Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In which I mix it up to move the scale

The scale has been moving in the wrong direction, despite the fact I seem to be doing nothing "wrong."

What to do?

Well, I know what not to do - and that's sit back and whine. I've heard many a person complain, "I can't lose weight!" but in the same breath refuse to change anything they're doing (or not doing).

Two old chestnuts come to mind:

If you do what you always did, you'll get what you always got.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

I feel like I need to goose this thing a long a bit and switch it up if I want to see positive results. So, here's my plan:

  • Tweak my diet to incorporate different foods.

    I fall into the same category as many: I eat the same thing over and over because it's easy and I like it. And while they're all "good" foods in correct portions in the weight-loss sense, sometimes your body needs a jolt to remember it needs to reward you for all this hard work.

    I'm swapping out some current faves for old faves. Goodbye, for now, Trader Joe's Roasted Chicken Patties. We'll meet again.

    I've been craving salads lately, so I'm going to work more in this week. I haven't had salads in months, so more raw veg will be a good addition. Plus, you know, bacon and feta cheese. Mmmmm.

    I'm not going to go nuts and change everything and deny myself my very favorite things (Hello, LUNA bars). But I will switch up a few and that's a good thing.

  • Exercise less.

    This sounds so counterintuitive, but I think I've been working out too much and not eating enough Activity Points. This is the hardest part of the program for me: Eat too many APs and you don't lose weight. Eat too few and you don't lose weight. I've yet to determine the magic formula for me.

    The past two weeks I've had high-intensity workouts 6 of 7 days, and I think I did not eat enough APs to keep my metabolism rolling. Also, the frequency may have left inadequate time for muscle repair, leading to water retention and weight gain.

    This week I'll dial down my workout days by 1, going from 6 to 5. Schedule-wise, the day I won't work out is Monday - the day before weigh-in and the one day I feel most compelled to burn, burn, burn. This is going to be a hard resolution to keep, but I will.

  • Start wearing a heart-rate monitor again.

    I haven't worn my HRM in months because I stopped caring about exactly how many calories I burned. I just knew it was "a lot." But I decided to start wearing it again so I can compile the calories burned and intensity so if I need data for a second opinion on whether I'm eating enough, I will have hard numbers. I know a leader who's a runner, so I'm sure she could take a look at what I'm eating and what I'm burning and say, "You're not eating enough" or "It's not that." I highly doubt I am eating too much. Now, watch, that'll be it...

    So, that's my plan. I don't want to change too much at once because if I have a big drop I won't know what may have been the difference.

    Now, the funny thing is, I can do all that - or do nothing - and the scale may just drop on its own. I traditionally have big-loss weeks and maybe I'm due. My cycle is on the horizon, maybe it's that. But I have never had two gaining weeks in a row, so I think a few changes are wise to try.
  • In which I am interviewed

    I was interviewed recently by Dr. Sherry Pagoto, an obesity and weight-loss research professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, as part of her Real-Life Biggest Loser series.

    It's a good read, if I do say so myself, and there are many more stories there that are a great inspiration. Most of what you'll read may be familiar if you're a regular reader here - and if you are, thank you. But there are also very good questions I know I've never addressed in this space, so enjoy.

    She has a great site with lots of helpful info and advice - and the best URL I've ever seen. Seriously -, how awesome.

    I do hope she's gonna get T-shirts made because I will totally buy one.

    She's also a big proponent of planks.

    Check it out!

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    In which I white-knuckle brunch

    For me, brunch is the most dangerous of meals.

    It's all the deliciousness of breakfast combined with all the deliciousness of lunch.

    If you're trying to lose weight, it's a minefield - your program can explode with any step in any direction.

    Toasty bagels - boom! Eggs Benedict - boom! Carving station - boom! Desserts, for the love of God, desserts. Mushroom cloud.

    I can anxious just thinking about it.

    And while I would never say, "Let's go to brunch!", I had one thrust upon me this past weekend.

    My family and I had a volunteer meeting that included a brunch. There was event before, brunch, then continued event after, so it wasn't like we could just show up post-brunch.

    And, frankly, I didn't want to. One of my goals in my process is not subjecting my family to ridiculous "rules" because I'm trying to drop weight. Like, "We can never go out for ice cream again!", and so on.

    So to force my family to miss one brunch because I have trouble with them seemed unfair, as well as a good opportunity to practice making smart choices.

    What did I do? Well, I ran in the morning. The brunch was on a scheduled run day, plus when I work out in the morning it puts me in a good frame of mind for the rest of the day, as in: Do you really want to throw away all your good effort from this morning?

    Then I ate my breakfast - first and second - per normal. And I drank a ton of water and stashed an emergency LUNA bar in my diaper bag in case there were no good options and I had to eat something. I went in prepared.

    The spread was delicious and Points-unfriendly. Because, you know, it was a brunch and the two-dozen other people there did not have food issues. Again, one of those "Melissa adapts to the situation" deals, not "The world adapts to Melissa."

    So I had a honkin' salad, my LUNA bar and a metric shit-ton of water. And I was OK.

    Did I want a bagel - a real, New York bagel, mind you? Hell, yes. And the apple crisp? Uh huh. And the frittata? Num. OK, gotta stop revisiting the menu.

    And could I have had a very little of one thing or another? Yes. However, I didn't want to. Operation October 5.1 is still in effect and I've got my eyes on the prize, despite everything going all icky-balooky in that department as of late.

    I could have had either a little to eat for a lot of Points or continued eating the rest of my day at home, enjoying more food for fewer Points.

    Does this mean I can never have a bagel again? No. Hell, I could even, maybe, venture brunch someday. Just not that particular day.

    It was the choice I made and the choice I would make again.

    October '11: Home Weigh-In 3

    Yesterday I called my body a dummy and the scale a *^#&!@.

    Neither were happy with their characterizations, as I was +1 - for the second week in a row. This is the first time since I started that I had two gains in a row. Not the trend I was looking for.

    I am not happy about this development because I've been doing everything "right":

  • Staying within my Points.
  • Tracking and following all WW Good Health Guidelines.
  • Working out 6 out of 7 days (not because I feel like I have to, but because I like to. I know, it surprises me, too).

    So with one week to go until my official November Weight Watchers WI, I am right back where I was on Oct. 4. That sucks. Lost 2 lbs the first week, gained one each subsequent week - for a reason I cannot determine. And that is annoying me.

    Now, I know my cycle is nigh, so perhaps that's it. Or maybe I've been eating the same-old, same-old foods and I need to shake it up a bit. Or I'm working out too much, leaving my muscles inadequate time to repair, causing water retention.

    Whatever, I need to do something different this week. I can't sit here and whine that I'm not losing weight if I don't do something to try and move the scale (even though everything I'm doing is supposed to move it).

    I'm going to eat some new meals and try at least one new recipe. And I will drop back to working out 5 days a week (3 run/2 bootcamp).

    What does this mean for Operation October 5.1? Damned if I know. I usually have one major loss a month, 3+ lbs. So perhaps that will be next week. Could I pull off 5+? It's possible and has happened before.

    How "exciting."
  • Monday, October 24, 2011

    October '11: Home Weigh-In 2

    Ack, this post is 6 days overdue. Sorry. Been behind, but I will catch up.

    Anyway, last Tuesday (Oct. 18) my husband had to go into Boston, which means he had to leave for work a half-hour earlier than usual. Which means I had to be back from my run a half-hour earlier than usual.

    Which meant, all together now, alarm half-hour earlier than usual.

    4:30 am.

    I just started getting to the point at which 5 am doesn't sound horrific and here comes 4:30 am. Regardless, it was a short-term thing.

    Now of all the days of the week I don't mind getting up at said time, Tuesday is #1 because I can find out how I fared weight-loss wise that much earlier than normal.

    Rereading that I sound obsessed, but I assure you I am not, just extremely invested.

    Anyway, down to the basement and I see 163.8 - +1 lb from the week before.

    +1? At 4:40 am? That's insult upon injury, while getting flipped off, to boot. AT 4:40 AM! And I was up so early because I WAS GOING OUT FOR A RUN.

    It's famously said, in weight-loss circles, "Your body doesn't know when it's weigh-in day." And that's true. And I want to reply, "Get with the program, dummy!"

    Despite the previous shouting, I truly was not - and am not - upset.

    The previous week I ran three times - including my fastest 5K yet (of which I owe you a blog post) - and hit bootcamp three times. And I ate within my Points and followed the program like I always do. So, I stepped off with a clean conscience.

    Some weeks you do everything "right" and get hosed. Unfortunately, it's part of the deal. It happens and you press on.

    Months ago, such a weigh-in would have gutted me, but not now. If you keep giving 100%, the scale will drop. It's hokey, but true: Trust the process.

    And If you keep on-keepin' on long enough, that peace of mind develops and it's extremely helpful - and appreciated.

    But, let me tell you, that *@&#^$ better drop next WI.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Food Of The Day: Buttercup Squash

    Even for a squash, the buttercup variety is unattractive. However it is delicious.

    Flo recently noted she made some buttercup squash. I had never tried it before and because I love all things squash, the next time I saw it at the store, I picked one up.

    And, yes, I do follow Flo's lead on a lot of foods. If she ever posted, "Hey, cyanide is 0 Points!" I would go for it.

    Anyway, I love buttercup squash. It seems a little nuttier and heartier than regular butternut or acorn. I cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and place it cut-side down in a pan filled with 1/2 cup of water (if it's a huge squash, I up it to 1 cup). Pop it into a 350-degree oven for 40 or so minutes (depending on its size) or until you can drive a fork through it.

    Let it cool, scoop out the yummy guts and douse in I Can't Believe It's Not Butter (though I can believe that), kosher salt and pepper.

    0 Points, full-on delicious.

    Give it a whirl.

    In which it's Hell Week and I was not notified

    Monday was testing day at bootcamp and today was an all-body-weight-bearing circuit, that is: No equipment.

    Planks, T rotations, push-up hops, Burpee hops and all other various and sundry fun activities that had me challenged to the max.

    Or, as the trainer wrote on Facebook: "Today's workout has core, core, abs, core, abs, upper body, core, upper body, core and a little more core!"

    Not what my shoulders - still sore from Monday - needed.

    I would not have ended his sentence with an exclamation point, as to me that signifies, "Yay! Fun!" I would have went with a foreboding ellipse...

    See, I get a little cocky and next class, blam: reality check.

    And this is why bootcamp is good, it keeps you honest. And sore. And strong.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    In which I kick ass

    So high off I love Bootcamp juju I attended a class last night making up for one I missed a couple of weeks ago.

    Just before I left the car and headed into the gym, I checked my phone and saw a text from my friend and fellow bootcamper, Deb: "FYI testing tonight."

    Oh, crap, a timed testing circuit.

    Testing is hard, and for me harkens back to the evil Presidential Physical Fitness test, which I could never pass.

    With last night's circuit we had 30 minutes to complete the following:

    100 medicine ball chest passes
    100 squat jumps
    100 tubing rows
    100 military presses
    100 crunches
    50 push-ups
    50 side leg drops
    10 laps of the gym

    We can do them in any order, in any amount and jump around so you alternate upper and lower body, but you eventually have to do them all in order to finish. The whole point being you get a little faster every time you're tested, about every 6-8 weeks.

    The one thing I was super concerned about was the push-ups as I am decidedly not awesome at them.

    Luckily, we could do modified push-ups (from the knees), but 50 would still be challenging because they had to be real push-ups: no head-bobbing, no groin-dipping - back flat up and down shoulders to elbows. If you get caught cheating with poor form your last 2 push-ups don't count. Ack.

    I knew I had to get them out of the way relatively quickly before the military presses turned my arms into Ramen noodles, which they do when I have to do 100 presses in a short period of time.

    I started chipping away at the exercises, knocking off 25 at a time, alternating between upper and lower body exercises so I didn't fatigue either area early and make it hard to finish. When it came to the push-ups, I'd do 10 then switch to something lower body. I can't do more than 10 in a row without wiping out.

    I felt really good and our trainer kept our tallies, letting us know how much we had left to close out each exercise and finish the circuit.

    Once the push-ups were over, I felt home free and concentrated on knocking off the rest. All I wanted to do was finish under 30 minutes and I did. I finished in 20:07. 20:07! Holy crap! That time is insane - insane - for me.

    I still can't believe I finished so quickly, but then I definitely know I did have testing because, literally, my arms are crazy weak right now and my quads are a little cranky.

    But I finished with my best time yet.

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    In which I am an award-winning bootcamper

    So Saturday morning I write a post about how much I enjoy bootcamp.

    Then, I take off for the annual bootcamp party...and was awarded with the Most Improved Bootcamper award.

    Holy crap.

    That's one of the coolest, most unexpected things ever. I feel like the Old Man in A Christmas Story: "It's a major award!"

    But, to me, this is much better than a leg lamp.

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    In which I've been bootcamping for 6 months

    It was about 6:20 am yesterday and I was standing in front of a plywood box, maybe 2 feet high.

    I was poised in a half-crouch, half- squat, elbows back, hands at my sides, head up, trying to catch my breath and waiting to hear a boxing bell.


    "And go!" said the trainer.

    I quickly thrust my arms forward and up for momentum, pushing through my legs to leap up on the box, both feet landing - softly - at the same time in the same crouch-squat position I just left.

    Rewarded with a soft cat-burglar-like thud, I carefully stepped back down, one foot at a time, and reset to jump again. Whoosh! Land. Reset. Repeat.

    (Full disclosure: I'm pretty sure I don't actually Whoosh! when I jump, but I like to think I do. I'm also convinced half the exercises in bootcamp are designed to turn us into cat-burglars. Strong, fit, flexible criminals.)

    Anyway, that's a box jump, and when I started bootcamp 6 months ago I did not like them. At all.

    I was anxious. I didn't like to jump. I weighed over 200 lbs. A) Jumping was not easy. B) What if I landed weird or caught the edge of the box and fell or looked stupid? And, let me tell you, "Don't look stupid" was my cardinal rule when I began and, actually, still is now that I think of it.

    When I had to learn how to box jump in the spring, well, first I picked the shortest box possible. And when I landed, it sounded like a piano dropped from a rooftop. No soft thud, think big bang.

    But, gradually, my confidence built and I learned to land better, softer, absorbing the impact, perfecting my form. Then I started choosing a taller box. Then a heavier medicine ball, stronger tubing, tougher weights. I sprinted faster, shuffled between cones smoother and eventually made it through warmups without stopping, banging out jumping jacks like I was on Paris Island.

    And that's pretty much the story of bootcamp: Gradual development every class until you're doing things you never thought you could - or wanted to - do.

    I've always joked that if bootcamp were a DVD, I would fast-forward through 75% of the circuit. The majority of it was outside my comfort zone, way outside my comfort zone.

    There's a quote, something to the effect of, "True change doesn't begin until you leave your comfort zone" and I've found that to be very, very true.

    I stepped outside my comfort zone into bootcamp and I've been greatly rewarded.

    Bootcamp, Day 1 I wrote: "I can only imagine where I'll be in 6 months. I will have Batman-like strength and fitness."

    Day 2: "And I should be able to dead lift a Kia by fall."

    I'm not a superhero and I can't quite hoist a compact car, but I tell you, I am in the best shape of my life. I am stronger and learner. I have much-improved endurance and balance. I know if you throw a medicine ball really hard, you should catch it or else you get hit in the head. And I know how to get down with a physio ball, but, um, you really shouldn't follow my lead on that one.

    I've written a lot about bootcamp, so I won't rehash everything here (feel free to go read, though).

    But, I want to encourage you to do two things:

    1. Consider strength training.

    Whether it's bootcamp or free weights or whatever you like, do it. You will firm up like nobody's business. It really isn't all about the scale and building lean muscle will only help - not hinder - your weight loss efforts.

    2. Try something outside your comfort zone.

    Whatever it is - a new hobby, exercise class, whatever - just try.

    One of the reasons I was so anxious about bootcamp is I would be in a class with other people. I was worried I'd look foolish or be the subject of derision.

    But I quickly learned something: No one in class is paying attention to you. It's 6 am, no one's quite awake yet and no one pays money and comes out in the cold, dark predawn to watch me push a weighted sled across a gym.

    Curious, I checked my weight records for my 6 months in bootcamp. When I started I weighed 207 lbs. I now weigh 163. Fourty-four lbs (and 4 sizes) in 6 months - and that's after I already lost 70+ lbs.

    My friend Deb got me interested in bootcamp. She raved about it and told me the only problem I'd have was I would love it and get addicted to it.

    I didn't believe her.

    Think I owe her something...

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    In which I attempt to run

    After rolling my right ankle I gave myself a week off from running to let it heal up.

    After yesterday's successful bootcamp class, I figured it (and the previously tight Achilles) were good to go, so off I went to the gym this morning.

    I walked for 10 minutes on the treadmill, then got off and stretched my Achilles for a bit, just to make sure.

    Then I hopped back on, pushed off and started running, slowly, easily.

    I felt good right away, but I kept it easy. Then, after 10 minutes, I dialed it up, everything was back to normal. I felt strong and loose and easy.

    I got a good 30 minutes in, then walked another 10 to cool down and stretched out my Achilles one last time. Everything still felt good. Excellent.

    Because I have a race Sunday.

    I know, OK, just hear me out on this one: I was supposed to run a 5K in August that happened to unfortunately coincide with Hurricane Irene's landfall in Massachusetts. The race was rescheduled to this Sunday. After last week I wasn't sure if I could run it, but everything feels OK, and it's only a 5K, so I'm giving it a go.

    And, in other horrifying running news, I spoke two words today to a friend that I never thought I would say out loud:

    Spring. Half.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    In which I am done sitting shiva

    Thank you Jesus, I went to bootcamp this morning and got a good sweat on.

    My ankle was strong, my Achilles was loose and I was so happy to be there, even when I rolled ass over tea kettle off the physio ball and even again when I looked like I was trying to impregnate it.

    Hey, that thing is tricky.

    My trainer surmised the Achilles tightened up because I iced and rested it all weekend. Yes, that was the right course of action, but I also should have stretched it to loosen it up. Ah ha, that makes sense. And that's why he's the trainer and I'm off in the corner humping the physio ball...

    So, all good stuff this morning. Tomorrow I think I will try a short, easy run on the treadmill at the gym. It will be an entire week since I've run, I want to give it a go. An easy, light go. If anything doesn't feel right, I'll make for the stationary bike.

    I am over it. Let's get back to bad-ass health and fitness business, shall we?

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    October '11: Home Weigh-In 1

    I really, really needed some good news on the scale this morning to combat the absolutely crappy four days that proceeded it.

    However, I didn't want to get my hopes up because I haven't been able to work out since last Friday. That's the longest I've gone in between workouts in 5 months.

    I've been sticking to my 29 daily Points (come home, Activity Points, I miss you!) and staying within them, but minus the exercise I wasn't sure what my body would give up.

    Plus, I've been hopped up on Ibuprofen since Friday and traditionally I retain water when I take those meds.

    I hit the scale this morning with no expectations - I couldn't bear any more disappointment because I've had my fill this week.

    So you can imagine how very happy I was to see 162.8 on the display, which means I'm down 2 lbs from last week. Excellent. Almost halfway through Operation October 5.1 already.

    In which I pout

    So, who's been feeling bad for herself? Raise your hand.

    Just me, eh?

    *exhale* OK, well I'm gave myself yesterday to listen to emo music and pout around and not return phone calls. Sorry, I needed a good sulk.

    Surprisingly, what I don't need is a shelf of baked goods or ice cream or anything else high-Point in large portions. I don't need food to feel better.

    I know, that really surprised me, too. Guess that's a silver lining to this craptacular weekend.

    I realized Columbus Day is historically not a good time for me. I spent last Columbus Day puking my guts out, having caught a stomach bug from my eldest.

    Then yesterday, instead of running the race to which I looked so forward, I went to BJs to buy Chobani (for me) and chicken nuggets (for the kids), then came home and mowed the lawn, after hitting myself in the forehead with the edge of the van door.

    Awesome. I think I'd take the puking thing over yesterday because at least with that, I had a WW weigh-in the next day and I lost 5 lbs. If you've got to suffer through a puke bug, at least grab it the day before weigh-in, get something for all your trouble.

    What's annoying me most is my ankle is, like, 90% healed. Unfortunately, the 10% I need to run is the 10% I don't have - at least not yet.

    I woke up yesterday, so sad, and all I wanted to do was go to the gym and get a sweat on to feel better. But I can't go to the gym because my ankle's not ready yet. And that makes me sad, which makes me want to go to the gym... Rinse and repeat.

    This is one of the Star Trek causality loops that can give you a headache if you think about it too long. So don't.

    I am going to bootcamp tomorrow morning. I haven't worked out in 4 days and I am going nuts. My ankle feels good and I'm anxious to see how my Achilles is faring, too. I'm sure my trainer can give me modifications if anything feels amiss and I'd like his advice on the whole Achilles thing in general, getting back to running, etc.

    I know it's incredibly self-indulgent and juvenile to be so upset about something so trivial, but it wasn't trivial to me.

    I do want to thank Kelly, who left me the nicest comment ever. I'm sorry I guilt-tripped you, but if something good came out of it, I am happy. And be thankful I wasn't trying to guilt you on purpose because, wow, you wouldn't know what hit you if I did. I'm quite good at it. Thanks again.

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    In which I drop out of the race

    Head's up: This post is going to have some R-rated language in it, so if that's not your scene (and good for you if it isn't) come back later this week when I'm posting about Trader Joe's or some other bullshit. Ooops, sorry, started early there...

    ‎15 weeks. 45 training runs. 151 miles total. And it all came down to a 1/4-mile test run tonight to see how my ankle fared. And it didn't.

    I think what stings the most is my ankle felt very normal all day. I was really optimistic that I would be able to run tomorrow. I heated and wrapped my ankle all day and dosed myself with Motrin in anticipation of a short, light, quarter-mile run tonight to see how it held up.

    I cued up my Nano and walked for about 5 minutes to loosen up. I was really nervous to take that first step, pushing off my right foot and landing on my left for the first time since I rolled my ankle, a mere 72 hours before the race.

    What if it didn't feel OK? Then I couldn't run the race. The race I had been looking forward to and training for and dreaming about for four months. Four fucking months, people.

    I used to be a person who bailed on something tough after 4 days. But this time I hung in there. Getting up at the ass-crack of dawn to run in the heat and the humidity, the rain and the fog. In the dark. In the cold. Wearing a hat, gloves and a headlamp so I can see. At sunrise. Sunset. Every training run on the page, I did them all. I had fun. I was so proud of myself after every single one.

    For the first time, I was completely and utterly ready for a race. I had this in the bag. My biggest responsibility this weekend was going to be compiling the most kick-ass playlist ever.

    But getting back to tonight, I couldn't just walk around my neighborhood forever, I had to take that step. I hit play on one of my favorite running songs, "Enterprising Young Men" from the latest Star Trek movie (seriously, an amazing running track) and pushed off. And landed.

    As the music pulsed through my head I tried to be objective about how I felt. Because, truly, the last thing I wanted was to injure myself for the long term as that would mean no running and, possibly, no bootcamp. No exercise makes the eating part of weight loss and maintenance extremely hard, and it's already hard enough, so I need exercise.

    I can't believe I actually typed that, but now it is true. I need exercise. I am happier and healthier when I do.

    After a minute I realized that my ankle felt OK. Excellent. But my Achilles heel was tight. Very tight. Too tight. I kept running, hoping it would loosen. A couple minutes later, Is it looser? No. Aww, shit. How would it feel after 6 miles?

    I've never had an Achilles injury, but they are a bitch. I talked to a close friend after my test run. He's a veteran runner and has had Achilles injuries. They take forever to heal if they get bad. Weeks. Months. He wasn't trying to influence my decision, but he was being honest. And, being honest with myself, I knew what I had to do. And it fucking sucks.

    As a responsible adult, I know it's stupid to be a narcissistic jack-off, so upset about missing a fucking road race, but I can't help it.

    This part of my story was not supposed to end this way.

    Sometime during every run I would think about the race. Envision running through Boston, strong and confident. I would take that final left onto Charles Street and see the chutes in the distance. The event photographer would be there and I would make sure I sucked in my stomach so I got a good photo as I sprinted the final distance, crossing the finish line, tying a bow on this amazing, for me, goal.

    There would be great smirking photos of me and my best friend, sweaty post race. And then we'd go have a beer and relish a good race.

    Now, poof, thanks to dumb fucking luck that is all gone.

    I know in 24, 48 hours I will have a better perspective on this. The disappointment will subside and, yes, I know there will be other races.

    But this, right now, really, truly fucking sucks.

    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    In which I am still lame

    So yesterday I injured my ankle in the least-cool, most-lame way.

    I was incredibly bummed last night, the thought of not running Monday's race making me tear up just at the thought.

    Then, overnight, all I dreamt about was running the race, but I couldn't get there, obstacles in my way at every turn.

    I woke up frustrated from the dream and in need of Motrin.

    I RICEd my ankle all day Friday, so when I woke up and unwrapped the ace bandage this morning, I was really happy to see the swelling nearly gone and no bruising anywhere. Phew, that ruled out a severe sprain.

    I gave it a test walk, gently, and I could walk relatively normally given the stiffness from the overnight compression. I continued to RICE all day today, switching to heat this afternoon.

    Everything seems to be progressing well, except I have little flexibility from the ankle bone back through to my Achilles' heel. If the race were tomorrow, I would not run it.

    Many of my friends and family have been very supportive, leaving messages on Facebook or calling me to see how I'm doing. The undercurrent is, with nearly all of them, "There will be other races."

    And I know that, I really do. And I will not race Monday if I feel I could do any major damage to my ankle. I don't want a Pyrrhic victory - getting through this race at the expensive of having to sit on the sidelines for any physical activity for weeks.

    I've come to accept the fact that if I can't race Monday, I can't. I know there will be other races, I just really want to run this one.

    I did have one interesting experience Friday that I forgot to mention. Right after I hurt my ankle, I took the kids straight home and got them settled before getting an ice wrap out of the freezer and wrapping my ankle.

    I was standing in the kitchen, almost nauseous at the reality of my situation. Fifteen weeks of training. 72 hours before the race. Injured. Possibly not racing. Then I heard it in my head: "I want something."

    Then I got scared because "something" means "food" - and not an apple.

    I hadn't heard that all-or-nothing voice in forever - months even - and there it was, trying to take advantage of the situation.

    In a microsecond the rationale was in my head, "Well, if you can't run this race, why not have something to cheer yourself up?"

    It was frightening how quickly it appeared and rationalized itself.

    I thought about it for maybe 5 seconds, but thankfully reminded myself that if I felt bad about injuring my ankle, I would feel really bad about overeating junk to make myself feel better.

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    In which there is drama

    I just can't believe this.

    Seriously, there had to be a hitch. Really?

    Took the kids apple picking today and, schlepping all their crap back to the car, arms full of pumpkins, apples, etc., I (pardon my French) fucking roll my ankle.

    Fifteen weeks of training and I hurt an ankle 72 hours before the gun goes off.

    Everything but me drops to the ground and I feel it start to balloon. Trying not to freak out and collapse into a pile of goo, I get everyone to the car and driving home call my husband, asking him to come home early so I can RICE the damn thing. I hang up, then collapse into a pile of goo.

    My husband came home and taped me up over the ice pack. That's what's bulging under the bandage, not my ankle, thank God.

    I've been RICEing all day and will continue to do whatever it takes so I can run Monday.

    I'm not even entertaining the thought of not running. It cannot happen.

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    In which it's the final week of 10K training

    It simultaneously has flown by yet seemed like it took forever.

    You know, because I started in June for Pete's sake.

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Food Of The Day: Baked Apple Crisp

    I love apple crisp and since it's apple season I've been trying to remember an old low-Point apple crisp recipe that was a favorite long ago.

    I pinged Flo to see if she remembered it, and she found this, which is very similar.

    I made it yesterday and today, and it is fantastic. If you follow the Nutritional Information from the recipe strictly, it's 5 Points per serving, two servings to the recipe.

    However, I refuse to count the apple. According to WW, if I ate the apple by itself it's 0 Points, but if I use it in a recipe, I have to include its fat, fiber, carbs and protein in my Points calculations for the whole thing, thereby upping the Points value of the recipe. I get why they do it, but I respectfully disagree when it comes to this recipe.

    I used 1C of Kashi Go Lean Crunch (5 Points), 1T light butter (1 Point) for a total of 6 Points and I don't count the apple. I am a rebel. And, if I'm feeling especially revolutionary, I will use two apples.

    I'm not encouraging all-out mutiny, just telling you honestly what I count and don't. I didn't get obese my eating too many apples, so I think it's OK to not count it here.

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011

    Maintenance Weigh In #2

    It's the first Tuesday of the month, so it was off to the official scale at Weight Watchers this morning.

    I weighed in at 165 on the nose, -3.8 for the past month. Not bad given everything that went on in September, but I did want to lose an even 5 lbs.

    I noted last week that I was concerned because I had a Sunday evening wedding this past week. I did great. I left the house at 2 pm having consumed 22 of my 29 Points for the day and a lot of water. I wanted to leave full and not arrive at the cocktail hour famished.

    Mission accomplished. I ate this for lunch and it is great and crazy filling.

    I passed on all appetizers, alcohol (and it was open bar, sob), bread and what looked like an awesome Ceasar salad.

    I ate the small baked stuffed lobster entree and half a petite filet mignon, and finished with a small piece of wedding cake. Seriously, life is too short to pass up cake, weigh-in be damned. The key to everything I ate was small (or half) portions.

    I went into the evening with 7 remaining daily Points, 19 APs(!) from my 8-mile run that morning and 40 Weeklies left. I had plenty of Points. Just a head's up on that run: That was an already-scheduled training run for the 10K. I wasn't trying to run forever to earn extra APs, just a note.

    I left the evening full and, most importantly, not feeling deprived at all. I ate what I considered the food I wanted most and enjoyed it. If I didn't have an official weigh-in two days later, I would have also had a few appetizers, a beer and that Ceasar salad. But all things considered, I was very happy with how I handled it.

    So now I am just 5 lbs away from my personal goal. I am kicking off Operation October 5.1. When I weigh in on Nov. 1, I want to be 159.9 and - finally - hit that personal goal.

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    In which my daughter doesn't recognize me

    My 5-year-old was sitting on the couch next to me when I pulled up this blog post.

    Her eyes moved to the screen. Her brow furrowed. She looked confused and I mentally guessed what she was going to say before it was out of her mouth.

    "Is that you?"


    "That doesn't look like you."

    "It's me."

    "That's you?" she continued, pointing to the picture, taken 17 months ago. "Next to Jake?"

    "Yes, that's me. Remember I started eating healthy and exercising?"

    "You were fat," she noted, matter-of-factly.


    "But now you're thin."

    "You got that right, sister."

    In which I wear a dress

    I was greatly looking forward to a family wedding this past weekend, but not very excited about dress shopping.

    I've never been especially girlie and dresses have never been my scene.

    Previously I was concerned that wearing a dress in my size would be a little too Omar The Tent Maker. For special occasions, (like my nephew's First Communion, above) I always went with pants or long skirt (black) and a blazer (black) because I hoped that somehow the combination would make me look like anything other than a 3x.

    However, I wanted to look nice for this wedding and I seriously do not own a dress. And if I did, it would be too big.

    I had put off dress shopping as long as I could, when I mentioned to my dear, super-fit friend Ali the task at hand.

    "You should borrow one from me," she said.

    "I wouldn't fit in your clothes," was my automatic response.

    "Yes," she replied, "You will."

    Which is how I found myself in her bedroom trying on a selection of dresses and found that little number up top. I loved it, it looked great and I could not believe it fit.

    Seriously, in all my years I have never been able to borrow clothes from a friend because every single friend I had was smaller than me. Until now.


    Fast-forward to the wedding day and I was feeling fabulous, feminine and full of confidence in said dress. I may have to reconsider my opinion on dresses...

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    Food Of The Day: BBQ Pulled Chicken Breast

    Another favorite food from Trader Joe's.

    One serving is only 3 Points+ and it's hefty (151g). The chicken is BBQ-flavored, so I usually pair it with a slice of Laughing Cow Light Blue Cheese (which I know isn't real cheese, but it's only 1P+, so go with me here).

    If I have some Points to spend, I'll throw it on top of a cup of rice.

    But this dish is so versatile, it's great by itself, on a baked potato, you name it.

    If you want spicy and sweet and want to keep it low Point, check out this product, found in the TJ's refrigerated section, by the premade sandwiches, sushi, etc.

    Cooking couldn't be easier: Microwave for 2 minutes, stir and microwave for 30 seconds. Voila.

    One measuring note: The NI says there are three 151g servings in the packet. I have yet to make it to three, it's maybe 2.5 at best.

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

    In which I finally get you an 'After' picture

    May 2010 with my wonderful nephew and today with a wonderful haircut.

    OK, so I like to call this more of a "Now" picture than "After" because the latter seems to indicate "done" and I am not.

    I like the picture on the right, but I don't love it. I still think I look too wide and that bugs me. Why can't I love it? Why am I so critical? Will I ever be truly happy with a picture?

    I'm not fishing for compliments, but it bothers me that when I see a picture of myself all I see is what I conceive of as "wrong" as opposed to what's right.

    I'm wearing size 10 jeans and a Women's (!) Medium shirt and I still think I look too thick. Why is my filter so messed up?