Saturday, October 29, 2016

Thoughts On...

Well, it's just about the end of the month and since I'm having my official weigh-ins on Saturday, I had my last one of October and updated my "The Data" page. 10 pounds down this month, which is great! Lots of ups and downs, but the past couple weeks I hunkered down and got serious again.

After five days of "no obvious/junk sugar" I'm a little skeptical about what it can/does do for me. I'm also not sure about the 16/8 fasting regimen I've been doing, either. I ended up only losing .2 pounds from last week, which was disappointing on one hand but also OK because hey! I lost something, right? And, as my partner reminded me, I didn't gain. And, I am still (just) under 290. It's just that I felt really good about my eating in the past week and thought I'd have much more dramatic result. (I know, I know... five days is probably not quite enough to make a solid judgement, but I'll need to start fresh on that since I have had a number of junk sweets today.)

Maybe it's having been sick for two weeks, maybe it's because I had bigger losses in the week or two before, etc. Who the heck knows.

Well, I did full-day fast #2 yesterday. It's been fine and I will try again next Friday just because it is awful nice to not have to think about food at all for a whole day. I'm not sure if I will keep doing the 16/8 – it's fine to do, but I'm not sure it's helping with weight loss? I'm going to give that another week to see, and revisit the decision to continue then.

I do think the no obvious/junk sugar thing is a good thing to keep as a negotiable part of my regimen, that is – generally try to have a zero tolerance policy, but allow for exceptions here and there. This morning when I broke my (30 hour!) fast, I had leftover pizza and ice cream for dessert... and I tell you what, it wasn't half as delicious as the humble omelet I made to break the fast last week. I feel like I should have had an omelet again instead! Oh well. Anyway, I am wondering if maybe my tastebuds are already starting to take a turn, which is a nice thought. I will keep trying it out.

As for the other stuff I was going to try out – way fewer carbs, mainly – well, I decided to put it off until I am not sick, or maybe just try it another time completely. I don't know. I just really like being able to eat whatever and just keep an eye out on portions, and it seems to have worked out all right for me. So the plan is: continue intermittent fasting a while and see if it is beneficial at all, and keep logging my food and keep exercising as regularly as I can.

Long story short, I am still feeling good about what I am doing and continuing on my path losing more weight. I am also really anxious to get back to running, which I haven't done because of this nasty cold I've been battling! Ugh.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

How I'm Doing

Well, hellooo!

I've been sick all week, even sicker now, unfortunately – what I thought was something low level last week ended up blowing up over the weekend with a relentless cough and sore throat. So, I didn't get to run again like I'd planned. It seems like it'll be at least another few days before I do, which is a huge bummer, but at the same time I think I will be able to make up for lost time pretty well if I employ interval training like I've been talking about. I'm optimistic!

When I left you last Friday, I had decided to fast for the day. It ended up being a 36-hour fast total and it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. So much so, in fact, that I plan to keep doing it on a weekly basis until it doesn't seem to serve me well any longer. In addition, I'm giving the 16:8 fasting the rest of the time a try – 16 hours fasting, 8 hours for a window of eating.

On Saturday morning, I awakened from the fast and started the day with the most delicious ham and cheese omelet and buttered toast. Let me tell you – it truly was the most delicious thing. One thing I love about fasting is that when you finally do eat, the food tastes so freaking good. I mean, sure, I make a mean omelet (It's a skill I learned just recently, in fact!), but man, it was delish! I logged my calories as normal for the rest of the day and stopped eating by 8pm.

(Oh! And by the way, I finally got to try the Swedish Fish Oreos I ordered, because guess what? I reached my weekly goal of 289! Finally below 290, hurrah! The Oreos are good, but let me just put it this way: the three packages I have will last me a long, long time.)

It was on Saturday afternoon that I started to feel more crappy, unfortunately, and I didn't feel a whole lot better Sunday when I woke up. But I had a paid thing to do in the morning (art consultant stuff for NYFA) and a fun thing to do in the afternoon that had been planned for weeks (a visit with friends in Toronto!). I felt OK-ish for the two+ hour drive up and glad I went, but I probably should have stayed home. Well, anyway, I waited until noon to eat anything, ending my first 16-hour fast and beginning my 8-hour window to eat. I had snacks from the consultancy, lots of water, and then Detroit-style pizza (!) and cake (!) with my friends in Canada. I basically kept a calorie tally in my head, and I was done eating by 8pm as planned.

I'm getting used to waiting to eat until noon now with the 16:8 way of eating. I like not having to worry about breakfast and I like to divide my daily calories among two meals, which allows for bigger meals and feeling way more satiated when I do eat. I really like the eating "window" – I am mentally set and prepared to not eat outside it. I am programming myself not to want to eat outside the window. So far I feel like I am far less obsessed with food than I ever have been, which is so, so nice. It is a huge relief, actually. I also feel like when I do have the window to eat, I'm not all bingey, but I feel motivated by the fast to eat better and to eat within my caloric framework. Interesting.

The other thing I am doing, of course, is gradually letting go of sugar for a while. Today is day two of that, and on day four I'll be adding on the elimination of fruits as sweets, and obvious carbs like pasta and grains. So far, so good – I haven't felt too many cravings. It's funny, though, today I went to have an apple after dinner and even spread about a tablespoon of peanut butter on the slices, when I remembered that the PB would definitely fall under "obvious sweets", so I actually wiped it off the apple and threw it away. (I know, wasteful. I hated doing it but I couldn't really do anything else with it!) It was just this habit I had.

In a nutshell, despite being sick, I'm pretty excited about how my plan is going. I don't know, maybe more restriction IS better for me after all... at least in the short term. I don't know how long I could or would continue to do the no sweets/fewer carbs thing, but like everything else I'm going to wait and see how it all goes, how well it serves my particular needs.

Remember, one size does not fit all! You have to keep searching for the things that will help you most, and give up the things that don't.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Shake It Up

It's been a week. I managed to fight off what I was afraid was going to blow up into some major cold-like thing, but I got really lucky and it just kind of leveled off at the mildly sore throat-wicked tired-slightly congested stage. I slept without a dose of Nyquil last night successfully, and today I am feeling like I am ready to get back to my regular walking/running routine this weekend!

I also just found a "witchy" exercise challenge that starts next week, hosted by Gala Darling, that I'm going to check out! It starts on Monday and it's free – you can still sign up! I'm kind of excited to see what it will be like, and to try something different.

Another thing I am going to try is... dun dun DUN!... intervals in my running. I've been having such a hard time with straight running and it's pretty discouraging. I don't know if it was because I was getting sick and didn't know it, or what, so we'll see, but after discussing it with my idol/pal/cheerleader Betsy, I decided to open myself up to the idea of interval training – walking interspersed with running. Of course I am no stranger to this, having done Couch to 5K many times and participating in Fleet Feet's No Boundaries program several times, but since working on my own I have been entirely focused on ONLY running and building up my base from one mile on. But it's been harder than I feel like it should be, and I wouldn't mind getting longer, more productive workouts in, so... back to C25K-like stuff for me, at least for a while. I have a few apps that have intervals built in that I might try out, and then someone on one of the Facebook communities I'm a member of suggested simply running for one song's worth, and walking for the next. I like that idea, too.

So anyway, I'll be experimenting with that in the coming weeks and see how it goes. Either way I am committed to running another 5K race, so I have to get back to work! I'm officially signed up for the Freezer 5K in Buffalo that takes place on December 11th. Plenty of time to work my way back to 3.1 miles. (Hey, I know that at the very least I can walk that easily!)

Rounding out the week, I was running late this morning and was woefully unprepared for breakfast and lunch, and not really feeling like buying either, I thought – Hm... maybe I will just not eat today. The idea of not having to worry about food for one day sounded really good to me, and I also feel like it might give me a mental reset for the weekend and weeks to come. I'm still piddling around in the low 290s and I just want to get out of there already! I didn't really feel like dealing with dinner, either, so whatever. I'm not eating today. There's all kinds of things to read about fasting on the internets that seems mostly positive. And I am just trying it out for today. It might turn into a once-a-week thing, depending, or just a flash in the pan. Whatever, I want to shake things up somehow, and...

One more thing I was talking to B. about was sugar and carbs and things and how they affect us. I'm not one to totally eliminate things from my diet completely, but again, as an experiment I am going to try something new starting on Monday that will last nine days, which will go like this:

• three days of avoiding overt sugar and alcohol
• three days of the previous plus avoiding natural carbs (grains, pasta, high glycemic fruits and veggies)
• three days of the previous plus avoiding all carbs

I want to see how I do without sugar. I have a terrible sweet tooth and sometimes it can feel really addicting. I want to see what my weight does without these things for a little while. I also want to see how it makes me feel in general.

So anyway, I know it's a lot that I am chomping on right now, but I am feeling pretty ambitious and just want to get things moving again. A little bit more effort for a week is not going to kill me, and it might even make me stronger.

I am coming for you, Monday!

(Also, it's almost time to leave work for the day and I haven't died of starvation yet! Hooray!)

(P. S. I love the Cars.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Random Thoughts

A bullet-list is good for today. I have a slight cold and I'm claiming post-Nyquil-induced stupor for the day.

Here goes:

• Weight-wise, I have turned the clock back to August, when is the last time I saw 292.

• According to my Happy Scale log, I was solidly in the 280s for the entirety of May/June/July. I am almost back there! 270s from December 2015 through April. November was the only month I saw the 260s.

• I am really proud of myself for not having fully given up on this. And I won't!

• The past two weeks or so have been pretty productive. I feel comfortable with my eating, logging meals regularly and making better choices overall. I'm still working on getting my exercise level where I want it to be, and wouldn't you know... I got hit with a sore throat and a general cold-like thing when I woke up Sunday morning. It's really knocked me out and I don't have a lot of energy, so I am not going to worry about it too much. Running a mile is still hard, but looking back I wonder if the last couple outings were extra hard because my body was fighting off whatever this is that was creeping up on me?

• Best of all, I am feeling more confident and not as anxious about what I am doing. I am not so worried about how long it is taking, or that I can't help but feel like this whole past year+ was a waste of time! No – it wasn't. It was a learning experience, and while I backtracked a little bit, I think it was a good time to get used to my smaller body, understand what is required of me to do what I want to do, and why it is really so important. It's been a struggle for sure, but it's not been for nothing. I feel downright powerful lately.

It may have to do with these boots, though. My first Fluevogs in over 25 years! The BEST hundred bucks I spent (which was a super bargain, btw) in a long time. Wearing them makes me feel like I found my true self again.

Photo does not do them justice. 

Plus, tonight I am going out to be like I'm 25 again and seeing one of my favorite bands, Shellac, perform in a really intimate venue! I haven't had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Steve Albini perform in person before, so I am very excited. Not to mention, this will be the first time my partner and I have gone to a show together in all almost 17 years we've been together. Wow!

Here is a great article that lists some of Albini's greatest recordings as a musician. However, you may know him as the guy who produced Nirvana's In Utero LP back in the day. Anyway, I am a big fan of his crunchy guitars and cannot wait for tonight! Rawr!

• I ordered a few boxes of Swedish fish Oreos from Amazon, but I decided not to break into them until I get under 290. That will be my little reward. (No, I won't gorge on them. I will space them out and savor. I promise!) I am a HUGE fan of Swedish fish. In fact, my two go-to "bad" snacks are Swedish fish and Smartfood popcorn, for the record. 

• Life is good, I have to say it. It's not perfect by any means, but I have a pretty darned good one. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Making Plans for Amy

Oh my gosh, I just read a recent post by fellow artist Lisa Congdon on her blog: Changing the story

It's just what I needed to read right now. Just minutes ago I shared a video on my Facebook wall about the benefits of waking up early (like 4:30am early!), too – it's on my mind because tomorrow I need to get up early in order to get my run in and not have to rush around getting ready for work afterward. I generally don't think of myself as a morning person, like Lisa, but realize that I do pretty OK most of the time I am forced to. I am a 9 to 5er, after all! There is nothing more satisfying than getting up early and getting things done that make you feel good for the rest of the day, and running always does that for me. I never, ever say that I regretted an early morning run.

While it'll be tough getting up extra early tomorrow after having a long weekend off, it'll be worth the effort and it'll be a great way to start the work week. So, I am setting my mind up for that expectation.

Since I wrote last, it's been a mixed bag – a real roller coaster as far as what I'm trying to accomplish here. The week started well both exercise and eating-wise, but then Tuesday night I stubbed my baby toe so bad that I couldn't fit my foot into a regular shoe the next day, much less go on a walk or run. It hurt like crazy on Wednesday and into the night and next morning... and then, like some miracle I stood up from my desk Thursday afternoon and it no longer hurt, almost at all! I have no idea what that was about, but I was so grateful for it. When the accident happened, I was so upset about the prospect of not being able to run for a while, but as it turns out I was able to do my Thursday run on Friday without missing a beat. I rested on Saturday, but come Sunday morning my partner was raring to go for a couple short, easy hikes and we were out the door by 9am! We had a great time and did a total of 2.3 miles together, and then stopped at a local farm market to stock up on produce for the coming week. (Visited my mom briefly, too!) Later that day I also got my Saturday-scheduled run on the books – 1.25 miles, slowly building my endurance back up.

Me at the tail end of the Swallow Hollow trail at the Iroquois Refuge in Alabama, NY.

Over the weekend I also did something mildly crazy... I put into my Google calendar a running training schedule that takes me all the way to August 2017 and potentially, best case scenario, to a marathon. Now, I'm not really sure that's going to happen, but it could. I have set up schedules for myself and then not ended up sticking with them. The difference this time is that I've made sure that the schedule is more gradual in building distance so that I don't get hurt or burn out. I mashed together various Hal Higdon programs: Novice 5K, Novice 10K, and Novice Supreme Marathon into one that I think will serve me well. If I stick with it, I'll be able to easily do a 5K in December like I planned before. Then, I should be set for the 10K distance by February; after that the marathon training starts, and starts easy but adds one more day of running each week, so it'll be four instead of three. I'll get back to two- to four-mile distances for the first month or so (it's a 30 week schedule!) and then I'll work my way back up to longer distances each week, slowly.

By the end of May I could very well be ready for a half marathon. I've got two races marked on the calendar as a wait-and-see how it goes before thinking about committing to one – but I sure would like to, considering how bad I felt about not following through with the Wineglass Half this year.

According to the schedule, I could run a marathon in August, but honestly I'll probably want to take things a bit more slowly. It's in the calendar as is now, but I won't be afraid to run a couple weeks of the schedule twice if I need to – just like how they suggest in the Couch to 5K program.

Anyway, I know it's super ambitious, but I am very excited to think about what I could accomplish in the coming year if I remain diligent and focused. Looking at the calendar shows me that if I just do the work each day, I can build it up to do something really spectacular not too far down the road. It's pretty exciting and motivating.

Oh, and by the way, weight update? Not super pretty. I was back up to 299 again a couple days ago, but today back down to 296 and change. The past couple days have been "good" ones and again, trying to take it one day at a time to get this shit done. I'm not too far off schedule to get the last of this year's goals achieved.

(Bonus points if you got my XTC reference in this post's title!)

Monday, October 3, 2016

Back in the Saddle, Again

This is what my next month looks like. I had to set up a plan for myself, because just winging it wasn't exactly cutting it – this past week I only ran once and walked once. So sad.

I've got 9 weeks of Hal Higdon lined up for myself! Here is the first month.

Well, I finally got around to watching the From Fat to Finish Line documentary yesterday, and it mobilized me. It reminded me of all the things that are important to me, and all things that I want for myself.

It was funny, because my emotions were pretty much contained until a few minutes after I finished watching (though I was a little sniffly). And then, I went to see what my partner was up to, he asked me if I finished the movie – the waterworks started. I completely broke down.

It made me realize how much I'd missed running regularly and how much I needed it for my overall well-being. It made me think about the things I really want for myself – good health, mobility, setting and reaching fitness goals, working my way out of plus sizes, doing fun and active things with my sweetie on the regular.

I had a good week and a half or so recently, but then all it took was two days to gain back the pounds I lost and for me to wonder why I keep bothering (again). Some experiences over the weekend and then watching the film changed all that and I am reminded why I keep bothering.

Though I am not thrilled to be back where I started (298.6), I am thrilled that I am not yet at the 300 pound mark. And I am determined NOT to be ever again.

Today I am back to logging my food on MyFitnessPal and my exercise routine. What you see on my calendar is the first month or so of Hal Higdon's novice 5K running plan, which includes running three times a week and walking the rest. I added on an extra week in the beginning just so that I can get three solid days of 1 mile running before diving in – Hal's starts at 1.5 miles, which I can certainly do, but I really want to ease in so that I don't get discouraged.

I also have the support and encouragement of my partner, who is also losing weight and who is my walking buddy. (I give support and encouragement, too! It's nice to have that built-in right at home.)

So many other thoughts have been coursing through my head... maybe I will just bullet point some of them out:

• Sad that I gave up on my half training months ago and missed out on running the Wineglass Half Marathon with my friends – but Amy F. said to plan for it next year, because they're doing it again! (Will do!)

• Sorted through clothes again and packed away everything that doesn't fit well or that I don't like into a bag for the charity box. I haven't done that in a while, and boy did it feel good! (On the opposite end I reacquainted myself with the clothes that are too small for me yet and felt motivated by the sight of them.)

• Still trying to get good planning to brown bag my lunches most days. I didn't do too badly last week. This week I started out with take-out, but it was a Panera salad that I took a 1.7 mile walk to retrieve, so I feel OK about that. I was exhausted from my emotionally fraught weekend and it was all I could do to get myself out the door, much less put lunch together. We're also still working on cooking dinner at home – getting better and better! They key to everything seems to be actually having a well-stocked kitchen. (der!)

• I desperately need a haircut.

• I still have weight loss goals. They are: 1. To be in the 270s at Thanksgiving. 2. To be well on the way to 250 at the new year.

• My first new running goal is a 5K on December 11th.