Sunday, November 18, 2018

Temptation and a bit of a challenge

So it’s the week of thanksgiving!  Happy early Thanksgiving!   And with this holiday comes the knowledge that there will be lots of food to eat....lots of food to make...lots of food to see...lots of food to consume.   It is sooooo tempting to throw in the towel and just give up!!!  Especially this week!!!

Yes, I did just say that I am tempted to throw in the towel and give up on this weight loss thing until after the holidays.  (And I mean after Christmas...). I’m not losing weight as it my natural inclination is to say ‘screw it’ and just eat what I want. However.  I don’t want to go into the new year with even more weight...I would ideally like to start the new year weighing less than I do now...but I would be happy to go in with a maintain!

So for that reason I am throwing down the challenge.  A nice Holiday (let’s just focus on Thanksgiving right now.) challenge.  It’s simple really.   (And I blatantly grabbed the idea from a blog I read.).   Four different facets of this challenge.

1.  Exercise the day of the holiday!   
2.  No bites licks or tastes while cooking and cleaning must be on my plate at the table if I eat it!
3.  One serving multiple plates!
4.  Take a picture of my food eaten!!!!!

Simple...but doesn’t it sound effective!   So no...I’m not throwing in the towel...I’m issuing a challenge!!!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Friday: brrrrr winter is here

What a week!!!  It wasn’t a bad one, thank heavens... But it sure was crazy!!!   It sure ran the gamut in terms of what happened.  So without further ado, I give you my recap of the week.

I started off Monday still reeling from my weekend of being sick.  I decided to put my newfound early morning workout routine on hold until I was fully recovered.  I did not call off of work.   I trudged into work.  By the afternoon I was really dragging!  But I made it.   Because it had been so rough to make it through Monday afternoon I decided to not workout on Tuesday morning also.  Part of me wonders if I didn’t make that decision more out of ‘I don’t wanna wake up early’ versus ‘I really don’t feel right yet.”  But regardless, I am ok with my decision.  On Wednesday excuses!  I got up and did my 25 minute workout.  It’s not super intense...but it’s at least something!  I received an email on Wednesday from my good friend Julie (she lives about 8 hours away from me...we primarily communicate through email...occasional texts and visits every once in a while...rare visits sadly enough).  She just happened to mention the fact that ‘luckily my fit bit alarm went off and that woke me up’.  I had a lightbulb moment.  A Fitbit alarm???  I imagine that at some point may have known that I could set an alarm on my Fitbit .(Amazon Affiliate link)..but then again...maybe not!  Either way, an alarm on my Fitbit  would eliminate my guilt at the loud alarm going off and waking both Jason and I up when it only needed to be me sacrificing sleep!!  Let me tell worked like a charm!!  Yeah, he stirred when I slipped out of bed...but he didn’t total wake with the rousing alarm!  So yes...on Thursday I worked out too!    

This week I added in weights and some arm work!  I also got smart and threw my headphones on and listened to music to help pass the time on the stair machine thingy!  This weekend I may look into my supply of DVD’s and add in a video or two!  Anything to keep it fresh and different!

I did some more training this week.  On Tuesday and Wednesday I worked with some reps in Indiana to train and prepare them for the next step in doing this job.  They are definitely on the fast track of learning everything.  Necessary since they are taking over my position.  Sometime  in the next month or so I’ll be the one learning a new position (my team’s work is being moved to our Indiana site and I’ll be on a new team.).  

The discontinuation calls continue.   These are calls regarding the end of the assistance program for one of the medications that I support.  Some of them are difficult...which we expected....after all we are taking away the free medication that people have been receiving...and it is a life saving medication! But let me tell you though...I’m amazed.  Simply amazed.  A few times a day I get the call and someone is obviously upset about this change...and worried.  But then they still stop to say ‘thank you for the medication that you HAVE given me for free’. I didn’t expect that at all...and even though it’s only a few it does restore faith in the human race.

My eating was pretty good this week.   I never went crazy.  I never binged.  I stayed steady. My calories were pretty well in line. 

I thought I tracked over the weekend..but I apparently didn't...I have since gone back and done so and my calories were in the same range.

I have my goal on myfitnesspal set to have me lose 1.5 pounds a week...and as you can see I come in below that I SHOULD be losing!!!!

I’m holding steady within the same 2-3 pounds.   Grrrrrr!  I don’t want to go lower in my calories...but it seems I’m going to have to.

Welcome winter!   I didn’t get any good pictures of our first snow...I left home on Thursday morning right as it was starting where I live and drove straight into the storm.   I made it to work with out much fuss...and I was inside all day and missed the bulk of the snow.   I commutes home in the aftermath and continual rain -and ice.  Jason was sent home from his job...they closed down...lucky boy!!!   He sent me this picture taken from the couch at about 10:30 when it was just getting rolling.

Our area got about 4 or 5 inches...but then the temps rose a bit and the rain helped melt the snow.   We are still in the clean up and residual ice from all the snow and rain stage.  But we weathered our first winter storm.

Overall I would say that the week was an ok one. From sick to health.  From 60° to winter storm. exercise.   Just a total crazy week of opposites!  I didn’t have any great success in my weight loss...but I will say continuing on with the exercise instead of not restarting is a huge victory!!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

When it’s just not working: quit or adjust

I started to work at my current job about a year and a half ago.   I quickly fell into a couple habits.   Honestly, they were pretty decent habits!  And they were working for me!  But just this morning I realized that one of the habits is no longer working for me!  That means I need to either give it up or alter it!!!  Continuing on with something that is not working is a futile attempt at success!

So let’s talk about some of these habits that I fell into:

The first habit was that I began walking on my 15 minute breaks and on my 30 minute lunch break. When winter hit it was more difficult but I continued on days that were not ‘too cold’ and when it was too cold?  I walked the steps on each break.  Not exactly a complete workout, but it was at least some activity in an environment that has me sitting for hours on end while I do my job.   I feel better when I do this and however small, it’s doing my body some good.    I have admittedly gotten lazy on this one and I need to alter my behavior to get back into this and to stop being lazy.

The next habit I got into was eating a small snack in the morning on the way to work.  This was mainly when I was leaving the house at 6AM and had a two hour commute. When I moved closer to work I just accidentally stopped eating breakfast.  It worked for me and I found that I felt better not struggling to force myself to eat when I was  not really feeling it.  I later found that what I was doing was intermittent fasting.  And it worked for me in terms of my lifestyle.   I am not a sadist.  Ok those days that I can think of nothing other than food in the morning?  I will break from my routine and actually grab a bite to eat.   So this habit stays.

The last habit  is the lunches that contain ‘portable’ foods that I could eat while walking.   Typically this was a piece of fruit and a piece of cheese...easily nibbled on  on while walking.  This is the habit that I’m struggling with.   In the last few months I  found it more and more difficult to be ‘satisfied’ physically and emotionally with this light lunch.  And I often cave and go to the cafeteria.  The other morning while I was packing my lunchbox I had a lightbulb moment.   Two of them really.   The first was that it makes sense that that type of lunch no longer works for me.  I started intermit fastening and I’m breaking my 16 hour fast with that meal and it’s virtually nothing.   Well then.....
The second thing is the memory of lunches I ate when I was losing weight years ago. I still ate a meal that was heavy in fruit and veggies (mostly fruits and veggies) but I always had some kind of  carbohydrate ...or something crunchy...without it I felt dissatisfied.   A lot of the time I ate a Wasa cracker   (Amazon Affiliate Link).  That’s a cracker that is high fiber, low calorie and relatively added the crunch needed. Sooooo...realizing and remembering these two things helped me come to the conclusion that I will be altering my lunches to include a bit more food...I don’t want to be ravenous...or unsatisfied.   Sustainability requires satisfaction!!!

So that is my main change...I will be adjusting how and what I pack for my lunches at work!!!   This weight loss thing is an ever adapting every changing life!  What works today may not work next week...we just have to roll with the punches!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Derailment: knocked off the exercise path

I swear!  Every time I get myself in line something happens to detail me!!!  I did so good last week!  I tracked my food intake.  I woke up early and exercised each morning!  I was hotonthe trail of health!!!  Ok, so I may not have posted a loss on the scales...but I had a maintain and I felt like I was FINALLY back in the right path....and then bammm.....derailed!

By the end of my typical work week I am always exhausted.  So on Friday afternoon when the exhaustion hit I wasn’t too concerned.  I did wonder a bit about the fact that I was crying on my drive home...crying because I was so darn tired!  But I got home and settled in and my tears were gone so I forgot about them.   

On Saturday I took it easy...I just felt ‘off’ but I felt fine.  

But on Sunday it hit! I slept most of the morning....I slept a couple hours in  afternoon.  I felt like I had been drug through the mud.   I’m pretty sure I was running a fever.  I just tried to give my body what it was demanding.

In talking it over, I decided to turn off the early ‘exercise alarm’ for Monday morning.. It just didn’t seem wise to push myself!   So my good habit that I was in the process of building is being put on hold.   There is NOT relief, surprisingly enough.   I’m actually more upset to delay my quest for fitness.

I did stumble around and get my dumbbells ready to add that into my morning workout routine! baby girl had to go into the bike shop, she wasn’t sick....she was getting an upgrade though.  My one tire was not holding air.  Instead of buying a tube and fixing it, Jason has given me one of my Christmas gifts girl is going tubeless for her tires.  I should get her tonight!!!  I don’t like my pretty girl not being in the bike bedroom!

So a temporary delay in my quest for fitness...but I vow to only let this be temporary....I will not be totally derailed!  And an upgrade of equipment.  I want fitness and I’m still pushing onward, but I have to listen to my body and when your sick...your sick!

Friday, November 09, 2018

Tough decisions: making, altering and deleting

It is Friday again!  That means I have made it though another week.   It was an interesting week for me!   I actually made some changes and implemented some healthy living plans!  I actually worked on my weight loss efforts!   So let’s get right into my Friday recap!

Like normal, my work week was exhausting!  The days are just long...and I’m using my brain pretty much every second of the day.  This week was maybe even a bit more tiring than normal as I continued training the reps from a different site AND because the discontinuation calls have started to hit us.  Discontinuation calls?   I work for a medication assistance program.  We run various programs to offer assistance for people that can’t afford their medication to gain access.   One of the medications (two actually....very similar uses) are still available on the market but the decision was made to end the assistance program for these medications at the end of the year.   This is a life sustaining to say that people (patients, doctors, nurses, social workers, anyone really) are upset is an understatement.   So that makes work.....interesting.  It’s also heartbreaking for those of us on the front line as we have to confirm and talk to these people.

A while back I made the vow that I would have to sacrifice something to make time to exercise.  I knew I wasn’t sacrificing my time with Jason on any consistent basis...which meant my sleep...I would just have to wake up early and exercise before my shower. Shame on me, I never did it!    And then last weekend I got a friendly nudge to do it.  I decided to do it!  Nothing was going to stop me!  Every workday morning I was getting up early to get in a workout!  So I am proud to say that on Monday morning I woke up early and hopped on the bike trainer!   On Tuesday morning I woke up early and split my time on the bike trainer and the stair stepper.  I realized that the stair stepper gave me a better workout (the bike trainer is a bit louder and I didn’t want to mess up Jason’s sleep OR the people downstairs so I kept it on an easy and more quiet resistance).  Sooo on Wednesday I did most of my time on the stair stepper and then finished up with a few minutes of sit ups on the exercise ball (Amazon Affiliate link) ..a good cool down before my shower!  Thursday was a repeat of the previous day’s workout!  But I was  really dragging on Thursday morning.  Honestly I was dragging by Wednesday night...bad!     I am always really dragging by the end of the week.  Sooo...I am altering my plan.  4 days a week...allowing me a Friday off!  (Or Friday is a make up day if I miss a day earlier in the week). My altered plan really does make sense, to me at least!! It allows my body/muscles a bit of a rest before we break into our weekend plans of hiking or biking. 

You can see my stair stepper thingy on the far left at the bottom and my old Trek bike on the trainer in the middle top of the picture ...and of course the exercise ball!  

So this week I’ve learned a few things....wear shoes on the stair stepper....remember to put my hair in a pony is possible to do it blind in my little ‘exercise room/area, without glasses....lots of fun lessons.   But I have also come up with a few ideas to pump it up.  I will be going into the storage closet this weekend to grab my weights to add upper body to my stair stepper machine.  I will also be perusing my dvd collection to add in a dvd workout.  So I am full of plans as I alter and adjust this new lifestyle behavior to fit my needs.

Walking on my lunch break???   Well...hey I’ve been waking up early to workout...that’s something...right?  Ok, so walking on my breaks hasn’t gone ‘well’.  In fairness Monday and Tuesday were rainy.  Wednesday was just sheer laziness on my part!!!  On Thursday We had a fire drill at work so I walked down the steps...then walked the steps back to my floor...but otherwise..I’ve been a slug!

The crazy fact of the week?  While we were on vacation I tracked every bite of food!  There were some high days but I tracked them.   I went back to work and the tracking went away...and I barely tracked anything!   Crazy isn’t it???    This week I picked it back up!  My calories were kept in line...betweeen 1200 and 1400 calories a day!   

I did indulge in a small piece of my homemade fudge here and there...but it was totally accounted for!!!

The hardest part?  I had been doing intermittent fasting ..not eating until lunch break.  It has worked well for me.   Until this week!   About an hour or so after my work out I’ve found myself hungry...and then I think about food all morning long!   I caved one morning and ate breakfast!  (I’m not a sadist...if it isn’t working I’m not doing it!). So I’ve been doing a bit of research...and I’m up in the air about continuing that morning fast.

Typical weight popped up on Monday....frustratingly so.  It dropped again, a little....and today my weight is a pound up from where I was last Friday!  Grrrrr

So that’s my week.   Some plans for a healthier lifestyle were made.   Some were altered.  Some were is going on and I’m slowly going to figure this out!!!!  And it’s going to be something that I can do forever!!!  Sustainable!!!

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

The Whoosh Effect

I have been lamenting about my weight lately.  I am either NOT losing or I am in this vicious cycle on the scales that is just frustrating.  When it happens it makes me throw up my hands in the air and say "why"?   Why in the world indeed.

Let me recap what the 'vicious cycle' that seems to be perpetuating over and over on the scales.  I will be super active on the weekend and will be feeling confident about my next weigh in.  But on Monday, my weight either stays the same or pops up on the scales. All week long I keep myself in check but the scales are NOT friendly.   And then the weekend arrives and weight drops.  It has made no sense....Friday nights are usually cheat nights (pizza and wings delivered to our door so our Friday tired-selves can do nothing other than answer the door) but my weight drops.  Isn't it crazy?  

I've tried to combat the cycle.  I've pondered.  I've thought.  I've lamented.  

And then....bright and early one morning a few days ago I was reading blogs and I came across a blog post on 3purplethings that had a link to an article and it ALL MADE SENSE!   

What is this magical answer?  It's called the Whoosh Effect

Seriously, I recommend reading the complete article.  However, I know that there are time limitations, so I will recap.    Basically the article starts with the scientific stuff about what happens when we burn fat.....the area that the fat used to be is replaced with water.....and thus you are not showing a loss on the scales when you actually burn the fat because there is water that has filled that void  (I actually knew that after a good workout there is a bit of a water retention issue.)  The weight will eventually drop...when the water is expelled from our bodies.     Furthermore the article clearly says that when you are seeing the weight drop, it is most likely from something that you did a few days/week early because of that water retention thing.  (Ok, this makes sense too...because how many times have I seen a weight loss when I didn't deserve it...but see no weight loss when I really do deserve it?)    Yeah, the article was totally making sense  (Have you gone to read it yet?)   Up until this point, the article was amazing.  But then it actually got better!   The article quoted a study that was completed during WWII...a semi-starvaation diet known as The Minnesota Starvation experiment.   They basically set up a program in which these people were doing hard labor but not eating a whole lot...and should be losing drastic amounts of weight.  After a while, they noticed that the participants would have fluctuating weight all week long..even though they were working hard and eating little. BUT...each week when they gave them a 'cheat meal' (AKA known as a higher caloric meal) that night they noticed these  men went to the bathroom to pee a lot more AND the next day their weight dropped.   Whoosh, the weight was gone.  Somehow for some people that cheat meal triggers that whoosh.   

Can we avoid the whoosh effect?  Nope.  It's just how our bodies work.  However, it is very important to understand that this can be a perfectly normal phenomenon.    Why is it important to know?   Because now that I know and understand that what is happening is perfectly normal, I can stop obsessing about what seems to happen regularly.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Regrouping and the trail of death

Last week was a ROUGH week for me.  I didn't do good with exercise.  I didn't do good with eating.  I didn't do good with anything health related.  I tell was a rough week   I faithfully wrote about it all...that's for sure.    I wrote about my meltdown on the mountain bike trail that occured on Sunday.   I also wrote about my serious contemplation in regards to why I'm even doing this.....and why I continue to write about it and thus sharing my shame.    It was a rough week in regards to my weight loss and healthy lifestyle.

By Friday I was feeling a bit more 'secure' in where I was and what I was doing.  Not quite back in the grove yet and not quite back to making plans and talking about it.  But at least a bit more in control of what I was doing.  Luckily, the weekend came and I had opportunities to think and situations that made me ponder in order to figure out something in terms of a plan. (A loose plan!)

On Friday evening as I was leaving work I received an email from a friend.  She knew about the aforementioned meltdown on the bike trail that occured last weekend.  Her parting words to me before we both logged off our computers was this.  "Get back out on that trail.  You can do it and this weekend you will conquer it.  I believe in you."   Well then......I couldn't back out of the ride now...Julie believed in me!   The rest of Friday was uneventful.  We enjoyed our normal low key evening of relaxation and pizza delivery as we recouped from our hectic work week.

On Saturday morning I hooked up with my friend Shantel for breakfast.  We had a great time talking, laughing, sharing and reminiscing.  I wasn't happy with the selfie that we took about halfway through our time together

My face looks SOOOO fat.  I mentioned it to Shantel and we got to talking about my weight woes.  She works out each morning AND she runs a few miles everyday on her lunch break.  She is a machine.  I lamented about my long 11 hour work days (adding in the commute) and how that doesn't leave much time for exercise.   She readily agreed.   But then I opened my big mouth and mentioned how I had previously contemplated and decided to sacrifice some sleep by waking up early so as to MAKE the time to workout before my normal daily activities began.   I also readily admitted that making a plan to do it and actually DOING it were two different things and I was struggling with the actual follow through of this sacrificial plan.   She looked at me and said "MaryFran, I wake up at 5AM every day and spend about 45 minutes to an hour working out with an exercise DVD".  Well plan was only 5:30 for a 20-30 minute workout.    I quickly volunteered her to be my accountability partner and to use tough love on me.  So, my plan was Monday morning.....5:30 AM...I'm up and at the very least riding the bike trainer.
On Saturday afternoon I decided to make a graph of my weight loss. I am an old fashioned girl and like things on paper so I can see.   I chose to only put in a monthly weight....and chose the weight closest to the beginning of the month and there are definitely some gaps where I wasn't weighing in (or I just don't have any weights recorded).   Each line represents 5 it's not spot on...but it is a true representative of my overall weight loss journey.   It was sobering...but it was also very interesting.  I can identify a major life event with EACH of the big jumps upward in the graph.  I was losing weight...and doing nicely in 2013....and then found out my husband had cheated on me and boom my weight rose. I was losing again and then started the proceedings to the divorce and moved in with my parents...and my mother bakes all the time for some markets that she sells home cooked goods at so desserts readily available ALL.THE.TIME....boom another rise.   I was holding steady and maybe even dropping a bit and then Jason and I both switched jobs which eliminated a lot of our evening walks and we were so tired that the weekends were not as active.  Boom, my weight rose.   It was very interesting to see.

Ok, so what if I made this  graph while sitting on a stool in the kitchen while I watched the candy thermometer in the pan while I made a batch of fudge. (I will be freezing some of it for a quick little treat here and there.) judgement on the fudge!  It is only right that I used/tested my new candy thermometer !!  (Amazon Affiliate link!) But regardless of the fudge...the graph really does show my journey and really makes me want to see that big downward curve to the bottom of the graph!!!!   Motivation for sure!!!!!

On Sunday we decided to head back to the trail where last week I had my meltdown   I was filled with lots of fear and trepidation!

  We grabbed the bikes and the first thing we noticed was that my tire was dead flat.   We pumped it up and headed out (the same thing happened last week and I was fine).  A half of an hour later we were at the trailhead and much to our chagrin the tire was partially flat. Again.   Grrr.   We pumped it up and did short forays from the car.  It was probably exactly what I needed....I was tired and my legs were aching....but by not pushing myself to the absolute limit, I was actually able to enjoy the ride!!!    The bike did bite me a bit!!!!  I was climbing a hill...out of the saddle and something happened and I flew off the bike.  Ok not really flew but I did leave the saddle and I did think I was going to go down.    The pedal bite into my leg and I have developed a bruise. 

So now it is 5:47 AM on Monday morning...and where am I might you ask??   I am sitting on my bike...on the bike trainer....spinning those wheels.  I will have 25 minutes on my legs today...before I even shower!    So I’m keeping my plan... you see...on the bike ride yesterday I kept vowing ‘I’m going to fix my issues and make every ride fun...even the long rides...even the hard technical rides.  But I can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results.  The same thing..which was to be a dig through the week and a weekend warrior with exercise/activity, was NOT to continue on that path was pure insanity.  So this week I’m trying something different! (If only it was light outside, I would run a bit too!)’s hard but the efforts will pay off!