Weekly Results and a New Thing: Crossover Drills

I went to three parties this weekend – two barbecues and a pool party, so naturally I didn’t expect to lose anything this week. I did, however, follow the plan I laid out on Friday, sticking to fruits and veggies and lean protein, eating before, avoiding alcohol, and exercising each morning.

I wish I could say that I avoid alcohol in an effort to maintain my weight, because if that were the case then I could occasionally plan to indulge. No, after years of experimentation and trial, it’s become clear that one of the fastest, most pervasive migraine triggers for me is alcohol of any kind. I can perform a complicated pharmaceutical regimen occasionally if I feel an event is worth it, which allows me to drink without an immediate migraine, however I can’t use it too often, and it doesn’t always work. So it’s mostly not worth it.

I’ve been thinking, lately, about how to engage more of my leg muscles when I run. Mostly running uses the muscles on the front and back of your thighs. But there are also muscles along the inside and outside of your thighs, and those don’t get nearly as much work during  a run (they get some, I know because if I stop for a while then restart they are sore). So I started experimenting with crossover drills. Basically, I pick a block with evenly spaced trees, and I go from one tree to the next leading with my right side, then at the next tree I switch over and lead with my left side, so I’m moving facing sideways instead of facing forward.

I can do about 3 sets of those per run, because man they are hard! They really take it out of me – both the physical movement, which is new, and the mental effort required to do it without tripping myself! Also it’s fun and I think I look like a Srs Bzns Athlete when I do it. Even though I’m just doing it going down the sidewalk and the only ones who see me are oblivious cars passing on the road.

Oh, this week I was down .4, almost a half pound (missed it by a tenth). I didn’t expect to be down at all, what with all the socializing and festive eating (which I mostly didn’t partake of) over the long weekend, and my home scale hovering in the same general region all week as if I’d plateaued. Four-tenths of a pound is well within the margin of error, but I suppose if the margin keeps moving slowly downward that’s good for me. Total loss since March 25th is 13.6. I don’t want to do any of the things that might move the needle down any faster, because I’m right at the threshold now of where I might start to enjoy my life less were I to do those things, and I’m not willing to decrease my happiness for faster weight loss. This has to be sustainable.

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BBQ Weekend Ahoy!

Yes! Three day weekend coming into view! Let’s do this!

Everybody, remember to:

  • Eat before you head to the parties and don’t arrive starving!
  • Bring something supportive to throw on the grill – like veggie skewers, lean protein, or even fruit – BBQed pineapple FTW!
  • Drink non-caloric beverages to stay hydrated – alcohol isn’t your friend, just an acquaintance with bad ideas!
  • Get your workout out of the way first thing in the morning before the partying begins!
  • Keep your hands busy – take pictures, or play with the dog!
  • Hang out where you can’t even see the food table!

We can do this! We’ll get through without shooting a hole in our long-term goals! Keep your eye on the prize! And…GO!

Staying Tough in The Big Easy

I just got back from a week in New Orleans to celebrate Christmas and New Years! New Orleans…the biggest, baddest food city in the country. I mean, that’s a city where good food has been elevated to an art form and a civic duty! And so, so much of it is fried, battered, and alcoholic! Here are the things I did to try to counteract and avoid a big gain:

  1. Seafood! The biggest, best thing to eat in New Orleans is seafood – oysters, shrimp, crab, and crawdads are on every menu, and if you don’t get them fried or smothered in butter it’s a healthy meal! I ate oysters almost every single day. Raw or chargrilled, they are delicious in NOLA.
  2. Walk it off! Avoid getting a car or taking taxis, and ride the streetcars everywhere you want to go. Once you get there, you’ll be walking. A lot. If you’re not getting enough walking, pick up a guide to walking tours and see some sights that aren’t in the French Quarter. The Garden District, Uptown, Audubon Park, the CBD, Carrollton – there’s way more to New Orleans than Bourbon Street.
  3. Dance it off! Head down to Frenchmen Street for some excellent live music and hit the dancefloor for some bonus exercise. Most of the clubs featuring swing and jazz have a space for dancing. Use it.
  4. Speaking of Bourbon Street – avoid it. That scene is played out and sad these days. All you’ll get there are shitty frozen cocktails and drunken crowds. Ugh. Believe me when I say you’re not missing anything by not staggering around with all the other tourists carrying a plastic novelty mug and a weak, sugary mess of a “drink” in your hand.
  5. Make room for some treats, but make them the good ones. You know you’re going to want to get some beignet at Cafe du Monde, but make it an event that only happens once. A treat’s more special for being rare. Go for it and enjoy every bite, but not every day.
  6. Slow down and savor. Don’t skip out on the headline experiences – go to the finest restaurants, like Commander’s Palace, but really take your time. This is some of the best food in the country so let your palate linger over every bite, and be mindful of how full you are. Stop when you feel sated – that’s easier to do when you’re taking your time with every nuance of flavor.

Am I up a pound or two? Probably. But not much more – my measurements say I’m a little bloated but not badly and nothing that won’t come off in the next couple of days. I’m feeling pretty satisfied with my trip and my efforts to navigate the food landscape in the toughest food environment around.

I made the decision that I would enjoy my trip (within reasonable boundaries like those I listed above) and not beat myself up afterwards for enjoying myself. I have a plan, I’m back on target this week, and excited to see what 2016 has in store for me!

Talking About Diet, and Healthy Holidays

I have an interesting new soreness in my calves this morning. I love it when I’m sore in a place I haven’t been before, or recently.  It tells me I’m building new muscles somewhere that has been neglected previously! Also that a home cardio workout meant to simulate going for a run really can’t work the same muscles as going for a run. And that’s cool, because I like mixing it up and getting new muscles involved in the show.

I realized that I talk almost exclusively lately about what I’m doing for exercise, and very little about the food side of the equation. I think it’s because I have a perception that there’s nothing I can do from here to help you with your food programs. Part of me thinks, “Either you’re going to stick to your program or you’re not, nothing I can do there.” And the other part of me thinks, “Man I hate it when people try to police my food for me.” So I tend to just focus on exercise, and what I’m doing in that arena.

But…Christmas is coming, time with relatives is coming. Overwhelming piles of non-supportive food is coming. NYE parties and delicious cocktails are coming. It’s important to have a plan for getting through the next week or so!

Here are some quick reminders, maybe have a read-through and refresh yourself before things get really crazy:

9 Healthy Holiday-Eating Strategies

Healthy Holiday Eating

5 Healthy Eating Tips for Holiday Travelers

8 Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating (Infographic)

Holiday Healthy-Eating Tips

That’s a pretty good grab bag of sensible advice. I like to offer an array of articles because, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that different things work for different people. And that people learn and understand materials in different ways. So I hope one or two of these presents something helpful in a way that motivates and inspires you to have a healthy holiday!

 

Weekend of Wretched Excess/Back on Target

Wow, what a weekend! I went to 4 parties, 2 Saturday and 2 Sunday. All of them featured delicious food and treats, and I am still human. I proved it by indulging a bit. A lot.

I’d feel much worse about it if I hadn’t planned for it already by blitzing most of November and every non-weekend day in December. In fact, this morning starts my last mini-blitz of the year! I’ll be doing the HMR Healthy Solutions diet plan and exercising hardcore too. Today my strong start so far has been great – last week I re-started the Ripped in 30 DVD from the beginning, so today I started my day strong by working through the Week 2 workout for the first time this cycle. 12369042_10153168114836384_8213184635568786136_n

Today it is raining good and hard here in Northern California. We need it so badly that I will happily do my workout DVDs for as long as it wants to rain. And then I’ll get back out there and run when it’s not raining. It’s good to have options for either scenario!

Here’s a pic of me and the man dressed up and feelin’ swank, taken at one of the parties we attended this weekend, a holiday cocktail party! I found my dress at the thrift shop back in August and have been looking forward to wearing it ever since – it just screamed “holiday party” and fit me perfectly, who could resist for $15?

Ok, a final push of blitzing for me this week! I honestly don’t know if what I’m doing – blitzing during the week then enjoying myself on the weekends – is considered a good or bad idea by the dieting experts. What I know is that I’m probably going to overindulge a little bit on the weekends during the holidays anyway, so trying to balance that out with in-the-box/on-program days during the week seems to me like the best solution to a tricky situation. It’s doing something, rather than doing nothing and accepting a big weight gain during the holidays as normal.

Blitz Wrap-Up!

Today is the last day of my Blitz! I’m feeling pretty good about my efforts! I was out of the box maybe twice, once was for some saltines due to a late-night tummy ache (due to taking a Tramadol, due to my shoulder) and once was a bite of scone at the Armistice Day Tea.

I don’t get on the scale anymore, but I’m feeling leaner and lighter. If I had to I’d guess I lost 5-8 pounds in these 3 weeks. But who cares? Scales aren’t for me anymore. I think I will recommence with the Healthy Solutions program when I get back from my Thanksgiving vacation, on a somewhat limited scale (I’ll allow myself to enjoy the holiday parties I’ve already planned to attend). I feel better both mentally and physically when I’m being proactive about my diet regimen.

Right now I’m really looking forward to tomorrow morning, because my Blitz-Buddy Allie sent me this recipe for HMR In The Box Pancakes! And I picked up some zero-calorie syrup to pour over them. I love pancakes! And now I can eat them without regrets and recriminations!

And in somewhat random-but-interesting reading, here’s an article about why sports bras are so terrible. I found this to be interesting reading, for anybody who works out and also has breasts!

And finally, I found today to be a good time to re-read my article on Holiday Feast Strategies. With Thanksgiving bearing down upon us, bone up on strategies for dealing with all the rampant food about to be thrust into your face. And definitely drop me a comment if you have some I didn’t list!

Puttin’ on the Blitz

Ok guys, it’s three weeks before Thanksgiving (give or take). What are you doing to prep for the orgy of gluttony that’s bearing down on you?

I’m doing a Blitz!

My friend Allison mentioned last week that she was going to do an HMR Blitz for the next three weeks and asked if anybody wanted to join her. I’M IN!

The premise of a blitz is that you do your diet program (whatever that is), strictly and without failing. In the case of HMR, that means being “in the box” and on-program for the next 3 weeks. Here’s what I like about the Blitz:

  • Deficiting before Thanksgiving, instead of trying to lose what I gained after. It’s a pre-emptive approach to dealing with the holiday eating season!
  • It’s time-boxed. I know there’s an end date,  I can do anything for only 3 weeks.
  • Tune up those skills and habits before the indulgences come flying hard and fast!
  • Kick-start that diet and exercise program, or get it back into high gear.

I’ve been feeling a little “fluffy” lately, the last few weeks I’ve been maybe a little less vigilant about my eating habits. This Blitz is just what I needed. Three weeks of practicing all of my good habits and remembering how to be mindful. I’ll be doing the “play along at home” version since my old HMR office seems to have had a total staff turnover and don’t know me anymore. I can do an Independent Study program easily, if there’s one rut it’s easy for me to fall into it’s being “in the box” on HMR. I’ll stop by the office tomorrow evening and pick up the supplies I’ll need (I’ve got enough on hand for a couple of days already).

So I start tomorrow. What are your plans for navigating the upcoming Festive Eating Season?