Welcome Back

I feel like a bit of an imposter.  I haven’t written in so long and Fitbloggin is less than a month from now.  I want to write more, but I just haven’t felt like I had anything worthy to write about.  The past three months have been a rollercoaster ride for me, personally and professionally.  Mentally I am all over the place.  Bottom line…I lost faith in myself and I stopped believing I could reach my goals.  None of those things make for a very inspirational read.

I have to start over.  I don’t mean that I’ve gained all 40 lbs back and I don’t mean that I’ve stopped exercising, but I need to look at this differently.  This was supposed to be a healthy lifestyle change and it became a constant battle with the scale and I when I didn’t see the results I wanted I sank back into eating to make myself feel better which just made matters worse.  I pulled away from my friends and just wanted to stay home and feel sorry for myself.  Pathetic, I know.

So I need to pick myself up and dust myself off.  I need to focus on making better choices and not letting my inner critic rule my life.  I had a very successful week with my weight watchers and the gym.  I logged every bite and made it to the gym four times.  The results….a three pound weight loss and a much needed ego boost. 

So let’s consider this week #1 back on the plan.  These are my 4 goals this week:

1.  Log food each day
2.  Exercise on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday
3.  Wake at 6:30 each day and eat breakfast at home…no rushing out the door
4.  I have two dinners this week so I need to make good healthy choices

Oh, I almost forgot ….I ran my first official 5k.  I completed it in just under 41 minutes.   Yay me!

Track Talk

I might have shared this with you before, but my ex-husband was a runner and for the 12 years that we were together I could not figure out his fascination with running.  I guess I’m still not completely clear on that, but I’m getting closer to understanding.  Believe me, I don’t wake up in the morning thinking “Man I can’t wait to run”, but once I’m into my slow jog, I feel a sense of pride that I’m doing it.

It’s still too cold for me to run outside, so I’m jogging on the treadmill, but I’m outside in my mind and I don’t focus on anything but breathing and the movement.  Yesterday I finished the 4th week of the Couch to 5K program.   The first four weeks mix jogging with walking as you gradually increase your jogging time.  Yesterday I jogged for 8 minutes, walked for 2 minutes and jogged again for 8 minutes.  My pace is very slow at 15 minute miles, but that’s ok with me.  My heart rate is still in the optimal zone and there is no point in killing myself right. 

Week 5 is coming up and the schedule includes:

Day 1 – alternate 5 minute jogs with 3 minute walks for 30 minutes

Day 2 – alternate 8 minute jogs with 5 minute walks for 30 minutes

Day 3 – jog for 20 minutes with no walking

There are just 37 days until the 5K at PNC Park.  I’m excited.  It may take me 45 minutes, but crossing that finish line on home plate is going to be amazing!  Let’s just hope the weather warms up so I can get some outside running time before April 9th.

Weight Watcher Wednesday – Mindful Eating

I said that Wednesdays were going to be when I talked about how Weight Watchers is helping me, so here it goes.  My name is Carrie and I’m a food addict.  No kidding.  What I’ve learned in the past three weeks is that I have very little control over my eating.  Sometimes I eat out of boredom, sometimes for stress and sometimes it’s just because I like the way something tastes.  I don’t even really think about eating.  That’s just scary.  Weight Watchers has made me super aware of the fact that I eat mindlessly.  Food is not nourishment first for me, it’s comfort first, at least it was in the past.

I’ve been logging my food for at least two years, but the points system really makes me see how the food I was eating was high in fat and low in nutritional content.  Just because something is low in calories doesn’t mean it’s good for you.  I know that seems like common sense, but in today’s world of 100 calorie packs, it makes it very easy to justify eating 4 of those packs over the course of the day and that can add up.  I was so focused on pre-portioned foods that when I tried self-control without them….up went my weight.

I honestly think this is because I wasn’t being mindful of my choices.  I wasn’t looking at how nutritious something was and how filling something would be.  If I had a choice between a 100 calorie pack of cookies or a bag of carrots, I picked the cookies and then I was hungry an hour later.  Now I know the carrots would have been much more filling and much healthier.  Again, I know this sounds like common sense, but when you have an enormous sweet tooth, common sense takes a giant leap out of the window.   

So my first “aha moment” on Weight Watchers is that I need to learn a little more about the practice of mindful eating.  I need to respect myself and food if I want to achieve my goal weight and live a long and healthy life.

Troublesome Tuesday Tips – PMS Cravings

Yes, I really am posting about PMS cravings.  I’ve noticed as I get older the hormonal balances, or imbalances, are more severe and my symptoms are much more severe.   A bad PMS week could ruin an entire month of working out and eating right if I’m not careful.  I have a strategy for next month….plan ahead!

Step 1 – Eliminate temptation
I know that I have very poor willpower when it comes to sweets, so I’m going to do my best to rid the ice box and pantry of all processed sweets. 

Step 2 – Don’t skimp on main meals
If I plan it right, I won’t allow my body to get hungry and hopefully avoid the cravings.  I’ll be diligent in pairing protein with good carbs at every meal and add lots of veggies.

Step 3 – Be prepared
I will make sure that I am stocked with alternative snacks that will satisfy my sweet tooth if I give in.  I love greek yogurt, so I’ll have plenty on hand in the front of the ice box.  I will keep a bar of dark chocolate in the pantry broken up into one ounce portions.  If it’s ice cream I’m after, I will blend a fat free greek yogurt with some frozen berries and poof…instant frozen yogurt.  Perhaps I’ll even shave a tiny bit of dark chocolate on top.

Ladies…we’ve got this, but just in case we need some help I would love to hear how you take care of your PMS cravings.

Follow Up Friday – 2/25/2011

TGIF!  I weighed in on Monday after 2 weeks on Weight Watchers and dropped 2.4 lbs.  Good for me.  I am hopeful I’ll have another loss this week of at least 1 pound.  I’m remembering to log my food and count points 75% of the time.  I need to work on that. 

I’ve finished two full weeks of the Couch to 5k program and after my run today I will have completed the third week.  I love the way this program is set up.  It breaks the run into walking and running sessions of different time intervals.  I’m up to running 3 minutes at a time, which might not seem like a lot, but considering I haven’t really run in a year…it’s a lot.  The first week was 60 seconds running, 90 seconds walking for a total of 30 minutes.  The second week was 90 seconds running, 2 minutes walking for a total of 30 minutes.  This week it’s 90 seconds running/90 seconds walking followed by 3 minutes running/3 minutes walking for a total of 28 minutes.  Next week will be challenging.  The routine is 3 minute run, 90 second walk, 5 minute run, 2.5 minute walk, 3 minute run, 90 second walk, 5 minute run for a total of 32 minutes.  It’s going to be a struggle the first day, but I haven’t quit yet!  I’ll be crossing that finish line on April 9th no worries!  In addition to my 3 days of running, I’ve been strength training with Leigh twice a week and getting in an elliptical workout on Saturdays.

I finally got to participate in our long distance book group this week too.  A group of us are reading Bring on the Joy by Jen Yost, MS ED.  It’s a great book.  We read a section before each call and then discuss how the exercises are helping us find our joy.  It’s so inspiring to hear how the group is experiencing the book.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the author will call in for one of our sessions.  I am so thankful that my friend Jen sent me this book.

I hope everyone has been well and more than anything I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Troublesome Tuesday Tips – Weekends

Weekends have always been a weak spot for me and eating healthy. It never matters how diligent I am Monday to Friday, the weekends just set me back. I had a really great weight loss of -3 pounds from Monday – Friday of last week and by the next Monday I was back at my starting weight from the week before. I can not tell you how tired I am of losing the same stupid 3-5 pounds each week. There has to be a better way.

I told you I joined Weight Watchers last week so I’ve decided to take 5 minutes each day to read one of their online articles. Last night I did a search on weekends and stumbled on an article with tips and tricks to a successful weekend. Here is what I discovered I am doing wrong:

– I don’t exercise first thing in the morning on the weekends. I have every intention of getting to the gym, but the day gets started and before I know it I am out of time.

– I don’t plan ahead. I’m a very spontaneous person on the weekends so I usually end up eating on the run and making poor choices because I’m hungry.

– I enjoy a few too many adult beverages

Here are my strategies for next weekend and every weekend after that:

– Get to the gym before 10am on Saturday. Sunday will continue to be my rest day. Perhaps if I get to the gym before I start my day I won’t be as tempted to ruin my progress by making bad food choices.

– Keep a bag of healthy snack food in my purse at all times. Whole grain crackers, a protein bar, a banana or freeze-dried fruit.

– I just need to limit my drinks and realize they are a significant amount of points. My plan here is to start with a glass of water if I have to go to happy hour. If I start with water and take my time I may end up getting out of happy hour without actually having a drink. I will also avoid the mixed drinks with fruit juice which are loaded with sugars.

What are your tips and tricks for staying on track over the weekend?

Bend and Stretch

I don’t stretch enough, do you?  I workout 4-5 times a week and really only remember to stretch maybe once a week.  I keep saying I want to take a weekly gentle yoga class, but I never seem to put that plan into action.  I think, like most things, I need to gently get myself into this practice.  

I recently read that short bouts of stretching 3 times a week can maintain flexibility as well as a longer session just once a week.  This I can do and so can you.  Daniel Cipriani, PhD, of San Diego State University suggests this program twice a day, 3 days a week:   Hold each stretch for 10 seconds and repeat 3 times.

Doorway Chest Opener:  Stand facing a doorway and stretch arms out to the sides, elbows bent, forearms and palms pressing into the door jam.  Walk forward to feel the stretch in chest and arms. 

Desk-Chair Hip Stretch:  Stand about 2 feet in front of a sturdy chair that won’t move and place your right foot on the seat, hands on hips.  Shift weight forward to feel a stretch in front of left hip.  Hold for 10 seconds and switch sides. 

Computer Neck De-Kinker:  Place right hand on top of head, gently pulling to right and lowering right ear toward shoulder.  Hold for 10 seconds and switch sides. 

This is a quick and easy stretch routine that can be done first thing in the morning and then again before bed.  I have 5 minutes to spare.   What are some of your favorite stretches?

Getting organized…..

I’ve been struggling a bit with a good format for my blog.  I feel like it’s just been random posts lately.  When I started this blog I had so many ideas and couldn’t wait to get writing and sharing.  I’m not sure what happened.  Well, I guess life happened and things started getting crazier than normal.  I wanted to build a community here and I feel like I started to do that, but let’s be honest, I wouldn’t keep coming back if there was nothing new to read.  I don’t even know if I’m a good writer or if I have anything interesting to say half the time.  

In the beginning I had assigned topics for certain days of the week and I liked that idea so I’m going back to that idea.  These are my thoughts so far, but I would really like your input.  You are reading this and I want to discuss topics that not only help me, but help you too.  That’s what community is all about right?  I can’t promise to post every day of the week, but I think if I have topics to think about I will post a little more often.  My thoughts: 

Movin’ Mondays:  Exercise or general fitness talk (maybe I’ll get Leigh to give us some tips from the personal trainer…hint hint) 

Troublesome Tuesdays:   Discussion on something I’ve struggled with during my journey to wellness 

Weight Watchers Wednesdays:  Discussion about my experience with Weight Watchers and any good tips I’ve found on the program, recipe share, etc. 

Track Talk Thursday:  General discuss on my 5k training 

Follow Up Friday:  I’ll use Fridays to recap my weeks progress on running, eating, weight, etc. 

Wordless Weekends:  I’ll use the weekends to post photos I’ve taken or seen that have inspired me or mean something to me. 

Those are my initial thoughts.  Do you have anything you would like to read about?

The Future’s So Bright….

It’s been an interesting week to say the least.  I got some less than desirable news at work which I thought would make my emotional eating even worse, but it did just the opposite.  I realize that what is happening at work is out of my control, but how I react is completely within my control.  Then I realized that I’ve been allowing things I can’t control to totally mess with my head for the past six months.  I’ve been making some really poor food choices lately and that is something I can completely control. 

 I’ve said it before, but I hate restricting myself to “diet food”, so I won’t.  I’ve spent the past two years logging my food with various online diaries and, as of late, not had much success.  Counting every calorie is boring and I’ve found myself eating the wrong kinds of foods too often as a result.  I joined Weight Watchers yesterday.  I know it’s still logging food, but it’s forcing me to really consider what types of foods I am eating.  The points plus system doesn’t factor in calories, it factors in protein, fiber, carbs and fat.  I’m still reading into the science of this, but I feel like I need to give it a try.  It’s something I can begin to control.  I clearly have a problematic relationship with food and I’m hopeful this tool will give me the skills I need to establish healthier eating habits.

 I was talking to a co-worker today who is also affected by this upcoming change.  He too has chosen to embrace this as an opportunity rather than a set back.  At some point you just have to let go of what you can’t control and focus on the positive things in your life.  My weight and fitness is something that is on the way to becoming a positive thing for me and something I am going to control.  I really believe if we seek out happiness and find gratitude that we will be healthier for that….and who doesn’t want to be healthier?

 How do you deal with set backs at work and home?  Is there someone or something that inspires you to be a better you?

Rerun

I had a breakthrough this weekend.  Lack of exercise = lack of lust for life.  I’ve been suffering from this nasty head/chest cold for two weeks and haven’t really had a good workout since the middle of January.  I was really hating life by Friday.  Leigh was over for a game of cards on Friday and asked if I wanted to workout with her on Saturday.  To be honest I woke up Saturday morning and  just wanted to stay in bed, but I didn’t. I got my rear to the gym.  I even convinced Aaron to tag along.  We did a sixty minute shoulder and triceps routine and then I did 20 minutes of cardio.  I should have been exhausted but I was full of energy.  I could immediately feel the difference in my state of mind.  BAZINGA!!!!!  I will not go that long without exercise ever again.  I usually always take Sunday as a rest day and with the Superbowl looming I decided to continue that routine, but I was right back at the gym on Monday and it felt so good to work out.  I was even inspired to start my 5k training again.

I downloaded the Couch to 5k iTunes ap and completed week 1/day 1. I tried Couch to 5k before, but never had much success trying to remember the training routine while I was at the gym.  The ap is great because I have it with me and it verbally guides my training.  Hooray!  Has anyone else used this ap or program before?  What is your favorite 5k training program?

PS….These are my favorite running shoes.  Seriously, it’s like running on clouds.

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