Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mad Men Style for Halloween

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Halloween costumes

What (or who) are you going to be for Halloween?

I'm skipping the whole candy thing this year and going to a Halloween trivia contest where we get bonus points for costumes. The kids have plenty of other houses they can visit and I don't need the temptation. Besides, I have to admit that I love dressing up. I have a cool TV-themed costume planned. I will need some serious attitude to pull it off. Feel free to guess, if you like. I will post pictures after the fact.

Am I a grinch for not giving out candy? I have given out more than my share and I'm ready to have my own fun instead.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Weekly Weigh-In: October 29

On Monday, October 1, I weighed 185.8. On Monday, October 8, I weighed 184.6. On Monday, October 15, it was 185.6. On October 22, back down to 184.8. This week, I weighed in at 183.6. See the graph from LoseIt -- the line looks flat, but it's going down slightly. I'm down a total of 2.2 pounds on my last weigh-in of the month. I think I may take measurements next week, just to see if anything has changed.

A few people have commented. My fitness instructor, who sees me in yoga pants and a tank top, said I was looking good. My Aunt Bonnie, who has some sort of superpower for spotting weight changes, said I looked like I was losing. Most normal people can't spot a difference of 2.2 pounds, though. What I'm noticing, to be honest, is that my belly bothers me more, reminding me of Vickie and her belly posts when she was losing. I bought another control-style tank, this one from Flexees. If Pete Thomas can wear Spanx, I can too. Worn tucked in, it also makes sure I don't get the plumber effect if I am crawling around on the floor with my nephews. I tried on some clothes yesterday, and I'm still wearing an XL top and size 14 jeans, they just fit better.  I have a few pairs of dress pants in a 12 that fit, but I think they are wide-legged pants. M thighs are always the last place I lose.

Successes: By a stroke of luck more than my own planning, food was much better than usual this weekend. My nephews were in town for a family party yesterday. For once, the food wasn't exceptional. The one thing that was really great was the cake, but I had a few bites of piece before sharing it with a drooling toddler -- after he got his hands on it, I was done.  I did a better job of logging food every day, though Saturday was still a little off because I didn't log until the very end of the day.  Interestingly, from my food and exercise journals on LoseIt, I would have only expected to lose half a pound, and I lost one.  

Opportunities for improvement: My workouts were better, but I still didn't find time for a lot of walking or other restorative work. Since Sundays are a hard workout day, I'm going to do my best to make it to yoga on Mondays. I was a little down on my body this week, mostly because of the extra weight around my middle. That was the last place I gained, so it should be some of the first to go. Maybe it's fluffing itself up in some kind of final revenge? Mostly, though, I've been able to put on one of my my control tanks and move on.  "Yes...and?"

For the first time in a long time, I feel focused on my goals in a positive way.  I have a little more than 6 weeks until my 42nd birthday, and I feel like it is possible to be in the 170s by then.  At the very least, I'd like to make 2012 the last year my weight ever fell in the "obese" BMI range. I never thought I'd be so happy to be just "overweight." 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

This week's workouts: October 22-28

I thought I'd separate my workout posts from my weigh-in posts. Some people are interested in seeing what kind of workouts other people do, some couldn't care less.  I vary -- I'm interested in seeing workout programs with variety, but not so interested if your workouts vary from a 3-mile run to a 7-mile run.

Maybe it's because I'm not running much these days. My toes are still giving me trouble.  That's my #1 motivation for wanting to lose weight -- the hope that taking some weight off my feet will help my toes.

Monday: 45-minute yoga class, my first in a while. It felt very challenging even though it was a pretty basic class.  Lots of flow instead of single poses.  I also did a 25-minute walk.

Tuesday: I did one of my run-walk workouts. It was about 15 minutes of running with about 20 minutes of walking. Toes did bother me the next day, unfortunately.

Wednesday: No workout. I had two important meetings and didn't have time.

Thursday: My spin class. It felt great.

Friday: Wanted to spin but the class was full by the time I got there, even though I was 10 minutes early. Did 10 minutes on the rowing machine, which I'm not sure I will do again. My achilles tendon was killing me the next day.  I might not have used good form. Also did 20 minutes of fast incline walking on the treadmill -- boring. It may actually have been the walking that bothered my ankle, since I wasn't wearing great shoes.  I wear clip-in shoes for Spin class so I was just wearing basic kicks, not running shoes.

Saturday: My Pilates Circuit class, very tough.  Later that day we put in all the storms and took out the screens, which is dirty work -- we had to wash the storms since they were dirty from being in the garage.  I did a lot of other cleaning too.

Sunday: I spent some more time cleaning this morning, to get the house in shape for a new week.  Tonight was swim group. My coach put me in the fast lane with two better swimmers, and I worked my tail off trying to keep up.  I'm enjoying some well-earned lazy time now.

I feel like I have had a good, but not perfect week. LoseIt would predict that I should lose about half a pound. We will see what the scale says tomorrow.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Review: The Truth about Style by Stacy London

Longtime readers of the blog will know that I am a big fan of What Not to Wear. Though I haven't watched the show as much lately (It never seems to be on when I'm looking for something to watch), I still love the idea of having a fashion guru who would help me find a great new look.

As much as I enjoyed , it's not the book to teach you how to put all of the WNTW ideas into practice.  For that, you're probably better off with , which is more of a how-to recipe guide for dressing your shape.

This new book is more of an exploration of the idea of style itself, and the barriers that, too often, get in the way and keep us all wearing jeans and hoodies (Three guesses as to what I'm wearing right this very moment, BTW). The nine women (plus Stacy, for 10 total) profiled in this book all have different style challenges, but I must have been reading too much Brené Brown, because I see them all as related to shame, the basic idea that "There's something wrong with me that makes me unloveable." This body shame is what all of the women have in common, to some extent.  Ashley's boyfriend cheated on her with a friend, triggering anorexia and then binge eating.  Ty was plus-sized from an early age, and though she loved fashion, never found her own sense of style. Stacy herself grew up feeling like a freak because of her severe eczema.  The one that triggered the biggest "a-ha" moment for me is Tracy, who desperately wants to shine but is sidelined by fears that she will be seen as attention-seeking, not stylish, and be harshly judged by others. She said that she has bought some stylish pieces but is gripped by a sense of "Who do you think you are?" when she goes to put them on. Where does this terrible fear of the smackdown come from if not from shame? It's just easier to blend in and play it safe than to counter this sense that if we seem like we are happy with ourselves, someone will be there to bring us back to earth.

I think that the real magic of Stacy's makeovers is not the style tips, though those are helpful, but the permission she gives women to show their sparkle despite the "flaws" that they think disqualify them from style stardom.  In this book we see women with all types of bodies -- plus-sized, petite, petite-plus, tall, older, exceptionally young-looking -- find great new looks.  Not one of these women look like a fashion model, but they all look terrific.  Stacy says the secret is to say "Yes...And?"  The "yes" part is taking an honest look at our bodies -- "notice, don't judge." Then, given that real body, the "and?" part asks how we can dress to accentuate our best features and camoflage anything we don't love. "Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away."

Some universals, of course, are that we should all be wearing great foundation garments (Stacy is a fan of both {intimacy} and Spanx). She is a huge fan of high heels or pointy-toed shoes to lengthen the leg. And number one, most important rule, is that clothes should fit. Tight and baggy clothes are both against Stacy's style rules, and she's in favor of alterations when necessary to make clothes look great (and this book includes helpful tips about which alterations are inexpensive and which aren't worth it).

I read this book on my iPad and paid a little extra for the enhanced version. It had some nice little bonus videos that let me see the transformations in action. I think the book would have fallen flat without these videos, because it really helped to confirm Stacy's observations by seeing and hearing each woman talk about what was holding her back.  I wish that the enhanced book had also given us more pictures of completed looks for each woman profiled.  Most chapters have a black-and-white before and a full-color after, with a few tight detail shots. I would have liked to see three or four full-color complete looks for each woman -- I know this might have been expensive for the print version, but it seems like it wouldn't have been much more trouble to add these to the video segments.

Another thing that the book -- and especially the videos -- did for me is help make Stacy herself seem more accessible. If you watch WNTW and read her other books, it's easy to think that she has always been a tall, thin, self-assured fashionista.  The book details Stacy's own struggles with self-image, like eating disorders and severe childhood eczema that left her scarred and self-conscious.  In the videos, she even admits that she has struggled with some weight gain while writing the book.  She comes across as very vulnerable and authentic in the videos, something that doesn't always come across on the show or in her writing when she's using stylist slang ("totes adorbs," etc.) and nixing someone's beloved "comfortable" flats.  I liked seeing this side of her. I definitely recommend getting the enhanced iBook (available from iTunes but not from Amazon) if you buy this book. Print fashion books tend to seem dated quickly, and who needs more clutter?

I may not be ready to give up my hoodies on lazy weekends, but reading this book makes me feel more motivated to take more time with my workday look. Now if I could just get Stacy to go shopping with me...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: True&Co. online bra fitting service

I have done the bra-fitting thing many times in my life, mostly at department stores like Macy's. But I really never loved the way my bras fit. The band would ride way up. The band would gap in the front. The straps would slide off my shoulders. I would sometimes even get the dreaded "quad-boob" look because the cups were too small.

I had great luck at {intimacy}, both my first and second times. However, in my two visits to those stores, I spent more than $1,000 on lingerie. That's a lot of money.  The personal attention factor has its downside -- you feel so great because you're being told you look so great, and then you spend a bundle.

My local Dillard's actually carries some of the same brands and the same sizes, but the saleswomen think I'm crazy when I tell them what size I'm looking for.  I have gotten a few bras there, but I always feel pressured to hurry up and buy and get out of there before they try to foist a 36 or even a 38 on me.

When I heard about an online bra-fitting service called True&Co. on Marketplace Money, I thought I'd give it a try. The tester had good results, and since the process sounded easy, I thought I'd give it a shot.  I even tweeted about it:
I signed in to the site. It asked me to put on my favorite bra and answer some questions about the fit.  My favorite bra is from PrimaDonna. It sells for more than $100. It fits very well at size 32F. I answered the questions and then was given a selection of 5 bras, and asked to pick three. The "expert" would pick two for me. I would have preferred to have more choices than just 5 -- especially since two of the styles were the same bra.  I filled out the order form, gave my credit card number for the $45 deposit, and hoped for the best.

My bras arrived this afternoon via UPS -- just two days after I ordered them. They were nicely packaged, and I was excited to try them on. One of the "expert" choices had not been available for me to choose. The second was a duplicate of the white cotton bra I had chosen, just in a different size, 32E. All the rest of the bras were the same size as my favorite, 32F. In the photo, the three on the left are my picks, and the two on the right are the expert choices.

The brands were not the same kind of brands that I saw at {intimacy}, but the prices were also a lot lower. None of the bras cost more than $60.  Weirdly, the price list was not included in the box, so as I was trying them on, I didn't know which ones cost how much.

The black and white cotton bras fit in the band, but the cups were way too small. Hello, quad-boob.  The blue one with the cute pink trim was way too small. I couldn't even hook it. Sorry, Elle McPherson.  The pretty peachy one went on and hooked, but the cups were just a little too small.  I was disappointed, because I really liked that one.

Only the brown "expert" pick one fit. It, and the peach one, looked like it was higher-quality than the others. It said that it had been adjusted to fit me, and it did. I am keeping it. It was $45, the same as my deposit, which works out nicely. I went online to indicate which one I wanted to keep and clicked the reasons that the others didn't fit. My shop now has a couple of different bras, but oddly, the black and white ones that didn't fit are still in there, in the same size that didn't fit.  This seems like a problem with the algorithm. I might try again later, but nothing in my personal shop is tempting me right now. I am guessing that because I wear an odd size, I get a smaller selection than someone who wore a normal size like a 34C.

The other big problem is that when I shopped at a store with a fitter, I wasn't just given all the same size bras. The band sizes on my bras from {intimacy}varied from 32-34, and the cups are different too, varying from F to G.  Each brand fits differently, and even different styles within the brands vary.  The thing that a real-live person can offer is a knowledge of the product and the brands, and the ability to steer a customer toward the ones that will make her look and feel good. That personal touch comes with a price tag, but  I felt happy about my purchases.

I think the True&Co. service is worth trying. I would be curious how often it recommends a different size than the one someone is wearing already, and whether people with more common sizes get more and better choices than I did.  If you try it, please let me know what you think.

For now, I'm going to keep hand-washing my bras and drying them on the clothesline in my basement, because it would be expensive to replace them.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekly weigh-in: October 22

On Monday, October 1, I weighed 185.8. On Monday, October 8, I weighed 184.6. On Monday, October 15, it was 185.6. Today I was back down to 184.8. That makes one pound lost in 4 weeks.

FatWatch lets me know that at my current rate, I will be at my goal weight in about 3 years. I would like to work on accelerating things a bit, mostly by tweaking my calories downward. I need to get my weekends on track.

My workouts for the week:
Monday: One-hour walk
Tuesday: The dreaded Bootcamp/TRX class
Wednesday: No workout -- was in pain from the Bootcamp class
Thursday: 40-minute Spin class
Friday: Some serious housecleaning, but nothing else
Saturday: Pilates Circuit class
Sunday: 30 minute walk, one-hour swim

Successes: I got back to tracking on the weekdays, and using SuperBetter to remind me of my behavior goals. I noticed my weekend eating problems and got back to my routine on Sunday. I planned meals for this week.

Opportunities for improvement: Stay calm in food chaos. Keep nudging calories down. Don't resist tracking when I know I'm over my calorie goals. Get more restorative workouts in and stay away from Bootcamp.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Back to my happy routine

I had a bad couple of food days. Spending time at my parents' house always equals food disaster for me -- meals tend to be late and there is junk food everywhere. I love spending time with them, but it's not the greatest for my weight-loss efforts.  Friday was worse, since I hadn't had time to plan ahead so I went there hungry. Never a good choice. Yesterday, I cooked myself a big spinach omelette before I went, which helped a lot. I didn't feel the urge to pick at the junk food until late in the day, when I was tired. It's hard to explain the compulsion I feel to eat when I'm there, it's totally irrational.

Today I thought I'd do my version of detox -- reasonable, healthy meals, fresh air, and exercise. We cleaned out the fridge and planned our meals for the week.  I went to the grocery store so that we'd have all the things we'd need for this week's dinners.  I made this potato and leek soup for lunch. I went for a walk with my husband in the gorgeous sunshine. I did my swim class tonight -- I regretted my choice to swim in the fast lane, as it activated all my "I-don't-belong" self-doubt, but I feel good now that I've had a shower and some dinner.

It's amazing how overrated being spontaneous is, at least in my opinion. Making plans about what to do, what to eat, and how to spend my time always results in better outcomes than leaving everything up in the air.    I like knowing what and when I'm going to eat. I feel better with regular rest and exercise.

As I get older, I feel like one of the big lessons I keep learning is that I have to be the person I am instead of the person I think I should be. My parents valued being a free spirit, but I think I'm more the stick-in-the-mud type. And I'm totally okay with that...

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I had a rare break in the action -- one class ended, and my grades are turned in, and the other class hasn't started yet. Instead of doing what I would normally do, I took a few days to do some things that I have been wanting to do for a while (important but not urgent) that usually got shuffled to the back by the day-to-day stuff I have to do (urgent but may or may not be important).

One thing I did was assemble my promotion porfolio as if I were going up for Associate Professor today instead of next year. I wanted to have the whole spread of everything in front of me so that I could see where the holes were. I also decided to schedule a meeting with the person who has to write my letter of recommendation in the hopes of nailing down his strong support for me. Our school doesn't have tenure, but it's still important to me to get promoted.

Going through materials and selecting the ones that were the strongest gave me a sense of accomplishment that I don't really have on a daily basis. Like most people, I go around feeling a day late and a dollar short, always rushing to do one thing or another. Taking the time to put together a strong set of examples of my work and updating my vita reminded me of everything I have done in the last few years.  I also included some work I did for my former employer as a consultant, and I remember the work that I did there was always challenging but often a lot of fun too.

I also took the time to talk with some of my coworkers. I have been a bit of a mole lately, staying in my own office or working from home to get more done. Socializing more makes me feel more connected to the place and the people

I need to get back to reality tomorrow and start planning for my class, but I'm glad I took the time to catch my breath and look back. It really helps me feel ready to more forward.

From the Daring Greatly Read Along: Goals and worthiness

Daring Greatly Badge
Are you following along with Brené Brown's Daring Greatly Read-Along? I already listened to
on Audible, and I just found the podcast on iTunes.

The book was read by someone else, so it's nice to hear Brené's voice on the podcast. I also find the Q&As really interesting. It's one thing to hear the concepts explained in a book, and another to figure out how they fit into my life, and hearing other people's questions helps me do this.

A great question came up, the topic of Shauna, Karen, and Mara's session at FitBloggin' -- the question of how self-acceptance fits in with a desire to change.

At about 25:10 on the first installment:
Where does goal setting fit in with all of this. It's one thing to say I'm enough, but when do you say I need to work on ______? How do these two things balance out?
I am a super-ambitious goal-setter. I write down my goals, I'm really serious about my goals. But what I have found is that when we work from a place of shame and "I'm not enough," I don't see achieving goals as at all possible. I think the more we believe in our ability, the more we engage with our worthiness and the more we believe we're enough, the more likely it is that we can meet our goals. When our self-worth is on the line.... The thing is, shame doesn't motivate behavior. If shame motivated behavior, we'd all be great, we'd all be perfect...
If I stick a picture of myself looking ugly on the refrigerator as a way to stick to a goal, then normally what's going to happen is that I'm going to end up standing in front of the refrigerator, looking at that picture, feeling ashamed, and numbing the pain of shame with a pint of Ben & Jerry's. But if I like who I am, and I engage with the world from, "I believe I'm enough," than I'm willing to try... 
I'm willing to do whatever it takes because I don't have my worth tied to something that can either be achieved or not achieved.
That is what feels different to me this time, as I'm working on making changes in my life. I'm working very hard to do it because I want to, and not because I think it will make me worthy or loveable. Starting from a place of enough changes the whole game.

I don't think (and Brené says the same) that it's possible to get to a place of "enoughness" and stay there.  I feel like I have to fight and claw my way to it every day. It was important to learn that having a tendency to focus on the negative doesn't mean I don't love myself, it's just a factory-installed default.  Doing things out of a desire for self-care, rather than from a desire to do what I "should" helps immensely. So does reading blogs of friends who are working on their own tough questions.

The read-along is just another great resource.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

No more Boot Camp

I tweaked my shoulder and neck in class today. This class consistently causes me pain. No more. It's too advanced for me and it wasn't what I thought I was signing up to do.

The instructor is nice enough, but she wants every exercise to be super-advanced. She's in her 20s and fit -- those of us in the class are 40s and 50s.

Luckily a new session starts next week, so I can just switch to something I like better.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, October 15, 2012

Weekly weigh-in: October 15

On Monday, October 1, I weighed 185.8. On Monday, October 8, I weighed 184.6.  Today it was 185.6. I am not surprised that I gained, because I had a rough end of the week.  This is midterm for me, with lots of meetings and grades to turn in.  I don't normally have a schedule like last week's.

It's not surprising. I ate more junky food and less good food. I exercised less days, doing only the intense workouts and skipping the restorative ones. I felt stressed and rushed, didn't do my self-care activities, and that made me feel even worse. I need to turn that cycle around.

My workouts for the week:
Monday: 15 minutes of running and 40-minutes of walking
Tuesday: 50-minute Spin class
Wednesday: No workout
Thursday: 40-minute Spin class
Friday: No workout
Saturday: No workout
Sunday: 25 minute walk

Successes: I didn't let my problems turn into an opportunity for self-attacking behaviors.

Opportunities for improvement: Stick with the behaviors I know help me. Keep logging my food no matter how busy I get or what I eat. Check in with SuperBetter to reward myself for good behaviors. Remember sleep and relaxation. Plan ahead.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

More Kryptonite

I just finished up a three-and-a-half-day Kryptonite festival. Thursday and Friday I had meetings that tested and drained my willpower and I spent all day grading.  Saturday I had a 1:00 p.m. meeting for a group where I hold a volunteer post, and I ended up getting a late start on a 2-hour drive and then hit construction. I was stuck in traffic for half an hour and I realized I had no time for lunch. Helpfully, the group's president had brought chips and cookies.  Guess what I had for lunch? Then I sat through a three-hour meeting where I renewed my dislike for Robert, of Robert's Rules of Order. "I move that we disembowel Robert. Do we have a second?"

Meetings like these are my Kryptonite. They mess with my schedule. They mess with my mind. Frequently I have to use my precious willpower to stay quiet and calm when I am itching to tell someone off. Either they provide no food or they provide terrible food.

I was thinking about the phrase "I have really let myself go." Usually the emphasis is on GO, as in, go off the rails, go to chunky town.  But I think the emphasis should be different. "I have really let my SELF go." I let everything get in the way of self-care, and that was not an indulgent act, it was a negligent one.

I let go of the self-care strategies that were helping me It was a domino effect..  I know that planning meals results in better results for me. I let that slide and relied on whatever I could find in the moment.  I found some bite-sized Larabars at Target that were great for in my car for emergency situations like yesterday.  I let myself run out and couldn't be bothered to restock them.  I knew that logging my food helped me stay on track. I told myself I was "too busy" and let myself get behind to the point where it didn't seem worth it to start back up. Once things were on this downhill slide, I couldn't be bothered to open the app. I didn't bother to use my Clarisonic either, too much trouble.

I think on some level I tell myself that I'm not worth the trouble. That I shouldn't make other people feel uncomfortable by bringing my own food or insisting on eating the things I need to be successful.  I don't bother to go to the store to restock the things that help me feel good.  Not only do I feel a little bloated, but my skin is all broken out.  My body doesn't like it when I don't take proper care of it.

When I got home tonight I had a good meal, leftovers from the last one I bothered to plan. I went for a walk. I wrote this blog post.

Tomorrow's weigh-in may be disappointing, but I still feel like I have made progress. I don't feel accountable to an external entity, even you, Gentle Readers. I just want to keep edging toward the me I want to be.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fitbloggin' 13

I bit the bullet and registered for Fitbloggin' 13 today. I even booked a room.

I'm hoping to speak and thought I'd crowdsource my proposal idea: What things have I talked about here that you think would make a good session?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A snacky, hungry day

I have been having a rough day today with my food. It started with a lunch meeting. I had no idea what the menu would be so I had a yogurt and some nuts ahead of time. Good thing, too, because it was some very oily-looking veggies, a chicken breast in some kind of cream sauce, white bread rolls, and rice krispie treats. Everything tasted good, but it wasn't what I would have chosen. The meeting was boring one of those "bobblehead meetings" where we are supposed to sit quietly and listen to updates, and I was still hungry, so I went back for a second roll.

Then when I was grading papers, I got very snacky and had some tortilla chips and dry cereal. I knew I had healthier food available, but I didn't want it. Grading papers is no fun and I wanted to distract myself.

 I'm not angry with myself, I understand what triggered me. Boring meeting, skimpy lunch, grading papers, being sleep-deprived (my husband and I were both wide awake at 4 a.m. today, and I'm suffering for it).  The SuperBetter Willpower for Weightloss pack would call this "Kryptonite."

Once I had a real dinner, I felt better.  I haven't logged anything because I know my calories are all out of whack and I didn't eat healthy. Not logging, though, is just making me feel worse, so when I publish this post, I'm going to log my food and move on.  Lesson learned.  I think I will bring my own lunch next time.  I wish I could just skip the meeting.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

By request: Swim info

Vickie asked me to write about my swimming class.  It is really a club, a local Masters Swim group. The "master" part has to do with age rather than ability. Some of the swimmers in our group are beginners with only a very basic proficiency.  Our club has three workouts, sort of the A group, the B group, and the C group (the beginners).  I swim with the B group in one of the faster lanes (2-4 swimmers per lane).  I could probably be one of the slower swimmers in the A group, but they are very competitive and I prefer the time the B group works out.  They swim at 4, we swim at 5, and the C group swims at 6.

We pay dues to be in the club to pay a coach and rent pool time.  We meet at a local high school.  Our coach puts the workouts up on the whiteboard.  They are written in a kind of code:

4 x 150 Free
8 x 75 Free Drill: 25 RA/25LA/25 Fist  :20
8 x 50 Free Build :30
Kick 4 x 150 choice, Build within each 150  :30
Pull 3 x 150 breathe 3/5/3 by 100 :20
150 Easy stroke

T: 2800

One length of the pool (from one end to the other) is 25 yards. So 4 x 150 Free is four sets of 6 lengths, freestyle.  Usually you rest for 10-20 seconds between sets.  Choice means you can choose a stroke (usually not freestyle).  Kick uses a kickboard, pull uses a float between your legs so that you don't kick, you just use your arms.  And so on.

We don't always get all the way through a workout -- our coach purposely puts more on the board than he thinks we will get through. At about 5 until the hour we go into our cooldown set, because we need to be out of the pool so the next group can start.  The "T" number is how many yards the whole workout would be.  

There are Masters groups all over the country, and you can find one through their website.  Ours has its signups in late summer, and I don't think we are taking any new people now.  Different groups probably have different rules.

I love the group because we have a great coach and very friendly people. It gets me in the water at least once a week. I have not been good about swimming on any day but Sunday so far.  I really am motivated by a group setting more than I am by a solo workout.

Let me know if you have any questions. This is the kind of geeky stuff that I don't write about because I don't think people will be interested.  

Monday, October 08, 2012

Weekly weigh-in: October 8

On Monday, October 1, I weighed 185.8. On Thursday, October 4, I weighed 184. This morning, I am back up to 184.6.  I am going to stick to using the Monday weigh-ins as "official," since I seem to have more trouble staying on plan over the weekend, and knowing that I will be facing the scale on Monday may help me to rein it in a bit.

Still, down 1.2 pounds this week. If we were at Weight Watchers, we would all be clapping. I'm happy to finally see some progress.

My workouts for the week:
Monday: 30-minute walk
Tuesday: All-day meetings, no workout
Wednesday: 30-minute walk
Thursday: 40-minute Spin class (got there late)
Friday: Walk/run workout, 10 minutes of running and about 30 minutes of walking
Saturday: Pilates circuit workout, 45-minute walk
Sunday: 1 hour swim class

Successes: I logged my calories every day, all of them.  I exercised six days. I lost weight. I have been (mostly) keeping up with SuperBetter. I lost weight while eating food I loved, like the gorgeous sandwich pictured above.

Opportunities for improvement: I could bump up the workouts a bit and maybe re-introduce our daily walks, which seem to have gone by the wayside in favor of more sleep/screen time.  I did not make my calorie goal most days, so being more conscious of calorie counting (instead of logging at the end of the day) will help a lot.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Make peanut butter at home

I have been making my own peanut butter at home for a while now. I grew up eating Jif, which is full of salt and sugar and perfectly creamy. I swear there is something addictive about it. I love the peanut butter I make at home, but I can have a tablespoon or two on toast or on my yogurt without wanting to go back for two or three more spoonfuls. I also don't have to worry about peanut butter recalls.

I thought I had taken pictures of the peanut butter process for my blog before, but I can't find them. Here is what you need: Dry-roasted unsalted peanuts, salt, peanut oil (or another neutral-tasting oil), and a food processor.  I like to use bulk peanuts when possible to avoid wasting packaging, but sometimes it's hard to find the unsalted peanuts in bulk. If all you can get are salted peanuts, just omit the salt. If you start with oil-roasted peanuts, you may be able to skip the oil altogether or at least use less.

I start by dumping the whole jar of peanuts in my food processor and taking them for a spin. My food processor is a mini-sized one, so I can only make one jar of peanuts at a time:

After the peanuts are pulverized, I dump in the salt through the feed tube. I am conservative at first, because it's easy to add salt later but not so easy to take it out. I start with about a tablespoon of kosher salt.

I have tried making peanut butter without adding oil, but it does not spread well. I drizzle in about a tablespoon, maybe a little more, through the feed tube while the peanuts are spinning.

You won't get completely smooth peanut butter, but when you have added just the right amount of oil, the peanut butter will move freely in the food processor. Taste and add salt if necessary while it is still in the food processor.

I use a Pyrex bowl with a plastic lid for my peanut butter. It will be a little runny, but it firms up in the refrigerator. Storing it in the refrigerator keeps it from separating.

I decided to capitalize on my freshly-made peanut butter and have one of my favorite snacks...

A Fage, peanut butter, and banana yogurt bowl with a little ground flaxseed on top.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Photo-worthy Weekends take 2

Went for a walk with my husband Saturday at Oak Openings, a nearby MetroPark. Toledo has wonderful parks, which I plan to support by voting for the Metroparks levy this year. It was a gorgeous fall day:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Want extra walk/run motivation? Try a photo hunt.

I have created a new Facebook album called "Walks and Runs," and I try to take a picture every time I am outdoors at the park walking or running. Since I often revisit the same sites, I am documenting the change of seasons with my pictures:



It makes running and walking more interesting, because I'm always looking for good shots.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, October 05, 2012

Some results, finally

A funny thing happens when I log my food and exercise every day and have a goal of keeping my calories in a specific range instead of just letting the chips fall where they may. I have actually stopped eating because I was at or above my goal calories a few nights, and there were consequences.
Can you guess?
I lose weight.
It's not official. It was cheating a bit to peek at the scale on Thursday instead of waiting for Monday, but I was curious. I was down 1.8 -- lost the few tenths I had gained plus more.
I will have my official weigh-in Monday but I have proof that if I stick to the plan, good things will happen.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, October 01, 2012

Monday, October 1: Eyes on the prize

I feel ready to tackle focused weight loss again, from a goal-oriented, self-compassionate stance and not a self-punishing one.  I want to think about making decisions in the context of my goals for myself. I'm not looking in the mirror and saying, "yuck," but I am not happy with the way I feel, and I want to work toward the life I want and not just drift along and accept whatever comes. I do think that the months I spent getting my head together will pay off as I move into a more focused weight loss stage.

I weighed in today and measured myself on Friday, so I have the baseline. My weight was up a few tenths of a pound from last week but my body fat percentage was down, which suggests to me that I might be retaining a little fluid -- my muscles are sore from a tough Pilates circuit class on Saturday. I have been using FatWatch for the last couple of years to track my weight and body fat percentage.  It estimates that I have been gaining 0.2 pounds of total weight per week but losing 0.46 pounds of fat. My goal is to keep my lean body mass steady while losing 30 pounds of fat. I am a little hesitant to publish numbers, but for the sake of clarity I will: As of this morning, I weighed 185.8 pounds, at 40% body fat. My goal is 155 pounds, at 29% body fat. That might sound high, but that was the body fat range I was in when I looked and felt my best.  I remember getting body fat tested a couple of times when I looked and felt great, and then feeling terrible because my fat percentage wasn't in the "ideal" range. I don't need to match someone else's numbers this time, I'm shooting for my own ideal range.

I don't have a hard goal date. I'm going to work on the behaviors, and let the results take care of themselves.  It would be nice to be maintaining at my goal by summer, and be out of the "obese" range (this really bothers me) by my birthday.

I will continue to use SuperBetter to track habits that will contribute to my success. I added an important new quest today: "Calories within goal range." I am creating power-ups, quests, and bad guys related to my weight goals, but taking a cue from The Willpower Instinct, I also have fun things like "Photo-worthy weekends," (thanks, Kick Kick) and "Listen to an inspiring song," and "Put on perfume." While working on a willpower challenge, I need to consciously work to keep my spirits up, get adequate sleep, manage stress, and avoid negative thinking. The game can help me do that.

And what can you, my dear readers, do? I'd love it if you could cheer me on. If you have great experiences to share, terrific. I will be posting weekly weight updates and monthly measurement updates, so encouraging comments are always appreciated. I may not be going about things the way you would, but that's okay, right? We can each find our path to success.

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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07