What I’m reading this week

Best new ways to boost the metabolism – In general, these are all pretty good advice. Good reminder, too.

Mom puts 7-year-old on a Diet in the Worst Vogue Article Ever – Reading this made me sick to my stomach, so much so that I couldn’t bring myself to read the original article written by the mother who did this to her daughter. I was humiliated constantly as a child about my weight, it did NOT HELP.  It didn’t help me to form a healthy self image and it did not help me to develop a healthy relationship with food and it certainly didn’t do a damned thing to help me learn strategies for managing my weight. But, you know, carry on humiliating your kids, horrible parents.

Not that I have any strong feelings about this.

In better news…

Chocolate is apparently good for you again – I would add that since this one keeps coming back around so many times, the best approach is probably to eat only really high quality dark chocolate, and only in moderation. There’s that word again…moderation!

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Quick Dinner

Last night I was on my own for dinner and didn’t want to spend too much time on it so I did one of my quick meals. I put a can of water-based soup (in this case, chicken noodle) in a pan on the stove, then I grabbed all of the bags of frozen veggies in the fridge and put a little bit of each one in the pan with the soup – chopped spinach, peas and corn. I was mightily tempted by the lima beans, but I suspect that they require longer cooking than the others and I was in a hurry so I left them out. I threw in some Worcestershire sauce and some spices and when it was hot, it was ready!

Chicken noodle soup is 70 cal/serving, with 2.5 servings in the can, so approximately 175 calories there. I put in maybe a cup of spinach (negligible calories) and probably 2 tables spoons each of corn and peas, so that was a very filling meal for less than 250 calories.

Water-based soup in a can is a great meal for weight management. And chopped spinach in a bag – brilliant! Obviously I’d prefer a homemade soup, but sometimes you don’t have a whole chicken and several hours on hand, and doctoring up a pre-made base is easy.

Where is my head?!

I can’t seem to get myself together these days! Last week I went to the gym but I forgot my headphones, so I ended up doing some over-enthusiastic strength training from which my arms are STILL sore.

Today I went to Zumba but I’d forgotten to put my shoes in my gym bag, so I had to do it in my work shoes. Lucky for me I only wear comfortable shoes to work, but still…I like having the right tool for the job!

I’m always willing to improvise on the spur of the moment if I have to, but I’d rather not have to due to my own absent-mindedness!

Good thing food is on track this week. Mostly due to my smart husband who always packs my lunch and never screws up…hm, maybe that’s why he’s in charge of packing lunches!

Wii are not amused. Well, maybe a little.

It was really cold in my office all day today. So, when it came time for my run this evening I looked outside and thought, “Boy it looks cold out there. I just can’t.” All I wanted to do was go home, so on my way home I thought really hard about what exercise I could do at home. Then I pulled out the Wii, put batteries in all the controllers (it had been a while) and figured out how to get it to display on my TV (since before we moved here, apparently).

I put in the Wii Fit Plus disc and started my workout. I don’t use the Wii workouts very often because I don’t generally feel like I get a vigorous enough workout with their programs, but in a pinch it’s totally better than letting a day go by without any exercise at all. Anyway, I skipped past all the body test stuff and went straight to the exercising. I got some sweat going after a few minutes and did about 35 minutes tonight. Then, after I was done, out of curiosity, since it had been a while, I wandered over in to the stats section. The Wii remembers you, which is why I wasn’t eager but I was morbidly curious to see what had happened since the last time I’d used it and how long it had been.

Hello, it said. Wii see it’s been 465 days since you’ve come around. (Oh! I thought, it has been a while! That’s like a year and…more. Guess I use it even less than I thought.)

Wii see you’ve missed your goal that you set last time. Would you like set another? (That’s quite a snide comment. No idea what I set for a goal, feeling pretty good about me right now, so no thank you. Ignore.)

Wii further see that you’ve gained 1.1 pounds since last time. You should think about losing a few. A healthy weight is important for blah blah blah….. (1.1 pounds? In a year and a half? AND I’m right in the middle of my cycle – that part of my cycle where I’m typically up 3-5 pounds? HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!)

I’m tickled to find that I’m maintaining really, really well over the long term! Thanks, Wii! Your cynical attempts at manipulation totally failed, in fact you made my day! I think I’ll keep on doing exactly what I’m doing, silly robot.

Pain, relief, and exercise

So, remember I was getting those two cortisone injections in my spinal lumbar facet joints? They told me when I had them that the effects should kick in around “3-5 days, or two weeks.” I’m no medical professional, but that wording kind of pissed me off. Does this mean that if you DON’T get any effect in 3-5 days, then it will take exactly 2 weeks? Does this mean that you absolutely WON’T see any effect between days 5 and 13? I mean, I personally would just say, “The effects should kick in some time between 3 days and two weeks.” But that’s just me, and I’m a pedant.

Anyway, the two weeks after the injections were miserable. Before the injections, I was consistently hitting pain around a 5 or 6 on the HAAH pain scale, but for the two weeks after the injections, I was up to 7 or 8 almost every day. I was very depressed about that.

And lo, on day 15 – exactly two weeks after the procedure…it was like a switch was flipped. I am down to a 0 or 1 on the HAAH pain scale, wherein most of the time I have no pain. Sometimes I think I may be feeling potential pain but I can pop an Alleve and go on about my day.  It aches a bit in the mornings or at night but I can get up and stretch and feel no pain again. THIS IS TOTALLY BRILLIANT! I hope this feeling sticks around for a while.

This means that I will definitely be taking advantage of this new, less-painful existence (for as long as it lasts) to spend more time exercising harder. Here’s an article about some of the research around why that’s so great for bodies. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s not just good for you physically, it’s also something you can benefit from emotionally – for me, exercise is better than any anti-depressant!

Kiwi Fruit and Lifting Weights

There seems to be some sort of kiwi-fruit glut at my grocery store lately. I am totally into this. I still remember the first time I tasted kiwi-fruit. I was 11 years old, my sister and I were taken on a family trip to a cabin in the mountains, and a relative gave me a slice of this strange furry fruit. I’d never seen one before and it tasted like nothing I’d ever experienced, so sweet and juicy, it was like the most amazing candy ever. I probably spent the rest of the weekend pestering all available adults if I could eat some more kiwi fruit. We’ve been buying 10 at a time the last few weeks, and I get two in my lunch every day, sliced in half in a ziploc baggie. I keep a spoon in my desk drawer at work and scoop out the flesh for a midday snack. So delicious. So healthy!

Yesterday I got to the gym, changed, and then found I’d forgotten my headphones. I had planned to do cardio for a half hour, but I just can’t without music. I hate working out at the gym to begin with (so boring!), and without some sort of distraction those 30 minutes just weren’t going to happen. So I thought to myself, “What can I do here today that won’t bore me to death? Something with constant variation…hey, I can lift weights!”

Lifting is so good for women to do, I try to do it every week at least once and hit all the major muscle groups, but I have to admit that with my back troubles lately it has been about 5 months since I last did a full strength training routine. But the thing is…when you’ve been slacking off for a while, for some reason, the first time back you think you can just start up again where you left off.

Au contraire, my friends. This is not a good idea. I mean, you CAN, technically get in there and lift the same or close to the same weights. Just, you know, it’s probably not recommended if you want to be able to, like, dress yourself afterward..climb a set of stairs. Things like that.

Oww.

Every day living

The people I know who are managing their weight are working on it every day. I know it’s probably obvious, but lately I’ve been observing the people around me – at work, at play, at home.

I have a co-worker on my team who goes out for a walk 3-5 days a week at lunchtime. I’m not sure how far or long she walks, but if her route is similar to mine, it’s at least 30 minutes. But, I also know that she gets in early and works out in the gym 3 mornings a week as well. I like that she’s not just hitting the gym and calling it good. She takes those walk breaks, and they’re not only for weight management – sometimes you just need some fresh air, sun on your skin, a mental break. But they’re also for weight management. Walking is such a good, stimulating way to spend a little bit of time every day. Often I find that walking helps me solve thorny problems in my job, too. Getting up and moving helps to work the brain, too!

I have a friend who posts healthy recipes that she finds on her blog every few days. I like that she’s not just posting them when she’s dieting or trying to lose weight – she’s always planning healthy meals, every day.

And finally, I know a guy who participate in a full-contact martial art on a regular basis. You might consider that sort of activity as a pretty good workout. But, he doesn’t fight once a week and consider it his workout, he hits the gym regularly so that when he goes out to fight, he can be better at it, more energetic, less winded – as he says, he trains to fight, he doesn’t fight to train.

The people around me that are managing their weight, they don’t just do it when they get on a scale and don’t like the result. They’re not doing it in fits and starts whenever it’s convenient or they’re unhappy with their weight, they’re finding ways to work it into their daily life because it’s not a phase or a momentary disruption their life, it’s just how they live. I mean, I have to eat dinner anyway, why not have the healthy meal? My body will thank me by feeling better and being more energetic.

In other news…I’ve been invited by a friend to run in a 10-mile race in September at Disney World in Florida. I have to admit I’m highly intimidated by the prospect, because I’ve never run so far in my life – my longest race ever was a 10K (6.2 miles). I’m mulling whether I’m able to make the commitment. There are a lot of factors to consider, outside of the running itself – getting there, dates, cost, etc. I think I should make the commitment to be ABLE to do it physically, regardless of whether I am able, in the end, to get there and enter. But I need a training plan that I can work into my schedule. Does anybody have any links they can share with me for reaching such a goal?