Monday, August 31, 2009

Quick update.....

Well, it's almost time for my monthly weigh-in. I spoke with my leader and we think what may work for me is to still come to the Thursday meeting but weigh in on Friday mornings on the way to work -- changing it so that I bring breakfast with me instead. Big change for me but I can deal with that...... ANYTHING to keep me at goal!

The protein experiment seemed to work exceedingly well!!! So I am going to keep that up. I'm also going to keep up the 24 points per day...... at least for now. I also signed onto the LiveSTRONG website for The Daily Plate to do some extra tracking -- primarily for sodium and protein (more on the sodium in a moment). According to that, I'm still not eating enough calories for my maintenance needs. Sorry, but really, I feel that I'm eating the right amount for where I need to be, so I'm not freaking just yet. If I ate their recommended calories per day, I would be 20 pounds heavier in no time.

Another experiment that my leader suggested was increasing my water intake -- water in proportion to the other liquids. I have no problem at all with getting my liquids in, but I got the basic water and then added about as much soda, etc. So I started doing about a 2:1 ratio. I am doing 3 liters of water per day. Is it making a difference? OH yeah. Got rid of a LOT of water last week -- because I honestly think a good bit of this extra weight that's refusing to let go is water retention.

Speaking of extra pounds that won't easily go away............... I consulted with a plastic surgeon last week about skin removal surgery. It is a huge step and a big undertaking. I'll keep you posted on how that is going to proceed as we take each possible step we can. The other health issue seems to be resolving...... slowly, but resolving. Keep your fingers crossed that the current meds continue to work to do what they're supposed to, without messing with my weight too much. I can kind of tell that they might, dang the luck.

Still stationary biking..... and spent an inordinate amount of time on Friday evening trying to really figure out if I'm working at "moderate" or "vigorous" ..... what nebulous concepts!! I try to work out at 72-77% of my MHR ..... now, at that level, I am sweating within 5-6 minutes, pretty well drenched by 12 minutes, and pretty well exhausted by 25-30 minutes. To me, that's vigorous. Some experts, however, consider 70-79% to still be "moderate"..... What. A. Crock. What about "moderate-plus"? To probably get a more accurate "calories burned" idea, what I've done is track it as "vigorous" but at 2/3 the time. Hey, if I've burned more, great -- I'm not trading them in for food anyway. If I've really just burned at a "moderate" level instead.... So? I'm doing SOMETHING and I want to track that to make sure! I figure 2/3 is a good measure.

I had planned to try altering my workout routines -- biking most days but gentler stuff on the other days, plus one day of "rest." Well, with choir practice beginning, my "day of rest" is going to be different..... and I'm going to have to change the time of my planned exercise for that day to move it to Thursday morning (my usual "day of rest"). I guess 5:20 is going to have to be my once-a-week wakeup call (as opposed to the usual 5:45). Mornings and I have never gotten along.

That's all for the time being. I'll keep everyone posted!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The experiment so far.....

The increased protein at night so far seems to help control some of the urge-eating. Last night, I stopped off at Walgreen's for some Orajel (dang these 'stacked teeth'!), and picked up a Pure Protein Hot-n-Healthy Oatmeal Squares in Cinnamon Roll ..... yeah, it was a 4-point protein bar. But it was a good four points and got me through a 30-minute bike ride with no trouble.

I also had an idea about my exercise yesterday morning. I'm going to alternate bike days with a lower-intensity activity --- I'm thinking of walking, or an aerobics DVD, or a stretching DVD that I have. I love biking, but I also know that if I do it too often, my body will become too accustomed and quit giving me the same output that I'm currently getting. And I also think it will be good to keep my body "on edge" (so to speak).

I'm also very glad that my body (at least for the time being) seems to appreciate this switch-up and has decided to cooperate with me. A little, anyway........

I have about 9 days until the first weigh-in of September. I am going to give this all I have!

Friday, August 21, 2009

A morning epiphany...

I was driving in when I had this thought & didn't want to lose it.......

The last couple of weeks, I have had a couple of nights where I've had ..... I don't know that I'd call them binges or urges. They're not cravings, because it's not for a specific food or even type of food. I was mulling it over last night and thought, "Oh, it was a texture thing!" I was going for things that I could crunch or chew that were ..... I don't know how to describe it. Things that weren't pureed to extreme smoothness.

Last night, it hit again. I went to Jason's Deli, as I usually do after meetings, and grabbed a couple of packs of their flatbreads. It's a point each, they're crunchy, they have texture, and they're tasty to boot. I had the points to spare, and even a few from activity & the weekly 35. NO biggie. Then I grabbed a pack of graham crackers. Worth the points. Stopped off for bananas, and had a sample of a cookie from the deli (it was about 1/4 of a cookie). Fine, let's count as 2 to be safe. No problem.

Got home, wrote the blogpost, it got to be 10:15 and Oh, I still need one more half-serving of dairy. So I treated myself to a string cheese (enough to combine with a cheese slice from earlier in the day to get a full dairy serving in), and even had a little fat-free ice cream -- the normal 1/2 cup serving. And I thought, "Okay, something to keep me through the night" and I ate an Alternative Bagel (only a point). The next thing I know, I'm going back for another 1/2 c of ice cream. Luckily, I stopped there, but HOLY MACKEREL. What the hell happened?

So as I said, I'm not beating myself up, but mulling over what turned me into a madwoman at 10:15 last night to where I suddenly could. not. get. enough.

Carbs.

Aside from the cheese, every single thing I "binged/urged" on was carb or somehow an emptier caloric content.

I'd had a hearty cup of vegetable soup. A really tasty, savory soup that's also only one point. I'd had a hearty veggie-laden salad -- I even had to use a low-fat dressing because they were out of fat-free. Again, it should have held me a little better. I could have (maybe should have) skipped the little flatbread packets, but they shouldn't have been enough to knock me for a loop.

Carbs.

So today, I am experimenting and will continue through to Sunday with this to see how it goes down. For breakfast this morning, I had my usual high-fiber/high-protein cereal, banana, skim milk & 1/2 c of blueberries -- yeah, there's protein but there's also enough carbs in there to get me through the morning. For lunch, I had planned to get a sub, but I may switch that up to a good chicken breast salad (getting some protein in but not overdoing it). THEN tonight, after exercising, a more protein-laden meal, to not only help with the muscle repair after exercise, but to hold me a little better. One of my favorite post-biking meals is an omelet -- it's quick, easy, and usually by that point, the only thing I have the time or energy to cook.

And one thing that has always, always been truly difficult for me is getting enough healthy fats in. I admit that getting in my oil guideline has been the area I fluff on most. I just cannot bring myself to spend a couple of points on oil. I mean really -- which would you rather do, have a teaspoon of olive oil for a point, or a one-point treat that you really like? Yeah, me too -- the treat wins. So the other part of my experiment is that if I have a point left over at night's end, I'm foregoing the treat to get at least one teaspoon of oil. Massive "le sigh."

So these are my morning thoughts. I'll let you know how the experiment works.

And as silly as it sounds, seriously.....pray for me. This is driving me crazy .... to have my body do so well and then rebel against me. That's at least what it feels like. That I've worked my rear off to get to this point and suddenly...... If I had an answer or a direction, that would be great, but it's a combination of so many things that I don't have answers for. I have a body that looks healthy, can do a million things it couldn't enjoy before, and yet isn't in the right rhythm on so many things. It really makes me want to scream, cry, kick, cry some more, offer it up for research.......

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Frustration, thy name is.....

Even though my weigh-in isn't official, I stepped on the scale ..... and I'm up. Naturally. OMG, I am screaming on the inside.

I know it's normal to have fluctuations during Lifetime/maintenance. And I know given all the weird crap that has been happening with my body, it's no surprise. But it is no less frustrating. I think maybe it's worse because I'm not sure why things are crazy....... I'm still on program; I use a few weekly points but not over the 35. I'm exercising -- and very well, I might add!

The only odd thing is that there have been times over the last few days when I simply could not get enough to eat. Not a craving for anything specific -- just the need to eat something. Anything. Usually after 10. And only a couple of times but it was like "GIMME" (said in extremely deep, gravelly, demonic-type voice).

I can't do anything about the hormonal stuff. But there are some things I can do..........
  1. On my leader's advice, I'm adding a point back in to my daily total. It's an experiment. Since I'm earning in the neighborhood of 12-16 activity points a week (if not more), it may be that I'm not eating enough points/calories to support it. It's possible.
  2. I'm going to drink more water-water. I'm already drinking plenty of liquids -- 2 cups of coffee, 1-2 cups of herbal tea a day, at least 48 oz of water (if not more), and usually 24 oz or so of diet soda. That's just an average day. She's also suggested upping the water intake on top of the others. Okay, that's only one extra bottle a day -- easy enough to do!
  3. Do some things to my exercise -- right now, the biking is great, really great! But I'm thinking that doing some intervals might help ..... or 15 minutes in the morning, 15 in the evening. Just something to make it all better.
We'll see how it all works. I'm really, really wanting the breakthrough to come, and for my weight to fluctuate less and get more toward goal -- where it should be and where I busted tail to get.

I'm not discouraged at all ..... just baffled. Really baffled.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A strange weird week....

This past week was crazy -- visitors, eat-outs, etc. And Tuesday was just the craziest day of all. I could not stop eating!!! A bagel (a whole one, from Atlanta Bread), and 2 pieces of chocolate, and and and...... I think I figured up that I used 13 flex points just that day. SO out of character for me. But you know, it has turned out okay.

I took a couple of days off from working out, also. As good as it feels for me to work out, I really did appreciate the time off. I don't intend to make it a habit, but the break has been restful and helpful.

One of the things that my leader says is that it's okay to fall off the wagon but NOT to have the wagon roll over you. And so we begin the next week tomorrow -- not letting the wagon roll over me, but getting up, dusting myself off, and living one day at a time.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

YAHOO!

Leave it to the wonderful folks at Prevention to have a 30-minute interval routine in the September issue --- one I can live with for the bike, so that I don't have to figure it all up by myself. WHEW! Because I can tell you, I was about to drive myself completely bonkers with my Excel spreadsheet -- trying to figure up a workable interval routine and figuring out calories burned. And to top it off, all my calories-burned figures are massively wrong; as in, "the workout only burned 10 calories in 20 minutes" wrong. Yeah. SO........ I think I'll try this routine and fuhgeddaboutit.

I did stop by Academy Sports on Friday evening to look for padded bike shorts. No go -- I know that REI sells them but the nearest one is in Asheville. Yeah, that's not far at all to drive but a little much for JUST a pair of shorts...... and God knows, these shorts are NOT exactly inexpensive to start. Instead, I picked up a more cost-friendly alternative -- a padded bike seat cover! WAHOO, right? Errrrrr. Well....... I got it home and it doesn't fit the bike seat at all. Okay, it fits the front of the bike seat -- which is where I need the padding most anyway. So I'm keeping it and using it. And I am debating whether or not to actually keep it on the bike, or use the cover as shorts padding (stuffing it in the shorts). Hey, it might work better that way!

As far as the weight thing, I weighed in again on Friday morning and it was slightly better. I did eat breakfast beforehand, but overall, it was within range and I am pleased. I used a few flex points last night at dinner for my Mom's birthday -- ate a couple of small yeast rolls at dinner and it was worth it. I don't eat them that often, nor did I add butter or spread or anything. Just the bread, and it was good. The one disappointment is that the "baked potato bar" -- which had nearly every potato topping you'd want -- didn't have salsa. Oh, I was looking forward to that!!! Instead, I went with a few pieces of broccoli and some ground pepper.

Back to breakfast: Ten years ago, you couldn't pay me to get up and eat breakfast, or at least not within 2 hours of rising. If I did eat breakfast, it was usually something cruddy -- a sausage or ham biscuit, or some pastry that was sugar- and calorie-laden, and probably had trans-fat levels that were catastrophic. These days, I can't imagine kickstarting my day without a healthy breakfast. I might go walk first, but you better believe as soon as I am done, I am in the kitchen! Studies show that breakfast eaters tend to have more successful weight loss and I believe it.

I choose to have a lot of points/calories at breakfast. One, I need the fuel, even with having eaten a snack shortly before bedtime. Two, IF there's a crisis and I can't have a morning snack until later (or depending on the day, not at all), I won't be completely ravenous when it gets to lunchtime, and I end up eating my lunch bag too ("you mean the foam insulation has 4 points?"). For me, it tends to be a high-fiber, high-protein cereal, skim milk and a banana...... OR a small omelet with egg substitute, a little reduced- or no-fat cheese, toast, a banana, and yogurt. Worth every point.

SO: What are you doing to fuel your body early enough in the day, and what are you doing to use the fuel you give it throughout the day?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Updates: weight & interval training

I weighed in Saturday morning for Lifetime. Right at the upper threshold for staying within the free range. I am planning to weigh in once more on Friday morning to see how it's going, but I may just take it this month and RUN, RUN, RUN.......

So I have been doing the interval training on the bike...... Oh. Em. Gee. Kicked my butt and left me for dead on the highway like roadkill. By the end of the 12 minutes, I was right at the threshold of "plumb worn out."

The good news is that the 20-second, totally-flat-out interval took my heart rate into the mid-80s and back to the mid-70s during the 40-second "moderate" interval. WHEW!!!! I'm also trying to determine how I can adjust the intervals to stretch the workout into 15 minutes or even 20 minutes -- not increasing the number repetitions, but the time of the intervals. I am thinking of going from 20-40 to 30-90 intervals instead. Why is that? Well, I feel bad when I "only" work out for 12 minutes ...... but that's another topic altogether, one I do intend to explore at a later time.

The downside? I have *got* to buy some padded bike shorts. My rear end really can't handle much more. Either that, get some sort of pillow for the bike (or a small one to stuff in my shorts). Or a third option of a gel-padded bike seat. The other problem is exercising in full-waist support hose. I don't want all that extra thigh skin flopping around, but I don't enjoy the perspiring in them nor the occasional rash from where it rubs against me. YUCK!! (I know: TMI).

But I'm enjoying the biking, that's for sure! Now, let's see where it gets me in the next few days......