Monday, April 28, 2014

Drowning over here

There is one common thread to just about every healthy living regimen in the world.

You have to drink water ALL THE TIME.

Do the math people.  If a 130 pound woman needs 8 glasses of water a day, I need to just stick my head under a faucet and stay there.

Cocktails don't count, apparently.  Neither does Diet Coke (oh, how I miss you, Diet Coke!!!).  Never in my life have I been a water-drinking kind of person.  It was OK on the side, as like, the back-up beverage, but never, never, as the liquid of choice.  But now, I'm practically drowning in the stuff.  

Mint, lemon juice, and lots and lots of ice help.  

But I'd still rather drink 2x my weight in margaritas.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Move it, Move it

This week has been all about getting into the habit of exercising.  For the most part, I succeeded, although most studies say it takes a full three weeks for anything to become truly an ingrained behavior.

I took brisk walks through the neighborhood before work, found forty five minutes to hit the gym before dinner, sweated profusely through a fun and utterly exhausting kickboxing/dance class, followed a friend on a short, easy hike to a roaring waterfall, and spent hours exploring Seattle on foot.

Of course, it was a slight problem that that exploration wound up at my favorite food vendors in Pike Place Market, a gourmet diner and several bakeries, but we're taking baby steps here, right?*  

Bruleed grapefruit from Skillet Diner in Seattle
I did order the brûléed grapefruit instead of fries

Even on a ridiculously scheduled days, I got in a few minutes of ab crunches and stretches on my bedroom floor, and walked up the stairs between floors at the office.

It felt great.

I was already pretty active before this project started.  Episodically so, but I wasn't a slug.   So it's definitely going to take a while to convince my body that it should pay attention this time and get its metabolism in gear.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard about exercise was to think about it like brushing your teeth or taking a shower: part of an absolutely required daily routine.**  No matter how busy we are, we find the time to soap up and rinse off.   Now, it's up to me to find the time to "move it" every day, too.

And next time, to avoid the bakeries on the way.

* Note to self:  traveling, particularly to a food town, is a major danger zone for me.  I was drawn like a moth to a flame to old favorites that packed in loads of calories, and to trying new finds as well.  The sense of virtue I had from exercising gave me an illusion of freedom to eat that did not play out on the scale this week.
** I'm still trying to convince my teenagers that this shower thing is truly a daily requirement.

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Fitness Pals

Last week, I was a bleary-eyed, weepy basket case.  It was crazy late at night, and the cat and I sat there*, staring in a combination of disbelief and defiance at the words I'd written on the laptop screen.  Before I could talk myself out of it, I clicked "publish" and went to bed.

The next day, I felt like George Bailey when the entire town shows up at his house on Christmas Eve.

Bank Examiner? Who cares?
I've got friends.  And they've got my back.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

In related but less emotionally fraught news, I'm now an official fan of MyFitnessPal.  The website (also available as a great app) is a game-changer!

You put in a weight loss goal, and the app sets up a target daily calorie range.  You can also set goals for things like sodium intake and how much water you drink.  After a meal, I just search their ginormous database (and believe, me, it's got everything in there) and fill in a food diary in seconds.  I can log every walk to work or workout, too.  Sounds simple, but for me at least, it's been a profound help.   My sister,  the psychologist, could explain in scientific terms why this works**, but basically, it makes me think about every bite that goes into my mouth.  Plus, if I exercise, I see right away how much flexibility I have to enjoy a nice dinner out. It's instant accountability, and it's easy enough that I have no excuses not to do it. I love it.

Best of all, there's a social feed where you can cheer on friends, exchange notes, and vent about the person who brought doughnuts into the office when they knew you were trying to cut down on treats.

Who does that?
Not my pals.

My pals are getting their wings.

* The cat was actually asleep on the power cord.
** The woman researches the relevant academic literature before she gets out of bed in the morning.  Apparently, people who lose weight and keep it off successfully are tracking what they eat, and have support from friends and family.  Check!   She's the one who got me onto MyFitnessPal, and she's got a great little group going over there.  If you want in, just let me know!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The First Step

I had a birthday last week. It wasn't the "big one", but one before the big one. My son and I were on a plane heading out to look at colleges, and as I watched him absorbed in whatever was playing on his laptop, I faced some pretty hard facts:

I am now both the shortest and the heaviest person in our family*.

I weigh more today that when I was about to give birth to that boy seventeen years ago.  The idea of having the baby weight melt away naturally has clearly not worked.

I'd first conceived of losing 50 pounds by my 50th birthday almost a year ago when my bathroom scale hit a truly terrifying number. That morning, when we left for the airport, the scale readout was identical.

Damn it! I thought. No more wasting time.

We landed, and immediately went out to a birthday dinner complete with wine and a delectable, warm-from-the-oven mixed berry pie ala mode for dessert.

OK, that was one last week wasted, but now?
It's on.

I've got about 50 pounds to lose.  But more importantly, I've got some bad habits to break. My plan is pretty simple:

  • Eat less, eat better, and eat mindfully.
  • Exercise every day in some way, and work out hard as often as possible.
  • Don't be a maniac.  Change takes time, and drastic measures will just make me crazy.
  • No matter what, be accountable. No one owns this but me.

When I first came up with this idea, my husband suggested that instead of strictly focusing on what I was giving up, I think about things I'd always wanted to do, and treat myself to those along the way. He's kind of a genius, that guy. I don't have a list in mind, but I'm going to be on the lookout and chase those like mad, too.

I'll be posting updates here every Monday, sharing stories of my misadventures in body shrinkage, and tracking my progress. A big thanks to Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake for the idea of giving myself a tangible way to do that.

There are 50 stones in the red jar now.

Here's to a green jar full next year.

* In fact, I am shorter and heavier than many players in the NBA, but that's a whole 'nother level of shame.