Feb 25, 2011

Riding a bike is fun exercise

When I was a kid I used to call up my friend and say "Wanna go ride bikes?" She would say yes, and we would go. We had an awesome neighborhood for bike riding, with miles of roads with very few cars on them. Most were dirt, some were paved. We had a nearby university farm that we would climb the fence to get onto, bike down the lanes, go to the reservoir, taunt cows, and come out the other side. We had a big hill near her house that was totally straight, with a big straight stretch after it. We would go as fast as we could down that hill, let go of the handlebars, and ride that straight stretch all the way to her house. We would attempt to pedal up that hill to my house, and I nearly always didn't make it (my bike had one speed). We would bike over to the elementary school on weekends, and explore the pond nearby. 

We biked. 

Somehow as you grow up you start to think that biking isn't a cool thing that people do, certainly not people who can drive cars. It's childish. 

Now I'm biking again, and there are only a few differences. One is that my friend lives thousands of miles away; another is that I wear a helmet; a third is that I'm older. I'm older, but I love it just the same. It's something that is associated with fun in my mind, and there is no reason for it not to be. It's purely a good time. I'm learning to switch gears as I go up a hill so that I can get up the hill with my butt on the seat, because whenever I have to lift my butt of the seat, I'm reaching the end of my ability. I went out biking last Saturday morning, even though the temperatures were below freezing. Realized real quick that I had to go back for gloves. I went 4+ miles that morning though. 

It's been raining and cold this week, so I haven't been back out. But tomorrow it's going to get up to 50 degrees, and I'm going out in the morning, no matter how cold it is. I will get some great cardio, work my legs, and have an awesome time.

Feb 16, 2011

Loving Green Smoothies

Before last week I would've told you that there is probably no way you'd ever catch me drinking a smoothie that was green. I had heard of them, but I thought they were probably all vegetabley in flavor, which sounded super gross. The way I see it, this is my life, and I will eat food that looks, smells, and feels good to me. Green smoothies had not been on that list. 

But then Roni Noone posted her video recipe for a green smoothie, and I was intrigued. First of all, they're not all vegetabley in flavor--this has bananas, yogurt, and honey! Also, it was beautifully bright in color, and most notably, she had gotten her 5 year old to drink them! When she says in the video that you don't even taste the spinach, I knew I had to try it. 

I made one last week: 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1tsp honey, 1tsp vanilla, 1 banana, and 2 cups of spinach, and 6 cubes of ice. It came out beautiful, and tasted like a vanilla banana smoothie. I gave some to the kids, and Zene at first didn't want to try it. So weird, because that very instant Yo Gabba Gabba was on the tv, and they started singing one of our favorite songs: "Try it! You'll like it!" He did, and he liked it okay. Tayan did too, but neither of them finished the tiny servings I gave them. The idea is growing on them though, and I think if I include them in the making process next time, they'll be more enthusiastic. 

I made one yesterday with frozen strawberries added in, and it was even more delicious, but it lost its bright green color for a darker, browner green. This morning I made one that had more mature spinach in it than before, and it definitely needed a sweet kick to it, because I could taste spinach. 

I'm loving it though, and it's been great to drink my breakfast on my long commute to work. So in the immortal words of DJ Lance, "Try it! You'll like it!" 

Feb 15, 2011

Perfect Saturday, and a couple more good days

I know it's Tuesday already, but I want to talk about Saturday. It was perfect. So nice and quiet at home... I ate really good food all day, and when I got hungry I would snack on pure vegetables. Took some snap peas and 2 carrots with me when I had to go out in the car, to just munch while I drove. Drank lots of water. Played Legos with the kids, colored with them, and had a great visit with Sara and CC that evening. I went for a walk/run with Tayan Saturday afternoon, just to see how it would feel... it didn't feel good. I could feel the twinge in my back the whole time, and the next morning it was obvious. 

I'm cool with that though, because now I know. I have to lay off for running for awhile, maybe forever. Doesn't matter. I've decided that 2010 was "the year of running" for me (or year of running), while 2011 will be "the year of biking." I love riding a bike. Unlike running, which is really frustrating to me the whole time, biking reminds me of being a kid. It's like I'm 12 years old again, and the bike, me, and the road are all that matters. I can really get into biking, maybe like I never have with running. It's slightly more expensive, but for now I'm going to work with the crappy bike I have. I did buy a helmet this weekend, because I really can't go biking without one. My next purchase for the bike will be a chain, so I can chain it up outside the grocery store while I run in. I can't wait to do that! Getting exercise AND accomplishing a chore. Love it! 

I had a very decadent dinner last night; something called "Southern Pimento Cheese Burgers," and other than taking off the bacon, I ate the whole thing in its full-fat force. Also had birthday cake for dessert (weird, but Valentine's Day is both of our dad's birthdays). I also ate several Dove milk chocolate hearts. No guilt though, just making note of these things. I also played 3 games of ping pong with Bryan (yes, I'm counting this as 'exercise'), and the 3rd game I came close to almost winning. One day I will beat him! 

Today has been great. Left the kids with my completely adept brother-in-law today, which should be fun for all of them. Bryan did lots of running around this morning so that I could stay at work and get my experiment accomplished--which I actually DID (couldn't have done it without Derek though). So now it's done, and I can sit back and think about what's next (after this blog entry of course). Really need to get started on homework that's due on Friday, so that's next. 

Food sofar today: 
Smoothie for breakfast: 1/2c plain yogurt, 1tsp honey, 1/2tsp vanilla, 2c spinach, 5 frozen strawberries, 1lg banana
Lunch: Healthy Choice Lemon Herb Chicken; 1/2 of a sandwich thin with olive oil, salt, and oregano, toasted; 2/3 of an orange; 2 milk chocolate Dove hearts (thank goodness that's all I have here with me)
Calories sofar: 669

Feb 11, 2011

Today's Gonna be a Good Day

Today is going to be awesome! I can feel it! Here's what I ate yesterday and sofar this morning: 

An orange, and 1/2 of a McD's small coffee w/creamer and Splenda
A banana
Captain D's for lunch: 3 pieces of country-style fish, 2T tartar sauce, baked potato, w/butter & sour cream, broccoli, 2 hush puppies
Another banana
Dinner was Wendy's: Caesar salad w/grilled chicken. Gave half of my chicken to the kids, used 1 packet dressing, skipped croutons
Snack: Banana Fudge Vitatop w/3oz plain yogurt and 3g honey (so so delicious)
Calories for the day: 1538

30g of scrambled egg (what was left over after the kids' portions)
an orange on the way to work, which I savored... it was a really good one, and I made it last 
Calories from breakfast: 137

Oh, and I woke up a half hour early this morning and did stretches for my back, then 50 crunches, 50 squats, and 20 girl pushups (the "man" pushups are pretty hard on my back).

Feb 10, 2011

No half marathon for me... ever

In a post two days ago, I said this:

 “Am I finished with weight loss because I don’t really care about it anymore, and I’m more concerned with what I will be able to accomplish in the future? I’m beginning to train to run a half marathon, and will run one by the end of this year. That’s my major goal right now, and if weight loss comes that’s fine.”

Well, I went to my chiropractor last night, and she pretty much told me that running a half marathon is not possible. She said I most likely have a ruptured disk in my lower back, that running is making it worse all the time, and running 13 miles is not in the cards for me.

I kinda feel like I got punched in the stomach.

One part of me says, “Sure, it’s okay. You’ll just find another kind of exercise that you love… and you didn’t really love running anyway… and this is a great excuse to not have to do it anymore. Also, you could still run 5k’s like you did last year, because it didn’t hurt that bad.”

Another part of me says “This totally sucks. Now you’re not doing what you said you were going to do. You’ve pretty much lost your enthusiasm for everything other than running anyway, so without that what have you got? Your whole mantra for this year was run a half marathon… now what?”

I don’t know what now. I’m trying hard not to go into a tailspin. I feel like the last year of weigh loss, running, crossing finish lines, and happy cheers in my direction was all some dream that I’m waking up from. Like my body, which is still 60 pounds lighter than it used to be, is an illusion. 

Feb 9, 2011

"My Too Many Things"

My Too Many Things

Samples to get run and broken centrifuges
Paying for Tayan to sing Disney dirges
Too much money spent on gambling

These are a few of my Too Many Things

Columns of data that mean nothing to me
Notes for corrections that I can’t clearly see
Meeting with a scientist who knows everything

These are a few of my Too Many Things

Want to see Annie, want to help Sara
Want to re-do the grout in disrepair-a
Want to play games with Tayan and Zene

These are a few of my Too Many Things

When the dog whines
When the kids cry
When I’m feeling sad
I can’t help but recall my Too Many Things
And then I go quite mad

I want to run a half marathon this year
I want to carry my church to the future
But my back is a wreck and I like to sleep in

Just one or two of my Too Many Things

Assignment for class that I don’t want to look at
Cookies that I want to eat make me get fat
It should all come together with string

Instead it seems to be unraveling

Have to remember that everyone’s been here
Days when the haze makes the future so unclear
It doesn’t help that I’m PMSing

It’s just one more of my Too Many Things

So when they pile up
And fall over
And I’m feeling bad
I need to remember we all have these Things
And then I won’t feel so mad. 

Feb 8, 2011

Finishing Stuff and Perseverence

Roni posted this challenge today at Blogtolose.com, and I'm taking it up in my own way. She asked what are your unhealthy and healthy habits? What do you do that you aren't proud of, and what do you do that you are? I instead asked myself and answered the following questions. 

Question: What do I do badly?
Answer: Finish stuff.

Question: What do I do well?
Answer: Perservere.

I find these answers coming up more and more in things that I do in my life. Every semester of my post-graduate education (to be finished in May, can’t wait!) has been like this. I start out great, even get ahead of schedule from time to time, and by the end, my enthusiasm is nil. With weight loss, I started great, lost 55 pounds in 10 months, and since have lost only 5 pounds in the last 10 months. There are many more examples, but you get the point.

With weight loss, I’ve come up with some ideas as to what is holding me back. One is that I am afraid of maintenance. I know this will be hard, and that it will last the rest of my life, and that “maintaining” doesn’t seem to have any excitement or zeal to it. Few people will be saying “hey you look great!” after I’ve been the same weight for 5 years. The newness of maintenance will wear off quickly.

I just googled the definition of “persevere,” and it’s: “Continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no indication of success.” Ironically, even though I finish stuff badly, I persevere well. I trudge on because that’s what I’m good at. I know that there will be little indication of success, because by the time I get there, the newness will have already worn off.

The weird thing about being bad at finishing yet good at perseverance is that it still leads to success. Even if I’m afraid to be finished, I will push through and eventually succeed at what I’m doing. Maybe I just need to never consider myself finished with weight loss? And I think that is precisely why I have slowed so much in my efforts, losing only 5 pounds in 10 months.

So, I’m led to wonder: Am I finished? Am I finished with weight loss, even though I’m far from what would be considered a “normal, healthy weight?” Am I finished with weight loss because I don’t really care about it anymore, and I’m more concerned with what I will be able to accomplish in the future? I’m beginning to train to run a half marathon, and will run one by the end of this year. That’s my major goal right now, and if weight loss comes that’s fine. If it doesn’t, I really don’t much care. I am happy with my body, and I know that it will never be perfect.

Does this mean that I’m finished? If so, then it’s a perfect example of how I am not good at finishing stuff—to not even realize that I might indeed already be there. And if so, it also shows that I’m good at perseverance—because I keep at it, even through the slowest possible weight loss, because I’ve truly embraced the “rest of my life” approach. I guess the truth is I might be done with the part of my life that focuses mostly on the loss of weight, and I may have moved on to the part where I concentrate on finding other ways to be healthy. 

Feb 4, 2011

It's all a numbers game

To reiterate my point yesterday about being able to eat whatever I truly want, here is a very numbers-heavy post for ya.

Calories in: 1995
Calories out: 2518
Caloric deficit: 2518 - 1995 = 523
I ran Tuesday morning, ate healthy throughout the day, then had breakfast-dinner of homemade biscuits, jelly, scrambled eggs, and fried potatoes (in moderation). 

Calories in: 1821
Calories out: 2063
Caloric deficit: 2063 - 1821 = 242
I ran-walked with the dog Wednesday morning, ate healthy through the day, then had 2 Budweisers (really need to drink a lighter beer), 2 slices of pizza, and 3 chicken wings for dinner. 

Calories in: 1673
Calories out: 1993
Caloric deficit: 1993 - 1673 = 320
I did a calisthenic workout Thursday morning, ate healthy through the day (other than a whole bag of popcorn in the afternoon), then had bbq pork loin, kale, and my husband's whole wheat mac n cheese with spinach for dinner. 

Over these 3 days I've built up a caloric deficit of 1085 (320 + 242 + 523), and "they" say that a pound of fat is 3500 calories. That puts me nearly a third of the way to a 1-lb loss. Of course, I'm sure I've had excess calories on other days, particularly last weekend, and probably this coming weekend too. But this is life, and those numbers are how weight loss works in the simplest terms. There are many other factors, I'm sure, like hormones, intestinal output (nice way of saying it, huh), salt and water intake, etc. But still, it's nice to see the numbers. 

If anyone is curious about how to calculate "calories out," it's basically my basal metabolic rate (you can google that to calculate yours) plus any exercise that I did that day. 

Feb 3, 2011

Running outside again

Hello. Haven't checked in this week... been so busy with life and school and work. You know how it is. 

I've been doing great this week. Finally started running outside again, and for the first time ever I'm doing it in the mornings, before anyone else is awake in my house. It's been awesome! I went out Tuesday morning, and again yesterday, because the weather was just great yesterday morning. This morning it was very cold outside, and my running clothes are very stinky, so I decided to stay inside and do a Margaret Richards workout instead. I haven't done one of those since I was about 40 pounds heavier, and lemme tell you they are MUCH easier now. I even used my 3lb weights. 

It's funny, because I find that it's not so much what you eat, but how you eat it. Last night's dinner was 2 slices of ham pizza from the local place (not any healthy kind of pizza), and 3 chicken wings, all dipped in ranch dressing (about 1.5 tablespoons). The night before, I ate my mother-in-law's award-winning biscuits (one of my very favorite foods) for breakfast-dinner, with scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, and ketchup. Both times I was careful though, not eating too much in quantity, and skipping breakfast meats. Also, the rest of the two days I rocked out. Yesterday I had like 5 servings of vegetables and about 800 calories before my pizza/wing dinner. The day before was similar. 

So, eating right has a lot to do with your attitude, not even necessarily what you're eating. I will still lose weight, over time... I will still maintain the notion that I am a "healthy eater," even if some meals are crazy fatty and indulgent. It's my whole life, and I am going to enjoy it. 

Food sofar today: 
8 "stone" wheat crackers (the kind with no salt on them)
a Trader Joe's dried fruit bar (like Stretch Island fruit, but with more fiber)
Luna White Choclate Macadamia bar
(these were "breakfast" spread out over several hours. I had an unusual morning.)
Lunch just a Healthy Choice Honey Balsamic Chicken steamer meal
Only 590 calories sofar today, so I'll be snacking this afternoon. Pretty much all I've got are Kashi chocolate chip cookies, so I guess I'll have one of those before going to pick up the kids.