Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Week 38 Weigh-In: The happiest gain I ever had

So yesterday, I was pretty discouraged.

I worked very hard since Thursday to shed any vacation weight I'd gained, but insanely the scale was going up, not down.

I woke up this morning and the first thing I thought was, Should I weigh myself here first?

First reaction was, No, but then I decided I didn't want to torture myself until 10 am. It's going to be a gain, why not know how big of a gain it will be?

I put on my weigh-in clothes and stepped on the scale. Yesterday, the scale went up (despite on-plan eating and lots of exercise) and I was looking at a +2.8 from my last WW weigh-in.

I heard the beep and looked down: 191.6

Exhale. OK, that's much better. Adjusted for the +.4 difference between the WW scale and my home scale, that's a +1.6 from my last WW weigh-in. A gain starting with a 1 is much better than one that starts with a 2 in my book.

Relieved, I got everyone packed up, in the van and off to school. I ran a quick errand before the meeting then drove over and had a happy reunion with Donna The Wonderful Receptionist.

"I'm going to be up," I warned her.

"That's OK," she replied.

Donna looked at the monitor, clicked her mouse and made a pffft sound.

"Just a speck," she said.

Wondering how big a "speck" was in Donnaland, I opened my weigh-in book. +.6!


I have no idea how I either lost 1 lb in 2 hours or how the differential between the two scales grew to 1lb. I don't care. Actually, if I really lost 1lb in 2 hrs, I do care about learning that secret, but I think it was the latter.

Color me very happy with a +.6. Next stop, the 180s!

Monday, May 30, 2011

In which I attempt to shed vacation weight

Going into vacation I decided: "Eat what you want, we'll get it off after."

Eating what you want when you're close to or at goal is a magical time. You look great and you can eat anything - a dream come true.

It's like, Wow, if I was a naturally skinny person with a nuclear metabolism, this is what life would be like.

But as I've found in the past, since I'm not that person, if I don't put a stop to that magical time, pretty soon I don't look great and my clothes are tight. And that causes me to continue to eat whatever I want, landing me right back where I started.

We flew home on a Wednesday and when I woke up Thursday, the larder was bare - on purpose. We needed a major shopping trip. You can see my fruit and veg haul above. I ate very little fruit or veg on vacation, and I was surprisingly jonesing for them when we got back.

I did have one moment of temptation in the grocery store. I was going by the ice cream aisle and for a split-second I thought: What if I extended my eating vacation for another day? Started tomorrow? Enjoyed today. With, you know, some ice cream. A lot of it.

But I wised up quickly. I've done this before and I'll start tomorrow turns into I'll start after the long weekend is over. That turns into panic on Monday night because I have weigh-in on Tuesday and that inevitably leads to me skipping weigh-in on Tuesday, which leads to a longer eating vacation, which leads to 282 lbs. No, thanks.

Since I ate so enthusiastically off-plan while away, I decided to work out every day when I returned. Normally, I'd work out Friday-Sunday-Monday, but since I had to jump start my body after 7 days off, I'd throw in a workout on Thursday and Saturday, too.

On Thursday, by the time I could work out I didn't have enough time for the gym, but I did have time for a run. So I went running. At 3 pm. It was sunny, 85 and I don't know, 128% humidity. Not a wise idea on my part, but I wanted to get a workout in.

Due to the weather, layoff and course I picked, it was very grueling. I didn't do myself any favors, that's for sure, but I got that run in.

Friday morning it was back to bootcamp and that 5 am alarm was tough. I snoozed it until 5:30 am, which means I had to jam to get dressed and over to the gym by 6 am. I had been thinking about weighing Friday, but since I overslept I had no time. Bootcamp was as challenging as ever, but like running I'm glad I got right back on the horse.

Saturday morning I woke up and decided to weigh myself. This is a cardinal rule I rarely break. But since I'd been away I needed a gauge of where I was at.

On my last WW weigh-in before we left, I put on my WI clothes and weighed in at home before the meeting so I would know the difference between the two scales. It turns out the WW scale weighs in .4 higher than my home scale.

So Saturday I put on my WI clothes after waking up and stepped on: 192.6, which would be 193 on the WW scale - a 2.2 gain. Not great, but not the worst. At least I knew where I stood. Later Saturday I went to the gym and did the elliptical for 50 minutes.

Sunday morning, I again put on my WI clothes and step on the scale: 192.6. Hmmm.

Now every day since Thursday I'm following all my best weigh-loss guidelines: staying within Points, more lean protein, fewer carbs, at least 5 fruits & veg, 100 oz of water a day and exercise. I'm a little perturbed there is no drop, but I've got 2 more days until weigh in.

After weighing Sunday, I went for my regular run, this time and nice and early so the weather wasn't so difficult.

Monday morning, WI clothes, step on scale. 193.4. WTF? +.8? Now I'm mad. I'm doing everything I can (and extra exercise?!?) and the scale's not only not moving, it's going up? Seriously, this is my No. 1 weight-loss nightmare: I do everything I can and nothing works.

This, by the way, is why I never weigh at home. I mentally can't handle the daily weight fluctuations. This got my day off to a not-great start.

Despite my disappointment, I head off to the gym for 45 minutes on the elliptical and continue to follow my eating plan for the day.

Weigh-in is tomorrow and I have no idea what will happen - not a great feeling.

In which I'm back from vacation

I'm back from Disney World and way behind on blogging.

Bear with me on the latter, as I have a lot I want to write about, but I may not be able to get it posted as quickly as I like. But we'll get there.

Now, from Sept. 7, 2010 until, May 17, 2011, I had been POP (perfectly on plan) when it came to Weight Watchers - 252 days.

On May 18, I went on vacation with the family to The Happiest (but not Healthiest) Place on Earth.

I decided before we went that I would enjoy this vacation, which meant no trips to the hotel gym or runs around the property (too hot). Plus, I knew there would be tons of walking involved, so I figured I was relatively set for activity. I wore my pedometer every day and over the 6 days we walked a total of 28.97 miles - an average of 4.8 miles per day.

As for eating, we were staying at Disney ("on property") and had paid for the Disney Dining Plan for each of us - 2 meals a day and a snack, per person. We did not rent a car, so we were stuck, eating-wise, with what Disney had to offer: a myriad of options, not many of which would ever be confused with Whole Foods. This meant I couldn't run to a grocery store and stock up on my staples. Therefore, I was eating without a net.

But, again, it was vacation time, and I wanted to loosen the reins a bit. I'll be WWing for the rest of my life, which hopefully will include more vacations. This would be good practice mixing off-plan eating with getting back on plan when I returned.

So while at Disney, I ate what I wanted. And it was good. There were cheeseburgers and sweets, french fries, ice cream and desserts - all of which I wouldn't normally touch at home. I tracked food for the first 3 days, but after that frankly, I was so off plan, it was moot.

Our first full day, I had a burger, which I hadn't eaten since September. I know I could eat a burger on WW, but honestly it's easier not to.

But on vacation, I really wanted one, so at Magic Kingdom I got a cheeseburger with bacon and an onion ring on top. It was awesome. Until about an hour later when my body was like, "What the *#&$ was that?"

I realized a few things over the course of the week:

  • I definitely felt more sluggish and off after eating foods higher in fat, sugar and salt. That didn't stop me, LOL, but I could feel a difference.

  • I couldn't eat as much as I used to. That's a good thing, it meant I physically couldn't binge. So while I wasn't eating all the time, when I did I made what I'll call "fantasy food" choices.

  • I really missed water. Water was expensive at the parks - $2.75 for a 20 oz bottle. For me to get my regular 100 oz a day was an expensive daily proposition. So I drank a lot of Diet Coke because A) I love it and B) it was cheaper and more plentiful as a fountain drink. But I really felt dehydrated quite a bit minus my regular water consumption.

    Pretty soon, our week was up and it was time to return home. I'll cover my returning challenges in another post, but I'll sum up the Disney experience with this:

    I've done Disney fat and I've done it fit.
    Fit is much, much easier and so much more enjoyable.

    I could fit in every ride without worry. I had so much more energy and stamina to tackle the walking, heat and crowds. I loved forcing my family into every group picture I could because I liked how I looked.

    Plus, seemingly everywhere I looked was an example of what it used to be like. Seriously, obesity was everywhere you looked at the parks. People struggling in the heat and humidity or using motorized scooters to get around.

    I don't want to come off as high and mighty when I write this because you will not confuse my body with Jillian Michaels'. And I still have more weight to lose. But it really was a sobering eye-opener.
  • Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Week 37 Weigh-In

    No weigh-in today. Out of state on vacation. Back next week!

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Week 36 Weigh-In

    Over the past two months my body has developed a distinct losing pattern: normal loss, normal loss, large loss, large loss.

    Given the past two weeks' losses were in the -1-ish range, I was anxious to see if I'd have a big drop this week.

    I stepped on Donna The Wonderful Receptionist's scale and held my breath (as usual). It seemed to take her a while to reply. She looked kinda confused, which I interpreted as bad news.

    "How do you do it?"

    "Do what?

    "How do you do it?" she said again. At this point, I knew it was a loss.

    "What's the number?" I almost pleaded.


    Well, hooray losing pattern.

    I passed the -90 mark and almost hit a new "decade" - the 180s. Almost.

    At -92, I can see -100 in the distance. The next big milestone.

    I recently came across my old WW records from my 2002-2003 trip to Lifetime. I didn't plot everything out (yet), but just from a glance I am losing faster than I did back then (and I was similarly dedicated and focused to the pursuit).

    So what's the difference now? I'm 7 years older and I've had three kids. If anything, I thought losing would be slower.

    My conclusion:

    1. The Points+ program has me eating better: more protein, more whole foods, fruits and veg. Fewer carbs and it's working well. In 2002-2003, I definitely know more of my daily Points were carb-y in nature.

    2. Strength training. Since I started bootcamp, the combo of Points+ and muscle building/toning has really aided my metabolism and fat burn. In 2002-2003, I dabbled with strength training, but it bored me to tears. I had yet (and still have not) developed the discipline to push myself through a traditional weight training workout or Nautilus circuit. But bootcamp is the most effective workout I've ever done (and I've done a variety, believe me). This is not to say bootcamp is the only way to build muscle. Absolutely not. But it's the best way for me.

    So, overall, a kick-ass week. Ran the 5K. Passed -90 lbs lost. Time well spent!

    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    Race Report: SFFD 5K

    Today was my first 5K since 2003, and it was almost anticlimactic.


    Two weeks ago I decided to venture out and try the course ahead of time, and it marked the first time I ran a 5K straight. That was a big day, a great achievement.

    Today was almost an afterthought, think the Gold Medal hockey game against the Swedes in the 1980 Olympics after the US beat the Russians in the semis. Like that Gold Medal game in Lake Placid, I still had unfinished business.

    I got to the event early to pick up my number and the running conditions were nearly perfect: mid-50s and cloudy. Unfortunately, also featured was 90% humidity, but I'll take that over blazing sun or steamy temps.

    I hung out in the car and listened to the radio, and with 10 minutes to go started walking around to Lady Gaga, The Who and Metallica (there's a dinner party) to warm up.

    I queued up in front of the walkers and soon we were off.

    As I have in the past, I went out way too fast in the first quarter mile, running on adrenaline and the vibes of hundreds of other runners. As we made the first turn, I told myself Slow down, run your race.

    I downshifted into my familiar shuffle stride and settled in along a route I knew very well. I knew where it got challenging and I knew where it relaxed, so I could pace myself accordingly, jamming along with Queen along the way.

    At 1.5 miles we faced the first big hill, but I'd run it twice, so I relaxed and took my time. Once over the hill there was a water stop, then quickly we were 2 miles down and headed for the second steep hill. I mentally talked myself through it, noting that once I was over it, it was a straight shot to The Dead Putnams and then the finish.

    An explanation: Just over the 3-mile mark the course passes the 18-century Putnam Cemetery, appropriately full of dead people with the last name Putnam. Making it to The Dead Putnams was an important milestone in every run. I think it will become my shorthand for "almost at the finish."

    Anyway, soon it was Dead Putnam time. I had one last turn to the main road, then the turn into the finish. Unfortunately, I could not find my heart-rate monitor watch/receiver before the race, so I had no idea of time, but I figured I'd make it in less than 45 minutes.

    When I made the final turn I spied my friend Kristin, who fortuitously for me was at the race and graciously offered to snap some pictures. Thanks Kristin!

    I saw the 5K finish corral and the clock: 43:00. So not only would I finish, I'd get in under 45 minutes, my best time yet on this course.

    I crossed the finish line to several volunteers, cheering and clapping. They had no idea what the finish meant to me, so their cheering and clapping was even more appreciated than they knew.

    I really like racing. Races are challenging and a little scary. And for me, that's a good thing. Because when something is easy and I'm complacent, I'll eventually weigh 282 lbs.

    The only thing I don't like about racing is I'm slow. And I figure I'll always be slow. But as I read once, "I may be slow, but I'm running faster than everyone sitting on the couch."

    I may be slow, but I'll always finish.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Week 35 Weigh-In

    Tuesday mornings are one of my favorite times of the week.

    I get to sleep in, no workout on Tuesdays. Two of my three children are in school until 1 pm. I find out how I fared weigh-in-wise. I have a clean slate ahead. I go grocery shopping with only one child. And I get to eat sushi.

    Unfortunately, my youngest woke up vomiting this morning, so there went my idyllic morning - and sushi.

    After school drop-off, my patient seemed OK enough to brave the 15-minute ride to the WW Center. Luckily, no one was in line, so I got in and out quickly. -1.8 this morning, bringing me just 1.6 lbs away from my next goal: -90.

    I also lost a point off my Daily Points Allowance, bringing it to the minimum of 29. The bad news: I only have 29 Points a day. Good news? I won't be losing any more Points. Better news: When I decide to stop losing and maintain, I get 6 Points back!

    This week brought several NSVs as well:

  • Bought a new pair of running tights, Women's(!) L - and they fit great. I love, love, love losing that X in front of the L.

  • Tried on a pair of Size 14 jeans my friend gave me - and they fit. And zipped! Not sure I could sit down in them yet, but even zipping is a big victory. When she gave them to me a couple of months ago, I couldn't even get them past my thighs. I've been trying them on once a month to see what progress I'm making.

  • I finally put my winter vest away. When I bought it in February, it zipped, but was pretty tight. Tried it on yesterday before tucking it away for the season and it's loose.
  • Monday, May 9, 2011

    In which it was a Happy Mother's Day

    Yesterday was my 6th Mother's Day and at last I got the gift I've always wanted: A photo with the kids in which I liked how I looked.

    I realized today I don't have any Mother's Day photos with my children - my choice - because of how I looked. That's pretty damn sad.

    But have things really changed since last Mother's Day.

    I slept in a bit, woke up and went for a run in prep for next week's race. I ran the race route again and while my time was still the same (slow), it seemed to go faster in my head, which was nice.

    I came home, was honored by the kids and then we all set off for Six Flags New England. The whole family loves amusement parks and heading out was my idea. It was a beautiful day, what a fun way to spend it.

    It was also my first trip to a amusement park since rejoining WW last September, but I had a plan. I packed my own lunch, which worked perfectly. I did enjoy an ice cream cone and it was good.

    We walked a ton, but when we got home I realized: I wasn't super tired like I used to be. It was hot and sunny out, but I wasn't sweaty and sticky like I used to be. My feet weren't killing me, like they used to be.

    Typing of Used-To-Bes, I tried to find an old photo of me and the kids on Mother's Day, and I just don't have them. But I did find a picture of all of us, and my good friend Judi, from March 2010, just 14 months ago.

    Bootcamp Week 5 Wrap-up: And 1

    I usually post the wrap-up on Fridays, but this week it was delayed a few days because I added a third class...temporarily.

    I'm going to miss a few Wed/Fri classes this month, so I decided to try and make them up ahead of time. My schedule's pretty tight, but I was able to add a 7:30 pm Monday class.

    This seemed like a really good idea at 7 am last Friday. But by 6 pm Monday, after a full day of mothering and associated duties, I wasn't as excited.

    I was unsure of how I'd like pm bootcamp. Yes, 6 am bootcamp is early, but at least it's done and over with by 7 am. Today, all day, You have bootcamp tonight...You have bootcamp tonight...You have bootcamp tonight was coursing through my head.

    I'm not a fan of having a workout looming over me as this giant To-do all day. Also, switching my workout to the evening meant no metabolism-boosting blast-off to the day. On the other hand, that also meant no 5 am alarm, which was nice.

    And there were the eating/scheduling logistics. By the time I had to eat dinner (wanting to avoid class on a full stomach), I was still kinda full from lunch.

    Anyway, I went. I'm used to being in the first class of the day, so to come in and watch the tail end of another class, people going through the workout headed my way in a few minutes, was interesting.

    But class tonight was good. One of the intervals was one of my favorite exercises - the bag chop, aka, beating the heavy bag with a bat. This week also featured some of my least favorite, such as the jump lunge. I don't like to jump and I don't like to lunge (think knees), so the jump lunge is the worst of both worlds. Then tonight we had the push-up walk, which was really difficult. But, I figure, next time I'll be a little bit better at it.

    Overall, it was a good week of classes. I realized tonight that when I run, I'm still slow, but my right-hip is pain-free. It must be due to all the strength training and muscle-building at bootcamp.

    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    In which I enjoy really ugly shoes

    You'd be hard-pressed to find a shoe uglier than a Croc, but lookee here, it's Vibram FiveFingers.

    I've been contemplating a pair for a while and finally pulled the trigger this week. A close friend and veteran runner loves them and swears that just from wearing in them in everyday life they have strengthened his tweaky knee and other deficient leg parts.

    I love the idea of wearing shoes that strengthen your legs just with normal wear. I had a pair of Sketchers Shape-Ups, but my left arch was sore every time I wore them (and I had no pre-existing foot issues). That was a bummer, too, because they were super cute.

    My Vibrams, not so much. They look like a cross between monkey feet and Hobbit feet. But, man, are they comfortable. I'm a big barefoot fan, but I would never go barefoot one inch outside of my driveway, not to mention in a grocery store (shudder).

    Wearing the Vibrams, it's like walking barefoot but without the worries of stepping on a sharp rock, wet grass or something else disgusting or dangerous.

    But, what are the benefits, other than looking like a freak? Click here, they explain it better than I could.

    Many people are starting to run in them, but I have no desire for that...yet. Hell, running is challenging enough for me in high-tech running shoes, I can't imagine running these...yet.

    Maybe someday, but for now I have plenty of other hills to climb (literally and figuratively). For now I'll just enjoy them in everyday errand-running wear.

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    Week 34 Weigh-In

    Sorry I'm a day behind on my weekly weigh-in post. Laptop problems kept me offline yesterday.

    Lost 1 lb this week, very happy with that considering the large losses of the past two weeks.

    This week's loss puts me just a shade over 20 lbs away from Goal. But, my eyes are on the next prize - 90 lbs down, just 3.4 lbs away.

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    Recipe: Feta-Stuffed Chicken Breast

    This is one of those recipes that's so good you can serve it to civilians (non-WWers) and they'd never know it's healthy. It tastes much more sinful that it is, which is pretty rare.

    It was originally printed in the WW Ready-Set-Go! cookbook that came with the Points+ kit last fall.


    2 oz fat-free feta crumbled
    2 moist sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil), finely chopped
    4 large, fresh basil leaves chopped
    1/4t salt
    1/4t pepper
    1/4c panko
    4, 5-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    4t fat-free mayo

    1. Preheat oven to 425
    2. Mix feta, tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper in small bowl. Spread panko on sheet of wax paper.
    3. Cut 2.5-inch-long pocket in each chicken breast. Put 1/4 of mixture into pocket and press edges closed. Spread 1t mayo on top of breast and press into panko.
    4. Lightly spray crumbs with non-stick spray (I use I Can't Believe It's Not Butter). Bake for 25 minutes.

    Serves 4.

    Points+ = 4

    Notes: You can easily quarter this recipe and make 1 breast if you're dining solo. That's what I do. If I made all 4, I'd be tempted to eat more than my share.

    Sunday, May 1, 2011

    Sunday Runday: In which I run the whole damn thing

    I did it. I finally did it.

    I ran 3.1 miles straight, no walking, outside.

    I recently signed up for a 5K in the next town. There's a runners division and a walkers division, and I figured I could run/walk it at least. But I needed to attempt another 5K, now that I've been running outside and building up my road strength and endurance. I just had to convince myself and The Hater In My Head that I could do it.

    After last week's run around my neighborhood, I decided to run the race route this week. Practicing on the route would help prepare me and, most importantly, put my always-half-empty mind in check so I wouldn't be a wreck on race day.

    I got up this morning and it was gorgeous out: 55 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, flowers and trees blooming all over the place. Armed with the course printout, I first drove the route so I knew where I was going.

    Everything seemed pretty doable until about halfway through the drive and I see A Huge Hill. Seriously big. As I drove up the hill, The Hater In My Head was in full blast:

    I dunno, this hill is reaaaaaally steep.

    Maybe you could walk it.

    Are you sure this map is right? This seems like more than 3.1 miles.

    I tried not to listen and drove back to the race starting point, parked and set off on the course.

    The course was beautiful: scenic countryside, thick woods, rolling green hills, giant McMansions and an 18-century graveyard.

    Pretty soon I was surprised when I heard my Nike +iPod note, 1 kilometer completed. Already? All right.

    I got to the end of the longest road on the loop and heard, 2 kilometers completed. Nice! And, amazingly, my balky right hip felt fine.

    Going in I thought I would try to run 2K, then walk for about 10 minutes, then finish the course. But since I was already 2K in and felt great, I decided to keep running.

    Then I turned a corner and saw The Hill. I am a serious wimp about hills. Even a slight incline will cause me to hear klaxons in my head and think, Noooooo! But, I assure you, this was A Hill. If you look at my running graphic up top you can see exactly where it popped up.

    But, luckily, right at the base the Nike +iPod noted, Halfway point, 2.5 kilometers completed. Halfway point? Screw this hill, I am going up.

    Shortening my stride, slowing down and keeping my eyes steeled to the top of the hill, I thought about it:

    I have lost 85 lbs.

    I started C25K.

    I finished C25K.

    I started bootcamp.

    I finished bootcamp circuit testing.

    No hill is going to stop me anymore.

    I'm sick of being afraid of hills, literally and metaphorically. I am stronger than they are and I can conquer them.

    If losing weight has taught me anything over the past 8 months, it's that you can do anything you set your mind to. So I'm setting my mind, no hill is gonna stop me anymore.

    Like the Little Engine That Could, I slowly chugged up that hill. Freddie Mercury sang in my ears about "Radio GaGa" and I told myself, By the end of this song, you're over this hill.

    By the time "Radio GaGa" segued into "Under Pressure" (Queen, especially live Queen, is great running music), I was over the hill and heard 3 kilometers completed.

    Then it hit me, I am running this whole thing. I can do it.

    There was another significant hill in the last 2K, but compared to the first it wasn't that bad. I kept running and felt smooth and compact. My stride was good, breathing was fine and my hip didn't hurt.

    Soon I was on the home stretch and as the I heard 400 yards remaining, 300 yards remaining, I was so happy. I did it, I really did. What started on Dec. 30 has progressed, finally, to this.

    I overcame my fears of running outside (because running outside is hard and this event), stuck to it and have made it this far.

    When I came home, my kids wanted to know where I was. Running, I answered. "Did you win?" they asked.

    I told them it wasn't that kind of run, but the more I think about it, yes, I did.