Monthly Archives: August 2014

Second Verse, Same As The First

Remember in May, when I struggled with losing the same pound for well over a month? The good news is I’m down about 5 pounds from then. The bad news is I’ve been struggling with a new pound of doom for the last month. My weigh ins for the last five weeks have been 168, 169.1, 169.3, 168.2, and 169.5.

But this time, I’m not complaining. I haven’t really been exercising. I haven’t really been eating well most of the time (today was TERRIBLE). But, I think my overall life habits have changed enough in the last two years, that I can maintain my weight without too much trouble. I’m thankful for this, but I’d still like to lose about 30 pounds. I don’t care if it takes two years, though.

Remember, also, when I complained because I didn’t have any clothes that fit? That’s still an issue, but I’m doing something about it. I signed up for Stitch Fix (that’s my referral link—sign up with it and I get a credit). It’s an online styling/personal shopping service that sends you 5 pieces of clothing/accessories to evaluate. You can get a box as often as every 2-3 weeks, or as infrequently as you like (on a regular schedule, or on demand). I hate, hate, HATE shopping, and my husband suggest I do it. I’m going to assume he wanted me to get a nice new wardrobe in a new size, rather than assuming he was trying to insult my complete lack of style.

It will be a month before I get my first package, but that’s fine because I’m going on vacation next weekend! I won’t be posting here, but you can follow along on my travel blog to see what I’m up to. Plans include a lot of active touring, including hikes and bike rides. I’ll need to do that to keep the unlimited food and drink in check.

The weight bench and running shoes will be waiting for me when I get back. As the weather cools, I need to get back on the fitness train. I’m a little weird, in that I tend to do pretty well with weight loss in November and December. Hopefully I can continue that habit this year.

It Appears I Can Still Run

Forgive me Internet, for I have slacked. It’s been twenty days since my last run. In case you haven’t caught on, it turns out I’m not a giant fan of summer running. But, tonight I was driving home from work listening to Half Size Me, and I just felt lazy. So I decided to get out on the pavement and see what I had in me. It was a gorgeous night (66 degrees, clear, no wind). I put on one of my new Columbia skirts (with shorts underneath), tuned into my Spotify workout playlist, and took off. I was feeling good, and I decided to just go a mile and push it fairly hard.

I hadn’t run a mile under 14:00 since June 15. That day, my first mile was 13:24 and my pace plummeted by over a minute for the next two miles. But tonight, I ran a mile in 13:38. Just the confidence booster I needed.

August 12 Run Photo


My husband is currently downstairs setting up the weight bench, and I’m checking out the race schedule for the Great Lakes Multisport Winter Run Series. I did Run Into The New Year last year (coming in pretty darn close to last), and I’m seriously considering doing the entire race series this year. I won a free entry after taking their survey, so I’ll have to see if I can apply it to a series registration.

Basically, I need some stuff to look forward to. It’s pretty obvious that I struggle to keep up my activity if I don’t have a goal. And my last goal vanished in May when I sprained my ankle and had to pull out of Ragnar. I’m very happy that since then I’ve still lost 5 pounds, but it hasn’t been because of my activity. And I haven’t gotten faster, or built up any more endurance. So, here are some candidates for goals, both short-term and long term.

Strong Candidates

(Give me a day or so to think about it, and I think I’ll commit to these.)

  • Run 3x per week for the next four weeks (until I leave on vacation), with a minimum of 5 miles per week.
  • Complete Stage 1 of the New Rules of Lifting For Women program by the end of October. This requires starting when I return from vacation.
  • Complete an 8-week training program for my first official 10K. I’ll use the Nike+ beginner coach and start on October 6 for my November 30 goal race (The Big Chill).

Ideal Progress

(If I’m still going strong during the middle of 10K training, I should definitely commit to these.)

  • Run all 6 races of the winter run series (5K or 10K is acceptable).
  • Complete Stages 2-5 of the New Rules of Lifting For Women program by St. Patrick’s Day 2015. Obviously, become super buff.

Rock Star Progress

(This is where I really want to be, but I’ll commit in January.)

  • Run a spring half marathon in less than 3 hours.

Oh, and in addition to all of this I really need to finish my dissertation.

Tools For Weight Loss Success: Minimize Decision Making

I’m writing a weight loss success post with the fact that I gained 1.1 pounds this week at the top of my mind. I can tell you exactly why that happened. I let myself make too many decisions.

I didn’t plan my meals in advance.

Not a single one. I grabbed whatever was in the fridge (which wasn’t much, since I hadn’t gone grocery shopping). Dinner included beef hot sticks or a cheese plate multiple nights. Not exactly low-point choices. Lunch came from the work cafeteria more often than not. Every time I was hungry, I had to decide what I wanted to eat. I can’t leave those decisions to chance when I’m trying to lose weight. This week, every single meal has been planned out in advance.

I gave in to temptation.

When I was stressed, I ate way too many of the Dove Promises that my boss had given me, which had happily hid out in my desk drawer for the last 6 weeks. I never should have left them there, forcing me to make a decision whether or not to eat them every single time I got to my desk. They should have immediately gone into the department candy cabinet, which is two floors away from me.

While working at home, I ate three sweet & salty peanut bars in one afternoon. That is terrible. Avoid these things like the plague; they’re crack disguised as a granola bar.

When attending a cookout, I didn’t think about what I would eat ahead of time. I tried every single dessert. I had two beers, and two glasses of wine. I went out for late-night Pho after the cookout. That evening alone, I probably consumed at least 50 points. Ugh.

I probably made these decisions because I hadn’t been fueling my body with filling, healthy food. It was easy to go for the high sugar, high fat choices when I wasn’t eating correctly.

In order to be successful at weight loss, I need to make as few day-to-day decisions as possible.

Woman being wound up like a toy
Sometimes you just need to put yourself on auto pilot.

I once attended a Weight Watchers meeting that said we make at least 200 food-related decisions every day (although we may only be conscious of 10-15 of them). Every time I need to decide what to eat, my reptilian brain is telling me to eat salt, sugar, and fat. My logical brain knows better—that I need protein, fruits & vegetables, and whole grains. By removing the decision point from each moment and putting myself on auto-pilot, I’m much more likely to be successful. Here’s what this looks like when I’m firing on all cylinders:

  • I plan and pre-track a week’s worth of meals on the weekend.
  • I prepare as much food as possible during the weekend for the week ahead.
  • I grocery shop, with a list based on my planned meals.
  • I don’t keep snacks in the house that I’d regret choosing to eat.
  • I bring a morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack to work with me (what I pre-tracked).
  • I have a pre–determined fitness schedule and stick to it (this hasn’t happened in a while, but I was extremely successful when I was doing this).
  • I include special events in my weekly planning, and plan to enjoy myself while staying within my weekly points.

Even with all of this preparation to minimize decisions, I still find myself making food choices every single day. Yesterday, in the afternoon, I really wanted chocolate even though I had my planned yogurt snack at work. I bought the chocolate … and then later ate the yogurt snack. I adjusted my dinner points to somewhat accommodate the chocolate, and dipped into my weekly points a bit. It’s ok if I cave into a decision like that once a week or so, but make it a daily habit and I’ll see my success stop very quickly. Today was better. I wanted chocolate, but stuck to my plan.

Do you have any tips to put yourself on auto pilot and avoid making daily decisions related to food? Please share in the comments.