Fall Food: Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili

Yesterday was day one back on the wagon. I’m focusing on getting my eating under control for the next few weeks. Having quite Weight Watchers (I still stand by that decision), I’ve estimated my TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) and created a daily deficit that should allow me to lose about .5 pounds per week—a rate that I feel is achievable and sustainable. My daily calorie goals is 1,590 calories. I’m also paying attention to my macro nutrients, and aiming for 30% protein, 30% fat, and 40% carbohydrates.

I’m happy to report that yesterday I came in just at my calorie goal and came very close to my target macro ratio. You’ll notice I had two portions of butternut squash black bean chili. This is one of the better vegetarian chili recipes I’ve made, and the serving you get (2 generous cups) is super filling for only containing 217 calories. Mom calculated the Weight Watcher Points Plus and said it was only 5. I highly recommend giving this one a try. If you buy frozen cubed butternut squash at the grocery store, it would come together really quickly. Warning…there is half a can of black beans in each serving. You may get a little gassy.

Here’s how my day shaped up:

Breakfast: 1 cup plain fat free yogurt (sweetened with Splenda, vanilla, lemon juice), 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/4 cup granola [323 calories]

Snack: 2/3 oz plain almonds, 1 light string cheese [148 calories]

Lunch: 2 cups butternut squash black bean chili topped with half an avocado, 1 cup skim milk [408 calories]

Snack: Think Thin Brownie Crunch protein bar [230 calories]

Dinner: 2 cups butternut squash black bean chili topped with 1/4 cup fat free plain greek yogurt and 1/4 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, 1.5 cups skim milk [475 calories]

Totals: 1,584 calories, 235 g carbs (47%), 59 g fat  26%), 131 g protein (27%)

I also drank a ton of tea and spent a few hours in the garden getting the garlic planted, leeks harvested, and covering everything with mulch before it potentially snows this week. One day down, many more to go.

So Much For Maintenance

I’ve fallen off the wagon. Actually, I think the wagon might be in West Virginia, where I was the last time I was on it. While searching for the wagon, I’ve managed to find five pounds. Ugh.

The plan was to take a break from calorie restrictions, while working weight lifting into my fitness routine. But, I only completed the first week of weight workouts and then proceeded to do nothing in terms of fitness for a month. I followed my 2,000 calorie diet about 80% of the time for approximately two weeks, and then for some reason I started eating like crap. I was eating crap I hadn’t had in any significant quantity in months … grilled cheese, hot dogs, pizza, crab rangoons, fried rice (I know how to make healthy choices at the Chinese restaurant, dammit!). Ben and Jerry’s came into the house twice in a month.

I thought today was completely lost, but according to My Fitness Pal, it’s not. I had a good breakfast, a terrible lunch, terrible snacks, but can salvage it with a healthy dinner (that will actually taste good).

I’ve gotta get back on track. I believe the fatal flaw here was twofold – my mindset (I was thinking “Yay, I’m free!” rather than “Let’s move forward cautiously”) and my commitment (I very often chose to sit on my ass rather than engaging in any type of fitness).

All is not lost. This is a minor setback that can be corrected before the New Year. But, I’m disappointed in myself. My second Stitch Fix came today and my stylist nailed it, but half of the pieces are just a bit too tight. I love them, and I’m tempted to buy them all just so I have a tangible goal to reach.

So, it’s back to planning for a daily 300 calorie deficit, tracking (EVERYTHING), and—most importantly—consciously thinking about why I’m doing this. To live a longer, healthier, more fulfilling life. To wear clothes I can buy off the rack (or have shipped to my door). To participate in adventurous travel experiences. And to treat my body the way it deserves to be treated.

My “break” from weight loss did not go as expected. But I can learn from this, and move forward. Starting now, as I walk into the kitchen and assemble my pre-tracked meal that fits within my daily calories. And then I’ll plan the next week of meals, and by golly, I’ll eat them. Because I deserve it.

Does Protein Oatmeal Taste Good?

That’s the first thought I had when I read some of the recommended meals on the New Rules of Lifting for Women nutrition program. It advocated making old fashioned oats as you normally would, then stirring in a scoop of protein powder and 1/2 cup of milk. I was skeptical. But I tried it.

Turns out, it’s pretty good (I also added dried strawberries). I use vanilla protein powder, so it gives it a little sweetness. It’s my go-to breakfast of the moment, and clocks in at 305 calories and 25 grams of protein. This morning I chose to eat the protein oatmeal I brought to work instead of the fresh doughnuts offered for a co-worker’s going away part. Now THAT is promising.

I didn’t quite hit my 2000 calorie goal today. Before my workout I was just over 200 calories short. This is likely because I didn’t plan my meals, and once again I was too busy running from meeting to meeting in the morning to eat my snack, so it got combined with lunch. I still didn’t feel hungry at any point in the day, and after sitting around on the couch for a few hours I went downstairs to do my strength workout.

Deadlift. Nailed it (although some of you would laugh when you see what I’m currently lifting). Shoulder press. Nailed it (need to get some heavier dumbbells). Lat pulldown. Nailed it (as much as I could while substituting a resistance band for a cable station). Lunges.

Ugh, I hate the lunges. I wish they would go back to Jazzercise or Sweating to the Oldies or wherever they came from.

I think I made progress, though. I know my form was terrible, and I think I was trying to take my trailing leg back to far. It still is like pulling teeth to get through two sets of 15, and I was only holding 5-pound weights.

And, a few crunches on the fitness ball. Easy peasy. My reward:

Post Workout Protein ShakeI need to get some bananas and fruit juice in the house so I can start playing with my flavors. This one was strawberry, again. Or, I could get chocolate and do a choco-peanut butter one. I sense some fun with shakes in the future. Unfortunately, I’m traveling for work during my next workout (possibly two), which means I’ll be grabbing a Slim Fast or something at a convenience store. Ick. But I do what the program says.

Today’s Totals:

2,003 calories
254 g carbohydrates
57 g fat
139 g protein
1 strength workout

I’m on the road for the next five days to attend a conference. Hoping to stick as close to my meal plan as possible, but will definitely need to figure out a plan for my 200-250 calorie morning and afternoon snacks. What they normally provide at conferences (cookies, brownies, muffins, etc.) will not fly!

Why I’m Quitting Weight Watchers

I don't know about you, but I don't want to eat 1,400 calories per day for the rest of my lifeI didn’t count points today. Or yesterday. Or the day before that. I think I’m officially done with Weight Watchers, at least for the time being.

I’ve been trying to follow the Weight Watchers plan for the last 22 months. Most of that time I followed the plan online, although I attended At Work meetings for about 9 months in the middle. As far as weight loss goes, I’ve been extremely successful (I’m 40 pounds down from my first WW weigh in). I learned some valuable lessons, namely portion size and how to lighten up super fatty recipes. However, I’d be lying if I said I stayed within my points every single week, or that I tracked every single day. I had two major recurring problems that contributed to this.

My Weight Watchers Struggles

The first problem I had on Weight Watchers was that on far too many occasions, all my efforts of pre-planning and tracking my meals would go down the drain when I found myself ravenous (from either real or hedonic hunger) at mid-afternoon. If I didn’t have a snack with me because my PointsPlus allowance didn’t have room for one that day, I would inevitably end up at the vending machine buying a Twix bar, or rummaging through the pantry at home for my husband’s granola bars or protein bars. Then I’d eat 7-10 points and be over my target for the day, no matter what I had for dinner.

The second problem was my inability to control my eating on the weekends. If I managed to stick with my point allowance all week, come Sunday I’d want to eat everything in the house. I didn’t always eat junk (because I didn’t have much of it around), but I’d eat anything I could find, including raisins, crackers, or those damn granola bars … in far too large of quantities. After tracking it I could easily be at a 50-60 point day (my target was 26-29).

Both of these problems occurred far too often.

Trying Something Radically Different

In the meantime, I continued to listen to one of my favorite podcasts, Half Size Me. Heather has been preaching the importance of weight lifting and feeding your body the calories it needs for quite some time. My Weight Watchers problems and Heather’s advice started to mesh in my head, and I picked up a book I’d half-heartedly read this summer – New Rules of Lifting for Women. I read the part about nutrition at least three times, and decided it was time for a change. I’ve committed to starting both the strength training and diet programs in the book, and that means incorporating a major dietary change.

For the next four weeks, I will not be restricting my calorie intake.

I’m doing this for two reasons. One: I want to eat at the calorie level that will maintain my weight, so I can get an idea of what “normal” life would look like if I wanted to maintain this weight forever (I still have some weight to lose, but I weigh significantly less than when I started this journey). I’m committed to sustainable weight loss, so I want a genuine experience of what sustaining this weight would take right now. Two: I want to build muscle so I can increase my metabolism and burn more calories by doing nothing, so I need to feed my body the proper nutrients during the strength training program to develop muscle.

I completed the equations in the book, and learned that my resting metabolic rate is approximately 1,350 calories, and when I don’t work out my Total Daily Energy Expenditure is approximately 2,025 calories. On days that I do a strength workout, my TDEE is approximately 2,295 calories. The authors of the book suggest eating every single one of these calories throughout five meals a day (six meals on days I work out). So that’s what I’m doing. I may still have a slight deficit on some days because I’m going to continue running a few times per week, but I’m not cutting any calories from my daily meal plan for the purpose of weight loss.

Here’s What 1900 Calories Looks Like

I shared this with my friends on Facebook, and after the first day following the meal plan I posted pictures of what it took for me to eat 1,900 calories in a day (I forgot to drink a glass of milk so I was 100 calories short of my goal). Here’s what it looked like:

Breakfast Egg Tacos

 Breakfast: 2 corn tortillas, 2 eggs, 1 oz reduced fat cheese, 1/4 cup salsa

Apples & Peanut Butter

Snack: 2 small apples, 2 tablespoons peanut butter
Salmon Salad

 Lunch: large green salad with cherry tomatoes, 4 oz salmon burger, 2 tsp olive oil & vinegar

Yogurt & Almonds

Snack: 1/2 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup strawberries, .75 oz almonds

Tilapia, Quinoa & Carrots

Dinner: 3 oz tilapia, 1 cup quinoa, 1 cup roasted carrots

Yogurt & Berry ParfaitDessert: 1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt (flavored with Splenda, vanilla & lemon juice), 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup granola

Eating Food Is Amazing

I was never hungry this entire day. I went for a 3 mile run/walk before dinner and wasn’t overly tired, and after dessert I was able to fit in my second weight training workout of the week, which earned me a protein shake (290 calories, not pictured). Just for fun I logged the 1,900 calorie menu in my Weight Watchers app. It clocked in at 37 points, or 142% of my recommended daily target of 26 points.  Had I been counting points, I would not have allowed myself to have the full two tablespoons of peanut butter (probably none at all, actually), or the almonds. I definitely wouldn’t have had the dessert. I would have been hungry, and likely gone off track. And the idea of drinking a protein shake would just seem like a waste of points. Why drink a 7 point shake when I could eat a Twix bar for the same points?

My mindset is already changing. I have a goal for the distribution of my macro nutrients (35% protein, 30% fat, 30% carbs), so the type of food I eat matters. I’m not afraid to eat 200 calories worth of nuts or peanut butter, because I have 10x that to work with throughout the day, and I know they’ll pack some bang (satiety) for the buck. AND, if all goes well, eating this way will help me build muscle, which will ultimately burn more calories.

Weight Watchers Was Setting Me Up To Fail

Now that I’m counting calories, I wanted to go back and see how many calories I was eating on an average “good” Weight Watchers day. I plugged in the following menu, which was exactly what I ate on September 30.

Breakfast: Spelt chocolate zucchini muffin
Lunch: Homemade tomato soup (no dairy), 1/2 cup brown rice, 1/2 cup raw carrots, 1/4 cup sunflower seed pate
Snack: small apple, .75 oz almonds
Dinner: 1 small pita, 1 cup cucumber, 1 oz feta, 1/2 cup hummus, 1 cup baked potato soup

This was 36 points, which I would consider an “OK” day on Weight Watchers. I’d already manually adjusted my daily target up from 26 to 29 (the highest they will allow), and this would also use 7 weekly points (which is what you’re allowed, on average, per day).

Calorie count: 1,429

This makes me sick. I still consumed about 600 calories LESS than I burned that day simply by walking around and breathing, and I would have been down on myself and felt like I could have done better. But mathematically, if I ate like that every day of the week, I’d lose 1.2 pounds. And I’d be hungry all the time. When it came time to maintain my weight, Weight Watchers would tell me that I still could only eat about 32 points per day to maintain (with weeklies for leverage). And in time, my body would adapt to that, and my metabolism would be ruined. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to eat 1,400 calories per day for the rest of my life.

Moving Forward: Food As Fuel

Although I’m still hoping to lose about 40 pounds, my new plan is to do this by changing my body composition—increasing lean muscle mass while decreasing body fat. I’ll eat my maintenance calories for four weeks while following my strength training plan (which calls for 3 workouts per week) and loosely following my 10K training plan (aiming for 2-3 run/walks per week). If something has to give, it will be the running (it can be almost impossible—and it’s not recommended—to do an endurance workout the day after a strenuous strength workout, at least for beginners). After four weeks, if I experience a weight gain (possible) or my weight stays the same (likely), I’ll cut 300 calories from my diet, for an expected weight loss of .6 pounds per week—which was more than I was averaging on Weight Watchers.

The key to this plan is to strive to hit my macro nutrient goals—particularly the protein goal. I need extra protein available to be turned into muscle. And, protein offers satiety, which should help me avoid the mid-afternoon run to the vending machine or pantry.

I’m grateful to Weight Watchers. It helped me get started on this journey, which has already lasted two years and will probably last two more. While it a great push at the start, however, I don’t think it will effectively get me past the finish line.

Running Into Fall

Fall is here! We are getting frost warning, the tomatoes have finally stopped coming out of the garden (only because I pulled up the plants today), and the humidity is long gone. So, I figured it was a good day to go for a run, since I hadn’t in … almost 8 weeks.

Wow, I really didn’t realize it had been that long.

October 5 Run Photo

October 5 Pace Chart

I was really cruising for the first mile, but then I lost it (mostly mentally, not physically) for the rest of the run. I had to get this one out of the way though, because the 10K training plan I programmed into my phone in August starts tomorrow. It could have been worse.

My mom started running last week. She ran 5 miles this morning, at a faster pace than me. Looks like I have someone to catch.

Goal Progress

In August, I made some goals, then promptly forgot about most of them. Oops. Let’s recap:

  • Run 3x per week for the next four weeks (until I leave on vacation), with a minimum of 5 miles per week. Yeah, umm … I ran exactly zero times. I honestly think I forgot about this goal the day after I wrote it.
  • 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. This can be accomplished if I modify it. I didn’t start as soon as I got back (I was super lazy when I got back), but I could accomplish it by mid-November if I start this week. I’m going to open the book up as soon as I finish this post.
  • 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). I remembered that this starts tomorrow. I’ll consider that a good start.

I don’t think I’ll be running the 6-race winter race series either. The more I think about it, the more I don’t want to commit to running in snow, hail, rain, whatever. I’m still going to sign up for my goal 10K (which is part of the series), but I’ll just run for fun this winter and sign up for races if I feel like it.

Vacation Recap

I went on a two-week, largely all-inclusive vacation, ate and drank everything I wanted, and came back just one pound heavier. I will consider that a success! We walked a lot (averaged approximately 15,000 steps per day), biked 16 miles and climbed the hill of doom, and generally were very active. I think if I hadn’t gotten in the habit of drinking a lot of all-inclusive calories (mostly hot chocolate and flavored coffee drinks), I would have come home even … or maybe even down.

I must say, this vacation was very different from our other two trips to Europe. I wasn’t tired all the time, I didn’t balk at large climbs or seemingly unending steps, and I chose to do things (like bike along the Danube) that I never would have done before. At times I even wished I had brought my running shoes, because our boat often docked right along a nice riverfront path, which would have made running in a strange city/country a breeze. Next time. 🙂

Speaking of next time—it’s not finalized, but we’re seriously considering another cruise somewhere in the world that would be VERY hot and humid, and I know that I need to be in tip top shape to do that. This vacation would occur over Christmas/New Years 2015. Whether we take this trip or not, I’m hoping/planning to be 30 pounds lighter by then. That would definitely help if I need to be in skimpy clothes all day long.

I Won’t Leave You Hanging

Now that the dreaded humidity is gone, the garden is almost put to bed, and vacation is over, it’s time to put some more effort into my fitness goals. I’ve got some blogs to catch up on that I haven’t been reading over the summer (I miss you guys!), but I’ll catch up, and I hope we can all work towards a happy, healthy holiday season together.

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.

I’ve Run Once This Month

The number of posts on my blog this month is strongly correlated with the number of runs I’ve completed. It’s not a 1:1 correlation, but it’s close.

Yup, I’ve run exactly one time this month. But, there are still 2 days and 6 hours to get that number higher. Maybe I’ll run tonight just to bump it up.

Last week, Mom was visiting and I jumped out of bed around 6:15 a.m. and informed her that we were going for a walk. You see, I run at approximately the pace my mom walks … because Mom is a bad ass. I told her we were going to climb “Mount Oconomowoc,” which is a hill just under a mile from my house.

July 23 Pace & Elevation

Turns out, this “mountain” only has an elevation gain of 130 feet. However, a year ago I couldn’t walk to the top of it without stopping to rest. Now, I walked at a brisk pace after running for a mile.

This was my first run in a month because I’ve been in a love/hate relationship with summer, so I was at my super slow pace—about 15:00 per mile. I’m not concerned about my speed. I’m just happy that I was able to get out and be active with my mom. I even let her be in my post-run selfie.

July 23 Run Photo

Weigh In

It’s Tuesday, and that means weigh in day! I was very happy to see 168 on the scale this morning, which is down 3.5 pounds from last week. My weight has been all over the place this month, but I have a net loss of 2.2 pounds for July—right in line with my .4 pounds per week average. For only getting in one run, that’s pretty darn good. I highly doubt I’m going to meet my goal/dream of being 160 before we go on vacation (in 39 days!) But I can probably get to 165.

Weight Training

After running my half marathon in May, I announced that I wanted to start weight lifting. The only problem was that I didn’t have any weights, or a gym membership. Well, lucky for me one of our neighbors is moving across the country and needs to get rid of their weight bench. In 30 minutes I’m headed over to their house to check it out, but based on the pictures I’ve seen I’m 95% sure I’ll be purchasing it. It’s a bench, bar, weights (up to 45 pounds) and a bunch of rubber flooring tiles. I’m looking forward to digging back into The New Rules of Lifting for Women and actually getting started on the training plan. I know that it’s important to build muscle while losing fat, but I haven’t been doing a very good job at it lately. I’m not sure what effect it will have on the scale, but I don’t really care. More muscle means I burn more calories, which means I can eat more food. And I’m all about eating every possible calorie I can.

 

Oh, and while I’ve been neglecting this blog, I’ve started another one. Check out The Gross Travel Chronicles if you’re interested in reading about all the fun places my husband and I go. I’m currently summarizing our travel for the last three years, and hopefully I’ll be live-blogging from Europe in September.

Check Out My Guest Post On Half Size Me!

I took an interesting approach to stick with my weight loss goals for my last business trip. Just a few days prior to leaving, I emailed Heather, the host of the Half Size Me podcast, and asked if she’d be interested in publishing a guest blog post about sticking to a weight loss routine while traveling. Literally hours before I left for the airport, I got confirmation that she was interested in publishing the post! So, for five days I thought about how every single choice I made would appear to strangers on the internet. If you’d like to read about my trip, check it out on HalfSizeMe.com: 10 Tips For Weight Loss While Traveling