Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Wish

As I was standing in a very long, slow-moving line at at Macy's this morning (one LAST gift for hubby), I started thinking about this blog. I realized it's the thing that has basically kept me accountable for the last three years. It's the one thing that has made a huge difference in my weight loss and in my life.

Even though I'm not at goal yet (2011 will be MY year), I didn't gain anything this year. That alone is a small miracle. I've been blogging for three years and this is the first time in my entire life that I've consistently attempted to lose weight for that long of a period AND stuck to a regular exercise routine. My follow through on most things in life is usually poor, especially weight loss and exercise.

Then I realized I wouldn't be posting anything until next year since I'll be in Fairbanks all next week. I don't usually post or read blogs when I'm with my family. This was my last chance to say anything in 2010.

So, to anyone that reads this, first of all, I really appreciate you. If you've ever left me a comment or sent me an email, I appreciate you even more, and if you're a blogger, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I've learned so much from all of you that I can't even begin to express my gratitude. Without all of you I would have given up a long time ago.

The other thing is my Christmas wish for everyone. If I could grant one wish to everyone it would be good health. That's it. Not wealth or possessions or world peace. Just good health. Because if you have good health, you have everything. All that other stuff doesn't mean a thing without it.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!

Christmas Eve Day ramblings

Failure
I failed miserably last night with the late night eating. It was all healthy foods, grapes, chicken breasts, persimmons. Even though these foods are healthy and good for me, they still contain calories and put me way over on my limits for Points and calories (about 500 calories).

I mentioned yesterday how I felt really hungry. Dawn left a kind comment that she never felt hungry while losing her 160 pounds. If she was hungry, she ate something. When she speaks, I listen. Unfortunately, I couldn't seem to find my off switch yesterday. Sometimes I don't know if it's really hunger or boredom. I wish I could tell the difference. Lately, I'm very out of tune with my body signals. I'm working on it, but it's definitely a challenge.

FedEx and other Christmas adventures
Yesterday was a very late day to the gym because I was waiting most of the day for a FedEx delivery of Christmas present (and one I didn't want to leave sitting outside all day). I knew it was suppose to be delivered after 11:30am (per their website it was on the truck for delivery). I waited until 3pm, still no package. I finally went back online and it was delivered at 1:30pm. But it wasn't delivered! My husband told me I'd better call FedEx. That idea didn't appeal to me. Calling FedEx two days before Christmas to tell them a package they said they delivered wasn't actually delivered sounded like being tortured.

Instead, I started walking down our street of houses to look for my package. I thought it must have been delivered to the wrong house. I was right. There it sat by our neighbor's front door. They weren't home so I just walked up, picked it up, looked at it with my name and address on it, and brought it home.

My husband told me to call FedEx and let them know about the driver's mistake. I decided that the poor delivery guy had probably delivered hundreds of packages this past week, so he made a little mistake on mine. He was probably working massive hours and was exhausted. I found the package and no harm was done (other than a tiny bit of anxiety on my part). I didn't call. Merry Christmas FedEx guy.

Then a trip to Costco for last minute Christmas dinner food. Prime rib for the husband - I won't be touching it, including cooking it. It's his deal. Scallops for both of us, but mainly me! I love scallops.

While I was shopping for the scallops, someone absconded with my shopping cart, half full of food and a few more Christmas gifts, including fake UGG boots for me since I can't find my boots for my Fairbanks trip (I think I gave them to Goodwill - they were almost new but I hated the style). You don't travel to a place where it's 50 degrees below zero without warm boots. I finally found my shopping cart over by the dairy, I hadn't made it to the dairy section yet but the person that took my cart needed some milk.

Today it's back to Costco to return some slippers I bought. Wrong size! Then I need warm gloves for the Fairbanks trip because I can't find those either. I know I had them a few months ago but they seem to have disappeared.

Then the gym...all before noon for sure.

Challenge for today
Since the hunger thing was so out of control yesterday, I'm going to take Dawn and Ron's advice. Eat when hungry, but make sure I'm really hungry and not bored. Ron's advice was to spread out the Points. According to our Weight Watcher leader (and the Getting Started Book for PointsPlus) the perfect day for someone on 29 Points is the following:

Breakfast 5
Lunch 8
Dinner 11
Snack 3
Snack 2

I get another 45 Weeklies and usually at least 10 Activity Points a day, but I'm really trying not to eat those these days.

My other challenge...drink enough water. My personal goal is four 24-ounce bottles, or 96 ounces total. I failed on that yesterday too.

Damnit...that Sarah McLaughlan ASPCSA commercial is one and it gets me every time. Breaks my heart. Where's the remote when I need it?

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

ps - just checked the Fairbanks weather. It's only -31 degrees (below zero), which means at my sister's house about 30 miles from Fairbanks is -41 (it's always 10 degrees colder out by North Pole). Yes, I definitely need warm boots and gloves for Sunday. :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What is this feeling in the pit of my stomach....hunger?

The last two days I've really cut back on my food intake. It's not like I'm starving myself. I'm just eating smaller portions, and I cut out all the fake ice cream (again!). Fake ice cream being Weight Watchers ice cream bars, sugar-free crap and of course, Skinny Cows (and there's nothing "skinny" about those things for me since I can't eat just one).

With the rush of the holiday, it's been easy to skip meals. It's also been stupid and not really on purpose. It just happened that I missed lunch two days in a row these last two days, and I didn't make up for it with late night eating. I know, that's a real shocker.

As a result of actually feeling hungry, I tossed and turned most of last night, but I refused to give in to getting up for a snack at 2 a.m. I'm trying to break that habit (again!) to stop eating in the middle of the night. One innocent snack can turned into a five-course meal with dessert, and totally ruin a perfect day of eating and exercising.

When I finally got up at 6 a.m. today, I was famished. I made my breakfast. It was a little different than what I usually have:  one egg, 1/4 cup 2% cheese, 1/3 cup chopped cherry tomatoes, and 4 ounces of shrimp (we're out of Canadian bacon), and two Tablespoons of cocktail sauce (not something I ever have with breakfast). I heated this up and then put the mixture on a sandwich thin (because we're out of real bread). It was surprisingly very tasty and filling.

The problem, I put it in the Weight Watchers eTools online...it's a freaking 11 Points! Holy crap! 406 calories, about 100 more than what I usually have with the Canadian bacon breakfast, and five Points higher than my normal six point breakfast. Lesson learned:  put my food in eTools before I eat it. I probably would have had something different if I had done this, and definitely lower in Points.

By 11 a.m. I was starving again. I just had a banana and 4 oz. Activia fat-free vanilla yogurt, along with a cup of my new favorite tea (Good Earth Original, a yummy naturally sweet cinnamon tea). 160 calories or 2 Weight Watcher Points. I feel okay now, still a little hungry but I can live with it. I'm trying to suck down as much water as possible to keep the hunger pains away. It's not working as well as it usually does.

Calorie count so far today: 566
Points: 13

It's only 1 p.m. I'm not sure why this seems a lot tougher today than I remember. Maybe because I'm really focusing and doing what it takes to ignore these hunger pains. Is it real hunger I wonder, or is it all in my head? Either way, I don't like it but I can live through it.

Plans for the day, next up is the gym. My husband wants to go with me (he's off work toay). There's always the debate of taking two cars since he will only do one hour, that's his personal limit for the gym. I prefer one and half hours when I have time. We'll see.

Then it's home to wrap presents and make a chicken barley soup recipe I found in one of my old Jane Brody cookbooks. It's a cookbook I bought about 15 years ago during my vegetarian, organic, health food phase (1995-1997). I remember I bought it because it had a lot of vegetarian recipes in it.

I never made the soup but it sounds really good. About five years ago I gave away most of my cookbooks. I use to be a cookbook fanatic. I had about 50 of them. I decided to downsize and only kept five of my favorite cookbooks since I get most of my recipes online (of course, I've been adding Weight Watcher cookbooks, which I rarely use...most recipes I get from eTools).

Jane Brody was the top of the list as a keeper cookbook. Funny thing, I weighed 127 pounds when I was cooking from this cookbook and there isn't any nutritional information. They're very healthy, low-fat and delicious. I'm going to put all the ingredients into the WW recipe builder but I suspect it'll be about six or seven Points a serving. Of course, my estimates are off on everything these days with the new WW plan so we'll see how off I am on this one.

I hope everyone is enjoying their day. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I can't believe how time is flying. 2011 is right around the corner. If nothing else, I'm going to be under my January 1, 2010 weight of 177 by January 1, 2011.  Whatever it takes, I have to at least to that for myself.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

God watches out for fools

My girlfriend says this a lot, that God watches out for fools, referring to herself when she does something really stupid. Today, I was a fool.

I did something so stupid I hesitated to even write about it. I didn't even tell my husband (and I'm not going to). It did wake me up and make me realize I really need to pay more attention to my actions.

I had one last trip to the mall today, for two gifts I didn't get on Tuesday (because the crowds were making me insane). My plan for the day was the gym this morning, then home and a shower before heading off to the mall for shopping and home before 2 p.m.

I had to call my niece this morning to let her know what time I'll be arriving in Fairbanks on Sunday. I love my niece. She's funny, witty, and loves to talk. As I sat in my car in the gym parking lot for an hour talking to her, I realized it was 9:30 a.m. I thought it best to head off to the mall and go to the gym later (and I did make it there this afternoon). Otherwise I'd get caught up in the early afternoon shopping madness.

Off I went, bluetooth stuck in my ear, listening to my niece talk about the challenges of raising three boys. I don't normally drive and talk on the phone. I personally don't think it's safe, at least not for me. It's very distracting and after a few near accidents I rarely do it anymore, but my niece really wanted to talk.

When I pulled into the mall parking garage my niece was still chatting. I love her to pieces but she does like to talk. I sat in my car for another 15 minutes, my headlights turned off, talking and laughing with her over the antics of her boys. Finally we said goodbye, and I headed into the mall.

After two hours (part of it spent trying to find the second Sephora in the mall--there are two of them on the opposite ends of the mall), I headed back to my car. I knew the general vicinity of where I parked but I didn't see my car at first. So I pulled out my key fob (which contains the key that I never use) and hit the unlock button so I could hear the location of my car. Nothing but silence.

When I'd pulled into the garage at about 10 a.m. the garage was partly empty. It was totally full at noon. Then I spotted my car. Practically right in front of me. I wondered why it didn't beep when I hit the unlock button on the key fob. I tried it again while looking at it. Silence. No lights. Weird.

As I got closer to my car I hit the trunk unlock button. Nothing. Dang! The battery must be dead on the key fob. That had never happened before but the car is almost two years old. I'd never stuck the key fob in the charger on the dash so maybe it was time.

As I got next to my car I pushed the button on the door handle to open it. It's a Nissan with a button start on the ignition and a button on the handle to unlock it. I usually don't even use the key fob except to open the trunk (or find it in a parking lot if I'm lost). As long as I have the key fob on me (usually in my purse), it opens with the press of the button on the door. The door didn't make it's normal beep-beep noise when it unlocks. It opened easily meaning I hadn't locked my car. No big deal, there wasn't anything in it. Even though I always lock it. Guess I was distracted talking on the phone when I got out of my car.

Then I got in my car. It felt like it was 100 degrees inside. This is Seattle, about 45 degrees today and it was an unheated garage. Then I realized what I'd done. I had left my car running, the heater going full blast, unlocked, in a crowded mall parking garage for two hours, three days before Christmas. Oh.My.God.

That is just about one of the stupidest stunts I've ever pulled. It's a miracle my car wasn't stolen. People steal locked cars that aren't running. I was horrified I could do something so incredibly irresponsible. I know nothing happened. The car was safe, I was safe (no one hiding in the back seat), so no harm no foul, right?

What does this long, stupid story have to do with weight loss?

To be honest, this incident sort of scared me silly. As I was driving home, I started thinking about how I'm so easily distracted by life. Look Diana, shiny object!

I do the same thing with my weight loss. For months I've been floating along, watching others achieve success with their weight loss goals, while I drift along, up a few pounds down a few, then up a few more, until I managed to end up in the high 170's (177.6 this morning). I don't like this at all, and I'm not happy with myself.

After all these years of me gaining/losing/gaining weight you would think I could have this figured out by now. There is one thing I do know, I have to focus on my weight loss 100%. Yes, I have to work at a sometimes stressful job. I love to use that as an excuse, but seriously, it's just an excuse, and a pretty sorry one at that. Everyone has to work and everyone has stress in their life, yet a lot of you still manage to lose weight.

Then I was sick. Then it was Christmas week. I wonder what's next, a vacation to visit family in Alaska? It's always something with me, some distraction that I let pull me away from what I really need to be doing, focusing on losing weight. It requires 100% of my focus. No more shiny objects.

It's time to end the excuses for not losing weight. If I really want this (and I do) I need to move forward. I have to work at it because weight loss doesn't just happen to me while I'm doing other stuff. I need to totally focus on it. Eye on the prize.  I need to stop being a fool.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

So much happier today!

Yesterday was not my best day. I'm normally a pretty happy person. Even if I get down and depressed, I usually get over it pretty fast. Yesterday was not normal.

Today I woke up in a happy mood. Even after finding the still undecorated tree, with the exception of lights and the angel topper, laying on it's side on the floor. The angel was pulled off the top and being used as a kitten chew toy. Have I mentioned we have two six-month old kittens and the world is their oyster? If it's not nailed down (well, even it it is), it's their play thing. One of them even had some of the feathers from the angel's wings stuck in her whiskers. I couldn't help but laugh. This certainly isn't a Martha Stewart home.

I'm also thrilled I got my hair back to it's original state today. After three hours with my colorist and hair stylist, I look normal again. In the downer post that I deleted yesterday I mentioned I went to my best friend's niece, a hair stylist, to get a very cheap color and cut (huge mistake). It turned out to be the worst color and cut of my life. 

I'm just not a totally bleached blond kind of gal. Every time I looked in the mirror I was horrified by my hair. The color was so bright and so blond that I felt like I needed sunglasses to even look at it. That was in front, the back was even a worse mess with white blond streaks against my natural dark blond hair.

After a lot of "corrective" coloring work which included low-lights, high-lights and some all over color, I don't look like a bleached blond bimbo anymore. My stylist took off an inch of length and it feels so much healthier. The layers, well,  there wasn't much she could do about them other than trim them up, but at least they look like the layers were professionally added and I didn't take the scissors to my hair myself. My bangs are back to normal too.

I'm so much happier with my hair now. It's a little sad that so much of my identity is wrapped up in my hair. It seems rather shallow. I can't help it, that's just how I am about my hair. I sort of wish I had this same sort of obsession about my body. Maybe I'd be thin and totally in shape if I did (and even more shallow than I am now).

**********
The gym
I also attribute my much happier mood today to the gym. I didn't go yesterday until 8pm, then when I got there my iPod was dead so I didn't even stay. When I got home and told my husband, his response was, well, you could have worked out anyway, without the iPod. Ummm, no, I can't. I've tried that before when the iPod was dead and it was pure torture without my music.

This morning was a great workout with an hour of hard cardio. 25 minutes of it was on the treadmill, with an incline of 15 at 4mph, or an incline 15 at 5mph. 35 minutes on the crossramp. It set my mood for the entire day...happy!

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The food
I was actually too busy to eat today until about 6 p.m. Even after my workout this morning I only had a banana, then I had to rush to my hair appointment, then I shopped until I dropped (I'm almost done!). I know this isn't healthy, and it's not my normal.

Dinner was a piece of flank steak and a big green salad with some yummy low-cal yogurt dressing I discovered. It's Marie's Yogurt Dressing, in the cooler by the produce, half the fat and half the calories of regular dressing. I bought the blue cheese (although there weren't any blue cheese chunks in it...of course not). It was actually really good for store bought dressing.
Tomorrow is an early Weight Watchers meeting. My normal day is Saturday, but that's Christmas, so I'm going to my regular leader tomorrow for my weighin and meeting. Then more shopping.

**********

Oh my gosh...on Dr. Phil they just said that a one-pound box of candy is about 10,000 calories. I use to eat a one-pound box of Sees candy at Christmas, when I was on my binges (and yes, in one day!). Dr. Phil has a couple on the show that always gains about 35-50 pounds each, each year during the holidays. Dr. Phil is pushing a book, something about losing 15 pounds in 17 days (17daydiet.com). And no, I'm not buying the book. :)

Oh - you'll love this - they (Dr. Phil and the author of the 17 day diet book) both just said that new scientific evidence proves that taking off weight fast doesn't mean you'll regain the weight fast. It's contrary to what everyone has thought all these years. Interesting.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Found it!

Found the joy!

First, I'm really sorry about that awful post I wrote earlier today. I'm not sure where that came from or why I was so angry. I just re-read it and deleted it. Hopefully not too many people read it.

After I put up the Christmas tree, sans decorations (my husband will help with that tonight), I decided to go Christmas shopping. After visiting the mall and two other stores, I came home empty handed. The stores are packed with shoppers. The lines were incredibly long, so I gave up, not one single gift was purchased. I had a few in my hands but when I saw the lines, I knew it could wait.

As I was driving home, listening to Silent Night being sung by Bing Crosby on the radio it occurred to me, what is all the fuss about? Why am I all stressed out? I'm not Martha Stewart, and I'm not going to have the perfectly decorated tree. The relatives in other states aren't going to get their gifts on time and they probably aren't going to get the perfect gift from us either (at the rate I'm going, they'll be lucky to get a card).

When I pulled into our driveway I could see the tree in the front winter. I left the lights on it turned on and it looked so pretty. Festive and happy. It made me smile.

It's Christmas. I'm going to relax, stop stressing about stupid stuff, and just enjoy my time off.

Merry Christmas!   <---said without sarcasm. :)

Returning to the land of the living

The past week
It was a very bad week. My cold that started on Monday knocked me flat for almost six days. I basically became a bed person. I was living on NyQuil, and totally not paying attention to what I was eating.

Of course, I didn't see the inside of the gym or any form of exercise the entire time. Six days of no exercise. That's the longest I've gone in almost three years without getting some form of exercise.

I also had major issues with drinking water. My throat was so sore that swallowing was extremely painful. The only beverage I could drink without discomfort was hot tea.

A new week
This morning I woke up and was able to breathe, my sinus headache was gone, and my sore throat is only sore from coughing, a huge improvement. And when I cough, it doesn't feel like chunks of my lungs are being ripped out. I feel human and normal and alive. It is a wonderful feeling.

The damage from six days of not paying attention to what I was eating:  a five-pound gain. From 177 to 182. Yikes!

Today I'm back on the straight and narrow. I've eaten very healthy today, but I'm under my Points. I've had 24 Points and should have had 29 (and only two fruits). For some bizarre reason I'm just not hungry. Perhaps stuffing my face for six days has something to do with it. I don't believe in eating when you're not hungry. As someone who is always hungry, I'll take advantage of this while I can. I'm sure it won't last.

I made it to they gym this afternoon. I was really anxious to get back. It was difficult with a lot of burning in my lungs, but I managed 15 minutes on the crosstrainer for my warmup, 30 minutes on the StairMaster (which just about killed me!), and a good upper body strength workout for 40 minutes. It was hard, and it hurt, especially my lungs, but it felt great to be exercising again.

What I learned
I learned something about myself this week. For several years I've said that I could easily become one of the super obese, weighing in excess of 500 pounds and becoming a bed person. I was almost halfway there at 240 pounds.

I have major food issues, and I thought my compulsion with food could overtake me at any time. I would be one of those people that would never leave my home. I'd be in the news when I died and they had to cut down the walls of my home to get me out.

I realize these are horrible thoughts and no one in their right mind would think this could really happen to them. Whether or not I'm in my right mind is always up for debate, but I really did believe this about myself. I knew if I let my guard down, that is exactly how I'd wind up.

Today, while I was on the StairMaster and my lungs felt like they were on fire, I thought that it's probably unlikely that I will let myself get totally out of control with food for any length of time. I'm not saying that it couldn't happen, but I am saying that if it's within my power, I won't let it happen. I like feeling alive.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Down with a cold...Merry Christmas to me

I've had a sore throat for four days, with a few sneezes here and there, so I thought maybe it was an allergy to something. Well, it turns out I was coming down with a nasty cold. Today I have it full force and it is not fun.

Maybe that's why I've been so tired these last few days. Yesterday I forced myself to clean the house, top to bottom, to prepare for putting up the Christmas decorations. It was a miserable day. Between coughing and sneezing I managed to get the hardwood floors sparkling, all the clutter cleared away to make room for Christmas clutter, then by 7pm I literally fell into bed. I was exhausted.

There's still not a single Christmas decoration up, instead we have bare spaces everywhere. It sort of looks like no one lives here. I kind of like that look.

I was super annoyed last night when I discovered we were out of NyQuil. Not totally out, there was about a teaspoon left in the bottle. Then I remembered my husband had a bad cold a few months ago and lived on NyQuil for about three days. He never mentioned we needed to pick up some more. I still slept twelve hours, even without the NyQuil.

Plans for today are to make some chicken noodle soup, a Weight Watcher recipe. Next I'll watch movies in bed and maybe, if I'm up to it, write my third Christmas card (I wrote a second one yesterday).

Yes, I'm really moving along on this Christmas thing. My best friend that is also on vacation at home this week and is also down with a cold, and who loves Christmas like no one you know, told me yesterday maybe she could just sleep through Christmas this year. She said "it'll be over in two weeks, and I could easily sleep for two weeks, then it would be all over". Talk about two Scrooges!

No gym yesterday, but I was working up a sweat from cleaning house (or maybe that was a fever). No gym today either. I sort of hurt everywhere, and I don't really feel like working out. Maybe tomorrow.

Monday, December 13, 2010

24 Days

I'm on vacation from work, 24 glorious days. Days of doing what I want, when I want and how I want. Twenty four days of having total control of my life. I could get use to living like this.

I don't have any plans for this time, just time at home, relaxing, taking it easy. Some of my coworkers consider this a waste of vacation time. I consider it something I really needed for myself. Some quiet time .

The problem is that I feel like I'm wasting time. I'm four days into my vacation and although I'm loving doing nothing, I still have things I need to do, and for some reason, I'm not doing them.

Christmas shopping, Christmas cards and decorating the house are at the top of my list. Yet each day I tell myself I don't feel like it today, maybe tomorrow. My husband says it's post-traumatic stress from months of long hours at work, and that I'm tired from trying to meet what seemed like impossible deadlines. He keeps telling me I deserve a break.

Maybe he's right, or maybe I'm just lazy. Regardless, I've decided to set a schedule for myself tomorrow. A flexible one, but one where I have to get at least a few things done. I wrote out one Christmas card today. That was my big accomplishment (and the gym, always the gym).

It also occurred to me this would be a great time to do the Twenty Day experiment. I've been following Roxie doing it and it sounds sort of fun. It just happens I have 20 days left of my vacation, a perfect time to do this experiment.

Exercise and Food
I've rediscovered Pomegranates. They're at the peak right now, and I absolutely love them. They keep my hands busy for a good 45 minutes, eating them one arils (juice/seed sacs) at a time.

The only issue I'm having with them is that Weight Watchers now has the zero Points for fruits rule. So that makes Pomegranates, well, zero Points. One big Pomegranate (4" in diameter) is 234 calories. I know these are healthy calories, but still, they are calories.

Just for fun I entered the nutritional information (fat 3.4, protein 4.7, carbs  52.7 and fiber 11.3) into the PointsPlus calculator online and the Pomegranate (if fruit had Points) would be 6 Points. I know this isn't how the new plan works, and I'm not suppose to think of fruit having Points, but you know what I'm thinking. I could gain weight on Pomegranates if I ate enough of them.

Exercise was good today. 10 minutes on the crosstrainer for my warmup and then a hard push on the StairMaster for 30 minutes. There was an old guy on the one next to me and I think we were having a competition. He looked like he was about 70 and he was really going to town, taking two steps to my one (and my average step rate is 67 steps per minute). Although he was leaning heavily on the front railing (a no-no to proper form on the StairMaster). I also got in 40 minutes of weight lifting, upper body.

Tomorrow...Day One of Twenty.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Saturday's weighin and a fear of stairs

Saturday, December 10, 2010 Weigh-in:  177.8

Loss for the week:  -0.8

Total loss since 2/9/2008:  -61.4

I'm not very happy with myself about such a minor loss, but at least it's a loss. I'm still on track for my goal of losing an average of 1.5 pounds per week. I lost 2.2 pounds the previous week, and with this .8 that's three pounds in two weeks. Not the numbers I want, but the numbers I earned (through lack of discipline).

Even though I vowed to stop eating what Helen refers to "Franken Food" (love that phrase), I somehow managed to eat an entire package of Skinny Cows at FOUR Points each. In one day! That was just one incident that led to such a small weight loss. I had a few others.

It's a new day, a new week, new plan. This week will be better. I promise!

The Big Climb
I'm starting to realize what I got myself into by agreeing to do the Big Climb, 69 flights of stairs at the Columbia Center in Seattle on March 20, 2011. I watched some videos on YouTube about it and frankly my dear, I'm a little bit scared of what I've committed to. It appears to be a young, very physically fit person's sport.

I looked at the race results for last year and the oldest person was an eighty year old woman. She completed the race in 35 minutes. My 50-year old coworker completed it in 15 minutes last year.

Of course I'm not going into this as a race, but I want decent results. As the team captain for our work group I want to do a good job. So far I have 30 people that have agreed to do this with me as part of our corporate team, and I only announced it last Tuesday. At the encouragement of my coworker I signed our team up as a timed team, meaning we'll have the little chip in our shoes for the timing.

I've found all kinds of articles online about stair climbing as a sport. Tips on stair climbing techniques, workouts, and what you should wear (gloves with rubber pads on the fingers, running shoes not cross trainers). The workouts I've seen are tough, focusing not just on the quads and the glutes, but the arms and shoulders (you use the railings to pull yourself up), and the core (apparently a strong core is crucial).

In other words, I have a lot of work to do. No more non-structured workouts where I do what I want. I have to add in some exercises that will strengthen the areas I've been ignoring, like my core and abs. As I've mentioned many times, I hate lower body workouts, like squats and lunges. I do them, but half-hearted. Sometimes on lower body workout days (three a week), I decide I'm not in the mood and double up on my cardio. Since these are areas I need to really focus on, I have to really get serious about my workouts.

The other thing I need to get serious about is losing my 20 pounds. This is really critical. There's no way I can climb 69 flights at my current weight of 177.8 pounds. That's too heavy. I have to get under 160. The closer I can get to 155 the better. I have exactly fourteen weeks from today. If I can continue the 1.5 pounds lost per week, I could lose the 20 pounds. I really need to stay focused. I don't want March 20 to come and I feel scared and defeated before I even start the climb. I have a lot of work ahead of me.

By the way, if anyone wants to donate to the Big Climb click here. Even a $5 gift would be appreciated. All proceeds benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Your tax deductible donation helps in the fight against blood cancers.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Some things work, some don't...this one didn't

Askfirmation versus Affirmation? Well, it was a swell idea, but it didn't work for me this morning. In fact, it had the reverse desired effect.

I woke up at my usual 4:40 a.m. intending to get up and get to the gym by 5 a.m. Instead of my normal self-talk of "get up, get going and just don't think about it", I had a debate with myself.

I thought about how I didn't have to go workout, that I could think about it, and asked myself "when would I work out today?" After falling back to sleep and waking up at 5:30 a.m., I thought about it some more. The bottom line, I made it to the gym by 6:20 a.m. This is unacceptable.

If you think I'm being too hard on myself, trust me, it's really easy for me to fall back into old, bad habits. Although I've been exercising consistently for three years, it doesn't take much to convince me it's not a necessity. I'm easily swayed. Look Diana, shiny object!

Exercise is a necessity for me. It's the only thing I've done consistently for three years. I try to eat right most of the time, but obviously I mess that one up pretty often (or I'd be skinny by now).

As far as when I exercise, it's not up for discussion. I exercise in the morning. Period. I need to be at the gym by 5:30 a.m., or 6 a.m. at the very latest. This has been working for me so I don't know why I thought it was necessary to change things. Some things should stay the same.

The Big Climb
I know I keep talking about this but I'm really excited the Big Climb. So far I have 20 people signed up to participate as part of a corporate team, and today was the first day I posted it.

We're going to plan a fundraiser breakfast. I also found out today I might be able to get my company give matching funds. Maybe. I'm setting a fundraising goal of $5,000. I know that's pretty high but that's what the Light of the Night group was able to raise for cancer last summer. I hope my team can the same.

Facebook & Twitter
Since I want to get the word out on The Big Climb, I'm going to join the 21st century and start posting on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I've had these accounts set up for a long time, but basically I'm just a stalker. I never post anything, I just read about other people's lives. Hopefully this will help get the word out about the Big Climb.

The links to my Twitter and Facebook are in the upper right corner. Please friend me or follow me or whatever the heck you call it. I'd really appreciate it!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Affirmations or Askfirmations?

I've been reading a lot about stair climbing in the last 48 hours, since I decided to do The Big Climb March 20, 2011. Setting this as a goal, with a weight loss goal of 20 pounds by the time of event seems to have really motivated me. When I want to eat something not on plan, I think about climbing those stairs (like those chocolate truffles someone brought in to work today).

It turns out stair climbing is quite a competitive sport. Who knew? I certainly had no idea.

During my research on how to train (the StairMaster alone isn't go to be anywhere near enough - I have to do real stairs), I came across a very interesting article.

The article is Which is Better: Affirmations or “Askfirmations?” by PJ Glassey, but this is the excerpt that really caught my attention:
Is there a better way?


I am always on the hunt to reduce the need for willpower, because I firmly believe that achieving true fitness doesn’t have to be a battle. This is why I was so excited to read the research study by Dolores Albarracin, published in Psychological Science, April 2010, Volume 21, Number 4. She discovered that phrasing affirmations as a question instead of a statement drastically increased success! When people asked - “Am I going to exercise today?” instead of saying “I will exercise today.” – They were much more likely to follow through.


She found that framing the desired outcome as a question presented a challenge to the person -instead of a requirement that they might rebel against. By asking themselves a question, people were more likely to build their own motivation. The results of this experiment showed that participants not only did better as a result of the question, but that asking themselves a question did indeed increase their intrinsic motivation.

I really like this idea. There's rarely a morning that goes by where I don't have an argument with myself about going to the gym. It's a battle that usually I give up fighting it and just go, but I wonder if it might be easier if I try this approach that PJ talks about. Tomorrow morning I'm going to give it a try.

My food has been pretty good the last couple of days. Although I can't get over the zero Point fruit. It seems that I was spending a lot of my Points on fruit, as well as Points on vegetables because I never ate a 1/2 cup serving of any vegetable (and there were Points in vegetables if you ate more than a minimal sized serving).

Now that I don't have to do that I feel like I have a lot of Points available. I honestly don't know how this is going to work but I'm going to give it a try. I believe Weight Watchers knows what they're doing, but this one seems a little bit too lenient to me. I guess the proof will be in Saturday's weigh in.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

More about Weight Watchers PointsPlus

I know this is only Day Two of me following the new PointsPlus Weight Watchers plan, but I'm totally in love with it. It makes so much more sense than the old plan.

Counting calories works for losing weight. Eat less, move more. Of course it works. With the old Weight Watcher plan there were ways to "cheat". I had been doing it for so long that I figured out how to stretch my Points (but this also increased my empty calories). The problem was I would sometimes (probably too often) choose foods that weren't as healthy because  they were lower in Points than a more healthy version of that food. Well, Weight Watchers fixed this problem. Foods that are fake are no longer the better choice because of lower Points.

A perfect example are the Oroweat Sandwich Thins* versus Dave's Killer Bread** (check out the ingredients for both at the end of this post). Two slices of paper thin fake bread, the sandwich thins, were one Point on the old plan. Dave's Killer Bread, 21 Whole Grain (and delicious) was two Points. On the new PointsPlus plan they're both 3 Points. Now I'll always choose the one I like the most and is healthier, Dave's Killer bread!

By the way, Dave isn't a "killer" and he is a real person. He served quite a bit of jail time over the years for drug possession and he was a drug dealer for a while, the lowest form of humanity. However, he's totally turned his life around with the family bakery business. I've actually emailed him a couple of times, and he responded. He's a super nice guy and makes "killer" bread (now available at Costco and Winco). Here's a video on his life story, Dave's Story. It's very interesting how he changed his life.

Anyway, back to the PointsPlus plan...the Points earned for activity have increased dramatically. I earned 14 APs yesterday. Seriously, there's no way I could eat all of those and lose weight. My heart rate monitor (which I think lied to me) said I burned 800 calories in two hours at the gym. Maybe, but probably not. That just doesn't sound realistic, the 800 calories or the 14 Points. According *Bitch Cakes* (who wrote a much better post about the new plan than me), we can only cash in a total of 42 activity Points a week, regardless of how many we earn.

So far, I love this plan. I ate well yesterday and exercised hard. I weighed this morning and saw a small loss from yesterday. I even ate three Clementines and a banana at midnight. Zero Points. This is just so cool. I can hardly wait for Saturday's weighin. I'm expecting great things from myself. J

The Big Climb
I'll probably end a lot of posts talking about The Big Climb in the next few months. I hope I can get some fellow bloggers to join me in doing The Big Climb. If you live in the Seattle area (or even if you don't), let me know if you're interested. I think it would a lot of fun to meet and do The Big Climb  together. Start training now!

Also, I've set a weight loss goal for myself:

Lose 20 pounds in time for the Big Climb

March 20, 2011

The Big Climb Goal weight:  158 pounds 

15 weeks - 1.3 pounds per week

I hope everyone is enjoying the new plan as much as me. Here's to a great day and a great week for all of us!
~~~~~~~~~

Which would you choose for the same Points?

*Oroweat Sandwich Thin ingredients (not listed on their website!). Seriously, this stuff is disgusting.

Whole wheat flour, unbleached enriched wheat flour [flour, malted barley flour, reduced iron, niacin, thiamin mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid], water, cellulose fiber, wheat gluten, yeast, sugar, cracked wheat rye, polydextrose, salt, ground corn, canola and/or soybean oil, preservatives (calcium propionate, sorbic acid), grain vinegar, guar gum, cultured wheat flour, brown rice, oats, mono-glycerides, soybeans, triticale , barley, flaxseed, millet, citric acid, sodium stearoyl lactylate, sucralose (note...sucralose is Splenda!), soy lecithin.

**Dave's Killer Bread, 21 Whole Grain ingredients (listed on his website). I know what every single one of these ingredients are without Googling them. J
Organic whole wheat flour, organic cracked whole wheat, water, organic evaporated cane juice, grain mix (organic whole ground flaxseeds, organic whole flaxseeds, organic sunflower seeds, organic oats, organic pumpkin seeds, organic millet, organic rye, organic brown rice, organic triticale, organic barley, organic unhulled sesame seeds, organic black sesame seeds, organic amaranth, organic buckwheat, organic spelt, organic blue cornmeal, organic yellow corn, organic kamut, organic poppy seeds, organic quinoa, organic sorghum), organic wheat gluten, organic oat fiber, organic molasses, sea salt, yeast, organic cultured wheat.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Post cherry cobbler weighin, Weight Watcher love, the Big Climb

Post cherry cobbler weighin
I seriously think I have mental issues. How else would you explain my bipolar weight loss attempts?

One day I'm 100% on track, nothing can derail me. I am PERFECT.

Then the next day, I'm once again 100% on track. I'm so proud of myself, I'm superwoman. Nothing will make me go off my diet.

Then that same day the clock strikes 11pm, and I, the person who claims to desperately want to lose weight, decides to whip up a cherry cobbler. Not only did I make a cherry cobbler, I ate the WHOLE THING. I wish I could say it tasted horrible, and it made me sick. I can't. It tasted wonderful, and I didn't get one bit sick. A massive influx of sugar, and I slept like a baby.

I woke up this morning with my first thought, "I have to weigh in today. What in the hell was I thinking last night?!" Mental illness is the only conclusion I can some to. There simply is no other explanation.

I almost blew off Weight watchers today, but I was so excited to find out more about the new program that I couldn't skip it. My girlfriend was going too so I couldn't be a no-show.

The weighin wasn't what I expected. When I stepped on the scales I told the receptionist that I knew I had a gain, and I was okay with it. I waited to hear the bad news, dreading another gain. Instead, I had a loss!

Down 2.2 pounds!

Current weight: 178.6 pounds

You know what I was thinking. If I just hadn't eaten that cobbler, imagine what a really great weight loss I could have had today. I shut that thought right out of my head. My goal is lose two pounds a week through the end of the year. So far, so good.

Weight Watcher Love
I totally and completely love what they've done with the program. I love how they're not even looking at calories anymore. Food is really so much more than calories.

For example, those stupid 100-calories snack packs of cookies are no longer two Points, they're three Points.  They're just junk food in small packages. I'll never forget my first 100-calorie pack of cookies. I bought a big box of them. I think there were ten packages. I can't even remember what kind of cookies were in there, but I do remember I ate all ten packages in one sitting (see, I told you, mental illness). I never bought them again.

Now Weight Watchers is looking at the Fat, Protein, Fiber and Carbohydrates in food to calculate Points. This makes total sense to me. 100 calories of Carbs is not the same as 100 calories of Protein. I don't care what you say, but they are NOT created equal. I've known this for a long time, but to have Weight Watchers come out and say it makes me super happy.

Now I get 29 Daily Points on the new plan. The best part, I'll never get less than 29 because 29 Points is the minimum. I was getting 22 (or 21 under 180 pounds). That's not a lot of food. Of course some of the food has more Points now, like those Sandwich Thins that I didn't like anyway but for 1 Point you couldn't beat it. Now they're 3 Points, the same as a slice of my favorite bread.
My most favorite thing, fruits and most vegetables are ZERO Points. Yes, that's right, ZERO! Even bananas are ZERO Points! Now that doesn't mean you can go crazy and eat a case of Clementines or ten Honeycrisp apples or a bunch of bananas, but you can have reasonable portions without dipping into your precious Daily Points quota.

I'm really excited that most vegetables are zero Points. I eat a ton of vegetables, and it really made me mad that a cup and half of Brussels Sprouts were a Point on the old plan. I never liked that it was the same Point value as one of their junk food Weight Watcher 1-Point bars (which are now 2 Points). Now the Brussels Sprouts are zero Points. Even ten cups are zero Points. Butternut squash, zero Points. Again, ten cups of Butternut squash, zero Points.

I know I'd gain weight if I ate ten cups of Brussels Sprouts or ten cups of Butternut squash. What is so exciting about this is I can eat the foods I love, again, reasonable portions. I don't have to weigh and measure my fruits and veggies anymore because they have a big, fat zero Point value. I totally love it.

The Big Climb 
I was on the StairMaster today listening to Lady Gaga singing Poker Face for the millionth time. I was thinking this has to be the most boring exercise in the world. Climbing up stairs to no where so I can see nothing and sweating to death in the process (or having a heart attack).

Then I started thinking about the Big Climb and how much I really want to do it. I want to be able to do it without feeling like I'm going to die. I started thinking about the purpose of the Big Climb.

WHY?To find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, and myeloma and to improve the quality of life for patients and their families.  Funds raised through the Big Climb go directly to support research, patient aid, patient services, education, and advocacy.

It made me think about how lucky I am to never have had a major illness. I know these diseases must be horrible. I've seen shows about St. Jude's and their kids. Absolutely the saddest thing in the world. I remember seeing one a few days ago about a little seven year old girl being diagnosed with leukemia when she was a year old. It broke my heart.

Then I remembered a guy at work, Steve. He has MDS and just underwent a stem cell transplant. MDS is Myelodysplastic syndromes. MDS has been known as "smoldering leukemia," or "preleukemia." It's a very serious disease and without treatment MDS always leads to leukemia.

Steve is a truly awesome person. Everyone loves him. Even though I don't work on his team I know him, and the people that work with him love him to pieces.  So I had this great idea. I'm going to get a team of people together from my company and we're all going to do the Big Climb.

Plus, if there are any Seattle area bloggers that would like to join us, please email me (ww.lady@gmail.com) and let me know. I think it would be super fun to meet.

Grace has already sort of committed to it. She's thinking about it. Seattle Runner Girl....Pounds Off Playoff (Allan). What do you say? We have until March 20 to train. I'd love to meet you. I'm sure there are others out there too.

This really lit a fire under me today during my workout. I had my best all-time ever workout:

45 minutes on the StairMaster - 190 Flights!

Step rate of 67. Weight Watcher Activity Points of 10! Which I did NOT eat.

1 hour lower body workout, with lunges, squats, leg presses, calf raises, leg extensions, leg curls, bent knee squats and more lunges.

I've never worked out as hard as I did today. According to my heart rate monitor I burned 800 calories. My normal is 350-400.

Steve (the guy that made my heart beat fast today...on the StairMaster):

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day 5, I wish it was always this easy

I wish I knew the secret of my success...on days like today.

There are days when I have the super willpower, where I feel like nothing can lead me astray. I love those days. They have been few and far between these past several weeks. For some unknown reason today has been one of my good days. It's after 11 p.m. and by my standards, I've been "perfect" today.

Vitamins ✓

Water ✓

Exercise (1.5 hours strenuous) ✓

Tracked my food online with eTools ✓

Stayed within my Point limit ✓

Could I have done a better job? Of course I could have, there's always room for improvement. Perhaps I shouldn't have had that cup of non-fat Reddi Wip on my yogurt and raspberries tonight. When I looked it up in eTools it said one cup is one Point. By the way, that's really how you spell it..."wip".

It felt decadent to have that fake whip cream squirted into a cup, then piled on top of my low-fat vanilla yogurt and frozen raspberries. It was a little taste of heaven. It made me feel like I could eat like this forever. It was as good or perhaps even better than real ice cream because I didn't feel guilty eating it.

I didn't make it to the gym this morning. Instead I left work at 3 p.m. and stopped at the gym on my way home. Normally, I don't enjoy evening workouts. Usually I'm tired. There's also the fact that the weight section where the largest selection of free weights are located is packed with only guys at night. Women stick with the machines, men usually stick with the free weights. I prefer free weights. I just pretend like I belong there and do my thing. Sometimes I feel sort of out of place, but I that doesn't stop me. I belong there just as much as they do.

For some reason tonight I felt really strong and did heavier weights than usual. I was even able to my tricep bench pushups without feeling like I was going to die.

The StairMaster has become my cardio of choice lately. After about a month vacation from it, I've been back on it all week. It's the only machine that I can't cheat on, and it keeps my heart rate consistently high.

Weight Watchers changed the Activity Points for stair climbing. I'm sure it use to be four Points for 30 minutes at 30 steps/minute (I do 67 steps/minute). Now it says 6 Points for 30 minutes. Sounds a little high to me. It's hard, but it's not that hard.


I'm hoping to do the Big Climb in Seattle this March. It's only 69 flights. I usually do 110-140 flights on the StairMaster in 30 minutes. Real stairs are a lot harder than a stair climbing machine. Just like walking on a treadmill versus walking outside. The real thing is always harder. Grace, if you read this, are you interested? It would be really fun to do this with you. :)

I love the new "To do this week" feature on eTools. Each item is a link to something else and gives you more information on the task. I'm going to take a "before" photo before Saturday and add my measurements to eTools. I've never used the measurement feature so I'm kind of excited.


I'm also loving the new eTools. I love seeing all the nutrients of the food. Today one of my coworkers was talking about the Burger King Quad Stacker he had last week. Check this out (65 grams of FAT.... YUK!).


I'm working a half day tomorrow, off at noon. Woohoo! Also working from home, so it's a double woohoo! Oh, and it's Friday. Thank God! It's been the longest week ever.
ABOUT THE BIG CLIMB

WHAT?

Participants have the choice of either running up the stairwell as a racer (timed, competitive) or walking as a climber (untimed). Two stairwells are used - both courses are 69 flights and end at the 73rd floor Observatory. Water is available at designated sites in each stairwell. If you feel you can not finish, you can exit at the water stop floors and take the elevator down.

WHO?

Anyone 8 years or older.

WHEN?

Sunday, March 20, 2011.

WHERE?

Columbia Center in downtown Seattle. Address is 701 Fifth Ave.

WHY?

To find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, and myeloma and to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Funds raised through the Big Climb go directly to support research, patient aid, patient services, education, and advocacy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day 4, new day, new attitude

I got home from work last night at 11:30pm. I sat in my car and cried before I came in the house. I do that when I'm mentally and physically past exhaustion. I cry. I couldn't remember the last time I cried. It's been a while. The last time was probably over work too. Seems like it always is about work.

I left my phone on my desk last night. I woke up at 4:40am, which is when my phone alarm usually goes off. I thought, well, it'll go off any minute so I should just get up and go to the gym. After only three hours of sleep I rolled over and fell back asleep. The next time I look at the clock it was almost 7am. My husband had left for work, and I didn't hear a thing (and he didn't wake me up!).

My first thought was "Oh shit! Dave is going to be furious at me." Dave is a guy that sits on the other side of the wall of my cubicle. He comes in at 5:30am and I don't usually get in until 9am. The last time this happened he had to listen to the alarm for about three hours. He didn't know how to turn it off. He told me he didn't know anything about "these fancy phones". It's just a Blackberry. Nothing special. Poor guy. I felt really bad. I called him this morning and he said it was ringing when he came in but he figured it out. I asked if that meant he'd smashed it against the wall. He said he saw the button to "dismiss".

Long story just to tell you I'm skipping the gym today. I've had five back to back, hour plus workouts in the last five days. My body is tired. I think maybe I need a day off. If it's not raining at noon I'll walk, but it's looking pretty dismal outside right now.

About my new attitude. My last several posts seem to have had a negative tone. I don't like that about myself.

Today I woke up (the second time) feeling great. I read a few really inspiring blogs this morning, Helen and Allan. They both made me realize I need to cut the bullshit and really get on with my weight loss. I mean, I ate M&Ms last night? What the hell was that about? I ate 20 total but I hardly ever eat candy. It's the first time I ate out of the candy bowl at work. Of course it was late and I was starving and I can make up all kinds of stupid excuses. Like I said, I need to cut the bullshit.

It's off to work now. I think if it is raining at noon I'll head down to our little workout room at work. It's really a tiny little room with some exercise bikes and weights and a few other oddball pieces of exercise equipment. It's enough to get in a light 30-minute workout. New day, new attitude and no excuses.

AHA - Aware Halt Action

Weight this morning:  171.6  Weight Jan. 1, 2017:  222.0 Weight lost this year: 50.4 Goal: 155 I listen to a lot of weight loss podcast...