Archive for October, 2009

Choices

Friday, October 30th, 2009

I’m sitting here at my desk, on a gorgeous Friday afternoon, trying to talk myself into going for a run… I haven’t run since last Thursday.

I just haven’t been feeling up for it. First I was in a funk. Then I was sick. I’m still not feeling great (saddled with a head cold) but I’m sure I’m healthy enough to go for a run.

I just haven’t been in the mood, I guess you could say. I was in the habit, and now I’m out of the habit. Just like that.

So here I am. Thinking about it. Trying to talk myself into it. There’s nothing stopping me: The weather is perfect, I have time, my sports bra is clean.

And yet, I’m really struggling.

That bugs me a whole lot, too. I’ve had far too many posts in a row about struggling – and those posts were few and far between.

It occurs to me that it’s all about choices: I can choose to sit inside on my butt. I can choose to not take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather. I can choose to ignore the goals I’ve set for myself.

Or I can choose to lace up my sneaks, throw my hair back, and go for a freaking run already!

It shouldn’t be this difficult. I wish it wasn’t this difficult. But there it is. To run, or not to run? To work towards my goals and feel good about myself, or not?

Huh. When I put it that way, it doesn’t seem like much of a choice at all.

Here I go.

Sickness and Sabotage

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Unfortunately, I’ve been under the weather since Friday. I think it’s just a nasty cold: Sore throat, aching muscles, headache, etc. What that seems to equate to is being tired and unmotivated to do just about anything.

Especially to cook.

I believe I’ve successfully sabotaged all my hard work earlier in the week in just a few short days. Picking up quick lunches, having dinner delivered to the house, and massive quantities of crackers is not going to help me reach my goals.

Hopefully this sickness will go away in rather short order so that I feel up for cooking and exercising. I can’t go on like this – I feel so guilty when I eat things I know I shouldn’t be eating. Of course, the guilt doesn’t hit until afterward. At the time, it seems like a great idea to eat pizza and wings.

Feed a cold, right?

70 Days Left

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

We’re 30 days into The Hot 100. With just 70 days left in the year, I feel good about my progress so far, but know I need to take it up a notch. The update you’ve all been waiting for, surely:

Keep running! Well, part of this 10-day period was bad in this area, and part of it was good. On the plus side, the more recent portion was good, meaning I’ve turned things around. Shortly after my 20-day check-in, I got into quite a funk that brought me down emotionally. It’s amazing how much your emotional outlook can affect your physical being. I was feeling crappy, and, rather than go for a run and take advantage of those endorphins, I just didn’t.

What this translates to is a mere 3.5 miles last week, and that was in just one run. It was a good one, but the only one.

On the up-side, I’m out of my funk, and I’ve already logged over 10 miles for the week… and it’s only Thursday! I’ll probably get one more good run in either tomorrow or Saturday. Also, my pace is staying pretty consistent, even though I’ve been adding on a bit of distance (over 4 miles yesterday!).

So, it’s coming along. I faltered a bit here in the last 10 days, but it’s life. That happens.

Lose some more weight. This has been improving! Logging my food makes a big difference. When I do it, I lose weight. When I don’t, I stay the same or gain weight. It’s just that simple.

Except that it’s not easy. Because you have to DO it. And that can be challenging.

Last Friday, though, I was at 174, 1.5 pounds down from the prior Friday. Also, it’s worth mentioning that this is officially my new lowest weight. I’ve bounced around in the mid 170s a lot these last few months, but I’ve never been this low… not since I hit it on my way up, which was probably in 9th or 10th grade.

I’m hoping that tomorrow will be even lower, but I haven’t logged my food every day this week (see “challenging” above), and I had out of town guests which always makes eating right more difficult (see below). All week I’ve been pretty good about my food and I’ve been a running machine, so I’m reasonably confident.

Eat out less – cook more. I think that overall, this one is sticking. It’s becoming easier – and more natural – to just cook something at home rather than pick something up or go out.

However, people are such social eaters. I am a social eater. So much socializing is done around food. Going out with friends? Let’s go out to eat! At least I don’t also struggle with drinking, or I’d be a mess! (I prefer to eat my calories, always have… except when I did both and never thought about calories!)

I think I need to add to my collection of recipes. They need to be quick, healthy, delicious, and not require a lot of complicated equipment. If anyone has any they’d like to pass along, I’d be grateful!

All things considered, not a tragic 10-day period. I give myself a B… minus.

Making Strides

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

I’ve been in hiding, I know. But I’m back. Ya miss me?

Even though I’ve been lax in posting lately, I’ve actually been doing quite well – after the weekend, at least.

Some of my family visited to belatedly celebrate my birthday. We had a great time and I think it helped me to get over my irrational funk. Unfortunately, though, the funk + the visitors = only 3.5 miles last week.

But it’s over, both the funk and the visitors.

And this week has been great, particularly with the running. I’ve run Sunday, Tuesday, and today. Sunday was a 3.5-mile route that I’ve run before. Nothing too eventful, but certainly successful. Yesterday was a shorter run, only 2.1 miles, but much of that was on a road I’ve been incredibly intimidated to tackle. It’s windy and hilly, and once you’re on it, you’re stuck on it for a long while. I had a great feeling of accomplishment at the end of that!

Today was another milestone (ha). For the first time, I ran four miles without stopping to walk! In fact, it was a little over (I made a wrong turn and had to double-back!) – 4.16 miles to be exact.

There’s a lot to be said about consistency in training. I can’t believe the progress I’ve made in just a few short weeks. Especially considering that prior to this latest effort I never got past 2.5 miles of running straight.

I’ll make it to 5 miles by Thanksgiving with no problems!

What a Difference Three Days Make

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Monday I wrote a post that was full of successes and optimism.

Today’s post will be no such thing.

I’ve been so tired lately. I know I’ve mentioned that before, but what the heck? Why hasn’t that resolved itself by now? I get a good amount of sleep. I relax heftily on the weekends. Nine times out of ten, I have an easy-going work day (I’m my own boss and have a 5 second commute from the living room to my office).

For pete’s sake, it’s not even 7 and I could fall asleep where I sit.

Besides being tired, I’m having a hard time keeping up with things. I’ve only run once this week, and every time I think about it, I then think better of it (or worse of it, as it were) and don’t. Of course, the rain and cold certainly isn’t helping me get out there. In order to get up to 10 miles this week, I’ll have to run both tomorrow and Saturday. Yeesh.

I’m also a bit down on myself professionally. And it’s irrational. My business is better than ever. I have more clients than ever, and they all love me (really, they do!) and continue to come back and refer others to me. I’m also starting a new division to my company that I’m really excited about.

So why am I down?

Because I’m not the best.

I know: Irrational.

I find myself comparing my work to the work of other companies, most of which have the creative talents of lots of people – not just one – and who have been in business (and THE business) for much longer than me.

It’s the same thing I do with my fitness. I try so hard not to compare myself to others, but damn. It’s hard.

I know, I know. I should use this as motivation to do better. To strive to BE better.

And I will.

Eventually.

But for now? I’m being irrational.

80 Days and Counting!

Monday, October 12th, 2009

We’re 20 days in and that makes it time for an all-around update on The Hot 100. Here goes:

Keep running! Man has this improved! My addendum to the initial goal of “be able to run 5-miles straight” has been helping immensely. The commitment to running 10 miles a week has really pushed me to get out there and run! I think the reason I wasn’t progressing very much before is because I wasn’t very consistent with my training.

Last week, I ran 11.91 miles! I went out four times: The 5k at the Zoo, then twice more on my own, and then some “gravy” running with J-Roc.

When I went out on Friday, I had to do 3.4 miles to meet my 10-mile goal for the week. I planned on doing my 3.44-mile route, but I accidentally ran an extra .27 miles – I couldn’t remember the route exactly and did an extra little loop. But since I didn’t know I was running extra, I pushed myself to run the whole thing, since I had previously been able to run “this route.” So basically, I tricked myself into a quarter-mile increase :) That makes my new longest run (without walking) 3.71 miles.

I’m amazed how much I’ve progressed in a short period of time. Consistency is key, my friends! I’m hoping to get up to a solid 4 miles (or more!) during this next 10-day period. Wish me luck!

Lose some more weight. This has improved as well. It’s a little complicated, because I do these updates every 10 days, and I weigh myself every 7, but I’m sure you can follow along. A week ago Friday I was at 177.5. That was bad. I’ve been putzing around for far too long, and the scale reflects that precisely. I’ve been bouncing around between 175.5 and 178.5 since the end of July. Unacceptable.

So, at the 90-Day Update, I recommitted to keeping track of my calories in and calories out, via My Food Diary. I’ve been pretty good about this, and have logged my food and exercise for 8 of the 10 days. Clearly not perfect, but I’m getting there.

It’s worked, too, as I knew it would. This past Friday I was back down to 175.5. I’ll be much happier when I break past that number and the scale stops laughing at me, but if I only compare this week to last, that’s a great number – down 2 pounds.

Even though I’ve been eating good, healthy things, I was getting too many calories for my age, weight and activity level – at least, too many if I want to lose weight. I think I’ve mastered the maintenance thing! Now that I’m logging my calories again, I can better gauge what I’m putting into my body.

Eat out less – cook more. This has been going very well, too! My birthday was in the last 10-day period and we went out to dinner that night, which added an extra restaurant meal to my regular schedule, but it was my birthday. And that’s all I have to say about that.

We’ve been cooking a lot, and healthy meals: Tuna steak marinated in rice vinegar with 7-grain pilaf; Turkey lasagna; Grilled chicken with brown rice and brussel sprouts, etc. Even when I eat out, I’ve been making good choices: Greek salad with the dressing on the side; sushi (mmmm…); chicken & broccoli with brown rice (no crispy noodles!).

I’m pleased with this. I just need to keep it going. That’s going to be tough with 2 sets of out-of-town visitors this week, but I’ve laid out a plan, and as long as everyone respects that (and I can stick to my guns…), I’ll be A-OK!

How are the rest of you doing on your Hot 100 goals? If you’re doing great – Excellent, keep up the good work! If you haven’t set a goal or made any progress toward that goal, there’s no time like the present – Make it a Hot 80!

Always a Bridesmaid

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

In January, I’ll be a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding. I’ve been a bridesmaid a number of times in my 28 years, and I can honestly say that I love it. It’s a great honor, and I really enjoy being a part of a good friend / family member’s day in that way.

Of course, there’s one thing about being a bridesmaid that has always been incredibly stressful to me:

THE DRESS.

In my experience, everything surrounding the bridesmaid dress is the exact opposite of fun. For each wedding I’ve been in – even my own – I was quite fat, and always the biggest of all the girls.

My friends are wonderful, and each bride has always attempted to pick out a dress that will be flattering on all of the bridesmaids, but let’s face it: Something that is flattering on a size 4 is unlikely to look good on a size 24, and vice versa. It’s a tall order, for sure.

Getting fitted for the dress has always been torture. When you’re over a certain size, they don’t generally have samples in every style that you can just try on. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had that luxury. I’ve always had to get measured and hope that the size that comes in more-or-less fits, and then pay for extensive alterations (don’t get me started on that racket…).

Today was different though.

I went to David’s Bridal to order the dress for my friend’s wedding. They asked what size I wear in a jean, which is currently a 12, and then skipped off to get me the dress my friend picked out in a 12.

I was taken aback, to say the least.

Even though I’ve done this a number of times before, this was a completely different experience. And even though I know that I have lost a significant amount of weight, it still didn’t occur to me that I would just be able to try on the dress in my size.

I tried on the size 12 dress. I went to look in the mirror in the common area (so weird that the dressing rooms themselves have no mirrors) and was pleasantly surprised – I looked pretty good! (Except for my massive calves, but I like to think that’s all muscle…)

Right next to me was a high school girl who was trying on dresses for some fashion show. She was actually a size 0. ZERO. And even though I’m clearly much bigger than her, I still felt good about myself.

And get this: The 12 was a little big. I then tried on a 10, but that was a little small. I was tempted to order the 10 anyway, because I’m hoping to lose weight between now and then, but I’m not willing to risk ruining my friend’s wedding based on good intentions (as much as a bridesmaid not having a dress that fits can ruin a wedding, that is). So I got the 12, and I’ll have it altered down to where ever I am at the end of January, which hopefully will be more like a 10 anyway.

It still surprises me how different things are – even little things like buying a dress that’s already picked out for you – for big girls and small girls (or medium girls, as I like to think of myself now). Something that caused me loads of stress 3 years ago was simple, and almost pleasant, now.

Incidentally, shopping for a bridal gown when I was planning my own wedding was so upsetting that I ended up buying my dress off the internet. It turned out better than I could have imagined, but that’s something a thin girl would never have to do.

It’s definitely better being a medium than a 3X.

What Goes Up

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

In keeping with my commitment to run 10 miles per week, yesterday I set out on a 3.6 mile run. My intention was to run the whole thing – without having to walk – since I’m trying to work up to 5 miles straight by Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately, I had to walk. Twice.

In my own defense, each walk session was very brief, and only at the end of two monstrous hills.

I know I’ve mentioned my hilly neighborhood before, but since the size and quantity of hills is subjective, I thought I’d give you a visual. Below is the elevation graph created by runstoppable.com of the route that I ran yesterday. I highlighted in pink the two sections I walked. Let me tell you – looking at this graph makes me feel a lot better about my performance yesterday.

3.6-mile route

I’m now up to 6.7 miles for the week, between yesterday’s run and the 5k at the Zoo on Sunday. I’m planning another run for tomorrow that will probably be my 3.44 mile route, which will put me over the 10-mile mark just a smidge. And if I run with J-Roc on Saturday, I’ll surpass my goal even MORE!

Mua hahahaha!

Food Recommendation – Chocolate-Covered Banana

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Diana's Bananas – The World’s Best Chocolate Dipped Frozen Banana

I know, I know – that doesn’t sound like a healthy food recommendation at all. And it’s definitely not steamed broccoli, but sometimes you need a little something sweet. On those occasions, allow me to suggest a dark chocolate-covered frozen banana!

I’m a bit obsessed with these. I never had them as a child, and the idea of a frozen banana sounded a bit odd to me at one time.

And then I watched Arrested Development (best. show. ever.) and after hearing about The Banana Stand so much, I felt compelled to try a chocolate-covered banana. Boy was I not disappointed!

The best I’ve found is by a company called Diana’s Bananas. They have two sizes: A full-size banana, and banana “babies,” which is half of a banana. I find the big one is totally unnecessary – stick to the half.

From Diana’s Bananas website: “Our team personally selects only fully ripe, creamy, sweet white bananas, which we quick freeze to -20 degrees fahrenheit. The result is an easy-to-bite banana with texture so smooth, you’ll think you’re eating ice cream.

After our quick freezing process, we dip the bananas in real bar chocolate (dark or milk, and some are dipped in nuts). We never use chocolate flavored coatings or other inferior substitutes. The world’s best bananas deserve real chocolate—you do, too!”

I’ve tried both the milk and dark chocolate versions. I know dark chocolate is better for you, but I’ve always preferred milk chocolate (or at least I used to). With the bananas, the dark chocolate was far superior. I’ve never had the ones with nuts – even though I’m sure it’s delicious – because I don’t want the extra calories.

Speaking of calories, one dark chocolate banana baby has 130 calories, and since it’s half a banana, about 60 of that is from the banana. That means only about 70 calories in the chocolate, and I can handle that every now and then. Diana’s Bananas brand is also all-natural, which is fabulous. If they aren’t carried in your grocery store, you can order them from their website.

Incidentally, I’ve tried the chocolate-covered bananas from Trader Joe’s and was not impressed. I don’t recommend those.

Our Products_ creamy bananas dipped in real bar chocolate | Diana_s Bananas

ZooZilla 5k – Rawr!

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

I got up incredibly early this morning (too early, in fact) so that I could get my stuff together, eat a good breakfast and get out to the Pittsburgh Zoo for the ZooZilla 5k.

I fully expected to have a slower finish time than the personal best I hit at the 5k I did last month; I’m familiar with the Pittsburgh Zoo, and I know how very, very hilly it is. I was just hoping to be able to run the entire thing without having to walk.

And I did!

I won’t lie – it was incredibly difficult and there were numerous times that I almost walked… I certainly wanted to. I kept pushing though, because I knew my body could do it and that I just had to convince my brain of that. I also knew that I’d beat myself up if I let myself walk when my didn’t didn’t absolutely have to.

I finished with a time of 32:54. Not too shabby!

I’m really enjoying doing these races so often. It keeps me motivated, and I love the actual events: I get a charge out of running with a bunch of similar-minded folks (even in the wee hours of the morning) and working on improving my performance and thus, my overall fitness level.

With that said, I’m planning to do one event like this a month, for as many months as I can find an event in my area. I know that might sound a little extreme, but this works for me.

Next month I’ll be doing the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning – that one’s an 8k… 5 miles! As you know, I hope to increase my endurance enough to be able to run that entire route. I don’t think that should be a problem if I stick to my training schedule.

In December, there’s a “Trot for Tots” which helps to provide toys for kids during the Christmas season – I love that! The Trot for Tots has two different distance options: 5k and 10k. I’d love to do the 10k, but 6.2 miles? Yeesh!

Sounds like I’ll be doing a lot of trotting between now and the end of the year!