Saturday, January 30, 2010

Food and Headache Blues

I wrote yesterday's post on my lunch hour at work. It was a nice healthy lunch -- a nice low-point Lean Cuisine, paired with some extra veggies from home. I even skipped snack that morning, because of the skinny latte my coworker brought me. About 45 minutes after I typed my post, I was filling in at the reception desk when...

WHAM!

Headache. Another migraine. Mine are weird enough as it is -- I can feel the dang headache progress to about a 4-on-a-10-scale (see my Jan 11 post), and that's it. Same thing yesterday ....... it came on very suddenly and just threw me for a loop. I was able to go until 4:00, took care of some things I needed to do, and then left early. I hate that, more than you know. I hate the feeling of being out of control of my own body. I made my way home and slept for nearly 3 hours.

On the way home, I delved into my snack stash from my lunch bag -- I was thinking that maybe even with lunch, something wasn't right and food might solve it. Yeah, back to some old bad habits and thoughts; whenever I had headaches as a kid, the first thing my mom would usually ask was, "Maybe you're hungry?" Anyway, after I slept off the low-level nausea and throbbing temples, I awoke, hungry again and ate. The gym had been in my plans for last night but even I know better than to try to exercise with one of these headaches ..... especially when you've just gotten it calmed down and under control. I had a few more points than I planned yesterday. I need to come up with contingency plans for a headache, but hey that's why there are 35 extra points, right?

And today, I had already decided I was having a blowout meal..... which I have. Don't even ask. I'm already over my daily POINTS target. Tasty, yes -- something I do often, not even close. Worth it? Meh... who knows? If it gets my metabolism fired up then I'm all for it. But really, this close to weigh-in?

It must stop now. I mean, right now. As in the very next meal. I have some chicken-breast-BBQ in the slow cooker for tomorrow's lunch, and I made it as healthily as possible. Tonight, I am back on the straight and narrow. A grilled chicken salad, some green beans, or maybe even just some of the zero-point soup, some toast, and a salad. Anything to snap me back to where I need to be.

The indulgence has been nice but no more. And I will have to do some sort of workout tonight, even if it's a videotape here at home. Back to drill-sergeant mode.

Friday, January 29, 2010

It's A Mystery!

Years ago, I met Jerry as part of a ministry team at my parish. Whenever there was a question he couldn't answer or it really was a religious puzzle, he'd throw his palms up, shrug and say, "It's a mystery!" It became a running gag after a while, and even years after he moved out of state, the rest of us would laugh and say, "It's a mystery!"

I thought of that this week........ it's one of those times when I'm doing everything I'm supposed to be doing. I'm watching what I eat, having an occasional indulgence too, exercising (read: working my @$$ off!) ...... and the scale is going in the wrong direction -- incrementally but WRONG. It is indeed a mystery!!!

Of the 35 extra weekly points, I used 11 throughout the week --- usually 2-3 here or there a couple of times during the week. However, I earned 18 activity points this week -- so it's like I never touched the 35 and came out 7 points ahead. I changed up my workout timing routine to something I think is more manageable, and it's frustrating not to have the results show up just yet. One thing I have discovered through this whole process is that if I'm going to use any of the 35 points, I have to do it in one big WHOMP! -- a blowout meal, if you like. Using 2-3 a day doesn't work for me. It's like my body will forgive the one big thing far easier than the little ones. Go figure.....

So I am going to just keep plugging along. If I have a "bad" weigh-in this month, so be it. All through this process, whenever this has happened and I've had a setback, it has become personal. And once again, this is personal. I am NOT, repeat: NOT, going to allow a mere 2 pounds to beat me. Oh no, no, no. I am going to take this weekend to de-stress -- I am convinced that stress adds weight. Emotions add weight. All the intangibles do make a tangible difference.

I'll report my findings next week....... Count on it!

Oh, and the "more protein" thing does seem to be working very well for me. I had good portions of fish for lunch two days this week, and I did find that come my normal afternoon snack time, I wasn't as hungry as usual.... in fact one day, I ate ONLY because I had to eat something or go until 9:30 or so (once choir was over). It does make a difference for me -- your mileage may vary!

***

This week's PSA: If you are a fan of Starbucks, have you tried the Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte? I stopped by there yesterday morning to use a gift card I'd gotten earlier and got one. And then, one of my coworkers stopped this morning and got us all coffee and got me one again. It's 90 calories for the tall (12 oz), and 60 cal for the short (8 oz)! Of course, the grande and venti's are definitely higher. Since I'm not a huge fan of their products, the short and tall work just fine for me. They also have a skinny vanilla dolce latte, same stats. I may try that next........ all for you, my loyal readers. I know, it's a tough job.

Friday, January 22, 2010

How'd I do?

Okay, with the great protein experiment ..... I did my very best on this with getting more protein. I made some AWESOME chicken BBQ for Saturday night. I cooked a turkey tenderloin with some amazing roasted veggies for Sunday dinner.

So Monday night, I had a protein-packed dinner...... 1/2 c of Egg Beaters with about 1/2 c of shredded carrots and cut broccoli florets (pulled apart into tiny brocco-lettes) and made into a thick omelet. I cut it in quarters and stacked it in a Sandwich Thin with 3 slices of extra-lean turkey and even a 2% cheese single. I have no idea how much protein was in it but I'm betting it was plenty! By 10:00 PM? If it wasn't nailed down, I was looking for it.

So what gives? Beats me. I spoke with my leader last night, and all we can figure is that with the exercise I've been doing (and usually not eating my activity points), my body just said, "ENOUGH! I need food!" I stepped on the scale this morning, and I'm not up that much; it's within a pound of what my weigh-in was for the month. It's still slightly above my limit, but that just means I have about another 2 weeks to get it off.

***

The topic in the meetings this week has been moving more...... how apropos, considering I am trying to shake up my routine. Right now, I'm going 3 times a week at 5:00 AM (okay, 5:15 by the time I get out the door and there), and it doesn't leave me much time for a workout. But waiting until evening means a more-crowded workout. Plus, I don't always get over there on the weekends..... So I am proposing a new schedule for myself:

Mondays -- 5:15 AM, 30 minutes cardio, 10-15 weights (arms/upper back)
Tuesdays -- 7:15 PM, 30 minutes cardio, 20-25 weights (legs / abs / other)
Wednesday -- off
Thursday -- 5:15 AM (repeat Monday)
Friday -- 7:15 PM (repeat Tuesday)
Saturday evening or Sunday after church -- 30 minutes cardio, arms if Saturday, legs if Sunday

I'll let you know how that goes......

***

Need a good winter veggie mix recipe? Try this one that I did for us on Sunday:

1 large baking potato
1 medium sweet potato
1/2 pound cubed butternut squash
1 medium yellow (summer) squash
1 medium carrot
1 large parsnip
1 medium red onion
1 large bell pepper (I used a red pepper)
1 Tbsp olive oil
fresh parsley, thyme, or other herbs of choice

Preheat oven to 425. Cube or rough-quarter the potatoes and butternut squash. Thickly slice the yellow squash, carrot, & parsnip. Place all cut veggies in a deep casserole dish (2-3 quart). Drizzle with oil and chopped herbs (about 2 Tbsp). Stir to coat all veggies. Bake in oven for one hour. Stir to mix up and return to oven for an additional 30-40 minutes.

This was my first time ever cooking with or eating parsnips. It won't be the last! These had a slightly pine-y smell when cutting them, but a nice sweet taste after roasting. The onions caramelized and were divine. It was all good!

***

To everyone who's walking the journey to good health: HANG IN THERE!!!!!!! You can do it! And one big kudo to my friend Carol -- she took part in the marathon at Disney World for Leukemia & Lymphoma. WOW!!!! I am in awe!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Great Experiment ... again.

I did a courtesy weigh-in last night -- WHEW! Just where I was 2 weeks ago. But then.......

My Thursday treat is that after the meetings, I go to the Jason's Deli there in the same shopping center. I purely love their salad bar, and they have a great half-sandwich deal. In the winter, I'll add a cup of soup to go along. So I ended up at the salad bar (just veggies, no cheese, no meats, no pre-prepared pasta or other types of salads..... and their fat-free Italian which is SUPER!), with my cup of vegetarian vegetable, and what was supposed to be a half-turkey wrap. The cashier put it in as a half-veggie wrap -- but hey, that's okay.

Well.... I sure could have used the protein, and had I realized sooner that it was a veggie wrap, I'd have gotten a hard-boiled egg from the salad bar. Folks, if you don't think protein -- even an ounce or two -- makes a difference, tell that to the 6 or 7 points I consumed between 10 and 11 PM. I was completely ravenous and all carb-craving. The really truly sad part is that we had just discussed "food satisfaction" as the meeting topic. You would think I've been doing this long enough to know better; I do far better when I get enough good protein in my eating plan. My daily breakfast has a good bit of soy protein, and I try really hard to get some in at lunch. But I admit I don't always do too well with the evening meal. I've got to do better at balancing it out throughout the day.

For lunch today, I decided to go out and forgo my usual Friday fare (Subway). I was really torn between going to the Whole Foods hot bar, and Bucky's BBQ. Being a true daughter of the South, Bucky's won out. I could never be vegetarian or kosher ..... I cannot give up the pig. I have eaten enough poultry until I could cluck and enough fish to swim, but do not ask me to abandon the swine. Ain't happening.

I got the "light plate" .... oh good heavens. If that's "light" I will never be able to eat the regular! I could have eaten two-thirds, but I was satisfied with half. (Ooh! There's that word again....). For the sides, I had green beans (with enough ham/pork in it that I needed to count it as one point), and a great cucumber/tomato/onion salad in a vinaigrette. I KNOW that had zero points but it was really, really, really good. No bread. And you know something?

I'm good. I still had afternoon snack because I worked out before going home tonight, but I wasn't absolutely starving for it. Now most nights after a workout, I usually just do a quick omelet, but I had some fantastic Turkey Chili left over from last weekend. It was still good, and definitely fiber- and protein-packed (with 4 cans of beans, it better be......). Yeah, I just double-checked: 8 g fiber and 16 g protein in a one-cup serving. I also had a salad, a couple of Wasa light crisp flatbreads, and even a little mini-bar dessert (from Weight Watchers). MMMMM. And just enough points for a WW smoothie to wrap up the night.

So this week, my challenge is not only to work on more Filling Foods (Week 2 of the 10-Week Momentum Challenge), I'm going to make doggone sure I get in the protein I need. Not cutting out the carbs, just choosing the better ones. Hmm.... think it'll work?

Monday, January 11, 2010

AHHHH!!!!

I finally got back to the gym Friday night after work. For most of the time, it was just me and maybe two other people -- and the owners, who were absolutely perplexed by a very loud whine from one of the treadmills.

I went tonight after work: a miracle in itself. Lemme 'splain: I had battled a mild migraine last night before bed and again today from lunchtime on. It was one of those irritating "4 on a 10-scale" pains: not enough to be a full-fledged, "take the good meds and knock myself out for a day" headaches but still irritating all the way around. One of those nagging, just-under-the-surface things. The little brother going, "I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you" while holding an index finger a half-inch from your face. I thought it might have been a hunger thing at first. So I ate the healthy lunch I brought, but it didn't make a dent. I took a nice, lovely, short nap? (And God bless my coworkers for fending off people and for waking me up!) Too bad it helped for about an hour before it all came back.... Nuking a minibag of popcorn? Did the trick. Go figure. Well, that and the Excedrin Migraine I took around 3:00. Makes me wonder what the trigger might have been that led to this one. I can't figure it out. Anyway, by 6:00, I felt good enough to believe that if nothing else, I could hop on a treadmill for a short while.

Normally, weeknights at my gym are like "High School Reunion"; I run into so many people I know from my high school days. Tonight, it was more like "High School Reunion" meets "High School Musical"..... LOTS of teens in there. Part of me was like, "Hey, y'all can get here right after school. Leave the evenings to us old farts." (HA!!!!) But then I thought, "What am I saying? When obesity rates in minors are going through the roof, thank God they're in here doing something good for themselves!" It was nice to see younger people working to take care of their health and their bodies, even if they might not fully appreciate just yet how important it is.

Speaking of.............. There are no words to describe how good getting back to the gym feels. 20 minutes on the elliptical Friday, 25 tonight, and I feel like a whole new person. My head feels clear -- not just physically but mentally clear too. My body feels looser and good. I can't wait for Wednesday morning at o-dark-thirty to work out again!

Who'd have EVER imagined that?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

And Our Starting Quarterback.... Quatro-Cero!

Yep -- I am now off injured reserve!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Went back to the doctor's and got clearance to exercise, and I don't have to see them for another year! I'm so glad I have another ally in managing my lymphedema.

I am THRILLED to finally have a chance to get back to the gym, or at least even set up the treadmill at home.... Oh Lord! I will most likely stop in tomorrow night on the way home from work. I did a courtesy weigh-in tonight...... can you believe a whole pound lower than Saturday? DANG!!! I shoulda waited!

To all new WW members, WELCOME ABOARD!!!!!! To all those who are starting over, WELCOME BACK!!!!!!!!!! And special congrats to Sally, one of my fellow Thursday @ 7 members -- she hit Lifetime tonight, even after the holidays!! Fantastic job!!!!

Monday, January 04, 2010

January Weigh-In -- and Currently on Injured Reserve…..

If you aren't a follower of my regular, non-weight-related blog ("Meanderings & Musings"), I have a post there regarding a mild concussion I suffered last week. I'd like to say that it came from some derring-do, like rock climbing or a fall from a mountain bike. However, the sad truth is that it was more like a scene from the Three Stooges: I fainted at the doctor's office. It was my first faint, and I'm quite sure that in slo-mo, it was purely graceful. At any rate, after my fall from grace, the doctors sent me home for two days with a concussion -- HEY! Does that count as a sports injury? No? Didn't think so....

The worst part of this? No exercise until cleared by the docs, certainly not for 7 days or so -- at least according to all the information on concussion & post-concussion syndrome that they sent home with me. Now certainly, for those first 48 hours, I didn't plan on doing anything. The first day, all I could do was sleep.

So what was the problem? WEIGH-IN TIME. Now, as a regular ol' WW Lifetime member, I could theoretically get away with a later weigh-in for the month. As a staff member, I cannot. I have only a certain number of days to get it in. I knew I was up a bit from the holidays, and so I had counted on being able to work out every day last week to make a nice dent in the damage.

"If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." Yeah, well, God was having a serious belly laugh at my expense. So what else could I do? I watched my intake like a hawk, was overzealous about labels and sodium, and followed the program to a tee. Guess God decided I'd had enough of the bad that week and rewarded me with a weigh-in within my range. Another massive exhale, another month free, another four weeks to stay in line.

So earlier today, I called the doctor's office -- full of hope and excitement. It's been 7 days! Surely I'll be cleared, right? Uh, not so fast there, Quatro-Cero. You're still on Injured Reserve. They don't want me doing anything until they see me again on Thursday, just to be certain. I can understand their concern -- the last time they saw me, I was pale as a ghost, heaving like a madwoman, and all I could do was nod, breathe, pray and hang on for life. Yeah, it was bad. Even now, I still have a pretty yellow bruise on my face which still hurts to touch. Even putting a soft powder brush (for makeup) to my face hurt like pure Hades. I cannot begin to imagine how much it would have hurt if I still used liquid makeup! (Or worse, cream-to-powder!)

But AAAAAAAGH! I am going stir-crazy. What am I going to do with this excess energy? Oddly enough, just five short years ago, I couldn't have imagined wanting to exercise at any point -- let alone craving it so badly I'm ready to jump out of my skin. A junkie needing her fix. Can I hire Cheech & Chong to rewrite their song as "Exercise Jones"? I was so ready to hit the gym on the way home that I packed a workout bag (forgot the shoes, but hey.... good plan, right?).

Quatro-Cero will keep you updated on her status as we go into playoff season. At least I've moved from "inactivated" to "questionable" .... hopefully by Thursday, I'll move into "cleared to play"!!!!!!!! (Just in time for the snow that's supposedly coming our way..... Snort. Snort. Snort.).

Friday, January 01, 2010

Revolutions, not resolutions

Ah yes -- January 1, the day millions of Americans decide it's time to do something -- for real, this time -- about (insert not-so-good habit here). It may be a written thing, or just a mental "I'm gonna do it. I mean it. For real...." thing, but it's resolution time.

I propose a change: no more resolutions. Make a revolution.

As well-intentioned as they are, resolutions are usually doomed to fail. It is great to be all psyched up and full of positive energy at the start of the year. You know that you've got changes to make and so you make your list: stop smoking, lose weight, exercise more. You come up with all sorts of schemes to keep you on track: each time you smoke, you'll donate $10 to a smoke jar. Every pound you lose, you'll treat yourself to something. Every day you get up to make it to the gym, you'll do something to make yourself feel good.

These are not bad things in themselves, not bad at all. Change is good, and necessary ....... But resolutions like these are self-defeating, doomed to fail. Look at your resolutions, and truly ask yourself where you will be on January 15? January 30? February 28? March 31? July 1? Halloween? Next January 1? If the answer is a sigh and the thought, "Well, probably back in the same old place...." then change your mindset.

Start a revolution. Focus on one to two things that really need your attention, areas where you know you can take small steps and make big changes.
  • Want to exercise more? Instead of resolving to join the gym, work out every day, etc. (sorry, gym owners), how about saying, "I'm going to exercise for X minutes (when I get home from work, before work, at lunch) 3 times a week." And do just that -- you can still join a gym to do that, but be consistent -- that's the key.
  • Need to drop pounds? Instead of a big emphatic "I'm going to lose 50 pounds this year!" how about, "I'm going to prepare more healthy family meals" or "Let's eat out one less meal each week" or even "I'm going to take my lunch a couple of days more each week."
  • Is smoking your issue? How about "I'm going to smoke one less pack each week" or "I will call my doctor to discuss ways to quit - prescriptions, gum, patches, whatever I need."
  • Too much stress or negative energy? Resolve to focus on one positive item from each day. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Do one thing each day just for yourself. Make an effort to change your reactions. Love more.
Resolve to learn more about small steps you can do to make these wishes become reality -- and then act upon what you are learning! Then come April, you'll be in better condition and you'll have established some healthy habits ..... and be working on other habits and steps to move you closer to where you want to be. Your resolutions will have become revolutions.

Revolution: a turning around. What are you doing to turn your health ... your lifestyle ... your family's health ... around? How are you moving from the negative into the positive?

Join the revolution.