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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Changing it up. Again

When I started on the Weight Watchers PointsPlus program I had a daily points target of 49 - which seemed like a lot at the time.  Actually, now that I think about that number it still seems like a lot!  I remember eating and (more likely) drinking whatever I wanted.  As I lost weight I lost daily points and now I'm all the way down to 26 points.  I've bounced around between 26-28 points for a couple of months now trying to figure out how/what to eat to stay satisfied without going over my daily target.  Back when I started I had so many points that eating my weekly and/or activity points seemed excessive so I didn't and I still try not to, but that is just me.  To do that I was really relying on the free fresh fruits/vegetables.  However, I generally still felt hungry.  Hungry between meals, hungry even after a meal.  Seriously, this can't be normal.

So I started adding more protein to practically everything I ate.  Instead of just eating fruit as a mid-morning snack I started eating fruit with some lean protein.  Same for the mid-afternoon snack and even my post-dinner snack/desert.  Everything has to have a protein.  It seems to be working because I don't feel quite so "pull your hair my hair out because I'm so freaking hungry" all the time, which is nice.  For me and those around me.  Some of my current favorite proteins to add to snacks:

  • Dried venison (seriously this is DELICIOUS)
  • String cheese
  • Yogurt - preferably Greek
  • Better 'n Peanut Butter
  • belVita biscuits
In fact, one of my all time favorite snacks is:
  • 2 Tbsp Better 'n Peanut Butter Chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp Fat Free Cool Whip
  • 10 grams of Honey Maid Li'l Grahams
  • Apple
  • Banana
I mix the peanut butter and the cool whip in a small bowl and use it as a dip for the graham crackers and fruit.  It is delicious and can be as big/small of a snack/meal as you  need it to be depending on what you pair with it.

What is your favorite snack?

Monday, January 28, 2013

HALF MARATHON TRAINING UPDATE: Week 2

My eyelashes are frozen together.  No big deal, right?
With the rapidly changing weather this last week it became slightly more difficult to get motivated to lace up the Brooks so I could head out for some miles.  Case in point, on Monday when it was 7 degrees above zero but -11 with the windchill.  However, after a brief text-change (texting exchange -- yes, I'm THAT clever!) with Coach Barbara to discuss proper layering I pulled some clothes out and started to get dressed and before I knew it I was headed out for 3 miles.  I was, for the most part, comfortable during the run.  I mean, let's face it, I was cold but it wasn't really THAT bad.  That is, until the last mile when I had a full on head wind.  I'd worn sunglasses to protect my eyes from the wind (and sun) and they had been fogging up the entire run but as I was heading west the glasses wouldn't unfog (is that a word?) and they literally froze over.  With about a quarter mile to go I took off the glasses to finish running so as to avoid falling on a curb or something.  When I finished I felt pretty badass and perhaps a little more like a "real runner" after that!  Would I do it again?  Who knows?  It would definitely depend on the distance because I'm not sure I could do much more than the 3 miles I did without doing a slight wardrobe change (to swap out the wet items for dry ones).

With that... here's what my training plan called for this week:
Monday:  Run, 3 miles, easy
Tuesday:  Cross train
Wednesday:  Run, 3 miles, easy
Thursday:  Strength
Friday:  Run, 30 minutes, easy
Saturday:  Run, 4 miles, easy
Sunday:  Off

And here's what actually happened:

Monday:  Run, 3 miles @ 10:13/mi
Tuesday:  Bike trainer for 45 minutes
Wednesday:  Run, 3 miles @ 9:48/mi (not exactly easy but when I saw what pace I was running I thought I could run a 5K sub 30:00... I failed.  By thirty-three freaking seconds.  Oops.
Thursday:  Bike, 27:00 (I accidentally cleared my settings when I stopped to help someone else use a bike) so I had to restart.  Total distance was about 6.6 miles and after that I did some strength training.
Friday:  Run, 30 minutes, 3.13 miles @ 10:23/mi
Saturday:  Run, 4 miles @ 11:01/mi.  This was a new route and was REALLY hilly and I ended up walking up a couple of the hills.  I will do this route again but without walking.
Sunday:  After eleven straight days of activity I definitely rested.  Literally, I napped.  It felt glorious.

How do you manage your training when the weather doesn't necessarily cooperate?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Suck it up, Sally

Yes, it's really just time to suck it up.  Last week I wondered how much more weight I could lose and whether I should just thank my lucky stars that I've come as far as I have and begin figuring out how to maintain the weight that I've lost.  The comments I've gotten were amazing and I appreciate every single one of them and I want to THANK YOU for them.  I think the messages you guys shared about focusing on body fat percentage are correct and that the weight will either fall in line or not but that I need to stop focusing on what the scale says.

I listened to a podcast from halfsizeme.com that featured my Twitter friend, Kelly, and we are about the same amount of weight away from goal (actually she's closer than me but whatev...) and she's not stopping.  She's focusing on getting healthy and hitting her goal.  Why can't I?  Kelly was one of the people who posted that changing up my routine would be a good thing.

I also spoke with my beloved Coach Barbara, who gave me (another) Gibbs like headslap (for those NCIS fans out there) when she reminded me that routines need to vary or our bodies will get used to them and become more efficient in dealing with them and so the body doesn't have to work as hard.  At which point I practically slapped myself!  Seriously, it was a full on 'duh' moment.

This is advice that I'd given to friends and fellow Weight Watchers members so why wouldn't this apply to me?  Well, it does and there is no better time to really put this into practice than with half marathon training.  After the half in December I would just run and never had a plan so it was just random miles.  If I felt like 3 miles I'd run 3 miles if I felt like 6... well, you get the idea.  I tried to do one longer run per week and a few shorter ones but there was very little variation to the schedule and I basically stopped strength training.  With the cold and the wind it was also easier to run more days a week than it was to bundle up and get back on the bike to ride on the cross training days.

So the pity party I was having for myself ends now.  I have a half marathon training program and I'm going to follow it.  Including heavier strength training, good cross training (even if it means I have to do it indoors) and planned/solid running miles on the days I'm supposed to run.  I'm also going to start taking measurements again.  I used to do it all the time but then stopped and I think it's going to be even more important now since there are more likely measurement changes happening even if the scale isn't moving.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

HALF MARATHON TRAINING UPDATE: Week 1

In the time since the half marathon in December I've tried to keep up my running and other training but some of it has fallen off my radar (like speed work and strength training to a certain degree) mostly because I was doing things to work out that I enjoyed rather than had to do.  Anyway... it's all different now that half marathon training has officially begun, again.  Last Sunday we were invited to Coach Barbara's house for a Team Challenge alumni group run/walk and breakfast.  I was excited to see folks that I trained/raced with as well as meet other Team Challengers from previous seasons and I was not disappointed.
I can't believe those are my splits!

It was a fun 4 mile run on local roads.  I ran the first 3 miles with Christine at a super fast and fairly consistent sub 10:00/mile pace.  For the last half mile or so I slowed down and ran with another alum from the 2012 Las Vegas training season.  I was super excited about the fast pace of the first ~3.5 miles but it was nice to be able to catch up a little with him so I didn't mind the slower pace!

I loved running with my Team Challenge peeps and I know that training for this half marathon is going to be different since there won't be any group runs on the schedule for awhile (13.1 Chicago training starts in March) but I am hoping to get in a few weekend runs (aka long runs) with Christine since we are both trying to maintain/continue training.

So... here's what my training was supposed to be for the week:
Monday:  Run, 3 miles easy
Tuesday:  Cross training or strength
Wednesday:  4 Mile, Tempo (w/u, 2 mi @ 11:04, c/d)
Thursday:  Cross training or strength
Friday:  Run, easy 30 minutes
Saturday:  Run, 5 miles
Sunday:  Off

And here's what I actually did:
Monday:  Run, 3 mile easy (10:02 pace - maybe not easy but I felt good with that pace)
Tuesday:  Rest, my legs felt tired and sore so I did nothing (and regretted it, of course)
Wednesday:  Tempo run (1 mile warm-up @ 11:11, 2 mi @ 10:05, 1 mile cool-down @ 10:41).  Coach B said the cool down was too fast but honestly I stopped looking at my watch and just ran what felt good.
Thursday:  Bike (indoors) 4.60 miles (20 minute warm-up) and then strength training
Friday:  Recovery run 34:12 (3.21 miles) & fat bike ride with Dan (4.95 miles in 31:48)
Saturday:  Run, 5 miles (50:48 overall time but had to walk a bit due to some phlegmy issues)
Sunday:  Bike (indoors) 15.1 miles in 60:00 (wanted to make up for the rest day that I took on Tuesday so I spent some time bonding with the bike trainer today)

Overall, it definitely felt like a week of half marathon training.  I am hoping the phlegmy issues that I dealt with on a couple of the outdoor runs will resolve quickly because having to stop when I feel like I'm choking (on myself) absolutely sucks.  I can also say that I haven't run in such strong winds since the half in Las Vegas (I think) so this was a week that really tested my will power.  It also burned my face.  Thanks a lot 30 mile per freaking hour winds!

How was your week?  Are you training?  Resting?  Undecided?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How much is enough?

Top Left:  July 2010
Bottom Left: December 2012
Right:  December 2012
Last week I blogged about the ups and downs of the past few weeks.  At my weigh-in yesterday I had another up, literally, when the scale showed I'd gained 1.4 pounds.  I was disappointed, obviously, since no one on a weight loss journey ever wants to see a gain but now I am perplexed.  I was chatting with one of my friends, Melany (who is a nurse), when she asked me when I was going to declare goal.  I hadn't really thought about declaring that I'd reached my goal since I was, ideally, trying to be within my healthy weight range for my height -- I'd said 148 before but have been leaning towards 150 pounds which is the absolute top of my healthy range.  This would mean I'd have about 25 more pounds to lose ... At this point Melany looked at me and asked me where on my body I'd lose that weight?  She pointed to my fingers and wrists - which honestly have never been as small as they are now.

So, I am perplexed.  I don't know whether to keep trying to lose weight or declare victory at ~205 pounds lost?  Even if I was able to hang on and lose the weight to get to 150 pounds would it be sustainable?  How do you know when enough is enough?

Monday, January 14, 2013

PRODUCT REVIEW: belVita Breakfast Biscuits

It's no mystery that I am a die hard Weight Watchers member.  Having lost 200+ pounds on the program by eating healthy, filling foods and taking up running has made a tremendous difference in my life.  Part of what I think works well for me is the variety of foods that you can eat and I try to change up what I eat fairly often so that I don't plateau.  When an opportunity came out to try the belVita Breakfast Biscuits I was definitely on board!  I think breakfasts are difficult because there are only so many oatmeal or scrambled egg dishes that I can handle.  When I received this box of treasures in the mail I was delighted and couldn't wait to rip into them!  But first... a little info about them:

  • belVita Breakfast Biscuits were created in France more than a decade ago and are the first of their kind in the U.S.
  • belVita Breakfast biscuits come as a package of 4 biscuits and provide 18-20 grams of whole grains, 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.  They are specially baked to release energy regularly and continuously, giving you nutritious sustained energy all morning.  belVita Breakfast Biscuits are available in five flavors (Blueberry, Golden Oat, Cinnamon Brown Sugar, Chocolate and Apple Cinnamon).  Each package of the biscuits, for those also on Weight Watchers, is 6 PointsPlus
  • You can find belVita Breakfast Biscuits in the cookie/cracker aisle of your local grocery store at a suggested retail price of $3.69 per box.
Along with the product I received some balanced breakfast ideas:
  • belVita Breakfast Biscuits with low-fat or non-fat Greek yogurt and berries
  • belVita Breakfast Biscuits with an orange and a low-fat or non-fat latte
  • belVita Breakfast Biscuits with apple slices and low-fat cheese
  • belVita Breakfast Biscuits with ½ pt carton of milk and banana or pear
Definitely a new favorite snack for me
I first tried a package of the Cinnamon Brown Sugar (actually shared them with Dan on the day they arrived) alone and they were delicious.  Another time I decided to use them as a workout recovery snack so I grabbed 2 of the Cinnamon Brown Sugar biscuits and put a little yogurt on one and placed the other biscuit on top.  I put them in the freezer while I went to the gym and came back to a healthy frozen treat!  Since I spent 20 minutes on the elliptical and then did speed work on the treadmill I was definitely excited to come home and snack on this.  I was glad I put in the effort because this refueling snack was awesome!  I'd used a lemon cream pie flavored yogurt for the filling and it was delicious - I wish I'd made more of these little sandwiches!  It was cool (which was awesome because I was hot and sweaty), tasted sinfully rich and yet the biscuits were crispy, even after the yogurt was on them for over an hour.  I'd worried that the biscuits would get soggy but they were still crispy and fresh.  YUM!

All in all I think the belVita breakfast biscuits are delicious.  I generally don't spend 8 PointsPlus on breakfast (which would be the "cost" of a full package of the belVita biscuits and a yogurt) but eating two of the four biscuits with a yogurt is definitely "affordable" and a delicious addition to my breakfast options.  The thing that I really love these biscuits for is as a snack after my work out.  It feels like I'm eating cookies and I will definitely add this to the list of things I use as a snack because they will keep me satisfied for a long time.

Fitfluential LLC compensated me for this campaign.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Year for You

I went to my Weight Watchers meeting on Tuesday and it was great to be back (I'd missed my regular meetings because of Christmas and New Years days) and to see all the regular Tuesday meeting peeps.  It was also nice to see a lot of new faces in the crowd.  I've also seen a lot of people posting on blogs and twitter in the past few days about restarting Weight Watchers or starting a new healthy living program.  I've previously posted that I am going to be at my Weight Watchers center to celebrate One Amazing Day on Saturday.  All of these things have made me think about the things that helped me be successful with weight loss.  I thought since I was already thinking of them that I'd share them with you.

Make small changes:

  • Set small, but achievable, goals.  If I'd have looked at the fact that I needed to lose 227 pounds when I started Weight Watchers I would have quit at the first sign of trouble because that's what I've done every other time!  Instead I focused on hitting losses in 10 pound increments.  It was hard enough to work at it but they came quickly enough so that I didn't get discouraged either.
  • If you're new to working out I'd suggest starting that slowly too.  Begin walking 10 minutes or 20 minutes rather than trying to incorporate an hour.  When I started walking I started at 20 minutes on the treadmill and increased time or speed every few days.  This made it seem less daunting and more fun to see the improvement that I could go farther/faster.
  • If you're new to tracking you can start by always tracking one meal - do that for a few days and then add in another meal or snack.  In a few weeks you'll be tracking everything like a pro!  Don't forget the good health guidelines - they will really help you feel full and satisfied all day long.  Perhaps the small change is to focus on getting in the good health guidelines for a few days before focusing on PointsPlus.  
Work toward progress and not perfection:
  • I think it is important to focus on making healthy choices but don't let one unhealthy choice or meal derail all the hard work you've done.  Make healthier choices now than you would have before - instead of a second helping of something how about a glass of water with lemon first?  Then see if you're still really hungry for that second helping. 
  • If you do make a choice that you feel is less than stellar don't let that completely derail until next week.  Get right back on track at the next meal.  That was the mentality I used over the holidays.  Before the party I calculated and tracked everything and got in some good activity, then I allowed myself to relax a little at the party but the minute we left I was back plan.
If you feel comfortable with it (I didn't at first) tell people what you're doing:
  • Making any kind of changes like this are 100% easier when you have friends/family who are supporting you.  Whether it be helping to prepare meals or joining you when you decide to work out the encouragement and support you get will be amazing.  If you don't feel comfortable telling people around you (I didn't tell anyone at work for months and months - in fact I'd lost almost 75 pounds before anyone even realized!) then check out healthy living blogs for inspiration.  There is an incredible amount of support on Twitter for those of us trying to get/be healthy.
In other news for any local readers - I'll be at the Weight Watchers center on Saturday to celebrate ONE AMAZING DAY - a day long event with success stories, refreshments, prizes and more!  I've been asked (along with a few other amazing people) to share my success story!  If you're in the area feel free to stop in and see me and the new Weight Watchers center on Saturday, January 12 from 11 am until 2 pm. The center is located at 205 S. Randall Rd, Algonquin, IL. I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Progress?

Last night I tweeted that I felt like I was on a yo-yo diet and I said that because in the last four weeks my weight has gone up (+5.4 pounds), back down (-5.4 pounds), back up (+6.6 pounds) and back down (-7.6 pounds).  I'm not fond of this trend and hope that now that the holidays have passed (as have most of the parties and treats) that now I can just continue to lose weight.  While the ups and downs have been difficult to accept (well, the ups are way more difficult to accept than the downs!) it reminds me how important it is to sometimes step back into "new member" mode.

While we were partying during the holidays it was easy enough to estimate portion sizes, eat snacks that I wouldn't normally eat, drink more than usual (which sometimes lead to the snacks which lead to more drinks) and it can be a vicious cycle.  My approach to the holidays had been to work hard the rest of the week - to stay on plan and not go over my daily points target, get in good solid work outs and then relax a little at the parties we attended.  Given the ups and downs of my weight loss the last month this may not have been the best approach but I suppose it's all about learning -- about making progress and not being perfect, right?!

My approach to healthy living this year will be similar to the holiday plan, but with less cookies and drinks though, to work hard to stay within my daily points target and get in good work outs.  With half marathon training officially starting on Monday I am sure I'll be playing with portion sizes so it'll be a learning process, again.  Even though this makes me a little anxious it'll be good to be working with a plan, rather than just making things up as I go along.  :)

In other news for any local readers - I'll be at the Weight Watchers center on Saturday to celebrate ONE AMAZING DAY - a day long event with success stores, refreshments, prizes and more!  I've been asked (along with a few other amazing people) to share my success story!  If you're in the area feel free to stop in and see me and the new Weight Watchers center on Saturday, January 12 from 11 am until 2 pm. The center is located at 205 S. Randall Rd, Algonquin, IL. I hope to see you there!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Good, Bad and...

Happy New Year!!

The tagline on my blog says I'll tell you about the good, the bad and everything in between.  Well, if you like that kind of thing you're going to love this post!  So buckle up because here we go:

  1. BAD:  Two weeks ago I gained 5.4 pounds, last week I lost 5.4 pounds and yesterday when I weighed in I gained 6.6 pounds.
  2. GOOD:  Over New Years we fat biked for miles and miles - and it is way harder than I thought it'd be but it is also so much more fun.
  3. BAD:  I was mostly on plan with my eating but on New Years Eve and New Years Day I went a little crazy with food/drinks.  (Trader Joe's chocolate dipped peppermint jo-jo cookies are delicious and they pair really well with a Brandy Old Fashion Sweet!)  It was a delicious but stupid way to celebrate so now I'm back on plan.
  4. GOOD:  Last week I ran several days in a row for longish (5+ miles) distances and then we biked so I took nearly a week off from running.  Today, I laced up my Adrenaline's and went out for a run.  During the first mile I felt like crap and considered cutting the run short (3 miles) but as the miles ticked away, and parts of me started to go numb, I felt better so I kept running.  For 5+ miles!
I think that's all I have for today... I'm determined to get back on track and lose these same 6 pounds that I've been battling for a few weeks.

How was your New Year?  Did you celebrate in a major way?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Fitness Goals

With the arrival of the new year it's time to think about what I'd like to accomplish this year from a fitness/health perspective.  So here we go ... these are listed in no particular order.


  1. Run a sub 30:00 5K - that'd shave 2:30 off my current PR!
  2. Run a half marathon - the whole thing.  
  3. Run 700 miles - I logged about 550 this year so 700 seems like a good increase
  4. Strength train more consistently - this is so important for half marathon training but it waxed/waned in 2012 so I want to be more consistent and build more upper body strength.
  5. Hit my goal weight - I am, again, not focusing on this because I don't want to feel like if I don't get to my goal weight that I've failed.
What are your goals for 2013?