Sunday, January 30, 2011

In which I have a great run

C25K Week 4, Day 2 and I had the best run of my very short running career.

I got 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep last night and I got to the gym 2 hours later than normal. I not sure if those were the deciding factors of awesomeness, but they sure helped. This week, I'm running more than walking, and today I felt super smooth and strong.

I think slowing down the speed on the treadmill helped a lot, too.

It was the first run in which I felt at the end, "That's it? I'm done. I want to run more." But I know running too far and/or too fast while getting your body up to speed greatly increases the risk of injury, which I want to avoid at all costs. So, I stopped, very happy with the time spent.

I can't believe it, but I'm actually looking forward to my next run day, Wednesday. However, as is the norm so far this year, a snowstorm is predicted for Wednesday, so next run day may not be until, sniff, Friday.

Friday, January 28, 2011

C25K Week 4, Day 1: Yeehaw

I stepped on the treadmill today relatively nervous: It would be the first workout where I ran (and for longer periods) more than I walked. Could I do it and make it through the workout?

Every time I go to the gym to run, I experience self-doubt. Sometimes it's top of mind (like today) and sometimes it's there, hiding in the back. I worry: Will this be the day I fail? That sounds pretty depressing, but after a lifetime of not moving much and weighing a lot, it's ingrained when it comes to most physical activity. It will take quite a while to get over that, and I know I will, but for now I still have to beat it back.

Anyway, I warmed up this morning and then looked at the run/walk intervals (which were switched up so much from previous weeks I had to write them down on a Post-It note and surreptitiously sneak it on the console so I wouldn't screw it up).

The lineup for this week:

Run 3 minutes.
Walk 90 seconds.
Run 5 minutes.
Walk 2.5 minutes.
Run 3 minutes.
Walk 90 seconds.
Run 5 minutes.

My warmup was over and it was time to run. Before I knew it, 3 minutes was up. The 90 seconds passed quickly, then it was time for a 5-minute run. Soon, that was over and I felt pretty good. I followed the rest of the schedule and I sooner than I expected, the workout was over. I could do it, and I didn't fall off the treadmill (always a concern).

I also dialed back the speed on the treadmill to between 3.5 and 3.8. Still glacierally-slow, but I ran smooth and controlled. I can work on speed later.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

C25K Week 3 Roundup: Is 9 weeks enough?

Just finished Week 3 and the ability to un a 5K, even slowly, seems far away.

My workouts were decent this week, but nothing great. However, that's just the nature of running, I would guess, it's not always (or rarely?) perfect. I did get one of the nagging annoyances solved: What speed do I dial up on the treadmill? I found Coach Jenny Hadfield on Facebook, where she answers running questions, especially from newbies. I asked her my speed question and she advised to use the talk test: If I can't talk while running, it's too fast. I'll give that a try on the next run.

Onto Week 4, which will be a big one. In Week 4, for the first time I'll be running more than walking, and for longer intervals (3 minutes straight, 5 minutes straight, both twice).

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Week 20: Weigh-In

This one was a big surprise.

After 2 weeks of losing 3 lbs each, I fully expected this to be a -1.x week. That's usually how it goes: big loss, smaller loss. But the past 2 weeks have been surprising in that I had 2 big consecutive losses, so there's no way this one will be anything big.

Happily, I was wrong, -2, getting me past another 5 lbs down for a total of 55 lost. You would think after all my WIs at WW over the years, I would stop trying to predict an exact loss. I'm attributing the big losses to the gym workouts and eating (but not overeating) more whole foods, fruits and vegetables, thanks to Points+.

For the 4 weeks I've been doing C25K, I'm down -10.2 - that's huge for me.

OK, next week, I am expecting -1.x, but Weight Loss Gods, feel free to give with both hands.

Monday, January 24, 2011

In which I wonder, 'Is this really me?'

If, even a few months ago, you had told me, "You'll soon be getting up at 5:15 am four times a week to run at the gym." I would have asked if you wanted another drink.

And now, here I am, willingly getting up at 5:15 am on a Monday, in the pitch black of a January predawn, in below-zero temps to work out.

I'm not trying to break my hand patting myself on the back, but this is so alien for me. And weirder still, I don't mind.

Friday, January 21, 2011

In which there is water, water everywhere

When I restarted WW, I decided to buck my Type A personality and not try to be perfect.

Instead of doing everything perfectly from Day 1 (eating within Points range, 5 fruits & veg a day, 48oz of water a day, regular exercise, 2 healthy oils daily, etc), I decided to do one thing, do it well, then add another. I was concerned that trying to do it all perfectly would burn me out and give me reason to quit.

So, for the first month my only real goal was to eat within my Points. After a month, I added regular exercise (4x week) to boost my losses. A few weeks after that, I concentrated on getting in my 5 servings of fruits and veg (this is a lot easier now with Points+).

The last big thing I had yet to incorporate was water. I'm not a big water fan and for the longest time I'd choke down watered down Crystal Light to get it in.

But, over the past few weeks, I've been putting water way like it's nobody's business - a good 80+oz a day - with little effort. Working out regularly helps, it's easy to drink 32 oz in a 45- to 60-minute workout.

I'm very encouraged that my (nontraditional for me) patient approach is working.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Week 19 Weigh-In: Worth the Wait

So, I tragically missed my usual Tuesday 10 am weigh-in due to a snowstorm.

This morning, the roads cleared and even though I had all the kids home from preschool due to a delayed opening, I would not be delayed again. Plus, I was starving (I don't eat or drink before weigh-in, so punctuality is important to my mood).

My favorite receptionist, Donna The Wonderful, was at her station - a nice bonus as I don't know her schedule aside from my meeting. A different leader was there and when Donna and I started talking, she introduced herself. Before I could introduce myself, Donna pipes in, "This is one of our superstars." That felt nice.

"How much weight have you lost?" the leader asked.

As I stood as still as I could on the scale, I replied, "We'll find out..."

The extra day was worth the aggravation, I lost 3.4 lbs. I was very surprised as I lost 3 last week and rarely follow a big loss up with another one. But, I'll take it, especially since I reached my next mini-goal, entering the 220s. Next goal, 55 lbs down, which is 1.2 lbs away.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Week 19 Weigh In: Delayed

For the first time in early 5 months, I missed a Tuesday weigh-in.

An ill-timed snowstorm makes the 15-minute commute to the WW Center a bit too dangerous today.

I'm a little crabby about it because I want to see how much I lost and when it comes to weight loss, I am a creature of habit. I like my schedule and I know what works, and having a monkey wrench thrown in at the last second is an inconvenience and puts me off my schedule.

I sound like a big baby in the previous sentence, but it's true. Like many serious losers, I put a lot of mental and physical sweat into my week and I don't like delayed gratification. Again, sounding like a whiny baby.

Anyway, I will try like hell to weigh in tomorrow. There may be some residual snow or freezing rain that may make the commute tough, but I'm hoping by 9:30 am (when the center opens) the roads will be safe.

This better be a good WI!

Monday, January 17, 2011

In which I become a morning person

One of the fun things about weight loss (there are a few) is there are a lot of everyday little firsts that encourage you along the way.

The first time you go out to dinner on the program and make good choices. The first time you try a new workout and get through it. The first time you get a compliment on your weight loss.

This morning I experienced a new first: I woke up before the alarm, 4:59 am. I cannot tell you when I've ever done that side of 5 am voluntarily.

My alarm usually goes off at 5:30 am on gym days, but this morning I was rested and alert at 4:59, so up I got. One of the advantages of a 24-hour gym: You can get a very early start if you want.

I left the house in the frigid, pitch black. It was 13 degrees, a Monday and, technically, a holiday (although my job recognizes none). And here I was, voluntarily heading to work out. The times, they truly are a-changin'.

C25K Week 3 doesn't start until Wednesday, so today was an elliptical day. My ernest efforts at working out early paid off as I had the best elliptical workout yet. I felt strong and powerful, and really cranked.

It was wonderful to be home, showered and eating breakfast by 7 am with the whole day ahead. I fear I may be turning into a morning person.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

C25K Week 2 Roundup: Getting there

After Week 1 there was a bit of soreness here and there, mostly in my shins.

But here I am at the end of Week 2 and I feel pretty good. No next-day soreness and my shins feel normal. I attribute it to really warming up and cooling down slowly.

C25K calls for 5 mins of each, but I extended it out to 10 mins because A) I'm 40 and B) Overweight. Extra time at each isn't a bad idea, in my book.

The Week 2 routine was running for 90 seconds, then walking for 2 minutes. On Friday, I almost felt fast (for me).

My only complaint is when I stretch after my hips are still ridiculously tight. After carrying 3 kids, you would think they would have loosened up, but not so. Or at least not after running. However I take time to really stretch out my hips and legs (as much as I can) after.

This is the first week I've been running with a heart rate monitor and I like it. It breaks down how much time I spend in the fat burning and fitness zones, depending on where my heart rate is at. Currently, anything more than a fast walk puts me into the fitness zone, which is OK by me. The HRM has been really helpful ensuring my heart rate doesn't get into a dangerous level.

This was also the first week running with my new shoes and running socks. They also made a big difference.

Next week, a big jump:

* Run 90 seconds.
* Walk 90 seconds.
* Run 3 minutes.
* Walk 3 minutes.

Repeat once.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

In which I discover a new favorite breakfast

Since I restarted WW last September I've been having some type of protein bar for breakfast, usually a Luna Protein Bar.

But under Points+, what used to be 3 (Cookie Dough) or 4 Points (Chocolate Cherry Almond) are now 5, and a not-super satisfying 5 at that.

Recently I started eating single-serving (6oz) fruit-flavored Chobani for breakfast, too, and it's delicious. But it's also not as satisfying as I'd like for the 4 Points I spend. I wish I liked oatmeal, that would solve the problem.

Anyway, I recently read a tip I should have thought of long ago - get plain Chobani and add my own 0 Point fruit. I got a tub of plain Chobani and 8oz is only 3 Points. I can add a cup of any fruit I like for 0. Yesterday I added a cup of raspberries and it was great. 8 oz is a lot of yogurt.

Today I added a 1/2 cup of Kashi Go Lean Crunch for a little texture. It only added 2.5 Points, for a total of 5.5. Excellent Points value. This will be a go-to breakfast for quite a while.

Friday, January 14, 2011

In which I say, 'TGIFriday morning'

Continuing Week 2 of C25K this morning.

Had my best run of this training, so far. Sped the treadmill up to 4.0 for several of the running sessions and felt in control and on top of the pace. Of course, I didn't waste time when the 90 seconds was up to decrease the pace and get my heart rate down a bit.

It's the first run where I've felt, dare I say, fast and strong.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

In which I revisit egg whites

When I'm losing weight, I ride the hot hand: If I find a food I enjoy and is a good Points value, I eat it until I'm sick of it.

Egg white omelettes definitely fell into this category as I ate them every day when I rejoined in September up through about Halloween. They taste good, they're filling, they're easy to make and you get a pile of food for relatively few Points. A good deal.

I took a break for a while after I, naturally, was sick of them. But now, about 8 weeks later, here I am jonesing for them again.

I usually threw together 3 egg whites (3 Points), 3 oz of Hillshire Farms Low Sodium Honey Ham (3 pts), a pile of onions and red peppers (0 Points). This time, I'm keeping the ham and peppers, but added scallions (a new-found love and 0 Points) and 1T of shredded pecorino-romano cheese (1 Point).

Above is a photo of the ham, peppers and scallions in action. My "omelettes" look like roadkill in the end stage. Sharing a picture would not convince anyone to eat one.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In which I note, 'Boo, blizzard'

I normally don't mind snow, or even a big storm, because I grew up in Massachusetts and have lived in New England my whole life. Snow is part of the deal, especially in January. If you don't like it, go West.

But this year I am minding the snow because for the second time in a week, a storm has kept me from getting to the gym in the morning. It's putting me behind on C25K. Grouchy.

In which I enjoy a 'normal' dinner

One of the many things I love about Weight Watchers is you can live the program and not feel like you're on a "diet."

It's said over and over again, and it's true: It's a lifestyle, not a diet.

Last night I went out to dinner with friends at a Japanese teppanyaki restaurant.I love teppanyaki and I hadn't had it forever. It was great to go out and enjoy the whole meal without guilt, knowing I had 49 Weekly Extra Points in my back pocket for that very reason. I had filet mignon and shrimp teppanyaki, with white rice and a salad.

No idea how to count it, other than I need to stay within my Daily Point Range for the rest of the week (and drink lots of water).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Week 18: Weigh In

A good minute on the scale makes your entire week.

Scary, but true.

Had good workouts and eating this week and when I hit the scale it was great, -3. A nice, big loss to bring me to a big milestone, -50 (-50.4 to be exact).

I didn't expect to hit it this week, but I'm very happy to take it. Got my 50lb charm to add to the keychain. Next stop, that 75lb charm!

Celebrated after with my traditional Tuesday sushi.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In which I survive a Bucket of Danger

My Dad, God love him, visited us recently and brought the kids a "Candy Cookie Bucket."

He's always bringing the kids junk, but that's what Grandpas do and I'm fine with that. Usually it's candy or individual cookies, but a bucket?

Good Lord, that's akin to bringing your junkie daughter a bucket of crack and a dirty needle.

Seriously, Dad. A bucket? Stick with the individual cookies.

Of course, I had to check the NI on the bucket. 4 Points per cookie. Decided it wasn't worth it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Recipe: Easy Fried Rice

WW posted this on Facebook and am I glad they did.

I'm a big fried rice fan and it looked easy. Not only was it easy, it was delicious and made a lot to freeze for later.

Easy Fried Rice

2 sprays cooking spray
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1C carrots, shredded
1C scallions, sliced
3C cooked white rice
1/2C frozen peas, thawed (I bumped up to 1C, I love peas)
1/4 low-sodium soy sauce, or to taste (I went down to 1/8C)

Coat a large, nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Warm over medium-high heat and add eggs, tilt pan so eggs cover bottom.

When eggs start to set, break them up into pieces. Cook until eggs are cooked through, about 1 minute more. Remove eggs and set aside.

Recoat same skillet with cooking spray; set over medium high heat. Add carrots and all but 2T of scallions; saute until carrots are crisp-tender, about 2-3 minutes.

Stir in cooked rice, peas and soy sauce. Cook until heated through. about 1 minute. Gently stir in cooked egg and remaining scallions.

Serves 6, 3/4 C per serving.

4 Points per serving.

Notes: I left the egg out as I'm not a fan of it in rice. Instead of cooking spray, used 1t canola oil. I also reduced the soy sauce - 1/8C was plenty for me.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Recipe: Broccoli and Sausage Casserole

This recipe was featured in the WW Weekly meeting handout recently.

It caught my eye because it called for sausage, cheese and real Italian bread (and a lot of it).

Gave it a whirl and it's very good.

Broccoli and Sausage Casserole

12 oz loaf Italian bread, unsliced
1 lg garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1 lg red onion, cut into thin wedges
4C broccoli florets (you could easily add another 2 cups if you like broccoli)
1t olive oil
12 oz raw turkey sausage, sweet Italian variety (I used 1 package of Trader Joe's Sweet Italian Chicken sausage)
1/2C canned chicken broth
1/2t salt
1/2t pepper
1/4 crushed red pepper flakes
3/4C low-fat, shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400.

Slice bread lengthwise and rub insides with garlic cloves. Place bread, open faced, on one side of a baking sheet; spread onion on other side. Place broccoli on another baking sheet. Coat vegetables and bread with cooking spray. Bake until broccoli is tender, flipping bread over and stirring vegetables halfway through, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove pans from oven and cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes, reduce oven temp to 350.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet (it's a lot of food, I used a wok). Cook sausage, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add broccoli, onion, bread, broth, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.

Coat a 9-inch sq baking dish with spray and spoon 3 cups broccoli mixture into the dish. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Top with remaining broccoli mixture, sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake about 30 minutes.

Slice into 8 pieces and serve. 1 piece = 6 pts.

I thought 8 servings were very small, so I cut the whole thing into quarters and doubled Points. The only drawback on this recipe is the prep takes a little bit of time, but it's worth it. It freezes and reheats wonderfully.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

C25K Week 1: Ow, my shins

The main reason I joined a gym was to get treadmill access.

I decided to do C25K again and since it's January in Massachusetts, I wasn't up for running in the snow, ice and cold. Actually, I'm not up for running, period, but I am up for what it does for my weight loss and body, and how I feel afterward.

When I was heading toward WW Lifetime in 2003, I started running, for the first time in my life. I made it through C25K and actually ran a few races. Like, below:

Week 1 is in the books and I tell you, a 5K seems a long way away. However, I made it through C25K before and I know it can be done.

The program calls for 5 minutes for warm up and cool down, but I've extended it out to 10 minutes on each side to prevent injury as much as I can. Week 1 calls for 60 seconds running, 90 seconds walking. Repeat for 20 minutes.

After the first week I realize I need:

  • New running shoes. I'm using my old pair (in my closet since 2003) and they're old. I'm hoping to hit Marathon Sports this week.
  • Running socks. I used to run in Thorlos, which are padded at the heel and front of the foot to absorb shock, and wick away moisture. I need good running socks again, also at Marathon.
  • Better running attire. My old yoga/workout paints, which turned into everyday wear, aren't cutting it. I need something tighter in the pants department so I don't feel like I'm jiggling all over the place (even though I am). I'll head to Target, their Champion line is decent and affordable. I also need a wicking T-shirt. The cotton ones are too heavy and sweaty post workout.

    Now, onto Week 2, the start of which will be delayed by about 5 days because my husband is out of town and I won't be able to get to the gym. I'm not too disappointed because I think the rest will be good for my probably-shocked body.
  • Week 17: Weigh In

    WW was hoppin' today, as you would suspect. But, the weigh-in line wasn't too long as there were, thankfully, two receptionists.

    I superstitiously stuck with Donna The Wonderful, whom I love. -1.8 for a total of -47.4. Getting very close to my next goal, -50.

    I counted 18 new members and only 3 of us oldies.

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    In which I start striding

    Experienced a new first today, the elliptical machine.

    As usual, my only goal in trying something new in fitness is to not fall off the machine. Mission accomplished!

    But I had a pretty good time on it. It was challenging, but easy on the joints. I used the upper body handlebars (I doubt they're really called that, but you know what I mean) for about 5 minutes, but my heart rate was getting way too high. I shut the handlebars (see, the term does work) off and jammed for another 40 minutes on low levels.

    It was a very good workout and a nice complement to running. I'll make this a staple of my off-running-day workout.

    The title of this post comes from the directions on the elliptical display before you start. It's good to read that and follow the directions for starting up or you'll look like a loser and stand still on the pedals pushing the buttons repeatedly to try to get it to turn on. Or, so I'm told...