Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Talking Turkey, Weight Watchers and Running

Happy Thanksgiving!

So I'm into week three of marathon training already. It's a long-a$$ training program (24 weeks or something!) So far the runs have been manageable - a few 3 mile runs, a few 5 mile runs and I've been getting them all in - which feels great.

Beautiful park for running and eclectic collection of music getting me through the miles!

I'm aiming to run the New Jersey Marathon on April 26th. In case you didn't know, the New Jersey half marathon is what kicked off my whole "From Fat To Finish Line Journey" back in 2010. It was my first half marathon ever and what started me running.  I've run the half every year since and it's a very nostalgic and special race for me. 

I'm already signed up for it. To be honest with how crazy work has been I can't even guarantee I'll be in New Jersey to run the race! But the journey of training for a race is important so instead of not going for it, "just in case" I won't be here, I'm training. If I can't do that one I might find an alternate race around that time. We'll see. I am just finding a need to have a big goal and challenge right now. 

I'm also well into week 3 of doing the Simply Filling Program (a weight watchers plan) and it's been awesome. My first week I lost 5 pounds and last week I lost 1.6 - almost 7 pounds in two weeks! That's really solid for me. It's been a period of making some changes. The biggest sacrifice has been giving up my nightly cocktail. There's been a few cases of, "I could really use a glass of wine" that I have passed up. I'm pretty sure that the alcohol was a big part of my weight gain and weight loss stalls. I am trying to adhere to a "drink only on a holiday or Friday/Saturday" rule and limit it to one or two tops.  I've also been writing down what I eat and keeping an eye on portions - even of healthy foods. 

However, I also eat when I'm hungry. And that's what I like about the program. Not only can you eat but it doesn't have to be limited to just fruits or veggies. You could grab a bowl of black bean soup or have a little chicken breast with some sweet potato. Tons of whole, good for you foods are options. That makes me happy.

I am proud of myself because I've been striving to make good choices. Yesterday I conquered a challenge. I occasionally work as a freelance producer for a YouTube cooking show. During the course of the day we make 6 - 8 recipes and usually they are pig-out days. Not only do we eat what we make but the company also brings in a really impressive spread of food for lunch. Yesterday I didn't eat the food from the shows and for lunch I had a salad along with something I brought from home. I didn't feel deprived like I thought I might. I felt accomplished. If I felt hungry I took out one of my snacks (like yogurt or a banana). This was a major victory for me. 

On the cooking show set - all smiles no over-eating! 
I weigh in on Friday morning (which is the day after Thanksgiving this week.) And I'm not sweating it.

I've been eating good and exercising consistently. I'm doing it right. My plan for Thanksgiving is to eat moderately and indulge a little bit in seasonal foods that are worth it to me. I have saved some points and earned some activity points so I should be covered. Realistically I know that when I step on the scale on Friday that it might be artificially up simply because of the sodium and foods I eat (and the wine that I will be drinking) on Thanksgiving. I'm going to weigh in and not put too much stock in it - if I happen to show a loss, well, that would be awesome but I'm not going to be disappointed if I don't show one. I know I just have to keep eating well and exercising. 

For as rocky and tough it's been the last year or so weight-wise, I'm at peace with it right now. I don't want to sound like a spokesperson for Weight Watchers (I am not. Though if they'd like to throw me a few bucks we can talk ;) ) but this Simply Filling Program is so good for me mentally. It just brings me back to common-sense eating with a good balanced approach - with a little wiggle room for treats. So far so good. We'll see.

Tomorrow I'm running my very first 5k Turkey Trot. I'm kind of looking forward to it and kind of not. It looks like it's gonna be cold and today it's snowing but I am excited to start the day off right with a good run with friends. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! How are you doing? Are you doing a turkey trot? 


Monday, November 17, 2014

Getting My Groove Back: Week 1 Recap

A week ago I wrote a post, "It's A New Day" and so far it's been good. 

Here are the results for week one... (cue confetti) In the first week I dropped five pounds! Yippee! 

Pretty unheard of for me!  I am usually lucky if I drop .5 pounds in a week.

To be fair I started off probably artificially elevated a pound or two in water weight because the day before my last week's weigh-in I flew across the country and then ended the day with Chinese food. But still, I'm pretty sure it was at least a solid 2.5 weight loss and I will gladly take that! :) 

For the first time in a long time I feel like not only am I back on track but that I'm not going to fall off track so easily. I know there will be blips and set-backs but not for weeks or months like what has been going on.

In that last post I reported that I was returning to Weight Watchers and focusing on the "Simply Filling" technique. Going that route has proven to be such a great call! I'm not sure why I hadn't thought to go back to that sooner - I did lose most of my weight following "Core" which was Weight Watchers first version of Simply Filling. 

I'm loving it. I'm loving it for all the reasons it worked the first time. The program is basically based on eating healthy foods until satisfaction with a little room for indulgences along the way. If you're hungry, eat something that is on the approved list or use your weekly points. No need to ever feel hungry on this program. It's been great. I also started week one of Marathon training - nothing too stressful - a 4 mile run, two 3 mile runs and one five mile run. Got the runs in and some strength training. 

I just kind of finally had a 'did things right' sort of week. I drank more water, I didn't drink alcohol during the week (I left my wine behind during the week but definitely enjoyed on Friday and Saturday), I wrote down my foods, and made a real effort to make good choices even in tricky situations. 

newest member of my household
silly but it's making me drink more water! 
For example, on Friday I had this thing with work and we had a pre-set menu to choose from for me (as a gluten free person) I could have gf pizza, gf pasta primavera, gf penne with vodka sauce, a cheese burger with no bun and fries, or a grilled chicken caesar salad. Now trust me, this is a really good Jersey Italian place and I know their pizzas and pastas are awesome. In the past even if I was trying to watch it, I would've just jumped for the pizza or pasta but I also know that if I did these meals would eat up most of my weekly extra points. 

I decided to get the caesar salad (no crutons) dressing on the side. I will not lie. As my co-workers received plates of pasta and pizza and I got my little dry salad with chicken, I had pangs of regret and food jealousy. But then I started to eat my little salad and it was tasty and I got full and felt good. No  it was not as tasty as penne with vodka sauce but you've gotta decide what you want in the big picture every once in a while. A mid-day work-lunch was not where I wanted to use 'indulging' points. And I also passed on the cheesecake and requested a plate of fruit. I'm happy I made that choice. 

delicious lentil soup I made for some easy SF lunches
Those were the types of choices that I used to regularly make years ago (2007-2010) when I lost my weight. Those choices become easier and easier as you make them. I am realizing that this weight crept up because I forgot about doing all that. I got too comfortable going for the delicious choice rather than the healthier one. I had fallen back into the habit of indulging perhaps more than I realized. If this lunch was two weeks ago, I  would've had the pasta and the cheesecake. I would've thought my pretty healthy breakfast and pretty healthy dinner (with a martini) "wasn't so bad" and scratch my head as to why I keep gaining weight. 

So, sometimes an old dog has to relearn old tricks. Guess that's just how it goes on. The journey never ends. :)

How are you doing? 


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It's a New Day

Why yes I have disappeared off the face of the earth for a bit.

Sorry about that.

It's been a time of reflection for me. I've been humbled by a gradual weight gain that I've been trying to nip in the bud.

My run has slowed, my jeans are a little bigger.

I have tried a few diets to get a kick-start loss but it seems I lose five and gain back 6. Kind of like how it seems to go for people. 

I guess the overall problem is I wasn't paying attention and I let a few bad habits come back.  I was in denial about that because I still exercise and eat pretty clean for the most part. This weight didn't come from all of a sudden scarfing a pint of ice cream every night or slopping mayo on everything. The weight has crept up because of the handful of potato chips a few times a week instead of salad with lunch. Or the extra piece of cheese on something instead of being cheese free. Oh and the nightly glass of wine after my son goes to sleep probably hasn't helped either. 

For a minute I felt doomed. I blamed my age and just kind of accepted that being 25 pounds overweight is the new me and I should just deal with it.

Ha. NO. I can't accept that. 

Right after eating about 10,000 calories worth of Chinese Food on Sunday night I get this.
Oh. Good news.

For a long time I thought to myself, "but I train now. I should be able to have a glass of wine or a slice of cheese." Yes. I should but only depending on how hard I'm training and how often I'm eating the foods. If I'm having one slice of cheese in the morning, a few chips at lunch and a glass of wine a night that's 350 extra calories a day -2,450 calories a week! Without thinking much about it, then add a nibble of chocolate or a healthy heaping of guacamole to dinner and well - this is how the weight creeps back. Something has to give (or be given up) so I'm buckling down and cleaning up my act. And I do not mean I'm hard-core dieting per se. I'm revisiting the idea of balance and moderation. I have to get on a scale once a week. I have to track my food. I've decided to go back to what helped me take the weight off originally and that was Weight Watchers. More specifically the "Simply Filling" technique.  Of course back when I was losing my weight it was called "The Core" program. 

I like this program. It's based pretty much on clean eating and you don't have to count many calories or points. You base your meals around "power foods" (most lean proteins, veggies, fruits, whole grains, fat free dairy and a little healthy fat like olive oil) and then you get 49 'points' for the week and can earn even more points through activity. You use those points for treats - like if you want a glass of wine, some cheese or something that's not on the power food list (I like to try to use some of my points for healthy stuff that's a little more caloric like avocado in my salad.) 

FYI wine is 4 pts. for 5oz. :) 

You don't weigh or measure your food, you eat until satisfied. I am not sure why I haven't gone back to this sooner. I lost my weight with the core program. I like that I don't have to obsess about serving sizes and can eat if I'm hungry - it gave me structure without feeling suffocated. Anyway... 

This is what my day looked like yesterday: 

Breakfast - 2 scrambled eggs, 1/2 cup of black beans and salsa on a corn tortilla (certain corn tortillas like "Mission white corn" are considered a power food - so the whole breakfast was Simply Filling)

Snack - banana

lunch - steamed shrimp and broccoli with brown rice and a cup of egg drop soup (2 pts for the soup) 

pre-workout snack - small lean turkey burger (no bun) topped with salsa

Run 4 miles - (earned 6 activity points) 

Dinner - Lean pork chop, steamed broccoli with 2 tsp. of olive oil, sweet potato with 1 tsp. of ghee. (1 pt. for ghee).

snack - 1 tsp of cashew nut butter (licked off the spoon lol) 1 pt. 

= used 4 points for the day (And by the way if I was hungry during any part of this day I could've eaten more - and anything on the Power Foods list - like ff greek yogurt with fresh strawberries might've been another snack or a cup of homemade lentil soup - I could've also used points if I wanted a non power food treat.)

Now this day isn't "WW perfect" technically the plan calls for 2 servings of FF dairy to fulfill the guidelines they provide. 

You might remember that I did Whole30 earlier this year and some of you might wonder why I don't go back to that. Looking back I felt it was a bit restrictive for me. I think it's a decent plan and I know many who are successful on it. I enjoyed my journey while on it but it's a lifestyle too and not the lifestyle for me at this time. I lost a few pounds with Whole30 but because I felt a little deprived on it, gained the weight right back. 

I like the WW Simply Filling Program because I can strive to eat healthy most of the time but use a few points on indulgent foods and drinks too. I have kept a few of the habits I got from Whole30 like using ghee, eating avocados, using cashew nut butter, etc - I just don't use them without abandon and keep an eye on the servings. And even though WW considers fat free cheese and some other processed foods "power foods" I, myself, will be avoiding the few processed items that make the list. I'd rather spend the points on a real piece of cheese for taste and I try to avoid foods with ingredients that I cannot pronounce. 

I'm on day 3 of the program now and feel happy. I'm not hungry, I'm eating foods I enjoy and for the first time in a long time I feel like I'm truly back on a good tack. For the first time in a long time I'm not afraid about the future of my weight and feel positive again. 

In other news - I started day one of a new marathon training program. 24 weeks until race. 

24 weeks to go, 25 pounds to lose and 26 miles to run...

It's a new day. I'm back on my path and once again going 'From Fat To Finish Line.' ;)