Sunday, July 31, 2011

In which I run 4 miles

July 31 is one of the greatest days of my life.

Two years ago today I was blessed with a spinal tap, and shortly thereafter, our youngest child. She's come a long way the past 24 months and so have I in the past 12.

This morning was a pretty good day, too. My 10K training plan called for my longest run yet - 4 miles. All week long it's been in the back of my head 4 miles on Sunday...4 miles on Sunday...

Heretofore the most I've run was 3.1, so this would be a jump, but I figured, if you can run 3, you can run 4.

I set myself up for success in several ways:

1. I picked a new route. My usual around-the-neighborhood route is 3 miles. I didn't want to get to the end and think Ugh, I have another mile to go. Instead, I thought a new route would be fun.

2. I picked a flat route. I didn't want to combine increasing my distance and running hills - at least not today.

3. I made a new playlist. I've been running on the same playlist for a few weeks and it was getting stale. Time to shake it up.

All that done, the run went very well. I got out nice and early and the weather was super: high 60s, sunny and dry. I ran through my little town's main drag. I saw people heading into Mass, smelled the bakeries and diners as they fired up breakfast and goodies for the day. I rarely walk through "downtown", so to experience it on foot was much different and more interesting than my normal route of trees, hills and roadkill.

Surprisingly, the run went pretty fast. I got to 3 miles and looped around for the 1 mile back to my car. By the time I got to 4 miles, I felt I could have run longer if I had to, and that was encouraging.

This morning was also my first run in my new shoes. My left heel has been bothering me for the past week, but I couldn't figure out what I did. I thought possibly the last month of training was taking its toll, but my heel didn't hurt when I ran, it was just sore after. I know I don't heel-strike when I run, so I wasn't sure what was up.

But yesterday I wore one of my newer pair of sneakers and my heel felt much better. Then it hit me: I bet my running shoes are breaking down. I've had them since January, I was due for a new pair.

I went to my local running store and picked up another pair of Asics (Foundation). I put them on and my heel felt a lot better.

I should have known it was meant to be when I spied the shoebox and saw my racing nickname there in black and white:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gear: SPI Belt

Peruse any running sites or blogs and it seems as if everyone is wearing a SPIbelt. Because no one wants to run holding their phone and keys.

Basically, it's a fanny pack for people in motion - runners, walkers, cyclists, etc., but much more incognito than the embarrassing pack de fanny.

The SPIbelt (Small Personal Item) looks like a banana hammock with a buckle. It's so small your first thought may be, "No way can that hold much."

But it stretches like crazy, so there's much more room than you think. Not only can it fit your phone and keys, but it also can also cram much more. During once race I had it loaded with my phone, keys, point-and-shoot camera and a $10 bill. And there was room to spare.

In my opinion, what's most amazing about the SPI is it stays in place - there is absolutely no shifting once you strap it on. And it's so secure, whatever's in it makes no noise. No rhythmic shicka-shicka of your keys jangling around. No feeling your phone bopping from hip to hip. Any time I run outside I wear my SPI with my phone inside. And almost every time, by the end of the run, I forget I have it on.

After my run this Thursday I laid down in the living room to stretch and the small of my back was killing me. WTF did I do? I sat up and realized, Duh, you forgot to take off your SPI belt, your phone is digging into your back.

If you're out and about without pockets or a jacket, check it out.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Food Of The Day: Shrimp Scampi

Flo sounded the bell on Gorton's new frozen shrimp, so I immediately headed out to find them.

As a big fan of shrimp and low-Point, easy meals, this was a slam dunk.

Luckily, I found both varieties (Classic Grilled and Scampi) at Super Wal-Mart and baked the latter tonight.

So delicious and only 6 Points+ for the whole bag (seen on the plate above). My house smelled awesome.

This would be wonderful in a variety of ways: with pasta, over rice, or as I oddly paired it, with sweet potato fries (4 Points+). Hey, I wanted a sweet potato.

I'll definitely be heading back to get another bag. This will be a regular staple.

This isn't a "diet" offering from Gorton's - and it certainly didn't taste like one - so you can serve this to any civilians and they'd love it, too.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Recipe: Grilled Romaine

I read about this on Flo's blog and my first reaction was:

We need to set up an intervention. She's grilling lettuce.

But then I read you add oil, salt and cheese. OK, now, I'm in. She's a genius.

I'm not a huge salad fan, so I don't eat many traditional salads. I feel like a cow grazing in the pasture, especially since nowadays I won't load it up with cheese, bacon, avocado and meat.

However, the idea of salty, cheesy greens, that sounded good.

This afternoon I cut a head of romaine in half, patted it dry with paper towels to absorb any moisture and Misto'd the cut side, adding a little kosher salt and pepper. I fired up the grill and after laying down some non-stick spray, placed the lettuce cut-side down over a medium-low (err on the low side) flame.

After 3 minutes or so, I Misto'd the top side with a little oil, salt and pepper, and turned that over to the flame. Now with the already-grilled side up, I added 14g of shredded Parmesan cheese (1.5 Points+, and 14g is more cheese than you think). I let the lettuce cook for a few more minutes and then took it off.

It is ridiculously good.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In which Month 1 of 10K training is in the books

My first month of 10K training is over.

I went from running 3.1 miles once a week to running 2-3 miles three times a week. This month, I make a big mileage jump and will run my longest distances yet: 4 miles starting this Sunday and 5 miles in a couple of weeks.

I really love the personalized Smart Coach training plan from Runners World. All the other 10K training plans I found were out of my league when it came to mileage required, pace or running days required. The Smart Coach program took into consideration my pace and how much I could train each week.

I also gave myself a ridiculous amount of time to prepare (15 weeks), so I get to ramp up my mileage slowly. For instance, the first month all my runs were 2 or 3 miles. It's not until the second month that I start running longer distances. Perfect. The last thing I want to do is get injured, so slow and steady mileage increases are perfect in my book.

Today was my first training day of Week 5 and due to scheduling stuff I had to run at night. I hate leaving a workout until evening.

I'm tired after my day and there are too many variables that can get in the way of actually getting the workout completed (fatigue, kids, husband delayed at work, etc). Tonight there was, get this, a tornado warning. Awesome.

I was pissed. I just wanted to get 3 miles in and there's a friggin' tornado warning. In Massachusetts. Again.

But the warning came and went without incident. The thunderstorms came and went. And by the time my husband got home from work, the skies were clear, the air was cool and I could indeed get that run in.

While it was storming and before the warning was lifted, I was weighing my options. If my house wasn't flying through the sky, but it was rainy out I could go to the gym and do the 3 miles on the treadmill. At least I would get them in, but I was disappointed as I wanted to get that run in outside.

Oh, how times have changed. Just a few months ago I never wanted to run outside because it was hard. And my glutes really hurt after an outside run. And what if I failed? Then I realized: What if I don't?

Bootcamp strengthened my glutes to the point they do not hurt anymore. And a random Sunday run outside became every run outside. I haven't been to the gym in months because I want to train outside. Why? Because I want to race.

So now I know the answer: If you don't fail, all of a sudden you're training for a 10K.

Week 46 Weigh-In: Closer, but still no cigar

My body has a very distinct losing pattern: small loss, small loss, small loss, big loss.

Oh, how I wish it were something more consistent in terms of larger numbers (vs tenths), but it is what it is. I cannot change the pattern, which even existed when I made Lifetime in 2003.

Long story short, I should just be thankful they're all losses.

So today would be Week 2 of small losses and it was true to fact, -.4. While I was disappointed I didn't get at least an even pound, I wasn't surprised and at least it's down. And it did move me from 178 to 177.6, so at least the third digit is different. In these desert weeks, I'll take anything.

However, 177.6 is still .6 shy of landing me in No-Pay Land when it comes to Weight Watchers. Maybe next week. Maybe not, regardless I will stay the course.

But, in trying move beyond just those pesky scale numbers, I reflected: What else went right this past week? I ran my fastest 5K yet. I'm enjoying wearing Size 12 capris. That's pretty damn great, so -.4 doesn't seem so bad after all.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Food Of The Day: Chicken Salad

I had 3.5 oz of leftover grilled chicken from dinner last night and a desire for chicken salad.


3.5 oz chicken (3.5 Points+), 7g light mayo (.5 P+), a Pepperidge Farm sandwich thin (2P+), 1 oz Baked Lays (3 P+, damn carbs).

I love grilled chicken for many reasons, two of which are its delicious leftoverness and its versatility. And, of course, low Points. OK, that's three reasons.

Before & Almost After Photos

My brain is still constantly churning over that picture the shirtless stranger took yesterday, so I dug up the only good Before photo I have.

It was taken May 1, 2010 - 4 months before I started Weight Watchers. I can assure you, if anything I only got larger between May 1 and Sept. 7, especially since I knew it was my "last hurrah" and I'd be WWing when the kids went back to school.

Then there's the FBI-like, dark-face but good body shot of yesterday.

I love that there's another guy changing in the background. There was a whole lot of stripping going on in that lot due to the rain. Which is another reason you shouldn't wear the race T in the race: If you get wet, you automatically have a dry shirt on hand.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Race Report: We Will Not Lay Down To Cancer 5K

What a crazy morning.

It had a great ending, but getting there was challenging.

But, let's start at the beginning. We'll get to that awesome picture later.

It's been smoking hot the past 2 days and today was supposed to be not as bad, but still very hot. I had been mentally preparing myself for a warm race, only to wake up at 7 am and see it was cloudy. And, not as hot. Both good.

Ate breakfast (2 Luna bars, lest you thought it was nutritious) and got dressed: running tights, tight white ladies' tank (to keep muffin-top jiggling to a minimum) and new white men's medium wicking shirt from Champion.

The latter was significant because A) Up until now I had only been running races in black (for obvious reasons) and B) The shirt was a medium. But I moved to white because it's summer and running in black is stupid, vanity be damned, and a medium because the large was too big (even though I loved how it covered my butt).

Then I got my gear together. I have a ridiculous amount of junk I wear or bring along when I run. I grabbed my running bag and tossed it in the car. Also plugged in the GPS, since the race was about 30 minutes away and I didn't know how to get there.

Said goodbye to the family, turned on and programmed the GPS, and headed off. Then the skies opened up. Torrential rain and thunder. Then, less than a mile after I pulled out of the driveway, the GPS just shut off, even though it was plugged into the AC adapter in the car. Turned it on again, programmed again. A minute later, shut off. Well, this is annoying.

I pulled over and manually reset it, usually that works on the rare occasions it's being weird. But, again, shut off after less than a minute. Called home and asked my husband for directions.

It stormed nearly all the way to the race, then let up. Yay. Parked, got my bib, came back to the car, geared up (hat, glasses, SPI belt, Garmin, Nano and headphones) then headed to the ladies room. 3 stalls, roughly 1 million women. I waited in line inside the high school and then here comes more rain. Downpour again.

After a loooong wait for the ladies (a race-day staple), I went outside and saw the rain let up. It was cool. Nice!

Soon it was time to line up, and as usual I huddled with the semi-elite elderly runners. Just before the start, torrential rain again, now with thunder. But, interestingly, not one moan of complaint. Except for the kids being pushed in running strollers. They were Not. Happy. Understandably. But everyone else took it in stride, literally, and took off. Guess there was no lighting or else I'm pretty sure they would not have started the race.

I crossed the start line, hit Start on the Garmin and play on the Nike+ app on my Nano. 25 yards later, my Nano is imploding: shuffling, fast-forwarding then shutting off. I'm freaking out, I run with music. It gets me though. How could I run just listening to the sound of my own labored breathing?

For the first three-tenths I'm running and frantically button-mashing the Nano (which has no buttons) trying to get it to work. It was raining so hard, the drops were hitting the screen and the Nano thought I was pushing the touch screen. Downpour, race start, no music. This sucks.

The Nano was wet and I was soaking, and I couldn't get any purchase on the screen to finger-swipe from the Nike+ app to just a straight playlist. Eventually I was able to dry off a finger and the Nano quickly enough (all while continuing to run) to get to a playlist, so I had music. But I had to cup the Nano in my hand for the rest of the race instead of clipping it to my collar like I normally do. By cupping it I could shield it from the rain and hopefully keep it from fracking up again.

The agita over the Nano situation made the first mile go rather quickly. I checked my Garmin and saw I was running at a pace about 2 minutes faster than normal. Too fast, so I tried to slow down and get into a rhythm.

The rain and thunder continued, and it was raining ridiculously hard. It didn't bother me, and it was actually fun. It had cooled significantly and despite being absolutely soaked, it was nice. I'm not a fan of wet socks and shoes, though, but I would still take running in a driving rain every day (and twice on Sunday) over hot and humid conditions.

Pretty soon we were at Mile 2 and a water station, which was kinda amusing given everyone was absolutely soaked to the bone. We looped around and soon were headed back. I looked at the Garmin. I could PR this. I could finish in under 40 minutes, a goal of mine. I finished the last race I ran in 40:14 and I had been hoping to get under 40. I could actually do it this time.

Two significant things happened in Mile 2. Around 2.5, the rain stopped. At 2.85 my Nano shut off and refused to turn on again. Well, I had to run the rest without music, but at least there was not a lot left. Soon up ahead I spotted one of those school zone traffic signs, which meant the finish was coming up. Then I spied the 3-mile mark.

I had been trying to reserve energy so I could sprint the last tenth once I got to 3 miles. Passed the sign and sped up. I turned the corner and there was the chute and the finish line. Looked at my watch, which just passed the 37-minute mark. Yes.

Went over the line at 37.27 according to my Garmin. We weren't chipped for this race, so no idea what the official time was.

I headed straight for the bottled water and sat on a big rock, trying to get my breath back to normal. And then it started to pour again. But I still didn't care. I finished and finished well. I could not get any wetter. Seriously, I have never been this drenched in my entire life because when it rains this hard, I tend to stay inside, not run around outside for 30+ minutes.

After 2 bottles of water I headed back to the car. I needed a picture of my drowned rat status and I needed to find someone to take it. Then I saw the guy parked next to me was changing. Perfect. I went to the car, grabbed the phone I wisely left in the dry car, set up the camera and asked shirtless neighbor to take my picture, striking my best Wonder Woman pose. Thank you shirtless stranger, you took the best picture of me ever.

Seriously, look at the daylight between those thighs. I should wear running tights everyday, everywhere. The lighting is not great, but I assure you, that's me.

Then I realized shirtless stranger was changing out of his wet shirt and into the nice, dry event shirt. Good idea. I did the same, leaving my tank on underneath, thankyouverymuch. And then I found a towel I always leave in my running bag. Yay, my good fortune continues, I could dry off a bit without soaking the car seat.

So, even though my electronics failed me, running in the rain was pretty great. Maybe not in November, but today, it was super.

Friday, July 22, 2011

In which it's 'only a 5K'

I'm running a race tomorrow, my first in about 6 weeks.

I wanted to run another sooner, but there were no area races that fit my ability and schedule until tomorrow.

I've been excited for this race for weeks, but given the recent weather conditions, it's going to be the hottest one I've raced in yet.

But, I'm taking it in stride and positive-talking lest I mentally DQ myself before I even toe the starting line.

Musing about it today, I thought, Hey, it's only a 5K.

I went on to another thought, but then my mind stopped. The sound effect would have been like a needle being pulled across a record (remember that noise, kids?).

It's only a 5K.

Holy crap, when did I evolve into a person who can honestly state that?

This time last year I weighed north of 280 lbs and walking a 5K was out of the question. Hell, walking up my stairs was like walking a 5K.

And now, 10 short months later, I can run a 5K and I'm training for a 10K. Whoa. I've lost 104 lbs and am in the best shape of my life. At nearly 41. And after 3 children. Whoa.

In a life where I live Point to Point, meal to meal and day to day, it's easy to forget the big picture. (And, as an aside, don't think Point to Point, meal to meal and day to day is a bad thing. For me, it's very positive and good.)

So even though no one is closer to my eating and exercise than me, it's very easy for me to lose context. I'm so preoccupied with my new body and fitness I forget that such a short time ago - not even a year - it was a completely, totally different reality.

Ten months is such a short period of time. With consistency and effort, you can do it, too. I know it seems like a long road ahead, but taking it Point to Point, meal to meal and day to day, you can do it. You can do anything.

If 10 months seems intimidating, try 3 months. Where you could be, what could you do in just 12 short weeks?

In which you should try a Misto

If you cook with olive oil often (say that three times fast), you need a Misto.

I grill (in the summer) and roast (in the winter) vegetables almost every day, and the Misto has been invaluable to add a little olive oil to the veg of the day.

Pump the cap several times and you've primed the pressurized sprayer, hit the nozzle and out comes a fine mist of oil.

But, 1t olive oil = 1 Points+, how do I determine how much I use and how do I count it if the oil is projected in a mist? OK, here's a secret: No idea and I don't.

I know, I know. And I count everything else, but since it's just a quick hit of oil, I let it slide. I've been using it for months and it hasn't shown up on the scale, so I think it's OK.

The Misto has been an incredibly valuable addition to my kitchen gear, right up there with my food scale when it comes to daily use. If you're a regular olive oil user and you want to go light, definitely get one.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Food Of The Day: Blue Cheese Bacon Burger

It was 113 degrees on my back porch this afternoon, so of course I decided: "I want a hamburger."

I basically ran out, lit the grill, threw the burger on and ran back in the house. Luckily, I didn't have to babysit the burger, so it wasn't that bad.

And it was worth it, big time. 3 oz 96% lean hamburger (3 Points+), Pepperidge Farm sandwich thin (2 Points+), 3 slices Oscar Meyer ready-cook bacon (2 Points+) and a wedge of Laughing Cow Blue Cheese (1 Points+). Sooo delicious, it probably doesn't look it thanks to my cruddy food photography, but it was.

And thus ends my week-long salute to bacon as I am out of bacon. If I bought another box, I would continue to eat it every day, which is probably not a good idea, therefore I abstained at the grocery store tonight. But, next week...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Food Of The Day: Green Beans & Bacon

Seriously, is there anything bacon cannot improve?

I need to remember to add bacon to more food.

I've been approaching this from the wrong angle. Instead of thinking, Should I add bacon to this? I should go with: Why shouldn't I add bacon to this?

My friend Flo recently noted she sauteed some fresh green beans in EVOO and bacon, and some other ingredients I can't remember now because my mind was too preoccupied with She added bacon!

So today I roasted some green beans under a mist of EVOO, added a little kosher salt and 3 slices of Oscar Meyer precooked bacon (2 Points+). So good.

It's such a great idea. Except if you're a vegetarian, then unfortunately there's nothing to see here.

Low-Point snacks to curb chocolate cravings

I'm not actually hungry mid-afternoon, but that doesn't stop me from wanting a little chocolate something to get me through until dinner.

Here are a couple low-Point favorites:

Fiber One just came out with these brownies in Chocolate Fudge (good) and Chocolate Peanut Butter (very good). 2 Points+ each, they're a good snack. In my local grocery stores, they're stocked in the cereal aisle.

Weight Watchers has been pairing with Whitman's for years to make low-Point candy. They offer peanut butter cups, chocolate covered peppermint patties, English toffee and my favorite, the Turtle-like pecan crowns. The crowns are only 1 Point, a good deal.

I limit myself to a max of 1 a day. If I let myself eat more, the whole bag would be gone. For me they're not trigger-food dangerous, so I can handle them in moderation without too much temptation.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Week 45 Weigh-In

Uneventful, boring weigh-in today.

-.4, which is better than +.4. I would deem this a catch-up weigh-in, as I did everything I normally do but got a fractional loss.

I think my body, every once in a while, needs a week to just slow down. It's processing a lot, I can just imagine it: Will you give me a break? I'm doing all I can.

So, no whining or complaining from this end this week. I mean, last week I bought pants that were 12s and shirts that started with M. That's a victory in and of itself.

I hear you body, do whatever you need.

Food Of The Day: Lobster Sushi

Made my usual sushi trip post-meeting today.

I went to order my regular Avocado Maki, but then spied this Lobster Sushi, which was a no-brainer. It's Lobster. And sushi. Slam dunk.

I messed up my soy sauce-wasabi ratio and seriously cleared my sinuses, but it was still delicious.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

More on Vibram Five Fingers

My original post on my Vibrams got a lot of traffic, so I thought I would follow up and share more thoughts, now 2+ months later.

I still enjoy them very much. I wear them about 3-4 times a week, usually while doing errands and/or out and about. I also wear them to bootcamp as they provide terrific traction for all the various and sundry exercises.

I won't wear them on rainy days or anywhere they could get wet because when they do it's like having a wet, rubbery sock on your feet. Ewwww. Also wouldn't wear them to the beach, I imagine it would be a nightmare trying to get all the sand out of them.

Other FAQs:

Do they get hot?
Not really. Your feet get a little sweaty, but no more so than in a sock in the summer. They're well-ventilated and very comfortable. I found wearing Crocs was sweatier.

Do they get smelly?
Not if you spray them after each use with Lysol and wash them at least once a week. I throw mine in the washer with my clothes and then air dry them. Works out perfect and is very easy.

How do you keep them clean?
See last answer.

Do they stretch out?
Yes, thankfully, because for the first week or so, they're tough to get on.

Trying them on in the shoe store was embarrassing as it takes a while to figure out how to get your toes in the right spot and keep them there while pulling the shoe on at the heel.

The sales clerk measured my feet, handed me the shoes and said, "I'll leave you alone to try them on. It takes a while to get them on and people get freaked out if I sit here and watch." She's right, it took a good 5 minutes a foot. I can't imagine how long it would have taken if she were watching.

But, after a few days they go off and on much easier.

How's the support for your feet?
Great. I had no foot problems before and I have none now. My feet don't hurt during or after I wear them, which was not the case with the Sketchers Shape-Ups I bought last fall.

They do advise easing into them, wearing them for an hour a day and gradually building up, to get your feet used to them. You wouldn't want to wear them all day at an amusement park on Day 1, for example.

Do you run in them?
No. I have enough trouble getting through my runs in traditional running shoes. I don't need a new challenge just yet.

I'm a big barefoot fan, so these shoes are really great - all the benefits of barefoot walking with a barrier of protection. However, they are still ugly. Yet if you're curious, find a place that sells them and try them on, they're worth it.

Food Of The Day: Bacon

When WW switched to the Points+ plan last November, there weren't as many happy Points surprises as there were disappointments, at least from my angle.

Most of the delicious carby goodness doubled or tripled in Points - I'm looking at you, bread - you, too, cereal.

Anyway, imagine my surprise when I realized bacon was a relative bargain due to its high-protein, low-carb makeup.

A couple of times a month I get a bacon jones, as was the case today, so I bought Oscar Meyer precooked bacon. Three slices are just 2 Points+. Hooray. And no bacon grease cleanup.

I toasted a Pepperidge Farm sandwich flat, covering one half with a wedge of Laughing Cow Blue Cheese and the other with 3 slices of bacon and made a cheesy bacon sandwich for 5 Points+. Nice "diet" food, eh?

10K training plan today called for only 2 miles. Awesome.

Except it was, like, the hardest 2 miles I've run in a while. And it was at the track. Should have been a walk in the park - or a run at the track - but I wasn't feeling it. However, I gutted it out and got it done.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Food Of The Day: Farm Fresh Corn

Hunted down a farm stand today and saved Points for corn.

So. Good.

A friend emailed me about one that's even closer, will try to swing by there, maybe tomorrow.

Also, finished off leftover grilled chicken and veg from last night.

Mowed the lawn today in my new Size 12, on-sale capris. It made mowing slightly better. And I started the mower with one pull. I felt completely bad ass.

In which I tell you how I lose weight so quickly

"How do you lose weight so quickly?"

I get asked that a lot. I'm happy to share what I think are important elements of my weight loss, but there is one key ingredient:


I am very consistent. I know what it takes for me to lose weight and I do it every day:

When the alarm goes off a 5 am, I get up.

When I'm scheduled to run, I run.

When I'm scheduled to go to bootcamp, I go to bootcamp.

When I have a day off from working out, I rest.

If I'm only supposed to eat 29 Points a day, I do not eat 30 nor 28, and so on.

I follow all my keys every day, with very few exceptions.

It's a simple concept, but that doesn't mean it's easy - it certainly isn't for me, but it works. There are plenty of days I want to sleep in, not run, skip bootcamp and/or eat whatever the hell I want. But I don't, I know where that goes for me.

But, here's the genius of it all, you can still lose weight and be successful, but at a slower pace. If you don't want to work out as much nor follow your eating plan as strictly, you don't have to. You can lose slower and be just as successful.

Unfortunately that approach doesn't work for me, I'm very much an all-or-nothing person. If I'm on plan, I'm on plan, if I'm off I weigh 280+ lbs. I would be a terrific alcoholic, either blind drunk or stone sober.

When it comes to losing weight you can be a microwave or a crockpot, but the end result is still the same if you stick to it.

Whatever you're doing, if you're happy with it, continue. If you're not, change it up.

The one thing I can't help with is motivation. Everyone's got to grow that themselves. I wish I could help you because if that was the case I would be a billionaire in no time.

For me it was a matter of: I'm getting fatter, weaker and slower, and I'm not happy. It was time to change it all, for good. I felt it deep down in my bones, and as difficult as being on plan can be from time to time I know it's not as difficult as going back to eating whatever I want and wearing Size 26 pants and 3X shirts.

"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out." - Robert Collier

That pretty much sums it up.

But remember, however you do it, it can be done. You can do it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Food Of The Day: Grilled Chicken

Even before I rejoined WW, marinated grilled chicken was one of my favorites.

Just marinate the chicken in Ken's Light Italian dressing and voila. Paired it, again, with grilled veg (eggplant, red pepper, onion and summer squash). I wanted to get some local corn, but I didn't have time today to try and find a stand. Maybe this weekend.

Had a great bootcamp class this morning. When we walked in the trainer said it was going to be "heavy cardio." That should have immediately set off warning bells as I think they're all pretty heavy on the cardio, but this was cardio on steroids: shuttle runs, shuffle runs, sprints, the rowing machine, spin bikes, rope waves, jumping jacks, butt kickers and more.

I forgot to wear my heart rate monitor, and I wish I did, I can only imagine the calorie burn on this one. Usually I burn 325-350 calories in 45 minutes. This one would have been off the charts.

I started wearing my Virbams to class and I love the traction they give me on the astroturf-covered floor. They're super for exercises like shuttle runs and sprints, where you're pivoting quickly.

I got a great night's sleep the night before class and that helped a lot. I felt very fresh and energetic, which was a huge boost for tackling a very challenging lineup like today.

I had great speed on the shuttle runs, I exceeded the distance goal for the rowing machine and I had good height and great form on the squat jumps. I even landed "soft", which takes a lot of work for me. I love feeling these little improvements, they're very rewarding. Oh, and I cranked out a set of modified push-ups.

That all said, Fridays are some of my favorites days of the week. Friday 7 am means another week of bootcamp is in the books, I have extra Points to eat thanks to class that morning and I don't have to work out on Saturday, which means I can finally sleep in.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

In which I, amazingly, fit into a Medium

"Medium" never had a big place in my vocabulary.

Food-wise I rarely ordered Medium anything and I certainly never wore it.

So it was big news this week when the pea coat I ordered from LL Bean came in.

I love pea coats and since every coat I own is way too big for me now, it's time to get something that fits. Actually, I just realized I donated all the coats I own. So, technically, I don't own anything heavier than a sweatshirt.

Anyway, this one is a light, fall-ish pea coat, and when I was checking the size chart I realized I could fit in a Medium - at least according to the chart. Which I didn't believe. And stared at for a good 5 minutes.

That can't be right, I thought. A medium? Seriously? But I know my chest measurement and sure enough it would fit, so I ordered it, figuring I could always return it if it was too tight.

It came today. And, astonishingly, it fit. It's still a little tight around the shoulder blades when I bring my arms across, but since I have 18 more pounds to lose, I figure it will be perfect when I'm at my personal goal. But everything buttons without threat of them shooting across the room and, IMOHO, it looks pretty swell.

Funny, I always thought LL Bean clothes ran small, but maybe the problem was I ran big.

I had to take a picture of the tag because, holy crap, it's a Medium.

Food of the Day: Salsa Chicken

Continuing to eat my way through the freezers. Trying to use up what's in there or pitch it if it's useless, freezer-burnt, etc.

Haven't had salsa chicken in a bit, but since I had several portions frozen I want to get them gone, as they're most likely getting a little long in the tooth. Had a 6-oz portion (6 P+) with a wedge of Laughing Cow Blue Cheese (1 P+). Mmmmm, one of my favorite meals, but not really a summer food perse.

Had a good 3-mile run this morning. The weather was gorgeous - 60 and dry. It was almost cold, but I knew once I started running I'd heat up quickly. Sure enough, I did.

When I was running I was mentally bemoaning the fact I live on top of a hill, so every run around the neighborhood involves some bad-ass hills. I was talking to a friend recently, also a runner, who lives one street over.

It's all hilly! I whined.

Well, we live on top of a hill, she pointed out.

I know, I know, but I'm always hoping to go out for a run one morning and see the neighborhood magically transformed into some flat Kansas-like out-and-back.

After my run this morning I ran into another neighbor, a marathoner, who was out walking her dog.

Again, I was bitching about the hills and she says, "Yeah, but it will get you ready for Boston."


"When you run Boston. The Marathon."

Get out.

But she was serious. She's also apparently delusional.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Week 44 Weigh-In: Getting Close

After last week's hoopla, it was back to normal this week.

-1.2, which is great, for a total of -104.

Now I'm just 1.4 lbs away from returning to No Pay status. Maybe next week. I'm not in a hurry, although it is nice sooner than later. I do feel like Sybil sometimes. A smaller loss is perfectly fine, but string a few weeks of those together and I'm itching for a big one and whining until it arrives.

The meeting was fine today. Our regular leader was back after being off for 2 weeks. The summer meetings are interesting, as they're relatively sparsely attended compared to other times of the year. Just wait until September when it will be Standing Room Only. But then there will be plenty of seats available again after Halloween, LOL.

Here's a progress report on my Summer Weight Loss Goals:

  • Hit 182.4 lbs to reach -100 lbs lost.

  • Hit 175 lbs to reach my WW Lifetime goal weight.

  • Hit 170 (more on this later).

  • Hit 160 (my personal goal weight).

    So far, so good. I don't expect to reach 160 by Labor Day, it's a very aggressive goal even for me. But I will do my best.
  • Monday, July 11, 2011

    Road Trip: Skinny Cow Perfect Cups Boston

    A few weeks ago I got an email from Skinny Cow, inviting me to their Perfect Cups event in Boston.

    They promised free ice cream and free bras, so count me in.

    I got my two BFFS of 30(!) years to join me and we had a fun afternoon in town.

    Since we weren't scheduled to attend until 1 pm, we decided to grab something to eat. Of course.

    With Ann - a WW Lifetimer herself.

    And Cara. Yes, they're sisters.

    After lunch we headed to the event. When we arrived we were ID'd at the door, turns out they were serving free alcohol. This thing keeps getting better and better.

    We got our wristbands and each received beepers, like when you're waiting for a table at a restaurant. When it went off, it was your time to get fitted for your bra. Until then, you were free to occupy yourself with the free ice cream bar, appetizers, funny photo stand, makeovers and, of course, the bar.

    I tried two different flavors - Chocolate Brownie (good), Caramel Cone (very good). 8 Points+. Had to - it was free! But I planned and tracked it all.

    Ann and Cara taste-testing, the makeover bar is in the background.

    We had been at the event for about 30 minutes when I turned the corner and almost ran over Mo - my oldest's godmother and the closest person I have to a mom on this Earth. Randomly running into her at an event like this is "very Mo."

    Soon our beepers went off and we each headed to a private fitting room. There had to be two dozen, each staffed by a nice woman with a tape measure. She asked what you thought your bra size was and then measured you over your shirt. I knew the answer (38D, what the hell, you already know how much I weigh), since I was just fitted for a new one a month ago, but Ann, Cara and Mo all reported they were way off.

    The fitter then brought a few bras for you to try on. She wrote down your size and then the names of the styles you liked best.

    When we left, we got a reusable goodie bag (emblazoned with the motto "Chest Out, Spoons High") filled with a T-shirt, Skinny Cow (and wine!) coupons and a gift certificate for the bra of your choice at Macy's, which carries all the styles they had on hand that day.

    No wine for me, would rather put the Points toward ice cream. :-D

    Overall, it was a pretty great event. We thought we were just getting free ice cream (and would have been thrilled with just that) and we were treated to so much more. We did think it was weird that some women brought men to what was billed obviously as a girlie event. As Cara noted, "I wouldn't go to a free jock strap event."

    BFFs since 1980 and counting.

    In which I think something I've never thought before

    I bought a new pair of pajama pants at Target a few days ago.

    Finally got around to wearing them last night. Took them out of the bag, ripped off the tags and put them on.

    Too big.

    I checked the unfortunately-already-ripped-off tags: L.

    Should have bought an M, I thought.

    Wait. WTF?

    I actually sat on my bed and pondered that thought: Should have bought an M.

    I don't believe those are words I've ever put together in my head.

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    Food Of The Day: Protein, Protein, Protein

    Technically it's Protein, Protein, but that didn't sound as snazzy.

    Trader Joe's Roasted Chicken patty, 3 oz 96% lean hamburger patty and grilled eggplant, red pepper and onion.

    Had a good 2-mile run this morning at the track, clocking my fastest-yet average pace per mile: 11:47.

    Granted, it's at a flat, even track, so that's where I should be fastest, but it was nice to be sub-12:00.

    Thus ends Week 2 of 10K training, already.

    Saturday, July 9, 2011

    Food Of The Day: Veggie pizza

    My BFFs and I headed into Boston today to enjoy the Skinny Cow Perfect Cup event.

    Free ice cream, free bras. That's one good day.

    I had a lot of fun and took a lot of pictures, which I'll post tomorrow.

    But, before the event we ate at Picco, well-known for its pizza and ice cream.

    We all ate summer salads, which included watermelon, basil, mint and a cheese I had never heard of (nor can remember now) but was delicious. Then we all split a small veggie pizza. I just realized now it had no cheese on it, but it didn't matter as it was covered in veg sitting atop a homemade crust.


    I usually get a little stressed about going out to eat, especially when I'm not sure where we're going and I can't preplan. But this worked out great. The pizza was small - 4 pieces total between and 3 of us - and that worked out perfect.

    Friday, July 8, 2011

    Food Of The Day: Lobster Salad

    I love most things that end in "salad":

    Chicken salad, potato salad, macaroni salad, etc. But not Jello Salad, that junk is vile.

    Anyway, I headed to the grocery store tonight to pick up milk and I walked past the Seafood counter. Then I stopped and thought "lobster." Haven't had it since I don't know when and WW Weekly had a Lobster Salad recipe a few weeks ago that got me jonesing for it. Plus, my almost 2-year-old was enthralled by the lobster tank and kept yelling, "KITTY! KITTY!"

    So I picked up a couple of already-steamed chicken lobsters (less clean-up for me), brought them home, dug out the meat and voila. They yielded a total of 5 oz of meat (4 P+) to which I added 1T of light mayo (1 P+) and put that between my beloved toasted Pepperidge Farm Sandwich Flats (2 P+).

    What a nice treat.

    In which you can lose weight quickly after 40

    When I rejoined Weight Watchers last fall, I had one big concern:

    Will I be able to lose weight as quickly as I had before?

    From April 2002 to September 2003, I lost 124 lbs on Weight Watchers. I started at age 31.5 and reached Lifetime on my 33rd birthday. I was married and had a full-time job, no children yet, aka, I had money and time. And I was 100% focused on following the program and exercise.

    If it took me 1.5 years eight years ago, how long would it take me now, at age 40?

    After having 3 children in 4.5 years, would my body even remember how to lose weight?

    Could I jump start my metabolism?

    Is it going to take forever?

    And these questions were all outside of all the kid-, time-, energy-related concerns.

    My friend Becca, a fellow Lifetimer returning to Goal weight, posted her progress vs. her progress of several years ago. It got me thinking of doing the same thing, especially since I had all my old weigh-in booklets and info.

    I finally got around to it and the results are very interesting.

    I'm losing weight faster at 40 than I did at 31/32.

    See for yourself, the blue line is my 2002-2003 losses (the chart says 2004, but that is a typo), the red is my current progress (2010-today), both through 44 weeks.

    So, what's different now?

    1. Points Plus. If you notice, the two lines really start to widen around Week 10. The Points+ program rolled out on Week 13 and I switched over after Week 15. Up until then I was eating very carb-heavy. I just wanted to stay within my Points, I didn't care about the mix of carb vs. protein, etc. When I felt comfortable with the idea of moving to Points+ three weeks later, it got me to eat more protein, fruits and veg as snacks and fewer carbs in general.

    I know 2002-2003 I ate a very carb-heavy diet, at least moreso than now. So I believe the lean protein/F&V focus on Points+ really has made my metabolism more efficient and promotes more fat burning and muscle building through better-balanced eating.

    2. Bootcamp. In 2002-2003 I did little strength training. I hated traditional free-weight workouts (still do) and could not motivate myself to get it done (still can't). So from April 2002 on my main exercises were walking, running (starting February 2003) and water aerobics (spring 2003). All great workouts, but all cardio - not big muscle-builders like interval training at bootcamp.

    Because bootcamp is different every class, my body doesn't fall into that rut of doing the same-old, same-old. Just like eating the same things over and over (easy for me to do), I think the same exercise over and over is a case of diminishing returns. You have to shake it up. I'm shaking it up with bootcamp (I started in April) and it's paying off.

    Other interesting observations:

  • My losing pattern is still the same. My small-loss, small-loss, big-loss pattern is very similar to that of 2002-2003. Once a month I would drop 3 or 4 lbs in one week, still do that today.

  • I had a long plateau in the 180s. Funny, I don't remember this at all. But according to the stats, I was stuck in the 180s for 13(!) weeks. I didn't have any major fall-off-the-wagon phases in 2002-2003, so I can't remember why the hell that was such a torturous period.

    And here I was recently griping about spending 1 month in the 180s. Yikes.

    You always hear that it's harder to lose weight the older you get. But this goes to show you with consistent dedication, balanced eating and exercise you can do it at any age!
  • In which the scale goes clank

    I had an appointment with my doctor yesterday, but before I saw him the nurse had me step on the scale.

    I stepped on and immediately heard - and felt - CLANK!

    "Oh!" said the nurse.

    She had automatically put the lower slider-thingy on 200, so the moment I stepped on, the beam shot up and banged into the top.

    She moved the slider-thing to 150 and then proceeded weighing.

    This is a long way of noting it's been forever since I started on the 150.

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    Food of the Day: Egg Salad

    I adore egg salad, yet I completely understand it's a love-it-or-hate-it food.

    Dinner tonight was 2 ears of corn on the cob (finishing up my stash) ( 4 P+); 2 hard-boiled eggs (4 P+), 1 T light mayo (1 P+) and a toasted Pepperidge Farm sandwich flat (or whatever it's called, I know it as "The One That's Only 2 P+").

    And I did have about half a bag of TJ's frozen asparagus I liberated during Operation Let My Fridge Go. Will save the rest for Monday night, asparagus is a good night-before-WI food in my book.

    Reviewing, that is one weird menu - but it was very good.

    In which something strange is afoot at the track

    I recently started meeting my friend at the local high school track at 6 am.

    She wanted to move from treadmill running to outside and I needed another running day to prep for the 10K.

    We both agreed that left to our own devices, we would not drag our sorry butts out of bed. But, the knowledge that we're expecting each other does the trick.

    So that's all well and good, but so far every morning we've seen some odd shit at the track.

    First morning, two women drive up, park and get out. They get on the track, slowly walk 1 lap in flip-flops, return to the car and drive away. I want that workout.

    The next morning, a man drives up, parks, gets out and does Tai Chi in the parking lot facing his car. Not that there's anything weird about Tai Chi or doing it outdoors, but why drive to a random parking lot with an unspectacular view of your own car?

    Today I'm about halfway through my run and I see a woman walk up with a small dog. She's walking the track (in flip flops, of course) head completely down reading her paper, and the dog is just randomly wandering around on the track.

    The first time I get close, I realize the dog is not on a leash. I hate unleashed dogs. Actually, I don't hate the dogs, I hate the owners. And it's one of those hyper ankle-biters. I am mentally preparing to transition from my wonderful running form, square up and punt that sucker into the woods. Luckily for the dog, it did not come near me.

    But I hear her telling my friend behind me, "Don't worry, he won't bother you."

    You know what won't bother us? Putting him on a leash. Geez, lady, we don't go to your dog park and run 3 miles, don't come to the track and try to turn it into a dog park. Ass.

    Can't wait to see what's in store for this weekend.

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    Food of The Day: Corn On The Cob

    I love Corn on the Cob, but I've been too cheap to spend 2P+ per ear.

    Sure, the majority of fruits and veg are 0 P+ on Weight Watchers, but not the super delicious, starchy or fat-filled stuff like potatoes, corn or avocado.

    But then I thought about it and asked myself, Would you rather enjoy a small Fiber One brownie for 2 P+ (and they are very good) or a big ear of corn with butter and kosher salt? You can see what I chose.

    It was Bad News/Good News for dinner tonight.

    I had marinated chicken all day. Went out, put it on the grill, came out about 10 minutes later to turn and no flame. Out of propane. My own fault, I grill all the time. I should have had a backup or anticipated it running out.

    So that's the Bad News. The Good News is I had budgeted for 1 ear of corn, but now that I had 6 P+ to spend in lieu of the chicken, I had 2 ears, 2 oz of Boar's Head Honey Maple Turkey and 1 Pepperidge Farm 7 Grain sandwich thin. Yum.

    My friend shared her way of boiling corn: Use just enough water to cover the corn, add a spoonful of lemon juice and a pinch of sugar. Boil for 3 minutes. It was delicious.

    Oh, and I did not make any progress today on Operation Let My Freezer Go. I was planning to use part of a bag of TJ's asparagus, but the whole swapping-dinner-on-the-fly thing left me no time. Asparagus tomorrow.

    In which I prepare for the next step in running

    In getting back to goal weight, one thing I've found to be true:

    When I'm slightly apprehensive or scared of an endeavor, that means I should definitely do it.

    I don't like that at all. I like my comfort zone. I love my comfort zone. And I don't love that that Aww, crap, here it comes feeling that sits in the back of my head whacking at my conscience.

    I had this feeling about running. Had it about running 5Ks. Had it big time before starting bootcamp.

    But I remembered this quote: "Real growth starts outside your comfort zone." I have found that definitely to be true.

    And as of late there it was again in the back of my head, Maybe you should sign up for a 10K...

    I was leisurely perusing a few weeks ago and I saw the ad for the Tufts 10K For Women.

    Then I felt it, heard it again. Hey, maybe...

    I let it sit. Tried to ignore it. Tried to find reasons I couldn't. And I couldn't find many. Dammit.

    And before you know it, I was clicking "Register Now" and printing out a training plan from Runner's World.

    Now I'm already 2 weeks into training, slowly upping my mileage and running days to prepare.

    But the funny thing is, this time, I'm not super scared. I know I can run a 10K. And I have plenty of time to train.

    I'm more, dare I say, excited than scared. And that, my friends, is a whole new sensation in itself.

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    Food Of The Day: Sausage and Peppers

    The fair was in town last week and one of my favorite things is a greasy grilled sausage and pepper sub.

    I was able to abstain, knowing I could recreate a healthier version at home thanks to Trader Joe's Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage (3P+ per link, in the refrigerated meat section) and a bag of their Fire Roasted Peppers and Onions (freezer section).

    It's delicious, smelling and tasting just like the high-test version. I went bread-free because I didn't feel like spending the Points on a roll.

    Tonight's dinner also helped with Operation Let My Freezer Go. I have amassed way too many TJs treasures that have taken up seemingly permanent residence in the freezer.

    I'll walk through TJs and pick up stuff that looks good, come home, jam it in the basement freezer and continue to eat the same stuff (Non-Freezer Division) every day.

    So in my quest to vary my menu and clear out the freezer, no new TJs until I make my way through the old stuff.

    Edit to add: I love this shot of my freezer. Everything is upside down, on its side or upended like there was some sort of riot in there.