Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Miscellany, Including "Embracing the Frizz"

I know, I am always posting variations on this photo.

1. I am finally embracing my frizz! In the past few years, my hair has changed texture quite a lot –  thinned, for one thing (boo!), but also unbrushable when dry because it turns into a massive frizz. My hair person told me, in fact – "Oh no, don't brush your hair EVER when it's dry. Only when it's wet." She is also of a certain age and has the same issue.

The problem is, I don't always wash my hair in the morning when I am getting ready for work. I am almost always a nighttime bather/hair washer, so that means I sleep on my hair and then it's dry in the morning and disheveled. BUT I CAN'T BRUSH IT. 

I guess I could spritz it with some water so that I can brush it, but what I've been doing lately is embracing my inner Doc Brown (you know, from Back to the Future?) and letting my hair do what it will without much fuss. I do run a comb through to define my part, but all I ever do now is pat/fluff/run fingers through it, and for good measure, twist the front parts between my fingers to kind of smooth them out and create cute little wavy bits. 

As you can see here in today's photo, my hair DOES look a little disheveled, but I am also starting to really actually like it. Of course, if I didn't have my fabulous glasses and red lipstick to complete the look, I might not feel so good about it – those things, which look very put together, balance out the
crazy.

2. After all this time, I am still trying to figure out whether time of day matters for eating and weight loss. Case in point: yesterday, I ate right around target cals, and exercised for over an hour, but still gained a pound. I mean, this could be caused by a number of things, not least of which could be the time of the month. I am pre-PMS right now but it seems like my body likes to hold on to some weight around this time – last month I had the same weight pattern: Big losses early in the month, some gains mid-late, and then evening out at the end. So, I am not too worried about as long as I stick with the program more often than not, but... it is a little annoying to be sure. That said, I also ate pretty lean during the day and had a big meal after we played over an hour's worth of tennis – dinner ended up being after 8pm, which I prefer NOT to do.

And because I ate light all day, and because we exercised, I was hungry and I ate a big meal. Within calories, true, mostly good stuff, true, but big, also true. (It was like a deconstructed burrito with two small tortillas, a can of black beans, a small piece of chicken, a bunch of cheese, jalapenos, and sour cream. Yum! Crazy protein, too!)

The result the next morning was a one pound gain, which puts me back to 290 even, which pisses me off, but... whatever. As my partner told me, It'll come off fast. And I am sure it will. But still! *sticks out tongue*

3. I feel like I have been super busy lately – things are converging in a way they hadn't yet with all of my jobs (I have three – one full-time and two part-time, both of which are remote/mostly remote). My most recent job is getting busier and my role will be expanding shortly (I find out more tomorrow evening!), so it'll be interesting to see how it all goes. At the same time, I am also thinking about the future (i.e. six months to a year from now) when my situation might be (better be!) completely different. No lie that all this stuff weighs heavy sometimes, but I am grateful for all the opportunities I have and I'm happy to do my best to rise to the challenges and getting out of my comfort zone a bit.

4. My tennis arm hurts today for what I think is the first time! I've been using one of my partner's racquets (a Boris Becker London) the past few outings and while it seems to help me play better, it might be a little too heavy for me. So today when we're out, I'll be going back to my own newer racquet that I also really like – a Babolat Pure Strike. Hopefully my arm will stop hurting! I finally got my knees feeling a little better. (I would LOL but being middle-aged is no joke, man.)


Friday, May 19, 2017

Reader Q: How Often Do You Weigh Yourself?

I got this question from reader Nicole a few days ago:

I had a question for you about how often you weigh yourself. I've read a few of your posts and read about the weight tracker app you use, Happy Scale. I realized that app is best used when checking your weight daily or at least that's what I gathered from what I read. Do you weigh yourself daily and (if you do) do you find it to be discouraging when your weight fluctuates? Currently, I weigh myself once a week, but I've actually found myself becoming anxious (well half anxious and half excited) for Friday morning because I want to see how much (if any) weight I lost that week. I'm wondering if weighing myself daily will help with that. Plus, I think it would be nice to have an app dedicated to only tracking my weight. I looked at other weight loss trackers, and I haven't found any like the Happy Scale. I especially like how you can create multiple milestones for yourself!

Hey Nicole, 

Great question! I've been thinking about this a bit and wanted to answer you thoroughly. So, here goes: Yes, I do weigh every day (unless there are mitigating circumstances, like being out of town or whatever). Yes, Happy Scale definitely works best if you do weigh every day, because what it does is calculates a moving average as well as tracking your actual weight – it shows you what your overall progress is, which I find very helpful! I think I have mentioned before how my goal has been to "stay in the green" on the app all the time. Let me show you an example of what I am talking about.


Even when my weight fluctuates, it shows me the general trend.

As you can see by this chart (the monthly report in Happy Scale), my weight loss is never a straight line down on a daily basis – which, of course, is normal! That is what our bodies do! However, rather than get discouraged by these ups and downs, I see that I am still on a downward trend overall – I'm "in the green". So while I am getting on the scale every single day, I obsess about my weight a little less than I might ordinarily, because I know that I am still on track. Conversely, it makes it really easy to see when I need to rein things in a bit, if I am tipping into the red. See this example from last November, which was the last time I was in the green but got into the red in a big way.

All the months after this until February 2017 were red, red, red.

You can also see that I didn't weigh every single day that month, so it can still make a calculation without daily input – but obviously the more data you put in, the better it will work for you.

Now, take a look at my weight on a weekly basis. This is why I don't weigh in like this anymore. It would get really discouraging and I wouldn't have the benefit of seeing all the stuff in between that would have clued me in that things were actually happening.

Tuesdays:

2/7/17: 308.8

2/14/17: 303.8, 5 pounds lost

2/21/17: 307.4, 3.6 pounds gained

2/28/17: 301.6, 5.8 pounds lost

3/7/17: 300.0, 1.6 pounds lost

3/14/17: 296.0, 4 pounds lost

3/21/17: 297.6, 1.6 pounds gained

3/28/17: 295.4, 2.2 pounds lost

4/4/17: 299.0, 3.6 pounds gained

4/11/17: 292.4, 6.6 pounds lost

4/18/17: 295.8, 3.4 pounds gained

4/25/17: 293.2, 2.6 pounds lost

5/2/17: 292.6, 0.6 pounds lost

5/9/17: 288.4, 4.2 pounds lost

5/16/17: 289.0, 0.6 pounds gained

So far, my lowest weight has been 285.8 on Sunday 5/14. Today I weighed in at 286.8. But I would never have known that if I only weighed weekly.

And, for me – maybe not for you, but for me – I do know that I wouldn't have dealt well with those few bigger weekly gains. I just wouldn't. I have nightmares about Weight Watchers weigh-ins and remember how devastated I would feel if I had a gain like that, or even just not showing a decent amount of progress at all week to week. And wouldn't you know... I always gave up, inevitably. For some reason, keep track of things every day helps to lessen the blow of the ups and downs, because I see it for what it is: A natural fluctuation, OR sometimes things like eating foods like Chinese or Mexican take-out that usually make me gain no matter what (sodium, I'm guessing), OR of course the off day here and there when I plainly just eat too much. Daily weigh-in keeps me in tune with my body and its quirks, and I can better deal with the gains when I know better what might have caused them. It's all mind games, isn't it?

Ultimately everyone has to decide what works best for them, but if you've never tried daily weighing, I recommend giving it a shot for a couple weeks. You just have to make sure you get in the right mindset, which does take some work – you're collecting data, you're basically being a scientist in a way. Try not to attach moral judgment to the number on the scale; just let it inform you and go about your day.

Basically, I LOVE Happy Scale – I think it is a fantastic tool that throws a little smarts into my efforts. It's like the old days when I used to use the Physics Diet website, which did the same kinds of calculations but then went away after a few years (so sad – that was a great forum!). When I found Happy Scale, I was, well... super happy.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Really, I Am NOT Afraid of Stripes!

Queen of the bathroom selfie!

Yes, I am fat, and yes, I wear stripes any damn time I want.

This past week I also found out that my mom loves stripes, too! It must be genetic. 

(Swing dress is Old Navy, and the fabric is so lovely and drapey and comfortable, plus I got it on sale super cheap – win-win-win.)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

In Times of Trouble...

It's nice when you can like a photo of yourself once in a while.

It's been a while, yes, but not for bad reasons. Well, maybe kind of, but not those kind that relate to my health and fitness – save the stress and makeshift meals and things, and not going to the gym anymore.

Despite all that, though, I finally saw a number on the scale below 290! My lowest weight so far is today's, 288.4. I'm pretty thrilled. I actually hit it on Saturday first, but was without access to a scale Sunday and Monday – so it's nice that it's stuck for a few days, at least.

Considering all the crazy that has happened in the past week, I'm hanging in there pretty well. Long story short is that we decided that we're going to sell our house – more or less under duress – but that's what we're doing. There's so much to be done to get ready and at the very least it will be good exercise, but honestly I am ready for it to be all done. Yes, I know real estate transactions often take a while! At the very least I am hoping for a relatively quick sale and to get enough from it that we walk away with at least something.

In the meantime, I'm keeping on keeping on sans gym appointments – mainly to save money but also because of the time factor, and I do think I will get plenty of physical activity in the coming month or two to make up for it. But the eating seems to have gotten easier, not as likely to binge and less likely to eat as much crap as I used to. I'm preferring water again over diet soda (though sometimes still, there is nothing like some fizzy stuff), and I drink a lot of it!

So yeah, aside from the drama, I feel pretty balanced and good about what I am doing for myself.

I also think that meditation really, really helps, even if I just do it when I am in the bathtub or when I am trying to fall asleep. Try it out if you're having trouble in any area of your life!

Onward. Bigger and better things.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Where I've Been, Where I'm Going

The last day of the month is when I post my loss or gain for that month on the data page (see menu above). Yesterday was the last day of April, and while I did show a loss from March, I was a little disappointed in how I did. Instead of the 7 to 10 pounds I'd hoped to see gone, it was just 4. But, we all know... there should never be a "just" ahead of any loss. Any and all losses (in my case, at least, in this context) should be celebrated! So that is what I am doing, also knowing that I did make it to 290 during the month.

Losses have been sluggish the past couple weeks, stubborn, even. I'm not sure why but I'm not too worried about it, either. Right now I'm in PMS week and the scale was up by a pound today (294), which is frustrating but also not exactly surprising. My tummy feels kind of off today and my sleep hasn't been great lately, and... hormones. I'll just keep doing what I am doing, knowing that perseverance always pays off eventually.

Assessing the year so far (I guess this is kind of like a quarterly report!), I see progress. It's slow, but I'm definitely making progress.

• In January and February, I was still struggling to get out of the 300s. It wasn't even until mid-March that I finally broke out of there for good, actually!

• In March, I broke the 295 barrier but still found that my body was fighting it.

• Throughout April I was in the 290s, having got down to 290 on two of those days. My body is still fighting that, apparently, and as I mentioned, ended the month at 293.

• I had an amazing walk/run in the dark in the rain late last week. It was great! I ended up doing a 5K distance, my first since January, and it felt really good. I did walk most of it, but the last mile was more running than not. My average pace was in the 17s, with the third mile at just a squeak over 16 – super awesome for me, especially since I haven't been doing a lot of walking and, like, no running in quite a while (minus some treadmill work here and there). Strength training does help!

YEAH! Nicely done.

And I'm still in the green on my Happy Scale app! If nothing else happens, I always ever want to stay in the green, which means that I am losing or maintaining my average weight. I saw WAY too much red in 2016.

For May, I definitely want to make my way out of the 290s solidly. I would say that I want to be under 280 – aiming high, I know – but based on my history I very well could pull it out. It would be amazing to be in the 270s by my 47th birthday on June 9th. (OMG, I initially typed in 27th instead of 47th, LOL! I tell you what, though – 27 does NOT seem that long ago.)

I'm also very happy to announce that my partner, C., broke the 300 barrier! I'm so thrilled for him. He's also been working hard and has been such a great support to me. It's so much easier when you have a built-in support system at home.

In other news, I feel like the luckiest girl alive lately! I was able to lease a new car on Saturday, which I am still stunned by because my Toyota dealer was giving me such a hard time about my situation – the lease on my Prius was out very soon, and I've had a not-so-lovely credit report these days; they were asking me for pay stubs and utility bills, whether I could get a co-signer, how much money could I put down, etc. etc. – just making things seem dire and not being very helpful. Hey, I get it. When you have shitty credit, that is what happens. But, I thought at least that customer loyalty would factor in at least some. Didn't seem that way at all, though!

In frustration and after talking with C. about what kind of car we'd like, settled on trying for a Honda Civic, a car his sister got last year and loves. Since I wasn't really into the new versions of the Corolla or the Camry (felt like tin cans!), I was into it. I looked up who was the best Honda dealer in the area and contacted them. Long story short, within a day they got me into the mid-level Civic, an EX-T (Moon roof! Heated seats! Turbo engine!), for almost $100 less per month than my Prius, and with better insurance rates and lower deductibles! On top of that? I won't ever have to worry about mileage overage again because they got me 20,000 miles a year. (I drive a lot!) Unfortunately, I'm going to have to pay for the excess miles I put on my Prius, but hey – I am outta there and I am HONDA FOR LIFE now. Classier dealership, nicer people, better financing, better cars. That Civic feels practically like a luxury car to me, especially compared to the Toyotas I recently test drove.

Hello! My name is Jabberjaw!
Hooray for Ray Laks Honda and my salesman, Mark Snipes!

Anyway, you can imagine how insanely happy I am about this. It takes a HUGE load off my mind. I'd been stressed out about it since the new year, when I first started talking to Toyota about what to do at the end of me lease. Honda made it so fast and easy, I was seriously shaking my head and really wishing I'd gone to them in the first place. But now I know, and I should be set car-wise for a very long time. (Now that I have the right mileage deal, I just love leasing – new car every three years!)

Then, on top of all that? I got an email from Panera Bread this morning telling me that I am entitled to one free bagel every single day of May! What??? Yep. I guess they pick random customers to do this sort of thing, and I got lucky. That's like $35 worth of free bagels, and I am using it to the max.

Things are looking up in many ways. I hope that I can keep the good karma coming my way. It feels amazing!