Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Shoot for the moon if only to land among the stars

I have reached the end of the month and it is time for the official numbers on my goal of losing 8 pounds.

Week 1 - I tracked my eating, got some exercise and when I weighed in I had gained a pound.  Much stomping ensued.  I complained that things were not going the way I wanted and how unfair it was that after a full week of following the 'rules' I was punished with a weight gain.  After about 15 minutes I realized my heart wasn't really in the complaining and focused my attention on the next week.

Week 2 - I tracked a bit better than the first week.  I really paid attention to portion size and was honest with myself about the food going into my mouth.  I took advantage of opportunities to get in some activity and time to play.  I felt really good and things were really clicking.  When I weighed in I was down 1.2 pounds.  Hooray!  Now, a result I can get excited about.

Week 3 - The summer weather was finally heating up the Pacific Northwest and I played outside with my son most days.  We did some gardening, running around, and at the end of the week we went to the mountains to hike with family and have a great time in nature.  I tracked most of the week but over the weekend I just watched my portions and made healthy choices.  I did have one incredible indulgence, a gigantic scoop of lemon meringue pie ice cream in a waffle cone!  I hadn't had real full fat ice cream in a very long time.  It was out of this world a-mazing.  I did share a few licks with my son but most of it was ALL MINE.  The ice cream was the 'reward' at the end of our hike.  I did worry a little that I was more than compensating for any calories burned going up the mountain, but, I still ate it; with relish.  That week I weighed 2.2 pounds less (after the ice cream).

Week 4 - After taking the weekend off of tracking I found it difficult to get back in the swing of faithfully recording what I ate.  I did make sure to measure my portions and focus on healthy choices as well as not eating if I wasn't hungry.  Sunday our family went to a local farmer's market and stocked up on a variety of local organic produce that I look forward to utilizing this week.  After our shopping we stopped into a sandwich shop across the street that is well know in the city.  I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  We had some terrific sandwiches on homemade baguettes.  They were very substantial and I could only eat half but it felt like a real treat.  Last night when I weighed in I was down another .8 pounds.

So for those of you playing at home we have +1 - 1.2 - 2.2 - .8 for a grand total of -3.2 pounds lost!

I realize this is less than half of my goal to lose 8 pounds in a month, but, as far as I am concerned I shot for the moon and landed in the stars.  Over the course of the last month I have noticed my pants fitting looser, shirts that hugged my body are hanging a bit, and my brain feels much more engaged.  I have been cooking more at home to have a better awareness of what I am eating.  I really enjoy cooking and playing with my food.  Cooking at home also saves us money and not only takes care of dinner but generally covers lunch the next day too.

When I exercise control over my diet I feel better equipped to handle other areas of my life.  I find that I have more energy to plan projects and go on adventures.  I trade in a ho-hum attitude for one of, 'let's see where this day takes us!'

Now I am less than 5 pounds from taking my wedding ring to be resized and ceasing to pay Weight Watchers.  Can I get there by the end of September?  Watch me!

Week 1: We went to a local blueberry farm and picked enough to fill a bucket and to add to our freezer stash of summer berries.

Week 2: We met our friends at the zoo and had a great time watching the animals and running around.

Week 3: A view from the trail while on a day hike in the North Cascades to Lake Dorothy.  This is also the day of the amazing ice cream.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Goal Progress Update

I have no big news to report.  Since my great declaration I have progressed .2 pounds toward my goal.  I will say, however, that in general I feel good.  I have been much more mindful about what is going in my mouth than I have for several months.  I also find myself looking for more ways to be active.  I know all of these tweaks are going to add up to the big payoff that I am looking for.

I can't deny how far I have come.  I rearranged our closet last week and just for kicks I pulled out my wedding dress.  It is now so big on me that I couldn't wrap it tight enough to look fitted.  I just sort of stared at my reflection for awhile.  When I bought it the dress was my favorite of the dresses that came in the store's largest size.  

On weeks when the scale hasn't gone the way I hoped I can still embrace non scale milestones.  I wear smaller sizes, have greater mobility, and I feel so much more comfortable in my skin.  When all is said and done I can not live by the number on the scale, my eyes are on a much bigger prize.  I want to be healthy, live longer, play with my son and squeeze all the juice out of this life I have been given.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Doing What I Have Never Done

"To Achieve What We Have Never Achieved, We Must Do What We Have Never Done!"

I can't remember who said this but I find myself coming back to it over and over in the years since I first heard it.  "To achieve what we have never achieved, we must do what we have never done."  There is so much power in that statement.  Words like that can inspire social revolutions or move mountains.  I love to roll the words around in my brain and think about the different ways to approach them.  Sometimes I focus on big obstacles other times it is more mundane.  For instance, "I have never cut onions without tearing up."  So then I think about what I have never done to try and achieve a different outcome.  "I have never chilled the onions before cutting them."  So I throw them in the fridge and see what happens.  (Incidentally if you have never chilled onions prior to slicing them, try it and you may make it through without going for the tissues.)

Last December I had lunch with a friend and by the end of our time together we had a plan to complete a half marathon in the Spring.  Have you ever heard of a "barf bag goal?"  Well this qualified.  It was not until last November that I even started working out regularly.  Yep, that's right I was a breath away from having lost 100 pounds and only a month into my YMCA membership.  However, I was in much better shape than I had ever been in due entirely to loosing the weight and becoming a more active person in the day to day sense.  So now I was facing the challenge of doing something I had never done, never even considered in my wildest dreams!

I was so excited!  Before we even picked a date I began a rhythm of spending time on the treadmill twice and week and became much more active overall.  Once our date was set I printed a training schedule, from a web site, and while I didn't adhere to it very strictly the outline helped me know I was on track.  The final plan for the half marathon was to walk and jog as we felt comfortable but I wanted to be as prepared as possible to ensure my ability to finish.

Our walk/ jog was not part of an organized event so we had to carry our water and anything else we needed with us.  I bought a little waist pack to hold a bottle of water, some cash, my phone and a couple packages of Cliff Shot Bloks for recharging along the way.  The route we were walking had places to buy bottled water so I planed to only carry one at a time.  Part of my agreeing to do the 1/2 marathon in the first place was the location.  When my friend and I were discussing the details I said we should do it in sunny L.A. where she lives rather than the chilly Pacific Northwest.  Our route was a paved path next to the beach, from Santa Monica to Venice and back.

Before I knew it the day arrived and we were off, one foot in front of the other and ticking off the miles.  The day was phenomenal, with blue sky, not too hot and little breeze, a perfect day for our event, or anything else really.  Our little group of four walkers, including my sister, set out from a quiet part of the beach.  The first part felt great just going along enjoying each other's company.   As we approached the Santa Monica Pier people watching became a really fun way to keep my mind off the miles.  By the time we arrived in Venice there was such a colorful hodgepodge of people I nearly forgot what we were doing.  Shortly after passing through Venice we reached our turn around point.  After walking at a good pace for over six miles my muscles were ready for a change.  Our little group split up a bit and my sister and I both jogged back through Venice to get through the hubbub a little quicker.  For the remaining miles we walked and jogged as we were comfortable.  I was very glad to have my Shot Bloks on hand to keep my body fueled and I did take advantage of a snack shack and bought a second bottle of water.

With about a mile to go my husband brought our son to meet us on the path.  It was really fun to share a part of the experience with them.  I think I lost time strolling with them but it was also the first day of our vacation and I wanted to savor the moment.  I once again picked up the pace right at the end and jogged across the finish line.  I completed my first 1/2 marathon with a time of 3 hours and 15 minutes.  (Wow.  Writing that last sentence stopped me in my tracks for a moment.)  I felt great; not at all the way I was expecting.  I imagined myself crossing the finish line with my last ounce of strength and plopping onto the ground.  Instead I milled around, went to the bathroom, took some pictures and then we made our lunch plan.  The next morning I still felt great and we packed up and walked the four miles, round trip to the local farmer's market.

It might sound a bit strange but I was disappointed that I felt as good as I did.  I sort of missed that muscle ache you get when you have really pushed your body to work hard.  It never came.  Without moving into the gym or shunning my social commitments I had trained well enough to finish a 1/2 marathon and feel great doing it.  I have not made a plan for another event but I would really like to.  Now that I know better what I am capable of I would like to run a greater portion and perhaps wake up feeling it the next morning.

"To Achieve What We Have Never Achieved, We Must Do What We Have Never Done."

Friday, August 5, 2011

Approaching a Milestone

I am within 8 pounds of my Weight Watchers goal weight - 8 POUNDS!!  This is a milestone that three years ago I couldn't even let myself think about.  If I thought too much about what life was going to be like when I lost over 100 pounds I would have frozen up.  Along the way I have just looked to the next smaller goal in order to keep my momentum up.  Now my small goal has merged into one of my great big over arching major goals and, whew! This is going to take some real mind over matter work.  I don't want to get this close and come up short, no I am in this to win it!

When I hit this goal a few really cool things will happen.  The first is I will begin the six week clock toward not paying Weight Watchers anymore.  I am very much looking forward to seeing that line item on my bank statement once a month.  I have zero regrets about joining, this program may have saved my life BUT it has been three years and I am ready to graduate.  The second cool thing will be taking my wedding and engagement rings to be resized.  Not long into our weight loss both my husband and I became unable to wear our rings.  We decided to wait to have them resized so that we only did it once.  This is partly to reduce the stress on the metal and mostly because we wanted to have something really special to mark the completion of our journey together.  I was able to wear my rings for the end of my pregnancy (thank you water retention) but I am very much looking forward to having them back on my finger permanently.

So here is what I am doing to help me stay the course and hit this one out of the park.  I have committed to - wait for it - actually following the Weight Watcher's plan for the entire month of August.  If it goes in my mouth I am logging it.  By committing to logging my food I am also breaking everyday down into a measurable opportunity to succeed.  Knowing that I am most likely to overeat when I am bored or tired I am keeping a list of activities to engage in during down time and giving myself permission to rest while my son is napping.  I have a sign on the fridge to remind myself of how close I am to my next milestone to help me stay on track.  Finally I am going to make an extra effort to move this month, my house may wind up cleaner than it has been in a long time!

Watch this space for updates.  It would be so sweet to accomplish this goal by the end of the month in time for the three year anniversary of beginning this journey.