Changing my body and changing my life

Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

Today I noticed that there is a difference between my experience of food when I’m in a feeding frenzy – just wanting to eat and eat and eat – and when I am not. Someone brought in chocolate cake to work today. It was there right after lunch which is, ironically, one of my feeding frenzy risk times. After a meal I often feel like keeping on eating. I decided, first of all, to just wait. The cake wasn’t going anywhere, and I told myself I wasn’t having it now, and later I would decide what I would do. Later I decided I would make it my treat of the day. However, I was out of feeding frenzy mode by that time and I noticed that it was easier to eat it slowly and savour the experience. In feeding frenzy, eating often happens so fast that I get little psychological satisfaction. So helpful tool #1 today was waiting to eat until I could appreciate it.

Prior to that I went to run/walk 8 km this morning. This was one of the hardest mornings yet to get out of bed. I had a slight headache and just felt exhausted and unmotivated. I had not gotten up the day before because I had been up doing housework to almost midnight. Yesterday was actually the run day and today was supposed to be a rest day, but I figured it made more sense to switch the two, and I still think so. However, not getting up yesterday, for some reason seemed to make it even harder to get up today.

But I forced myself out of bed and outside. Helpful tool #2 was my MP3 player. There is something about music that is motivating. A few weeks back I asked a co-worker to put together a playlist for me. And he did! He picked fairly quick moving long lasting songs. Having that new music has been great. Sometimes I will feel bored with music though, so listening to a radio or listening to an audio book have been a way to add interest to my times out.

Something I am finding challenging is figuring out how much and what to eat. While I’m still following the Mayo Clinic Plan, now the maintenance plan, I still suspect I will gain a lot of weight because I think my metabolism is just too efficient – i.e. my body uses energy sparingly and prefers to store it. I was on a bit of a roll with lower calorie amounts, as much as I found I felt deprived I kind of knew how much to eat when. Now I’m floundering a bit.


I haven’t had time to post for a few days. Hubby’s back went out and when that happens I pretty much have to take over the household – all cooking, shopping, housework and most childcare falls into my lap. So something had to go, and it wasn’t about to be my training. I’m still keeping that up. I have to set my alarm for 5:30 each morning to get it in, but I’m doing it.

I’ve really been thinking through my goal weight, my food intake and my training. Basically, I’ve felt very discouraged that not only is my weight plateauing, but I have been gaining steadily in the last couple of weeks. I will admit to more than my 1200 calorie goal on some, maybe even many days. But what I’m getting from credible sights is for the amount of exercise I do, I need about 2400 calories a day to maintain, and even if I’m going past 1200, I have not been doubling it.

I’ve probably gained muscle. Quite sure of it from the feel of my body. But I was also hoping to lose fat at the same time.

I’ve read in a few places that training is hampered with low calorie diets. I’ve also read that fat burning potential during workouts can be hampered if one hasn’t consumed enough carbs.

I’m also tired of feeling discouraged by a number on a scale and putting so much effort into reaching that number without results.

So I’ve decided, at least during training until the half-marathon, to return to a more normal calorie amount. I’m not going up to 2,400, but I’ll try aroung 1800. Yesterday was the first day. It felt amazing to not be thinking about hunger all day long.

It works, it really works

Today I made sure to read my reminders, and I kept on track with eating. I even stood up and moved around when I was reading reports (Remember NEAT). So my helpful tool for the day is definitely reading the reminders. If I do it in the morning, it feels like it sets my mind in the right frame for the day.

Breakfast was a funky monkey smoothie – banana with chocolate milk and yogurt with vanilla (yes – the chocolate sauce fits in within the Mayo

plan) and an egg, cheese and tomato sandwich.


Then for lunch, some leftover turkey “lasagne” and a salad with orange, broccoli and feta.

I went for my run right after work, doing 7 km today. I stopped ever 2.5 km to stretch and it makes a difference. But my legs still hate me. I noticed later that while my toes aren’t hurting anymore, the second toe on my left foot looks reddish/purplish under the nail.

After that I had more freezer leftovers – the salmon and sweet potato patties with lots of carrots and green beans.

For the heck of it I ordered  the Atkins Starter Kit (which I refuse to link to) because they were giving away free protein bars. I had half of one for dessert. It was not too bad.

As for what I continue to find challenging – today I don’t feel challenged. Things went right.

Gearing up for the marathon and handling Feeding Frenzies

7 km today. I’m such a wimp. I keep thinking to myself, “Oh, this is so hard, I don’t know if I can do it!” And then I really start thinking about it and I realize that my heart is not beating that hard, I’m only taking about one breath per 4 strides, this is not a biggie at all.

My legs hate me, though. If my legs could talk, they’d say, “What the #@$%?” (YES! My legs would SWEAR!) “Here we were going 3.5 k a day in a nice walk/jog pace and now all of a sudden – pow! 12k! 7k! All jogging! And Running! She’s trying to kill us!” So they have conspired to seize up and prevent me from doing anything else. But I have a plan. I will keep stretching them out until they give in and just do whatever I’m telling them to do. I WILL WIN!

My eating has been falling apart over the last few days. Stress + temptation + not doing my daily readings as taught to me by Judith Beck = lack of progress.

Today – better. I actually feel sick to my stomach after allowing too much sugar into my pie hole. I didn’t actually have many cravings today. After work was the best time to have a run and by the time I got around to eating supper I was in the mood for health and had a mexican inspired chicken salad.

One of my helpful tools has been my Feeding Frenzy Plan. Feeding Frenzies are when I get in a mood that I want to keep eating and eating and it was little to do with hunger and everything to do with boredom or stress. My feeding frenzy plan is actually quite effective, when I use it

Feeding Frenzy Response

  1. Stop
  2. Get away from food. Leave the kitchen, go to a different room
  3. Breathe deep
  4. Identify what you’re feeling (Naming an emotion is quite a powerful tool. Once I can say, “I’m bored,”  or “I’m sad” the don’t seem to have the same influence over me)
  5. Pray
  6. Decide what to do instead.

The Beck book taught me that cravings will pass, hunger will diminish. Give myself a bit of time and things get better.

Something I find challenging is facing candy dishes at work. At least  3 coworkers like to have full candy dishes at their desks to share with people who drop in. Luckily, there isn’t a whole lot of candy I like, but every once in a while it happens to be something chocolate that tastes good. This is getting easier to deal with by using self-talk.

A new challenge

I finished reading the book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. The book is about the concept of story – Miller was asked to make a movie out of a book he had written from experiences in his own life. He is a co-writer for the movie, and ends up editing his own life, thinking of it in light of what the story of his life is. He evaluates his present life as not that meaningful, and so starts to get up off the couch and try new experiences, such as a gruelling hike or a new romance. I’ll skip the new romance – my hubby might have problems with that, but the book has inspired me to do something different, something stretching, and something that involves my pursuit of health.

I’ve decided to enter the Manitoba Marathon.

I have never done ANYTHING like this before. In gym class, running was something I hated, as I huffed and puffed and fell behind everyone else and sometimes got migraines later. I bought a treadmill and started walking and  running not because of any affinity for it but because it required the least coordination, and I could watch TV on the treadmill and hopefully kill the boredom of it all. Over time, I have come to like how I feel after walking, and then jogging. But to race in an event? All new.

My options are the full Marathon (HA! No.) the half marathon (possible?) and the 10K run (I can go 7 km on the treadmill in an hour, so not much of a stretch). Today I decided to take my exercise outside and use the path near my place which is marked according to kilometres. I aimed for 10, put on a heart rate monitor and started jogging, stopping to walk only if my heart rate went above 162 (don’t ask where I came up with that number. I programmed it in to the heart-rate monitor when I first got it and can’t remember why). To my surprise, I was able to maintain a jog almost all the way, just doing walking about 4 times and at that, quite briefly. Somewhere along the way it was going so well I decided to just go the whole way and do 13 km and see if I could do a half marathon.

Any of you familiar with marathons are probably laughing at my right now, so let me tell you, within an hour of returning home I did realize my error. A half marathon is not 13 km, it is 13.1 miles. Still, I wondered if I could possibly do it – an increase of 7.1 km over what I did today, with 8 weeks to train. I looked up some training websites, and found a lot of people writing that the half-marathon is usually attempted after doing a few 5 or 10K runs. Which I’ve never done.

Still, I think I could do it. I don’t need to go for speed, the victory is in the completion. Even if I have to walk part way, I think I could complete a half marathon.

Middle child is interested in doing the 2.6 mile run after I told her about it; what a great thing for me to do with my daughter.

I have until May 8 to register for the Early Bird Amount, so I’ll begin training and see if it could be realistic to do the half.

My new helpful tool: Having a goal

My challenge is figuring out what to do about eating. If I’m training for a run, should I consider increasing my daily calories above the 1200-1400 level I’ve been trying to maintain? Do my muscles need more protein?

A half day off, getting up early and making substitutions.

This day did not go as I had planned. Middle child said soon after waking up that she didn’t feel well. It became apparent, after reviewing her symptoms, that she would require a trip to the doctor. Hubby is already at work by the time the kids get up, so that means me calling into work to say I won’t be there.

Is this a big deal as far as my work goes? Not at all. I’m in a very supportive work environment, almost all of us are moms with kids, and it’s taken for granted that these things happen. But there was a time, not too long ago, where I would stress every hour I had to take time off. I’d worry about how it was perceived, and I’d worry that if I took time off today, there might be a time, somewhere, down the road, where I’d need that time even more and then I wouldn’t have it and I’d regret taking the time today. I’m always thinking down the road. Rarely thinking about now.

This caused me stress.

And stress often leads to eating.

So cognitive therapy, the practice of thinking about what I’m thinking about and subjecting thoughts to logic, came in very handy today (it was a helpful tool).

Can I take time off? Yep – no pressing conferences or reviews coming up. I’ll have time the rest of the week to address assignments. One report I need to get done today can get done in the afternoon. All’s good.

Might I need this time in the future? Who knows? But my daughter needs me now, so I might as well just make the best of the morning. And I did. I brought my knitting, and a positive attitude, and we went and got the meds she needed and had lunch together. She went back to school, I got to work in time to finish the one task that had to be done today, and all is well.

My eating was ok. The last of the scotch oatmeal at breakfast, along with a mango-strawberry smoothie. Lunch was minestrone and a crouton-less spinach caesar. Supper was leftover baked pasta vegetable and turkey with another salad. I came in over by half a serving of fat. Eldest had her final choir concert tonight and hubby suggested we go out to DQ later. While I love Pecan Mudslides, they are huge, so I asked if I could get a small sundae with the same toppings. And I could. It pays to ask at restaurants if you can change something to a smaller or healthier version. The worst you can hear is “No” and then you know not to go back there. I would say 9 times out of 10 there are options that they don’t put on the menu.

Curious what others find for going out to eat. Are there restaurants you especially appreciate for healthy options?

Exercise also did not go as planned. I wanted to do a DVD yoga-pilates workout and then 15 minutes on the treadmill. However, what I still find challenging is getting out of bed at 6 a.m. and I slept in so that by the time I finished the DVD, I needed to start getting the kids up and get ready for my day.

Tonight, I plan to be in bed earlier. So I will stop writing, now.

Migraines and deciding how much to lose

We did it – we got a Costco membership. I’m not sure if that’s good for my diet (like the big box of Scotch Oats) or bad (like the samosas and ravioli). That is why I didn’t write yesterday – we were out all evening shopping and I was beat. I had woken up at 4:30 a.m. that morning and started thinking about the presentation I was to do. I wasn’t nervous, just my mind felt the need to once more go over what I was going to say and how I was going to say it.

The scotch oats I started in the crock pot last night – an idea I got from Good Eats – along with diced apples, pecans and cinnamon. I ate it but the kids wouldn’t touch it. It does get brown at the edges and forms a skin on top. Just now, when I was searching for Alton Brown’s recipe I came across this one which uses the crock pot like a double boiler. Definitely have to try it.

My co-workers and I went out to Tony Roma’s for lunch as we celebrated the graduation of the student placed with us since September. I had Roasted Vegetable Tuscan Flatbread: Crisp flatbread loaded with cheeses, roasted grape tomatoes, artichoke hearts, red onion, zucchini, Feta cheese, fresh basil and a hint of balsamic reduction. I don’t find the Tony Roma’s menu to offer much that works for me. I’m still wondering if it was too heavy on the cheeses.

My middle and youngest were having friends over for a play date, so I KISS’d (Keep it simple, stupid) and just made spaghetti with tomato and vegetable sauce. They all chose to skip the sauce and just put cheese on. Too bad, because it was a great mushroom/onion/garlic/herb sauce. My eldest did try it but pushed aside the mushrooms.

For an evening snack I had fruit with Greek yogurt. Forget PC brand Greek Yogurt – it’s texture is very gritty. Liberty has a fat-free greek yogurt that’s really smooth.

I made the broken glass cake tonight. I altered the original recipe to include much less sugar and fat but I still think I could have reduced it more.

I did the core workout from the Yoga and Pilates video I bought about a month or two ago and then 15 minutes on the treadmill, 9 of those were jogging. My goal is to be able to jog for the entire half hour.

What I found helpful the last couple of days: Learning to work with my body to avoid migraines. As I was getting into exercise, I found the frequency of my migraines increasing, especially when I would try anything higher impact or that really stressed my neck, like Pilates. But I found if I gradually increased intensity, and did lighter exercises when my body was especially sensitive (e.g. just walking), over time my migraines have lessened in both frequency and intensity. Pilates seems to have been especially good as a lot of the exercises strengthen the neck. The DVD I’ve been using incorporates a lot of stretching, too.

What I continue to find challenging: Deciding how much weight to lose. Yeah, I have a goal, 4 pounds down from what I weighed this morning. But sometimes I feel that my lower body will still be carrying around too much fat at that weight. Then I wonder if my difficulty in losing that last bit is just my body’s sign that it’s pretty much where it needs to be and I should just stop here. Some people have told me I look great and they don’t think I need to lose more, the extra hip and thigh is just genetics, etc. Are they right? Are they just being nice?