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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's like Pisa but in Wisconsin!

Last week I was on vacation all week which was great.  Dan had to work on Monday and Tuesday and then we left to go to Wisconsin right after my meeting last week.  Between the previous weekend and Tuesday it felt like we'd spent about 3 days in the car.  The first weekend we drove up we didn't take the dogs because we were only there over night so our dining options on the road were pretty easy.  By easy I mean we could actually stop somewhere and have a meal instead of trying to eat while driving or (gasp) stopping for fast food. So before we left on Tuesday I packed some sandwiches, string cheese and crackers.  This was a tremendously satisfying and tasty meal.

I'd really planned ahead when it came to snacks and eating the weekend before (last Saturday really) so that I would have plenty of healthy options to choose from.  Lots of apples and clementines to snack were easy to grab for snacking.  I'd gotten a few bags of those steamer vegetables with cheese sauce.  On Wednesday I took my niece and youngest nephew to town to buy hats and mittens to donate at the Credit Union for little kids who have no hats and mittens.  Seriously, how great is that?  Way to go CU!!  Anyway, then I took the kids to Burger King for lunch.  They ate and I had an iced tea.  When I got home I made one of those bags of steamed vegetables.  They were so good I ate the whole bag but it was only 3 Points+ so I figured it was alright.

Now you don't have to go to Italy.
Just head to Wisconsin!
Thanksgiving was great - I got to cook with my Mom most of Thursday.  We made turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, roasted squash, cranberry sauce (she made that ahead actually), and two different kinds of dressing (one WW friendly, one was my Grandmother's recipe).  We also had pumpkin pie and Points+ friendly Pumpkin Spice Muffins.  Yes, this may sound like a lot of food and it was but luckily it was pretty much gone by the end of the weekend.  The best part was that I got to have a little bit of some of the more indulgent things but really kept to the Points+ friendly items for the bulk of my meals.

I also braved the weather (and the traffic) by walking a lot last week, including past this funny silo.  It occurred to me, as I was walking, that people in the country don't really walk, nor do they walk their dogs.  This didn't stop me though the hills nearly did!!  I even spent some time in the woods with the hunters (though I was only walking along) on one of the drives they did.  I racked up 33 Activity Points, used 8 of them but I didn't use any of my Weekly Points Allowance.  I thought this was really good.  The scale might have disagreed because it stayed exactly the same as last week.

How was your Thanksgiving?  Did you follow traditional recipes?  Find new favorites?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Activity Goals?

I've heard quite a bit about the Garmin Forerunner watches but I thought that I was fine with the app I'd downloaded on my phone.  However, after more than a few activities with data reported that I knew was not correct I decided that I wanted more reliable data when it comes to my training.  I'd done some research on the models out there and finally decided on the Garmin Forerunner 405.  I've been using it for about a week and I love it.

The data that is tracked on the watch gets transferred (wirelessly) to the GarminConnect.com website.  There is also software that you can download onto your computer called Training Center, in case you will be in an area without internet access.  I have used both and like the web interface because it lets you easily share the data with others but I like the computer client because the graphs are nicer, in my opinion.

Here is a graph of a walk I did this morning from the Training Center Software:

I'm also giving you the link if you want to see the info, from the same activity, that gets stored on Garmin Connect

I really want to work towards spending more time in the slow jog zone.  This morning I took Tucker on a 2 mile walk and then came back, put Tucker in his house, and then took Briscoe on the same route.  I thought this was pretty good time/pace but look forward to getting faster (Briscoe does too!!)

Anyway... I was playing around with the website (Garmin Connect) today and found that you can set activity goals.  SWEET!!  So I set a goal for December to walk 60 miles.  There are 4 full weeks and if I walk 5 days a week for 3 miles .... Can I do it?  Could you?  Have you set goals like this for yourself?  If so, what are/were they?

As a reminder, my last 5K of 2011 is coming up fast and I could really use your help to raise money for the Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Center.  Please see the top left side of the blog for the link/more information.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another 5K, a new PR and my holiday menu

Last Sunday I did a 5K walk with my bestie Sheri and her daughter Brianna.  My friend Kim from my WW meeting ran the 5K too.  It was to support the Helping Paws Animal Welfare Association in Woodstock, IL.  Brianna volunteers there, I love a good 5K and who doesn't love helping the animals?!

The weather was odd that day, it was super windy at the starting point but as I got going into the course the wind was blocked or it died down and I was wearing my new Under Armour jacket that has a pretty warm inside.  I started to get hot and could tell I was sweating a lot, so much so that my sleeve was practically dripping, but I kept pushing through.  My reward was a new PR of 48:48!!  That's nearly 10 minutes off my time since the first 5K I did back in May.

Tuesday I had to be in the city for a work event so I missed my regular meeting but I made it to a meeting tonight.  My leader handed out paper plates and we were to write down all the things that we were going to eat for Thanksgiving.  Then she asked us what we'd wrote and she went through the common PointsPlus values for the foods.  It's always interesting to see the appropriate serving size and hear the PointsPlus values for each item.

Luckily, I'd put a lot of thought into this a few weeks ago because we are going to be at my parents house for the holiday.  Mom is making the turkey, mashed potatoes, squash, stuffing/dressing, and pumpkin pie.  I am making roasted beets, coconut topped sweet potatoes, caramel apple salad, stuffing with sage and chives and a batch of pumpkin muffins. When I tallied up my items, including turkey, my plate ended up being 15 PointsPlus.  That's not too bad considering the rest of the day will hopefully be pretty light.  I'm also going to try to get in a LOT of activity points next week so that even if I indulge a little bit that I won't punished for it on the scale.

Have you made holiday plans?  Do you make special arrangements so that you can stay on plan or do you just hope that you'll be able to eat healthy?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Whew! And a whole lotta Congratulations!

Me, Nitro (golden retriever), Brianna, Sheri, Briscoe (black lab)
Some people did some amazing things this weekend.  First, my friends Judy and Kim ran a 15K on Saturday.  Then on Sunday Kim completed the Willis Tower Climb.  Seriously, these ladies are awesome and both inspire me so much so CONGRATULATIONS to both of them.  On Sunday my friends, Sheri and Brianna, and I hiked two miles to raise awareness for canine cancer (Briscoe had a tumor removed from his thigh last year so he walked with me and Nitro had a tumor removed from his thigh last week so he walked with Sheri and Brianna)

My best "coming to the finish line" photo (so far)
There was also a little marathon in New York City.  A couple of the bloggers that I follow were running in it and I read a recap of the marathon on the Carrots 'n Cake blog today and giggled when Tina said that each bridge she crossed she told her running mate, Theodora, that she was going to make the bridge her bitch.  The mantra kept them both motivated and Tina and Theodora had amazing PRs.  So obviously CONGRATULATIONS go to them.

Before I got on the scale today I said I was going to make the scale my bitch because I was tired of the measly losses I'd had the past couple of weeks.  I wanted to see the numbers really moving again.  I did!  I was down a whopping 3.4 pounds this week.  I really bumped up the effort and amount of activity I had, not even using weather as an excuse one day last week. I was active on 5 days last week and racked up 26 activity points.  Clearly, when I took a short break from the activity (because I was sick and the weather) the weight loss decided to take a break too.

During the meeting Karen asked the group how many people have trouble losing weight during the holidays.  Lots of nodding and raised hands and then she issued a challenge for us.  Her meeting groups would compete against each other to see which group could lose the most weight.  Awesome.  I like a good competition as much as the next guy and this will, hopefully, help keep things even more in check over the holidays.  I mean being accountable to yourself is one thing but to be accountable to a whole group of people?  Yikes!

Have you ever been a part of a contest like this?  How did you do?

PS - Big thanks to Bob for the great photos

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Disappointing or Encouraging?

My weigh in yesterday was something I'm not entirely comfortable with.  I lost 0.2 pounds which isn't a lot but at least I lost(?).  The last few weeks have been a little odd - first I was sick so I pretty much didn't work out for 10 days.  Then I had my 9K race and after that I sort of took a few days to rest up (that's what I interpret the scale telling me last night).  So I'm determined to get the scale not only moving in the right direction but moving at a pace that I am more comfortable with.

A few weekends ago Mom was here visiting and she brought me the mother load (no pun intended) of squash from Dad's garden.  I've been roasting about 4 per week and eating lots and lots of vegetables.  I mean, yummy freshly roasted squash is amazing.  I like to boil a potato to have with it and that is just so delicious and very satisfying except that I think with all the vegetables I'm actually eating too much.  So I'm going to have to get that under control.

I'm also planning on getting a lot of activity this week and I'm hoping that Mother Nature will cooperate with me.

When you get on the scale and don't see what you expect, are you disappointed or encouraged to try harder?  If you try harder, what do you do?