A Very Reasonable Day

I didn’t walk to work today because I was running a little late, so I took the opportunity to bring my gym bag so I can hit the weights and high-intensity cardio after work.

Every day, I plan to get about an hour of exercise, and I try to intersperse high intensity and weights with medium intensity, like walking. It’s just something on my list of to dos every day, like brushing my teeth or getting dressed.

Food today was the usual packed lunch. What’s in my lunch?

  • Tupperware bowl of soup ~200 cal
  • banana ~150 cal
  • apple ~75 cal
  • pear ~75 cal
  • Luna bar ~200 cal
  • Fuyu persimmon ~50 cal

I ate everything in my bag, grazing almost every hour throughout the day. That’s 750 calories, plus I treated myself with a non-fat latte, ~100 cal. So including my breakfast of hot cereal (~200 cal) I’m sitting at around 1050 calories so far today.

I’ll work out for an hour, probably burning around 500 calories (half hour of weight training, half hour on the elliptical at high intensity). Then I’ll have more soup for dinner (this soup is amazing), probably 300-400 calories worth, and maybe a glass of wine (~150 calories).

Total Cal: 1600

Net Cal: 1100 cal.

There it is, my perfectly reasonable healthy day, eating almost every hour. I don’t feel deprived in the least.


Target Weight Musings (again)

I was up a pound and a half this morning. This was expected, but to be honest I expected a lot worse, as the last time I weighed in I was down 2 pounds. All this vagueness aside, I’m a half-pound over my “target” or “ceiling” weight. That’s fantastic for the week I’ve had! I’ll easily have myself back below my ceiling weight next week. I use those words interchangeably because for me, it’s the same thing. I aim to be below that number, so I call it my target. I aim to not go over it and when I do I adjust my behaviors, so I call it my ceiling weight.

What this reinforces for me is that my current target weight, while higher than BMI would allow, and higher than my willowy days of 5 years ago, is the right target weight for me – it’s the weight I can easily maintain with the diet and exercise regimen that I’ve settled into. I’m solid, but I’m not fat. I’ve always thought that for me, finding my target weight would be finding the highest possible weight I could emotionally tolerate while maintaining my healthy eating and exercise habits – the weight that allows me to enjoy my life without hating my body.

I think every day that I’d be happier if I just lost 10 pounds, and since I’ve always, always, always had that as a refrain in my head no matter what my weight, I can disregard it as a culturally-imposed fallacy and stick with what I’ve got – a healthy weight coupled with healthy habits.

Today: Walked to work, about to walk home. It’s 20-25 minutes each way. Brought my lunch, ate only what I brought. So far I’ve had about 1000 calories. Tonight for dinner is chicken soup from scratch that my darling husband whipped up this afternoon and is simmering happily away on the stove for when I get home.

Post-Thanksgiving Planning

I walked to work this morning. I need to make a few tweaks to my layering system though, as I arrived at work sweaty but with frozen fingers. I need to find a way to warm my extremities but not my trunk, as that gets warmed fine from the exertion of walking. Tomorrow is another chance to figure that out.

Tomorrow I will also step on the scale and see just how bad the damage from the last two weeks has been. To recap: Moving from one city to another, with all the attendant kitchen-less days and eating in restaurants, plus Thanksgiving, plus a little housewarming soiree on Friday means I’m expecting a gain. I intend to be very strict with my diet over the next few weeks until Christmas. My exercise plan is to walk to work every day. I haven’t figured out yet how I can get some high-intensity exercise in, as carrying a gym bag plus purse plus lunchbag on my walk to work every day isn’t really feasible.

One possibility is to walk home after work, grab my gym bag then go back to work (where my gym is) with my bag and do my workout then. This may be feasible 1-2 days a week, but I suspect this plan will evolve over the next few weeks as I figure out my new routine in my new home and with my new commute.

Overall I’m very optimistic about the coming weeks and my ability to manage my weight. Last night I remembered something important – when I’m not ravenous, I can enjoy the smell and only the smell of food that I probably am better off not eating. It doesn’t do any damage at all to appreciate how something smells, so I indulged to my heart’s content.

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up

Yesterday went fairly well for me. I spent most of the morning unpacking and making furniture for my new house, then headed out for a Thanksgiving feast with friends. I ate in moderation, enjoyed a little bit of the things I really wanted to, and avoided alcohol. All that being said, I still ate more yesterday than I would on a normal day, so today I’ll be heading out for some exercise first thing, then my day can commence.

How did your Thanksgiving feast go? And more importantly, what’s your plan for avoiding the holiday season weight gain that is so common this time of year? I’ll be exercising regularly, eating in moderation, and not indulging in treats every time I encounter them. In order to accomplish that I’ll be keeping my home mostly clear of holiday cookies, cakes, pies and candies – I need to create a safe food space in order to meet my goals.

Supplements and Vitamins

Moving is very time-consuming! I work all day at work, then all evening unpacking. I clearly needed a nudge, and my friend Tim sent me one. He said:

Every time I leave the gym I am confronted by the strategically placed cases of “protein powders” and “diet drinks/snacks/etc.” Thoughts on these things and how useful they are or are not?

So, my standard disclaimer in effect (I am not a doctor or nutritionist), here are my thoughts:

I think they’re a huge money-maker for the gym or whoever is selling them, but most people don’t need them. They taste like crap, and they’re chock-full of unnecessary calories and other things (arsenic, cadmium and lead, anyone?). Questionable content aside, that stuff is designed for competitive bodybuilders, the key part of that phrase being “builders” – it’s designed to bulk up people who are spending hours lifting weights so for the most part it’s high-volume protein calories. That’s the opposite of what I want.

Several years ago I asked my doctor about protein supplements like you see at the gym and he said, “Are you a competitive bodybuilder?” I said no, I just lift weights a few times a week. He said, “You don’t need that stuff, just keep eating a healthy balanced diet like you already do.” So instead of choking down yucky-tasting supplements, I eat broiled salmon and asparagus, or stir-fried chicken and snow peas – delicious!

I consider body-builder supplements to be the same as another of my pet topics – vitamins. I don’t take them. Not at all, because they are meant to correct a deficiency of diet, and my diet is very healthy already. I asked my nutritionist about vitamins when I was losing weight and she said, “If you eat a balanced diet made up of a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains, you don’t need vitamins, you’re already getting the nutrients you need.” She further explained that humans are made to get what they need from the food they eat, so if you’re eating in an evolutionarily valid way (foods your body recognizes as food – things that grew in the ground) then your body is getting it’s needs met. And finally, because even objective sources have to admit that there are no standards guaranteeing that anything you find in the bottle is what is listed on the label, I find it generally easier and less hassle to just eat my nutrients in tasty food.

This is not to say that my mind won’t change as I age – I’m 37 now and there may be a time when science finds a real, solid basis for things like glucosamine and chondroitin for improving joint function, but for now I’m in the best shape of my life, and vitamins and supplements aren’t warranted.

A Drastic Change to My Days

I’ve been offline for several days now moving to a new home. Let me tell you about my new home.

For the last two years I’ve worked in a city about 42 miles from my home. The commute was using up two or more hours of each day. There were days I could work at home, but not many and I recently took on some new responsibilities, including managing a small team, which meant my work-at-home opportunities basically disappeared.

In my hierarchy of necessities, time for exercising and eating right is very high, so I’ve been running myself ragged these last two years working around the 2 or more hours each day I spent on the road to get in all of my priorities. I looked at my needs and did a financial assessment and decided that for me to save time, improve my exercise opportunities and increase my sanity, a move was in order. It’s been a roller-coaster getting here, but I spent my first night in my new home last night. Here is why this has anything at all to do with weight management:

Starting Monday I will be able to walk or ride my bicycle to work any day it isn’t raining. On my list of criteria when looking for a new home one of the most important items was finding a way to make exercise not just a priority but a requirement of my daily life. Sure, I’ll have my car as a backup if it’s raining or the temperature is below freezing or I need to go to a doctor’s appointment in the middle of the day, but my commitment to myself with this move is to transport myself to my office and back again most days under my own power – ideally I’ll only drive my car on the weekends. It’s a change I’ve been wanting to make, something I’ve been craving for years, and now I’ve finally made it happen. Today I’m exuberant, just so incredibly pleased to be able to make this change for my health and sanity.

Posting a Loss, and Being Selfish

Last week I posted that I was up 1.5 pounds and needed to make some minor behavioral changes to bring things back in line. This week I’m happy to report I’m down 2 pounds from last week, so the gain I’d seen has been dealt with. The coming week is going to be challenging for me because I’m moving house so the kitchen will be packed up for at least a few days and I’ll be at the mercy of what I can forage or keep in my car.

Last week one of the plans I made was to spend at least an hour doing physical activity for at least 5 days of the week. I frequently say “physical activity” instead of “exercise” because often I don’t consider going for a walk with my husband as exercise, it’s not really work it’s pleasure, but it definitely counts. I like to get a mix of high, medium and low intensity activity each week.  Anyway, I ended up doing an hour of activity each day for 6 days, so I overdelivered on my commitment to myself.

Making a commitment to myself is the most important thing I do when I plan. When I was in weight loss I realized that there are times when I needed to be selfish to meet my goals. So now when I make a commitment to myself I become very selfish about taking the time to do the things I have to do to meet that commitment. I learned over the course of time that what I would have previously considered selfish is really self-care. I prioritize the things I do to manage my weight because the effort has repercussions beyond just my weight – my mood, how I feel physically, even my resistance to colds – are directly related to the things I do to meet commitments to myself.