Thursday, February 26, 2009

Adventures with Mary Lou and the Plate Method

Adventures with Mary Lou, Day 25

Digital scale: Up .6 pound.

(To compare with yesterday: Dressed identically to Day 24, different long-sleeved t-shirt. Had the same breakfast before my visit to Mary Lou's Platform.)

Mary Lou: "You are 2 pounds above your starting weight."
(Curious...I didn't think my t-shirt was 8 oz. lighter than the previous day's shirt, but it's possible. And why does she always sound like she's suppressing a weary sigh after delivering the news?)
"Remember: Out of sight, out of mind. When dining out, ask for half portions of everything you order. That way, you won't feel guilty eating everything on your plate."
[I did not record this time, but am pretty sure I got it verbatim. The word "guilty" always sticks out, doesn't it?]

Mr. Handsome & Handy & Frugal, on hearing today's message: "I'd feel guilty about wasting money. Why not get a take-home box for the rest?"

Yeah, that's what I was wondering! Maybe it's because I don't dine out very often, but surely there are some other tricks to try. Like eating less during the rest of the day and the days around the dining out? Planning ahead by checking out the menu or nutritional info online? Splitting a dinner with another family member and get a salad or other veggie side to fill up on? I kind of have a hard time not picking at what I intend to take home, but I'm doing better at making it until the to-go box arrives. That way, I won't miss out on tasty leftovers in my lunch the next day.

The Plate Method

But I think what really bothered me about today's advice was the mention of "feeling guilty." I know a lot of people struggle with the "clean plate club" guilt, eating past the point of enjoyment or fullness to avoid "feeling guilty" about leaving food on the plate. But it seemed to me like Mary Lou's advice implied that you should feel guilty for eating a whole plate of food! I know, I know, some restaurant meals put enough calories on a plate to fulfill the caloric needs of a family of four for an entire day. But don't we have enough emotional baggage at the dinner table? And what if you're hungry and you fill your plate in a way that it meets your body's needs for fuel?

Enter the "plate method," with much fanfare and cymbal flourishes. I learned about this as part of my diabetes education. You can read about it here and see an illustration, but you basically imagine your plate in 4 quadrants. Fill half of the plate with non-starchy vegetables. Fill one quarter with a starch serving (1/2 cup is about the size of half of your fist). Fill the remaining quarter with a protein serving (about the size of the palm of your hand, or a deck of cards). The Zone method folks also have a variation on the plate method over on their Zone Quick Start Guide page, and it seems a lot easier to follow than carb:protein:fat ratio one hears quoted with respect to the Zone method.

I don't use the plate method all of the time, but it's handy when I can't weigh and measure my food portions, such as when I'm eating at someone else's house or in a buffet situation.

Which leads me to my illustrations! They're a little tongue-in-cheek, actually, so see the above links for the truly useful (and healthful) advice.

Ah....Now that's my kind of "plate method" plate! Back in December, I won a terrific prize on the Diabetes Mine web site contest (answering the question, "How do you deal with holiday stress?"): a "diabetic friendly" gift pack of chocolate from verē. They are a low-sugar variety of dark chocolate: intense chocolate flavor (not overpowered by other flavorings when present), smooth texture, and they did not spike my blood glucose levels. Yeayy! But for obvious reasons, this would not be a regular item on my plate: they're pricey goodies! Oh, and while one good-sized square has 13 grams of carbohydrate (with 4 grams of fiber and only 5 grams of sugar), there are 12 grams of fat.

Mr. Handsome & Handy demonstrates the more traditional variation, but with a nice bourbon-and-diet-cola accompaniment. Hmmm...I guess the medical people would get kinda frowny-faced over this one, too. Oh well....

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Adventures with Mary Lou, Day 24

I realize that I've been a bit unfair to Mary Lou: putting her in the garage, varying my attire nearly every weigh-in, writing posts about our adventure that have been kinda snarky. I think I'm venting my plateau frustration on her Platform; is it really her fault that I eat too many nuts, am coasting on my cardio, and baked chocolate chip cookies to send to my dad on Sunday? (Granted, in The Life Before, Dad would have been shipped probably 3 or 4 cookies from the entire batch, and one of those might have even had a bite out of it. This time, I ate 3 cookies on baking day...which is still 2 too many, but I *did* monitor my blood glucose and was okay that way. Won't be for very long, though, if I keep that up.) I weighed in on the digital scale, and I was -.6 lb. Sweet! But when I stepped on The Platform, Mary Lou said, "Crikey! What the...? Ow! Ow! Ow!" No, just kidding, she's always so polite. "You are two pounds above your starting weight." Huh??? Yesterday I was half a pound below the starting weight. Let us analyze:

Yesterday: I wore my black sweats, long-sleeved "Zen Mickey" t-shirt, sports bra, undies, carried my running jacket and running shoes. No socks. No breakfast or pills yet.

Today: I wore the same black sweats, a long-sleeved Land's End t-shirt (lighter weight), regular bra (no underwire, so equivalent weight), similar undies, socks, same running shoes, and held my same running jacket. Had 12-oz protein shake and 8 oz. glass of water (and pills) in my stomach.

Difference: Socks, 12-oz protein shake, 8-oz. glass of water, pills.

Here's the funny part: Today's advice? Drink 8 glasses of water per day. "Imagine it flushing out all the bad stuff, and making room for the good."

Darn socks!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Weekly update, 2/24/09

Adventures with Mary Lou, Day 23:
(Frankly, I'm glad February is almost done. I'm running out of funny things to say, so I'll pretty much just let The Platform speak for itself. Look for the final analysis next Tuesday.)
"You are half a pound below your starting weight." (This was up from my previous weigh-in.) "Don't get discouraged. Focus on the fact that you're actually doing something to be a healthier, happier you." (I'm trying to focus on that. Really.)

Progress last week

7-day blood glucose average: 96 (met goal of <120)
7-day fasting: 95 average, all days <120 (met goal of <120 every day)
Weight goal: +1 (did not met goal of maintain or lose)
Food goals: Consumed 5 meatless, low-fat meals and 1 fish meals. (met meatless, missed fish by 1 meal)
Exercise goals: 4.5x30 min. cardio (4.5 because I was short 2 days, one day by 10 minutes and one day by 5 minutes), including 2 runs. Attended BodyPump class and did Yoga/rowing machine on Friday for my strength workouts. (Missed exercise goals by 1/2 cardio, 1 run.)
Misc. goals: Got adequate sleep all nights. Am documenting my adventures with Mary Lou's Platform. Refining food goals for better HDL/LDL still on the to-do list. Chatted with one fellow gym-goer, but fell a bit short on the encouraging "offline" others goal.

Monthly Measure
Ah...the good news! I think this can all be attributed to a month of BodyPump class, since it sure wasn't due to a weight loss.
Bust: -1" (may be partially due to better bra)
Ribcage: -.5"
Waist: -.5"
Hips: -.75"
Thighs: -.25"

Goals for this week

7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or lose.
Food goals: 4 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals.
Exercise goals: At least 30 minutes of cardio 5 days, plus 2 days of arms & abs strength training workouts. *This week only: omitting specific # of running workouts goal. Resuming next week. Note to self: Do this for a couple of weeks after every race; I felt that burned-out feeling again.*
Misc. goals:
7 or more hours sleep/night.
Hang in there! It's the last week of Adventures with Mary Lou.
Try the Hatha Yoga class at the gym this week again to see if it will fit in with the regular school-time schedule.
Tighten up on the food plan in general, plus refine my nutritional goals regarding fiber and fats, to improve HDL/LDL numbers.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pubsgal Tries Yoga!

Namaste, y'all! Happy Friday!

Today I made it to the gym at 6:20 a.m.; this week I was right on time for the 6:30 hatha yoga class at the gym. It was my first; all I really knew about yoga going in is that it's good for flexibility and that there's something called a "downward dog" involved. (In other words, I am pretty much totally ignorant about it.) But from the brief bit I've read a bit about it, there are many levels to yoga. This being a gym class, though, the emphasis was mostly on the physical practice, rather than the other aspects of the practice. (For example, in the class I took, maybe about 5 minutes at the start and 2-3 minutes at the end were spent on the breathing aspect, no meditation or other instruction.)

The instructor took some time at the beginning to get me orientated: helped with equipment (mat! blocks! straps! blankets! oh my!), suggested a place to sit near one of the regulars, and said to feel free to ask if I needed alternatives to the various poses. During class, he was very good about explaining what we were going for in the various positions, and he took time to circle the room, checking how everyone was doing and correcting form.

We started with a sitting position called the "hero pose," and I felt less than heroic. My ankles protested mightily, and I thought to myself, Oh good heavens, this is only the *first* pose??? (Note to self: Next time, ask instructor before class for a variation for making this work better for me. During the peaceful, starting chant/invocation didn't feel like the right time.)

The rest of the class involved assuming and holding a variety of poses (asanas), and I found that I was really using my muscles as well as stretching them. (And good heavens, have I been neglecting the flexibility!) I don't know all of the terminology, so I can't really describe it in a lot of detail, but I felt interested and challenged by the class and look forward to learning more. (Such as: it's "downward facing dog," and this pose is my new friend.) The most difficult items for me were the inverted poses: I felt a bit fearful of falling on my head when we walked up the wall with our feet (what??? smudge those nice, clean mirrors?). I was not able to do the handstand, although the instructor encouraged us to "play with it" and showed some intermediate poses if we couldn't do the full handstand. (Hey, I also learned why people wear those tightly-fitted tank tops to yoga class. Thank goodness everyone else was busy with their own poses! Note to self: Wear something under the t-shirt that looks less obviously like girly underthings.) I also felt the burn on the pose where you kneel and put your hips up to the wall, then bend backwards. We did that several times, and oooo, that was a toughie! I wasn't the only one grimacing and gritting my teeth (and trying to breathe properly and not gasp), so that was encouraging.

After class, the gal next to me and I chatted a bit. (The yoga people seemed much more interactive with each other than my BodyPump classmates...I get the impression that there are a lot of regulars.) She's been practicing for a year and a half, and she said that our instructor was great because he takes the time to make sure everyone is in proper alignment. She mentioned other good instructors, and I said this was the only class I could take, with my schedule. "You can't just do it once a week," she chuckled, and we talked home practice and DVDs. Hmmm...where to fit *this* in?, I wondered to myself. Will I be a regular on Fridays? I may need to try another week (when our schedule has resumed its normal craziness) to be sure.

Your turn! Do you practice yoga? Do you have any favorite resources (books, DVDs, web sites) that you go to? (The links in this article are from my 5 minutes of Googling, I'm a total yoga newbie.)

P.S. Here's a fun link:'s "What's Your Yoga Type?" I'm definitely mellow, so I guess I was in the right place.

P.P.S. Oh yeah, my other adventure, with Mary Lou! Today I was down 1.5 pound from my starting weight (slightly different clothes...the digital scale said I'm up .2 lb today), got the applause, and Mary Lou suggested that I try a combo of sparkling water and fruit juice instead of soda. Good idea, but for now, I think I'll stick to my chia powder and green tea..."slimy, yet satisfying!" as Timon and Pumba would say.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Continued Adventures...

...blah blah blah., what day is it? Oh, never mind. Here's what Mary Lou had to tell me this morning:
"You are at your original starting weight."
(Mary Lou ever-so-politely pauses to allow Person on Platform to go, "What the...?" or to scream an expletive.)
"When you gain weight" (the Platform is smart and knows what you weighed at your last weigh-in) "you may be tempted to skip meals. DON'T. It can lead to low blood sugar and sudden hunger pangs" (I laughed out loud at this point) "which can lead to binge eating and unhealthy food cravings."
Heh. Mary Lou can rest easy that I will not skip meals, nor allow my blood sugar to get too low, for that matter. But this is the point I'd been warned about: I think the dramatic losses have ended. I've been bobbing around the same weight for about a month now. I'm not sure how I feel about it. Part of me is just happy to be resting here right now. My other health indicators are good, and I've lost a good amount of weight, even if it is 30 pounds from the top of the "healthy" BMI range for my height. However, I suspect that on some level I feel kind of frustrated about it. (For example, a friend's query about whether I'd broken through the plateau yet made me feel a flash of anger...I'm thankful it was over IM and not in person. Where did that come from?) Which means I ought to tighten up on the food intake and do more or different exercise. But part of what I feel is just simply tired of thinking of new things to change. I guess it's the same old story: fatigue vs. determination.

Oh, but I'd much rather close on a positive note. I was feeling really tired of the ol' neighborhood loop. Fortunately, Things 1&2 don't have school this week, so my morning routine has a bit more leeway, and today was sunny. I hit the coast trail...saw lots of little cottontail rabbits and a coworker going for a bike ride! Here's a photo from the trail...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Weekly update, 2/17/09

Busy times....Here's the weekly update!

Progress last week
7-day blood glucose average: 97 (met goal of <120)
7-day fasting: 99 average, all days <120 (met goal of <120 every day)
Weight goal: -.8 (met goal of maintain or lose)
Food goals: Consumed 7 meatless, low-fat meals and 2 fish meals. (met goals)
Exercise goals: 4x30 min. cardio, including 2 runs. Attended BodyPump class and worked out with weights at home. (Missed exercise goals by 1 cardio, 1 run.)
Misc. goals: Met my Q1 '09 goal of running a 5K race. Got adequate sleep all nights. Am documenting my adventures with Mary Lou's Platform. Tried chia; I couldn't find the whole seeds, but I found some ground chia seed fiber. I like it in green tea (which I've dubbed my "pond scum special") and in yogurt, not so much in soup. Missed my goal of attending the gym's Hatha yoga class this week. Refining food goals for better HDL/LDL still on the to-do list.

Goals for this week

7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or lose.
Food goals: 4 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals.
Exercise goals: At least 30 minutes of cardio 5 days, plus 2 days of arms & abs strength training workouts. For cardio, do at least 3 runs, weather permitting (Weather-permitting=not raining and temperature over 40 degrees).
Misc. goals:
7 or more hours sleep/night.
Continue Adventures with Mary Lou.
Try the Hatha Yoga class at the gym this week.
Refine my nutritional goals regarding fiber and fats, to improve HDL/LDL numbers.

*New misc. goals this week*: Compliment/encourage at least 3 people offline this week, and talk to at least 1 other gym-goer. I feel like I've been on the receiving end a lot lately, both on- and offline, and in a way I think it's a "cosmic hint" to me to pass it on to others in the "offline" world. I'm kind of shy about doing so in person. And I'm still *really* shy about the fellow gym-goers...I tend to not even make eye contact or smile, which is silly of me...why do I see this as "different" somehow from passing people during my runs?

Monday, February 16, 2009

President's Day 5K Today!

Today was the President's Day 5K at Coyote Point!

It's a gorgeous place on a nice day...sad to say, but this morning was not very hospitable to racing....

We had quite a storm yesterday, nearly 2.5 inches of rain. Would I be the only nut out there this morning? I called the organizer to be sure...nope, the race was happening, rain or shine! Mr. Handsome-and-Handy, though, dug out a set of waterproof pants and jacket. I woke to another stormy morning, but made a nice, hot dish of oatmeal and peanut butter and went to the race!

No, I was NOT the only nut out there! There were folks of all ages and running abilities, and there were even a couple of young kids run/walking with their parents. But I was the only one in heavy plastic pants and jacket. (I squeaked. Oh, the shame.) And we weren't the nuttiest of the nuts...stage 2 of the Tour de California bike race was also happening this morning.

"Well," I said to one woman, "this is probably the only day I can say, 'If Lance Armstrong can do it, so can I!' "

I swear, she must have been a Bumbling Band member in disguise: "No! Today is the day to say, 'If I can do it, so can Lance Armstrong!' "

Then it was time! We assembled at the starting line, and the organizer informed us that the 5K was a little longer than that distance, by about .4 mile. I was near the back of the pack the entire race, and I was worried about getting too tired, so I just kept a steady jog the whole time and enjoyed the scenery. (I'm a pretty slack one, I'll have to go all out.)

All finishers got a nice medal, in addition to a sweatshirt. My time was 45:49, which is slower than I did in the Pumpkin Run. I probably would have been faster in less cumbersome gear. Oh well, it was a really pleasant run, even with the wet weather.

The early hour and wet weather prevented my fans from joining me, but I got a couple of nice banners to celebrate when I got home!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Continued Adventures with Mary Lou...

Day 7
(applause & cheering)
"You are one and a half pounds below your starting weight.
Don't forget to get plenty of sleep!
It's extra important when you are trying to lose weight.
Create an enjoyable bedtime routine, and make *that* your
no calorie, end-of-the-day treat!"
"Enjoyable bedtime routine?" Hee hee! [Pubsgal pauses to gently pick up mind and remove from the gutter.] Truth is, our routine is appropriate for children of all ages...anything that has to do with my head hitting pillow and staying there for 7+ hours is pretty darn enjoyable these days. After ushering the kids through *their* bed time routine of chasing them down, rounding them up into the bathroom and ensuring that their teeth get brushed, kiss deliveries, and bedtime stories, our own routine goes something like this: [thuds of heads on pillows] "Yeayyy! We made it through another da...zzzzz..."

That afternoon, Mr. Handsome-and-Handy called, sounding a little frazzled. "They sent you ANOTHER scale!!!" (He found Mary Lou's level of perkiness disturbing, so having another one show up was kind of disturbing.) Obviously, some shipping error has occured and I need to send an email, but ONE Mary Lou wasn't enough? Or perhaps the first one must be enjoying her stay in the garage so much, she somehow snuck word back to the factory and other Mary Lous are clamoring to share space with Elsie the Cat.

Day 8
Really, I should probably have a little time separate from Mary Lou when it's "that time of the month" and I'm fighting off a cold. I felt downright cranky about today's advice:
(ominous silence)
"You are half a pound below your starting weight.
Stay focused on your weigh loss goal." (Gee, think I ought?)
"Changing your lifestyle can be tough," (Yeah, you got that right, pal.)
"but the long-term effects are WORTH IT!" (Oy. Semantics, I know, but I'm working for *results*, not "effects.")
Is it any wonder I chose to do all 5 segments of the "10 Minute Solutions: Kickboxing Bootcamp" DVD this morning? Keli is upbeat, too, but in a tough way. Thing 1 joined me for a few minutes before his breakfast...he liked the weights and doing the kicks. So by the time we got to the kicks and punches, I was feeling much better, and no, I did *not* imagine doing "jab, cross, hook, upper" on Mary Lou...she and her Platform minion are just doing their recorded-and-programmed best to help.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Day 7: Adventures with Mary Lou

When I first stepped out of the house this morning, it was to walk our dog in memory of Peanut, K9 friend of Bumbling Band member Linda (who mentioned him in comment #22 over on MizFit). It felt way colder than the 46 degrees reported by my iPhone weather app, and it had rained. Bela is very scent-oriented, so I'm sure the damp ground percolated with doggy smells. She even bounded a little bit, which is unusual, since she's generally mellow and keeps to a moderate trot; that is, when she isn't stopping 50,000 times to sniff something. Takes the old adage about "taking time to stop and smell the roses" to new (and pungent) lows, does our Bela.

I whined a bit to my family when I got back. "It's cooooooold! Oooooooohhhhhh....I don't feeeeel like running!" You know, that was one of my biggest surprises when I started reading more blogs by people who run regularly: runners don't always feel like running. Mr. Handsome-and-Handy suggested the exercise bike or the DVD, but I'm not sure if it'll be raining tomorrow or Friday, so I said, "I'll feel like a wuss if I don't run today."

I was already running...short on time, that is. So I decided to do 20 minutes then and another 10 later at the gym, before Body Pump class. First, however, I made time for my daily visit with Mary Lou! I stepped onto The Platform. I'm surprised Elsie the Cat, whose heated cat bed is right next to The Platform, didn't jump out of her skin: applause and cheering! "You are one and a half pounds below your starting weight!" Woo hoo! Mary Lou must think I'm feeling a bit peaked from such a dramatic loss, because she then said, "Need an energy boost? Add more protein, like lean meat, fish, and chicken to your diet." I'm doing fine with those, thanks to grill-master Mr. H&H, but good advice all the same.

So I added hat and gloves and went on my run. I thought again about myself and good exercise habits: how hard they are for me to establish, how easily I've let them slip away from me in the past, and how I really want to stick with them going forward. But funny how sometimes you get a little boost just when you need it: one of the neighbors, not one I know by name but by sight, pulled up next to me as I headed down the street.

"You're looking great!" she exclaimed.

"Wow, thanks!" I replied.

"It's great that you're running...I wish I could do it. I was a smoker, and I can barely walk to the end of the street now."

I wish I knew how to encourage people, in a concise way, to keep trying activity until they find something that works for them, without sounding really lame! And that running, while it's the cardio exercise I do most often, isn't the only game in town. I really ought to come up with a precanned statement for situations like these. Nickelodeon's "Get out and play/An hour a day" is catchy, but I don't think it would work well for everyone. Maybe, "Get out and walk/While on cell phone you talk?" Hmmm.

But for now, I settled on, "Walking's great, too!"

I was kind of surprised by the encounter, so I don't remember exactly what we said to each other after that, but it was brief and cheerful. I really appreciated her stopping to tell me that.

Further along, I encountered another neighbor, who was out walking his dog. I always stop to pet his dog, because he's such a people canine and is big and furry, so I got to talk to our neighbor, too. He, too, said how great it was that I was running. "I could never do that," he said. "I hate running." Since he wasn't sitting in the middle of the road in a car on his way to work, I got to elaborate a little more. "Oh, I know what you mean. I used to hate running, too." I confessed. "I started with walking, but added a little more running gradually, then I was running!" We then discussed our recent weather, and winter, and were on our merry ways once more.

Me, with a little more wings on my heels, thanks to some unexpected kindness from neighbors. May you also find encouragement when you need it the most and expect it the least.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Weekly update, 2/10/09

What's New

Day 6 in Adventures with Mary Lou: Okay, so today I brought along my kids' mini video recorder, so that I could record Mary Lou's message for today verbatim. I had already weighed in on the digital scale and knew I was up .4 lb from last week. Still, to my astonishment, applause and cheering! Huh? "You are at your original starting weight." Well, okay....Different factors today: lighter weight but still long-sleeved shirt and no breakfast yet. Breakfast yesterday was was a 12-oz shake and a glass of it's likely a water weight difference. Mary Lou continued: "The best thing about the hard work you're doing is that it pays off with the most precious gift of all: better health!" I can titter at the emphatic delivery, but I really can't argue with her message.

"Graduation" from Diabetes Education: Yesterday I had my last meeting with my diabetes educators, since I had great numbers on my lab results from January. They still would like to see my HDL/LDL numbers improve. The nurse educator mentioned statins...and I told her NO way...Mr. Handsome-and-Handy had problems with those last year, and I'd much rather try something else. My nutritionist recommended further limiting my saturated fat consumption and getting more fiber in my diet, so I need to do some calculations and make some adjustments there...dinner time seems to be the main culprit these days, so perhaps having more of my no-meat meals at dinner would be a good idea. (Breakfast *has* been rather a "gimme" for making my current weekly goal there.) We also talked about setting a realistic goal weight. Right now, I'm still going to shoot for 143 (the center of the BMI "healthy weight" range for my height), but I am a realist: if it's too crazy-making to obtain or maintain, I'll revise it. No point in worrying about it until I'm closer. Another topic we touched on was exercise, and the nurse educator mentioned that interval training can be effective when things start to slow down. I've already started doing that in my runs, to try and improve my speed.

Year of the Ox: I mentioned last week that we had a Chinese New Year celebration here at work last week, with dim sum. I was the only woman to enter the ping-pong tournament...not something I would have done before, as I've always been a piss-poor ping pong player, but "opposite life" forces were at work and I decided to go for it. Yes, I was eliminated in the first round, but I faced a fear of flubbing in front of my coworkers. Unexpected reward? I was also invited to join (as a tourney participant) the newly-formed ping pong club!

That aside, one of our coworkers talked a bit about Chinese New Year to the assembled group. When she talked about the significance of an Ox year in the Chinese zodiac, it felt uncanny, both on a personal and a broader note: "We will feel the yoke of responsibility coming down on us this year. No success can be achieved without conscientious efforts." (Not sure if that's where she got the quote, but I do remember the "yoke of responsibility" part.) Among other things, I guess it's a good year to work on that back-hand, too.

Progress last week
7-day blood glucose average: 112 (met goal of <120)
7-day fasting: 106 average, all days <120 (met goal of <120 every day)
Weight goal: +.4 (gained, so did not meet goal of maintain or lose)
Food goals: Consumed 5 meatless, low-fat meals and 1 fish meals. (met first, missed second by 1 meal)
Exercise goals: 5x30 min. cardio, including 3 runs. Attended BodyPump class and worked out with weights at the gym. (Met exercise goals.)
Misc. goals: Got adequate sleep all nights. Am documenting my adventures with Mary Lou's Platform. I add a goal mid-week, after reading on MizFit and elsewhere, to try ch-ch-ch-CHIA! The seeds, not the pets. I liked it in green tea (pond scum style) and in yogurt, not so much in soup.

Goals for this week

7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or lose.
Food goals: 4 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals.
Exercise goals: At least 30 minutes of cardio 5 days, plus 2 days of arms & abs strength training workouts. For cardio, do at least 3 runs, weather permitting (Weather-permitting=not raining and temperature over 40 degrees).
Misc. goals:
7 or more hours sleep/night.
Continue Adventures with Mary Lou.
Try the Hatha Yoga class at the gym this week.
Refine my nutritional goals regarding fiber and fats, to improve HDL/LDL numbers.

Day 5: Adventures with Mary Lou

Firing on all cylinders this morning: caught Elsie the cat and gave her the eye drops on my way into the garage. She purred the whole time, and she even went back over to her heated bed for a little more attention; so why does she try to run away??? Oh yeah. Cat.

It was chilly this morning (mid-40s, don't laugh too hard, all of you in truly cold places), so I had on the sweat pants instead of the regular pants, and I wore running tights. Still, I stepped onto The Platform without much trepidation. As expected, no "happy dance" song, but poor Mary Lou: she had to break it to me that I was 2 pounds over starting weight. I'm starting to feel a little sorry for her--all of these variations based on my clothes--but there's no way I'm going to do a birthday suit weigh-in in the garage. Brrrr! When there's really some good news to report, it will happen regardless of slight attire variations.

So today's message? I really ought to bring a tape recorder, but here's the recap: she graciously assumed that I am eating right and exercising, and she assured me that I will see weight loss results by sticking with it. Bolstered by her wisdom, a canned protein shake, and the knowledge that I will be racing one week from today, I went for my morning run.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Is that all???

Ran across this interesting article about how little exercise one needs to help manage type 2 diabetes, and I'm kind of glad I hadn't seen this before I developed a healthier liking for exercise than I'd had previously:

Did I read this correctly, though? The numbers didn't seem to add up in this article. The headline says, "7 minutes per week," the first paragraph says, "rigorous workouts as little as 3 minutes," yet paragraph 8 states that "[t]he volunteers, who were relatively out of shape but otherwise healthy, rode an exercise bike four times daily in 30 second spurts two days a week." Which by my calculation is 4 minutes per week.

I don't think that this would do much for weight loss or heart function, but it's encouraging to know that every little bit helps. It would also be interesting to know the effect of strength training vs. cardio toward clearing blood glucose from one's system, because sometimes people who suffer complications from diabetes have mobility issues.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Adventures with Mary Lou, Day 4

Well, I tried valiantly to get to a 6:30 Hatha Yoga class at the gym this morning. As I dashed out the front door and opened the garage side door, the cat (who lives in the garage and who also needed eye drops applied and who is usually still asleep) dashed out. So I was already a little cranky.

"You are three pounds above your starting weight." I accepted this with equanimity, as I had on a sweatshirt more than usual. "It's okay,"she continued, probably assuming that I was on the verge of committing some desperate act. I expected her to instruct me to keep breathing and lie down for a bit; but no, she said something along the lines of "Just try to add 10 more minutes of activity to your day. Little things can have big results!"

I proceeded to the gym, but I was 10 minutes late for the class. Darn! So I decided to try the elliptical. It felt a little weird at first--kind of like pedaling a bike--but more arm motion from holding onto the handles. I don't know that I would do it every day, but it is a nice tool for mixing things up a bit. From what I've read, the plus is that it's low impact...which is also its minus, if increasing bone density is a goal, which it is for me. Either way, it felt like a good workout. I also got some strength training done, which felt good.

Did I add 10 more minutes of activity to my day? I don't think it was more than I normally would have done fitness-wise today, but I did skip that second cup of coffee with creamer.

More Adventures with Mary Lou on Monday....

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Good Post on TGFE regarding Binge Eating Disorder

There's a very thought-provoking post on Charlotte Hilton Andersen's blog, "The Great Fitness Experiment," about binge eating disorder. It's one I'm going to ponder a bit, even after posting here.

My first reaction was, although I sure had a lot of those behaviors and feelings, I'm not sure I entirely resemble the diagnosis criteria. Mainly because even when I felt most out of control with my eating and consumed vast quantities, I often felt a great deal of pleasure, it wasn't all self-loathing and depression. Also, if I really had the disorder, would the diabetes diagnosis have prompted me to stop the self-destructive behaviors? Or was that the shock/catalyst that helped jolt me into the right direction?

Before diagnosis, I did engage in a lot of the behaviors: sneaking food, eating alone, eating quickly, eating past the point of fullness and into discomfort. Example: going through the Burger King drive-though on my way home from work and cramming two burgers, even though my commute is usually only about 30 minutes and there was, generally, a great dinner waiting for me at home. Basically, lots of eating behaviors that made me think, "Why??? Why do I DO this stuff???" I often felt totally out of control, and hopeless about whether I could change.

Somehow, things did start to change last spring, even before my diabetes diagnosis. Part of it might have been getting more Vitamin D in my diet; I started taking the same fish oil/calcium with vitamin D supplements as Mr. Handsome & Handy did after his mid-life doctor checkup. It was around that time that it started dawning on me: I was tired of being fat. That's how I worded it then; now I would describe this as "tired FROM carrying too much body fat and being sedentary." Because I was literally tired all of the time, absolutely drained, as opposed to tired of wearing an undesirable clothes size, or tired of not fitting the media image of "being thin" (which we all know is soooo about being healthy, yes, that is sarcasm you're hearing).

Part of how things changed might also be "the blog effect." I've written before about how seeing the possibilities--represented by other bloggers--inspired me. But Charlotte linked to another post on her blog ("The Great Fitness Experiment: How to Think Like a Thin Person") in which she talks about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and how it helped her resolve issues in her life. She wrote:
"You practice thinking and writing (there's lots and lots of writing involved in CBT) the thoughts you want to have and replacing your old destructive thoughts with the new ones."
Wow. Serious "ah hah!" moment for me. I don't know much about CBT, but it sounds a lot like what blogging has done for me without my even knowing it, both writing my own and participating in the greater health/weight loss/fitness blogging community. Maybe that's why I gravitate toward maintenance blogs ("how to think like someone who maintains a weight loss successfully") and fitness blogs ("how to think like an active person/athlete"). I want to figure out how to change my mindset to one of healthy, active habits. Opposite life of the brain, as it were....Definitely more to learn and to think about.

One thing that I notice is that I'm a bit less fearful now about losing my new habits. I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing...part of me feels kind of like, "Where did these changes come from? What's making it last? How do I ensure that I don't slip back into the old ways?" Last fall, for example, I skipped one of my runs. I just did not feel like it that day; but even as I made the decision, I was scared, worried that I would lose the new habits I'd gained. (Like I had in the past.) Whereas in January, my schedule went all haywire; however, I didn't freak out as much, just started strategizing about when I could squeeze in bits and pieces of activity if not my usual cardio and strength training objectives. I'd walk when I had to make my calls to relatives, or work out to a DVD in my room at night before bed, or simply plan to do something the next day and figure out how. On the food side, I'm cautiously exploring a bit more with my meter and what I can handle and still be in range, which is good from a "knowing my limits" standpoint. Example: I ate 4 pieces of dim sum at the Chinese New Year party at work today, and my blood glucose was 139 at 1 hour post-meal. That's just under my personal max of 140, so I won't be doing that all the time. Good to know for next time, though! I'll probably keep it to 2 pieces instead. Overall, I think my overall goals give me a destination and my weekly goals provide the map.

Adventures with Mary Lou

Mary Lou Retton (or her Platform, anyway) is slumming it in my garage. I put her there because (1) our bathroom is too small, (2) she is kind of loud in the morning, and (3) the Things find her fascinating. (More on that later...suffice it to say, things that the Things find fascinating get played with too much and end up not very fascinating for anyone.) I plan to step on The Platform every weekday morning in my full workout regalia during the month of February, and I'll be reporting here.

Here's what's happened so far....

Platform, Day 1: Yesterday, I set up the Mary Lou's Weigh Platform, and (cue swelling inspirational music) together we embarked on the journey to lose 10 pounds! Or at least I did; she's just along for the ride.

Platform, Day 2: I was one pound above my starting weight. Lyn at "Escape from Obesity" was spot-on in her comment to Dina: when you gain, Mary Lou "has that tone of mild warning that your mother uses on you when she says 'be careful...'." Mary Lou's advice for me today? "Remember, eating right and exercising are good for your mind, body, and soul. You'll feel better if you stick to it." Yes, she is absolutely right: I'd taken BodyPump class yesterday, and by golly, those feelings of health coursing through my mind, body, soul prevented me from shooting The Platform!

Tune in tomorrow for the continuing adventure...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Weekly update, 2/3/09

What's New:
  • Yesterday was my birthday! I saw my shadow, so it's official: 6 more weeks of winter. (More or less...actually, it is whether Punxy Phil or I saw shadows or not, isn't it?) I'm now 41! Woo hoo!

    We celebrated over the weekend, and I ate a small piece of birthday cake. It was gooood. Good things on the actual day? Chatted on the phone with a friend at lunch time, got takeout from my favorite taqueria for dinner (Mr. Handsome-and-Handy had a trying day today), and then the usual evening of Thing 1-homework-noodging, punctuated by birthday phone calls. Thing 2 must have picked up on my feeling tired (I guess curling up in a fetal position on top of my bed was a pretty clear clue). She dragged her little chair into our room, set it next to the bed, and proceeded to "read" me stories....

    The festivities continue throughout the week. I'm going out to lunch with work girlfriends today, and I need to call the babysitter and arrange a date night for this weekend.

  • Someone "moved my cheese": there's a new digital scale in our bathroom, replacing our old-school one that you have to adjust to zero every morning and whose lines are hard enough to read that I often had to squint-and-guesstimate. Even so, I felt kind of comforted by its vagueness, and it did a fine job of letting me know when I hit the 5-pound milestones. The new kid in town is not my new Mary Lou Retton Platform, but it may have been purchased in reaction to it. I'm not naming names, but the cheese-moving someone is an engineer, enjoys precision and numbers, and cringes at perkiness. The new kid is also accurate, I'm happy to say. I didn't want to go digital again, because our last digital scale was off by +20 pounds, so maybe this time will be different.

  • I did a longer run (50 minutes vs. the usual 35) on Saturday morning. I usually take the weekend off; however, the family was sound asleep, the morning was clear, and I'd been going light on the cardio since BodyPump class on Wednesday, so I went for it. (I sure wish all runs felt as much like a gift to myself...this morning's most emphatically did not.)
    I passed many people out on the coast trail, walking/biking/running. One pair of ladies made my day: As we passed and hollered greetings, they added after I trotted past, "Looking good, girl!" They must be bloggers, or maybe Bumbling Band members incognito...I turned and hollered back, "Thanks! You too!" (Yes, of course I was thinking of the MizFit post on accepting compliments. BTW, Happy Blog Birthday, MizFit! I also thought of run4change's excellent blog post, "I can see it in your eyes-can you see it in mine?" know, that one made me get a little choked up. I too often forget that everyone carries a burden or faces a challenge in life, but they're not always ones that other people can see....)

  • Mom got home from the hospital on Saturday! Yeayyy! It'll be a long recovery, but at least the hospital phase is complete (knocking wood there).
Progress last week:
7-day blood glucose average: 106 (met goal of <120)
7-day fasting: 104 average, all days <120 (met goal of <120 every day)
Weight goal: No change; weight-ins now being taken on the new scale. I've stayed the same for a few weigh-ins now; but, oddly, I'm not too bothered by it at the moment. I've chosen to view it more as "practicing maintenance" than as being on a plateau. (met goal of maintain or lose)
Food goals: Consumed 5 meatless, low-fat meals and 1 fish meals. (met first, missed second by 1 meal)
Exercise goals: 4x30 min. and 1x10 min. cardio, including 3 runs. Attended BodyPump class. (Met exercise goals except 1 day of arms & abs and 20 minutes of cardio.)
Misc. goals: Got adequate sleep except for Sunday night.

Goals for this week:

7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or lose.
Food goals: 4 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals.
Exercise goals: At least 30 minutes of cardio 5 days, plus 2 days of arms & abs strength training workouts. For cardio, do at least 3 runs, weather permitting (Weather-permitting=not raining and temperature over 40 degrees).
Misc. goals: 7 or more hours sleep/night. Set up my Mary Lou Retton Platform and give it a whirl!