Tools of the Trade

I thought I’d make a list of some of the things that make my journey a little easier.

  • My apps. I wouldn’t be running if it weren’t for cool apps like MapMyRun, FitBit, and Pandora. The one that really got me started was Couch-to-5K. It moved me from being a walker to a runner. I still use it on the treadmill to help me improve speed. Instead of “walking” and “jogging” I alternate slower jogs with faster runs.
  • Old Navy Active Wear. I have several of the “Compression Tanks” which I love. They are long enough and tight in the chest area but loose around the hips. I feel covered enough to be comfortable and they look good on me. I also like their compression pants, which are great running pants. (You need great running pants to avoid the chub-rub) When I first started running I was so depressed about buying clothes. It is almost impossible to find decent exercise clothes in plus sizes. My first running pants were from the men’s section. I hated it.
  • My rice cooker. I bought it for about $30. It cooks up to 8 cups of rice at a time, so I can prepare the whole week at once. Super easy. It has a nice steamer feature too.
  • My foods. I’m in love with single serves, especially Fage Greek Yogurt (that is so good I eat it plain) and Sabra Hummus. Both of these I buy by the case at the wholesale store.
  • My gym membership and my personal trainer. It is so important to have a place to go when the weather is bad. Also, my new gym is nice and clean and they don’t have any time limits on the treadmills. (My past two gyms both had 30 min limits, which drove me nuts.) Also, I started with a personal trainer recently, to start working on muscles besides running ones.
  • My blog. I love that I’ve gotten back into posting on a regular (or somewhat regular) basis. I have been blessed that there are even people out there reading it. It makes me feel that I’m not doing this alone.

One Year Ago

Here is a great blog post. I love how she focuses on coming at change from a place of love, not recriminations. I’m inspired by this and need to remember these words as I go through my own journey. I hope that a year from now I can make a similar post and similar boast!!!

One Little Life Story

Today is my one year anniversary of living the Whole9 lifestyle.  I started my first W30 a year ago today and never looked back.  Have I fallen off the wagon and done some food things I’m not proud of?  Sure…. Anyone that says that they live a normal life for a year and don’t make any off roading choices or make any slip ups are probably lying to you. 

The greatest thing about the last year has been that it has not been entirely about food… in fact, it was really only tangentially about food.  

I’m not going to list all the things I learned here… I’m going to share instead, something I wrote for the Whole 30 blog, which you can see here… It was edited down a bit, so this is the whole copy… 

The motto of my blog and my life is ‘Time passes anyway. …

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More Than The Scale

I confess. It’s been 11 days since my last run.

It’s Saturday and about 45 degrees. I’m so excited that the snow is melting, you have no idea. (OK, probably you do). I’m also glad this week is over. I’m leaving one part of my life and starting an exciting new chapter, but the transition is painful and onerous. I spent over 24 hours of the past week staring at spreadsheets – not my usual work behavior. The whole process is making me a little nutty.  Also the weather hasn’t helped.

But now I’m in the home stretch. It is gorgeous outside (when did 45 degrees became beach weather?) and I don’t have to look at a spreadsheet all weekend. Nothing is really hanging over my head except a few dreadful emails that I plan to kick off Sunday night.

Fruit ScaleIt’s my week to weigh myself. I’ve discussed in past posts (here and here) how the scale is one of many tools I use to evaluate my progress.  I try to weigh myself once a month, although sometimes it ends up being every other week. (And sometimes, I admit it is more than that). Anyway, I’ve lost about 4 and a half pounds this month, which is just dandy for me, but when I take stock of my other measureables, there have been ups and downs, to be sure:

  • Steps – Yikes. I only made my goal of 8,000 steps/day once this week, making it my worst week of the year.
  • Runs – No runs this week. I got to the gym on Monday for my personal training session, and didn’t even stay after to run.
  • Food – Not terrible. I’m sticking to my food program, although I did break down and eat peanut butter. Also, last night I had popcorn, even though I was very full. I didn’t need it. And I knew I didn’t need it. But it was awfully good. On the plus side, I haven’t been binging or stress eating or any of my usual habits when things get crazy.
  • Sleep – Horrible. Many nights I had 3 hours or less. It’s been brutal. This is not because of insomnia, but because I was up working into the wee hours.
  • Mood – Hard to say. For most of the week I was exhausted and stressed out. I really didn’t like not running. I was somewhat short tempered. On the other hand, I have this underlying optimism about the near future. I’m getting out of a difficult situation and my future looks better and better every day.

Anyway, today I had to make a tough choice. I had a bunch of errands to run this morning, and a family commitment tonight (which I should be getting ready for now). In between I was planning to clean my house. But it’s 45 degrees and sunny and I wanted to run. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do both. And my house really (really) needs a good scrubbing. But I decided to run after all.

It’s been 11 days since my last run, and every day I don’t run it gets harder and harder to get out there again. Even having made the decision to run, it took me way longer than I expected to put on the running clothes and the shoes and get my butt out the door.

But I did it. I ran 2.76 miles. Not fast. No time records. But I really enjoyed it.
I think I’ll do it again tomorrow.  🙂

Off Track – Exercise Edition

Short post. I haven’t been running or working out and it is taking it’s toll. I have a serious deadline to meet and I don’t think I will be capable of meeting it. The stresses of last week have compounded. I never thought I’d miss it so much. I really, really wanted to run yesterday, when the weather was actually nice (in the afternoon). I almost convinced myself that I should, but I know that after a run I’m too wiped to deal with spreadsheets. One way or another this nightmare should be over soon, but until then, this is all I can manage.

On a positive note, I’m sticking to my food program.

Smells Like Potential

A Few Rules To Run By

If you are a runner, make sure you read this article.

First, let me say that I currently consider myself a runner, not a jogger. Not because I’m fast (I am the antithesis of fast) but because in my mind joggers amble along without pushing themselves and runners constantly try to push for faster times, longer distances, better form etc. If you have a different definition that’s just fine, but this is my blog so there. Having said that, many running articles don’t apply to me. I don’t run races, I’m like a turtle compared to other runners (including my 70 yr old mother), and I’m still pretty new to this. Mostly I run alone. I’ve only been running a couple of years, after all.

This article, however, I loved. Not every part applied to me, but there were definitely some connections. Some of my favorite lines:

  • I believe it was Aristotle who said, “Tramps like us, baby, we were born to run.” Enjoy it.
  • There’s no need to jog in place or dance from foot to foot like you have to pee. Just chill. (I hate lights and try to plan my whole run to avoid them)
  • Even a zombie appreciates encouragement. (I always think everyone else looks good running, and I look like a cross between a penguin and a teakettle)
  • You rarely regret the runs you do; you almost always regret the runs you skip. (True, true, true!)
  • Running any given route in the rain makes you feel 50 percent more hard-core than covering the same route on a sunny day. (I learned this in Jan for the first time)
  • It’s fun to pretend that the gas you expelled is propelling you forward, like a little booster rocket.

And finally,

  • [New running shoes] smell like potential. And possibly toxins. But mostly potential.

In Which Natural Peanut Butter Gets The Ax!

ImageMy usual afternoon snack is usually a 2 oz (single serve) of hummus and either sugar snap peas or carrots. This is what I eat on my commute home. It travels well, tastes delish, and gives me enough of a boost to get me from lunch (rice and beans) to dinner (protein and veg). Occasionally I would substitute natural peanut butter (the kind you have to stir) spread thinly on apple slices.

It’s that word “occasionally.” At first, occasionally was one or two times a week.  I was really spare with the peanut butter, knowing that while it was a good source of protein it was also super high in (healthy) fats. But it was such a great late afternoon pick-me-up that soon occasionally was two or three times a week. And sometimes it was in addition to the hummus. And sometimes it was more than a thin schmear on the apple.

You can buy peanut butter in single servings. Jif makes these 2 oz tubs that I buy for my daughter. Single serve is always better for me for anything, because I have difficulty with the weighing and the measuring and the counting. Blah! But I really only want to eat whole and natural foods, so I buy the jars of natural and try to keep things reasonable.

This week I realized that “occasionally” had really become “daily.” It was mid-week and I realized my routine had slightly altered to where I was counting on that peanut butter.  And that 2 tbs had really become 3 tbs. At the time I thought, “Well, let’s see how my weigh-in goes.” but as the week progressed I felt the urge to eat peanut butter get stronger and stronger.

And so that’s what decided it for me. It isn’t about if I gain or lose weight. (I actually lost this week) It is about the control that foods have on my life. When I feel a compulsion to eat, or the inability to stop after a normal serving, that is a food that needs to be cut out. That is the whole point of my cold-turkey regime. That is why it is working.

And that is why Natural Peanut Butter is on the “Do Not Eat” list, along with everything else. And the reason I’m writing this post is so that I’m committed to it and don’t go back on my word.

10 Reasons Why I Didn’t Run This Week

  1. Snow
  2. Freezing Temperatures
  3. Long Work Hours
  4. Walked more than 10,000 steps just for work (twice)
  5. More Snow
  6. Commuting sucks (especially when you get on the wrong train) (twice)
  7. Stress (this was the week many “things” hit the fan)
  8. My cat got sick (and we have to put him to sleep)
  9. Crying
  10. I just didn’t want to

I don’t like excuses, but some weeks are better than others. I walked 48,000 steps this week, kept to my eating program, and got up and went to work every day, no matter how crappy things got. So I’m giving myself a pass. I actually think the cold and snow was more of an influence than anything else. There were a few days that I just couldn’t face the gym, but I think a nice run in the dark around the lakes would have helped the stress and sadness of this very bad week.

Also, just so you know, some good things happened this week too. Lots of good things, mixed in with the bad. I couldn’t really celebrate them because of the crap-storm (and literal storms) coming down, but I tucked them into my heart to hold onto for later.

3 Million Steps Won’t Walk Themselves

My new years resolution was to walk 3,000,000 steps this year. I also resolved to update monthly on my progress. So with January down, how did I do?

234,863 steps, or 107.53 miles

234,863 steps, or 107.53 miles

Well, I didn’t meet my monthly goal, but I think I came pretty close. I walked 243,863 steps, or about 107 miles. Of these, I ran 23.6 miles and walked the rest. My highest day was 1/24 with over 14,000 steps and I had 10 days with over 10,000 steps. I also earned a lifetime distance badge (1,000 miles) on fitbit.

If you divide 3,000,000 by 12 months, you will see that to make my goal, I need to walk 250,000 steps per month, so I was about 6,000 short. Still, I think that a goal like this should be progressive.  If I walked 243,000 steps in Jan, I should be able to do more than that in February.  Instead of running 1-2 miles, I should be running 2-3 miles. So, I think that is pretty good.  Here are some things that kept me going:

  • Parking in the back of the lot. This takes more effort in single digit weather, but I made a conscious decision to put a few extra feet between me and the store.
  • Walking the platform. When waiting for a subway or train, I choose to walk up and down the platform, rather than sitting on a bench.  I don’t take the train every day, but the days I do, I frequently have 5,000-8,000 steps before I get home from work.
  • Run 3 times per week. I didn’t do that all four weeks, but I came close.
  • Using RunEnvy on the treadmill. It is still in a very rough form, but the days I brought the beach with me to the gym were my best times.

Some things I want to focus on for February:

  • Exercise on the weekend. I tend to skip Saturday and Sundays, and I think I should run at least one of those two days. Or at least walk. Something. Weekends tend to be my lowest of days, step wise.
  • Drink more water. I drink plenty when I run on the tread, but I think I need more water throughout the day. I just started focusing on that the past few days, and I think it is important to keep track of.
  • Keep working on RunEnvy. I need a better version of this and I haven’t really done any of the work for a while.