Planning for Success and the Exercise Train

Happy Monday everyone!
I always feel an amazing sense of relief when I get back to my weekday routine. Weekends are HARD! The schedule is always changing and I know I do better with a rut. I mean, routine!

One of my best support routines is to go onto the beforeandafterhelp.com board and post on the Planning for Success thread for the day. I put down what I’m planning to eat today. Then I find the Exercise Train thread for the day and put down what I’m planning to do for exercise. Sometimes I post the whole week’s schedule/menus if I haven’t made them yet (this weekend was nuts, did I mention that?) so that my plan for the week is written down and I can look at it, think about how to improve it and if necessary, figure out the points/calories on either Livestrong/DailyPlate or Weight Watchers online tools.

Planning For Success:

B: 1/2 cup of steel-cut oatmeal recipe with protein powder, applesauce, cinnamon, Splenda brown sugar, peanut butter
S: Coffee with inspire ice-cream sandwich protein powder (I know – sounds strange but is GOOD)
L: Emergency freezer rations – we didn’t do ANY cooking this weekend – how weird is THAT?
S: Nectar Peach protein drink in unsweetened ice tea
D: Smoked pork, broccoli and quinoa
Optional snack: greek yogurt with brown sugar Splenda and apple slices (I will keep this at work all week and if I get the munchies, I have it available)

Exercise Train

Today I have less than 2 weeks until the Iron Girl Triathlon. I’m a little nervous – I haven’t done nearly as much in the last two weeks as I planned because I hurt my shoulder a bit and I’ve been spending way, way too much time sitting on my butt and writing about exercise instead of doing it. That doesn’t burn as many calories as you’d think – LOL!

So today – I’m planning to:
1. Swim 1/3 of a mile
2. Walk 3 miles at lunch
3. Ride my bike for 45 minutes tonight after dinner with my son

We’ll see if I do all that – and can keep it up this week! I’m going to come back and update this just for some accountability!

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What’s Your Sign?

What's your sign?

What's your sign?

The Young Man Who Was Not a Beggar There was a young man at the begging corner at our intersection on Friday afternoon. He looked as if he was new to the streets – still had clean clothes and his shoes were in good shape. He looked clean, if a bit sweaty. I couldn’t read his sign from where I sat in my big, air-conditioned SUV with the leather seats and moon roof.  I scrambled to find some money, but I never have actual cash money on me – just a random quarter or two for the toll and credit cards.

I thought:  I’m leaving my great job to go home to my nice house with my beautiful family. There will be a roast chicken on the table for Shabbos dinner – and he’s stuck out here in the heat, begging for money.  So I drove to the Burger King and bought him some dinner and a soda. Okay, not healthy, which bothered me, but I didn’t think about that until I was driving away from the window! I drove back and gave it to him and wished him luck.

I still didn’t get to read his sign so for some reason he continues to stick in my mind. Was he traveling and broke down? Does he need a job? Food? A place to sleep? I kept thinking about him at odd moments all weekend. He wasn’t there when I went past on Saturday or Sunday, so I hope his problem has been solved and he’s moved on to journey’s end.

Think how much easier life would be if, when we encountered people, they had a sign so we knew immediately what they needed. As I continue to travel on my journey towards health, I think mine would be: “Please don’t give me food. I really need love, attention and respect.”

Maybe we should all be wearing a sign. What would yours be?

Accountability

Accountability is the most important thing I can do. Not just to lose the weight, but to keep it off forever. Heisenberg wrote about the impact of observation on quantum physics in his work on the uncertainty principal. Countless weight loss studies provide evidence that just noticing what you are doing and writing it down, has a big impact on success. On one of my favorite sites Livestrong.com is a great article with info on how to get started tracking. Here’s the important part in this quote:

… the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research found in a study that those who kept daily food diaries consumed less calories and lost twice as much weight over time as those who did not. Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/87406-keep-daily-diary-caloric-intake/#ixzz0qdOzR141

Twice as much. Now that’s a percentage that makes me sit up and take notice.

But are we all thinking: how boring? I know I am. And how tedious! How time consuming! Tell me about it! For years I have kept trying and starting. I used this form or that form. I tried this web site or downloaded this application. I used computers or a small notebook in my pocket. I just couldn’t get consistent. (I’m still not consistent). So I started to think about how I could make this a life long habit.These were my requirements:

  1. Must be easy – something with a database so I didn’t have to look up the nutritional info.
  2. It has to be fast.
  3. I need to be able to do it from wherever I am.
  4. Needs to be incorporated with planning so that I’m not surprised by my (Weight Watchers) points
  5. Need to be able to track my protein and carbs in addition to calories

Eureka! After buying several useless applications or downloading annoying freeware for months, I finally found a solution that works for me: the Livestrong app for the blackberry. It works and it works great – when I use it. The problem is that I get lazy and complacent and start to think I don’t need it. Then my weight loss slows down and I try to retroactively track a day. I know this doesn’t work because nobody remembers EVERYTHING they ate. Even what I can remember is usually a shock. If I eat just 300 extra calories a day, in a month, that’s two and a half pounds I could have lost that I didn’t.  Or in the maintenance phase, that’s GAINING 2.5 pounds a month, which is 30 pounds a year.

My Plan: So I am recommitting myself to journaling. The timing is right: I have a meeting with my nutritionist scheduled for July 7th. So I am going to track every bite I’m eating and post my numbers on my new Accountability Page. I will add more visibility into that equation by posting daily calories in and calories out (exercise) on Facebook.

Here’s how I made it even easier: I created saved meals online from my laptop that I can just pick from a list on the blackberry. Since I eat the same things for breakfast and snacks all week, then I can save those meals online by entering them into a past date (for example, go to yesterday’s page which I didn’t fill out) and enter the meals I’m going to have this week. Save that and now in the blackberry app, they appear as recent meals I can choose. So I don’t have to enter yogurt, almonds and blueberries, just pick Yogurt Fruit & Nuts from my list of meals. Same for my Protein Power Oatmeal, the Syntax Nectar protein drinks that I make. They are mostly with water, but I do one a day with milk, peanut butter and an inch of banana after my workout so I save it as PostWorkout Shake and can pick it from the list.

Criteria for Level 3 in the Melting Point Maturity Model. Consistent tracking is one of the things that separates the losers from the maintainers. In the past I have lost weight and lost a lot of it. But I know that if I don’t begin to track consistently, that I’m not going to keep it off this time. And failure is not an option.

You Gotta Think to Melt! So today was all about me looking at my list of habits, my plan for success and thinking about where I am on plan and where I need to refocus my efforts. Because I have a plan, I can check my actual activities and see where the variance is. Without a plan, you can’t do that. Do you have a plan? If not, maybe I can help. Leave me a comment with the following information and I’ll use some of those to create sample plans for getting started.

  • Age
  • Height
  • Current weight
  • Goal weight
  • Resting Heart rate in beats per minute
  • Fitness level: 1:invalid, 2:just starting, 3:moving consistently, 4:exercise maniac
  • Food restrictions: diabetic, vegetarian, kosher (Sorry – can’t do specific allergies)
  • Your schedule: Wake up at: get to work, school, etc by: get home by: go to bed by:

Liberty Lady

Liberty Lady

Liberty Lady

It continues to amaze me that I enjoy having my picture taken. I keep ASKING to have my picture taken. I WANT to document that I’ve done something and been somewhere and done something. I even like to look in the mirror. That’s freedom – freedom to enjoy and celebrate my life. There are so many of them, so many benefits, that I felt that today was a good day for a gratitude post. So here goes, my list of another 37 new-found freedoms to add to my first list of 100 (originally posted beforeandafterhelp.com) to celebrate that I am 137 pounds down from my highest weight ever.

Today I am free because I:

  1. Like to have my picture taken
  2. Can run a mile in 7 minutes 30 seconds (on the elliptical )
  3. Can sit in a chair with arms
  4. Can bike 20+ miles and enjoy it
  5. Fit comfortably in an airline seat
  6. Don’t need a lap-belt extender
  7. Am training for a triathlon (June 27th) and believe I can finish it
  8. Can shop in a regular clothes store
  9. Am too small for any of the clothes at Lane Bryant or women’s section at department stores
  10. Don’t feel ashamed of myself
  11. Still have room when someone sits next to me on a bus or train
  12. Have started writing again
  13. Have dropped from a 48D to a 36C bra
  14. Have dropped from a size 28W to a 14R (and they are getting loose!)
  15. Don’t have backaches (see item above!)
  16. Don’t fall down anymore
  17. Like to exercise
  18. Am helping my family be more healthy
  19. Have learned to swim
  20. Can swim over 1/2 a mile (my goal is to swim a mile)
  21. Have stopped using food as a way to medicate myself from life
  22. Am in therapy and feel mentally stronger, more balanced
  23. Have an amazing network of family and friends
  24. Am reaching out to people rather than holding back
  25. Have inspired more than one person to start getting stronger
  26. Know endless ways to make steel-cut oatmeal taste great
  27. Can put together a WLS friendly meal in less than 20 minutes with what’s in my pantry, fridge or freezer
  28. Am (more) organized about exercise and nutrition (and continuing to work on it)
  29. Have asked for permission to start a weight loss support group at work
  30. Go to Weight Watchers every week to weigh in
  31. Don’t freak out if my weight fluctuates a bit from day-to-day (goal is to weigh weekly – still working on that)
  32. I have a lap for my son to sit in
  33. Love seeing the dropped jaws when I haven’t seen someone for a while
  34. Had to buy all new shoes
  35. Had to have all my jewelry resized
  36. Can fit a weeks worth of clothes in one load of wash
  37. Can fit more outfit choices in my suitcase when I travel

100 things for to celebrate since July 17, 2009 (posted on Nov 12, 2009)
1. Started doing Wii Fit balance games
2. Began doing Wii Fit yoga
3. Began doing Wii Fit aerobics
4. Began doing Wii Fit strength training
5. Doing 30 minutes on the Wii fit every day
6. Doing 45 minutes on the Wii Fit everyday
7. Doing 60 minutes every day on the Wii FIT!
8. Had a very successful gastric bypass
9. Began walking the day of the surgery
10. Two days after surgery, I was lapping the nurses station every 2 hours
11. 5 days after the surgery I was using my treadmill
12. Was walking the day after the hernia surgery
13. Back to treadmill 3 days after the hernia surgery
14. Doing treadmill 15 minutes at 1 mile an hour
15. Doing treadmill 15 minutes at 2 miles an hour
16. Doing treadmill 15 minutes at 3 miles an hour
17. Doing treadmill 30 minutes at 3 miles an hour
18. Doing treadmill 45 minutes at 3.5 miles an hour
19. Doing treadmill 45 minutes – got up to 4mph for part of the time
20. Doing treadmill 45 minutes – cranking up to 6% incline
21. Hiked up Stone Mountain (to rail section) 1. Mile up, 1 mile down – 60 minutes
22. Hiked up Stone Mountain to pavilion and back 45 minutes
23. Wearing size 3x tops; 28 pants
24. Down to size 2x tops; 26 pants
25. Down to size 2x tops; 24 pants
26. Down to size 1x tops; 24 pants
27. Down to size 1x tops; 22 pants
28. Down to size large tops (18); size 22 pants
29. Down to size 16 tops; size 20 pants
30. Down to size 16 tops; wearing some size 18 pants
31. Wearing size 11 panties
32. Wearing size 8 panties
33. Wearing 48D bras
34. Wearing 46D bras
35. Wearing 44D bras
36. Wearing 42D bras
37. Started kickboxing classes – made it thru 50% of the class
38. Kickboxing classes – 3 times a week
39. Kickboxing classes – making it through 75% of the class
40. Kickboxing classes – making it through 90% of the class
41. Can do one sit-up
42. Can do 6 sit-ups
43. Can do 10 situps
44. Can do 20 situps
45. Doing 60 crunches and 20 sit-ups
46. Can do wall pushups x 10
47. Can do 1 pushup/plank on the floor
48. Can do 5 pushup/planks on floor
49. Can do 10 pushups/planks on floor
50. Fit into my wedding dress – it is too big!
51. Gave away all my size 3x clothes
52. Gave away all my size 2x clothes
53. Started weight loss class at Laureate Way
54. Attending Weight Watchers meetings at work
55. Started psychological counseling for weight loss before surgery
56. Going to psych once a week
57. Going to psych every other week
58. Can touch the floor with my fingertips
59. Can touch the floor with my hands
60. Can put my hands flat on the floor with knees straight
61. Can bend over and tie my shoes
62. My rings are too loose – had to tape them
63. My shoes are too loose – from size 10w+ to 8 ½ wide
64. Taking walks at work – around the Ravinia Gardens
65. Taking 2 walks a day at work – around the gardens
66. Taking the stairs at work – parking on the 3rd floor and not taking the elevator!
67. Getting my multivitamin, calcium and iron supplements
68. Having a protein shake for breakfast
69. Fit into the scream machine at six flags
70. Rode the mind bender at six flags (3 times)
71. Taking walks with Jacob after work (until day light savings – too dark)
72. I see muscles in my upper arms and shoulders
73. I can feel muscles in my butt
74. My legs are smaller
75. I lost 9 inches off my stomach – from 58 inches to 49 inches
76. My morning blood sugar is under 200 without meds
77. My morning blood sugar is hovering around 110 without meds
78. My morning blood sugar is 98! Without meds
79. I discovered that I’m a petite in jackets/shirts
80. I’m getting my daily protein
81. I lost 30 pounds before the surgery
82. I lost 40 pounds after the surgery
83. I am down 70 pounds
84. I am obesity category III – morbidly obese
85. I am obesity category II – extremely obese
86. I am obesity category I – obese
87. – I rode bikes with my husband and son for the very first time – almost 5 miles around Stone Mountain
88. – I wore a red, fitted top and got compliments on how great I looked
89. – I’ve exercised 90 out of the last 116 days
90. – I was late to a job interview because my suit pants fell off me and I had to wash another pair! (I got the job, though!!!)
91. – The belt I bought for my “goal” outfit that didn’t even meet, now notches on the first loop. I thought it would be MONTHS.
92. – The clothes at the Talbot’s women’s store were all too big except for some petite size x camis
93. I bought a gorgeous JJill sweater in a large. Not at a specialty store. Not an xlarge, 2x, 3x or 4x. A large.
94. – I sat in a chair in our dining room with arms that I’ve never been able to fit in!
95. – My son and I are taking walks together after I get home from work and I’m not avoiding the hilly routes
96. – I went to a makeover and have started doing my hair and makeup everyday. I feel like a real girl, maybe for the first time ever.
97. I can go out to eat and eat less than ½ my food (even after ordering from the child or senior menu)
98. I can lie on my back without choking
99. My sex drive is starting to flicker back into life.
100. I am sleeping well almost every night – no morning headaches from the sleep apnea

I Came To Live Out Loud

Ren Fest 2010

Ren Fest 2010

I Came To Live Out Loud is a quote from Emile Zola that I’ve always loved. My best friend sent me a postcard with that on it, and for years I kept it over my desk, but didn’t always live by it. Most people who know me probably consider me as outspoken. I’m usually not afraid to say what I think, particularly at work. But I don’t think that’s what M. Zola had in mind. I think that there are periods in my life when I traveled and got out of myself and into the world and those are what are important. They are the times you remember.

High School is probably when living really started. I had a job and I bought a car: $350 for a 1960 Ford Mercury Comet which could easily sleep 6. And I know this because there was this one camping trip where it poured and…more about that sometime! But suddenly I got to be in the band (tall flag!) and competition color guard and the senior play and working on the homecoming floats. My senior year, I raised money and went to Washington, DC for Close-Up – my first time on a plane!

Yale Talk about explosions! Imagine the culture shock: going from the dead end of a dirt road outside of Villa Rica, Georgia to New Haven, Connecticut and YALE. My life just EXPLODED (in a good way). I was exposed to people and ideas and art and culture. About the second semester I was so overloaded,  I actually stopped sleeping, except for naps. I had insomnia, so I would let myself into the Film Study center at night and watch movies all night. The only movies I’d ever seen were Elvis Presley movies that my mom liked and whatever made it to the $1 theater in Villa Rica (think Star Wars, Smokey and the Bandit…). I had missed an entire life of movies from Hitchcock and Capra and DeMille and boy did I make up for it. I could squeeze in three or four movies a night, go back to my room for a nap and shower and then off to my morning shift, then classes.

Traveling Towards the end of my sophomore year, I found out that my scholarship could cover a year abroad if I was an international studies major. Since English was the only foreign language I spoke (Southern American is my mother tongue) I went to talk to the head of the department. I was so fortunate that it was someone I’d encountered on another one of my part time jobs as a bartender. He remembered my face, thought my passionate plea about never having been anywhere was a good reason to let me into the department. I had a lot of catch up, but that semester of living in London was the beginning of a love affair with foreign travel.

Africa, Asia and India Unlike a lot of obese people, I never just stayed at home and hid out. In the last 20 years, I’ve taken jobs anytime I could that would get me out of the country and onto a plane. I’ve sold possessions, ran up credit cards and borrowed money to travel. Even when I weighed over 300 pounds, I still squeezed myself into a seat and went to live in England and travel to Africa and India when I worked at Coke.  I worked for InterContinental Hotels for three years and went to Dubai, Singapore, London and all over the US. I survived the disbelief and disgust that foreigners have for obese Americans by just ignoring it and moving ahead and doing my best to correct the impression my body made, with the insight and intelligence that was hidden by all that.

Then there were the other times. The months or years that would go by when I got up and went to work and came home and went to bed. Day after day of endless monotony. Days I spent stuffing my face and sitting on my butt with a book or television remote in my hand. Those were the times when my weight would creep up, up and up until I wasn’t able to move or ended up with something terrifying that would get me moving or eating right again.

I’m living out loud now. In the last year, I have started to fit so much into my everyday life. I’m not waiting for the big trip to Singapore or a vacation in London. I’m going to New York for the weekend and the Ren Fest for a day. I’m going to the movies with my husband and the park or pool with my son. Starting today, I’m going to be posting pictures whenever I do something that is living out loud.  Here’s one from the Ren Fest and the road trip to New York to get started.

Yale Reunions Road Trip 2010

Yale Reunions Road Trip 2010

The Power of the Mind

The Power of the Mind I know how powerful my mind can be, but it is only in the last couple of years I have used my power for good rather than evil. For too many years my internal dialogue was along the lines of “You big fat loser” rather than “I can do anything”. I think that, more than any other change has really been the “switch that flipped”. I CAN do this. I’m smart, good at research and can put together a plan, plus the resources necessary to deliver on my plan. I am so much stronger than I thought I was. I can swim and bike and run and walk and lift weights and do kickboxing and yoga. I can build muscle. I can become lean and strong and healthy. This is so much more powerful than the negative voice. Try it and see.

The Truth About Abs is probably one of the most annoying programs I’ve ever paid money for, simply because of the volume of emails and info they dump on you. But I guess I did get my money’s worth and they do have interesting information. Some that I’ve used to good effect since today’s message was the inspiration for my post. You can read about  a fairly informal study that was done that I found interesting. It talks about how focusing and thinking about what you are doing harnesses the power of your mind. This increases the impact of the physical effort you are making. Good stuff.

Forgiveness was another area where I really needed to focus. I will probably always slip to some extent. But I am finished with beating myself up over a bite of cake or a sip of beer or three french fries. I slipped, I noted it down in my journal and I moved on. I did a day of protein drinks to compensate for the extra calories and fat and to ward off any munchie attacks. I know that when I eat simple carbs without a balance of protein and fat IN THE SAME MEAL, then I can have serious cravings that can sabotage me. The only solution I’ve found is to do a Lean Protein Train or LPT as it’s called on the beforeandafterhelp.com board. After a couple of days, the danger passes.

Perfect is the Enemy I bet you could guess that I have a perfectionist flaw? Yep, I want to be perfect. For years I thought, if I can’t be perfect, why bother? This applied to my work, my life, my health and even my writing. In some areas, I learned to be what I call a non-practicing perfectionist. At work I would have to deliver and though I would nearly kill myself with long hours and tweaking, it really wasn’t ever PERFECT. I had to learn to let it go and was always surprised that no one else saw all the flaws I could see. As far as my health is concerned, it took a long time to learn that there is no perfect. There is only the best you can do and learning from your mistakes.

To the Moon, Alice! I heard a story a few years ago about the first shuttle flight to the moon. When they later analyzed the flight path, they found that they were only on course 10% of the time. The rest of the time they were constantly correcting their course. Whenever I feel like I’m falling off track, I try to remember that as long as I keep making course corrections, I can make it to my goals.

Talking Yourself Thin I am a big fan of guided imagery. I love Bella Ruth Naperstak and her Health Journeys site. I’ve used the pain, surgery, fertility, grief, depression and weight loss products. I love them. When I was first getting started, I listened to them every night. I would fall asleep thinking about myself letting go of the fat that I was using to insulate and protect myself. I don’t need that barrier anymore. I am safe. I can let go of the extra 150 pounds that was no longer protective, but killing me. This is powerful stuff. You can write or mentally rehearse a script of your own that gently talks to your body and lets it know that things have changed. There’s no longer a reason to be fat. Embrace strength and health. Your body wants to do what your mind tells it, but its a slow learner. So if I told it for years that being fat was the answer to my problem, then it may take me years of retraining before that mindset changes for good and my body is willing to let go of the fat.

Set Point Theory One of the oldest cookbooks in my vast collection of cookbooks is called “Recipes to Lower your Fat Thermostat”. It came with a kit, I think, about changing your set point. The idea is that your body gets used to being at a particular weight and you have to make changes in order to get it to move and find a new set point. At the time, way back in 1985, I didn’t pay enough attention, the switch hadn’t flipped back then. But there are some amazing recipes for really healthy eating and as I flip through it, I’m pleased to see that the way I’m eating now, is the way the book guides. The reason I dug it out is because of an interesting post on the beforeandafter.com site yesterday. It was all about how when we lose a lot of weight, we tend to get stuck or plateau at set points we were at for years. I think that has been true for me. As I’ve approached each of these previous set points, I can see that it was really difficult to get the weight loss going again. Each time I had to crank up either my exercise routine or my focus on nutrition. Now I think that part of my success was that my mind was busy convincing my body that it was okay to move past that comfortable weight.

Have a great day and check out the Melting Point on the page link at the top. I would love comments, questions or any other feedback so I know what’s missing and what I need to add.