Sporadically Toning Up, and Red Velvet Apricots

Last night I dusted off an old strength training routine that I can do at home with free weights and hits all the major muscle groups. Takes about 30 minutes. I use this one every time I decide I’m going to try to tone up a bit, which is something I do sporadically every few months. Which is why I never seem to need a new routine – if you only do it every few months it never gets stale and needs changing! I know, I know, to get real results I need to be consistent but for some reason it’s easier for me to go for a run than to commit to a strength training regimen consistently.

Anyway, the impetus for this renewed interest in strength training is I’m having a big birthday party at the end of June – it’s a big one, I’ll be 40! The theme is 1974, the year of my birth, and the outfit I’ve chosen is a leopard-print halter-neck bell-bottom jumpsuit made of lycra. To say it…reveals some body imperfections might be a bit understating the matter.¬† I want to try to tone up a bit before wearing it! But…whether or not I manage to tone up I’ll be wearing it because I honestly don’t care if “people” judge me harshly for my body. None of my friends would, and I don’t invite people who aren’t my friends to my party. Hence…the sporadic nature of my efforts. It would be nice if I managed to tone up a bit, but it’s not really a driving motivator for me. I am a bundle of contradictions.

In other news, my husband brought home a bag of red velvet apricots last night. I’ve been munching throughout the morning, they are so delicious! I’ve never had them before!

Weight this morning: 190.0. No movement, no worries, I’m on track with eating and exercising right.

After a brief break…some salad!

After the long weekend, I’m back on track. My weight bounced up a couple of pounds while I enjoyed a weekend at the Beach House owned by my friends and partners-in-crime, but a good day yesterday fortified by a run and I’m back on track. I’ve also used up my very last Optifast shake, instead of eating my usual big lunch salad yesterday.

Speaking of salads, they can be horribly deceptive and as “diet food” they are not always all they are cracked up to be.¬† One of the most enlightening exercises I did when I was first learning to manage my weight was to write down everything I’d eat in a normal day before I’d started working on weight management, and add up the calories based on my new-found knowledge of food and portions. I was shocked to discover that the “healthy” salad I had regularly eaten from the company cafeteria approached 800 calories! I thought anything that came on a bed of lettuce would be diet food but once they’d added in the dried cranberries, honeyed walnuts, blue cheese, bacon, creamy dressing, croutons, etc, it was a diet nightmare. Now, any of those foods on their own and in moderation, may be a perfectly honest weight management choice. But they were not in moderation, and in combination they packed a massive caloric punch and I was clueless. Couldn’t understand how I could be eating healthy but still not lose any weight. Because I didn’t have a basic understanding of caloric density and portion control.

All that being said, I make a good salad. I’m almost always put on salad detail in my house, despite my cooking aversion, because I make a nice one. I’ve spent a lot of years with salads, and most restaurant salads leave me disappointed. Here’s my quick, easy salad:

  • Bed of interesting lettuce*/spinach/greens
  • diced tomatoes
  • carrots shredded in the Cuisinart (ain’t nobody got time for hand-shredding carrots)
  • jicama shredded in the Cuisinart (see above)
  • diced up apple if I’m feeling saucy
  • sprouts if I have any and everybody eating the salad agrees (sprouts seem to be a polarizing item)
  • some feta cheese crumbled over the top (yum! not too much though…)

And then, because it hasn’t occurred to me to buy pre-made salad dressing in over 10 years, I make salad dressing. This is a pretty basic, simple balsamic vinaigrette recipe that’s been serving me well for years:

  • 1 clove garlic crushed or diced finely
  • 1 part olive/sesame/truffle/whatever-kind-of oil I’m in the mood for
  • 3 parts balsamic vinegar
  • spoonful of grey poupon or whatever kind of dijon mustard I have on hand (I prefer the finely ground type for this recipe to the ones where you can see the seeds)
  • small spoonful of sugar, less is usually better as I don’t like sweet dressings
  • IF I feel like it, I may add a dash of soy sauce

I don’t measure anything, just eyeball it, which is why I can’t give you exact measurements on the ingredients, but if you try it a few times you’ll find that it’s hard to screw it up. I put all the dressing ingredients in a little jar and shake it up then pour over the salad and mix the whole thing together (I like pre-dressed salads with good dressing saturation, also this way the feta mixes with the dressing for a really nice, tasty cheesy coating).

Weight this morning: 190. Still making progress.

*Iceberg lettuce is an abomination. Don’t make your salads with it unless you want to be disappointed. Use red leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, Romaine, escarole, spinach…there are so many tasty varieties of lettuce and leafy greens out there, why punish yourself¬† and your salad by using tasteless, bland iceberg lettuce?

Migraine Hangover

Migraine hangover is totally a thing. It’s totally a thing I’m dealing with today.

Last night I had an unexpected restaurant dinner, because my sweet husband forgot to inform me until about 3pm that there was a Masonic thing followed by dinner and he wanted me to come. So I went, and I did my best on choosing food, but I may have opted for a couple of glasses of Prosecco, and so today I am paying for it. I woke up around 4am and fumbled around in the medicine cabinet looking for imitrex and since it was dark I took the 50mg by accident instead of the 100mg, so migraine was in full force still when I woke up. Shot a nasal imitrex up my nose and the headache is gone but the migraine hangover remains.

Shoulders are sore, neck aches, feeling a bit grainy and tired and stupid and cranky. That’s a migraine hangover for me.

On the other hand, I’m still dropping. This morning’s weigh in, which I didn’t want to do after eating at a restaurant last night, was 190.5. Four down, four to go. I’m developing a theory about the difference in pounds my body holds on to based on unusual foods, like baked goods which I almost never eat except in usual situations, because those seem to drop off really quickly when I return to normal eating. But of course I don’t want to rely on this knowledge to manage my weight. Just an interesting observation. To me.

I’ve also started qualifying my statements even more today because I’m getting really sick of seeing people post things like, “This thing I do is the best way to do X thing in the whole world and totally better than any other way of doing it!” while I read it and think, “That sounds like hell to me, maybe you ought to modify it to ‘This thing I do is the best way to do X thing FOR ME, ‘ ya self-centered idiot.”

Migraine hangover makes me a bit judgy, apparently.

Stay on Target!

Yesterday went pretty well except I totally fell asleep at 7:30pm. After our visit to the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, my husband and I made a pact to re-watch all of the Doctor Who episodes starting with the reboot. Well, so far every evening we’ve tried I’ve fallen asleep almost immediately, which is fine because I’ve seen them all before, but it’s not great for beating jetlag! I fall asleep in front of the TV (something I’m notorious for, btw) at 7:30, but when we give up and go upstairs to bed at 9pm then I can’t fall asleep!

My husband then cheekily found me an 11-hour loop of the Doctor Who theme music to help me sleep. Heh.

I forgot to weigh myself this morning, as I woke up at 5:30 and it threw everything off. But, I probably don’t need to weigh in every day right now anyway. I executed my plan yesterday so weighing myself isn’t going to tell me anything I don’t already know – which is STAY ON TARGET.

Today I will continue to stay on target. I walked to work, have the usual workday food plans in effect, and will try to find something to do tonight that doesn’t involve sitting down and getting comfortable on the couch, in my on-going efforts to beat jetlag.

Oh, and in working with my new stand-up desk at work I’ve discovered that I’m not quite up to standing all day, so I try to alternate an hour up and an hour down throughout the day. Seems to be working pretty well so far.

Wishful Thinking Is Not A Valid Weight Management Tool

Good start today, I walked to work (which implies I’ll also be walking home). So that’s 50-60 minutes of walking right off the bat. Food plan for today is the usual workday routine (although I no longer do bars or shakes, I replace those with a serving of fruit now).

Last night I did some yoga with a friend. I’ve never done yoga with a real live person before, so far my experience with it has been restricted to free videos I find on cable on-demand channels, and not for several years since I got rid of cable a while back. It was a good experience, I would do more of that.

This morning a friend posted their diet plans for the coming week on Facebook and somebody commented, “Just keep moving forward and you’ll succeed! It’s inevitable!” and that annoyed the heck out of me. That kind of wishful pie-in-the-sky BS really undermines the amount of effort and planning required. So I posted this comment, “It’s not inevitable. It requires thought, planning, hard decisions, and self discipline every day. But you can do this.” I am not trying to be a buzzkill, but as I’ve mentioned before, wishful thinking is not a weight management tool. Planning, journaling, working your system, and avoiding undue temptations are weight loss tools. The difference is that they are concrete steps that you can take to make a real-life impact on your situation. Sitting around thinking happy thoughts is not.

Today’s weight: 192.0. Starting to stabilize now to a real number, 5.5 vacation pounds to drop to my happy place.

Losing the Vacation Pounds

Day one and I’m down 2 pounds already of the 8 I wanted to lose from vacation! Obviously my soon-to-be-patented “eat sensibly and drink entirely too much sangria and champagne at a wedding” diet plan which I invented yesterday is a huge success. I suspect that once I write the book it will be a bestseller!

Seriously, though, as I suspected the 8 pound gain was a lot of water, which my body holds onto anytime I’m eating lots of baked goods (see previous pizza example) or otherwise doing something unusual food-wise. And I can certify that eating airplane and airport food qualifies as “doing something unusual!”

Today’s plan: follow my usual work-day eating plan. I may get some light exercise tonight, however nothing too strenuous, I’m still suffering from some pretty epic jet-lag.

Oh, oh! In work news, my new standing-desk arrived while I was on vacation! It’s actually more of a retrofit of my existing desk, and it takes up a huge amount of space, with a large metallic arm fitted to hold my keyboard and monitor and swing up and down for standing or sitting work positions. I’ve worked most of the morning in the standing position and I’m really pleased with how I think this is going to work out. I need to maybe change the shoes I wear to the office though, for better standing comfort. Several of my co-workers have already come by to admire my new contraption and ask how to get one.

Weight today: 192.5

Appropriate Today…

You’ve all probably seen this by now, but The Oatmeal pretty much sums up superbly a lot of my thoughts about self-image around weight management. My favorite bit is the part about “Who you think cares if your weight changes” and “Who ACTUALLY cares if your weight changes.”

This is so true in my experience. For most of my life, when my weight has changed I’ve used a whole series of berating self-talk to convince myself that a weight gain makes me a horrible, useless person. When a friend goes through a weight change I just think, “That’s my friend, she’s awesome.” Funny how hard we are on ourselves but we never think to apply the same standards we apply to our friends to ourselves. Treat yourself like you would a friend, ok? You’re just as worthy of love and acceptance as your friends are!

Ok, dance party!