Friday, August 28, 2009

As Lazy As A Koala

oOoOps, went away on vacation and neglected to blog...

Well, at first when I returned from vacation I was up 5 pounds. So I was discouraged. I figured that I just had blown it with all the eating out, although I thought I'd made mostly good choices and geez, what about all that walking (like all day at the San Diego Zoo). That's where this koala picture came from!

But yesterday at a doctor appointment, the dreaded accurate medical scale said something I wasn't expecting. And this was with my clothes on. So I came home and weighed myself and lo and behold I'm now down two more pounds which makes ten, count them 10 altogether. Yay me!

So I am no longer discouraged. I am thoroughly encouraged. Which is good. Because I need to keep this effort up and I don't want to quit now. No self-sabotage. No dilly-dallying. Just slow and steady exercise and trying to make the best eating choice everytime I have to make one.

And trying to plan ahead for eating. This turns out to be one of my biggest challenges of all.

I am so not a meal planner. Never have been. I thrive on being spontaneous in my kitchen. Hey, it is 7:30pm, what's for dinner? And I go whip something up with whatever is in there.

I occasionally will get on a kick of taking recipes from magazines (like Sunset) with me to the store to attempt to buy all the arcane ingredients, or actually writing up shopping lists, but that doesn't ever seem to last.

So this is a place that I'm having a lot of resistance in the way I'm used to managing feeding myself (and my family). Intellectually I can understand how much sense it makes to plan your whole week of meals, and look at the grocery store ads and make a shopping trip based on what's on sale. But I guess I'm just lazy, and blessed with enough extra cash to not have to make this effort. I kid myself by thinking that I'm oh-so-spontaneous but really I get in a rut even with my devil may care modus operandi in the kitchen.

As sometimes a new approach works for making changes, I'm going to attempt this week to use the little grocery list pad that came with my goRed winnings and see if that helps me to make better choices at the source, where I'm buying what is coming into my house (and thus into my mouth!).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Oops, skipped a week

Sorry about that, neglected to post last week. And I had such success, losing two pounds! Perhaps I was so shocked, I couldn't update the blog? Um, no, I actually don't remember exactly why I didn't post last week. I went and did the BetterU stuff, but then just forgot I suppose. So if you're keeping track like I am, that is 8 pounds down altogether.

This week no change, but that is good too. I had a few days of lots (and lots) of walking in San Francisco on a family vacation, which was also accompanied by eating lots (and lots) of fabulous food. So calories in vs. calories out ending up balancing out. I do feel my legs and rear-end are a lot stronger, so that is good. I wore my Earth tennis shoes, which gives you an extra workout when you are walking, and they also make my lower back functional ( a good thing when you want to walk around!). They certainly aren't pretty and made me look very touristy, but too bad, I wanted comfort not style. So at the end of a day of walking around, my feet and legs are really tired, but not hurting, which is okay by me.

I had a chance to have ice cream at Ghirardelli Square, but I was full from lunch, and so were my boys, so instead of forcing ourselves to go enjoy a wonderful hot fudge sundae, we took a pass and walked around the docks instead. This is a major thing here. I don't think I have ever in my life gone to Ghirardelli Square and not eaten anything. After all these weeks of not having nightly ice cream, could I be losing my intense craving for it? That would be a very good thing!

A big thing with this short trip to San Francisco was it was the first time I've ever done that, taking my boys somewhere overnight all by myself. I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up with them, or would have to poop out and rest too much, but that didn't happen. We paced ourselves well enough, took enough short sitting rests and/or transit options, and it was just fine. That was a real boost for my self-confidence to know that I could physically handle this short outing, mentally it was stressful but that is just a teenagers will be teenagers kinda thing.

I also had a visit with my fabulous doctor. I told her all about the GoRed/BetterU stuff and she was very interested as she has a really holistic practice and likes to make sure her patients are as educated as possible so she said she would be passing it on to other women who need to make changes to look after their heart health.
I'm going to be getting bloodwork done in a couple weeks, so I'll get to see if the dietary and exercise changes I've made have impacted my cholesterol levels. Hope so, because I really really don't want to go on cholesterol meds. Major side effects are muscle fatigue and soreness, and I have plenty of that all by myself thankyouverymuch. Also, my blood pressure was down into the high end of normal range again (yay!), and the weight on the official doctor scale matches mine at home. I always wonder about that, if I have a "magic scale" or if it is within the range of an actual close-to-true measurement.

I also am going to have surgery within the next month to remove some lumps, I'm really dreading it, but the location of these particular ones are becoming really bothersome. Right in my sit-upon. ahem. I know the recovery isn't going to be fun, but I have to get them out before they grow any larger.

Goals for this week are to keep moving and eat all the produce we currently have from our organic farm and my garden. There are a LOT of greens hanging around thinking about getting wilty, and I want to use them instead of compost them! These beautiful strawberries are from my very own garden and oh were they ever sweet! No added sugar needed here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

GoRed Booty

No, not that kind of booty. I won, I won something, how about that?!
Thanks so much to the ladies at MamaLaw! Thanks to them I have some great new equipment for keeping me inspired to stay with the BetterU GoRed program. Everything is so red and new and sparkly. The water bottle is getting a lot of use already, and love shiny red-ness of it. As well as the smaller mouth-top, as the other steel water bottles we have, have these huge wide mouths which I always spill water all over myself. The Craisins are almost gone, they've been very popular around here. Who knew that dried cranberries + sugar would be so yummy? I even put them in a salad which was really tasty.
After my un-sunscreened foray to the pool at high noon over the weekend, I have quite the sunburn, so I haven't used the nifty tote bag to bring my towel and suit and goggles, since I haven't been back. Since I'm still so red (just like the tote bag). Ouch. Boy do I ever feel Dumb with a capital D.
What else is in there? Oh yes, the yoga mat. I hope I can use this with the WiiFit that I'm getting soon. It is really pretty and new and oh yes red. The yoga mat, not the WiiFit. Which, now that I think about it, maybe they should have an official GoRed WiiFit tie-in version. I'd love to have a video game console in my house in a cool color!
After all this fabulous new stuff, how did I do last week on the BetterU program?

Pretty great, I am happy to report that I'm down another 2 pounds. That makes 6 altogether. Not a lot percentage wise of course, but still in the right direction. I have to keep telling myself this! I'm definitely making better and better-informed food choices. Not 100% of the time, but there is a real improvement. I don't know if I can keep up with the level of activity I was at last week as I'm feeling pretty wrung out and fatigued now. Such a delicate dance of wanting to do more and being limited by what I can handle. sigh.
What did I do last week? Swimming, walking, hiking, an afternoon walking and playing on the beach, and a marathon shopping trip with my son to find pants that he'll actually wear. All that activity added up, and maybe I can keep up with doing it, or maybe not, but I'm sure going to try.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Swimming Through Summer

A blurry green smoothie picture. This one was waaaay to thick, I had to use a spoon to eat it. All the greens were kale too, so it was very flavorful. Tasted good, but the texture was a bit too thick. I have been managing one or two smoothies a week. Sometimes it is easier to make them than something else. Other times, I'm really needing some protein at lunch time (usually if I've waited too long to eat) so I make something less green and smooth.

This past week I'm again at the same weight, no change, still down a total of 4 pounds since the beginning of Better-U. Kind of frustrating and disappointing as I did quite a bit of activity and didn't think I ate all that much more than usual. Several of the days my computer was tied up with my son completing his Algebra summer school homework, so I didn't track my food intake, so perhaps I did get off track on the eating. Also my husband took a vacation week, so we ate out a bit more than usual. Plus it is that time of the month which always equals a few extra pounds for me, even at this late stage in the age game...
But enough with all the rationalizing! What exactly do I need to do kick this thing into the dowhill gear again?

I probably need more exercise, and one great thing I did last week was go swimming at the local high school pool. We joined for the year, so I can now go any day of the week and swim laps or just walk around in the water. I really appreciate my husband making me go when I was whining about being tired. It was great, and I felt very energized once I got out of the pool. We swam for about a half hour and I lost track of how many laps that was, but it was definitely aerobic. I expected to be sore the next day, but I wasn't, a very nice surprise! So sign me up for more swimming please. The challenge will be making myself go when the husband is at work, and not here to make me get in the car and drive there. Maybe I can rope my boys into this to help me get there, they do so love ordering me around!

One of the hardest things about going to the community pool is feeling so self conscious about myself in a bathing suit. But I took a look around at all the bodies that were there the evening we went, and yes I was one of the bigger people, but not the biggest by a long shot, and most of the mom types I compare myself to were not looking at me (at least not that I noticed), none of the teenagers or kids made any comments, and I felt happy just to be actually swimming and spending time with my husband. I love that feeling of being so buoyant and floating easily in the water. I noticed that: My lumps don't hurt when I'm floating in the water...

I had several opportunities to eat candy, or buy candy and I found I had enough willpower and was strong enough to not partake. This is several weeks now of success with this effort, and I'll admit that I'm very pleased with myself. A big part of my excess eating this past year has been candy candy candy. So that is a very good thing that I'm getting it under control. I have found that my sweet tooth is still here though, so lots of fruit and dried fruit is being eaten. Another huge thing this week was having sorbet instead of ice cream. My trick of having the boys pick the ice cream flavor (and begging them to choose something I don't care for, cookies n' cream, bleah!) totally worked. I didn't want the ice cream, and the lemon sorbet was just right on all those hot nights last week.
I have to remember to buy and freeze some grapes, I love eating those, the sugar crystalizes just so with the frozen ice, yum!

So this week ahead: continue making those better food choices, keep refusing candy's sweet siren call, avoid ice cream, make more green smoothies, and do some swimming.

Monday, July 13, 2009

One More Week Down (6)

Awwww, I was just checking in with my food spread and the GoRed Better U website and my son saw what I was working on. He came over and hugged me and said "I'm really glad you're doing this mom. So you can come do more stuff with us and go more places." Mother proceeds to melt with happiness. My answer was "Yes, and to live longer too!" He looked a bit surprised, but said "Yes, that's even more important!" I'm so lucky to have him on my support team.

Arrggh, so no change in my weight this week. Why?
I stopped tracking my eating, I think I got bored, or just didn't want the accountability. I also got frustrated with my pedometer because I had several instances of hours of activity registering as hardly any steps. They really only work for people who walk, not for gardening or other activities. And walking out of my driveway is a steep hike, not just a walk. It is just a number, which isn't terribly accurate about total activity, BUT having that daily push to get to 1o,000 steps really works as a motivator for me, so I need to wear that thing, like it or not.

I had a few days where my back was really hurting me in that way that indicates it is about to get much much worse, so I took it easy (ie laid around and didn't do the WiiFit or much walking) because I was single parenting this week and thus needed to be able to drive my kids around. I also was feeling emotionally very low as this was the last week that my husband was away on a business trip. Comfort eating was the order of the day several times. I also didn't have a single green smoothie, no wonder I'm so off! Duh.

Good things were that I again did not buy myself any candy, and only ate the dark chocolate covered almonds when I worked in my studio, I chewed a lot of sugarless gum. I ate a lot of really fresh carrots and vegies from our CSA farm basket. The best thing of the week was taking a long walk in the woods with my darling husband and dog on the day that he returned. Wish I'd been wearing my tennis shoes and not my sandals, now I have a great blister on the top of my foot, yeouch!

The picture above shows my new pedometer, which broke, dang it! The little hinged clip lost the pin holding it on, so I found some wire small enough, and wired it back together with some beads. What do you want for $9.99 right?

So Monday finds me back tracking what I'm eating, and wearing my pedometer again. Here's to Week 7! This week is all about the cholesterol, which is one of my big concerns, as mine is really quite high. I'm looking forward to an all olive oil week! With bonus walking which will be tracked by pedometer.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Better U Week 5

Stats for the week, down just a pound, so that's four altogther, still going in the right direction. So far so good. I did a lot of working in the garden and walking and using a borrowed WiiFit. I rather enjoyed using the Wiifit, it was strangely inspiring, and I felt very cheered on as I used it. I also did some situps thanks to this gizmo, so that was a good thing. Definitely need to get my own WiiFit as the borrowed one gets returned this week.

I'm not very happy with my pedometer, as several hours of sweating out in the garden at an aerobic level of work did not count for very many steps, hmmm. So this goal of 10,000 steps per day is a bit simplistic if one's exercise is not coming mostly from walking or running. I had a few days where I got over 10,000 anyways which was a cause for celebration. I'm a really sedentary person at my most basic level, so this is a big deal for me to get moving this much.

This basket of food is from our local CSA farm weekly basket. And all of it got eaten, whether in salads or green smoothies all those greens are gone. And those berries, what a yummy heavenly treat. The garlic and shallots have been utilized but not completely used up. I know garlic is supposed to be good for cholesterol, but I just can't pop a raw clove into my mouth and eat it. (So I take a supplement instead).
In addition to the great food above, I also made some bad eating choices which I think is what is holding back any weight loss. But I'm thinking about it more, I'm not eating as unconsciously as I did before, so that has been a big change. I'm not always making the better choice, but I am making that better choice MORE than I did before I started this whole BetterU thing. For instance, I did not buy any candy this week. That's two weeks in a row now.
Goals for this week are lots of exercise in small doses so I don't overdo, keep making better eating choices, and the reward will be a haircut. Boy do I ever need one!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Swirly Watermelon in Week 4

This is a really swirly watermelon that we ate last week. I thought it was pretty cool looking so I took this picture.

Week 4 of BetterU has come and gone, so what are the results?

I am back up two pounds, for a net loss so far of three pounds over this past month. I didn't do too well on my eating goals, so I'm chalking it up to that. I think that my activity level pretty much stayed the same, so that was good. Not happy with myself for many of my eating choices, but I am pleased that I kept being fairly active.

Goals for the past week were:

Buy a new pedometer and use it. Yes, check, done! And I really have been using it too and keeping track of my activity level. One day I had 14,350, another day I had just over 5,000.

I like this new pedometer because it has a flip up cover so that the reset button doesn't get pushed accidentally. Oh and of course the day after I gave up looking for my old one and bought a new one, I found the old one. So now I have a back up. My idea of clipping the pedometer to my glasses at night so that I'll remember to put it on right away in the morning has pretty much worked out.

Walk the dog and garden and stretch and situps everyday.

Yes to all but the situps. Why? Not sure, I think I forgot I'd put it as one of my goals. But the stretching sure felt good after all the gardening.

Weights at least 2 times this week.

Pretty minimal, because I didn't want to overdo, but I at least did it. Bench presses even, boy oh boy were my arms sore the next day.

Eat more vegies than bread.

Looking back on the food diary that I started (wow is that ever a revealing exercise!) Yes, I think I achieved this. No waste of greens or vegies this week to the compost pile, hooray.

Buy no candy.

I bought some chocolate covered almonds, but didn't eat them. I like to keep them in my studio as a pick-me-up when I'm in the middle of working to keep me going. But I wasn't in the studio at all, so I didn't eat any. However, I was given a piece of chocolate from my son who had received it as a birthday gift. I did say no twice though when he offered.

Find someone to be on my BetterU team.

I ended up asking my boys, one of whom is almost always around during shopping and cooking times, to help me with making better food choices. They agreed because they're nice and caring and I am persuasive. I told them they could tell me if I was getting grouchy. I think I still need to find a grown-up person too, so I'll work on that this week.

I wrote down some obstacles, acknowledging up front what I thought would prevent me from achieving last weeks goals. This is a new idea for me, from the BetterU journal, never tried anything other than just writing down the basic goals. A planning ahead, figuring out where you go astray from achieving the goals you're setting for yourself. It is useful, and I'm glad that I learned this technique from BetterU.

Obstacles to overcome:

I haven't been sleeping well, it always happens around this time of year, too much staying up late since it is still light so late...Must make the attempt to go to bed at the first sign of sleepiness instead of staying up past then.

I was about 50/50 on this and I hope that this week I can get some more sleep. I notice that the more active I am during the day, the easier it is to get to bed earlier than 1 or 2am. And conversely, the later I stay up, the harder it is to BE active the following day.

Must find the pedometer or buy a new one and actually use it.

I knew I'd find my old pedometer as soon as I bought a new one, but that is ok, now I have a backup, and I like the pretty new pink one better anyways. It is easier to find in the grass when it falls off! I

Willpower at the store to not grab candy.

When I bought the chocolate covered almonds, I was really really hungry. Duh, don't go food shopping when you're hungry. But at least I didn't eat them. But now they are here in the house just in case...A home without chocolate isn't a home or something silly like that.

Feeling tired and hurting makes it hard to get out there and walk and garden, etc. The answer

always is: Do It Anyways.

Why did I put this down as one of my obstacles, when it seems so obvious? Maybe I just wanted to acknowledge it right up front, so that when I see that I AM being active and Doing It Anyways that I'm getting past that obstacle that is always right in front of me, just like I want to be able to.

Now to go do my check-in at the BetterU website.