January 30, 2009

Nothing to see here yet

I sent those invites before I meant to. Apologies. More soon.

January 29, 2009

Workout #12

Not a stellar one for the books. In fact, it downright sucked. I don't know why, but I just couldn't seem to move. I did the stationery bike and elliptical -- those weren't so bad. But running was awful. I'd estimate I ran maybe 1/3 of the time I was outside (and supposed to be running), rather than the other way around (I'm doing a 2:1 interval this week). What gives?

Weight: 159.0. I'll take it, at just 0.4 pounds more than last week, since I'm at prime bloat right now.

January 28, 2009

Eat This, Not That! (from Women's Health)

OK, one quick item and then off to the rest of my day: Women's Health has launched a fascinating feature, apparently featured yesterday on Oprah, with guides on what to eat at typical fast food locales. Check it out!

Beck Solutions No. 4

You know, I just read this section in the book like 90 minutes, but I'm having trouble remembering what it was about. That's probably not good.

Um, let's see ... ah, giving yourself credit! OK, I gotta admit, when I read through this section, I just kept thinking about how I didn't want to blog about it. But here goes: It's important to give myself credit for even little wins and successes.

I'm doing that, I think, with this blog. It's nice to have to folks to brag to -- so thanks for reading!

Workout #11

I stayed home from work yesterday with an upset stomach in the morning. By afternoon, however, I was feeling much better -- so I set out to complete an awesome workout. I rode my bike for about 20 minutes, ran for 30 (both on the hills in my neighborhood) and then did weights and lunges* at home. Woot woot!

This is an important development, since it's likely I won't be hitting the gym at work as much any more and need to find a way to do weights at home. (My 'gym' bus, the one that gets me to the office in time to work out before my morning meetings, is stopping at the end of this week.) And the weights are key, as I've noticed my legs seem to be turning to Jell-o two-thirds of the way through my runs.

I'm feeling good. It was a good day.

*NOTE: Very few lunges. Like, 3 of each kind. The last time I tried to incorporate lunges in my workouts, I way over did it and swore them off for life. This time, starting small.

January 26, 2009

Beck Solutions No. 3: Sit Down To Eat

Done and done. This seems like an easy one, since Heather's already posted about it and sold me on its importance. I've been trying to work on this in the past few weeks, so I feel good about working on it again today.

I have a few things working against me on this one: I eat at my desk. I like to read while eating -- and I mean read anything: Cereal boxes. Milk jugs. The Times magazine.

I find this rule to just sit down and eat, however, liberates me to look those few things in the face and say that no, I deserve to just eat, to revel only in taking each bite while doing nothing more than talking to the boy, a friend or a coworker. In other words, eating is itself worth the time involved; I don't need to justify the time by also reading, watching TV or, as is so often the case, working.

I also liked Dr. Beck's idea of eating raw vegetables while cooking. I'm absolutely prone to I-have-to-taste-it-right? compulsive nibbling while I cook. Last night, it was chips, salsa and a fresh-baked corn muffin while I made white chili. This resulted in me being too full to eat any of the chili. (How disappointing!)

Workout #10

Wow, the workouts don't stack up very quick when I'm skipping them. Must remember this.

So, in this blog post, I first need to give some kudos to the boy, who has, without being an annoying cheerleader, been quite supportive so far of my workout and diet efforts. He's spurring me along by going to the gym himself during the week and by asking me to go for a run or bike ride together on the weekends. For instance, as I drowned my defunct-vaca blues in a ridiculous 2.5 hour nap Saturday afternoon, he would periodically call out from the next room, "Hey, want to go for a run?"

Now, I don't particularly enjoy running with the boy on the whole -- he runs faster and continuously, while I'm of course doing the whole interval bit. He enjoys running ahead and waiting for me or, worse, running ahead and circling back to get me. BUT, on Sunday, he got me out of bed and onto the trail at Crissy Field, despite the biting wind, and saved me from a 4-day workout slump. (I curbed it at 3 days.)

The run: My first 2:1, for 40 minutes solid. It was harder then I thought, but I'm not letting it get me down, for two reasons: 1) It was seriously cold at Crissy yesterday -- I kept my sweatshirt on for the first 20-25 minutes because I couldn't get warmed up, and 2) I had eaten a semi-dark Hershey's bar* too close to the run, which made me nauseous. I had a few nice moments of finding my pace, though -- enough to keep me going.

*OK, so I lied a bit about not binging on emotion this weekend. I had an unfortunate chocolate incident Sunday a.m. Not to make excuses, but I was PMS-ing, in addition to everything else. And I won't repeat the offense -- running afterward was awful.

Back on Track

Howdy, all. (There are at least two of you now.)

Just wanted to let you know that, yes, I took a small hiatus to take care of a few more pressing issues* on Thursday and over the weekend. (*devastating news of my tropical vacation falling through)

In all honesty, I didn't do too bad, I think, in allowing the emotional crisis to harm my diet and exercise plan. I did skip my run on Thursday afternoon, but let's be honest: That was a strong possibility anyway. In addition to the horrifying news, I'd gotten a shot (vaccine for devastatingly defunct vacation) that made my arm sore, and, at the end of the day, I generally despise exercise after work. (That is, however, getting a little easier.)

At any rate -- I didn't go on a complete binge. I recognized that scarfing down unreasonable amounts of pasta or cookie dough wouldn't bring back my vacation and would, in fact, make me more depressed when it added pounds to my waistline. So I ate slowly Friday night, despite the fact that I cooked and dined alone; I had a banana for breakfast Saturday in lieu of a Bob's Donuts ham & cheese croissant (even though we walked right past Bob's), I went running Sunday morning and I stopped eating Sunday evening when I was full, even though that meant that I ended up not eating any of the white chili I had made.

So, I'm back now. Let's get to it.

January 22, 2009

Afternoon Workout Today

OK, I had to write this here so I actually follow through with it: I'm planning to work out after work, at home, today. It's important to note this because I am not, in general, an afternoon person. I prefer to get up early and get to either the gym or work early. Working out first thing in the morning gets the task out of the way, jump starts my metabolism and prevents me from making too many excuses about why I don't want to/can't/shouldn't work out.

Today, however, I have a super early meeting (7 a.m.), quickly followed by more meetings, so the gym was not a possibility. Ergo, going home at 5:30 p.m., lacing up my shoes and heading outside. Yes, even if it's raining.

January 21, 2009

Non-Dairy Update

So, I experimented with non-dairy/lactose-free dairy/and soy and non-soy days over the past week. The verdict? It's not dairy but, most likely, the soy (6.5g per serving of Kashi Go-Lean Crunch) that's making me feel ill.

Bummer -- that cereal's loaded with fiber and truly filling. I'll work with it, tho. Much easier than giving up milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream.

January 20, 2009

The Journey Of 1,000 Miles ...

... Begins with 1 pound. I lost one pound! It's been about 10 days, and I'm exactly one pound lighter than I was before.

Now, I'm fully aware of the regular fluctuations, etc., in my body's weight. However, we ate a very late dinner last night of pasta, bread and veggies, and I'd had 2 glasses of water while I was working out. So, I'm pretty jazzed. Here's to four more! Those first five would be great.

Workout #9

Elliptical for 30 minutes, weights for 10 minutes or so. I was going to go outside and do a 1:1 run, but the inauguration was in progress and I wanted to watch on TV. I'm OK with that.

January 19, 2009

Beck Solutions No. 2: Choosing A Diet

OK, look -- I don't even like the word 'diet.' I deal with it only as a word that also means 'nutrition plan' but has fewer syllables. I've never liked dieting -- probably because I try diets that are too restrictive or have too few calories.

I also have a wide-ranging palette. I grew up in a German-influenced household, love Italian food, have an Indian boyfriend and delight in yellow Thai curry, Greek salads and lean burgers. Know any diet plans that cover all those bases? Nope, me neither.

So I'm not going to pick a 'diet,' OK? I'm just going to try to eat healthy. I'm using the portion control guidelines I shared yesterday as well as the resources at MyPyramid.gov. I've thus far found the resources on the MyPyramid site to be a little disappointing, but the meal planner is quite useful in calculating calories. For instance, if I follow through with my cooking plans for tonight, I'll end the day at 1650 calories, with a few too many 'extra' points for the day. Good to know.

Here we go!

Workout #8

I ran 30 minutes at a 1:1 interval. It was a gorgeous evening -- the sun was just setting, and I ran through the city. Quite nice. I followed up with a few weights -- bicep curls, tricep curls, inverted crunches, girl push-ups.

Luckily, my running buddy emailed to say she'd like to up the ante on the running. I'm going to finish out this week at a 1:1 and then move on next week. Woot!

Beck Solutions No. 1

OK, world, here it is -- my list of reasons. I want to lose weight:

-- so that I can feel confident and sexy when I think about the way I look in a pair of jeans, a black cocktail dress, a bathing suit.
-- to become a faster & more nimble runner.
-- so I can go to yoga at Funky Door. (Note: I long ago decided some sort of weight loss would be required before I set foot inside. Just check out the photos.)
-- so I don't feel fat anymore around my thin friends & colleagues.
-- so that I can be healthy when I'm ready to have kids.
-- so that if & when I get married, I won't resort to a last-minute diet -- and then risk gaining it all back.
-- to support my ol' running buddy in her efforts. (And not fall behind. Let's be honest, I have a competitive side.)
-- so that I can wear sexy, form-fitting clothing -- & feel good about it.
-- so that I can grow old gracefully & beautifully.
-- so that I don't feel a pang of guilt/disappointment/embarrassment/jealousy when I think of others -- a former teacher, colleague, boss, yoga buddy -- who's lost weight and kept it off.
-- to adopt a more healthy attitude toward hunger & appetite & portion control.
-- to show myself that I truly can do anything I set my mind to.

January 18, 2009

Workout #7

I must confess, feel like I'm falling a bit off the workout train this weekend. I even had to look up which number workout I'm blogging about, which is probably not a good sign.

Anyway, the workout: Another bike ride with the boy. We skipped the bridge this time and climbed through the Presidio instead. It was a still workout, but not as strenuous as last week's ride. Plus, we topped it off with splitting a North Beach sandwich at Cheese Plus on Polk Street -- a sandwich laden, appropriately, with Italian meats. A bit of miscommunication took place at the deli counter between the boy and me, leading to this fatty choice of post-workout delights. I went veg for dinner to try to repent -- but dinner was followed by dessert for a friend's birthday.

All in all, not much of a good day for being fit and fab. We're gonna call it my first Saturday fail. I'll try to repent tomorrow with a run and/or ride and/or yoga -- plus the massive cleaning of the house, which should help burn a few calories.

I'm also working on controlling portions. To remind myself of what a cup of food looks like, I'm trying to keep a measuring cup on the counter. Finding out how much of any food to eat, though, has been harder. I've got this site so far -- any others?

The pasta portion size is always what kills me. Keeping greater goals, however, in mind.

January 16, 2009

Eating Non-Dairy is Hard

Today, I'm earning a newfound respect for the lactose intolerant. I'm attempting to eat nondairy all day to test for my own possible lactose intolerant -- but milk lurks everywhere, apparently. It's even in the Naked Probiotic juice that I grabbed, hoping to still get my healthy bacteria for the day.

Sigh. At least it's Friday.

January 15, 2009

Workout #6

There's something quite gratifying about numbering my workout posts, of realizing I'm building on something each time I go for a walk or a run or a bike ride. Quite nice indeed.

Today I went 1:1 running in my neighborhood, which was quite nice at about 7 a.m. (with lots of other folks out running, too). I only went for about 25 minutes because I was running short on time, but I went. Looking forward to a longer run tomorrow or Saturday.

January 14, 2009

No Reese's Pieces

I want Reese's Pieces. I'm working on an easy project and I'd like some candy to keep me entertained.

Luckily, today I'm working in a Reese's Pieces-free zone. No empty carbs here.

Some days you just get lucky, eh?

January 13, 2009

Workout #5

OK, I just couldn't do it. Walking was boring me to tears. So I did a 1:1 walk/run ratio for 15 minutes of my 30 minute walk today. It was on a treadmill, and I was going at a 3% incline. The running raised my heart rate quite a bit (to the 165-170 range), so I backed off on the walking minutes to 3.5, instead of the 3.8 I had started off walking at.

Ah! I feel much better. Only thing is I hate treadmills, so I'll be heading outdoors Thursday a.m. for my workout. Thankfully, the sun has started rising early enough for me to do that.

January 12, 2009

Monday Fail

OK, today did not finish strong. I got frustrated by a project at work and drowned said frustration in both Reese's Pieces and Jelly Bellies. A lot of them. Like nearly 2/3 of a coffee cup full of the combo. I don't screw around when I'm drowning my sorrows.

To make the day a special success, then, I stopped on the way home for a beer with Vivek. This would have been OK, I suppose, if we'd only had the beers. But we also had garlic fries. Now we're dining on frozen pizza (in defense, it's a Kashi). Oh well.

There will be successes (working out this weekend) and there will be failures (today's so-called nutrition). But rather than make excuses, I think I'll call it like it is for once: Today I screwed up. Tomorrow I'll do better.

Junk Food

OK, I just ate junk. Reese's Pieces and Jelly Bellies (as aforementioned, I adore Reese's Pieces).

Thing is, I don't feel bad or guilty about this. At all. I know I should, but I don't. I like candy, and I feel like I worked out hard this weekend and deserve a tiny reward.

How about a rule: 3 lapses per week. Three glorious (but reasonable) all-out indulgences in junk.


Lunch Choice Debate

Ugh, eating lunch at work is hard! I'm blessed with free lunch, yes, and I'm forever grateful. But free lunch leads me to eat things I usually wouldn't put money down for and stray from my diet path.

Take today's lunch, for instance: Tons of salad options, a braised tofu dish and grilled teriyaki chicken. All healthy, right? But they're offered alongside goat cheese frittata, ribs and two kinds of pizza. So what do I want? Goat cheese frittata and tandoori chicken pizza, of course!

But I'm not going to do it. The value of a cheat day (my Sunday) is that I keenly remember how miserable it made me feel. So today I'll have either the teriyaki chicken and a salad or the cashew chicken salad. Off I go to investigate the options.

Workout #4

I went on a hike yesterday along the Coastal Trail on the western edge of the Presidio with Vivek. We meant for this to be more of a leisurely hike, but we walked almost the full length of the beach and of course went up and down the steep paths.

Today, then, is a day of rest. I'm working from home this a.m., so breakfast of acai berry tea and a yogurt-cereal bowl with Kashi Go Lean, vanilla TJ's yogurt, blueberries and dried cranberries. Yum.

January 10, 2009

Workout #3

I traded today's scheduled 2-mile walk for a 10-mile bike ride with Vivek -- including my new bike's inaugural ride over the Golden Gate Bridge. I'm super excited to say that this was the first time I was able to make the final climb to the bridge without getting off and pushing my bike up the hill. In fact, I didn't have to get off the bike until the last half-block of the ride. I am, however, going to be quite sore tomorrow, I do believe.

As we often do on our rides, we stopped and took a break for lunch at Marina Sub. Chewing slowly and enjoying every bite was a tough task after waiting more than 20 minutes for our turkey sub, but I tried as hard as I could. French Onion Sun Chips for a side dish. Delish all around.

January 9, 2009

Yum, chicken

Yum, grilled chicken breast. Yum vinaigrette. Yum salad and cucumbers.

Mostly, yum butternut squash soup made with sage, cream and chestnuts. Delish.

Workout #2

OK, I did it. I hauled myself into the gym. It wasn't a stellar workout -- 30 minutes of walking at a 3.5 to 3.8 mi/hr pace, 2 measly minutes (at a 1:1) of 5 mi/hr running, and 3 whole minutes (whoa!) on the elliptical.

But hey, it was something.

Breakfast: Rye toast, low fat cream cheese, lox. And sips from a Naked probiotic drink. (The whole thing has 180 calories, so I'm trying to make it last all morning.)

And, of course, coffee. My beloved coffee.

January 8, 2009

The Back-Story

Every good diet-and-exercise blog has to start out with a story, right? Right. So here's mine:

I've always wanted to lose weight. I have some fairly odd childhood memories of thinking I was fat, actually. The JCPenny catalog listed shipping weights for its items -- typically 0.75, 0.6, 0.9 for kids' clothing. I would look at the catalog, however, and think this odd decimal number somehow corresponded to the weight of the child the clothes would fit -- and as I did the math, I was too heavy for the clothes. Go figure.

I also couldn't do a chin-up (and still can't, even when I'm exercising) and ran quite slowly in gym class and, later, at field hockey practice. Surely, then, I was fat.

In middle school, convinced of my weight issues, I started eating salads with no dressing to cut calories. I'd sometimes skip lunch or pack odd low-fat (but nutritionally devoid) items such as marshmallow sandwiches. (Um, yuck.)

In college, I found a rare dieting salvation: I lost weight without even trying. I'd come from a family who loved eating (I was never, ever sent to bed without supper) in a small town where driving was much more common than walking. On my college campus, I was walking -- to class, to the grocery store, to see friends. I climbed stairs. I carried books around. And I ate sensibly; a meal plan with only 2.5 cafe visits per day will do that to you. After just a few months, I noticed that my legs were thinner. From somewhere near 150, my weight moved closer to 140. Hallelujah!

It got even better! In my junior year, as my first truly serious relationship ended, I had my first slight panic attacks. I dealt with the anxiety (who knew I could be so healthy?) by hitting the gym, at a hardcore pace, three to four times a week. I biked, ran on the treadmill and hit the elliptical. Sometimes I added a weight circuit at the end of the workout. The goal? To ease the miserable feeling in my heart and head. The result? Size 6 jeans, 135 pounds.

I achieved that success, however, with a lopsided approach: My workouts were great, but my nutrition level was crap. A diet of Reese's Pieces for breakfast, a turkey sub and smoothie for lunch, diet Cokes until deadline and frozen sorbet for a late dinner was not unusual. Hardly healthy. Consequently, the weight loss didn't last.

In my last year of college and master's studies, I put on a pound here and there as I focused on graduating. I moved back into my size 8 jeans. It would only get worse as I left school and began working. I spent long hours at my desk or driving from assignment to assignment in my car. I moved, a lot -- too often to ever settle into a routine. And even if I wanted to exercise, there plenty of excuses: The gym in an Indiana apartment complex felt lonely. In Texas, it was hot. (And Bally's was too focused on making a buck.)

In California, however, I did find a plan: A new friend who had just started running and needed a buddy. I trained with her for a 12k and played on a co-ed soccer team with my then-flatmate (now boyfriend). For six months, I was in amazing shape. I could eat whatever I wanted: Bring on the carbs! But as soon as the 12k was over, however, so was my drive to train. I stopped running but kept eating.

It's been a long, two-and-a-half year road since then. I've biked, hiked, sprinted, lifted weights. I've gone from Diet Coke to regular Coke to no Coke and back again. My eating habits have changed from erratic to regular and rich. I now work in a Silicon Valley firm laden with free food. Much of the food there is healthy, but let's be honest: When the choice is between lightly seasoned salmon and BBQ ribs, which are you going to pick?

It's time, however, to end that party. At 159.6 pounds (in workout clothes, holding my iPod, on the gym's digital scale at work -- like the excuses?), I'm about the heaviest I've ever been. I've been hovering at this weight now for about six months. I lose five pounds, I gain it back.

The time is now. My running buddy is back in business; no fewer than two diet books are en route to my office; and I have lots of reasons to shed my extra pounds, not the least of which is my own self-esteem.

The time is now. The pounds are going. And I'm recording it all here.