, it didn’t feel so good anymore.

Thursday there was seafood bisque in a bread bowl and delicious chocolate truffles. Friday it was an overload on english muffins with butter and cinnamon sugar (a favorite treat but I always stop at one. Mind you, these are the high-fiber, low-cal multigrain english muffins and I used light butter, but still. Did I really need two of them?

Saturday, ah what can I say about Saturday. If it didn’t try to run away from me, I ate it. Candy, more pizza, whoopie pies (have you ever had those?) ice cream….the list goes on. Food shopping was a dangerous thing to do on Saturday.

And yesterday, while I started to regain some control, I still ate some of the wrong things.

During this, I did still try to make some healthy choices, as though that would somehow magically make the madness stop. It didn’t. And I exercised and drank my water…same reasoning, same results.

By last night though, I felt out of control and a little nervous that I’d screwed up big-time and wouldn’t be able to pull it back. And my stomach hurt.

I think I’d been heading toward this for awhile, and that may have a lot to do with my stalled weight loss. Little tastes here and there that I wasn’t tracking, a slightly larger than measured portion, an extra treat.

Last night, through a twitter conversation with @patbarone, I realized that I had put myself on vacation mentality, and I was also feeling overwhelmed by stuff I have to get done at home over the next few days. Procrastination by food.

This morning, though, on the 3-mile run that I really didn’t feel like tackling (this is why I sign up for races), I realized that instead of being proud of myself, I’ve been beating myself up again. Instaed of focusing on how far I’ve come, I’ve been frustrated with how slow the weight loss is going and that I’d like to be further along in my tri training.

While I was running this morning, I reversed that. How far have I come, for goodness sake? What can I do now that I couldn’t a year ago? What positive changes have I made that stuck? I’m running. In the beginning, I was barely walking. I’m a size 12. I was a size 20. I drink lots of water and very little soda. I eat so much healthier than I did. I even eat vegetables and lean protein and whole grains.

So many things have changed for the better for me since I started this journey. So “fat girl” managed to creep back in for a couple of days. “Fit girl” is stronger and today she has pushed “fat girl” to the back corner again.

I don’t doubt that “fat girl” will show up from time to time. She’s been a part of me a lot longer than “fit girl,” and man, does she love her chocolate!  But I know I’m strong enough now to regain my healthy self even after a hard fall off the wagon.

As @patbarone said, “it’s not about what feels good now. It’s about what feels good later.” Today is later, my resolve is back, and I feel great!

There Are Still Days…

There are still days where I wake up late and don’t get out to exercise in the morning or at any other time of the day, planned or unplanned. There are still days where I would like to eat anything that doesn’t try to run away from me and the more sugar the better. There are still days, after more than a year of eating healthier and exercising regularly, where I’d like to throw in the towel and go back to my old ways. There are still days where the threat of gaining the weight back doesn’t have nearly as much of an impact as eating cake would. Today is one of those days. Maybe it’s hormonal or the time of the year or lack of sleep/stress. Who knows?

I would have hoped that after more than a year of a healthier lifestyle, the lure of empty calories and laziness would have gone away completely. But they haven’t. My old behaviors still lurk in the back of my consciousness just waiting for a weak moment to spring to the forefront and sabotage all of my hard work. I’ve learned to resist for the most part, but resisting doesn’t make the day any easier,  and it doesn’t make the desire go away.

This morning I did not get out to exercise. And tonight I have a fundraiser to attend so there will be little or no exercise there either. I’m ok with that. It can be a rest day.

I have a doctor’s appointment at lunch today, so I can’t do too much damage foodwise. I’ll be at work all day and I only brought good food with me to work. I’ll make it through the day; I’ll work hard to be strong tonight too. And hopefully, the evil urges will go away by tomorrow. They usually do.

And that’s the difference between then and now. Then, I would just cave. Now, I cope.

  • This morning, I tracked all of the food I plan to eat today. I find that that helps me to stay on track.
  • I decided to sleep in this morning. Sometimes, I find if I’m really tired, it’s harder to resist temptation.
  • I’m drinking lots of water. I do this anyway, but on days like this, I drink more because it helps to keep me feeling fuller.
  • I keep peppermint tic-tacs on hand. Nothing tastes very good after a mint (except for water) and for a little while they kill the cravings.
  • I will remind myself how much better I feel now than I did then.
  • I will blog about how I feel and count on the support of my online friends to pull me back.
  • And if I’m still feeling like I really need something off plan tonight, I will allow myself a small indulgence. I will not have lost the whole day and sometimes it’s ok to take a little break.

Tomorrow will be a better day. I find that my resolve is usually back after a day like this. And having managed this day makes me that much stronger going forward.

When you’ve lived a sedentary life of overeating for a long time, like I have, staying the fitness course is awfully fragile. But each day like this where I win the battle over the evil urges, the fitness side gains a little strength. It’s a long road, and it’s worth every step.

A Day At The Beach

long island beachSaturday, I went to the ocean. It had been a very long time since I spent a day lazing on the sand, soaking up the sun and swimming in the cool Atlantic water. It was wonderful.

I grew up at the ocean. My father was a lifeguard when I was a little girl, and I learned to swim admist the rolling waves and breakers. As we got older, my father, a teacher, always had summer jobs managing town beaches and we spent many of our summer days and weekends covered in sand and salt water. It was a great way to grow up.

As I got older, my friends and I worked as lifeguards at the town pool, but spent every chance we got back at the ocean. I was a strong swimmer and was never afraid of the water. While I had a healthy respect and knew what to watch for and when to stay on shore, I was always drawn to those rolling swells.

When I had kids, I wanted them to have an appreciation for the ocean too. We had a pool in our backyard though, and because we now lived on the North Shore of Long Island, the Sound beaches (calmer waters) were where we ended up most of the time. Ocean trips were a little bit more involved and required time and planning. We didn’t get there as much as I would have liked. Add to that, that when my children were small, I was in the worst shape of my life. I was uncomfortable in a bathing suit and while I was still an efficient swimmer, I had nowhere near the stamina and strength I had when I was younger.

When my daughter was 11 (12 years ago), I took my children (my son was 9) and two of their friends to Robert Moses to spend a day at the ocean. My son was never comfortable swimming in the ocean so he and his friend stayed on the shore, playing in the sand. My daughter, on the other hand, had no fear, loved the water and jumping the waves. She even enjoyed it when the breakers grabbed her and sent her tumbling. She always came up smiling and ready for more.

On this day though, there was a storm offshore and the ocean was angrier than usual. The waves were larger than what we normally get on Long Island and the currents were powerful, including areas of rip tides. Kate, her friend and I were jumping waves about chest deep in the water (waist deep for me) when suddenly my daughter was being sucked out to sea. I snapped at her friend to get to shore, and I swam into the rip tide after my child. I caught up with her quickly and grabbed hold, but she was scared. I know that you need to swim parallel to the shore to get out of the rip and we were close to the edge, but she wasn’t having any of it and kept trying to swim toward shore.

And then I heard two whistles blow. I knew the lifeguards were coming for us and I was able to calm her that way. While I was a bit embarrassed (who ever heard of a former lifeguard having to be rescued) I was never happier than to hear that sound. I could probably have gotten myself out of the situation, but I was out of shape and I was tired. With ropes and buoys, we were towed safely to shore. It should have been my wakeup call that it was time to do something about my weight and physical condition, but it wasn’t.

Instead, I stayed away from the ocean. Not that I never went to the beach again, but I never went back to really swimming in the ocean after that. Until yesterday. Yesterday, the ocean was relatively calm, clean and comfortable, so I walked in, dove under the breakers and swam out a ways past most of the people. From there, I swam parallel to the shore for a while and then back, laid on my back and just let the rolling waves slide underneath me. I came out of the water refreshed and invigorated.

For my training, I swim all the time. I can log 1000-1200 meters in a training swim…in a pool. And that feels great.

But nothing felt quite as good as swimming in the ocean, my old friend, on Saturday. I felt confident and strong in that water. And that alone has made all of this hard work worthwhile.

Weight Watchers Relationship Update

So after much soul searching yesterday and a long conversation with my Weight Watchers online point tracker last night….we cried, we laughed, we reminisced about the good times and tried to figure out where things started going wrong…I decided that, overall, the relationship has been good for me and deserves another chance. Besides, just once, I’d like to get to lifetime member at Weight Watchers. That would be cool.

However, I am taking a little vacation. We need some time away from each other to sort out the issues and recommit to the long-term goals. I’ve gotten too caught up in the day-to-day details and it’s making things difficult.

So after weighing in this morning— I lost the same .8 pounds I gained last week so I’m back to my weight of two weeks ago— I’m not weighing in again for two weeks. The home scale is going in the closet (or I may have hubby hide it where I can’t find it) and I’m not checking my weight until August 27 at Weight Watchers.

I’m also taking a break from points again. I’ll continue to track my food, but I’m going to focus more on the quality of the food I eat (I’ve gotten much better about this in the past month or so) than on the points.

Still, however, when I have two points left and it’s a choice between a WW chocolate chip cookie or a yogurt, the cookie always wins. When I take the points away, I’ll eat the yogurt because that’s what I really want and I know I can have the cookie if I want it later. Then I don’t always even eat the cookie. It’s surprising to me that even though I know this, I slip back into this behavior all the time. And that’s the thing that I really need to change.

So we’re on hiatus, me and Weight Watchers. Just for two weeks to see how it goes. I know on my part, there’ll be lots of yearning (to track those points and step on that scale), but for Weight Watchers, well it has so many others to tend to, I’m sure I won’t be missed too much.

These next two weeks, I’ll be focusing on my triathlon training, feeling good about how far I’ve come, finding some balance and being happy with me again as I am right now. I’ve let the struggles with the scale get in the way of that. I may even finally get to that Pilates class.

After all, when I started this journey this time, I promised myself it wasn’t going to be about the numbers. It was about getting healthy. I’ve accomplished that and that needs to remain the focus.

Thank you to all my twitter and blogging friends for your input and insight. It really helped so much!

Is It Time To Break Up With Weight Watchers?

Lately, I’m feeling obsessed with food and the scale. My weight loss, while moving again, is still very slow and frustrating. And as I get closer to my weigh-in each week (on Thursdays), I step on the scale every day and get frustrated when it goes up instead of down when I’m eating right. On days like yesterday, sometimes the weight fluctuations (even though rationally I know they are from water weight, hormones or whatever else) throw me into a funk, which can ultimately lead to poor eating behaviors, as in “Oh hell, nothing is working anyway so why not eat that row of Oreo cookies?”

I’m on Weight Watchers and for the past year, it has worked for me. I’ve stayed accountable because I have to get on that scale every week. But the scale doesn’t tell the whole story. And lately the scale doesn’t want to tell any story at all while my body adjusts to its new smaller, fitter size. I would still like to lose 20 pounds but I’ve lost 60 in the past year and that’s a pretty big adjustment.

On Weight Watchers, too, my mindset about food hasn’t so much changed as shifted. Don’t get me wrong, it’s shifted in a good way, but I still spend way too much time thinking about food. When I was fat, I’d think about my next snack, meal, binge… all day long. I’d have peace while eating, and then afterward, I’d spend time feeling guilty for overdoing it at the meal, snack, binge.

Now that I’ve lost weight, guess what I think about? Right. My next meal, snack….not so much binge anymore since I have to get on the scale on Thursdays at weigh in. But I do obsess about my food still. If I have a snack in my drawer set for 11:00, I’m thinking about it by 10:00 and by 11:00, I’m ripping into whatever it is, whether I’m hungry or not. If I choose not to eat something because I have to weigh in on Thursday, I spend time wanting it and feeling deprived, often only to be disappointed at the Thursday weigh-in when the scale doesn’t  move much anyway.

And guess what I do after my Thursday weigh-in each week? C’mon you know the answer to this if you ever read this blog. Or if you’ve ever been a weight watcher. I eat. Usually, the wrong things in too-high quantities. And trust me, free-for-all food Thursday is worse when that scale doesn’t budge.

When I decided to lose weight  a year ago, what I really wanted was to be healthy and to have a healthy relationship with food. I definitely have a better relationship with food in that I’ve re-introduced fruits and veggies, lean proteins and whole grains and limit the bad stuff, but I still think about food all the time. I’d like to be more like my naturally thin friends who eat when they are hungry. What a concept. No schedule, no obsessing. Just I’m hungry. Time to eat. I’m full. Time to stop.

Weight Watchers has incorporated the hunger assessment idea into the program, but for me it’s been about the food schedule and “when can I eat next?” What can I have today?” What can’t  I have today?” “It’s Thursday! Free-for-all Food day!”

I’m so happy with the changes I’ve made and I really do have Weight Watchers to thank for a lot of it. But I’m wondering, if I ever want to get to the next level, of simply eating for sustenance, is it time to shift my focus away from the number on the scale and more to the way I feel each day?

Do I break up with my scale and with Weight Watchers for a while and focus on other things like triathlon training? Obviously I would still need to plan and journal so I don’t slide back into bad behaviors. Or do I stick to what I’m currently doing and just try to reset my mind around the number frustration I’m feeling? It’s scary to think of walking away from Weight Watchers as it has become such an integral part of my routine this past year. At the same time, it’s not working as well anymore, so maybe it’s time to make a change. Thoughts?