Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Weekly weigh-in: -52

Yes, oh observant ones, that *is* up a pound from last week. (I knew this accountability business would come back to bite me in the posterior....)

"Okay," I thought to myself. "Monthly measure is here! Let's get a little non-scale victory dancing going on!" Hmmm...1.5 inches off "the girls," but waist and hips were exactly the same as last month.

Well, yes, in fact, that DOES suck. But what messages from the universe have I been getting lately? Mr. Deepak Chopra was saying something just the other day in the CD I was listening to about detachment: be deeply involved in the actions, but let go of the outcome. And that we don't always get what we want right away. Which means, to me, do the right things and trust that the best result will happen in time. I think part of the message, too, was in Lynn Haraldson-Bering's article "The Dichotomy of Snow and Maintenance" over on Refuse to Regain the other day. Weird as it is to think about, I might be nostalgic about this process someday. Even when the process is looking right now something like the Tibetan Plateau. (My, my, my: talk about a coincidence that feels contrived! I had no idea when I Googled "world's largest plateau" that THAT would be the result! ;-)

So: sticking to the plan....

The plan looks like doing strength training at least 2 days per week. I hadn't done any for an entire week and didn't feel like doing any last night...but I did it. I'm still doing at least a half hour of running in the morning, and getting at least 2 lunch walks in per week. I wish it all didn't feel like such a forced march lately, though. As they say in the Dr. Seuss classic "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish":
Here are some
who like to run.
They run for fun
in the hot, hot sun.
Well, it's been really, really dark when I'm running. And damp. And cold. Maybe that cuts into the fun factor a bit. I also need to sign up for another race; this might be post-race letdown. (Seabreeze, is that a myth, or does it really happen?)

On the food front, I need to keep the following in mind: Just because it's good for me, and doesn't spike me, doesn't mean I need to eat a whole bunch. As Lyn said today over on Escape from Obesity, every bite counts. So...Almonds? Pistachios? Other salty seed/nut kindred? Yeah, that's right, I'm talkin' to YOU! You're NOT goin' DOWN! (The hatch, that is...at least not as often. I got some plain walnuts, which don't seem to trigger.)

The plan also looks like is more broth when I'm craving something salty or want to munch after dinner. I love the Better than Bouillon stuff--I just tried the vegan chicken base today and it was really tasty! (No, not affiliated, just love the stuff. Any good broth or bouillon will do. Homemade is easy...maybe this weekend, it's supposed to rain.) Or maybe some pickles. It seems like I really have been craving strong flavors lately...anyone else eat tiny bits of salt-free seasoning straight from the jar? Or dip veggies in wasabi+soy sauce, like I did at lunch today? (Now there was a non-scale victory today: passing hot food bar and lots of yummy-looking and -smelling stuff over at Whole Foods today and getting sashimi and mixed raw veggies to eat with my hummus packet.)

I didn't have a problem meeting my goal of three non-meat, not-saturated-fat meals and two fish meals last week. Same goal this week, and I'm halfway there already (thanks, in-store sushi bar!).

So I guess it's not more new changes, but re-embracing the old changes. I'd love some ideas for helping get the workouts fun again, though. Any "watch instantly" Netflix workout videos you like? Alternative ideas? I'm going to look into horseback riding at this place I've been dreaming of but was always over the weight limit for until recently...Mr. Handsome and Handy (and Frugal) actually suggested it, too, when I swooned over some people riding past our backyard on horseback the other day.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Quotable Friday

Today's topic: Change
"Grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me." - Author Unknown

"The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them." - George Bernard Shaw
Those quotes jumped out at me today. Over on Roni's Weigh this week, the Question of the Week was "Do your friends and family help or hurt your efforts?" Many people commented about understanding their close family's or friend's bewilderment and sometimes resistance, because "I'm the one who's changing, not him/her/them."

Oddly enough, I was on the flip side of that earlier this year. My husband had some health issues and, while they turned out to not be serious (*whew*!), he was advised to lose weight. (That's a lifelong struggle that we both share.) So he started, and while I did my best to be supportive, I also felt a bit scared and defensive, because darn it, *I* wasn't ready to change! The contrast between our food choices wasn't pretty...and my plate sure as heck wasn't the pretty one. So that did start me in the right direction, making small changes, starting to read lots of weight-loss stories and blogs...then came diabetes, which led to my big sprint that left him probably feeling the same way I was feeling.
Sometimes changes happen, and while there are many I still would not deliberately choose, I'd have to say that the following is true for me:
"We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance." - Harrison Ford
And then this one reminded me of all the mind-work that goes into change, especially changes relating to food and fitness:
"If you want to truly understand something, try to change it." - Kurt Lewin
Finally, because it's Friday and I refuse to be totally serious on a Friday....
"I put a dollar in one of those change machines. Nothing changed." - George Carlin

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why do we sometimes do the OPPOSITE of what we should?

I'm contemplating one of the compelling mysteries of life this morning: why do we sometimes or often do the OPPOSITE of what we know we need to do for our health?

Here's a real-life example: Yesterday I decided to be accountable and posted my nutritional challenge. I felt...well, if not fully charged to do the right thing, I thought I felt okay with it. Onward and downward, right? "Limbo lower now!"

So I walked through the door last night, a little later than usual. I'd had my afternoon snack later, so it's not like I was ravenously hungry or anything. The husband had made some lovely, bbq beef ribs. Oh, *yum*! I grabbed a couple and fixed a nice salad (using rice wine vinegar since I knew I'd be getting more than enough fat from the meat), and ate my dinner. Maybe gnawing on roasted bones activated some primal autumnal urge...because I grabbed another rib. Then the husband opened a bag of (oh, I know this is going to gross a lot of people out, but here goes...) fried pork skins. (They bought fried pork skins? *sigh*) I ate a couple of them. Then I thought, "Ya know, cashews would be the better choice right now." Yep, still there. I ate a handful. What's this? A can of roasted, salted almonds? Hello, beautiful! I ate one handful. Then another.

Imagine, now, the sound of brakes squealing. "Ego" finally piped up and slapped "Id" upside the head: "What do you think you're DOOOOing?" Whew! I grabbed for the good tools shared by various healthy living bloggers and commenters over the last month: I popped a sugarfree mint in my mouth while tidying up, then reported to the bathroom and brushed and flossed teeth. I did my strength training with more than usual vigor. (Thing 2 kept darting past my wooshing arms and giggling, and sitting on my tummy, so I did a few leg lifts with her on board. Whew!) This morning was clear and starry and not too cold, and I was on track time-wise, so I did a nice 50-minute run on the trail instead of around the neighborhood. It felt great. Equilibrium restored.

I know, it's probably not the most shocking scene of gluttony ever recorded, but it's the out-of-control feeling that distinguishes this from plain ol' eating. I don't like that feeling any more than the next person. I will probably never understand why it happens (suspecting PMS), but it's something to be mindful about the next time around, and hopefully a little sooner.

Fortunately, tonight Mr. Handsome and Handy is making salmon for dinner, so I'll be able to have another "goal meal." And I'll be sure to keep those mints handy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Weekly Weigh-in: -53

Feeling good, down -2 pounds this week. Blood glucose levels are great post-meal but still drifting up above 120 sometimes. That seems to happen more when I eat dinner later in the evening, even when my post-meal numbers are fantastic. Might just be one of those things I can't control, but perhaps next time I have a late dinner I'll try to make it lighter and see if that impacts things.

Yesterday's visit with the diabetes educator nurse and the nutritionist went pretty well. They felt I'm doing very well with my progress. It had been a couple of months, so I don't think they were expecting to see that much less of me. ;-) They had a copy of my lab results and were a bit concerned that the HDL/LDL numbers weren't looking quite as good as the rest of my cholesterol panel. So we discussed cutting saturated fats. I felt a little daunted, frankly. While I've been doing fine with balancing my carbs and eating better ones, I have been lax on the fats. We do eat a lot of red meat, and I loooooove crispy chicken skin or the charred fatty bits on the meat. Don't get me started on bacon, it's my passion. I held a mild grudge for years against my brother-in-law for burning the gourmet bacon we brought to his house one time. So...*sigh*...I wouldn't say I replaced sugar and refined carbs with fats--I already was eating plenty of fats, too, right along with the sugar and refined carbs--but the fats aren't my special focus from a reducing blood glucose levels standpoint. When I go a little over my fat portions, I haven't been stressing about it. So, while it hasn't noticeably impacted the weight loss so far, it is impacting future health. It's time to start gradually removing that prop. (*heavy sigh*)

My nutritional challenge for the week, then, is to have at least 3 meals with no meat/cheese/eggs/animal-based fats and at least 2 meals with fish. I was pretty close yesterday at lunch: black beans and salad and fajita-style veggies...with a small sprinkle of cheese (probably about 1 Tbsp). Yesterday's breakfast was one: fat free cottage cheese and a slice of flax toast with sugar-free jam. (I'm not counting my snack, since that's not a meal with protein or fat servings and I've been going fat-free with my Greek-style yogurt all along.) I bought some firm tofu and some tofu-based sausage, so we'll see how those go.

I've also made the fitness goal of running a 5K race quarterly. (Although I'm eyeing a couple of runs in November that look promising...) So it was back to running this morning, 35 minutes in swirling mist, I kept having to wipe off my glasses.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Running: Not Just for the Sweet Young Things

Okay, y'all are probably ready for me to shaddup already about the Pumpkin Run. But I checked out the results list, and I was veeeeery interested to see that the biggest age groups in both the 5K and the 10K were the women ages 40-49. Maybe not typical of other races--this being my first as a "sweet middle-aged thing" and all--but if you're in my age bracket and maybe not sure if you're a "runner" and happened to be intimidated by the idea of running a race, tell those "I'm not young enough/fast enough/jock enough" thoughts to go far, far away and never come back.

I'm also motivated to keep going and work on my speed. A 71-year-old gal from Oakland totally dusted me with a time of 36:31. Any tips for improving running speed? Or do you just do it every day and it naturally improves? What do you use after Couch-to-5K?

5K Photos

Here are some photos from the 2008 Pumpkin Run...

My view from the back of the pack. Yes, it really was that gloomy of a morning, weather-wise. But I found the view of this big ol' line of people running and walking very inspiring. Maybe because I usually run alone, early in the morning, in the dark.

The 2-mile marker. (Yes, I stopped my race to take a picture of the ground. I thought it was cute. ;-)

Yeayyy, I did it! (My fan club was sleeping in at home, so I had to ask a cute guy the dorky favor of taking my picture. Oh *darn*.)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I ran the 2008 Pumpkin Run 5K!

WOW WOW WOW!!! Where to start?!?! Words seem inadequate. I'm just not sure how to describe how exciting and fun it was, how exhilarating it felt to run in a race. I think perhaps the term "runners high" gets misused...I'm not sure if during the run is when I feel it, but it was definitely how I felt crossing that finish line. The glow is lasting all day.

The Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Run was a terrific event. The morning was foggy and cool, but hot coffee helped. There was a short kids' race (and all finishers got a goodie bag), plus a 5K run or walk and a 10K run. I highly recommend it, it's a friendly scene. There were people of all ages and sizes milling around before the race: moms and dads pushing jogging strollers, people with dogs, lots of kids, young adults, elderly people...and me, feeling excited and a little sick to my stomach, telling myself that it was just like a regular morning running, except a little longer and a little bit lighter outside. I had to run for the bathroom twice. I'm glad I rode my bike to and from the event--it's only about a mile and a half flat road each way, but it helped reduce the pre-race jitters and gave an outlet to the post-race rush.

Then it was time to run! I found a place in the back, flinched when the starting gun went off, then trotted along with everyone. There were a few people in the neighborhood outside cheering the runners, which was nice. I was toward the back of the running pack, and there were some other gals going about my pace. An older gal running with her dog had to stop once for...er...him to do his business, and detoured briefly to toss the bag, and she still passed me up.

What was really cool was looking across this huge field to the Coast Trail, and seeing this long line of runners going around the field and up the trail. I stopped and tried to get a decent shot from the back of the pack, but the photo really doesn't do it justice. I kept a comfortable pace the whole time, not knowing whether I'd feel really wiped out near the end.

Into the campground, pausing briefly at the water station, then down to the turnaround, back past the 2-mile marker (which was so cute, I had to stop and take a picture). More water, plus a few pieces of candy corn. Then onto the last street for the run back up to the school. Wait...there's the stop sign! Is it really that close?!? I thought Kelly Avenue was WAY longer! So I kicked it up a notch, made the turn, then the next turn, then put in as much speed as possible through the finish, bellowing a hearty, "WOO HOO!!!" as I crossed and went down the chute. "Wow!" I thought to myself, "that wasn't as grueling as I thought it would be. And I finished in way less time than I thought it would take!"

I stopped and had a snack, hung around through the awards, and checked out my official time: 39:29. I was 203rd out of 275 overall, and 34th/46 in the women 40-49. I know that's not going to impress any of the jocks out there, but I was utterly delighted.

Oh, I am so hooked now. I grabbed a flyer for a new year's day run over in Palo Alto. Not sure how that will fit in with our holiday plans, but I'd love to race once a quarter...and there's the choice next year, should I train to do a better 5K or go for the 10K?

Just before I left, the gal who won 2nd place in the age 70-79 division stopped and talked with me. "I'm 75," she said. "I think this is my last one." "Gosh, I hope I'm still running races when I'm 75!" I replied. I sure hope I see her at next year's run.

p.s. - I'll post pictures tomorrow...I can't find the usual controls in Blogger for adding pictures.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Quotable Friday

In honor of running the Pumpkin Run 5K this weekend (the first race I've run since I was a sweet young thing in high school), I was just going to post the ubuiquitous "Just Do It" slogan. But then I was checking out the blog of my new "motivational buddy" from MizFit*'s Bumbling Band, SeaBreeze. It's on the side bar under "Inspiration," and it perfectly summarizes how the fitness part of things feels for me. Glad to know I'm in good company. (Might work for you, too; see how it works when you substitute "running" with your personal challenge-de-la-vie.)
"Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp, or are you going to be strong today?'" —Peter Maher, two-time Olympic marathoner from Canada
And I also found via MizFit this quote from Jack LaLanne, which struck me as being laugh-out-loud funny for some reason...maybe because I'd been feeling guilty about not stretching enough before and after running.
"Fifteen minutes to warm up! Does a lion warm up when he’s hungry? ‘Uh-oh, here comes an antelope. Better warm up.’ No! He just goes out and eats the sucker. You gotta get the blood circulating, but does the lion cool down? No, he eats the sucker and goes to sleep. And that is the truth." - Jack LaLanne, on warming up before working out (I don't think nutrition and exercise are the only reasons he's still around at age 94, he's one of those fiesty people! ;-)
Then again, cats of all sort do spend a lot of time stretching, don't they?
Hope you all enjoy a "just go out and eat the sucker!" kind of weekend!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Weekly weigh-in: -51!

Down 2 pounds this week. Woo hoo! I passed the 50-pound mark. I still have a long way to go until I reach my goal, but it feels really, really great to be closer.

I'm also happy to have progressed in my arm strength training. I moved on to two 7.5 pound weights (my original 5-pound hand weights plus my husband's 2.5 lb ankle weights)...my arms still feel wobbly today.

5K in less than a week! AAAAIIIEEEEE!!! I haven't done the full distance in awhile, so I'm hoping I'm ready for it. Maybe tomorrow morning I'll do a trial run again.

The 50-pound Retrospective

Okay, here's the really weird part of all these physical changes: dealing with the fact that people (0ther than my nearest and dearest) now notice that I've dropped the weight equivalent of a small child. I guess I'd expected to quietly do my thing and not have anyone notice or comment at work. It started subtly, with comments about my hair looking nice...and I hadn't had a haircut in weeks. I just assumed that "Your hair looks nice" was the new, polite way of saying, "Daaaaaaaang, you have lost a TON of weight!"

Now it is pretty much the latter observation. (But said in a kind, positive way...I'm very fortunate to have nice coworkers.) I generally respond with a grin and a "thanks," but sometimes it gets a little weird...like when coworkers say I'm "inspiring" and proceed to tell me how hard or impossible it is for them to eat properly, exercise, and lose weight. I'm still working on these areas--or at least the first two, with the latter being a nice by-product of improving health. But after the first month or so, it hasn't been as hard for me as I thought it would be when I was the one thinking that eating sensibly would be hard and booooooring and--chuh!--forget about squeezing exercise (painful, unpleasant business, that) into my busy schedule. I listen, and do mention that I felt the same way, and tell them how I'm doing it if they ask. But I don't feel exceptional, I mean, if *I* can do it....

What's really weird is that sometimes I feel like an imposter. I know that you can't fake the results; I have focused and taken action to get where I am now. I don't fake likes and dislikes...for example, I don't pretend to hate chocolate or to love vegetables. (I do love 'em...except lima beans.)...and while I do feel good after a run, often as not I don't feel like running first thing in the morning. But I haven't divulged to most people that I have type 2 diabetes and that keeping it managed is driving me to make these seemingly "impossible" changes. Confession time: I feel ashamed of having gotten it, although I believe (in my mind at least) that it wasn't just sustained bad habits that got me here, genetics and possibly other factors contributed. For me, doing everything I can to manage it makes me feel less ashamed. Fear of what would happen if I didn't do anything about it also motivates me. Would I have had the "stick-to-it-iveness" without those really big sticks waving around behind me? Moot question at this point, although not sure what would have been the catalyst after 14 years of being overweight...not sure "feeling tired of being fat and out of shape" would have been enough, but then, it has been for others and may have been for me, too.

Anyone out there going through similar? How have you dealt with it?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Quotable Friday!

I felt a little under-the-weather last night, so I decided to try my rainy-day alternate workout. I popped in a walking workout DVD. "Wow," I thought to myself. "This seems kind of easy. I guess I have developed some endurance." I did break a sweat, and I enjoyed going for a full 60 minutes and felt a little fatigue on the strength training portion. But overall, it seemed pretty easily done. That was a really good feeling.

So today's theme? Endurance. Seems rather timely in a general way, too.

"Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory."
- William Barclay

"Endurance is patience concentrated."
- Thomas Carlyle

"Life is an error-making and an error-correcting process, and nature in marking man's papers will grade him for wisdom as measured both by survival and by the quality of life of those who survive."
- Jonas Salk

"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome."
- Booker T. Washington

Wishing everyone great success as we endure the coming week!

"Hot for the Holidays" challenge update: I lost another pound between Tuesday and today, so down 3 for the HFH challenge. I'm hoping it will be "Halfway for the Holidays" for me, since I'm 11 pounds away from my halfway-to-goal point. And in another 25 pounds, I will shed the "obese" BMI label! Yippee!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Weekly weigh-in: -49!

Down 2 pounds this week; yeay! Blood glucose levels mostly good, although I had a few mornings last week when I went over 120; boo!

Things are screamingly busy for me right now, but I just wanted to thank everyone who's been tuning in for your comments, even though I haven't had a chance to respond personally yet. They encourage me tremendously. (And no, not just to post more silly stuff on my blog. ;-) Getting healthy used to be such a solitary quest, but with the great blogs and fun comments and communities, not so much anymore! Best of luck to everyone this week!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Quotable Friday!

Today I'm featuring Ashleigh Brilliant, reigning king of the pithy aphorism. (Hmmm...maybe I should call this $.25 Word Friday instead?)

Here are a just a few of the many gems by Mr. Brilliant:
"It's not easy taking my problems one at a time when they refuse to get in line."

"For your own safety, please stay behind the line I have drawn around my supply of chocolate."

My life has a superb cast, but I can't figure out the plot."

"I'm just moving clouds today - tomorrow I’ll try mountains."

"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first, and, whatever you hit, call it the target."

"By doing just a little every day, I can gradually let the task completely overwhelm me."
"I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once."
Happy Weekend! And, as Mr. Brilliant would say: "Keep smiling! (but not so much that people begin to wonder if you are mentally unbalanced)."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Food Columnist's Sensible Weight Loss Story on SFGate.com

"Roving Feast columnist becomes diet outlaw," SFGate.com, October 1, 2008

Definitely worth a read, and Marlena Spieler described doing something that has helped me, too: reading the blogs of those who have lost weight and are maintaining their loss.
"Instead of torturing myself with yet another diet of self-defeat, I decided to take an informal survey of "naturally slim" people or people who had lost weight and kept it off. I was assembling a collection of inspirational people, a group I came to consider my gurus and goddesses. All I had to do was open my eyes and pay attention."
The article describes how she sensibly lost her 150 pounds. Lots of yummy recipes and snack ideas, too.

One tip, "Try to always eat less than anyone else at the table," made me laugh. Some evenings our dainty Thing 2 eats 3 tiny bits of meat, 2 bites of broccoli, then plays with the rest...I'd be seriously skinny. Although, come to think of it, that's how my mom eats, and she has always been quite slender, so maybe there's something to it. Then there's my petite sister-in-law: "Oh, I'm STARVING!!! Feed me NOW!!!" [eats 3 bites] "Stuffed, no thanks, couldn't eat another bite."

Another tip, "Eat from tiny plates," is a good one. I use our dinner set's salad plates, although at dinner I like to have a little more room for my veggies. Other meals, often as not will grab Thing 1's plastic Spiderman plate or Thing 2's Disney Princess plate. Or put my serving of chili in a Baby Einstein bowl rather than a soup bowl makes it look like I'm getting more AND sure gets me in touch with my inner child....

Detest running? Try walking a 5K

Honestly, I never thought I'd get back into running. If you had told me a year ago that I'd be training to run a 5K, I would have laughed myself silly. I hadn't run since high school, and while I enjoyed the feeling of finishing a race and the support and camaraderie of our team and our excellent coach, it was something I didn't plan to do after the season ended.

So why did I go back to running? Mid-life crisis. Not only of the diabetic variety, but also of the bone density variety. When I had my full health screening in June, it also showed that I needed to strengthen my bones. And I don't think it gets any more high impact than running for the lower body; I also started some light strength training for upper body.

Plus I got inspired when I read the Zen Habits blog article on starting a fitness routine and the Couch to 5K plan...and the Refuse to Regain blog's article on becoming an athlete. "Maybe what I need is something to train for, rather than just plain ol' exercise....hey, there's the Pumpkin Run in October, maybe that would be enough time." So with 4 months to get ready, I started training; when it was time to sign up, I really felt like it was something I could do. I'm not very fast, but that's not the point. As long as I can finish before they pack it up and go home, I'll be happy. (Thank goodness there's also a 5K walk component, too.)

And if I'd been discouraged from running by my medical team? Well, I've always enjoyed walking. I've added it to my lunchtime because otherwise I get too cooped up at the desk.

I found some similar resources for those who want to train to walk a 5K. You get to feel like you're "in training" rather than "exercising," get to support a charitable cause, and hey, sometimes you even get a t-shirt!

4 Weeks to a 5K
(Guideposts magazine)
Get Ready for Your Once-a-Year Charity Walk (about.com)
Preparing for a 5K Walk (Ladies Home Journal)

Good luck and happy moving!