Friday, April 30, 2010

Struggling again....

I went on a much-needed retreat for women last weekend. I did not realize how desperately I needed a break from the everyday world, and just what sort of physical impact it would have on me. Knowing I was going to be busy with that all weekend, on Friday, I did a workout for my legs. This is important for later on......

I got up early Saturday, drove to the retreat, and -- oh my gosh, I can't begin to tell you about all the food that was there, and I proceeded to just enjoy myself with it. We were fed VERY well..... too well; not only were our bodies well-fed but our souls and spirits too. It was a beautiful weekend, with lots of emotion (at least on my part). I'm a pretty emotional person to start, so you know that means I will become a weepy mess pretty quickly. The stress of the last few weeks has honestly left me close to either a big ol' ugly outburst or a huge meltdown. But in the midst of all that emotional garbage, I found wonderful love and support from the women who became my soul-sisters that weekend. By the time we reached a very beautiful, moving moment of the retreat that evening, I was most definitely one hot mess. I went to a quiet spot in the church and wept, sobbed, openly, loudly, and did not care one bit who heard, who followed me in there, or what she might have thought. Amazing how God's love reaches out to you whether you're in the church or sitting in a bathroom stall......

What does this have to do with weight, physical fitness, etc.? Keep reading.

So I went to bed that night on the air mattress I'd brought with me. It wasn't the most comfortable sleep but it wasn't the same as a sleeping bag on the floor. When I awoke Sunday morning, my arms from shoulders to wrists felt like I had gone ten rounds with Tyson in my sleep. I mean, I was sore to the touch. Just as I was wondering what happened, one of the team members - a nurse-practitioner - came in and I asked her. She nodded and said, "Yep. It can be a response to the stress release that you've just had." On Monday night at the gym, I asked a personal trainer the same thing -- same answer: "Oh yeah! You get rid of all that built-up stress, and those free radicals and toxins go flush through your body. Heck yeah, you'll be sore."

Which has made me ponder this week just how stress plays into weight loss/gain. In the last few years, much has been made of cortisol, the "stress hormone" ..... and all the products that are supposed to help block, eliminate, etc. its effects. Uh, I don't think the products work, but I am wondering about the hormone itself. I came back from retreat and was feeling really good and relaxed and happy ...... and work hit me full force this week, and I have been pretty well just as stressed as ever this week. Add a car breakdown and a couple of other events..... well, that was tons of fun. And how have I responded? Not working out as I should. Bad food choices .... not so much in what I ate, but 10:00 at night has been my bugaboo.

But you know, today began the do-over. I have treated today like Day 1. Good choices, and tomorrow I plan to wake early and go workout. I enjoy the evening workouts, but there's something head-clearing and energizing about the early workouts. So guess what..... tomorrow. Monday morning (and then again Tuesday night). Now that I have my vehicle back, I'm not at the mercy of others!

So let's see how things go this week. I may not hit my goal weight for this month's weigh-in, but I'm going to try my very best!!! I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

To quote Lee Corso...

"Not so fast, my friend....."

I mentioned previously that I finally found some protein shake stuff at Vitamin Shoppe last weekend, and it was on clearance so, oh why not? I also stopped in at Wally World on Sunday and bought a nice little shaker/mixer thing -- "perfect for vinaigrettes, shakes, etc." (you see where this is heading, don't you?)

I took the protein powder with me to work yesterday for a quick pre-workout boost. I even only used half the recommended portion, in part to control calories and also to see how I would like it. I mixed the powder with a cup of Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla almond milk.

The verdict: the protein powder is at home again, where it will stay. One, I didn't like the taste. Had I used a whole portion, it might have been better. But also, my "perfect for..." mixer? Not so much. I had to open it a couple of times and stir. Perhaps the powder should have been sifted or something first? It might have been the unsweetened almond milk. But all I know is I needed a blender or Magic Bullet for this concoction.

And two, I didn't like the way it made me feel. Perhaps it was the headache that was already building throughout the day, or just being tired after a crazy day. I just know I didn't feel right after drinking it. I have since realized that this case of the weirds may have been due more to the HeadOn (yes, apply directly to the forehead) that I was using. I discovered that today when I used it again when I felt a little headache coming on and got the same not-so-great feeling. Good thing I didn't spend that much on it - because it is finding a new home in le garbage!

Even weirder? After my workout, I felt oddly shaky. At the gym, I did a high-intensity interval cardio routine (20 minutes), and then a free weight arms routine. The only thing I did any differently was choosing slightly heavier dumbbells than I had used before. But I was sweating through the whole thing like I had just run a marathon.

I went into the grocery store after the gym, grabbed the bananas I needed and also a Powerade Zero. I could not chug the Powerade fast enough. Okay, that's fine, I get that I'm thirsty. But it's a two-minute drive at worst from the gym to the house.... that drink was G.O.N.E. before I ever got home. It was the shaky feeling you get when you've gone too long between meals/snacks. From the time I had the shake to getting home from the gym? Less than 3 hours...... I mean, really, I can do better than that each morning (usually 4-5 hours between breakfast & snack). So for a quick boost, I popped a peppermint candy, and that seemed to help until I got food in my system! Today, I took my Biggest Loser whey protein powder with me to work to use in the future. At least I know it works without giving me the weirds.

But you know, my leader and I were talking tonight and we realized that real foods are still the best answer....... so this coming week, as much as possible, back to "real" foods and less of the processed stuff. For protein after a workout, stick to lean meats, eggs, beans, etc. Oh my, in other words: Filling Foods. Now there's a concept, isn't it?

I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Supplements, shopping, and working out

Okay, first....................... Some exciting news to report on the WW scene: a new location for our Clemson & Seneca area meetings!! Join us at the Heritage Point (a/k/a "Bloom") Shopping Center, on Highway 123 between Clemson & Seneca. We're actually right next to the Chinese restaurant in the center. If you live in the area, and you're interested in meetings at this location, just go to -- type in your zip code and look for the "Heritage Point" location in Seneca.

After moving the East Clemson meeting's inventory and paperwork over, we started unpacking the Seneca paperwork and inventory. However, I had to take off before everything was finished -- I had an appointment in Travelers Rest yesterday afternoon. When that was finished, I headed to Vitamin Shoppe, since I knew they were having a sale. And I wanted to look into a few things.

I don't know everything there is to know about nutrition, and especially performance nutrition. I still don't really think of myself as an athlete either -- I mean, really, there are people out there training for marathons and such, and here I am just doing 3x a week workouts. But I'm also a long way from the days of 30 minutes on a treadmill and being drenched at that. I know that I need some good quality protein after a workout, and I'm so tired of going into drugstores or even the grocery stores, and seeing these 300- and 400-calorie monstrosities that offer 30+g of protein, protein, protein (in your mind, you really need to be hearing that as the dragway ads about "Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY!!!!!"). I don't even want the 150- to 200-calorie bars. I only have so many points each day to spare. Yes, I know I have 35 points a week, but do I really want to use them on this? I'm sorry, but I remember all too well the days when I was much heavier, and would choke down Powerbars and MetRX (a/k/a Sawdust) and thinking I was doing myself some good .... and now shuddering thinking at the calories I was putting in and not using. Even using them today, I'm very wary. 3 or 4 points is just more than I'm willing to invest right now.

A while back, I bought some Biggest Loser Whey Protein stuff -- 50 calories and I think 5 gr of fiber, not to mention good protein. Enough that it was either zero or 1 point .... but EGAD!!! You're supposed to mix it with 5 oz of water per the directions. Quite honestly, it would taste much better with 2 oz. of water as a paste. There is NO taste with it in 5 oz of water. I'm better off mixing it into a 20-ounce diet Coke and at least getting a little vanilla taste in that! YUCK!

I also found that so many of these protein powders do not have any fiber. Really? Why? The only thing I can even think of is that if you're training for a marathon and you've had a protein shake just before training, you really don't want to be 10 miles into the run and.... um, how to say it delicately -- give "run" another definition. But I would prefer a little more fiber.... some of the better protein powders are still 2 points (just for the scoop of protein, doesn't count if you're mixing it in milk! Ugh.....) One more tangent: really, do I need or want 5-pound vats of this stuff? What if I hate it? Not only do I have a buttload of stuff I don't want, but I'm out $50 (on average). How about sample packets, or maybe some smaller containers, like 16 oz, or 24 oz?

Anyway, I found some (on clearance - yahoo! - and a small container, even more yahoo!!), and I'm going to try it as something to have for a quick post-workout boost. But honestly, you know what works just as well, for about $2.50 per carton? Egg beaters: 12 g of protein for a half-cup. Perfect amount for an omelet, and it's still just one point. And I can chew it!!!

Oh, one last thing: all this stuff does is make me want to go get a degree in nutrition or dietetics and one in exercise physiology or kinesiology. I want to know how it ALLLLLL works together. Why wasn't I this interested back when I was in college the first time??? Youth really is wasted on the young, isn't it? (HA!)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A truly bright spot....

Okay, I don't get political on this blog or any of my others, for that matter. I was a poli-sci major in college, and I would crawl if I had to in order to vote..... but otherwise, I don't delve too deeply unless it's a campaign season. Campaigning is another beast entirely - I love watching the tactics that politicians will use (read: depths they will sink to) in order to win.

BUT..... no matter how you feel about the recent health-care legislation, one of the brightest shining provisions is the one requiring chain restaurants to post the calorie counts (if nothing else). Frankly, I wish they'd make them hand out a complete nutrition guide at the door, with fat, fiber, sodium, sugar, and a few other things listed..... but at least the calorie count is a starting point.

And I love restaurants that WILLINGLY provide that information now. Regular readers know that I am totally kookoo for Jason's Deli, just because of the great information they provide and are willing to give you ..... in one situation, with a new menu item, the manager even went online to their staff section to find the information for me. Now that's dedication! Kudos also to The Pita Pit (and we FINALLY have one around here, in Clemson!) -- their Athens GA location did the same for me one day and it was so deeply appreciated.

Today for lunch, I was out and about, and didn't want the usual stuff. It had been a while since I'd been to Arby's (except for one sandwich on vacation recently), but I remembered that they had a really good salad a while back -- the Martha's Vineyard. And naturally..... le sigh. No longer on the menu. But I went in and asked the counter staff if there was a nutrition guide where I could decide. They went right to the information center, got one for me, and I sat down with my handy calculator and figured out POINTS values. They were so very helpful, and willing to give the information! That earns quite a bit of respect from me.

Now, for the one complaint -- and this goes for many fast-food restaurants who offer salads. Here's a suggestion: How about letting ME decide if I want cheese or bacon or whatever on the salad. You can package the basics: the veggies and the meat, but all the accoutrements? Let me decide. You can put them in little containers within the package -- that still allows the service staff the ability to just grab, hand, and move to the next customer without having to freak over a special order. Or tell me up front what's on the salad: had I known that this one came with bacon and cheese, I may have chosen differently (even though it was good!). What would have been the harm in a package of bacon bits or little plastic container of cheese ..... I could have added it or not, but that would have been my choice. The salad was tasty - don't get me wrong - but really, to pick out the cheese is nearly impossible (the bacon was easier to remove). And to Arby's: bring back the Martha's Vineyard salad; it was so good!

But back to my point.............. having that information allowed me to make the best possible choice that I could. That's all any of us can ask for.... even if the choice becomes, "Wow. I think I'd better go somewhere with healthier options!" Don't think it hasn't happened, and my guess is that if it starts happening often enough with chains, they may start thinking, "Ooh. How do we remedy this?"

Friday, April 09, 2010

Injury on the field!!!

Quatro-Cero reporting in again..... Wednesday night, I did a nice workout at the gym. I had a few extra minutes, so I proceeded to do a new type of squat (okay, new to me) .... you know, just to get some in. With this move, you hold a dumbbell by one end and do a squat holding the weight. Easy enough, right?


That was the sound my left hip area made; at least I think it was just the hip bone popping (hard to hear when the Crue is playing in your headset). And something was definitely not feeling good in the left groin. Yeah, I think I have strained it. I put an ice pack on it when I went to bed that night, and I woke up Thursday morning hobbling a bit.

Getting in and out of my car was an adventure, too. Most mornings I have my purse, my tote, my lunchbag, and some mornings, my gym gear too. Yesterday morning, it was just the purse and lunchkit, and still.........

This morning, much better.


And I made my first weekly meeting in a long time. Holy mackerel, was it nice to get back into the routine and rhythm. I truly miss my meetings. I mean, yes, I get to hear the weekly topic at the meetings where I work, but my mind is occupied there with the business of work. At my regular weekly meeting, I just get to sit back and listen. I guess the best analogy is when you do lay ministry at church -- whenever it's your turn to be the minister, you're a little more preoccupied with the timing and flow of how the service goes, as opposed to the times when you're there and not serving .... you can be a little more present to what's being said and being ministered to, instead of focusing on how you are going to minister. Does that make sense? Same with my weekly meeting -- that's my time to be taught, to share, to enjoy. For the meetings I work, I'm there to focus more on the job.


Next week, I am having a body composition analysis done! I can't wait!!! I promise to share the findings as soon as I know. I'm definitely interested in learning more about my body and how it's made up!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

I need to apologize.....

To all of you who read my blog pretty regularly, I need to say I'm sorry.

I realize that my last post revealed a side of me that I don't like. I don't like obsessing over my weight, and normally I don't. I became really freaked out because of the huge gain over the vacation weekend, and that's the price I chose to pay.

I also got a little weird since I cannot figure out why my body seems to be revolting against my chosen goal weight. My doctor gave that figure based on his advice and counsel and based on his treatment of me over the years. And for some unknown reason, my body seems to be saying, "Mmmmmm -- let me think. No. I like about 3 pounds higher." My body might but my mind and my will do not.

I do want to say that under normal circumstances, I do not obsess that much. And I am truly, truly sorry that I even gave the impression or hinted that I do this every single time, every day, or many times a day........ Believe me, I do not; this situation was an oddity.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Adrian Monk has nothing on me....

Portrait of my morning, Friday, April 2:
  • 5:45 AM: My bathroom. Relieve myself, then open the closet to retrieve the scale. I step on...... xx3.8 ..... oh fudge!!!! My goal is xx0.0. Well piffle. There goes my idea to go in early and stop by the WW Center to weigh in: why bother? I'm still up above my allowable limit. So I ate the breakfast I had planned to take in.
  • 6:20 AM: Ate breakfast, back in the bathroom to shower up. Aw, heck. Why not? Let's just see...... xx2.8 -- WHAT? I ate. I should be UP, not down a pound. I'm still above where I need to be and so forget going in early, but..... WHAT?
  • 6:30 AM: Out of the shower. What the heck -- let's take another look: xx3.8 .... wait just a sec. In 10 minutes, all I did was shower. How do you gain a pound SHOWERING? Seriously??? Screw it. I'll just weigh in tomorrow at the meeting I work.
In my faith, Good Friday is a day of fast/abstinence. I have some difficulty in balancing the observations that my church asks of me and the nutritional balance that my body requires now. But I did the best I could (the lone "cheat" being the smoothie I drank last night. I cheated on the church, not my diet). But I had nearly one-third my points left. That NEVER happens. I had to do something.

Portrait of my morning, Saturday, April 3......
  • 5:00 AM: My bathroom, and the scale reads xx3.6. Oh son of a gun. Yeah, let's go work out. Now. I went to the gym where I did a high-intensity interval session on the elliptical, and some legwork on weights (curls, quad lifts, leg press, and squats).
  • 6:05 AM: Home bathroom for a shower. Step on the scale and ...... xx1.6 ...... YES!!!!!!!! You better believe my "I'm in Goal Range, Let's Take Breakfast On the Road And Go Weigh In!" plan kicked into gear.
  • 7:47 AM: At the meeting site, helping set-up. I had the leader look over my shoulder as I stepped up. xx1.0 .... I WILL TAKE IT!!!! She was worried about hers, but same thing -- good enough to take it. We signed each others' employee weight slips and both breathed a sigh of relief.

Now, all that being said, even Adrian Monk would tell me to lighten up and stop obsessing so much. I don't get why there's such a struggle each month to hit goal. But I know some things I can do to make it better.

  1. Track more than my food each day -- track my weight. Track my stress level. Track my cycle (which day I'm on, etc.). Track my exercise without regard to activity points. Just keep an eye on everything and see if there are patterns which may explain things better. Hey, you never know.
  2. Keep working out. Oddly enough, even as the weight is giving me fits, the clothing isn't. Better than ever, in fact. Don't tell me toning up doesn't work -- my wardrobe is proof!!!
  3. Get more sleep. There are studies which seem to indicate that people who are chronically sleep-deprived tend to be more overweight - and hold on to it. Sleep-deprived.... don't know if I'm there yet, but I get far less sleep than I'd like. I've been pondering for ages how to remedy that situation........ so I need to think more on it.
Here's to making sure May's weigh-in isn't such a struggle!!!