Monday, December 28, 2009

Last Weekly Update of "the Noughties"! (12/31/09)

Happy New Year's Eve!

Wow...hard to believe that we are fast approaching the end of, as Dietgirl calls this past decade, "the Noughties"! (Love that term!) And what a decade it has been for the Opposite Family! Mr. Handsome-and-Handy and I celebrated 10 wedding anniversaries (and hopefully many more to follow!), we discovered the Big Island of Hawaii and made a return to Kauai, we experienced the birth of our two children and their growth into big elementary school kids (Yeay! Done with diapers!), I took a pause in my career to be at home with Things 1 & 2 for several years, I made an unexpected and earlier return to career life than I'd planned, Mr Handsome-and-Handy took a voluntary sojourn from his career to experience the wonderful world of being the at-home parent, and of course, there was my equally unexpected return to health (and discovery of my newbie triathlete alter-ego!) via my mid-life health crisis. What an amazing time it's been!

I've learned so much this year. I think that, health and fitness-wise, Lyn summed it up nicely in her post titled The Resolution Habit, "...this losing weight thing, for me, no longer has a start point or an end point. Eating healthy and exercising just IS. It's an effort I make daily because it is part of who I am. It is an integral part of my life, not an on-again, off-again thing." That is the constant theme I've discovered on the blogs of those who are sustaining a large weight loss: there is no end point. I believe that everyone has some sort of continuous life challenge, a recurring thing that they have to deal with. For me, the quest to achieve a healthy-for-me body weight has always been and will continue to be part of my life challenge. The difference now is that instead of being a burden and a struggle that leaves me feeling helpless and hopeless, it has become something that is transforming me, in more ways than simply physical.
  • I've learned that I want my focus to not be solely on reaching my goal weight (which I adjusted this year to a more realistic yet still elusive 165, from the middle-of-"healthy"-BMI-range 143).
  • I've learned that I want my focus to be on gaining a more fit body, one that can do all of the crazy, new athletic dreams I have for it. (These dreams are, according to old high school friends, not truly new; they're just a twist on my old tendency to be kind of a show-off. ;-P)
  • I've learned that I can trust myself to get back on track when I stray off course.
  • I've learned that going to the gym can be fun and interesting, not an embarrassing drudgery...and that I can stick with the gym habit for an entire year (and beyond)! It's become a great tool in my fitness toolkit.
  • I've learned that I really enjoy reading and commenting on your blogs, and it gives me a lot of inspiration to be part of the blogging community. Thanks, everyone!
So...what's up for 2010? This time last year, I was inwardly groaning and "bah humbugging" at all the talk of "your new year's resolution." (I set one goal for this year, and it wasn't formed at new year's-it was formed after my first 5K.) I think it was my seeing something that wasn't there, an unspoken judgment: "you DO have one, DON'T you, you slacker?" Like it was something you HAD to have. Ugh! Who needs that kind of pressure? So please to NOT read that into my excitement to share with you some of my goals for the upcoming year; not even sure why I'm excited to share these, since they're sort of a continuation of things I was planning to do anyway, but here goes....
  • Continue to maintain good health numbers (a1c less than 6.0%; maintain good cholesterol numbers and raise my HDLs; maintain healthy blood pressure) through food, fitness, and medications+supplements prescribed by my doctor.
  • Reward my fitness efforts by completing 1 race event per quarter. This was such a treat for me in 2009, so I'm going to continue with it in 2010. For Q1, I've signed up for the "Stanford Tree-athlon" at the end of February! It will be my second sprint triathlon, and I'm excited. It's only 8.5 weeks away, so I need to haul myself back to a swimming pool and do my running and spinning more regularly. New thing for me this time: finding a wetsuit. I'm debating making a trek down to the rental place recommended by the event coordinators (about a 40 minute drive) OR trying an online rental place. Being new to wetsuits, I will probably do the former. I should call first, though, and find out how it works well ahead of time. Not sure what will fill Qs 2, 3, and 4 yet. I don't think I'll be moving on to Olympic distance triathlon this year; I feel like I really need more sprint tri experience. I might try running a half-marathon, though. I'd also like to volunteer at an event in 2010, perhaps the Pumpkin Run, and learn more about how the events are coordinated.
  • Log 1000 miles of activity this year (activity=walk, run, swim, bike, spin, elliptical, etc.). This goal's purpose is to motivate me during those times when I'm not feeling motivated by an upcoming race, especially when the season winds to a close. I got this idea from the fun I'm having in logging my workouts and seeing the mileage add up. I'm a little scared to even put this out there--1000 miles is kind of intimidating--but with consistent workouts, I can do this.
  • Go horseback riding; not just any old place, but with Blue Sky Riding Experience. This has to wait until after April, because the horses are off for the winter months. (I've always wanted to ride a Tennessee Walking Horse.)
  • Knit those 6 caps! (I'll be using the book Knitting for Peace; it has some preemie patterns and advice for knitting them.)

Progress This Week

Not sure I'd classify this past week as "making progress"...unless it was progressing through batches of cookies and my sugar-free toffee in a vacuum cleaner-like manner. *cough*. But it was a really wonderful time. We enjoyed Christmas at home...not exactly quiet, with the crack of a Nerf dart launcher cocking and tiny *thwaps* of the Nerf darts hitting the wall; the low muttered grumbling of grown-ups clipping the 5 gazillion wire ties of toys, picking tape out of My Little Pony hair, and assembling Hot Wheels sets before their first cup of coffee; the "grrrr-rrr-rrr" of the "Perry the Platypus" talking plush toy and shrieks of Things 1&2 battling over it (giving new meaning to the label "Boxing Day" on December 26); the begging to HURRY and OPEN this THING I MUST PLAY WITH RIGHT NOW!!! (repeated until all gifts opened and played with); the 50,000th playing of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" on whatever Pandora channel we had on (never liked that song, now it's on my "ick list" with Anne Murray's "Christmas in Killarney" and "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer")--thank goodness Mr. H&H found the Christmas Island one. What was missing? The flash and camera-catchuk sound of photos being taken...Pubsgal dropped the ball and did not take any pictures on Christmas Day! (I could kick myself for not getting the wide-eyed, pre-present-opening shot. Not like I didn't have time; Thing 1 was up first, and he suggested opening presents later. "Around 2 o'clock." Hee hee! Riiiiight. Oh well.) We drove around and looking at lights in the evenings, had Mr. Handsome-and-Handy's brother's family over for "make your own pizza" dinner, foisted homemade cookies on our neighbors, and went on a "let's give Daddy some quiet time" outing to the park, bookstore, and Jamba Juice. *sigh*...what a holiday!

7-day blood glucose average: 101 (met goal of less than 120) <-I honestly have no idea how this was possible, given my intake. Next month's a1c will be interesting....
7-day fasting blood glucose average: 103 (met goal of less than 120)

Weight goals: Oops. I'm up 2.6 pounds this week.

Food goals:
- Oh heavens. I did not stay within 1000 calories of weekly goal. Not by a long shot. I allowed the holidays to run rampant through my oh-so-careful tracking and consuming efforts. It was like the Cat in the Hat up in here. Guess I'm supplying the "Voom," and it won't tidy things up instantaneously.
- Fiber: I averaged 42 grams fiber/day. (Oh, thank goodness for one accomplished food goal!)

Exercise goals: While I did not meet the 5x30 goal, I did do 4x30.
Total mileage: 11.14 miles (tracked)
- Wednesday: 60 minutes - BodyPump class
- Thursday: Ow...ow...ow. Did nothing. Quads were recovering from back-to-back BodyStep and BodyPump classes.
- Friday: Nothing today, either.
- Saturday: 69 minutes of extremely light stuff - Rode stationary bike for 30 minutes (estimating 2 miles; I went slowly and did not have the bike turned on, but figured something was better than nothing while I was talking on the phone), plus 1.1 mile strolling with the dog.
- Sunday: 30 minutes - Did the donut run (2.37 miles). Bonus activity - Untracked but heart-rate-raising "playout" at the park later in the afternoon, in which I chased The Things all over the play structures.
- Monday: Felt great self-loathing at skipping my gym workout and for eating the rest of the box of sugar-free toffee. On the other hand, it's gone now.
- Tuesday: 56 minutes, 5.67 total miles, mixed bag workout at the gym - 15 minutes, 1.25 miles on the elliptical; 26 minutes, 2.28 miles on the treadmill; 10 minutes, 1.14 mile on the rowing machine; 5:30 minutes, 1 mile on the recumbent bike.

Sleep: I think we actually did get 7 hours/sleep per night. I slept poorly on Christmas Eve, much anticipation!

Monthly Measure

No changes during the past month. 2009 summary:
bust: +.5 from my lowest point; -1.5 from this time last year.
ribcage: +1.5 from my lowest point; -1 from this time last year.
waist: + .5 from my lowest point; -2.5 from this time last year.
hips: No change; still at my lowest point; -2.5 from this time last year.
thighs: +.5 in both left and right from my lowest point during the year; no change from this time last year.

Given that I'm only 5 pounds less than I was at year end of 2008, I'm interpreting this to mean that I've lost fat and gained muscle throughout my body. Yeay! I will continue to work toward these measurement shrinking in 2010, particularly the waist measurement, as it correlates to heart health.

Goals for Next Week

7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or make progress toward goal.

Food goals:
Return to tracking calories.
Make sure calories eaten are *worthy*.
Track fiber. Minimum 30 grams fiber/day. (Include both insoluble and soluble sources.)

Exercise goals:
30 minutes of activity 5 days/week. At least one run, one bike, one swim, and one BodyPump.

Misc. goals:
7 or more hours sleep/night.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve!

Here's my entry to MizFit's Christmas Eve Bloggers' Virtual Talent Show! I had a more proper recording--which showed all of my head--but this one is much more reflective of the world of Pubsgal and the Opposite Family! Hope this gives you a smile, if not a good laugh. (Now, if only I had been able to convince Mr. Handsome-and-Handy to let me show the footage of him juggling my gym clothes while humming "We Wish You a Merry Christmas!")

To everyone out there reading, I wish you a wonderful holidays and a happy new year in 2010! To those who celebrate Christmas, I wish you the merriest! I hope everyone enjoys exactly the kind of time that you desire this time of year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Weekly Update, 12/23/09

Two Days Until Christmas!

Hi everyone! Here we are with only two more days until Christmas! Other than some baking for the neighbors, we're pretty much done with the preparations. Even though I sometimes feel a little overwhelmed by the holiday craziness, I enjoy the holidays quite a lot. I think one thing that makes it so crazy is that there are so many *possible* things to do and enjoy, but only so much time to do them in.

Aw, no tree picture this week. But I do have an update on..."Chia SpongeBob"!
We have sprouting!

Some, however, in places we weren't expecting...

Mr. SquarePants seems to have a back hair problem...

"Pay It Forward" Challenge Update: I didn't get any folks clamoring for hand-crafted Pubsgal items, and I was feeling a bit awkward about not being able to pay it forward, especially with Debby's superior craft skills. So I decided to put my knitting skills to good use, and I'll be paying it forward by making 3 little hats for Christie O's NICU virtual baby shower in 2010! Then the amazing Juice did a pay-it-forward post, and I proposed doing the same for her. Now I'm on the hook for 6 hats. (Maybe I should consider crochet...) With the shower in November, I've got over 1 month per hat.

Juice expressed interest in my handiwork, so here are some photos....

Here is Mr. Handsome & Handy's scarf, for motorcycle riding.
It's short, with a hole in one end to tuck the scarf through
(you can't really see that detail here very well).
Nice, dark, tweedy wool + cashmere, a little scratchy but not too bad.

Thing 1's scarf, in a nice, soft green yarn.
He picked the yarn on one of our outings.

This project went slowly due to the checkerboard pattern,
but I really love how it turned out.

And finally, Thing 2's lovey:

In case you're wondering, it's a *kitty*.

Maybe I should have saved this post for tomorrow? Anyhow, I'm breaking my sanity-preserving practice of weekly posting to participate in the Christmas Eve Blogger Talent Show! (See here for details.) See you tomorrow!

Progress last week:

7-day blood glucose average: 100 (met goal of less than 120)
7-day fasting blood glucose average: 98 (met goal of less than 120)

Weight goals: -1.2 pounds. Hey, this balancing calories in vs. calories burned thing really does seem to be working! Fancy that!

Food goals:
- Ate lots of veggies.
- Got in at 1 meatless meals but 0 fish meals.
- Fiber: 5/7 days were over 30.

Exercise goals: Wow, I thought I hadn't made my 30 minutes/5 days goal, but looking back, I did, even though it wasn't hard core fitness all of the days.
Total mileage: 11.21 miles (tracked)
- Wednesday: 83 minutes - 1 hour walk, 23 minutes (6 miles) on stationary bike.
- Thursday: Nothing
- Friday: 30 minutes - Walked the dog.
- Saturday: 60 minutes - Spent about an hour strolling with our neighbors at the harbor to see the lights on the boats. The walking itself did not raise my heartrate, but keeping my kids from falling off the docks might have just a bit. Glad I didn't have to log an impromptu swim here.
- Sunday: Nothing
- Monday: 49 minutes - 35 minutes on the treadmill (3.01 miles) in the morning, 9 minutes on the stationary bike at home (2.2 miles), 5 minutes of strength exercises.
- Tuesday: 60 minutes - I tried the BodyStep class last night. I'm quite possibly the most uncoordinated BodyStep participant ever. But as Brooke noted in my DailyMile comments, "there is a spot in the back of the class made for people like us! :)". I had fun rocking my little spot in the back, nearly flying off the bench at one point, though trying to be careful about whacking people. (I'm really feeling it in the quads today.) The back of the class, though, is right next to the windows facing sidewalk-level outside the gym; hopefully I didn't give too many of my coworkers a good laugh on their way home....

Sleep: Missed the goal of 7 hours/night for at least 1 night. We went to a concert on Sunday night to hear surf guitar legend Dick Dale play. It was great!

Tracking stuff with online tools makes it easy to see the trouble spots...namely, the weekend. I don't know that I have a good strategy for this yet. The plan of action is to lose 1/2 pound per week, which is slow, but I'm at a point where I'd rather see slow progress than none at all. So hopefully around this time next year, I'll be whooping it up at goal weight! (Note - disregard the weight lost this week in the "My Progress" bubble, because I started tracking when I was on an upswing.)

Goals for this week:

7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.

Weight goal: Maintain.

Food goals:
- Calories: Stay within 1000 calories of weekly goal. (Obviously, I will be adjusting this back down next week. ;-)
- Fiber: Average 30 grams fiber/day. (Include both insoluble and soluble sources.)

Exercise goals:
30 minutes of activity 5 days/week, with at least 1 strength session worked in there.

Misc. goals:
- 7 or more hours sleep/night.
- Enjoy a merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Weekly Update, 12/16/09

What's New?

First of all, Happy Hanukkah to all who are celebrating this festival of light and miracles! I'm not a religious person, but when I run across the WWJD acronym this time of year, I can't help but think that, historically, it would probably have more to do with applying light to a menorah rather than a tree and not stressing about what to buy the disciples. Sadly, though, He would not have known the joy of a potato latke, potatoes having been introduced to the Old World from the New World in the 1500s...I wonder how the holiday was observed back then? (Ah, count on History channel: "The Maccabbee soliders ate latkes made from cheese, vegetables, or fruits which were brought to them on the battlefields. However, they didn't eat potato latkes, as potatoes weren't available until the 16th century." Oooo...all of the above sound pretty tasty.)

Secondly, WOW!!! A big THANK YOU to MizFit and DietGirl for saying such nice things while sharing my bit o' blogger news during podcast #6 of Two Fit Chicks and a Microphone! I'm still floating! Christie O. was also featured in blogger news; way to go!!! (And not just her shrinkage, but her athletic feats--how many triathlons did you do this year, girlfriend?--and charitable work for NICU babies and their families were so inspiring to me this year!)

In other news, lots of miscellaneous stuff! The holidays have kept me busy, but I'm staying sane. (Probably because Mr. Handsome and Handy did all the work with the Christmas cards! I so owe him. But then, I did brave the post office....)

Things 1 & 2 have quite the social whirl...much more than the Mr. and me. TWO birthday parties over last weekend! At one party, which had a luau theme, the boy's mom had made this incredible lava cake and tiki gingerbread cookies. TOO cool! And a friend of theirs played "Happy Birthday" on the ukulele. *sigh*...I do so love things of Hawaii! The other was at an ice cream place, and the girl's parents had an ingenious idea: in lieu of gifts, everyone brought a gently-used, wrapped book, and then all the kids got to take one home. Of course, this had some unintended results...such as one of the boys grabbing one of the books we'd brought that was not wrapped in, er, particularly clueful wrap: "Pinkalicious" was probably not what he was expecting. Thing 2 ended up with a pretty book...that had a big wad of crusty, dried up (and looking mildewed) unidentifiable food object smashed in its pages.

It's not just a lava cake, but an entire scene!
I especially loved the palm trees made of those little tube-shaped cookies and sprigs of cilantro!
And the gummy fish cavorting through the blue jello sea is a nice touch, too!

I had to share this picture, too, of this Christmas tree that I pass when dropping off the kids to school. It's been grey weather here, and even when it's sunny this tree would be in deep shade; this tree dazzles, a little sparkly jewel set in the redwood forest.

"O Little Tree/In the Big Woods,/Pho-TOS don't do/You juuuuustice"

It's Not Just Toy Time for Kids!

For quite some time now, I've kept a paper log of everything related to my health and fitness goals: exercise, food, medicine/supplements, blood glucose levels, and miscellaneous stuff like flossing my teeth and fiber consumption. It's been a good system and it has helped me to develop much better habits overall. (Click to download the PDF if you're curious. And no, I don't think I ever did 3 runs in one week while tri training...more like 1-2 regular runs and 1 short run after spin class to simulate a "brick.")

I had resisted logging electronically, because I didn't want to have to log into a web site to enter data; I wanted to reduce it down to check boxes and simple jottings and to be able to track anywhere. Paper enabled me to do this. I tried some of the online calorie counters, but the databases had almost too much stuff in them, so I relied on the Calorie King book (and occasional forays online) when I needed nutritional data.

However...after I started tapering for my triathlon, my weight started going up. During training, I'd gotten more lax about portion control, because I'd been keeping up a level of activity that allowed me to maintain at a weight I felt comfortable with. Now, however, I'm in the "off season," and I drifted up to a weight I really didn't want to see again. I've lately been feeling that panicky, how-do-I-reverse-this-train-wreck feeling that so characterized pre-Opposite Life. So I unleashed the control freak within: I decided that I needed more data about calories, input vs. expenditure. And I found some shiny new "toys" to help me!

Toy #1: Daily Mile
While this doesn't calculate calorie expenditures, I do like the way it tracks time and miles for various activities (and I can track other non-mileage related fitness, too). It makes lots of nice charts, so I can see at-a-glance how I'm doing. I'm a visual person, so their graphics give me a representation of what I'm accomplishing through my regular workouts, now that the fitness and figure gains are more subtle. (Yeay, NSV numbers!) I also have it hooked up to Twitter, so it automatically tweets my workouts. The down sides: it's not available as an iPhone app, and Safari has issues with the login interface to the site. (I have to log in twice. Grr.) And when I'm playing catch-up with my logging, it gives the appearance on Twitter that I'm doing an insane amount of exercise in one day; wish it would post the actual date on the Twitter feed when your workout is not on the day you're posting it.

Toy #2: We Like to Lose It, Lose It!
So it wasn't until Mr. Handsome-and-Handy got an iPhone that I embarked on the wonderful adventure of playing with iPhone apps! I decided to give this one a whirl, because it was *free*, and I wasn't sure if I'd get into logging electronically. I'm LOVING it! (Of course, I now have about 70% of my usual food items entered in, so logging goes much more quickly.)

I'm not crazy about its database, but I can create my own foods and enter my own nutritional data, and I can create "recipes" by combining these foods. (For example, I made a "recipe" of my usual coffee+cream+almond milk, and then I can pull just the recipe into breakfast.) I can also copy a full meal from another day, and then modify it to fit a particular day.

This app does upload to a web site, and I can export my data, but after looking at the export in Excel, I'm not sure it's entirely accurate, at least on the export. But I'm finding that the data is helping me stay honest with myself about my calorie intake--through an at-a-glance chart--and it's helping my accountability. It forms a "plan" for you, based on age and the rate you want to lose (plus it has a maintenance option-very important!); right now, I have it set to "lose half a pound per week," and that has even been challenging, which tells me how far I've gotten off track!

I'm finding that it works best when I enter in as much of my day's meal plan as possible - for example, when I pack a lunch, I enter that in during the morning, too. This encourages me to plan my eating better, or at least pause to check before I dive in at dinner! And it also counts exercise; I'm sure it's not completely precise, but you can add custom exercise numbers if you have better data than is provided in their database. I like that it adds calories burned to your daily budget; you can still tell what is earned through activity vs. budgeted, but it seems to work like Weight Watchers' activity points. (It's like getting a reward for activity, but you know how much of a reward, rather than the vague, "Hey, I went to the gym! Now I can drink a big ol' milkshake" mentality that fitness articles warn about.) What I don't know is whether it adjusts one's calorie budget based on one's weight as one loses, and I suspect that the activity calorie burn data is an average vs. precise for one's weight. But right now, this is much more data than I was working with before, and I'm a happy camper. Oh, and I also like that it tracks nutrients, so I'm getting a better idea of my carb/protein/fat intake, saturated fat intake, and fiber intake!

The only downsides that I've encountered so far are (1) the inability to note time of meals, (2) no place for additional notes for a day - this would be handy for me, to note blood glucose levels and other miscellany, and (3) the amount of set-up required to make it work efficiently. Oh, and you can't create a recipe of zero calorie items; for example, I wanted to track my medicine and supplements via recipe. Once I assigned the proper calories to the fish oil pills, I was able to do this. (You can, however, create zero-calorie items individually; its database has items like water, coffee, and tea, if you want to track fluids.) (4) Restaurant/takeout dining will be very difficult to log; I wish Whole Foods would post nutritional data for their food bar items, for example. Oh, and party munching was tricky. At the party on Sunday, I just make one custom food item with a ballpark estimate, rather than enter every carrot stick and cheese cube. As long as I report accurately at least 80% of the time, I'm sure this will be a helpful tool.

Anyhow, time will tell how my new "toys" work for me; but so far, so good!

Progress last week

7-day blood glucose average: 99 (met goal of less than 120)
7-day fasting blood glucose average: 99 (met goal of less than 120)

Weight goals: -1 pound. Woot! Back in the 180's!

Food goals:
- 3/5 work days were food brought from home.
- Ate lots of veggies.
- Got in at least 3 meatless meals but 0 fish meals.
- Fiber: Of the tracked days, 3/5 days were over 30.

Exercise goals: Hmmm...didn't meet my 30 min/5 days goal. I'm sure there's some incidental exercise happening in there, with holiday errands cutting into the workout time, but I'm not counting that.
Total mileage: 22.26
- Wednesday: No activity
- Thursday: 38 minutes (3 miles) - Indoor cardio "triathlon" of elliptical + stairmaster + treadmill.
- Friday: No activity
- Saturday: No activity
- Sunday: No activity
- Monday: 50 minutes - 35 elliptical (2.5 miles) plus 15 minutes of strength exercises
- Tuesday: 60 minute spin class (16.76 miles)

Sleep: Missed the goal of 7 hours/night for at least 3 nights.

Goals for this week

7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or make progress toward goal.

Food goals:
Track fiber. Minimum 30 grams fiber/day. (Include both insoluble and soluble sources.)

Exercise goals:
30 minutes of activity 5 days/week, with at least 2 strength sessions worked in there.

Misc. goals:
7 or more hours sleep/night.
Have fun and breathe-relax-staycalm-ooooohhhhmmmm about the holidays!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The "Pay it Forward" Challenge!

Happy Friday, everyone! It's a wet, blustery day in Northern California. So let's discuss something cozy: crafts!

One of the bloggers that I follow, Debby at debby weighs in, has a post on paying it forward. She is participating in a handmade gift "paying it forward" challenge. I was a little intimidated about participating, because she's a total crafting whiz...and while I enjoy crafting, too, I'm definitely not in her league. But I couldn't resist! (My handmade gifts tend to be in the realm of baking; uncomplicated but tidy knitting with gorgeous yarns, think scarves rather than, say, sweaters; and handmade greeting cards.)

Not sure how well this will work, either, given that nearly everyone who reads this also reads Debby. :-) But here are the details:
It’s a challenge of sorts. In a nutshell, it’s to send a handmade gift to 3 people.
I will make a handmade gift for the first 3 interested people who comment on this post.

I have 365 days to do it in

What it will be and when it will arrive is a total surprise!

The catch is that you must participate as well:

You must have a blog.

And before you leave your comment here, write up a pay it forward post on your blog to keep the fun going. Just cut and paste this one if you like, which I did.

So, there you go…..if you’d like to receive a handmade gift from me sometime in the next 365 days, leave a comment here on my blog. I’m already thinking about what I’ll make and send…
Hmmm...not sure I have a good pay-it-forward story, but there's the old knitting superstition of "never knit a sweater for a boyfriend." I'm happy to say that I didn't have to go through the effort of knitting an entire sweater...I've driven men off with mere scarves and slippers. I did not knit anything for Mr. Handsome-and-Handy until we were married, though...come to think of it, I wear that scarf more than he does! ;-)

I popped over to my sister-in-law's the other evening, and I admired a wreath on her wall that was covered with vintage ornaments. It turns out she made it herself; she'd seen the idea at a local craft fair, and being a craft person herself, thought it would be fun! I'm kicking myself now for not having snapped a photo to show you all...if I get over there again during the holidays, I'll bring the regular camera and get a good one. you enjoy crafting? What are your favorite things to make?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Scenes of Our Season (+weekly update 12/9/09)

I'm so sorry to not be around commenting like I usually do, but I'm immersed. Submerged. Almost-but-not-quite overwhelmed. But gladly so, with hard work and the joys of the season. I am reading, though, and enjoying all the photos of all y'all's holiday fun. So in lieu of rambling, I thought I'd share some scenes from our season.

Our new tree! Why is it so hard to get a nice photo of a Christmas tree?
(Notice the dog rear on right of photo, Cecelia and Juice?)
Ala Lori, some closeups of some of my favorite ornaments:

Here are snowmen for says "Let it Snow" and was a gift to Mr. Handsome-and-Handy on our first Christmas together, him being a transplanted Midwesterner.
I've gotten him a "let it snow"-themed gift each year.
The whale ornament is from our Hawaii Christmas a couple of years ago.

Thing 1's snowflake...

...Thing 2's snowflake...

...and one of the crocheted snowflakes made by my super-crafty grandmother! She has passed on; I'm glad we have some of her beautiful handiwork. (Including what she titled her "chocolate quilt," a double-wedding ring quilt in shades of brown. I always think of GramE when I see your quilts, Debby!)

And speaking of trees, some photos from our visit to the coolest tree farm ever!
(The Mythbusters even bought their trees there for their holiday special, in which they tested which additive helped trees retain their needles.
The property is full of swings hanging from the trees, like this tire swing.
(Your guys would love this place, Christie O!)

Oddly though, we don't go there to buy a tree. We go for the wreath-making! (And the firepit with marshmallows for roasting, and the hay bale maze, and the scenic beauty....)

A rare treat: snow up at our kids' school!
This happens about once a year, and not always then.

We weren't 100% sure of snow up there, so on the way up....
Thing 1: I'm going to build a snowman!
Me: There might not be enough snow...
Thing 1: I'll build a snow CHICKEN, then!
(He was too busy with the snowball fight, so Thing 2 and I made the snow chicken.)

A frosty playground...or, should I say, battleground?

Oooo, got him!

P.S. Health-wise, I'm back down to where I was 2 weeks ago; having more "playouts" and "bakeouts" and "shopouts" than "workouts"; and blood glucose averages good - 100 fasting, 98 overall.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy December!

Wow, it's December already?!? We're charging through the holidays, no?

Sparkly tree in the lobby at work...this photo doesn't do it justice.

How the Holiday Weekend Went

Thanksgiving and Mr. Handsome-and-Handy's birthday weekend went well. I kicked off the holidays with my personal "turkey trot" on Thanksgiving morning. After three days of not much activity, my body was rarin' to go! While I ran, I enjoyed the wonderful 2 Fit Chicks and a Microphone podcast #5. I laughed out loud when Miz and Dietgirl read the letter from the listener who listens when he or she works out, and M&D wondered if others listened while *they* worked out. It was still dark when I did my run, so it was nice to have good virtual company.

Thanksgiving was a family potluck hosted by my sister-in-law's sister and her husband. (Would that make them my in-law in-laws?) Unfortunately, our hostess was down and out with the flu (and had removed herself to her mom's for the day); but my sister-in-law and her brother-in-law saved the day with their mad cooking & grilling skills. I'm usually not a big fan of turkey, but this turkey was smoked on the grill, and on one of the turkeys, there was *bacon*. Holy yum! Is there anything not made better by the magic touch of bacon? Of course, our host started whipping off the bacon slices onto a plate before I could get a photo for you all. Drat! This also solved the dilemma of what to feed my turkey-averse kids: they enjoyed the bacon quite a lot. I enjoyed quite a lot of turkey with its crispy, smokey skin...sort of like the bacon of the turkey, isn't it? (Or, as my good friend Wendy calls it, "meat candy.") My sister-in-law's gravy was magical. So I ate quite a lot of turkey, dibs and dabs of the starchy stuff, and I'm not sure why but I grabbed some of the green bean casserole. I don't even really care much for the green bean casserole. So yes, there was some mindless feeding. Thank goodness we brought a fruit and veggie tray, because aside from green bean casserole, there was nary a veg to be found. My plate feels naked when it doesn't wear green. (I also discovered the amazingness of Trader Joe's cilantro pecan dip! Yum! Goes very well with raw veggies.)

Having kids, as Miz pointed out in the podcast, is a blessing at family events, even when you really like your extended family. It gave me a great excuse to get outside and work off some of that food! I played lawn hockey and on the trampoline with the kids before and after dinner, which included some practical strength exercises of trying to climb a rope, hauling a rope up and down with kids hanging on it, and tricep pushups against the side of the trampoline. I have no idea what we're going to do at the next family gathering, because they are planning to get rid of their trampoline pretty soon! Aaaiiiee! Maybe we'll have to bring our mini inflatable jumpy.

One highlight of the evening was our host's grandfather's videos. His grandfather loved taking home movies, and it was wonderful seeing scenes of life from 1927. The family had a great sense of humor, so there were several funny stunts. Such as family members leaving the house, then sneaking back around, so there was this continual stream of people. Even more funny, you saw the occasional person sneaking back around. It was also quite historic, with video of Yosemite (people feeding bears by hand? yikes!) and a trip to a lumber camp and a day at the beach. Not to mention the clothing styles and old cars! (And apparently "buns" were as funny then as they are now. Gave me a reassuring sense of continuity, that.)

I did have a little holiday-induced perfectionist PMS panic going on...that feeling of, "It's almost December 1st...have you ordered your holiday cards yet?" *Gulp!* And, "There is nothing I could buy that will truly express how much I adore Mr. H&H. So hopefully this stuff he wanted and already knows about and this Star Trek beer glass will suffice." Although, I must say, nothing says familial affection like the Chia SpongeBob SquarePants that his brother & family got him. (Our people are big on goofy humor; this is the same brother that dressed up as a whoopie cushion last Halloween. ;-) It's open and on the hutch, and we're going to see if SpongeBob gets chia-headed in the estimated 2 weeks; this should work unless I get peckish for fiber and lick the chia off his head.

I also did a bit of overindulging in the carb/salt/fat foods over the weekend and not enough indulging in the veggies, which led to some increasing numerals mounting between my toes each morning and some snugness in the pantalones. Not to the extent of bad effect on the blood glucose levels, but the carb/fat/salt cravings kicked up a few notches. I've been doing some course correcting, telling myself that the cravings are normal and that if I stick to my plan, they will go away in a couple of days and I won't feel like I want to vacuum up a tin of nuts. I achieved a minor victory the last two nights in a row: I did not snack after dinner last night! Just ate my dinner, and was done. Finis! Finito! ("Finally!" you say. I know, huh?) It tends to be a very vulnerable time in my day. SpongeBob had better watch it tonight.

We also got a new tree on Saturday, after Mr. H&H spent 4 hours on Friday trying to change all the dead bulbs in our old artificial tree. The new one is slim and fits in our tiny house much better, plus the lights are LED and more efficient. Things 1 & 2 loved decorating it. Photos of that tree next time!

Monthly Measure
Well, last month's measure was up in most areas. I'm happy to report that bust is down .5, but thighs are up .5; other measurements unchanged. Which means that, from my lowest measurement, I'm still up 1" in waist, 1.5" in rib cage, and .5" in the thighs; however, bust and hips are at their low point.

Progress last week

7-day blood glucose average: 102 (met goal of less than 120)
7-day fasting blood glucose average: 101 (met goal of less than 120)

Weight goals: +.4 from last week, and back to where I was 2 weeks ago. Still in the 190s, but given the scale trend over the weekend, I'm feeling grateful to be back on track.

Food goals:
- 2/3 work days were food brought from home.
- Ate lots of veggies. Used veggie & fruit tray for noshing at Thanksgiving, as planned.
- Got in at least 2 meatless meals but 0 fish meals.
- Fiber: at least 3/7 days were over 30. Could have been better.

Exercise goals: Made 30/day for 4 days; missed the "get kids outside to play an hour a day" goal, other than Thanksgiving day.
Total mileage: 34.47 miles
- Wednesday: No activity
- Thursday: 60 minutes (4.83 miles) - my personal turkey trot!
- Friday: No activity
- Saturday: 40 minutes on the stationary bike (8 miles)
- Sunday: No activity
- Monday: 38 minutes run (3 miles); about 10 minutes of strength exercises later in the day.
- Tuesday: 60 minute spin class (18.64 miles)

Sleep: Met goal of 7 hours/night, except for Monday night.

Goals for this week

7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or make progress toward goal.

Food goals:
Track fiber. Minimum 30 grams fiber/day. (Include both insoluble and soluble sources.)

Exercise goals:
30 minutes of activity 5 days/week.

Misc. goals:
7 or more hours sleep/night.
Have fun and breathe-relax-staycalm-ooooohhhhmmmm about the holidays!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Weekly Update 11/25/09 and Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, a day early, but is it ever a bad time to celebrate being thankful? Nah! I hope you all enjoy a wonderful day, whether it's Thanksgiving in your part of the world or not. As I said last year around this time (but it bears repeating): My blogroll is the "virtual" portion of my gratitude board. I'm truly grateful for the accountability and inspiration I receive daily from the fitness/weight loss and diabetes blogging communities. I receive this from both the bloggers and commenters on the blogs I follow and the people who offer comments and encouragement on my own. THANK YOU!

My week has been somewhat inconsistent. Three days of great workouts, a couple of days of nothing, and a couple of days of not even quite bare minimum activity. Oh well, you'll have weeks like that sometimes. There's been a bit more holiday prep activities, like shopping and returning items that I'd mail ordered long ago that Thing 2 did not fit or like. Food-wise, I didn't do as well as I would have liked, but on the other hand, I didn't go too crazy, either.

Yesterday morning, Thing 2 noticed me putting on my work shoes. I think she's going to be a shoe maven, because she admired my new shoes (these and this other pair I bought...hurray for Ross and deeply discounted shoes in my size!)...and they're not even pink. She asked, "Mommy, are you going to take your running shoes today? Because you can wear those shoes [pointed at shoe on left] for the boring part, and your running shoes for the running part."

"What do your shoes say about your week?"

So...that's nice about this week, but what about the next? Or perhaps, the next 6? Well, I'm not too freaked out about the holidays, oddly enough. Sometimes it feels like a precarious balance, getting all the healthy stuff I need in my diet and allowing for enough of the stuff I love to eat (that doesn't fit into the first category), so that I don't feel deprived and like this living healthy stuff is not worth it all. Not to mention getting in enough exercise to keep me content! But I'd say that's the biggest difference between last year and this one. Last year, I was so afraid that taking a rest day unscheduled or making an "active rest" day out of a workout day would totally switch my track for a return trip to Couchville. This year, I feel (paradoxically) more free to change up my schedule as needed, because the need to workout is now a part of me. I trust it like I didn't before. I'm looking forward to the unstructured holiday days. I'm planning to schedule some time each day to do outdoor workouts; while I love having the gym as one of my options, I really prefer to run and bike outdoors. Hopefully Things 1 and 2 will not be popping like toast before first light, so I can get in some activity while they're still sleeping. But if not, I'm trusting that I can be spared for at least a half hour each day. I really want to take the ol' bike on those dirt trails south of town...

Progress last week

7-day blood glucose average: 100 (met goal of less than 120)
7-day fasting blood glucose average: 105 (met goal of less than 120)

Weight goals: -0.6. Drat, still in the 190s!

Food goals:
- 3/5 work days were food brought from home.
- Ate lots of veggies.
- Got in at least 4 meatless meals but 0 fish meals.
- Fiber: at least 3/7 days were over 30. Could have been better.

Exercise goals: Didn't meet 30/day for 5 days, unless you average my workouts over the week, but did my best.
Total estimated mileage: 21 miles
- Wednesday: 60 minutes of BodyPump class
- Thursday: 60 minutes - 2 mile trail run and 5.5 on recumbent bike at the gym. This was a nice change of pace, because I kicked back with my blog reading and a skinny caramel latte and still got in some exercise!
- Friday: Rest
- Saturday: Rest
- Sunday: 10K run and 6.5 mile bike ride to & from the event (12.7 miles total, about 2 hours or so of activity).
- Monday: 15 minute walk (.55 mile)
- Tuesday: 20 minute dog stroll (.35 mile...our dog is not exactly an action dog, she has to stop and sniff EVERYTHING!)

Sleep: Met goal of 7 hours/night.

Goals for this week

7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or make progress toward goal.

Food goals:
Track fiber. Minimum 30 grams fiber/day. (Include both insoluble and soluble sources.)
Bring veggie & fruit tray to Thanksgiving and use it for any mindless noshing.

Exercise goals:
30 minutes of activity 5 days/week.
Get kids out to play 1 hour each day during the holiday weekend.

Misc. goals:
7 or more hours sleep/night.
Have fun!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pillar Point Run 10K: The Race Report!

(Thanks, everyone, for the congrats on my "tweet"-style posting yesterday!)

Oddly enough, the big question of the day wasn't, "Can I finish a 10K race?"

Nor was it, "Will I finish last?" (Small race, so I was almost positive the answer would be "yes.")

No, it was, "How many bottles of Metromint can I snag without feeling rude?"

The Pillar Point Run was my first foray into 10K races. The event featured a 10K, 1/2 marathon, and a family fun run to benefit the Coastside Infant Toddler Center. The event itself is well-organized, although I would have liked to see a little more information on the beneficiary's web site.

Unlike Saturday or today, Sunday gradually transitioned (can't really say "dawned") from dark to gloomy. I ate my oatbran-protein pancakes with peanut butter and sugar-free syrup...and 1/3 a glazed chocolate donut. (Heh, funny side note: my spellchecker caught "donut" and suggested "donuts"...I guess one donut or less does not compute!) I rode the 3.25 miles to the race location at Pillar Point Harbor, and a fine coat of thick mist coated my glasses along the way. As I arrived, the half marathon was just starting, so I had about a half hour until the 10K race.

Lovely day for a run!

But thanks to Mr. Robert E. Nylund and his submission on Wikimedia Commons, here's what the harbor looks like on a nice day! And no matter what the weather, it's always a good place to get fresh dungeness crab!

I saw a woman I knew from my mom's club days--she was there with her little guy for the family fun run--and she made me laugh with her tale: she was visiting her sister, and they decided to run a race. She had a new baby, and she didn't have her jogging stroller, but they figured the snap-your-carseat-in variety was fine for a taking-it-easy 5K. Toward the end, they went to pass this guy, and he bellowed, "No way are two MOMS WITH A STROLLER going to pass me!" And it was ON! My friend only stopped sprinting when she realized that the wheels of the stroller were shimmying too much to be safe for the baby. (Her sister did pass the finish line before He of the Fragile Ego, though.)

I was laughing so hard I didn't hear the call for the 10K, and scooted into the back of the pack just as they shouted "Go!" (Whew!)

Here is the grand starting line!

Being a very small field, I quickly found myself bringing up the back of the pack. I kept chanting to myself, "Run your own your own race..." to keep from getting discouraged, but soon I fell into a good running rhythm. I have the runner who stayed just ahead of me the whole time (whom I'll call "Pace Lady") to thank for that; she kept a good, steady pace going for the entire race.

The course is an out-and-back course, and it follows the area's coastal trail; it's nice and flat, and my favorite run. Although you see the same up-close things (houses, trees), the greater back-ground view is different: mountains and distant cliffs on the south-bound direction, different mountains and harbor on the north-bound. And who gets tired of watching the breaking waves? In a way, I'm glad it was a grey day, because I would have been too tempted to stop and take a bunch of pictures along the route!

Not a lot of people out and about, but as Pace Lady and I got to about 2.5 miles, we started seeing other runners coming back the other way and cheered them on. It made for nice camaraderie. There was no shortage of aid stops...I think there was one about every mile in the 10K. I didn't stop, though, because I was toting my own bottle of coconut water and it kept me going. I felt fantastic until about mile 4.5, then I felt a little funny, so I ate a glucose tab. Around that time, odd songs kept popping into my head...there was the "Chihuahua!" song (thanks, Thing 2!)...and then, the "Rum and Coca-cola" song...really, I couldn't have thought of anything better? What's worse, I started puffing out the songs in time to my steps; luckily Pace Lady had pulled ahead enough to not hear me. I thought she was giving it her final kick and was going to lose me, but then, I started thinking "quick feet! quick feet! one two, one two, one two" and I managed to pick up my pace a bit and pull up behind her again. Yeah! When we reached Surfer's Beach, I felt that surge of happiness, that "yep, I'm going to make it!" feeling. I wasn't able to go much faster, but we kept a steady pace past the RV lot and behind the breakwater, past the boat launch and Sam's Chowder House, through the parking lot, and OVER THE FINISH LINE! WOO HOO!!!

I walked around a bit, because I could feel my legs starting to cramp up a bit. Walking and stretching helped. I found Pace Lady and admired how *easy* she made the race look; we chatted about the race a bit and I asked her to take my picture. I found the two ladies whom I'd passed, and we all congratulated each other on finishing.

The "Woo Hoo!" post-race grin

Well, I must say the post-race swag was great! They had Odwalla bars and bottles of Metromint, fresh fruit, and these fruit-flavored bottled smoothies. There was also the traditional t-shirt, and Metromint bags to boot! I milled around a bit, called Mr. Handsome-and-Handy ("You're done already???"), stopped for a bit of gelato at a place I'd heard rave reviews of but hadn't been to yet (OMG, so worthy!!!), and then I biked home...on the trail I just ran!

Overall, I'm really happy with the result of 1:09:16. I was hoping to finish in less than 1:30; it was a generous estimate, granted, because I hadn't been training much for the race and I wasn't sure how the longer distance would play out. I'm delighted that I was able to keep my 5K pace the entire time. I'm not sure why, but this felt a lot easier than the Theta Breakers 5K! I wonder if it has to do with getting a proper warm-up. Races in which I've felt really good (Pumpkin Run, See Jane Run and Tri, and this one), I've either ridden my bike to the event or participated in warm-up exercises; whereas races to which I've driven but not warmed up (other than walking around), I didn't feel as good during the race. It seems counter-intuitive that expending energy before a race would be helpful, but it seems to work for me. I really like the 10K distance for racing, so I think I'll be doing some more of those in 2010!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Food Find!

I usually don't get this excited about a new food find, but oh my stars, what I found today! You know I have a deep love of Greek-style plain yogurt. Well, while shopping for lunch at Whole Foods today, I decided to brave a little agave nectar in the ingredients and test the intriguing "Siggi's" yogurt.

I chose the orange and ginger flavor. It is hea-ven-ly (if you like that combo): orangey (but not overpoweringly so) and extremely tart, but with a hint of sweetness (which I love!), and there were little candied ginger bits. (No actual fruit bits, though, from reviews I've read of the other flavors; this could be a good or a bad thing, depending on how "chunky" you like your flavored yogurt.) Consistency-wise, it's like Fage, very thick and creamy but no fat. (From what I've read on the site and the nutritional info, it seems identical to Greek-style yogurt.) I know there are flavored Greek-style yogurts, but they have higher sugar content than I want, so I usually mix my own with fresh fruit and no sweetener. However, Siggi's had only 10 grams of sugar (12 grams carb total). It was kind to my blood glucose levels: 1 hour post-consumption it went from 87 to 101 (+14), which works for me. This being a rest day, my result was not mitigated by a workout.

When I want my plain yogurt with fresh fruit, I will still bargain shop for my plain Greek-style yogurt; but this will be a really nice treat now & then.

P.S. - Cruising the web, I found a fun write-up of Siggi and his yogurt on "The Amateur Gourmet." Hmmm...pineapple+cilantro yogurt smoothies? Interesting...

P.P.S. - No, I was not compensated for this review. (Though if they ever wanted me to host a giveaway, I'd be delighted.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Big Blue Post + Weekly Update 11/18/09

The Big Blue Test!

Saturday was World Diabetes Day 2009. Landmarks all around the world were lit up in blue in honor of diabetes awareness. And Tu Diabetes sponsored an event called "The Big Blue Test," in which people with diabetes would test together, exercise together, and then test again. The point of exercising was to raise awareness of how exercise can help with blood glucose levels.

Thanks to Thing 1, here is my Big Blue Test, in pictures!

Here I am, ready for The Big Blue Test! (That's my *eager* face!)

Testing: 1, 2, 3.... Used my pinkie, guess I was in a *fancy* mood.

95 before exercise!

It was a beautiful fall day, so I decided to go for a walk. I wanted to see how a lower impact exercise would affect my numbers.

I took a brisk, 15-minute walk, I'm guessing about 3/4 mile to 1 mile in length.

Here's the view from the end of my street. Wish I could have treated you to a view of some lovely horses, too, but the pasture was empty.

"Holy coronitas!!!" You can't see what I'm disbelieving, but it's a reading of...64?!?!
Must be a bad strip, I'll test again....

Second test: 69?!? Testing one more time...

Third and final test: 70! Think I'll have a little snack....

So there is some variation on test strips. This batch, on the whole, has seemed a little lower during the month, so it will be interesting to see how I trend on the next batch of test strips. But still, when I looked at other Big Blue Test participants' results on Twitter during the day, many had dramatic drops after only 14 minutes of exercise. I knew exercise was beneficial, but it was interesting to me to see how even mild exercise could make a noticeable difference. As my good friend Foodie McBody tweeted to me, "It's too bad the (weight) scale doesn't show such wonderful and instantaneous results, eh?"

I saw other participants' results going up rather than down; that had to be discouraging! There are variations on how one's body responds to exercise, and I've noticed this in my own experience. Sometimes I tend to run a little higher on race days (race-day excitement affects my blood glucose levels), when I perform harder exercise (stress on my body can raise blood glucose levels-I noticed this more when I was starting to run), and when I am not getting enough rest.

Anyhow, if you're newly diagnosed and have been advised by your doctor or diabetes educator to use exercise as part of your plan to manage your diabetes, why not try your own "big blue test" and see if your results confirm or deny the effect of exercise on your blood glucose levels? (Unless, of course, you cannot exercise due to disability or medical advice!)

Progress last week

7-day blood glucose average: 88 (met goal of less than 120) <-skewed a bit by the BBT
7-day fasting blood glucose average: 95 (met goal of less than 120)

Weight goals: +1.6. Drat, back up in the 190s! I'm not doing so hot with my eating at home...I've pin-pointed it to stress-feeding, and I need to figure out a better outlet than grabbing salty, high-calorie snackage.

Food goals:
- Brought lunch from home on only one work day, but went nice & healthy & somewhat frugally on the buying days and used protein that I already had in my desk (love dry roasted edamame!).
- Ate lots of veggies. I think this is the first weekend in some time that I didn't make my ratatouille.
- Got in at least 4 meatless meals but 0 fish meals.
- Fiber: at least 4/7 days were over 30.

Exercise goals: Didn't meet 30/day for 5 days, but I wasn't expecting to do so this week.
Total estimated mileage: 21.56 miles
- Wednesday: 20 minutes run (1.44 miles)
- Thursday: 40 minutes walk (1.84 miles) + 10 minute video (ab exercises)
- Friday: 37 minutes (20 walking the dog, .25; 17 running, 1.44 miles) + 1 hour vigorous playing at the park with the kids
- Saturday: 15 minutes walk (.75 mile)
- Sunday: 15 minutes on stationary bike (no mileage estimate)
- Monday: 35 minutes walk (1.84 miles)
- Tuesday: 60 minutes spin class (monitor broken, so I have no idea of the distance; estimating 14 miles)

Sleep: Met goal of 7 hours/night.

Goals for this week

7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or make progress toward goal.

Food goals:
- Keep going with the veggies!
- Rein in the nuts and dark chocolate; pass by some of the "just a taste of this" and "I'll have a dab of that." Get the homefront eating under control.
- Bring lunch from home 4/5 work days.
- 4 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals.
- Track fiber. Minimum 30 grams fiber/day. (Include both insoluble and soluble sources.)

Exercise goals:
30 minutes of activity 5 days/week. Prepare as best I can for the Pillar Point 10K on Sunday!

Misc. goals:
- 7 or more hours sleep/night.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Just a couple of quick things...

Saturday was World Diabetes Day, and I participated in the Big Blue Test! To participate, one took one's blood glucose reading at 2 p.m. local time, exercised for 14 minutes (because WDD is on November 14), and then take another blood glucose reading after exercise. WOW! I'll be providing my results on Wednesday; you can read about FoodieMcBody's experience with the Big Blue Test on her blog. (We're in the same time zone, so we had some overlapping tweets regarding the test and our results, which was fun!)

If you're up between 1 a.m. PST and dawn on Tuesday (tomorrow!) morning, be sure to check out the Leonids meteor shower!

Back on Wednesday!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Weekly update, 11/11/09

First off, Veterans Day greetings. If you have served in the military, are serving, or are the supportive family member of a man or woman in service: you have my heartfelt thanks.

What's New?
Firstly, thanks to everyone for all of the nice comments on the 5K! I appreciated it very much.

Well, it's been an interesting week. Due to lots of other things bumping up in the queue (Mr. Handsome-and-Handy's nasty bout of flu, various medical screening appointments-finally got around to my annual mammogram, and all's well with "the girls"), my exercise has been really inconsistent. The 3 days I exercised, it was all-out...and the 4 days I didn't, it was nothing. (Not even walking.) It's not really the best mode for me. There have been a lot of hard lessons this week.

#1: I need to run a bit more regularly if I want to improve.

#2: I can't do spin class any less than 100%. I'm not sure why, but I just get too worked up over keeping up with the instructor. Part of it this time might have been going to a different class and having a much more intense instructor. She had this interesting juxtaposition of a wizened face, muscular physique (I want her arms when I grow up!), and bouncy pigtails. She kicked our posteriors in a drill-seargently way, but after class kindly gave me some tips for better adjusting the spin machine. I liked her. Anyhoo, no more kidding myself with, "Well, I'll just only spin at 80% today, I don't feel up to 100%." I think I overdid it. Monday spin classes only after active rest weekends, not race weekends!

#3: I'm learning that listening to my body about exercise is not always easy or what I feel like doing, and not just in the "I'd rather lay on the couch and eat bon-bons" way. Today's run was just sad and weird. I was really looking forward to running outside for a change, since the kids had the day off and I while I still had to go to work, I didn't have the tight schedule. I had missed doing anything yesterday, so I felt like I really needed to do something. It started off well enough, and I stretched when I got to the end of the street, and as I ran I just felt more and more stressed and tired and tight. As I reached the end of my first lap around the neighborhood, I told myself, "You can stop after this lap if you want to. You know, it's probably better to leave yourself wanting more" Usually that galvanizes me to push through and finish, but I just couldn't do it today. I felt so incredibly frustrated by this, and I got a little teary with Mr. Handsome-and-Handy over it. Not sure if you all do this, but sometimes I get really worked up over minor setbacks, along the lines of, "How am I going to go longer? I didn't push through today! I'm never going to be able to progress in triathlons if I can't run twice around the neighborhood! All the other kids are running long distances! Whaaaaaaaa!" The rest of this half of the week is going to be somewhat odd exercise-wise, too, and I just need to try to relax and roll with it. And maybe get in some more stretching or yoga DVDs in there. (Oh, and is this a seasonal thing, with days getting shorter? What gives?)

(Wow, listening to Two Fit Chicks and a Microphone podcast #4 as I write this, and heavens! "Not comparing", "trusting yourself," etc. Timely!)

In the Kitchen with Pubsgal
I don't really spend a lot of time in the kitchen (Mr. Handsome-and-Handy is our Iron Chef), but every now and then I get inspired. This weekend, the secret ingredients were "pumpkin" and "a whole mess of vegetables." (I know, I know...I need to take a lesson from my bloggies and take MORE PICTURES!)

Pumpkin Experiments: Thing 2 and I had fun with a can of pumpkin. I tried two things: a variation on Debby's pumpkin custard and pumpkin cheesecake pudding. Loved the custard! We used a sweetener (erythritol) I'd gotten to experiment with some unsweetened chocolate; it didn't work well with that, but it worked nicely in the custard. The pumpkin cheesecake pudding experiment involved mixing a batch of fat-free, sugar-free cheesecake pudding and adding half a can of spiced pumpkin. It didn't really have a strong pumpkin taste, and actually seemed a bit bitter. Maybe this would work better with vanilla pudding.

Grilled Crockpot Ratatouille: I just can't seem to get enough of this stuff, but I make it a little differently every week. This week, I sliced and grilled 2 eggplant, 4 zuccini, and 1 head of garlic. I roughly chopped these, and added 2 tomatoes, 1 red bell pepper, 1 onion, a little bit of unroasted garlic, and 1 rutabaga. All of this went into a crockpot with 1 tsp each of basil, rosemary, marjoram, sage, and thyme...I might just go back to "a few shakes each", since this batch seemed more bitter than previous batches, but not sure if that was the rutabaga instead; this did mellow over the days, so it was still edible. I added 1/4 cup of olive oil, and cooked until everything got soft and blended...about 4 hours, I think? I think I liked the batch I made with brussel sprouts (instead of rutabaga) best, although the small batch I made the prior week was nice, too (in which I used less oil than the first batch, and everything got roasted.)

Progress last week

7-day blood glucose average: 93 (met goal of less than 120)
7-day fasting blood glucose average: 96 (met goal of less than 120)

Weight goals: -.2, so it's heading in the right direction, ever-so-slowly.

Food goals:
- Brought lunch from home on 3/5 work days, but went nice & healthy on the Whole Foods days.
- Ate lots of veggies. Made my crockpot grilled veggie ratatouille again, with less oil; still delicious!
- Got in at least 4 meatless meals and 2 fish meals. (met, finally, although tuna salad might not be the best choice for fish meals...)
- Fiber: at least 4/7 days were over 30.

Exercise goals:
- Wednesday: 60 minutes BodyPump
- Thursday: Nothing (long mammogram appointment + sick husband = no workout)
- Friday: Nada
- Saturday: Zip, zero, zilch
- Sunday: Theta Breakers 5K; ran in 33:06. I felt extremely sore afterward; I've never had my hamstrings feel quite like they did after this race. I don't think I warmed up enough.
- Monday: 60 minute spin class, 16.5 miles (what was I thinking???)
- Tuesday: Nothing (on standby for possibly having to pick up kids, so skipped walk at lunch)

Sleep: Met goal of 7 hours/night. Wish they were a little more uninterrupted; Thing 2 has resumed her nocturnal attempts to get me to give up my side of the bed, so lots of walking her back to her own bed. Ugh.

Goals for this week

7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or make progress toward goal.

Food goals:
- Keep going with the veggies!
- Rein in the nuts and dark chocolate; pass by some of the "just a taste of this" and "I'll have a dab of that."
- Bring lunch from home 4/5 work days.
- 4 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals.
- Track fiber. Minimum 30 grams fiber/day. (Include both insoluble and soluble sources.)

Exercise goals:
Not sure I'll hit it this week, but I'm going for my 30 minutes of activity 5 days/week. Prepare as best I can for the Pillar Point 10K on 11/22.

Misc. goals:
- 7 or more hours sleep/night.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Got Type 2? Here's a List of Resources

Welcome, MizFitOnline readers!

If you or someone you know has type 2 diabetes, you might like some of these handy (and, I think, dandy) diabetes-related resources.

Locate free health screenings: See this article on "The Savvy Senior" about how to find free or low-cost screenings for any number of medical issues.

Free online diabetes resources:

Jenny Ruhl's "Lower Your Blood Sugar" article is a good place to start if you are recently diagnosed; I highly recommend her excellent Blood Sugar 101 book or web site. (I think it saved my life, or at least my eyesight and a limb or two.) Some of the medical people might feel that her blood glucose recommendations are extreme; however, if you compare the ADA, Joslin Diabetes Center, and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists recommendations, you’ll see that not even the experts agree. (My own medical team had made different recommendations, mainly because of different perspectives of how to bring a new patient on board, not because they felt that higher was better.)

UCSF Online Diabetes Education provides online education for people with diabetes. If you have a friend or loved one with computer access but who does not have access to a diabetes educator, this is a terrific first resource! It does promote higher carb intake than the lower-carb sites like Blood Sugar 101, but who says you can't do it in phases? This site has a lot of information you'd get from a diabetes educator, and if you're without one, it may help getting one closer to better blood glucose management.)

Diabetes etiquette tips for people without diabetes (PDF file) provides a guide to what is and is not helpful for interacting with your friends and family who have diabetes, from the Behavioral Diabetes Institute.

dLife is a good general resource with lots of articles. My pal Travis from Tu Diabetes contributes articles for this site. Their article on "The Plate Method" may be helpful if you are in a dining situation in which you need to guesstimate portions (or are just fed up to HERE with weighing and measuring stuff).

Tu Diabetes is a social networking site for people with all types of diabetes. It's a good community for not feeling quite so alone with the disease.

Exercise Guides

Gold's Gym has a free (and nicely done) guide to starting an exercise program, applicable for any gym. You can download it from their "Fighting Diabetes with Fitness" web page. I like that they advised new exercisers to set goals, work up to their goals (rather than going gung-ho in the first session, getting sore and tired, and abandoning it), and to combine strength training and cardio. (I would set more performance-based goals instead of weight or size goals to begin with, though.) In a way, my recommending this is kind of ironic, because I always associated this gym with the serious fitness people and felt very intimidated by it. But with much encouragement from my blog buddies and trying it for a week, I found it to be a really positive place.

To get started running, I started with the Zen Habits Beginner's Guide to Running. But now, there's also the amazing Julia Jones's 5K Training Program (via Two Fit Chicks and a Microphone). Not a runner? Train to walk a 5K! Training for an event helps reinforce your fitness goals and can benefit a good cause, too.

Finally, here's what I do: A friend of mine wanted to know what I was doing to manage my type 2 diabetes, so I summarized it here. (Standard disclaimers apply, not a doctor, don't play one on TV, etc.)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Happy World Running Day!

In honor of World Running Day, I ran the Theta Breakers 5K at Stanford
University. It was a small race with quite a fast field. I was way at
the back of the pack, but I ran a reasonable race of 33:06. (The top
finisher in my age group ran it in just over 22 minutes, and was 3rd
overall; whew!)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What, November Already?!?

What's New?

Whew! Well, Halloween is done, and boy, was it busy and fun! Things 1 & 2 enjoyed it quite a lot; they were Dale Earnhardt, Jr. of NASCAR fame and a pink cheetah princess. They had a Halloween carnival at school on Friday (I took last Friday off to attend; bonus was "date time" with Mr. Handsome-and-Handy!) and they went trick-or-treating with one of the neighbor kids (who made a great SuperMan; not just the costume but the slicked hair!) on Saturday. Perfect weather-not too cold-and a beautiful, almost-full moon. Mr. H&H hollowed out 6 huge pumpkins! We had fun carving them and making toasted pumpkin seeds. (Nothing terribly sophisticated, but Mr. H&H's "Windows 7" with horns was delightfully geeky.) And while I love the toasted seeds, sorting the seeds from the guts is *almost* not worth the trouble. Evening snuck up on us, though; the pumpkins took longer than we thought, plus we had to cook dinner, too! Ack! All of a sudden we were racing for time, and everyone ended up eating at the counter or standing up. Oh well. Our good pal "twriter" came over for the festivities; the guys watched baseball and hockey and passed out candy while I took the kids around with our neighbor. Luckily, our next door neighbors came over before I went. They had dressed up their 1-year-old as a bee, and they dressed as beekeepers; too cute!

I may not have paid much attention to the scale in the past when it came to the holidays, but boy, the blood glucose meter sure does help me from straying TOO out of line with the sweets. I had some noshings over the weekend, as planned. When Monday rolled around, though, I'm happy to say I got back on track. When I went to bed that night, I felt a little rumble...was that my stomach? Been awhile since I'd felt that sensation! But I knew I'd had plenty to eat that day, and it was a much more pleasant sensation than uncomfortably full. (I did the "Beck thing" and made a little mantra of it: "a little hungry feels better than belly-bustingly full." Thanksgiving should be a good litmus test of that one, don't you think? ;-D )

Oh, So You Noticed The New Decor?

Yes, it's American Diabetes Month here on "Opposite Life" and elsewhere on the blogosphere, culminating in World Diabetes Day on November 14. So I'm sporting the nifty blue template! If you have diabetes, have you heard about "The Big Blue Test"? Save a couple of test strips, and join in! Per the site: "On that day, at 14:00 hours (local time), thousands of people with diabetes will test their blood sugar, do 14 minutes of exercise, test again and share their results on TuDiabetes or on Twitter." The exercise is to highlight the importance of exercise as a tool in managing diabetes. People without diabetes can play, too: join us in 14 minutes of exercise, and be glad you don't have to poke your finger before and after...maybe do a couple of burpees (or your love-to-hate-it exercise of choice) before and after, in solidarity.

Walgreens' Diabetes Wellness Clinics

When I was in the gym locker room today, an ad on TV caught my ears and eyes: Walgreens is hosting diabetes wellness clinics in November at participating stores. According to the Walgreens press release:
"The events, held in recognition of American Diabetes Month®, will take place between Nov. 9-13 and Nov. 16-20 at most 24-hour Walgreens stores.

"Each of these locations will host a six-hour walk-in clinic offering free blood glucose testing, or, for individuals diagnosed with diabetes, free A1C testing. Free pharmacist consultations are also available. Each store’s clinic will be held on one day during either the Nov. 9-13 or Nov. 16-20 timeframe.

"Walgreens also announced it will donate $1 to the American Diabetes Association for every test performed at its Diabetes Wellness Events, up to $100,000."

To find a clinic near you here, see the Walgreens Diabetes Wellness Events page.

I found about my having type 2 diabetes from a pharmacy health screening. (Not a free one, though!) Oh, my doctor had gently noodged me about it during my annual exam, given my history of gestational diabetes, but I demurred. ("'Denial' isn't just a river in Egypt," so says the ol' saw....) Earlier in 2008, Mr. Handsome-and-Handy had gone to the doctor regarding heart health; everything's fine there, but he started making some changes toward getting healthier. I'm not sure if the vitamin D and fish oil supplements that I started taking along with him helped me wake up, but I was inspired to go to a pharmacy health screening myself. What an eye-opener that was! In hindsight, I suppose I could have had it covered by going to the doctor's office, but I think I was hoping that either all would be normal or close enough to normal that I could fix it without help. Boy, was I wrong there!

Progress last week

7-day blood glucose average: 100 (met goal of less than 120)
7-day fasting blood glucose average: 96 (met goal of less than 120)

Weight goals: -.6, so out of the 190s. Barely.

Food goals:
- Brought lunch from home on all work days - yeay!
- Ate lots of veggies. Made my crockpot grilled veggie ratatouille again, with less oil; still delicious! I should have made a bigger batch.
- Got in at least 4 meatless meals and 0 fish meals. (Met meatless, missed fish by 2)
- Fiber: at least 3/7 days were over 30.

Exercise goals: I don't think the following prepared me terribly well for my upcoming races, but oh well. Sometimes it's all about doing what you can with the time you've got.
- Wednesday: 60 minutes BodyPump
- Thursday: 45 minute walk
- Friday: 45 minutes hike/jogging, and then a strength "playout" on the backyard swing set with Thing 2. (She likes playing "Mommy's Personal Trainer"; it plays nicely into her liking to tell people what to do.)
- Saturday: Nada
- Sunday: Nada
- Monday: 40 minutes walk
- Tuesday: 60 minutes spin class (hard, but felt great!)

Sleep: Met goal of 7 hours/night. Wish they were a little more uninterrupted; Thing 2 has resumed her nocturnal attempts to get me to give up my side of the bed, so lots of walking her back to her own bed. Ugh.

Goals for this week

7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or make progress toward goal.

Food goals:
- Keep going with the veggies!
- Rein in the nuts and dark chocolate; pass by some of the "just a taste of this" and "I'll have a dab of that."
- Bring lunch from home 4/5 work days.
- 4 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals.
- Track fiber. Minimum 30 grams fiber/day. (Include both insoluble and soluble sources.)

Exercise goals:
Minimum of 30 minutes of activity 5 days/week. Prepare for the Theta Breakers 5K run on 11/8 and the Pillar Point 10K on 11/22.

Misc. goals:
- 7 or more hours sleep/night.